Restaurateur Thoa Nguyen (pronounced "twah nwin") has scored success after success since opening the first Chinoise Caf頢ack in 1996. Let's hope she hasn't exhausted all her good karma because she's gonna need some with her latest venture, the Islander. Billed as "a Polynesian Cuisine & Tiki Lounge," the Islander opened Monday at 96 Union Street, a location that has devoured a number of hopeful restaurant ventures over the last few years, among them Leo Melina's, 96 Union (closed December 2001), and, most recently, Harbor Place. Nguyen's hoping that her casual Pacific-fusion approach will suit the neighborhood better than predecessors did, and we have to admit, items like geoduck corn chowder, volcano rolls (tuna, avocado, and papaya), fish pockets with spicy mango salsa and slaw, and moo moo coriander-crusted beef sound pretty intriguing, not to mention light enough for a downtown lunch. Here's wishing you luck, Thoa: The deck at 96 Union's too nice to be locked behind a "Closed for Remodeling" sign most of the time.
THE NOT-SO-LIVING SEA
What does a Jacques Cousteau sandwich taste like? According to David Snair of Kent, a runner-up in the French's GourMayo Celebrity Sandwich Contest, it goes like this: scallops, shrimp, lettuce, cucumber, parsley, and thyme on a baguette. Oh, and of course, in a nod to the sponsors, you can't forget the sun-dried-tomato-flavored GourMayo. Personally, we think the late Jacques would have preferred his sun-dried tomatoes au naturel, but it still sounds like one tasty sandwich. Hey, David: How about a sandwich in honor of Evening Magazine's John Curley? Cheese and lots of it, obviously, but then what?
DO YOUR OWN REPORTING
Savor Seattle with Bonus Bites! Patronize a participating restaurant, order a selected entr饬 and "receive a choice from three, value-added courses," or Bonus Bites! And what in heaven's name does that mean, you ask? Free samples? A buy-one-get-one-free dinner? We have no idea. The press release was gibberish. But hey, this is the Washington Restaurant Association's first attempt at a marketing promotion, so cut them a little slack. Go to www.nwsource.com/bonusbites, find a participating restaurant, and check it out. If you can make heads or tails of this business, let us know.
WE GET LETTERS
A number of readers of this column have complained that when they tried to take advantage of Cook's Illustrated's offer of a full year's subscription-plus-extra-issue-all-for-$19.95, they couldn't find the offer on the Cook's Web site. And for good reason, because, it turns out, it's not there. In order to score the special offer at the special price, you have to call Cook's toll-free number and talk to a live person. Sorry for the inconvenience: The number is 800-611-0759; the rest is up to you.