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More on Neighborhood Celebrity Chef, Tarik Abdullah

Last week, Tarik Abdullah brought his pop-restaurant, Morningstar Cafe, to La Isla Mojito for a special guest-chef brunch at the Columbia/Hillman city Latin restaurant. Soon, the participant on ABC’s reality cooking show, The Taste, will begin cooking classes at Hillman City’s Collaboratory.


CityArts’s Jonathan Zwickel recently posted this interview with Abdullah:

People cried when Tarik Abdullah was cut from ABC cooking show The Taste. Not Abdullah himself, who’d made it to the sixth-episode semi-finals of the competition as part of Anthony Bourdain’s team; he handled the disappointment with his usual big-hearted dignity and grace. But his competitors were crushed: “Not a lot of times there’s that much class…” said one of the remaining cooks, choking up. “And he’s so supportive.” The Taste aired its Season 3 finale last week.

Abdullah, the DJ and cook I wrote about in October, before The Taste began airing, has been back in Seattle hosting twice-monthly pop-up brunches at La Isla del Mojito in Columbia City. A week after the episode aired, I met up with him at the Collaboratory, the Columbia City complex not far from his home where he’ll begin his first series of cooking classes for kids on Feb. 8. He walked me upstairs to the second-floor retail space and workshop he uses for producing leather bicycle accessories and upcycled bags. As always, he was dressed in casual-formal hepcat style and wore an enormous smile…

To read the whole interview, click here.


A Weekly Guide to Columbia City Arts, Entertainment, and Culture

Columbia City has a number of great venues and theaters. As a neighborhood, we all know the value of these businesses and also know how necessary it is to support them in order to keep them a vital part of our thriving community. I’ve always had the idea to use Columbia City Source as a way to post a simple, regular guide for the week’s music, theater, and movie happenings in the neighborhood.

If this is something that readers are interested in and value, be sure to let me know in the comments. Also, if anyone connected with these theaters, clubs, restaurants, etc. wants to get involved and take on a weekly posting like this for the whole of the neighborhood’s venues, let me know…I’d be happy to hand this one off to someone who’s truly involved with Columbia City’s arts and music scene.

ArkRoyalTheaterArk Lodge Cinemas has three movies this week. Showtimes are for Mon -Thurs:

Columbia City Theater has a mix of live music and karaoke:

The Royal Room has a mix of both free and ticketed events (see the main Royal Room page for details):

  • Monday, August 24th (8pm): Enso/ Johnaye Kendrick with Dawn Clement & Chris Symer, (10pm) The Salute Sessions (Salute to Monk)
  • Tuesday, August 25th (8pm): Perry Robinson / Stochastic Mettle Union local #35
  • Friday, August 28th (8pm): Beth Fleenor’s Birthday Show featuring: Amy Denio / Tarik Abouzied Duo, Angela Sheik, Led to Sea, Trimtab, Crystal Beth and the Boom Boom Band
  • Saturday, August 29th (9pm): Twisted Groove

Rainier Valley Cultural Center is hosting a weekend event for the new Rainier Valley Radio Station:

The Hummingbird Saloon has music this Tuesday from a neighborhood band:

Island Soul continues its regular weekly offerings:

  • Wednesday, August 26th: Angelo Pizarro

Beatwalk + Pop-Up Restaurant Tonight

Just a reminder that Beatwalk is tonight:11231206_10153448054908866_4538987872230466994_n

Tomorrow’s Today’s the big day! We’ve got Latin and Americana tunes on the street, funk and blues in the bars, and some of THE BEST players in town at 8pm at the Royal Room – Thione Diop, Skerik, Wayne Horvitz and Evan Flory Barnes – in their band Trance-endental Grooves! See you there!

Also worth checking out is neighborhood chef Tarik Abdullah’s pop-up at Island Soul.  If you haven’t checked out what he’s up to in the neighborhood, you definitely should. My daughter just finished a cooking class with him at Hillman City’s Collaboratory…he was great. Here’s a sneak peak of tonight’s menu.IMG_8190

Sunday 1/18: Morning Star Cafe Pop-Up Brunch at La Isla de Mojito

Tarik Abdullah, a current contestant on ABC’s reality cooking show, The Taste, will once-again be bringing his global pop-up brunch, Morning Star Cafe, to Columbia/Hillman City’s La Isla de Mojito this weekend, Sunday (1/18), from 9am-1pm. Abdullah’s pop-up has received a lot of attention as of late, earning him write-ups in both The Stranger and The Seattle Weekly.


From The Stranger:

This past Sunday I was finally able to check out Morning Star Cafe, chef Tarik Abdullah’s brunch pop-up held at La Isla del Mojito restaurant in Hillman City. Abdullah, who runs his pop-up under the moniker A DJ and a Cook, has been hosting brunch and late-night gatherings at different locations around the city for the last two years, but thankfully it looks like brunch has settled into La Isla for the next few months.

The vibe alone—decidedly South Seattle—makes Morning Star worth a visit: a diverse group of people, happier and more energetic than most early diners I’ve encountered in this city, sharing four communal tables surrounded by bright yellow walls and big picture windows. It was gray and rainy outside, but you would never have known.

Abdullah’s flavors are bold and wide-ranging, heavily influenced by North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, but also drawing from South Asia and the Mediterranean. The Morning Star menu is short and sweet, offering Abdullah’s interpretations of dishes like muesli, quiche, pancakes, shrimp and grits, and the classic American trifecta of sausage, eggs, and hash browns. Thee Combo ($13)—hash browns spiced with oregano and lemon, Tabil (a Tunisian spice mix with coriander and caraway) scrambled eggs, and Merguez sausage—deftly balanced its many strong flavors so they were exciting rather than overwhelming. In Gambas con Polenta ($13), the saucy piri piri prawns sautéed with peppers and onions—bright and piquant—were a wonderful foil to the creamy yellow grits atop which they sat… (click for complete review)

And from The Seattle Weekly:

Tarik Abdullah cannot be stopped! With only two episodes left in Season 3 of ABC’s “The Taste,” he’s still a contender for “America’s Best Undiscovered Cook.” (See Seattle Weekly’s interview with Abdullah here). Last week, Anthony’s Bourdain’s team took its first hit on the Latin-themed episode, but Abdullah was spared, leaving three members. Nigella Lawson’s team has already been completely eliminated and Ludo Lefebvre and Marcus Samuelsson each have two contestants left on their respective teams…

…If you miss him there, you can catch him at his pop-up “Morningstar” brunch series at Isla Del Mojito in Hillman City on Janurary 18th from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. A six-item menu typically features dishes such as Persian spiced french toast deep fried with pineapple compote and jerk spiced beef hash with roasted red peppers, squash and polenta. Entertainment will be provided by Kaffeine.