July 2014 Bar Bulletin
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July 2014 Bar Bulletin

Exercising the Constitutional Right to a Good Meal


"The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny others retained by the people."
-Wash. Const. Article I, 30

Hidden within the Washington Constitution is a little-known provision - Article I, 30. Few cases have addressed this provision, but those that have find that this section emphasizes the principle that the Constitution measures power of rulers, not the rights of those governed. In other words, just because the drafters of the Washington Constitution forgot to mention the right of the people to have delightful dining experiences does not mean they intended that right to be abandoned.

Yes, we are being tongue in cheek when we suggest a constitutional right to good food. While some of the Dining Out with Schwabe staff are convinced they could write a humorous law review article on a right to eat food from James Beard Award winners, it would not be as tasty as taking a constitutional food tour across the country. This month, we strive to do just that.

The tour begins at Casa Rojas Mexican Restaurant and Cantina (403 Madison Ave. N., Suite #101; www.casarojasrestaurant.com; 206-855-7999) on Bainbridge Island. Supreme Court Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud is completely taken by this great spot and it is her recommendation.

Dining Out with Schwabe once spent a peaceful evening at Casa Rojas. We liked it and we are looking forward to going back based on Justice Gordon McCloud's endorsement. "Casa Rojas is a Southwest-themed restaurant with consistently high-quality, southwestern-style comfort food - fresh fish and veggies, and I usually get them dripping with cheese and for flavor served over rice and beans, and they always substitute black beans for refried beans for me," she explained. No doubt any patron would receive equal treatment.

"The smoked salmon enchiladas are their signature dish, and I will personally vouch for them," Justice Gordon McCloud added. That's enough for us to take a trip across the water.

Next, we detour to Seattle to visit FareStart Restaurant (700 Virginia St.; www.farestart.org; 443–1233). Rumor has it that Justice Mary Yu previously served on the Board of FareStart, and while we have reviewed FareStart more than once since this column began six years ago, we have never given a full picture of this fantastic establishment.

FareStart provides a community that transforms lives by empowering homeless and disadvantaged men, women and families to achieve self-
sufficiency through life skills, job training and employment in the food service industry. It is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and for Guest Chef Night dinners on Thursdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

We keep pushing FareStart Restaurant because where else can you enjoy delicious cuisine and have all proceeds go directly to job training and placement programs. According to the website, the Guest Chef Night has raised more than $4.5 million over the last 20 years, revenue that has gone directly back to changing lives.

After FareStart, it was time to travel south to Olympia with Justice Mary Fairhurst and get a great recommendation for where to eat if you find yourself arguing a Supreme Court case. Justice Fairhurst pointed us to Dockside Bistro (501 Columbia St. NW; www.docksidebistro.com; 360-956-1928). Why? "Fresh, fresh, fresh," she explained.

She is drawn to the small, interesting and delicious menu. She enjoys everything on the menu, but often follows the suggestions of owner and executive chef Laurie Nguyen on whatever journey she creates. "I have them surprise me!" Justice Fairhurst said.

So, when the adrenalin starts to fade and you find yourself post-argument facing an anti-climactic drive up I-5, we suggest first stopping to restore yourself at the Dockside Bistro.

For our journey east, we reached out to Justice Debra Stephens. But first, she had a roadside attraction for us to experience. "In Olympia, I've become devoted to Ramirez's Mexican Store, which has a café featuring killer burritos," she began. "My favorite is the chicken or pulled pork wet burrito, which is roughly the size of your head and loaded with more good things than the average head can hold. Freshly made corn tortillas and guacamole to go are an added treat." Ramirez's Mexican Store (5105 Capitol Blvd. SE, Tumwater; Ramirezmexicanstore.com) certainly made our mouths water.

What else could Justice Stephens have in store on the other side of the mountains? We were thrilled when she said Mamma Mia's (420 W. Francis, Spokane; Mammamiaspokane.com). "'Hearty and homemade' is a common theme in my favorite places to eat," she said. "Whenever I get home to Spokane, I go to one of the city's oldest family Italian restaurants, Mamma Mia's, which is owned by our good friends, Jerry & Ginny Amicarella. They do a full range of Southern Italian classics, but my favorite dish is 'Tia's special,' which is a garlic/spinach/myzithra over handmade fettuccini (plus I add the handmade sausage)."

Like Justice Fairhurst, Justice Stephens is adventurous. "When I'm with a larger group, we just have Jerry cook whatever he thinks we should try. We've never been disappointed," she said.

With our pocket constitutions and our full bellies we had visions of the U.S. Supreme Court, so we made the big jump to Washington, D.C., to visit Kimberly Tignor with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. Lawyers Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar's leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity.

Tignor recommends Cava Mezze (527 8th St. SE; cavamezze.com; 202-543-9090). "The mini gyros alone were enough to make me a super fan," she said, "but they also have great service and an atmosphere that is the perfect end to a daytime walk around Eastern Market or after-work drinks with friends."

Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. If you have a suggestion for a Dining Out theme or want to dine around King County with Dining Out with Schwabe, contact Jamila Johnson at 206-407-1555 or jajohnson@schwabe.com. see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx. Follow us on Twitter @schwabedinesout.


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