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foodzings: February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spending Time...

I'd been to Ludwig's a couple times. Once on the inside to have some beers and some of their delicious pretzel rods, and another time outside for Oktoberfest. Then it went away. And then the spot was reinvented as Time. We stopped by there the other night to have a few drinks.

We were on the bar side, or at least the side without the live music, and I was pleased to find that it pretty much looked like Ludwig's used to. It didn't have the busty fraus wearing dirndls, but the space was still like the old spot. They've got a good number of beers on draft, and then some more in bottles. It's also an absinthe bar. Weird. There was a wall between the two main areas that was covered completely by jar bottoms. It was pretty impressive.
We had already eaten so we didn't order food, but J wanted some grub so he ordered up some mussels and fries. The mussels are cooked up in a tomato base, along with some beans, spices, and sausage. B & K also got some kind of chicken on a stick appetizer, but I didn't get a chance to get photographic evidence of that. They liked em though.
I couldn't resist tasting some of the fries. And I do have to say that they were awesome. I really liked these! These are some of the better fries I've had in Philadelphia. They are a bit on the thicker side, but were nice and crunchy on the outside. I'm not a fan of the soggy thick fry. Service was ok, nothing to rave about.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Vietnamese, Again and Again

It was an extremely cold weekend. And extremely cold weekends call for a little pho action. Sunday night - dinner at Pho Ha. I had me some delicious hot pho, J had some grilled chicken on broken rice. And of course, an order of the summer rolls. The rolls weren't the freshest, but still good. My pho? Great, as usual. And the grilled chicken on broken rice? Well, I happen to think that Pho Ha has the best broken rice dish by far, and the chicken is the best. EVER. If you're gonna order broken rice at Pho Ha, you have to get the chicken. Just trust me. And the chicken portion is just ridiculous.

I had lunch with my colleague on Monday before our visit to Comcast (btw, the Comcast building is PHAT and the marketplace in the basement is as dreamy as they claim). We stopped by Nam Phuong. I'd never been here because I tend to go to the divier vietnamese joints on Washington Ave. The place is really huge, and a bit on the nicer side. They actually have tablecloths and stuff, that's how nice it is.

I got the broken rice with roast pork, M got the vermicelli bowl with chicken, and we also got a vietnamese crepe. Everything was good. Nothing spectacular, but very good standard vietnamese fare. Something I especially did like about this place was that instead of little paltry sticks of the pickled carrot and daikon, there were big slices of it, and plenty of it. I have to give them props for that. I haven't had a crepe in awhile, but I enjoyed it and as it is typical, it was ginormous. Just plain huge. It could feed a couple of people as a meal in itself. Their vermicelli bowls get fairly herb-y, being heavy on the mint and cilantro side, if that's your thing.

The service was a bit noticeably slow here. In some of the more no frills joints, the food comes out super fast. Here, it probably came out normal fast. And since it was a vietnamese place, it was a bit of a departure. As far as vietnamese places go, the speed of the food is definitely slow. The prices aren't higher though. So if you want a bit more atmosphere, it's a nice option. [Sorry for no pics, but sometimes, I just want to eat and not bother with all the camera shenanigans.]

Pho Ha
610 Washington Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 599-0264

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

We Both Got Crabs

As a belated birthday dinner, I decided I wanted crabs. And where do you go for crabs around here? Chickie's & Pete's, of course. We hopped on down to the one by the stadiums, you know, the huge one. It was a weekend night and man, for a place that's almost the size of a football field, the place was completely mobbed. I didn't even think it would be, but it was. Seriously folks, the place is so, so, so, so big. And yet it was so, so, so, so crowded.
So we headed to one of the bars and grabbed a couple of drinks while waiting for a table. I got a beer and R wanted a girly drink that didn't taste like alcohol. So she got one of the chocolatey martinis. You know what? This thing totally tasted straight up like chocolate. You couldn't taste a bit of alcohol. It was unbelievable.
We both ordered the snow crab legs. R also ordered a bowl of their seafood chowder. The stuff is really good, and chock full of tons of different seafood. The snow crab legs are steamed in a tomato-y, old bay, and very garlicky broth. I mean seriously, it's pretty much all garlic. Not only will your hands stink of crab, but your breath will be garlic-riffic. For those of you who say crabs are too much of a pain to eat, I say who cares! Sometimes, it's good to have to work for your food. Since these are big legs and not the little maryland crabs, it's not too difficult. And there's tons of meat in these puppies. We did both have slight crab cracking accidents, as shells went flying everywhere. R even hit a waitress, it was pretty sweet. Which isn't a bad thing, as the service here isn't too hot. I mean it's not terrible, but it's not that great either. But they probably have too many tables, so I can't blame them to much.

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Friday, February 20, 2009


I really wanted some pasta the other night. It was a serious craving. So I decided to just throw together a giant vat of pasta so I could eat it for days. I had some bacon, so I took half of a small pack of bacon and chopped it up, along with half an onion. And I fried all this up together. No need to add oil, as the bacon has plenty of fat on its own to help cook the onions. I cooked this enough so that the bacon was thoroughly cooked, and on its way to being crunchy.
Then I dumped in a jar of already prepared vodka sauce and simmered this for awhile. And when I felt it was nearly done, I dumped in some frozen sweet peas. Once the peas were cooked through, I dumped the sauce over a giant pot of rigatoni that I had cooked and drained.
Mix it all together and you have a several-day supply of pasta that will make your tummy happy. The sauce is tangy and the bacon gives it a really nice smoky kick. And I just like peas and it adds a nice pop of color and veg, which always makes me think that I'm being healthy.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Revisiting Monk's

It seems like I've been visiting a lot of places lately that I haven't been to in a gazillion years. It happened again when I went to Monk's. I think I've been to Monk's a couple of times. Once was awhile ago and I remember eating something perhaps rabbit-y, trying fois gras for the first time, and also trying the frites. I also remember coming here and trying hoegaarden for the first time. Come to think of it, I've had a bit of firsts here!
We looked at the menu beforehand and both agreed that we wanted stew. They have a belgian beef and beer stew made with local grass fed beef, slow cooked in Chimay Grand Reserve with local root vegetables. How can you not love the sound of that? We told them we were going to share it, so they brought it out in separate bowls and gave us strange but tasty rolls each. I can't really describe the roll, it seemed to have raisins in it, but it wasn't sweet enough to be raisin. Does anyone know? In any case, the stew was delicious! I wish we'd had a giant vat of it, it was so good.
We also got an order of the pommes frites. You have to! The waiter forgot about them, so we didn't end up getting them until after the stew, but that was ok. We didn't mind, we just ate them along with the additional beers. I love these fries, but I just wish they were longer pieces of fry, instead of little tiny stubs. Otherwise, I still love these. It comes with their famous bourbon mayo. Monk's is definitely a beer place, so get ready to drink. Since I was still sick, I didn't really drink much, but the little sips I had were certainly tasty.

We had a great server. He was almost overly friendly and helpful? We started talking about JJ Abrams for some reason and he started going off about Lost and the Star Trek movie and whether we'd seen the trailer. Then later on, he brought over his iPhone and made us watch the trailer on his iPhone. It was bizarre, yet it amused us. We appreciated his enthusiasm!

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Chocolate Weekend

What did I get for valentine's day this year? I got sick is what I got. HA! Not sure where it came from, but it struck with a vengeance on Friday, dang it! So I didn't really feel good enough to go eat somewhere. And I'm not really into dining with crowds on a day where there's inflated fixed priced meals, so it was probably a good thing anyway.
I did end up with some gifts of chocolate on this weekend though, both completely unexpected. The first was a box of adorable truffles from choxie. Choxie is the target house brand chocolate. It came in this adorable box that actually had slide out tiers in it. Yes, it was fancy. And the chocolates are delish.
I also got a gift from M when she got back from Belgium. Have you ever had Neuhaus chocolates? Yes, they're belgian, and yes, they rock.
If you can find it, you'll love it.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sang Kee Noodles

Before checking out a show at Johnny Brenda's, we stopped by in Chinatown for a quick meal. We wanted some noodles so I picked Sang Kee. An unsavory character shooed my car into a spot. As if I was going to miss it if he didn't point it out to me. And then he expected a tip, as if the street was his parking lot. Sorry fella.
Wonton soup. R always gets wonton soup. When she can't get it, she gets disappointed. Small bowl, but lots of little wontons.
She also got the needle noodles with pork and shrimp. It came with a surprising omelette on top. Neither of us knew what needle noodles were, other than they were probably rice based. Neither of us expected them to look like theses. I said they look like fish bait. She said they looked like slugs. They tasted great, but you know, they are funny looking. When I have gotten these shaped noodles before, they were called pearl noodles. Yet that is another name which is a bit of a misnomer. I think we need to come up with a new name for these. I guess slug noodles or fish bait noodles isn't all that enticing.
I got the seafood ho fun. There's nothing I like more than a wide flat rice noodle. Yes, it's a weakness. And whatever greens they always put in these, I also love as well. I wish I knew what they were called, but I don't. I just know i love them. There was also fish cake, shrimp, scallops, and squid. My favorite is always the squid. The scallops come a close second. The sauce on this is thick and tends to be a little bit bland, so I always squeeze sriracha on this and it becomes that much better. One of my favorite dishes to have, ever.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Moshi Moshi Time

We wanted to go to Vic Sushi bar. Did you know they're closed on Sundays? We didn't. Ha. We learned the hard way. So we walked a few blocks to eat at Moshi Moshi instead. I've been here a couple times before and had good experiences, so I knew we wouldn't be disappointed here.
It's a nice and simple friendly place. There's no attitude, it's not fancy, they have the low tables where you take off your shoes.
The tompiko (?) roll... or something like that. It had soft shell crab, avocado, some other stuff I forget, and was topped with a lemon and masago. Good stuff. Attractive too.
A bowl of udon. The udon here is pretty damn amazing. I do have to say, that this is some of the best udon I've had in the Philly area. Trust me. It was hearty and hot.
I also wanted a little soup so I got a bowl of miso. Another good bowl of soup, better than most miso's I've had recently.
I'm not usually a hand roll person, but for whatever reason I was in the mood for one. So I got a spicy tuna hand roll and also another roll, whose name escapes me, but it was also topped with spicy tuna. Both were good, but the spicy tuna was a little bit heavy on the mayo side. Still good, but I prefer it with less mayo. The service was good, as usual. They're quite polite here, almost too polite. It's a nice and low-key place to get some sushi. Good sushi at reasonable prices. Not amazing, but a nice option to keep in your back pocket.

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Yes, It's More Than Just Ice Cream

Do you want to know how long it's been since I've been to More Than Just Ice Cream? I was trying to remember, and it's been so long, I didn't remember. It had to have been in the 90's. Seriously, it was that long ago. What I do remember is that I went for brunch and that it was good. A whole slew of us went one morning on a lovely day. With every brunch entree, you get a complimentary mimosa. How can you not love that? There's tons to choose from and you get plenty of food. The french toast, topped with apples and served with a side of canadian bacon. This was an impressive dish. The chicken salad sandwich, with heaping mounds of chicken salad, a side of greens, some cantaloupe, and a pickle. J enjoyed this sandwich quite a bit. I was a bit jealous of it. The last time I was here I had gotten the eggs benedict. I wasn't going to mess with this. Once again, it was quite delicious. Canadian bacon on english muffins, topped with poached eggs and hollandaise. It was served with a healthy helping of home fries. It's good to know that dish was still good here. For those that had room, some ice cream was also had. I was stuffed, so I had to pass. 

Service was ok. They were just a bit slow. And it wasn't super crowded or anything, so there was no excuse for it. He was nice though, and we weren't in a hurry or anything, so it wasn't the hugest deal. We were just real hungry, is all. The mimosa is a nice touch though. Takes your mind off the fact that you're waiting quite a bit. 

More Than Just Ice Cream 
1119 Locust St 
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cocktails Anyone?

I've heard really great things about Southwark, both food and drink. Since we'd already eaten, we stopped by for their supposedly fabulous cocktails. The bar is pretty small, but there's stools and some high top tables you can grab, if you're lucky. They'll make you pretty much anything, but they do have a drink menu with some signature cocktails. I thought my drink was great. They're a bit pricey, but they're made with love, they're strong, and they're worth it. R didn't really end up drinking hers because she said it tasted like alcohol. Um, yeah, it's made with alcohol! 

We smelled lots of food while we were there. It totally makes us want to go eat there now! There seems to be lots of regulars here, as the bartenders always seemd to be saying hello to everyone knowing their names. This place is cool. Very old school. It seems like you've walked into a movie set, and I'm a big fan of being transported. Next time, I'll report on the food!


La Dolce Meh

When I got back to Philly, one of the first things I did was get my hair cut. It was luxurious to finally be able to do that. Afterwards, we wanted to eat and drove around and around looking for something. Traffic was horrible that night, I felt like I was driving around for at least an hour. We wanted to go to this italian byob in old city, but even though we got there early, they said they were booked for the entire night. Boo! So after walking around some more, we finally just decided to get food at Dolce. It's in old city too, next to Paradigm. I think they are sister restaurants, as there's a hallway between the two that connects them.

Anyhoo, we ate at Dolce, which is italian. It was right after restaurant week, but some restaurants had decided to continue the restaurant week menu. Dolce was one of them. So one of us did end up getting a restaurant week menu option.
The appetizer was smoked mozzarella wrapped with prosciutto with a cherry chutney. I think these creeped me out, because they looked like fingers. As for the taste, they were kinda weird. The ham was sliced so thick that it was pretty much overpowering anything else, like the cheese. And the chutney was too sweet. Not the greatest appetizer I've tasted.
R got the gnocchi duo. Half in a red sauce, half in a pesto sauce. We both agreed that the red sauced ones were better. The pesto was bland and it seemed that in general, the gnocchi had been overcooked.
I had rigatoni with shrimp in vodka sauce. This was quite good. The sauce was strong, but in a good way. I didn't even end up eating all the shrimp. Strangely, I didn't feel they were really necessary.  It would have been fine as just a big plate of pasta. 
The dessert that came with the restaurant week menu was a trio. It had tiramisu, cannoli, and bread pudding. R liked the cannoli a lot. I'm not into tiramisu, but she thought it was ok. I liked the bread pudding the best, which is made from croissants. Yum!

This place is dark. Too dark. You can't read the menu. The floor is all lit up, like a night club. It's bizarre decor for a restaurant. I think they're trying to be romantic, but it ends up more cheesy. Service was ok though, no complaints there. I probably won't be going back though. I think there are probably much better italian options elsewhere in Philadelphia.  Certainly more homey.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Eating While Travelling

I had a layover in Denver and I almost got stuck there. I was so close to being very depressed about this. Luckily, the mechanics saved the day and we did end up taking off. Before we did, I had plenty of time to eat. Way too much time actually. They actually have a decent array of food options at the Denver airport, and I ended up going to this itza wrap! itza bowl! place and got a teriyaki bowl. It was brown rice with some steamed veggies and chicken with some sauce poured over it. Pretty simple really. It wasn't bad. It wasn't that great either. The rice and veggies and sauce were fine, but the chicken was blah. Again, similar to my Boston's chicken that was in my salad, this chicken was really blah. It seemed boiled again. It would have been so great if it had actually been grilled with some teriyaki sauce. While I was there, I also got a fruit cup to go. I got to enjoy this on my flight home. This was a surprisingly good fruit cup. Everything was ripe and fresh. The coolest thing about it was that the cup the actual fruit came in, it was made from corn! Ok, so I couldn't eat the cup, but because it was made from corn, it was biodegradable and compostable. Cool, huh? I thought so. I also started reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love. Yeah, I know, I'm super late on reading this best seller, but it's better late than never. The book is very entertaining, especially the first third which is dedicated to her time in Italy, where pretty much all she did was stuff her face. Sounds like a dream!

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Boston's Boring Salad

For my last day in Seattle, we went on another team lunch. This time, we were back at Mill Creek Town Center, dining at Boston's Gourmet Pizza. It's a chain of restaurants, seems to be a sports bar type place, that has tons of different gourmet pizzas, along with sandwiches, salads, and entrees. Man, was this place huge! There's the main dining area, which is huge, and then the bar area, which is just as huge. I wonder if this place ever gets packed. I was going to be flying all day, so I wanted something light. So I got the Boston's Chicken Salad. It came with grilled chicken breast, cheddar and mozzarella, smoked bacon, carrots, pecans, and is topped with sliced eggs and tomatoes. I nixed the pecans and got oil and vinegar dressing. While the salad part was ok, the dressing was not interesting at all. So it ended up being a fairly bland salad. And sadly, the chicken was also pretty blah. I can't believe that it was actually grilled. It tasted like it was boiled and then they grilled it last minute to warm it up and make it look grilled. It was such boring chicken! It was such a stark contrast from that amazing piece of chicken that was on my salad at Red Robin. It's a shame really. The innards of this salad were great. Had they had better dressing and good chicken, it would have probably been quite good. The piece of garlic bread it came with was pretty good. The service was good though. Maybe not so much good, but certainlyl enthusiastic. For it being noon, the girl was freakishly chipper.


Friday, February 6, 2009


When I read that there was a cambodian restaurant around, I had to try it. I wasn't sure what it would be like, but it had excellent reviews. It's tucked away in a tiny strip mall near the Lynnwood convention center. The place is pretty big, but it was pretty deserted that night.
I started off with the Phnom Phen soup. I'm not sure what the broth was, but it felt like a light seafood based pho. It had shrimp, squid, and fish cake. The fish cake tasted weird, so I skipped those. The squid was amazing and the shrimp was ok. The broth was slightly bland, so once I added a little sriracha to it, it was perfect. I wanted more when I was done!
I had to try one of their banh mi type sandwiches because it seems to be their specialty. I got one with beef. This was ok, I wasn't to crazy about it. They bake their bread, which was super crusty and amazing. Props for the homemade bread. But instead of the "pate" type stuff that's typically in these, it was slathered with mayo. It was just too much mayo. The meat was also a bit tough.

But overall, I enjoyed my time here. The soup was worth everything. Service was good and they were very friendly. Their menu is big and includes chinese dishes too, and there's pictures of everything so you can see what you're getting yourself into. And everything is super cheap! I encourage you to try it.

Kirirom Restaurant & Bakery
19417 36th Ave W
Lynnwood, WA 98036
(425) 672-7560

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The Soup

For lunch one day, we went to get "the soup". M and B just call it "the soup". And you can get said soup at Azul. It's a tequila lounge and restaurant, and a bit more upscale. Let's call the food mexican-esque. So this soup is actually called pollo caldo. And it's actually not wrong to call it "the soup" as it's the only soup dish they have in the entire restaurant. It is a mexican soup with chicken, vegetables, rice, avocado and pico de gallo. Some of these vegetables include carrots and zucchini. It is spicy, but not too much so. And it looks like a little bowl, but it will fill you up. It's a hearty soup, and I've become a big fan of it. Give me more of "the soup" please.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Worth Crow'in About

Crow is the other restaurant run by the same people who run Betty. It's in the South Queen Anne area. And damn, is it a bitch to find parking around there. Crow's got a very similar setup to Betty. A good sized dining area, not too big, and a chef's counter. I sat at the chef's counter, of course. That's where all the action is! The same exact bread and oil as Betty. But this time around, my bread wasn't nearly as crunchy or crusty. And I liked it much better this way. It was good before, but it was great this time. Like Betty, the menu is fairly small. And they also have a $30 fixed price option during the week. But like Betty, I didn't go for that. Upon the server's recomendation, I ordered the calimari as an appetizer. It was seared calamari with capers, sun-dried tomatoes, and a risotto cake. I don't like capers, but I asked her if I would like it anyway, despite my dislike for capers, and she said yes. And also that they could make it without the capers. I said they could just make it normally and I would just avoid the capers. And avoid them I did. I knew I didn't like capers, but I wasn't sure why. So I tried a few, just to make sure. And it certainly cemented my dislike for them. The dish was a bit more bland than I expected, even with the sun-dried tomatoes. But I quite liked the risotto cake. It was like a hash brown, but made with rice. Crunchy on the outside. The fish of the day was seared black cod, served with black rice and baby bok choy in a hoisin vinaigrette sauce. Although there were other things on the menu that were very enticing (like the short ribs), I had to get this.  Oh this was so good. I watched one of the chefs make my fish, from start to finish. First she cooked it in the pan a bit, and then baked it in the oven. It was cooked perfectly. The black rice had such a strong flavor, and it was cooked just enough, with a tiny bit of crunch. The baby bok choy was also delicious. And it was plenty of food for me. Once again, no room for dessert. 

In the open kitchen here at Crow, there are 3 female chefs. At Betty, there were 3 male chefs. I found this to be slightly odd, but figured there was a reason for this.  For whatever reason, both sets of chefs worked perfectly together.  As at Betty, the 3 chefs at Crow worked impressively in synch, anticipating each others moves.  Everything was coordinated effortlessly.  My server at Crow was great.  Friendly, helpful, and attentive.  All in all, another excellent meal, along with a free cooking show!


La Palmera

We took a drive to the Mill Creek Town Center to have lunch at La Palmera. It's a mexican joint, in case you couldn't tell. It was doubly gawdy as it was decorated in over-the-top mexican kitche, along with valentine's day decorations. It was a garish combo. But there was nothing garish about the chips and salsa. Good stuff. The salsa was just spicy enough, but not too much so. I got an enchilada and taco combo, both with beef. It came with beans and rice, both of which were pretty good. I liked the enchilada, the taco was only ok. It wasn't particularly authentic, and the taco would have been much better with a soft corn tortilla and real fixins, like onions and cilantro, instead of lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes. Enchilada was pretty good though. B got the gordita combo. EEG. Take a look at this humongo thing. It's like an enormous taco. Or a taco salad served in a big shell, instead of a bowl. It's daunting, isn't it? Service was just fine. Pretty decent food at decent lunch prices.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ta-Ke Sushi

After having some of the best sushi ever, I was hankering for some more. Which probably wasn't a good thing. Because I basically set myself up for disappointment. Any sushi after Guu is not going to be guud enough. But my cravings won out. After consulting my trusty yelp, I found a place right near my hotel - Ta-Ke Sushi. This is a hard place to find. It's in a shopping center, but in the most hiddenest place in the whole damn shopping center. I had to drive around several times to find it. It didn't help that their sign wasn't lit up either. Once I finally got there, it was fairly deserted. The whole time I was there, there were only two other parties dining. It was a shame, but it was a Tuesday night in Bothell. I sat at the bar to watch the chef at work. Started off with a salad. Loved it. I just got the sushi special. They have a bunch of goofy rolls, and I love me some funky sushi rolls, but I decided to go simple and just get a sampler instead. This was good sushi, but it wasn't great sushi, you know? And if I hadn't just eaten at Guu, it might have been great sushi. But I'm ruined. And so I only found it to be good. You can't blame a girl for having been ruined for life for any other sushi besides Guu. They had a dessert special that night - tempura cheesecake. No joke. It's a piece of cheesecake dipped in tempura batter and fried. And damn, if it wasn't delicious. I like cheesecake, so deep fry it? Yeah, it's even better. Everyone was super nice. My server was nice, the sushi chef was super nice, and the lady who prepared my tempura cheesecake was a sweetheart. It seemed like they were a family. It's an adorable little family run sushi joint. Please go!


Canyon Park Shopping Center
1427 228th St SE
Bothell, WA 98021
(425) 398-0953

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Yes, Quiznos!

Now I ain't gonna lie to ya. I like Quiznos. And who wouldn't? It puts subway to shame. It's all about the honey bacon club on wheat, toasted. It's so about the toasted! Turkey, bacon, ham, swiss cheese, lettuce, red onion, tomato, and awesome honey-french dressing. There's nothing on this I do not like. The dressing and the red onions (and it has to be red onions) put this sandwich over the top. You don't need to try anything else. It's a shame that there isn't one close to me. There used to be one, but it had a sprinkler system accident, and never reopened. That was years ago. It's so sad.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009


M took me out to dinner one night in his neck of the woods, Bellevue. What's in Bellevue? Well, the place is huge. I mean, it's technically a suburb of Seattle, but it's not anyone's suburb. It's a big ass city on its own. It's the second largest city center in all of Washington. Its downtown rivals any large city's downtown. It has a giant mall. Lots of people live there. Anyway, we grabbed a quick bite at the Pumphouse. It's a bar, and not in a particularly attractive location. But once inside, it's homey. You wouldn't expect it to be like that. It's slightly divey, but not in a bad way, definitely not fancy, and without one ounce of pretense. Anyone can hang out here. I got a french dip sandwich. I always have a soft place in my heart for the french dip. I guess I like anything that comes with something you can dip into, especially au jus. The fries were ok. I also had my first taste of a local brew - Mac & Jacks. It's a brewery from Redmond, you know, neighbor to Bellevue, and home of Microsoft. Everybody knows Mac & Jacks around here, namely it's Mac & Jack's amber ale. Namely, it's tasty.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Oh My Guud!

Before I left our fair northern neighbors, I stopped by for dinner at Guu, also in the aforementioend Aberdeen Centre, and had some of the best sushi I've ever had in my entire life. No joke. BEST. SUSHI. EVER. Guu is somewhat of a chain in the Vancouver area. It's an izakaya, which pretty much just means small plates. Like tapas, only japanese. Guu also gets their fish directly from Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. You know, the biggest fish market in this whole wide world. Literally home to the best fish in the world.

The place is very casual. Everyone that works there is japanese, and speaks japanese. When you walk in, everybody yells hello to you, in japanese. It's just what they do. Ok, not yell, but talk very loudly and enthusiastically. They're happy to see you, and they tell you so. Out loud! I wish I spoke japanese so I would know properly what they said. They could have said "WELCOME! YOU NAIVE TOURIST! WE CAN'T STAND ANY OF YOU!" and I still would have found it adorable.
They have sushi and other random small plate japanese dishes. It was cold that day, so I wanted something warm and soupy, but not miso soup. So I decided to get a bowl of oden. I got the assorted oden, which lets you pick 6 pieces of whatever you want. I picked the assorted because I wanted a bite of everything. It was a good idea, but I had no idea how big this thing would be. I thought there would just be a 1-2 bites of the 6 different things, but no, it had 6 giant pieces of everything. Oye. I could barely make a dent in this thing. For my six pieces, I had picked egg, fish cake, tofu, deep-fried tofu, puffed fish cake, and bamboo shoot. If I could do it over, I would have just picked the fish cake and the puffed fish cake. I especially liked the puffed fish cake. It was super light and pretty much melted in your mouth. The broth was hot and hearty. Perfect on a cold and rainy canadian day.
I'd looked at the menu before I visited, and I definitely wanted the crazy salmon. In addition to that, I got the original sushi combo. It just happened that it also came with a piece of crazy salmon. The original sushi combo is three pieces, one yellowtail, one salmon, and one tuna, and is prepared by the chef, however he feels like it that day.
This yellowtail was grilled just a tiny little bit, and the rice was charred a little bit as well. Then topped with some sliced onions and a little sesame oil and soy. I don't regularly order yellowtail, but if they all tasted like this, I'd order it in a heartbeat. Gawd. It was so good.
The crazy salmon is a long piece of salmon belly grilled with coarse steak salt. Again, I'm not the biggest salmon fan in the world, but by jove, this was a near perfect piece of sushi. Everything just melts in your mouth and radiates freshness. You just know it's hard to get a better piece of fish than this.
But then you get to this piece of heaven right here. Spicy tuna with chunks of avocado and a hunk of extremely thinly sliced cucumber. Just about one of the best things I've ever eaten. Give me a plate full of these and I'd scarf it down in a minute.
I was so overpowered by this perfect sushi that I went and ordered another combo. Yes, I would get the same three pieces, but I didn't give a crap. I wanted the same three pieces! And I scarfed that down as well! I sat at the bar so I got to watch it being made, and seriously, sushi is such an art form.

Service was great. Everyone was super friendly and the sushi chefs at the bar kept asking me how everything was and if I needed anything else. Everyone pitched in and everybody made me feel special and welcome. Even when I left, they all thanked me for coming and said goodbye. In japanese, of course. I wish I could go back. Again and again. Over and over. For the rest of my life. That would truly be food heaven.

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