Breakwater Seafood and Chowder House–Aberdeen, WA

Breakwater Seafood and Chowder House
306 South F Street, Aberdeen 98520

Over All Experience:  Kids–3.5/5  Adults–4/5         Cost Out of Five: 3.5

The Breakwater Seafood and Chowder House located on the shores of the Wishkah River and near the Kurt Cobain Riverfront Park offers both fresh to-be-prepared-at-home and cooked ready-to-eat seafood.  It is a spendy place for a little off-the-beaten-path-establishment, but not horrible.

The overall feel of this restaurant is a little like Mel’s Diner meets The Old Man and the Sea.  With its nondescript decor and super sticky floors it’s a restaurant that uninspires on appearances alone.

The staff was some combination of tolerant-pleasant and annoyed-frustrated.  Depending on which one you talked with it was a crapshoot as to which personality you encountered.

Adult Review:

We ordered the Clam Strips and Chips and the Cod and Chips both served with Cole Slaw.

The Cod is, according to one of the friendlier staff members, panko breaded in-house–it was cooked perfectly.  It was crispy on the outside while remaining moist, flaky and not rubbery like some fish gets when cooked poorly.  The fries were great too, sporting crunchy exteriors while maintaining soft insides.

The Cole Slaw was a surprise! It was creamy and tangy with just the right amount of salt–usually restaurant prepared slaw requires additional salt at the table.  This was slaw we could all agree was delicious.

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The Clam Strips and Chips were tasty as well, but the clams were a pre-made product (again according to the pleasant staff member) they ordered in from elsewhere (as are the chicken strips)–that was disappointing.  Clam strips are some of our favorite seafood and when they are fresh and in-house battered they can be absolutely amazing!

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As we said earlier the floor was exceedingly sticky, so much so we found it difficult to slide our chairs across it.  The bathroom was out of hand soap and in its place was an industrial size bottle of Dawn dish soap–odd!  But the place was packed, both inside and on the outdoor deck area, so the floor cleanliness and hand-care products alone are not keeping this fisherman’s dream from doing a good clip of business.

We felt the food was good, but if service is a deal breaker for you, then you may want to seek other places for your seafood options.

Kids Review:

The kiddos ordered the Clam Chowder and the Cod and Chips served with the Cole Slaw.

The house-made Clam Chowder was creamy, smooth and hot and came instantly. It was delicious! The clams were cooked well without being rubbery. It got two huge thumbs up from the chowder connoisseur among us!

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The other one liked the Cod and Chips, but gave it no rave reviews nor a diminishing one.  She decided it was just ‘okay’ although she did add that she had to admit it was flaky and moist and fairly tasty.

Overall the Breakwater has the feel of eating at some hole-in-the-wall establishment on the wharfs complete with salty sea-weathered staff and tasty seafood.

If you ever find yourself in Aberdeen, hungry and looking for someplace to eat you should check it out and when you do remember this blog and post your thoughts in the comments.

Trails End Taphouse & Restaurant, Snohomish, WA

Trails End Taphouse & Restaurant, 511 Maple Ave, Snohomish WA 98290

Over All Experience: 4/5      Cost:  $$$

This unassuming restaurant positioned at the Snohomish end of the Centennial Trail has a little something for everyone.   It offers craft beers and a modern spin on pub food.

Our family tried this establishment on a recent very warm summer day.  The atmosphere was both physically cool and visually interesting.  From its unique artwork to its green faux marble top tables and heavy industrial flair chairs it lends itself to a feel of an old-world pub meets a modern fern bar.

The cost to value was moderate and the food quality was above average.

Adult Review:

We both ordered the Brie Burger with Poppy Seed Broccoli Cole Slaw, one of the daily specials. We fell in deep smit with the sweet salty bacon jalapeno jelly and melted gooey brie cheese combination.  We both felt the beef patty was delicious and juicy as well, but that the bun was a little too firm of an option (it might have been a ciabatta) and, as a result, when we bit into it the cheese and jelly squished out all sides. However, that wasn’t a deal breaker as all the flavor was there and, after all, some of the best burgers are the messy ones.

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We also liked the broccoli slaw salad, but it did need a little additional salt and the poppy seed dressing was lacking a ‘poppy seed’ flavor.

Our waitress was especially friendly and well-informed.  She knew the answers to all of our questions and was knowledgeable about the daily specials even making sure to let us know that she (and the rest of the staff) is encouraged to taste all of the specials at the beginning of each shift.

We finished off the meal with the in-house made Red, White and Blue Cheesecake and a cup of coffee.  The coffee was passible as coffee goes—not the best we’ve had, but far from the worse (you’ll notice coffee mentioned in all of our reviews if we ordered some as coffee is a favorite of ours).  The cheesecake however was really delicious.  It was creamy and not overly sweet and the berry compote was a nice combination of sweet and tart.

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We liked the atmosphere and have no complaints about anything, unless it was that the place was packed and, as a result, a little loud.

Kid Review:

The kids ordered from the kids menu.  They did make the comment that they felt the children’s menu was small and from their point of view limited.  After some deliberation they decided on the Chicken Strips with in-house made Potato Chips.

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They both really enjoyed them.  According to our waitress the chicken is hand breaded in-house with a gluten-free corn meal crust and served with homemade potato chips.  The girls’ one complaint was that the ranch served with their meal (which our waitress let us know was house-made too) was lacking flavor and ‘blah’.

The cheesecake was split 50/50 as far as them liking it.  One of them felt it was “AWESOME!”, but the other one took one bite and declined the rest of her dessert all together.

The girls appreciated the coloring sheet provided for them and decided that the fact that they were entertained while they waited for their meal was a positive.

The girls felt that the fact that there is a large bar that monopolizes the space was a negative as they ‘don’t want to see a bunch of people drinking’.

The kids did feel that the place was ‘fine’ and that they would eat there again.

Over all we all really liked the Trails End and would recommend it to anyone looking for a pub food meal with a modern flair.  If you do try it soon, please check back here and add your thoughts to the comments section.

May your family always eat well!

Welcome! Where do you want to eat tonight?

4 Hungry Mouths

Only a few more minutes till your work day ends and you are free for the weekend.  You are tired from a week full of work, school events, church events, social events, and all you want to do if head home and spend time with your family.  But wait!  You have one last obstacle before the weekend starts—dinner!  It’s Friday night, you’re exhausted and you still need to feed your family an evening meal.  What are you going to do?  You know asking for opinions from your little ones will garner less than helpful responses, ‘McDonalds!’, ‘Chuck E Cheeses’, ‘Ice Cream!’.

You want to eat somewhere that you will enjoy and the kids will like as well.  You would really like to know more about the place before you commit to dragging everyone out, waiting for a table and investing in a meal that you may walk away from shaking your head and murmuring something to the effect of, ‘Can’t believe that service, yikes!’ or ‘Not sure that food was worth the price.’

We are a family of four (well actually five, but our eldest is an adult and moved out of the house) and we know this scenario all too well.  We enjoy real food that is well prepared.  We expect service that is friendly, prompt and informed.  We like establishments that are clean and cared for.  We found that if we liked the restaurant then our kids probably didn’t and the places they liked we rarely found acceptable.

One evening while dining out at an above average Italian restaurant our children started critiquing the food, service, atmosphere and overall experience.  That’s when the brainstorm for this blog came about.  We thought how great it would be to have a restaurant review blog that shed light on establishments from both adult and kid points of view.

This blog will be broken down into two sections.  The first will be from our perspective and the second will be written by us as ghost writers for our children about their thoughts.

We look forward to getting started on this endeavor and hope that you will find it helpful and use it often to garner new insight into restaurants and how they will meet your family’s dining pleasure.