Saturday, August 29, 2009
Hey everyone. This post is going to be about chocolate and smores, so if you don't like that....well, leave! Just kidding.
I recently tagged along with a nice group of friends to Theo Chocolates down in Fremont. Apparently, one day out of this month was "National Smores Day" (I didn't even know one existed, although it doesn't surprise me.), and Theo chocolates decided to honor it in a 3 consecutive day tribute by making smores for its patrons. No, they weren't free, but they were only $3.
Basically, you had to go inside, pay your $3 and show your receipt to the smore-builders outside the factory. Incidentally, honoring National Smores Day is a big deal because the store was pretty packed.
Anyway, after I got my receipt I stood in line in front of the tent where they were making the smores. Everyone got to choose any Theo Chocolate bar flavor, which they grabbed out of a bag and used to make your smores. I ended up choosing the Chai, which happens to be my favorite bar from Theo's. This wasn't just any smores though. This one had specially/hand-made, rich and delicious graham crackers and marshmallows. Although the smores weren't that big, the quality was well worth it. I believe today was the last day, so sorry to all you local Seattle-ites that wanted to try it.
Theo Chocolates is a local, fair-trade chocolate company. They have many different organic milk and dark chocolates from which to choose. There are some really "weird" (well, at least to me) flavors like coconut curry. I did try it before, but it's not something I'd get again. Stick with the Chai!
Anyway, check out and enjoy the pics. Be sure to check back frequently because I'm already backed up on reviewing some local Seattle restaurants and eats. Until next time......om nom nom nom.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The restaurant has a medium-sized occupancy for its patrons. Once you walk through the entrance, you're greeted with the server and the food laid out behind a case, cafeteria-style. The food here is pretty authentic. They have a lot of the "normal" Filipino dishes like pancit (noodles) and adobo (marinated beef, chicken, or pork), as well as other specialties. One of my favorites is the caldereta (a hearty marinated beef stew). However, I wanted to try some other dishes.
The friendly server asked me what I wanted as I pulled up a tray. I took a moment to peruse the selections and ordered up the pancit, pork adobo, and longanisa (sweet sausage). The pancit was just like any other pancit, nothing special but still good. The pork adobo was tasty with a nice marinade and very tender. The longanisa is one of my all-time Filipino favorites. It's a reddish, sweet, pork sausage. Delicious! All of these sides came with two heaping scoops of white rice (a staple in most Filipino restaurants).
My order is shown in the first pic below. My parents met up with me for lunch and their orders are pictured right next to mine. Great food!
And now for my 5-doughnut rating system:
- Service, n/a= I can't really rate them on this since everything is pretty much self-serve, from ordering the food cafeteria-style, to getting your own utensils at the "silverware station", to getting your own drinks even. The server was nice and friendly though.
- Atmosphere/Location; 2.5 doughnuts= It's a pretty nice, clean, and colorful establishment. There is really nice artwork and even an espresso bar in the eating area. It's kind of like a laid-back cafe with really good authentic Filipino food, and it's very clean. It's located on Beacon Hill Ave, a couple of blocks from the Red Apple Market. I guess the only downer would be if it was busy and you would have to contend with on-street parking.
- Food Presentation; 3 doughnuts= Everything looks very fresh and nice behind the viewing case. They serve each dish in those white, ceramic boat-like dishes.
- Taste; 3.5 doughnuts= The food is really good. I think it comes pretty close to authentic Filipino food.
- Cost/Value; 2 doughnuts= I think one combination comes out to about $7 which isn't too bad. I think when you start to order side dishes individually, then it starts to add up. For some reason, I end up spending more than I'd like whenever I come here. The food is really good though, so maybe it is worth it. The portions are just right, and even I was full without finishing all my food.
- Originality; 2 doughnuts= Nothing too original here. I guess the addition of an espresso bar in the eating area is a little different.
- Overall; 2.5 doughnuts= I think this is a great place to check out some really good Filipino dishes. You should check it out and also try their desserts.
Find out more info at: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Location?location=26434. Enjoy!
Click on the Foodista button below to learn more about Philippine Pork Adobo
Monday, August 24, 2009
- Service, 3.5 doughnuts= We were seated immediately upon arrival and they took our order after giving us enough time to look at the menu to decide. The waitress was very friendly and would frequently check up on us to refill our drinks and see if we needed anything else.
- Atmosphere/Location, 2.5 doughnuts= Although this restaurant is one of those "hole-in-the-wall" kind of restaurants, I kind of like it. Like I said, it used to be a house before they converted it into a restaurant. There's this nice, quaint, homey feeling to the place. The location is great. Like I said, it's in the heart of Fremont in between other small restaurants and small businesses. I guess the only problem would be the parking situation, since there's only street parking available.
- Food Presentation, 2 doughnuts= Nothing really too special about it, although the fresh vegetables used added some nice color to the overall dish. It still looked nice and appetizing.
- Taste, 3.5 doughnuts= The taste was great. The seasonings and ingredients used went well together. Thai dishes tend to use a lot of sweet sauces, so along with the slight spice they use, the dish was pretty good.
- Cost/Value, 3.5 doughnuts= One of the things I like about the place is the great value. The food is tasty and the price is pretty nice. I think it was about to about $7 a plate, which isn't bad for what you're getting.
- Originality, 1.5 doughnuts= They serve up all the same Thai dishes you'd find in other Thai restaurants. Although there's nothing too original to that, they do serve up some delicious dishes.
- Overall, 3 doughnuts= I definitely recommend this place. It's one of my favorite Thai joints in Fremont. If you want a quick, delicious, affordable Thai dish with friendly, fast service, then check it out.
If you'd like to view the menu from this place, take a look at: http://www.allmenus.com/wa/seattle/49765-kwanjai-thai-cuisine/menu/lunch/.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
- Service, 3 doughnuts= Friendly, prompt service awaits you.
- Atmosphere/Location, 2 doughnuts= I'm a big city guy, so the atmosphere was fine since it was pretty much just downtown city life all around. They had a nice little table for those that wanted to stand up and eat next to the metal pig. The location was in a weird spot though. It was located in a pay parking lot. So, unless you wanted to dish out $4 just to park there for only half an hour (yup, there was even an attendant waiting there to make sure people weren't just parking & not paying just so they could get a quick bite), you have to drive around the city just to find a parking close by. Since it is only one block from Pike Place Market, it did draw a lot of people/business.
- Food Presentation, 2.5 doughnuts= not too bad for a pulled-pork bbq sandwich. There's not much you can do with that. However, the grated Bleecher's Flagship cheese, along with some chopped sprinkled greenery gave it a nice touch.
- Taste, 3.5 doughnuts= Nice, tender, juicy, delicious pulled pork really hit the spot. The sauces added an even better eating experience. I should have tried the "beet" chips and one of the interesting drinks (ginger lemonade or hibiscus).
- Cost/Value, 3 doughnuts= Not a bad value, if you only get the sandwich. It'll come out to about $6 for the sandwich, which is very satisfying and filling (for most people.....not like a freak of nature eating machine like me; How am I not like 300 pounds?).
- Originality, 4 doughnuts= Come on.....look at the picture! While there are other mobile restaurants in Seattle, how many mobile metal pigs are there in the city that dish out delicious bbq pulled pork sandwiches with original sides and accompaniments?
- Overall, 3 doughnuts= I had a fun experience finally checking out Maximus-Minimus. Just seeing this metal pig was pretty cool. The food was great and the visit was even better.
If you want to check out this mobile restaurant, look on their website at: http://maximus-minimus.com/ to find out where they will be located. They even stop by the Sounders and Mariners games for the hungry sports folk. There will be other mobile restaurants nearby as well, so choose wisely. Although, you can't really go wrong with any of them (see my other reviews). Have fun eating!
Friday, August 7, 2009
Anyway, I'd like to review a Filipino restaurant that I've been to on several occasions located on Rainier Avenue, called Kawali Grill. This restaurant serves up both American and Filipino dishes. So, here we go:
The building itself is a fairly small rectangle. The exterior is not really uniform in the sense that the decorations and fonts don't really flow that well. There are multi-colored pennants hanging over the top of the roof all along the building. But, who cares about what the building looks like, right? It's all about the food. Let's go inside.
When you first enter, you see a "bar" at the front counter. However, if you look closely, it's not really a bar, but more like a place to store excess dishes and kitchen supplies. The service, initially, was very attentive and promptly greeted and seated us (I picked up my mom and took her out to lunch) at a table of our choice. The interior wasn't anything out of the ordinary. The ceiling had inlets that resembled the sky (see pic) and there was a flat screen TV at the far end that only showed The Filipino Channel which happens to always show a Filipino game show called "Wow Wow Wee!" It's supposed to be a family show but, well...you'll have to check it out for yourself. I mean, I liked it! =)
The menu has many basic Filipino dishes, like pancit and lechon, along with some specialty ones like kare kare. On another page you'll also find American food like burgers and such. We decided to go with pancit (a favorite of many) and lechon (roasted pork; also another favorite of many).
After ordering, I should have taken a look at my watch because it seemed like an eternity before we were revisted by the waitress for our water and our food. But finally, our food arrived and it was time to get to eating. The pancit was pretty good. It was made just like all other pancits with mixed chopped vegetables and small pieces of chinese sausage. The lechon was what I was waiting for because that's usually one of my favorites. The lechon there was chopped up nicely and was very fresh. They served it along with a small bowl of rice, a little side of green beans, and a sweet liver/brown sugar dipping sauce that normally accompanies this dish. It was definitely the highlight of the lunch.
As you can see from the dessert menu, there were a couple of really tasty choices. I've actually tried the halo-halo and leche flan on past visits, but no dessert this time. I'm sure the bibingka (which is another one of my favorites) is also pretty tasty.
Anyway, on to the review using my 5-doughnut rating system:
- Service, 1.5 doughnuts= Sorry, but other than the prompt seating at the very beginning, I'm going to have to score low in this category. After they took our order, they forgot my drink (I got a Filipino lemon drink called calamansi.....which I never got) and our water. We had to flag them down to get their attention and they just brought water and not my calmansi, so I just said....forget it. Plus, we must have waited for close to half an hour before getting our food. It always sucks when you see the waitress come out with a tray and it goes to another table. :(
- Atmosphere/Location, 2.5 doughnuts= Nothing spectacular here. Our table kept rocking back and forth because it was uneven, and the chairs were simple vinyl chairs. It was located in a normal place right off of Rainier Ave. It's very easy to find.
- Food Presentation, 3 doughnuts= The lechon dish was very well presented, I thought. The lechon was sitting on a bed of lettuce and the beans, white rice, and brown sauce all added a nice contrast and overall presentation. There's not much you can do with the pancit dish but to add slices of lemon and maybe garnish with scallions, which they did.
- Taste, 3.5 doughnuts= Again, I'm going to play up the lechon dish because I love that dish. Like I said, it was pretty fresh and meaty. The skin was just the way I like it....nice and crunchy. The sauce was a great compliment to the dish as well. The pancit was just like any other pancit dish really. It was still good though.
- Cost/Value, 2 doughnuts= I think they could definitely knock off a few bucks from each dish. Each dish on the menu nears $10 a pop, so I think besides the lechon dish, it's not a very good value.
- Originality, 2 doughnuts= I can't really think of anything too original in this restaurant. There are actually a couple of Filipino joints in the city, so I can't really play that card. I guess I can give them some originality with decorating the building's exterior. I do like being able to check out The Filipino Channel in restaurants like this, since it's not a common thing to watch here.
- Overall, 2.5 doughnuts= I love Filipino food (I'd better....I'm Filipino!), and this was not too bad. I'll eventually get to reviewing my favorite Filipino restaurant, but that's outside the city all the way down south in Lakewood. Anyway, I think if the service was a bit more attentive/expedient, it would have made the experience a little more enjoyable. I think the price of the dishes also hurt their chances for a slightly higher score. Overall, I still give it a thumbs up. So, go grab a bite over there.
If you'd like to check out their online menus, their website is: http://www.kawaligrill.com/. I'm looking forward to trying their Filipino breakfast and dinner dishes. Enjoy!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
My co-workers and I were definitely overwhelmed with the amount of food that was in store for us. There was everything from the mouth-watering main courses (the meats) to the sides, and a multitude of delicious desserts and other sweets. Even I was full. Yes, I was full!
At the front of the line there were the sides which included a sliced cherry tomato/cucumber salad, potato salad, and mac & cheese. Next up were trays of smoked/grilled meats, which included smoked beef patties, grilled chicken quarters, and chopped beef brisket.
I'll start off reviewing the sides. The cherry tomato/cucumber salad was probably the best side, in my opinion. There were pieces of tomato, along with cucumber and chopped red onion, all mixed in a cold, light salad dressing. It was pretty refreshing. The potato salad was like any other. It was heavy & thick and starchy, which was fine. The mac & cheese was alright. It was was ziti pasta with layers of white and cheddar cheeses. The taste was a bit more subtle than the usual cheesy taste of a good mac & cheese, which I kind of prefer.
- Service, 3 doughnuts= Well, it was a catered buffet-style event, which means we did all of the work going up to get the food. However, they definitely fulfilled their jobs by being extremely hospitable, friendly, and accommodating. The owner was there and was very friendly to everyone. He chatted with us throughout the BBQ, gave us preliminary samples, and talked us through the whole smoking/grilling process that they use. The servers were very inviting and friendly as well. They all wanted us to keep coming up and getting more. Also, they were always prepared and kept the trays fully stocked with food if they were ever getting low.
- Atmosphere/Location, N/A= It was a catered event at our work, so I can't rate them in this category. However, it was a really nice day outside near the water.
- Food Presentation, 2.5 doughnuts= For a catered event where they had to put everything in trays and bins, I thought the food was very well laid out and presented.
- Cost/Value, 4 doughnuts= I was impressed with the food that we got on the budget we had for this event. I think the owner really worked with us on getting the best selections for the price. Thank you, Casper!
- Taste, 3 doughnuts= I think it was good grilled/BBQ food. I have tasted better brisket, but it was all still pretty delicious. I'm dying to try out their grilled gator, smoked ribs, & collard greens!
- Originality, 2.5 doughnuts= I did like the way they smoked the beef patties, making them have somewhat of a beef jerky taste while it was still moist on the inside. Other than that, it was just really good BBQ food. I think having gator on their menu will definitely give them more originality points. Unfortunately, we didn't have any there, so I can't rate them on that.
- Overall, 3 doughnuts= Overall, it was pretty good food. I personally love Cajun style BBQ because of the seasonings and mix of sides that compliment the main courses. Everything went well together. I definitely give them thumbs up.
Well, that's about it for Casper's. You can check out their website at: http://www.eatmoregator.com/.