Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chicken & Upo

Some of you might be thinking....."What the heck is upo?". Well, for those of you that don't know, it's a light green squash (kind of like a giant zucchini) that's used in a lot of Asian dishes, like Filipino dishes.

No, I didn't cook this dish myself, even though I know how to. I visited my sister and her family today and they apparently made a Filipino dish called "chicken and upo".....at least I think that's what it's called. Upo goes well with chicken in a stew type of dish like this one. Served over rice, this meal is delicious.

Here are the ingredients:
  • whole chicken chopped up into different pieces (you can any parts you want)
  • upo
  • tomato
  • garlic
  • onion
  • chicken stock (optional, there's already enough water from the chicken and veggies)
  • patis (fish sauce.....but also very optional and only in a small amount)

Just brown the chicken in a pot, making sure it's covered during the process because you don't want to lose any of the water. After they look brown and halfway cooked, chop up the upo into small cubes, dice up the other ingredients and throw them all in the pot. Let simmer until the chicken is tender. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wallingford Wurst Festival

Hey everyone. Sorry it took so long to post another food blog. Anyway, here are some pics of my visit at the annual Wallingford Wurst Festival. The "Wurst" part actually stands for bratwurst. After I heard it the was "Wurst" Festival, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go. But, after it was explained to me, I decided to try it out. The purpose of this event was to raise money for a big Catholic school/church. Since it's technically a "food" festival, I decided to post it here.

Anyway, there was a lot of food (sorry, I'm missing some pics), arts & crafts vendors, & a big bake sale & salmon bake dinner. I just had some noodles and lumpia from a Filipino food vendor. Check out the cool pics below. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I'd like to post a review of a small chain restaurant in the city that serves up some extremely tasty BBQ. I'm talking about Jones BBQ. There are only a few of these in the city of Seattle, and they are known for their own BBQ sauce.

This is one of those order at the counter, take a number, and seat yourself type of establishments. The inside is very clean, open, comfortable, and nicely decorated. As you enter through the front doors you'll see a refrigerated display case of pecan and sweet potato pies, which you can buy by the slice or the whole pie. You'll also notice a small area on one of the walls displaying proudly their awards of supposedly serving "Seattle's Best BBQ".

The menu has everything BBQ related, from chicken to brisket, to ribs to hot links, etc. The food is usually served with a side and white or wheat bread. Their BBQ sauce is so good that you'll have to pay extra for a side of the tasty stuff.

They have reasonably priced (for BBQ) dishes for the generous portions they serve up. If you have a hungry crew, it's probably best to go with the 3 or 4-way family orders. It's quite a bit of food.

Let's review/rate this restaurant using my 5-doughnut system, shall we?:
  • Service, 3 doughnuts= Although you get your own utensils and drinks in this restaurant, they still take your food out to you and ask you if you need anything else for a better dining experience. The service was friendly and nice. They were even accommodating by turning off one of the ceiling fans directly above the table because it was a little too windy/cool.
  • Atmosphere/Location, 2.5 doughnuts= I was at the one located on Ferdinand Ave in the Columbia City neighborhood. It's not in a very obvious spot (situated between different restaurants/buildings on a road that's not considered a main thorofare). There's usually ample street parking, but if you can't find any there's a big pay parking lot right across the street that's only about $1/hour. The atmosphere is pretty nice for a BBQ joint (total opposite from the BBQ place I reviewed in the previous posting). It's actually pretty upscale compared to other BBQ joints.
  • Food Presentation, 2.5 doughnuts= It's BBQ, what can you expect? However, the brisket, chicken quarters, and ribs were nice and evenly fanned out on the platter, and the sides were all laid out in their own separate dishes. The BBQ sauce was smothering the food and looked so tasty.
  • Taste, 4 doughnuts= Mmm, good BBQ. Their sauce is truly a masterpiece. It'll make you salivate for more. The meats were all well smoked/grilled, tender and tasty.
  • Cost/Value, 3 doughnuts= I think it was a pretty good value, considering how much food was served up. BBQ is usually a little pricey since meat (like ribs) is not cheap. Always make sure you get a dish that comes with sides.
  • Originality, 2 doughnuts= Nothing really original about this BBQ place besides their own homemade sauce.
  • Overall, 3 doughnuts= Great BBQ place. Buy a bottle of their mild or spicy sauce and take it home to use for your next BBQ. You won't be sorry. Also, their desserts are just as tasty. Southern BBQ should always end with pecan or sweet potato pie!

Be sure to check out their website at http://www.jonesbarbeque.net/.


Barbecue Brisket on Foodista

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tutta Bella

Hey everyone. Sorry, it took so long to post another Seattle restaurant review. I've been crazy busy lately. However, I'm back and will post about a great little pizzeria in Seattle called Tutta Bella. It's a small chain that serves up Neopolitan pizza. I actually don't know what that means and I don't really feel like looking it up right now. If you know, definitely let me know. :)

Anyway, I've been to almost all of the different Tutta Bellas in my area (Columbia City, downtown Seattle, Fremont, etc). I personally like the downtown Seattle one the best because it has a nice outdoor eating area with a small view of the Space Needle and the city life below (the last time I was there was on the 4th of July).

I was at the Columbia City Tutta Bella, which is also very nice and comfortable. The inside is a little dim because of the dark interior, even with the huge glass windows letting in natural light. There are a lot of nice deocrations and artwork on the wall. The best part about Tutta Bella is the open kitchen where you can see your pizza being made and put right into the big oven.

The service is very prompt and friendly. It was right at the beginning of lunchtime, so there was a swarm of people after being seated. The menu is carefully folded out into a two-sided one and displays a bunch of really good pizzas, salads, and sides.

I was able to try the "insalata di napoli" (Naples Salad), which had Genoa salami, fire-roasted chicken breast, pancetta, matchstick carrots, artichoke hearts, romaine, cherry tomato halves, kalamata olives, crumbled gorgonzola, blend of classic caesar dressing and white balsamic vinaigrette. Incidentally, this salad alone will get you full since it's a little hearty and served in a generous portion. I also tried the "Campania" pizza, which had Pomodoro San Marzano, chicken sausage, mozzarella, olives, chile flakes and fresh basil. Both dishes were damn good.

So, let's get to the review using my 5-doughnut system:
  • Service, 4 doughnuts= It was great. They were very prompt, friendly and attentive. I never had a half-filled glass of water. They even recommended desserts and dishes.
  • Atmosphere/Location, 3.5 doughnuts= It's located right on the corner of Hudson and Rainier, which is a perfect spot in Columbia City to dine. Try the downtown Tutta Bella if you want a really good view/location. The atmosphere was very comfortable and inviting, especially with the open kitchen and "mood lighting".
  • Food Presentation, 3 doughnuts= The pizza looks very "original" and not like something that popped out of a cardboard box. They hand toss everything and every piece of pizza had equal amounts of ingredients dispersed throughout the pie.
  • Taste, 3.5 doughnuts= The pizza is delicious. Like I said, I've been to this restaurant numerous times and they serve up some tasty Neopolitan pizzas. The crust is very thin, so it'll flop over on you like a "New York" slice, and the crust is crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The salad has a lot of nice flavors going on as well. I think the balsamic vinegar brings it out.
  • Cost/Value, 4 doughnuts= I think for a small party (like for 3 or less.....it's a better value for 2) it's a great value. The pizza will come out to about $12 or so, and the salad about $7. So, you can expect to spend a little over $20 for one to three people, which isn't bad for a dinner. It's a great dining experience, so I really think it's a great value for what you're getting.
  • Originality, 2.5 doughnuts= There's not really too much about this restaurant that's original (the pizza was only somewhat). They do serve up some fresh gelato as dessert, if you're so inclined (they usually have a gelato viewing case). Other than that, it's just a pizza place. Well, it's a Neopolitan pizza place.
  • Overall, 3.5 doughnuts= I always have a great time at Tutta Bella, especially at the downtown one. The food and atmosphere are great and I'm always satisfied after leaving. If you have a huge crew and you're all starving, then this might not be the place to go without having to spend a lot. If you're looking for good quality pizza that'll fill you and maybe one or two other people, then its a great place to check out.

Feel free to check online at http://www.tuttabellapizza.com/.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jimmy Mac's Roadhouse

Off of Rainier Ave S in Renton (just south of Seattle) sits a very laid-back BBQ family restaurant called Jimmy Mac's Roadhouse. You can tell just from the look of the outside and front that this type of place would have a very chill and/or "interesting" atmosphere. I guess the part of the sign that says "Peanuts on the floor" gave me that impression.

When you first walk into the restaurant and look to your left, you'll see this huge barrel of peanuts. Yup, peanuts. You're told to grab a bowl and help yourself to as much as you'd like. The greeters/servers are very friendly and would seat you promptly.

When you arrive at your table, your server will serve you up some fresh, hot, delicious rolls with whipped butter (I just started salivating). Those rolls were crazy good (I ate about 5 before my meal). While chowing down on the rolls, I took a look at the "busy" menu with so many choices and couldn't help but think to myself that I couldn't go into a "roadhouse" restaurant and not order some sort of meat dish. It was either between the baby-back ribs or steak, so I ended up getting the 16oz prime rib, end cut. The end cut has the nice crust with all the spices on it.

For an appetizer I tried their foot of onion rings with 3 different dipping sauces, bbq, honey-mustard, and peppercorn dressing. I think with the fresh rolls, the onion rings, and the peanuts were pretty filling on their own. And, by the way, you're encouraged to throw the peanut shells right on the ground. There are even signs that say you'll get charged if you leave the shells on the table!

The waitress was very attentive and did a nice job checking up for any drink refills, even during that very busy hour. I pretty much kept loading up on rolls and ice water.

The food came about 15-20 minutes after the order (they were really busy), which isn't that bad of a wait considering it was for a nice, thick, well-cooked steak. Check out the crust on the prime rib. It was basically one huge chunk of meat with awesome seasoning. It was served with a salad, a fully-fixed baked potato, and sides of au jus and sour cream. You're salivating, aren't you? It was so juicy, tender, and delicious. I could have probably downed 2 of these!

OK, now for my 5-doughnut rating system:

  • Service, 3 doughnuts= Very friendly and attentive service. There were only a couple of times I waited just a little while longer to get something, but for the most part the service was pretty good.

  • Atmosphere/Location, 2.5 doughnuts= The atmosphere was pretty chill and "country". There were a ton of neon signs and tv's all around the place (showing sports), along with a small bar near the front entrance. The restaurant was located in a busy plaza area near a Wal-Mart and can be easily spotted from the main road.

  • Food Presentation, 2 doughnuts= Not much you can do with this type of dish. They just threw on a nice piece of meat with a baked potato. It did still look good though.

  • Taste, 3.5 doughnuts= The food was great. The steak was superb, along with the fully-fixed baked potato, the rolls, and onion rings. The prime rib was definitely mouth-watering and had some really tasty seasoning embedded into the meat.

  • Cost/Value, 2 doughnuts= For dinner, the prices were pretty high for the food. Don't get me wrong, the food was good, but the pricetag was a little up there. Maybe lunch is a little cheaper.

  • Originality, 3 doughnuts= The peanuts on the floor idea has been done at other places I've been to, but it's still sort of unique. You don't find too many places that allow that type of messy behavior, which adds a slight fun factor.

  • Overall, 3 doughnuts= I definitely liked the food and atmosphere at this place. I'll go again just to try their crabcakes.

Check out their website over at http://www.jimmymacsroadhouse.com/. And as always.....Om Nom Nom Nom!


Click on the Foodista link below for a recipe for BBQ prime rib:
Barbecue Prime Rib Roast on Foodista