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Category: Washington State Page 1 of 3

Lady Yum

I was in Seattle, doing some self guide sight seeing. Simply walking the streets downtown, allowing what will to catch my eye. And this detour was a newer champagne and macarons themed cafe. Their name brought me close, their dressy decor and quirky slogan of “macarons and mischief” brought me through the door, and their happy hour specials had me opening my wallet.

From Monday to Friday, 4-7pm they offer customers $1 off little bottles of sparking wine and $1 off select flavours of macarons. The flavours are on rotation, sadly the two offered were vanilla and chocolate, and not the usual interesting flavours I gravitate towards. Of note, these macarons are a little on the smaller side, each is made by hand and with that inconsistencies do arise. So instead of discarding them, they are are offered at a discount. A great idea if you ask me.

But instead of taking advantage of the discount, I paired my glass of sparkling wine with a dozen of their more unique macrons. A few such flavours included “princess torte”, “unicorn”, one that tastes like the pebbles cereal, and raspberry Chardonnay.

But that is not even my favourite thing about this place, the friendly and inviting staff are. They are genuinely happy to be behind the counter, making dessert dreams come true. They greet everyone with a welcoming salutation and offer suggestions and help any way they can. The gentleman assisting me today even offered to take photos of me against their ornate wallpaper and allowed me the privilege of stepping behind their counter to get a non reflective view/photo of their macarons collection. He even directed me to their washroom explaining how many of their customers work their way around their space taking advantage of their very Instagram worthy back drops. Like the black background with creeping leaves various wildlife holding props. A lemur with an accordion, a badger holding a cocktail, an otter with a paper fan, a squirrel with a banjo; and a blue parrot with a medal around his neck, perched on a hookah.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A fun spot for a sweet treat and a great place for wall to wall photo ops. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

LADY YUM
2130 6th Avenue, Seattle WA, 98121
ladyyum.com
Lady Yum Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Central District Ice Cream Company

Living in Vancouver, we are spoiled with our small batch ice cream options. A bevy of seasonal flavours, tart sorbets, and unique combinations to plaster your tongue on. So when travelling to another city, it is always fun to do a little comparison. Therefore when visiting Seattle this time around, I did my research and made a plan to visit “Central District”. Seeing them online I was enamoured by their our of the box ice cream flavours coupled with their colourful hues. Enough to go out of my way just to visit them for an ice cream lunch.

They constantly rotate their homemade flavours and for the month of August 2017 (when I visit), it was a reprisal of their fan favourites. Folks voted online for that which they wanted to see on the menu again and these were the winners! This list included ube cheesecake, chai latte, and a pineapple with salted plum for a salty and sweet mix. One that tasted like mint mojito. A chicken and waffles flavour that reminded me more of maple syrup than chicken or waffles. And “beast mode”, a toasted marshmallow flavour with more solid marshmallow chunks embedded within the ice cream, along with fruity pebbles crumbs. It’s tastes was true to the cereal. Visiting during a slower time meant I was the only one in and the clerk allowed me a taste of everything from behind her counter.

A few of the ice cream flavours had matching macaron shells that you can add on to your order, to layer on the flavour. Like a white macron shell with some brown swirling on it for the “beast mode”, and an aqua coloured macaron shell with actual pebbles cereal dusting it. I strongly suggest visiting them early to enjoy these build your own macaron ice cream sandwich options. I have a feeling their giant unicorn one, flavoured like vanilla, is probably their most popular and sells out quick. It is just so cute, and definitely what I got.

The clerk was very accommodating, she answered all my questions, allowed me to try all that I wanted, and even gave me the option to pay less for smaller scoops of all eight of their flavours; so I can have them all for one. However, I ended up taking advantage of the above mentioned macaron shells instead.

Once again, I naturally went for the unicorn macaron (which was what actually brought me here today). I had it with their purple ube cheese cake ice cream. I like how the shell wasn’t at all too sweet, it was a good base to highlight the milder ice cream on. Though sadly the face of the unicorn got smudged in the scooping and sandwiching process.

I also got one of their pizzelle ice cream sandwiches. Pizzelles are Italian waffle cookies made from flour, eggs, sugar, butter or vegetable oil, and flavoring. These however were just plain in flavour and simply coloured for novelty. And it worked because it had me ordering one of their green to pair with their blue, with their black sesame as its binder. The cookies were disappointingly hard. They didn’t snap or have a crisp crunch to them. You could tell they weren’t made fresh, but have been sitting out in their window for some time. Sad, having it pressed to order would have made all the difference. Whereas I discarded them here.

For those looking for other sweet treats, they also offer various candies. A self serve wall of bulk chocolates and gummies in glass jars to pick and choose; then fill your own plastic bag with. You can also use them as an extra indulgence to top your ice cream with.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I wish we had a “Central District” in my city. I could see myself visiting them for novelty and taste all throughout the year. With rotating flavours and a creative assembly I can see them being very popular in Vancouver. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CENTRAL DISTRICT
2016 E Union Street, Seattle WA, 98122
206-519-1529
cdicecream.com
Central District Ice Cream Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Din Tai Fung

Only after my original visit and with the possibility to return, did I learn that “Din Tai Fung” at University Village in Seattle, is one location of a popular Chinese chain in possession of a Michelin Star in Hong Kong. (“Michelin Star” is a world wide recognized symbol of quality and fine dining for any restaurant.) And upon reflection, its garnered extra attention and lengthy waits now made a lot more sense. And here I was comparing it to any old dumpling house in Vancouver.

Located on a second floor of this busy outdoor mall plaza, if you don’t feel like waiting for a table in their busy foyer, there are plenty of other businesses to shop around with, in the meanwhile. But if you decide to wait in queue, they have some options to help occupy your time. A healthy bar decorated with bamboo steamer lids and wire cages to sit and sip at.

And a show behind protective glass, giving you a clear view of their chefs rolling, stuffing, and folding dumplings in a assembly line. Dressed in all white with paper caps and a protective face masks, they don’t acknowledge the peering crowd, but instead focus on the task at hand. Considering how many people dine with them, and how many various dumplings these patrons order, this needs to be a large scale operation that it is.

My original visit was an invitation for lunch. Two local ladies swore by them as their favourite place for Chinese food. Given their experience and appetite, I left all the ordering to them.

Naturally we ordered a few of their award winning dumplings. “Pork and crab xiao long bao”. Tender and savoury chunks of meat surrounded in a pool of soup, all hugged by chewy dough. They were delicious morsels, best enjoyed in one bite with the tang of the soup taking lead as you bite in.

Their “Shrimp and pork shao mai” had the same texture and a similar taste. I was surprised that these too were prepared with soup in them, but should have clued in by the way they were moulded: in two tiered bundles.

The “Shrimp and pork wontons with spicy sauce” were like the dumplings above, just without the soup and with a lot more punch thanks to the salty pool of black sauce they sat in and absorbed.

The above flavour was very similar to the “Noodles with spicy sauce”. The same tasty back of the throat spice paired with nice chewy noodle stand. It all tastes similar yet different. Not that I am complaining, as they do carbs well here, and I love me some carbs.

For some freshness and balance we also got a plate of their “Sautéed string beans with garlic”. Crispy beans pan fried with garlicky flavour, a delicious classic.

For drinks they had a full list of teas. I ordered a black tea topped with a sea salt cream. The addition of this fluffy topping was a creative way to get some body and additional texture in to every sip. It also gave the drink some saltiness to better highlight the sweet.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Definitely a great stop for some solid Chinese food in Seattle. And after tasting them for myself I can see why they are so busy. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

DIN TAI FUNG
2623 NE University Village, Seattle WA, 98105
206-525-0958
Din Tai Fung University Village Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rachel’s Ginger Beer

“Rachel’s Ginger Beer” located in University Village, Seattle; is a well known destination to quench your thirst at. As their name suggests, they serve ginger beer that they produce in house, on tap.

They offer numerous flavours infused with botanical and fruit extracts, with the option to try them by the plastic cup, or at a committed growler’s worth. For those wanting to by pass the wait, you can can easily pick up any of their pre-poured and chilled servings from their refrigerated unit upfront. These were a rainbow of colours, as bold and as bright as the murals that adorned their walls.

Stripped tigers against palm fronds, a yellow bird carrying a growler in tow, a bunny in a jumper pushing her baby in a stroller, and other animals functioning as humans in their own neon world.

My first visit was for a casual lunch, taking advantage of the fact that their drink shoppe includes a fried chicken counter by “Maono”.

During this time it was summer and their ginger beer made an excellent float to cool down with. Vanilla soft serve ice cream with any flavour of ginger beer poured over. It was refreshing treat, perfect in helping to beat the heat. I liked their interpretation of fizzy bubbles and creamy soft serve teamed up.

They also serve mixed cocktails in a slushie format. Three mixing units dedicated to Moscow mules, and a wall full of copper mug to entice, you towards in their “tropical storm” mule with citrus and pineapple flavour.

I stuck to their selection of ginger beers, given the name of the place; as it seemed like the best tell of their brand. Your choices include pink guava, caramelized pineapple, passion fruit x vanilla, and blueberry. Their most popular being the original and blood orange flavours. Each tried, delivered on their name sake; fresh fruit coupled with the distinct spice and fizz of ginger beer.

For the chicken, you order and pay at a corner counter to your left. A little window identified by the whicker wall painted in diagonal black stripes. The menu: a one pager of their fried chicken, salad, sides, and a chocolatey pudding. Their chicken is available as fingers or sandwiched between two buns. They even do a fried tofu version for vegetarians.

When it comes to their chicken you get your choice of how spicy you want it. From “naked” all the way to “bring the pain”. Apparently, it is so intense that they have to include a disclaimer at the bottom. It reminds customers that there are no returns or refunds given for their choice of burn level. I came with guests that have been before, and was warned that the mild is still fairly spicy, so that is what I went with. I would say this would be a medium on the spice scale at most other places.

“Fried chicken digits” served with their hot honey mustard dip and some daikon pickles. They had a nice crispy texture, but a little bland The dipping sauce helped, but I would have liked another to create further interest in the plate. Maybe even just ketchup. The pickles did well to offer a palette refresher in between bites.

I would recommend the “fried chicken sandwich” instead. The same quality of crispy fried chicken breast on a sweet bread bun with iceberg lettuce, kewpie mayo, and more pickles. The bread helped to balance out the spiciness of the chicken with some sweetness, and it spongy texture contrasted the crunch. All that was missing was more substance between the halves of bun, something more complex. Like a creamy slaw with lettuce and pickles or even some tomatoes.

For salads we tried both their broccoli and corn. “Roasted broccoli” in a preserved lemon vinaigrette, topped with a crumbled hard boiled egg, Parmesan, and chilli garlic. We expected this to be served warm, so was disappointed by its chilled soggy texture. It also lacked flavour. It just a fancy citrus tone, whereas you wanted more salty cheese over the steamed vegetable.

Similarly the “sweet corn” was also served chilled and slightly mushed. They helped to balance out the taste and texture of the chicken we had them with, but felt lack lustre by comparison. I really wish I got more of the piquillo peppers, chipotle dressing, cotija cheese, and furikake for a zestier side with some punch. This would have also been a nice filling for the sandwich above.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Overall a great spot for a quick lunch or a light snack. Nothing beats fried chicken and a cold beverage on hot summers day, or comfort like they do on a cold winter afternoon. Plus there is nothing else like them that I have encountered in the city so far. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

RACHEL’S GINGER BEER
4626 26th Ave NE, Seattle WA, 98105
206-774-5249
rachelsgingerbeer.com
Rachel's Ginger Beer, University Village Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Crab King

Recently a few foodies and myself traveled to Seattle for a foodie day trip. Our drive was centred around a media dinner at “Crab King” in Bellevue. They had reached out to Andrew of @eatwithmao, inviting him to gather a few friends to try their adaptation of Japanese style hot pot: shabu-shabu. The term
“shabu-shabu” is onomatopoeic, it comes from the sound of ingredients as they are stirred in the cooking pot and dipped into sauces.

When it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

Located in an expansive outdoor/indoor mall, it was hard for us to find. After a few laps around the complex by car, we did end up parking and hoofing it there by foot. The distance walked would later prove to be helpful, as we left the restaurant stuffed full, with the need to “walk it off”.

The restaurant was kept dark, it and the loud talking gives the place a more jovial and celebratory vibe. The shades separating each tables gives you the feeling of being within your own cubicle. Thus giving this quick to fill restaurant some privacy between diners as the night wore on.

We were seated in the centre of it all. It was a spacious table, able to sit six, offering our four plenty of elbow room. However, the heating plate was not centred between each cushioned seat. It was installed towards one end, so that the two furthest from the pot couldn’t participate in the cooking portion. Thus they would constantly need to be fed, to the chagrin to those having to do the extra work.

Despite the extra ventilation above each heating plate and table, the restaurant got smokey and its temperature increased fast. With the added smoke billowing in your face, things do get sweaty, with lack of air circulation. Great for a cold day, uncomfortable for an extended eating period.

Before we even sat down the table was preset with appetizers, dipping sauces, and all the necessary utensils to dig on in. This was a nice treat to walk up to. A trio of appetizers before we even looked at the menu, the perfect nibbles to tide us over until our full hot pot serving came. Not that it really takes all that long to come, all of it is raw after all. Crispy tempura shrimp, smokey mackerel, and refreshing ahi tuna chunks.

We indulged in their all you can eat menu at $35 per person. If one person wants to eat all they can, their entire party is required to do so as well. All within their 1.5 hour time limit. Be warned there is a 20% service charge for parties greater than five and any leftovers you order and do not finish, you will be charged an addition $15 per table. This is to discourage over ordering and food wasting, because despite having to pay a leftover fee, you cannot take any of it home.

 

To begin, you choose between their regular plain broth or their miso spicy broth, to boil and cook your thinly sliced meat and veggies in. We went with the former, which made for a great soup at the end. After all the simmering ingredients are added to the pot, throughout the meal. Most people forget about that, but when having hot pot I make sure to save some room at the end to sip this most tasty soup.

For ingredients your choices include premium cuts of meat, thin sliced and rolled up on black lacquered dishes. Wagyu strip loom, USDA prime tri tip, Wagyu chuck roll, and Premium pork. Each was tender, the best having a little more fat, for a little more chew to sink your teeth in to.

For seafood, the selection includes shrimp and rockfish tsumire, squid, mussels, and oysters. The tsumire is paste served in a half bamboo shell. You scrape bits of it into the pot and they boil up into solid “meat balls”. These were my favourite. I also liked the rubbery chomp of the squid, but could have done without the extra jaw ache from the mussels and some of the largest oysters I have ever seen. We kept this serving to just the one.

Surprisingly, you don’t get any crab with the set, given the name of the restaurant you would assume that would be the case. In order to get crab you have to pay extra. King crab for $59 per pound in your shabu shabu and Dungeness crab as one of their specialty dishes for $58.

The full assembly of the vegetable combination includes lettuce, Napa cabbage, broccoli, potato, taro, enoki mushroom, shiitake mushroom, chrysanthemum greens, seaweed, tofu, udon, and clear noodle. During the second round we picked and choose, going for more enoki and plenty of noodle to help soak up all that flavourful broth.

I found the sesame sauce and ponzu dipping sauces helpful in adding flavour and mixing things up, but they were a still a little to light for my liking. Whereas I asked for and was looking for more punch and salt, like from soya sauce or a richer satay sauce. However, neither are typical in Japanese shabu shabu.

As for our hot pot tools, I liked the agility the over sized tweezers provided. They made it easy to pick up and control how long the meat cooked for. But it was harder to scoop the noodles with, or get more than one thing at a time using.

For dessert they offer small bites and light snacks to help cleanse the pallet with. Either a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a thumb-sized mung bean cake. We had the latter given it was unique to them. It had a nice powdery texture, chalky as it coats your mouth and melt to its red bean centre.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
A great spot to hang out with friends and eat until your heart’s content. Delicious Chinese style Japanese shabu shabu featuring premium ingredients. I am not familiar with the area, but know there at least isn’t anything like it in the mall. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CRAB KING
1200 156th Ave NE, Bellevue WA, 98007
425-429-6800
crabkingatbellevue.com
Crab King Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ghost Note Coffee

A few foodies and myself travelled to Seattle for a food fuelled field trip. Having filled ourselves during an earlier brunch, we were now looking to kill time between then and dinner. And what better way than to check out Seattle’s well known coffee scene. Admittedly I am not a fan of coffee. As it is, I do not enjoy its taste for sipping or the beverage for its energy providing capabilities. Although I do like the flavour of coffee as an additive. That’s why I found “Ghost Note”, on Capitol Hill in Seattle such a unique coffee shop. Not only can you get your regular lattes and drips, but they also prepare coffee cocktails. Mixed drinks featuring coffee, with plenty of character, just none of the alcohol.

Our visit coincided with a slower time, which allowed us to chat up the lovely barista behind the counter. She was working the cash and the coffee counter by her lonesome, and doing one heck of a job. She was but one of three employees employed at the cafe, and today she found herself doing so solo. She informed us that she was the newest member to join the “Ghost Note” team; Although you wouldn’t know it given how skilled she was and how great she was able to mix and chat. I cannot multi task for the life of me, but here she was tending to us, greeting anyone that entered, talking their orders as soon as she took their payment, adding theirs to a list of drinks to make. A list that required her to memorize who wanted what and who was next in a sea of faces. It helped that a few of them were regulars. Folks with specific orders and the willingness to wait for what they knew to be a great cup of coffee.

From her we learned that jazz was an inspiration for the owner. The name of the cafe, “Ghost Note” refers to a musical note so low that you can’t hear it. And that a few of their cocktails are named after such terminology as well. Although ironically, they didn’t play jazz music, nor was the cafe’s decor set up to elude to the genre. Instead it was your regular bright and airy coffee shoppe. Industrial with bits of green. A full coffee bar with several tables and chairs before it.

I personally recommend hunkering down right at the bar, not only will you be treated to the most ergonomic seats, curved bar stools that cup you ass like hands supporting either cheek; but it is a great place to chat up your knowledge and friendly barista, as I did above.

My travel companions kept their ordering to the specialty menu. One of several sheets of paper, hanging from one of several clipboards against the wall as you enter. Each cocktail is made to a tee. Everything is measured with the use of a scale and only quality ingredients are used. Fresh squeezed juices (when possible) and fresh herbs picked on the day.

The “Sun Ship” is an espresso based drink served cold with smoked grapefruit, rosemary syrup, coconut water, sparking water, and lime. If you didn’t read its line up, it’s appareance and severing glass would have you assuming it is an alcoholic cocktail.

The “Jhaptal” mixed espresso with tonic water for a bubbly affect and foam. It is flavoured with rose lavender syrup, blood orange shrub, and lime. This too is served cold.

The “London Smog” was their take on the classic tea latte: the “London Fog”, but with a chai spiced twist. Pine smoked black tea, chai-spiced honey, and steamed milked served hot and frothy.

And for the vegans out there and those who just love a good year round egg nog, they have their “oat nog”. A creamy warm beverage made from “oatly oat milk”.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
There aren’t many places that use coffee to make other drinks like they do here. Pop ups in Vancouver are doing it, but here at “Ghost Note”, they are making it available around the clock, and creatively so. And based on the foot traffic, they are doing it very well. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

GHOST NOTE
1623 Bellevue Avenue, Seattle WA, 98122
www.ghostnotecoffee.com
Ghost Note Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Miller’s Guild

A group of foodies and myself took a drive down to Seattle for a foodie field trip. For our first stop we took the suggestion of our driver and went for some steak. With some thorough sleuthing Andrew of @eatwithmao found us just the place. “Miller’s” restaurant, attached to the “Max Hotel”, a newer boutique hotel within downtown Seattle.

We all found it a great spot, a nicer place to eat with a great casual vibe. And the couple we met there, who was also visiting from Vancouver, concurred. What makes them stand out for all the other steakhouses in the city is the wood fire oven that they cook their meats on. A roaring fire pit right within view of the dining area. We were planing to post up by it, at their bar, but the heat of the roaring fire against our faces was a little much to endure for the duration of our meal. But it was impressive how the chefs tending to it where able to keep their cool and their post. Though they allowed us behind the counter to take a closer look, take a few photos, and get an overall feel of what they go through in preparing our meal. In doing so I felt the power of the fire to cook flesh first hand.

Seeing as this was our first meal of the day, we decided to go light by splitting a steak. All their cuts are listed on a lengthy pillar-chalkboard. As they were sold, each ounce is crossed off the list with a red chalk pen, tied to a meter stick. Given that the largest at the most costly steak (58oz at $232) was already taken for the day, we went for the second largest cut: 46oz at $184. Still pretty luxurious split four ways.

But before committing we were given a look at each frozen tomahawk pressure wrapped and labelled, in order to help in our decision making. Each a 35 day dry aged rib chop.

This price includes plenty of sides, which is a lot more what other places offer at that price. Winter greens, roasted potatoes, remulad, and sautéed mushrooms. They were just as rich as the fattier cut of steak itself. Overall this was one of the richest and most decadent meals I have ever had the pleasure of laying my lips on. Luckily we were sharing this between us, as I couldn’t imagine eating this alone.

Ironically, our starter of French fries was helpful in cutting through all the grease, as a refreshing break between heavier bites. This was the “Bavette steak fries with motoraioli”. We had to order these fresh cut and fried potatoes, being lured in by the fact that they were served along side a dish of butter and beef drippings for dipping. It was simply luscious. But, sadly the dip clumped up fast and it was later hard to spread on a limp fry. But the tomahawk came with its own dish of motoraioli, which was the perfect consistency for dipping into. Plus it wasn’t like the steak needed anymore flavour, it was already so well seasoned.

Similarly the beers we got on tap helped balanced out our meal. We couldn’t pass on grabbing a pint from such a handsome bar. A white tile back splash, featuring a counter to ceiling alcove filled with overturned wine glasses. It drew our eyes in, and made our mouths thirst for a drink. During the pour, I really appreciated how our server took the time to spill the foam from off the top of the glass. Thus ensuring that our glasses were filled to the brim with bubbly brew.

We loved everything about our experience here. Truth be told, I have never had such attentive service from any restaurant in Vancouver. There were plenty of check ins, our server accommodated our seat changes, the chefs humoured our excessive photo taking, and the hostess invited us to tag them on social media. It was such a great casual interaction from everyone. Friendly and naturally. In reality, I guess it was all of Andrew’s gear attracting this extra “media” attention, that gave us more photo opportunities. Not that I am complaining.

But be warned, we were caught off guard with the 20% serving charge. Surprising because it wasn’t mentioned before hand, and we were but a group of four. Plus had we known it was 20% more ahead of time, we might have reconsidered our expensive meal to begin with. I guess they do things differently in Seattle.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
For delicious steak in Seattle or just a good time in a great locale, this will be the place I recommend. I would love to come back to try the rest of their menu. Smelling the barbecue as we ate, made me wish I saved more room and brought more money. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MILER’S GUILD
Hotel Max: 612 Stewart Street, Seattle WA, 98101
206-443-3663
millersguild.com
Miller's Guild Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Maneki

I strolled in looking for a quick stop for ramen, but what I got instead was, was a family run traditional Japanese restaurant and udon. It turns out that this may very well be one of the oldest restaurants in Seattle

Based on the look of the place they have been open for a while now and the decor certainly spoke to the family owned and operated aspect. Hand written signs with faded colours and curled edges, and a collection of family photos including a teen in her graduation cap and gown and a birthday with lit cake. I would later learn that “Maneki” has been around and operating in this same location for over 130 now. They even proudly posted a certificate of authentication when they hit 100 years.

Walking in you immediately got the musky smell of the room, or maybe it was just the patrons at the bar, in which I was assigned seating to. Two elderly ladies guarded the entry way. One seated on one of the chairs in place of a waiting area, and the other behind a computer. The former asked if she could help me, like I was intruding on her home (which probably is the case considering how many years she must have spent within these walls). The latter suggested I check the bar. I was barely through the threshold and already sent away. I wanted a nice table in the dining area, and it isn’t like I was only ordering one appetizer and drinking. I was having a full three course meal with them, along with a drink. In short, this first encounter really didn’t set up my visit with them for success. In fact it made me envious to see/hear how large groups were being greeted and ushered to a table of their choice. The restaurant was hardly to capacity, I saw many empty tables behind them and here I was on the cusp of walking out.

Flabbergasted by what just happened, I ended up complying and grabbing a seat at the bar. I was seated between all their regulars, order men who chatted up the female bartender, as she joked back and mostly humoured them. They were comfortable enough to poke humour with myself and other non regular customers as well. Whereas I just wanted to be left alone and quite to write, hence wanting a table all to myself. In the end, was able to move myself all the way to the end of the bar, separated from the dining room by a paper and wood framed screen. From what I could peak past and see, within the dining room the walls were decorated with Japanese art: prints and figurines just like the bar before me. The bar featuring their collection of horned devil masks.

The menu is hard to navigate. Page after page listing dishes and not a picture to direct you to one or the other. Luckily I was able to ask the bartender, and she was able to steer me in the right direction. The food was brought to the bar by a server calling out the order aloud and hoping someone claimed it.

The “Black cod collar miso” is white fish marinated and broiled in miso. The menu called it a “sailor’s delight” and the lady behind the bar deemed it their most popular menu item; mentioning that they have already sold 150 orders this month and it has just begun. She passed it to me, taking time to mention that there are six major bones that I need to avoid. Two in the front, two up top, and two behind the piece. It was easy enough to avoid with delicate chopsticks picks and if I didn’t avoid them, easy enough to pick clean with my teeth then spit out. This was beautifully cooked fish, I could see why it was so popular. You could taste the fish behind its sweet and slightly salty seasoning. The end pieces and its skin was crisp with a nice caramelization to it. It came with ginger as a good palette refresher, but wasn’t pickled or tangy as the kind you get with sushi and as I expected.

I satiated my noodle craving with their “Nabeyaki udon”. This was a steaming serving of soup and noodle with assorted vegetables, chicken, crab-stick, egg, and tempura cooked in an iron pot. I was given a warning when the pot came, as to not burn myself. Everything about this was tasty, with plenty of flavour from the broth. I liked the starchy noodle strands the most, but could have passed on the tempura altogether. As its batter flaked off the pieces of vegetable it created mush and an undesired texture within the soup. At least the vegetable remained relatively firm so that was nice. The egg was runny and leaked into the broth, giving it further depth of flavour. And the chicken and mushrooms were a nice tender chew. Overall no complaints, an all around solid entree. I continued to eat until I finished all the noodles.

I was naturally full, and finally satisfied. (I have been eating all the weird and unique around Seattle and enjoying it less and less.) This was up my alley. I ordered what I wanted and it was delicious. But I had to save a little bit of room to try the one weird thing on their menu that peaked my interest.

This is their “Maneki ice supreme”. It is green tea ice cream wrapped in poppy seed cake, then drenched in a tempura batter and flashed fried. It was interesting in both look and taste. Where the mound of whip cream was only eclipsed by the leaf of lettuce used as garnish. Naturally I didn’t touch it the latter. My bartender reassured me that that is normal and they no things a certain way here and like to keep with their traditions. As for taste, the green tea ice cream was on the tarter side, which was helpful in balancing out the spiciness of the poppy seed cake. This was easy to eat and finish, and not too sweet. Definitely one that I wouldn’t mind revisiting again.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
They have been in business for this long for a reason. Good food and friendly enough company. I would just reconsider who I have greeting customers at the door. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MANEKI
304 6th Avenue South, Seattle WA, 98104
206-622-2631
manekirestaurant.com
Maneki Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yard House

The name of this place was enough to peak my interest. I would soon learn that it represented the length of their popular drinking vessels, or at least half of it. They offered beers by the half yard, served in their specialty custom glasses: elongated pints with wide tops and rounded bottoms; but more on that later.

The bar’s entrance even spoke to their claim to fame. Each heavy wood door was dragged opened with lengthy metal handles shaped in the image of this theme.

Inside, the set up was like your typical causal restaurant centred around a bar, chain. Plenty of seats across high tops, booths, and four people tables that can be reassembled to accommodate larger groups. But I was most interested in their bar and impressed by all the beers they have on tap, so grabbed a seat solo there. Each beer came with its own identifying handle and those on rotation were labeled in chalk. They also had a screen dedicated to calling out all their favourite brews. As as soon as I sat with wide eyes, I got immediate attention.

I ended up splitting my time with them between two separate visits. The first for a more leaner dinner and the latter to take advantage of their happy hour specials later at night. In truth, the former led me to coming back for the latter.

For lunch I was craving something fresher and cleaner so went for their “Poke stack”. This was marinated raw ahi tuna served on crispy wontons, in wasabi and soy sauce; served with a quarter avocado on the side. I was impressed by how it looked and that it was delivered by a chef in his pristine whites. However, my meal did not live up to the service or its presentation. The biggest issue was that there was too much soy sauce used. The dish was drowning in it, maybe its just the American palette, but I have been finding that the food I have been eating in Seattle as been seasoned quite salty. It would have been nicer to have both the offering of soy and wasabi on the side, for the diner to adjust the amount as needed. The pickled julienned vegetables were coated in it, and the wontons were soon to soggy because of it. The avocado garnish was helpful in cutting into this, but it wasn’t ripe. It was hard and lacked the creamy texture and telltale taste you’d expect from an avocado. I had to slice it with knife and fork by force. I could have also used more seaweed to generate interest, but given the clientele, I can see their demographic not appreciating it like I would. The second later of fish was a nice surprise, because it doesn’t look like much for $13.75 otherwise. And be warned, you can’t see any of the wasabi, so you don’t exactly know how much of it you are getting until you bite in.

So fast forward, I am back a day later for happy hour. Given the prices, I feel that even if I don’t like what I have, it won’t be too much of a loss to my pocket. And this time I intended on order proper bar eats.

Their happy hour runs from 3-6pm and 10pm to when they close at 11pm. I was here during the latter. And I actually arrived earlier so was forced to wait and watch the clock tick down to 10pm, to be take advantage of their special pricing. However my bartender was able to take my order a little earlier, and place it through the computer right when it hit 10pm.

Their half yard craft and domestic beers are $4 off at this time. Fun to look at, but hard to drink. Luckily I was sitting in a high top and able to hold it to my side and drink from there, with the bottom at hip height. Be warned when you get towards the bottom you want to take it in slow, less you catch an air bubble and spill the beer all over yourself. This was a honey brown that he recommended and I found easy to chug. I intended on finishing my glass, considering I overheard the staff not thinking I could. I did. I spilled some on myself, but was still proud.

My my beer I enjoyed their “Onion ring tower” for $6 instead of $9.85 regularly. Each stacked ring was beer battered with Parmesan, and served with both a chipotle ranch and buttermilk ranch dipping sauce. Although I liked being given the choice, I much preferred the chipotle one with its additional kick. But both were runny and more of an accent than the provider of flavour. The texture of these rings are what I look for in any good onion ring. These were tasty, more crunchy batter than slimy onion centre. Not to mention, I absolutely loved their horse shoe game presentation. Served on a pike, it was as fun to eat as it was delicious. And at $6, you can’t lose. Definitely one to share, as it looked like you get the whole onion skewered.

I also inquired about their “Vampire Taco” based on its unusual name. I was sold on it by the high recommendation of my friendly bartender. To have a taco “vampire style” means it is a wrapped in a grilled, crispy cheese crusted flour tortilla shell. I don’t see the connection to the blood sucking monster, but appreciated its marketing none-the-less. $5 for one instead of $6.65 regularly. It looked like it was just a shell of cheese and plenty of it. However, by this point, I have already learned that cheese from the States just isn’t the same as it is in Canada. Cheese doesn’t seem to have the same flavour and sharpness here than what I am use to at home, and I don’t know why. Either way this was still amazing and something I would recommend. It is a featured item filled with carnitas, bacon chorizo, chipotle, cumin crema, guacamole, roasted garlic and cilantro. And they didn’t cheap out on any of the above.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Big chains like this are a guarantee for pleasing larger groups. Plenty on the menu to peak interest and typically good food for the asking price. With a happy hour menu featuring drinks from $1 to $4 off and food from $5-7 I suggest stopping by during those times. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

YARD HOUSE
1501 4th Avenue, Seattle WA, 98101
206-682-2087
yardhouse.com
Yard House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nue

Knowing I would be coming to Seattle soon, I made sure to plan my trip about visiting “Nue”, a newer restaurant specializing in global street eats. They are one of a handful of Seattle stops that I told myself I couldn’t miss. I had seen their social media presence and with it the availability of some fairly unique dishes I have yet to see offered anywhere else. This includes boiled whole insects, which I assumed was a limited time only menu item; but later learned that they are actuality available all year round. More on that later.

The restaurant is on the kitty corner of a busy street, so not readily noticeable to walk-in traffic. And the same can be said for its exterior, with its narrow bar-patio seats. In fact I walked past it not realizing they were what I took the long trek. And just looking at the entrance you wouldn’t imagine all the wonders that hid within.

Inside the space was a lot more memorable. Red brick and wooden crates were home to bottles of spirits, cans of beer, and an assortment of curiosities. Paper mâché masks, origami flowers, porcelain animals sculptures, and animal skulls; just to name a few. All together it looked like you are staring at a page out of the “I Spy”, the children’s activity book series. All the above and the “Lonely Planet” travel guides spoke to its global influences in decor. The guides were also used as billfold when it came time for the receipt.

As a diner who goes out of her way to discover newness and try novelty, the menu spoke to me. It read like an exploration for those adventurous enough to approach it, and I was just the gal.

For the video account of things to come, please visit my YouTube channel: MaggiMei

 

Knowing that I would be pushing my own threshold as a visual and textural diner, I thought it best to have a drink to warm myself up. Once again with an extensive list, that included insect infused liquor, I didn’t know where to begin. So I looked to my knowledgable server who would continue to be patience with my questions and understanding with my photo taking and video recording.

Seeing as the cocktails with tequila and scorpion, vodka with water beetle, and rice wine with cobra didn’t actual have the infused critter in it. And therefore I wasn’t as interested. Other options like the “McNguyen” cocktail made with Vietnamese coffee was nice my speed, of the “kat chai” made with salted plum.

But in the end I went for the “Naranjarita”. This was a sweet and salty cocktail made using
Wahaca Mezca, freshly squeezed orange juice, and an salted tamarind candy straw. The latter was only used to coat one of the two straws, that came semi submerged in the bright orange brew. It served as a good stir stick and had a nice tangy lick to end on. It was better partnered with food, than offered as a standalone diner-drink.

I started with the reason why I was here: to try the very intimidating looking “Thai Mang Da Na”. Even the menu warned it was “for the adventurous”. Three large water nettles boiled and infused with fruit, flowers, candy and salt, for a very intense flavour. I was reassured by my server that there is a proper way to eat them with ease, and that she would give me the tutorial for it. I wouldn’t just be going full-in, crunching down on a hard exoskeleton. Instead, you peel back the shell and pull each off, the same goes for the thin plastic-like wing under it. Next you snap the beetle’s head off at its torso and suck out its internals from its thorax. So you aren’t so much chewing on the insert, as you are sucking out its guts. I was in disbelief, but each tastes as my server promised: a salty apple jolly rancher. It was definitely an apple flavour combined with heavy floral elements. Not gamey or bitter as you would imagine, but more perfum-y and bright. But despite how non threatening it tasted, it felt unnatural. I wasn’t eating for flavour or enjoyment, so I had two and that was enough for me.

Next I was finally trying balut for the first time. “Balut” is a developed duck embryo still in the egg, a Filipino delicacy. This one was seasoned with Vietnamese hot vit lot; which is various spices, pepper, and lime juice. After this experience, I now know why it’s presented still in its shell, I could not get over how gnarly this looked. Inside, it was veiny with a see through membrane. Just past that I swear I made out two black and beady eyes and a yellow beak.

So you crack into it just like you would pealing the shell off a hard boiled egg. But be warned, during the boiling process a soup within the egg gathers and what you get is a sip of duck soup likely to spill out as you crack in. The soup tasted all well and good, but the actual baby buck was off putting. From look and sight, to smell and taste; nothing about this read eat me. I tried, but only got through half. The gamey mush and the little bones that you have to pick out of your mouth were not appealing. Now that I have tried it and can say that I have, I can successfully say this isn’t for me.

The “Grilled Barbarian pig tails” were unison nubs, severed from the base of of the animal. It came with some jerk glaze with cilantro. This was my favourite one of the “weird” foods, because it simply ate like and tasted like sweet and salty short ribs, just with a lot more chewy caramelization on the fatty skin.

Then to follow that all up with, I decided to go for something a lot more comforting to the regular dinner: chicken wings. Wings are a universal yum as most places offer a variation on it. At “Nue”, their wings had an extra wow factor. It is an eye catching tower of wings and drumlets stacked and propped by two skewers Two different flavours come in this presentation. I took the one that was described as being saucy and messy and not as spicy as the other: “Hungarian paprikash jumbo chicken wings”. Sweet and smokey Hungarian paprika, sour cream, caramelized onion, and fresh dill. Topped with crispy fried onions. They had a rich and zesty flavour. The refreshing-ness of the vegetables that was strewn across the plate and the tanginess of the dill helped to balance it. It was tasty with the first wing, but after the third and fourth I got bored of its very specific flavour. This is one I would recommend sharing.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
What a fun and unique place, with nothing else like it in the city. Best for those looking to expand their eating horizons, with more domestic options for those who rather spend money on something they know they will enjoy. A one or a kind must visit the next time you are in Seattle, with well versed staff prepared to walk you through it all. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

NUE
1519 14th Avenue, Seattle WA, 98122
206-257-0312
nueseattle.com
Nue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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