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After All Those Reviews, Nancy Leson Still Loves Restaurants

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During the years she was the Seattle Times restaurant critic, Nancy Leson was often told she had the perfect job. Go out to eat every night on the boss's dime — that ain't workin'. 

But it wasn't all honey for nothin' and tips for free. As Nancy asked me back then: "How'd you like to go back to a restaurant you didn't like? Twice? After all, any restaurant can have a bad night. And that's what you have to do if you're going to give a fair review."

Nancy's out of the reviewing game now, but, as I teased her, her favorite thing to make for dinner is still reservations. "Aw, Stein, that's not entirely true," she protested. "I really have been enjoying cooking a lot more than I used to, because I have a lot more time to do it." But she still loves to go out to eat.

So what's new and surprising in the Seattle restaurant scene?

"Well, I'm surprised that it took so long for Korean food to make it into the canon of upscale Seattle restaurants... it's such a wonderful cuisine that I adore." The place she's talking about? "The wonderful Trove on Capitol Hill." 

Dick's Hubcap Cafe: Registered Nurse On Duty

Nancy asked me if I've ever had a desire to open a restaurant. I have.

My dream eatery: "Dick's Hupcap Cafe: Registered Nurse on Duty." The signature dish would be eggs Benedict served on a hubcap. "Why a hubcap?" she asked in all innocence. My reply, dear reader, was a multiple pun so egregious that I dare not commit it to print. Hear it for yourself:

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Warning: Dick Stein commits a pun that lovers of the English language may find distressing.

"The best fame is the writer's fame. It's enough to get a table at a good restaurant, but not enough to get you interrupted when you eat."

–Fran Lebowitz

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.
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