Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mar 22 2009


Pho Than Brothers
Pho at Seattle's largest pho chain. I have never been to this location, but it was unsurprisingly very similar to the others. The cream puff was okay, the pho was just fine. As tends to happen though, I was starving 3 hours later. That's the price of pho.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mar 20 2009


Hing Loon
We had "country style" pancake, pot stickers, satay beef on a sizzling platter, and salt and pepper pork chops. This place serves good consistent Cantonese-style Chinese. I really like their salt and pepper pork chops, but this time they didn't put enough pepper on them. The pancake was sort of soft and had scallions and dried shrimp in it. Everything was tasty today.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mar 17 2009


Ipanema Grill
All you can eat Brazilian barbecue. They big bring skewers of meat around to your table and hack chunks off for you. We went because for some reason one of my co-workers was craving steak, and it was another co-worker's birthday today. It was pretty good. The meat had a nice grilled flavor, though it wasn't anything particularly amazing in the quality department. They had tri-tip, a couple of different kinds of seasoned steak, bacon-wrapped steak, sirloin, chicken, small spicy pork sausages, and some sort of parmesan pork. I tried it all. I wouldn't mind coming back for dinner sometime to try some of the more interesting cuts, but I didn't find the place super amazing.


How to Cook a Wolf
Another co-worker was here from out of town this week, and we generally make it a habit of going somewhere interesting for dinner while he's here. He lives in Spokane, so he relishes the opportunity to try some place new. I chose this place this time, and I wasn't terribly disappointed. We had:

* Fried Almonds (this is just a bowl of salted greasy nuts, despite the intriguing name)
* Focaccia (from Columbia Bakery I believe)
* Prosciutto with olive oil, raisins, and parmesan
* Hamachi crudo with "avocado," jalapeno, and lime
* Beef Carpaccio with grape must, almonds, and cilantro
* Fried sardines with some sort of cod/potato croquette thing, and pickled radishes and cauliflower
* Pork belly with this rhubarb compote stuff, fingerling potatoes, and some kind of beans that I didn't try

The almonds were just salty nuts. They were good, but nothing special and not really worth the $5.00.
The Focaccia was excellent. I think Columbia Bakery makes some pretty excellent breads.
The Prosciutto was a mountain of the stuff, not slice super thin, and was very good with the raisins and shavings of parmesan.
The Hamachi was super fresh and very high quality. It was served on this really light almost fluffy green paste with a sprinkling of diced jalapeno and lime juice. I had assumed the green stuff was like a guacamole, possibly with olive oil or something emulsified in there. It was quite light both in flavor and texture. I asked our server about it and he told me it was actually serrano peppers that had been cooked, pureed, and pushed through a screen, then emulsified with oil. I was stunned, and frankly I don't know if I believe the guy. I don't know why it wouldn't be true, but it really just looked and tasted like avocado. Not only that, but the menu actually said it was avocado! It would be impressive if it were as he described, but what would be the point? Anyway, this was a good dish all around, but I wish we could have tasted the fish a little more.
The Carpaccio was also a little bit of a let-down. The walnuts and the grape must over-powered the meat, which had little flavor. I had hoped for a nice meatiness to the dish, and it just wasn't there. Also, I am not usually one to ask more salt, but this sort of needed a salty component. Oh well. I used the almonds to add some saltiness which ended up being a nicer option than the walnuts.
The Sardines were really high quality, very fresh, and pretty flavorful. However they were pretty big, so the bones were kind of too large to chew up easily. I ended up sort of filleting mine. The cod/potato thing. I can't remember what it's called. It was okay. The pickled radish and cauliflower was very good though.
The Pork Belly was the highlight. They roll it up like pancetta and braise it, so you have this nice ring of fat around the outside that kind of melts. I ignored the beans, but the potatoes were fine. I'd go back for this dish, maybe. The pork belly was meltingly good.
Anyway the meal wasn't outrageously expensive, even though we got a whole bunch of stuff. The pricing seems high at first, but the servings are all family style.
I probably wouldn't wait hours to eat here. We got there around 6:00 and were seated immediately. By the time we left around 7:45 or so people were starting to line up. I think Ethan Stowell has some great food at his restaurants, but I sort of wish he'd sit back and really concentrate on the ones he's already opened rather than opening new ones. Which reminds me, I should go try Anchovies and Olives, since it's just a few blocks from my home. I kinda want to see their menu first though...
Anyway, I was more impressed with Union than I was with this place. Nothing was terrible, but a few things were pretty bland or uninteresting, and only the pork belly really wowed me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mar 16 2009


Floyd's Place
We had ribs and hotlinks again. The ribs were actually excellent today. The meat was pretty much falling off the bone, with a bit of crispiness to the exterior, but still pretty moist. The hotlink was pretty spicy this time and much better than last time. All and all a good experience. I wish they were this good every time.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mar 15 2009


Red Mill Burgers

We used to go here for lunch pretty regularly, but I've since decided that their burgers really aren't all that exciting. I do like their Chicken Club Burger though. That's what I got, plus fries and a trufflemint shake. The place was totally packed with people so we got it to go and ate it in a conference room at work. The ambiance in the conference room left something to be desired, but I suppose I'll let Red Mill off the hook for that.


Restaurant Zoë
Okay seriously this place was great. We've been meaning to try this place for years and a lucky combination of a promise to take my sister-in-law out to dinner and Dine Around Seattle made it happen tonight. I got:

* Ricotta Gnudi, Brown Butter Balsamic Beet Sauce, Orange Reduction, Tarragon
* Washington Beef Short Rib, Parsnip Cream, Organic Carrots, Beets and Potatoes
* Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Coconut Crème Anglaise

Plus we shared:

* Carlton Farms Pork Belly Confit, Caramelized Endive Puree, Candied Apricots, Toasted Pistachios

Everything was basically excellent.
The Gnudi were very tasty, and are considered one of the restaurant's signature dishes, with good reason. They're soft little balls of dough with a little bit of ricotta in the middle. They really went well with the sweet beet sauce, the slightly bitter/sour orange reduction, and the tarragon. I like tarragon anyway. I don't know why I don't cook with it more.
The Short Ribs were fantastically tender and really flavorful on their own. The rest of the plate were a great wintery vegetable mix that also included figs, which were terrific.
The Cake was not too sweet, as it can be, but rather really focused on the pineapple flavors. Moist and a little dense with lots of buttery flavor, it ended up being a pleasant way to end the meal. It was nothing exceptional, but I have learned to not expect exceptional desserts in Seattle. I can only think of two places that have really wowed me with their desserts.
The Pork Belly Confit was straight up awesome. The accompaniments were delightful, particularly if you could get them all in one bite. The Pork Belly itself was roasted just a little bit so it was nice and soft.
Oh I also had a pretty okay cocktail. It was called a La Pommette, and was calvados shaken with lemon topped off with dry cidre. I like not-too-sweet apple-y drinks, and this worked nicely.
So yeah, we'll be going back here over and over, I think. I'm glad we finally got a chance to try the place.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mar 12 2009


Rice N Spice
Drunken Noodles, pork, 3 stars. Good stuff. I thought it might be a little wetter than I usually like when I first saw it, but it ended up being just fine. I had to add some chili sauce though, as it was a little bit bland. This is probably my favorite dish at this place, and though my blog doesn't reflect it, it's probably the dish I order most often.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mar 10 2009


Athina Grill
Lamb souvlaki pita and fries. It was pretty okay. Same as always.


Spring Hill
I have been looking to take advantage of the Dine Around Seattle deals to try some new places that I might not otherwise bother with. A friend had told me this place was quite good, so I went there with him tonight.
I had:
* Rogue Creamery Smoked Blue Cheese, Air Dried Beef, Green Garlic Vinaigrette
* Wood Grilled Flat Iron Steak, Creamed Savoy Spinach, Crushed Gold Potatoes, Garlic Salt & Lemon
* Chocolate Fudge Cake, Peanut Ice Cream

We also shared this to start with:

* red wine pork sausage - horseradish sour cream, parsley relish, wheat crackers

Nothing I had was in any way bad, but I am not sure what the fuss is about. There were some nice touches in every dish, but I was looking for something to jump out and grab me. That just didn't happen, aside from the dessert. The dessert was awesome. With the addition of some vanilla ice cream it could have been like the most amazing Peanut Buster Parfait ever. In general all the ingredients were fresh, everything was well-prepared, but there was no one part of any dish (aside from the dessert) that I could point to as being particularly remarkable in any way, at least flavor-wise. There certainly is some creativity in preparation, but it just didn't add enough anywhere. The one other minor highlight was the "Crushed Gold Potatoes" with the steak. They had a really nice creaminess to them that I couldn't pinpoint. I liked those a lot.
I guess I wouldn't really recommend this place at full price, but I'm glad I tried it. The full price entrees seem pretty steep and I suspect they would have left me feeling short-changed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mar 9 2009


The Indian buffet here is pretty decent. I used to eat here quite often and for some reason have gotten out of the habit. Today was fine. They're food is generally above average in most respects.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mar 8 2009


Green Leaf
This place gets rave reviews, but really I think Tamarind Tree and Lemon Grass are just as good, if not better, and cheaper. We had Vietnamese style pancakes with pork and shrimp, and I had Vietnamese Sour Soup with catfish. The pancakes were very light and crisp around the edges, with nice coconut flavor. They were of course stuffed with bean sprouts and eaten with lettuce, cilantro, basil, and a couple of other herbs. Super good. The soup was odd. It was more sweet than sour and had some slices of whole catfish, okra, pineapple, and taro stem. It wasn't unpleasant, but it just wasn't really what I wanted. The catfish was pretty tasty though, despite the bones.


Zayda Buddy's
Take-out pizza. 'Twas just fine, as always. Not as crispy as it can be, but otherwise good stuff.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mar 6 2009


7 Stars Pepper
This is probably the most famous Szechuan restaurant in Seattle. It lost the chef that made it famous originally, but it's still pretty good. We had the Spicy Cold Beef Appetizer, Dan Dan Mein, Cumin Lamb, and Fried Pork Szechuan-Style. The Dan Dan is just about the best in the city. It's really great! The appetizer was fine, but nothing particularly special. The Cumin Lamb wasn't terribly good this time around. Not enough lamb, not enough cumin. The Fried Pork is something we've never ordered before. It's pretty much just Chong Xing Spicy Chicken made with battered and fried pork. It was surprisingly good, actually. The pork itself was fairly spicy. I'm not sure I'd order it again, but I suppose I might. Anyway we were basically just here for the Dan Dan Mein. That stuff is amazing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mar 3 2009


Floyd's Place
Ribs and a hotlink again. Today the ribs were pretty decent. A little crispy on the edges, pretty moist in the middle. The hot link on the other hand was pretty bland this time.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mar 2 2009


I had their steak sandwich and "chop chop" salad. The steak sandwich was apparently a "Grilled Skirt Steak Sandwich with Ancho Chili Au Jus." I guess that's about right. This sandwich changes almost every time I order it, which probably comes to about 5 times all together. This time the bun was toasted on the outside, almost charred in some spots, which isn't necessarily bad, and the steak was actually chopped, which has never happened before. I have to wonder how often this place goes through kitchen staff. If it's as often as they go through waitstaff, then it's about once a month. Anyway the au jus was sort of sweet and not at all spicy. I wish it was. The steak itself was pretty much medium rare, and I have no complaints about it.
The chop chop salad, which I almost always order, is actually pretty great. Bacon cubes, chicken, romaine, cucumber, a little basil, and (a weak nod to their "Mexican" style) cotija cheese.
(Notice I never actually order anything Mexican here.)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mar 1 2009


Rocking Wok
This place is s mostly Taiwanese, pretty cheap, kind of out of the way. I suspect it has its own pretty dedicated following though. I did read that the owner sold to a non-Taiwanese owner a while back, but I am not such a connoisseur of Chinese that I can tell myself.
Today I had 3-flavor Noodle Soup and some "wined chicken" which is just cold chicken marinated in rice wine. The chicken was just okay but the noodle soup was really quite good. The 3-flavor noodles can be had 'dry' too which I think I prefer.
A friend and I once made the mistake of ordering stinky tofu here. I am glad I know what stinky tofu is like, but I will never ever order it ever again. It was truly a horrible experience.


El Camion
'Twas Taco Sunday and we did have ourselves tacos! and a chicken tamal. Everything was tasty, as it always is. The tamal was very spicy, which I like. The tacos were carnitas and cochinita pibil.