Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey Day

Hey everyone. I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving, if you happen to celebrate this particular holiday.

This year my family and I had a couple of Thanksgiving dinners. The first one was basically a trial or "pre-Thanksgiving" in order to find out what we like and what we don't like. We tried different versions of mashed potatoes and brines, etc. The next big meal was our Thanksgiving Day brunch. We had the turkey and all the fixings and it was all delicious. The last meal was the day after Thanksgiving (aka- Black Friday) and we ended up having the best dinner ever for this holiday. My sister baked up a delicious ham and a perfectly brined and baked turkey. She even made a chocolate and caramel cake for dessert. We were that turkey!

The food was all good this past week and I had to hit the treadmill and do a heavy work out today, just so that it all balances out. I wanted to burn off some more calories so I even walked to my sister's house, which actually took an hour from my house. It definitely seems a lot shorter when I'm driving there.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great holiday and that you were able to get some good deals on Black Friday, if you were so inclined to do so. I was awake at 5am for no apparent reason, so I got ready and headed downtown. There was a Thanksgiving parade happening that morning anyway, so I thought I'd spend some time checking out the stores that opened early for Black Friday sales. I ended up getting a black winter vest from Old Navy for $19 (it opened at 3am). Not bad. Later, I got an iPod car charger for only $10! Even better......things I can use.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone. I hope to be back with another good restaurant review or food related post very soon. Om Nom Nom Nom!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Green Papaya & Shrimp Salad

One of my favorite local eateries is a small (very only 3 parking spaces) Vietnamese "deli" near the International District called Seattle Deli. You can find all the usual dishes like those famous $2 (sometimes cheaper) Vietnamese BBQ pork or chicken sandwiches, tofu, or sweet rice desserts. Lately, I've been frequenting this establishment to pick up a chicken sandwich after work. It's packed with marinated chicken, daikon (radish), carrots, cucumbers, and jalapenos all served on a toasted fresh roll. And yes, like I said, it's all for $2!

This past Friday I stopped by there to get a chicken sandwich and browsed the front counter at all the freshly made desserts and dishes. I came across the green papaya and shrimp salad. It just looked so fresh and delicious that I had to try it out. Incidentally, I've tried green papaya salad before and it's pretty good. This one was only $4, so I couldn't pass it up.

The salad has thinly sliced (almost julienne) green papaya, freshly cooked shrimp, daikon, fresh basil, chopped peanuts, and optional fish sauce with sweet chili. It's a really refreshing, light, and filling appetizer or meal (for me, it was just an appetizer because I'm a big eater).

On a side note, you should also try a mango and jicama salad. It's just those two ingredients cut sort of a thick julienne style and mixed with fresh basil.

Have a great weekend, everyone. And as always.....Om Nom Nom Nom!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Polish Home

Polish Home is actually a Polish community center in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. I have never heard of this place until last night (one of my friend's girlfriend set up this surprise dinner/birthday party for him.....she said it's one of his new favorite places). Apparently, they open up the restaurant only during the winter hours and only on Friday and Sunday nights. I guess the locals know about it because it got packed pretty fast.

Non-members of the Polish Home have to pay $1 to get into the door. I paid the entry fee and was promptly seated with the other guests. We all felt a little special because we got to sit up on a stage-like platform since there was a number of us.

It's a very comfortable, family-friendly atmosphere with a medium sized occupancy. There's a bar on the side as you enter and about 20 tables total. It's very casual and the water cups are even paper (don't worry, the plates are real china and they use real silverware).

All the servers were extremely friendly and accommodating and took our orders right away. We ordered up a couple of plates of meat, cheese, and mushroom & cabbage pierogis for appetizers. When the majority of the people got there, most of us ordered either pierogi dishes or the "Polish Platter", which had meat pierogis, sausage, cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and julienned sweet beets. The food was very authentic and delicious! The cabbage rolls were the highlight of the night. I couldn't tell what was in the orangish sauce on top of the rolls. It was definitely tomato based, but it was a little tangy as well. I also wanted to try the white borsch (sp?) which came with potatoes, boiled egg, and sprinkled with dill. Someone from our table ordered the cheese crepes/blintz, which was really tasty (he let everyone try it because it was a huge serving). It tasted like sweet cheese and bits of hazelnut.

Anyway, let's get to my 5-doughnut rating:

  • Service, 3.5 doughnuts= The waitress was very friendly, accommodating, and attentive. She knew the right times to check up on us throughout the night and I could see her always eyeing our table from afar to see if we needed anything. There were about 13-15 or so people at our table and she did a good job of taking care of our whole party, despite it being a busy night.
  • Atmosphere/Location, 2.5 doughnuts= I liked the atmosphere because it was very casual and family-friendly, yet still clean and uniform. It's a great place to have a little dinner party with a few guests. Everyone in the restaurant seemed happy. The location was a little weird. It's in a residential area and there's no address or sign on the front of the building. At night it's a little hard to see/find.
  • Food Presentation, 3.5 doughnuts= For an establishment that's only open for one season throughout the year (and only 2 days out of the week), I thought the food was presented very well. The Polish Platter was decorated with different sides and was very colorful and aesthetically pleasing. The white borsch also looked great when it was served to me.
  • Taste, 3.5 doughnuts= I guess you can say that I have had Polish food before, since I've tried all of those dishes before. The ones I had last night were delicious. They had a lot of flavor in each bite. The white borsch was very good. I think it was the dill that brought out the flavor in a couple of the side dishes. The sweet beets were a good accompaniment to the main dish.
  • Cost/Value, 3 doughnuts= I thought the food was reasonably priced for what they served up, which was authentic, delicious food.

  • Originality, 3.5 doughnuts= I think it's original for a restaurant to be this good in a community center and only open during the winter season. It's also original to be located deep in the heart of a residential area. I don't know of any other Polish "restaurant" in Seattle.
  • Overall, 3.5 doughnuts= I heard about this place before I got there and wasn't really sure what to expect. I guess after I heard it was in a community center that I thought it wasn't going to be that good. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the food.
You can check it out at

And as always.....Om Nom Nom Nom!


Friday, November 13, 2009


No, I'm not talking crazy. Kukuruza is a new gourmet popcorn store that opened up a couple of blocks east of Pike Place Market. I happened to come across this new place by accident as I was walking downtown from the Market.

When you walk in, you'll be amazed by not only the awesome aroma coming from the freshly popped popcorn and the other ingredients, but also by the assortment of popcorn flavors and the gift tins along the wall (sorry, I didn't get pics of those).

They have really decadent flavors such as "black raspberry liqueur with vanilla cream" or "egg nog with brandied chocolate" (yeah, you're drooling, aren't you?). Or, if you want to go savory, you could try the "buffalo wing and blue cheese" popcorn. I love it when people come up with crazy concoctions like this.

Anyway, be sure to check this place out at and maybe order up some as a nice Christmas gift. I know I'll be heading back there soon to do just that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pike Place Market - Revisited (Fall Edition)

Hey fellow foodies. I was down at the Pike Place Market again today. I guess you can call this the Fall edition. It was during normal business hours, so it wasn't as busy as it would be on a weekend. However, whenever the weather gets a little dreary, cold, and wet, it's not uncommon to see the crowd gradually dwindle.

Anyway, I was sure to take some quick pics of the Market. I got a little bit of food and a little bit of scenery. Did I mention that I love this place? Enjoy:

The sun did try to make an appearance:

Usually crowded:

Orange blossom and cinnamon sugar homemade donuts & beignets:

View of Post Alley:

The restaurant where that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie was shot:

One of the best bakeries for freshly baked bread:


Monday, November 2, 2009

Bella Pizza & Pasta

Hey everyone. I was down in the Capitol Hill neighborhood (east of downtown Seattle) for dinner a couple of days ago and tried out this Italian place I saw for the first time. It's located at the end of Broadway, right at the intersection near Roy.

It was dinner time and I was in the mood for either pizza or pasta, so this was a good pick. The inside is very clean and inviting. The mood lighting made it very comfortable for a dining atmosphere. Getting a table wasn't a problem, despite the small establishment. I really liked the interior with the huge blackboard near the front displaying the entire menu. Everything looked so good, I wasn't sure what to get.

I wasn't that hungry (can you believe that?, so I ordered the "Chicken Snack". It said a quarter chicken served over pasta with meatsauce. Sounds good, right? The service was extremely friendly and social, even though she was the only server for the entire restaurant at the time (things started to pick up).

The dinner came with a dinner salad, garlic bread, and even these really good homemade breadballs that they make as a complimentary side. The bread was served with a dipping sauce composed of Italian dressing with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was very tasty.

The wait was only about 15 minutes, which is what I predicted since it was oven roasted chicken. The dish was huge! The chicken piece was close to a half a chicken instead of the quarter piece. The serving size of the pasta was enormous as well. I have to say that I could not finish it all and had to take the rest to go, which is a very rare thing for me to do because I usually finish it all (unless it's pizza).

I apologize for the so-so quality pics. I'm actually shopping around for a better camera with a good macro function for up close quality pictures, just for this food blog (don't you feel special?).

Let's check out the 5-doughnut rating on this place:

  • Service, 4 doughnuts= The service was great. She checked on my table just enough and not too often. She was very friendly and even offered to bring more homemade bread even when there was enough on the table.

  • Atmosphere/Location, 4 doughnuts= I really liked the atmosphere of the inside. It wasn't too busy or too loud, and was a very nice place to eat. The inside was well decorated as well. I think the location was in a good place. It's located near the end of the very busy Broadway Ave, so there is plenty of parking around.

  • Food Presentation, 3.5 dougnuts= I thought it was well presented. The dish looked so delicious when it was served to me.

  • Taste, 3 doughnuts= The chicken was extremely tasty and moist. However, I thought the pasta was lacking more flavor. It was a little bland even though it had meat sauce and everything. The sides were delicious.

  • Cost/Value, 4 doughnuts= The dish came out to $9 or so, which is great for the generous portion and all the sides. It could definitely feed 2 people.

  • Originality, 3 doughnuts= Nothing too original about this pizza & pasta place, except the big blackboard menu as you enter, and flat screen tvs all throughout the little place (even one huge one facing outside so people can see the menu).

  • Overall, 3.5-4 doughnuts= I thought this place was great. They had so many pizza combinations that I want to try, so I have to go back (by the way, I'm also on the lookout for Seattle's best pizza.....I already have one in mind that I've been to that I still have to review, and another one of Tom Douglas' pizzerias). I definitely recommend this place.

And as always....."Om Nom Nom Nom!"


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Flavors/Foods......and More Sweets.

Hey everyone. I hope you all had a nice Sunday (technically only a couple of hours left for those of us on Pacific time). I just wanted to share my food experiences today. A lot of the flavors/foods mentioned here share an autumn theme. As you know, pumpkin and sweets are abound this time of year. So, let's get cracking.

Last night I made some pumpkin-spiced caramel popcorn balls, which was a recipe I followed from a fellow food blogger. They turned out very well and they can be pretty addicting. The main special ingredient is the pumpkin-spiced Hershey Kisses, which apparently can only be found at Target (I went to two different Targets in my area and they both had them in stock). Anyway, it's a fun way to make popcorn balls using the real homemade popcorn, instead of the microwaveable kind.

This morning I stopped by an Italian bakery in the city called Remo Borraccini. This place is always serving up delicious pastries and other Italian treats and dishes. I needed something filling and somewhat healthy, so I ordered up a scrambled egg and cheese croissant sandwich (sorry, I consumed it before I took a pic). I also needed something sweet to follow up, so I bought a couple of their freshly made October cookies. They were both decorated very nicely, but I thought the leaf cookie was especially very well done. I think they just use a normal sugar frosting and then maybe spray on food coloring for the leaf veins. It looks really cool. The pumpkin cookie was also well decorated, but more in a fun/easy way.

After church, the congregation held a huge birthday celebration for everyone in the downstairs fellowship hall. I haven't attended this church long enough, but I guess they have this annual event where they have separate tables each with a sign of a different month and everyone just sits at the table of their birth month. It was a lot of fun and delicious because after a little lunch, everyone got to sample the different cakes that were on all of the tables. I definitely made my rounds and took a picture of some really good desserts. My favorites were the coconut/pineapple cake and the angel food cake. They were both really moist, fluffy and had a nice flavor. The coconut cake was surprisingly not too sweet and had bits of pineapple in the cake. The coolest looking cake was actually made up of smaller cupcakes (look closely at the pic). They all did a great job with the cakes, and I basically ended up in a sugar-induced coma afterward.

Later, I was at Whole Foods downtown (after a quick stop at the Capitol Hill farmer's market) and bought some more kiwi berries, other groceries, and a pumpkin. I'm not sure if I'll carve this one for Halloween, chop it up and make something with it (pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, etc), or even just give it to one of my nieces. We'll see.

The next stop was at Pike Place Market, one of my favorite places to walk around downtown on the weekend....or whenever. It wasn't as busy as compared to a Saturday or when the weather is a little nicer, but there were still a significant amount of people there. It was a little drizzly and cold today, so I decided to get something really warm to drink. I headed over to the first Starbucks ever built at the market and waited in the long line to order up a tall pumpkin-spice latte (see, keeping with the Fall flavors). It was very tasty. If you like pumpkin, you should order this one because I think it's only here during the Fall to Winter months.

I finally made it home in time to work out and watch some football (caught the second half of the Giants vs. Cardinals game while I ran on the treadmill). Usually after a workout I eat something light. Tonight I had a bowl of cereal, some dry roasted peanuts, and a couple of really tasty persimmons. I don't think people buy persimmons that often since they're not like oranges or apples or any other common fruit. I actually love persimmons. After you cut off the leafy part, you can eat the whole thing like an apple. I think it's kind of a mix between an apple and a cantaloupe. You have the bite, crunch, and texture of an apple, and the interior look and slight taste of a cantaloupe. They're delicious and full of vitamin C and calcium. One good thing about persimmons is that they hold up very well after you buy them, unlike apples or other fruit when left out after purchasing.

That's about all. Be sure to get out there and enjoy all those Fall foods. Have a good one!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One "Sweet" Day

Hey everyone. Sorry I've been away for over a week. I'm trying to stick with posting at least once a week. I've just been a little busy (the good kind of busy). You might notice the slight template design change (a little more condensed), as well as the "Featured Publisher" tag by Foodbuzz (I'm a little stoked about that).

Anyway, I wanted to share with everyone pics of all the sweet-tasting foods I experienced today (and some that I just looked at....until I was asked to stop (I'll explain later)).

I started off my day with a kind of a weird breakfast. I had a homemade breakfast sandwich with whole wheat English muffins, egg, Monterey Jack cheese, sausage, and......are you ready?........bacon chocolate! Yes, that's correct. It was chocolate infused with sweet applewood bacon bits. I already received weird expressions from the cashier that checked out my groceries this morning as she read the label. I've always told people that this combination, although unusual, might actually work because of the salty bacon (also a little sweet) and the sweet chocolate. So, back to the breakfast was delicious. I'm sure most of you might be a little turned off by this breakfast combination, but give it a try one time and see for yourself.

The bacon chocolate is called "Mo's Bacon Bar" by Vosges Haut-Chocolat. It's a "luxury-chocolate" that uses spices, herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, and nuts from around the world. I was reading the back of the box and it actually explained how to properly eat and enjoy the chocolate. Check out this excerpt:

"Breathe....engage your 5 senses, close your eyes and inhale deeply. Be in the present moment, notice the color of the chocolate, the glossy shine. Rub your thumb over the chocolate bar to release the aromas of smoked applewood bacon flirting with deep milk chocolate. Snap off just a tiny piece and place it in your mouth, let the lust of the salt and sweet coat your tongue."

Is that intense or what? No, I didn't try that method. I do love food, but I'm one of those foodies that just eats when he's hungry. I still enjoy the flavors and stuff, but without having to do all that stuff that was just explained above. The chocolate was very intense with the flavors. You can really taste the salty and sweet bacon. It was very unique. Anyway, try this bacon chocolate if you can find it near you.
Later in the day I stopped by my local Whole Foods supermarket and checked out their dessert bar. Everything looked really decadent and nicely presented that I wanted to take pics of everything. I got to taking two pics and was asked by a manager (politely) if I wouldn't mind stopping my picture taking. I didn't mind. Below are the couple of pics of the delectable treats that I did get. Sweet potato pie covered in roasted marshmallows and cinnamon, and chocolate mouse cups with eyeball frosting on top (in the Halloween spirit). The desserts at this Whole Foods are phenomenal, by the way (I didn't get any though).

Before I left the Whole Foods, I glanced over the fresh produce section and something caught my berries! I don't know if you've ever heard of these, but I certainly haven't until I recently read another food blog about them (sorry, I forgot which food blog). Anyway, they're the size of grapes but they taste just like a kiwi. They're crazy good. It's like eating a kiwi but with the convenience of a grape, where you don't have to peel or spit out anything like seeds. I love eating exotic fruits like this. Now I know where to get kiwi berries, while they're still in season.

After that, I was further downtown at the Westlake Center. At the candy store on the top floor I checked out their Jelly Belly section. I love it when a store has the entire selection of flavors. This one didn't, but it did carry most of my favorites. I ended up getting pomegranate, buttered popcorn, and juicy pear beans. You could probably eat the pomegranate and juicy pear beans together, but the buttered popcorn would taste a little weird with the others. Eat them separately to experience the flavors.
I was able to pick up a Seattle Dining Guide while I was downtown. Now I can check out even more new restaurants to review for you all. Get ready for some good ones (I'm already slightly backed up with posts of restaurants that I've recently tried).

Anyway, that's about it. Yeah, that was a lot of sweets in one day, but that's why I work I can eat like this and still stay in shape. I'm losing weight, by the way. I've moved over one or two notches on my belt because my pants are slowly dropping off my waist. Now that's sweeeet!