Monday, December 31, 2007

salty's brunch: best office party ever

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the best thing to happen to my annual office christmas party was the office manager's decision to do brunch at salty's instead of dinner at some seattle restaurant institution. i was so gleefully anticipating brunch that crab puff fairies and oysters danced in my dreams. salty's, you did not disappoint!

my eyes were overwhelmed with mountains of shrimp and crab legs cascading over a bed of ice. there was a warmer of clarified butter to my left, and a giant steel martini-shaped container overflowing with cocktail sauce. the crab legs were sweet, succulent, and rich with briney sea-flavor. wowzers. i hadn't had dungeness in such a long time...and WOW.

clams. mussels. butter. need i say more??

this was my first plate: pineapple, oysters, horseradish, cocktail sauce, salmon mousse, red onions/capers, gravlox, shrimp, and crab legs. i wrapped salmon mousse, red onions, capers, and horseradish in gravlox. mmm.

eggs bene. a brunch classic. i don't really do eggs, but suge said it was tasty.

my second plate, you'll see some familiar faces: gravlox, capers/red onion, crab legs, potatoes o'brien, and macaroni and cheese (i picked out the numerous buttons of sausage, they were so cute!).

juicy ham, carved just for you! the ham station was embedded amongst suge went with a mini waffle, syrup, and slices of ham.

seafood paella! i didn't get down with the rice because i knew it would fill me up like no other, but it sure looked good! and i saw people go back for seconds of it.

suge's final plate: ham, bacon, gravlox, sausage mac and cheese, waffle with whipped butter, and a dainty cream puff.

the cake stands were so cute and festive for the holiday brunch that i had to capture it for you k&s readers.

lemon tarts! perfectly sweet and sour. i love lemon bars, and these were so dainty and deceivingly filling that i figured i could at least have one to help cap off my meal.

the spice cake had these little crabapples adorning each slice, and i thought they were camphone worthy. i snagged that one apple in the bottom of the frame out of curiosity. they're carefully baked and basted with a light simple syrup. sweet and mellow.

the pumpking pies were adorable. there had to have been at least 50 of them scattered on the platter. i wish i had my real camera so that i could snap a wider photo and used it at stationary!
last, but not least, i had to make use of the decadently cheesy chocolate fountain. i am opposed to these three levels of billowing chocolate simply because they're so lame, however, i felt compelled by the spirit of k&s. i have to say, the strawberries were damn good.

thanks salty's! high five!

1936 Harbor Ave SW

Seattle, WA 98126

(206) 937-1600

Salty's on Alki in Seattle

Sunday, December 30, 2007

El Gallito

El Gallito is a favorite of mine for lunch because it is within walking distance from my work. Sometimes I just get the chips and salsa to go. It is one of those places that when you tell people about it they always know where it is but admit they have never tried it. Even when I lived close to this spot I always thought it was closed.

El Gallito has a solid menu with pages of items that are pretty standard for a classic mexican restaurant. A few weeks ago a few of us stopped there before a late night event and I tried the taco salad. We also enjoyed a few margaritas which were also quite tasty....and strong.

I have had lots of other menu items including tacos, chile relleno, chalupa and enchiladas. All of them pretty good. The guacamole is also right on. This place gets mixed reviews and I myself have even personally been there on a "bad day"...but I like this family business and if you are looking for good mexican food you should try it for yourself.

1700 20th avenue

Thursday, December 27, 2007

manzana of myne eye

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welcome to manzana in bellevue (@ in-your-face-eastside lincoln square), home of pan-european appetizers lacking any sense of cohesiveness. i had to run over to crate and barrel for some christmas shopping, and after looking at the hot mess that was belle square parking, i decided to park in lincoln center. then i realized i had to get my damn parking validated, so manzana, you were my unsuspecting victim.

the entrance to the bar is confusing and labyrinthine, but once we entered the dark room, we were left to fend for ourselves to find a spot. we nearly circled the entire room until we found an open seat (it was just after happy hour), but once we did, we laid claim. the bar itself is nice, sumptuous, simple. they have a decent wine list (it is a restaurant after all), and the specialty drink list is intriguing.

we went with the manzana signature margaritas: i sprung for the bartlett pair, and ack went with the pomegranate. mine was good...not too sweet (which i was afraid of) and just tart enough. however, any hint of bartlett pair was lost on my fairly sensitive palate. ack's was good! the pomegranate was tasty and a great holiday flavor.

we went with the trusty chips and salsa (gluten-free, of course). the temperatures were on point: the guac was super cold, the chips warm and crisp, and the salsa was room temperature. the salsa was surprisingly flavorful with a full, smoky flavor....and it was less of a pico de gallo and more of a salsa. perfect.

we also chose the white bean hummus. it was great. the warm, toasty pita was the perfect dipper for the warm, garlicky white bean hummus. the chopped tomatoes and olive oil float was a nice touch, too.

all-in-all, manzana serves its purpose: tasty, simple food that is cheap enough to justify eating just for parking validation. if you find yourself shopping in the bellevue square neighborhood and have the munchies, i recommend stopping by manzana for happy hour. i've never eaten entrees there, so i won't speak on that, but manzana is nothing special. it's just solid.

610 Bellevue Way NE # 120
Bellevue, WA 98004
(425) 455-7600

Manzana in Bellevue

Happy Holidays: Ten Mercer

Wow, its been a minute. Lots of holiday things happening! Earlier this month I had a night out with my mom. She took me to see the Nutcracker and then out for a late meal at Ten Mercer.I had a great time at the ballet. I have been going to see this show since I was a little kid. I remember one of the first times we went to see this show in Milwaukee. I was completely mezmerized by the stage and this old theatre. Now, I will tell you that I have only ever been to one ballet and that is the Nutcracker.I know for a fact I am not going to be impressed by the dancing, I just love chillin with my mom. I guess I have a holiday tradition after all...

So back to the food. Well my mom and step dad live in the neighborhood and they are regulars at this spot. I have been here a few times and have always had pretty solid food. Nothing I would tell you that you are missing but definitely a place you can try.

I had the Washington Chicken. The "rosemary garlic fingerling's" were quite tasty and the garlic crust was bomb. This was a great piece of chicken and was cooked perfectly. It was so juicy, flavorful and very savory. The portion was enough for me to take home and enjoy the next day.

So yeah, I mentioned my mom and step dad are regulars...well it just also happened to be the last night for one of their favorite bartenders. We all toasted him and celebrated with some mighty fine champagne.

And also some jager.

yikes. I worked the next day.

Ten Mercer
10 Mercer Street
Seattle, WA 98109

Friday, December 21, 2007

the (dim) sum of all things

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coming from a former dimsum addict (suge and i used to double-dimsum a weekend), Top Gun Seafood in factoria is bizzomb. like, holy wow that place is good. i've been there literally hundreds of times, but i'll never forget my first time there. it was when i was in high school, and my uncle called the family together to enjoy some food and catch up. i don't speak chinese, but he and his family do, so out came all sorts of crazy good shit that's not skating around the room on steel carts, like cold sesamie jellyfish, special noodles, crispy and chopped duck (creatively deemed "duck two ways")...i can't even begin to list it all, but it was truly magical (and that was back in the day before i was sans-meat).

my family is chinese, so when i was younger, we would all go out to dimsum. every weekend. my father has two brothers that live in the greater seattle area, so the extended family would convene for dimsum at least every two months. sun ya used to be our favorite spot, but after changing over to new ownership back in 1999, it's never been the same.

the last time i went to dimsum there was probably 2-3 years ago (i lived next door), and it was good....just different from my rose-tinged memories.

ah, tea. i love tea. one nice thing about Top Gun is that you can ask for different kinds of tea...i always go for jasmine because i love the perfume, but you can get something heavier, like oolong. i also wash my hands with tea after i eat because the tannens cut through any oil that's made it's way onto my hands. :)

so here's the spread: shrimp on green bell pepper with a black bean sauce, hargow (shrimp dumplings encased in a rice noodle hug, turnip cake with flecks of pork, siu mai (pork dumplings with a rice casing on the bottom, nor mai gai (sticky rice stuffed with pork, "gravy," dried shrimp, and lap xioung [delicious sweet sausage]), and shrimp-stuffed eggplant covered in black bean sauce.

here's another look at suge's hargow handstyle. :) i forgot to capture the char siu bau (steamed bun with bbq pork stuffing)!

and of course, the crowd favorite, honey-walnut prawns. i had actually never had these little gems of fried goo until about three years ago, but i do like them. i have a tenuous relationship with shrimp, so i'm not always in the mood for HWP, but these were tasty.

ah, mango pudding. how do i love thee?? covered in condensed milk, of course!!! i like the mango pudding at Top Gun because it has chunks of mango in it, and they make it with a little bit of coconut milk, so there's the slightest hint of that flavor in the pudding. also, it's not really pudding, like bill cosby-style. it's more of a cross between jello and's soft, but you couldn't stir it. whatever it is, it's awesome. it actually so inspired me to make some red bean jelly/pudding at home! all i need is a can of lychees, and it's dessert time all the time!

last, but certainly not least, the black sesamie balls. holy crap i love these. they're little balls of mochi covered in black and white toasted sesamie seeds, stuffed with black sesamie puree, and flash fried until the outside is juuuuuust crispy. damn, they're so good. i like the white sesamie balls, too, but they're stuffed with lotus paste, which is a little too rich for me in this particular incarnation.

Top Gun Seafood
12450 SE 38th St
(between S 124th Ave & S Factoria Blvd)
Bellevue, WA 98006
(425) 641-3386

CAVE: this place is uber-busy on the weekends, especially sunday in the post-church time. i would suggest arriving early, like between 10 and 11. if you arrive after 1130, you're completely screwed and will have to wait at least 30 minutes. going late is also an option, when we went, it was nearly 2, but we still had to wait about 15 minutes. you have now been thoroughly warned.

parking is a bitch, too, so park in the back movie theater lot. do not park in marked places, because they will surely tow you. they are serious!

Top Gun Seafood Restaurant in Bellevue

Thursday, December 20, 2007


It seems like you can go to lots of places in this city that feature clam chowder as a daily soup. I am always hesitant to order soup at restaurants because of my ongoing struggle with food temperature. Now, I may be on the extreme side of that argument but nevertheless I will say that soup should ALWAYS be hot. Before an event downtown in pioneer square, a friend and I wanted to grab something quick to eat. We were around the corner from FX McRory's so we walked in to check it out. The menu is large and offers sandwiches, burgers, steaks, chicken all simply dressed with some Northwest flavors.

I ordered a cup of soup and a glass of whiskey.

The soup was HOT and pretty tasty. It was on the side of your average clam chowder but it had a nice flavor which may or not have been the extra pepper on top. The clams were not minced and rough, rather large and soft. Perhaps they truly do make this from scratch with some local fish.

The whiskey selection was huge, and this place claims to have one of the biggest selection of premium spirits in America. If I remember correctly its like something around 750 labels. Nice.

Overall I wouldnt set foot in this place on the day/night of any kind of sports game, home or away because the televised shit was just as loud. Its just not my scene. However, I do know lots of people who like to bro down in there.

There you have it. If you want hot soup, check it out.

F.X. McRory's Steak Chop & Oyster House
419 Occidental Avenue South
Phone 206 623-4800

Open weeknights until 10:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday until Midnight
Sunday till 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

the Green Leaf

So before meeting up with friends I thought I would wonder into China Town for a tasty soup. Soup always works well for me before doing some serious drinking. It doesn't put me to sleep like a burger can but puts something filling in there.

The Green Leaf is sort of new...2 years young. Located by the House of Hong on 8th and Jackson this is a very quaint place. By that I mean that the waiting area can be with butts on your table. However, my soup was superb. I enjoyed the broth so much that I sipped half of it before even picking up my chopsticks for the other contents inside.

I ordered #33, which as I recall, is egg noodles, fried chicken strips, baby boc choy, brussel sprouts, button mushrooms, and carrots. Not like a pho soup this was more of a brown broth and with the chicken being fried delivered great flavor. I'm not so much of a broccoli fan and ended up pushing those to the side. Grand total, I drank ice water, was $7.60. They got VERY busy. I arrived at 5:15 and was seated right away, but within 30 minutes the place was full with a 20 minute waiting list.

It's a sneaky place surrounded with other eateries, but what I ordered was delicious!
Have fun & Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

rice 'n' roll & red mango

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ah, rice'n'roll....i remember when this small chain opened up downtown along madison, and there was a huge buzz because it was cheap, fast, and affordable downtown lunch fare. several months later, an outpost opened up in bellevue square, a nice addition to the sparse food selections in that mall.

white pepper went with the combo #2 meal, which was a neat little package of 4 slices of california roll, 4 slices of spicy tuna, and a side of edamame. it looked so perfect! there were so many options on the menu, i panicked and didn't even see the combo meals (or the awesome handwritten bento options on a sheet of paper by the register, stupid!). she can comment more on her meal, but it looked great, and in the end, there was nothing left but a pile of edamame shells and a whisper-thin slice of pickled ginger.

i went with the double tuna: spicy tuna topped with slices of more tuna! boy do i love maguro. it's seriously been one of my favorite things in the world, ever since my grandma (rest her soul) introduced me to the goods when i was but a wee babe. rice'n'roll did not disappoint. since i just ordered the roll, i got a hefty 8 slices of tasty tuna. i was surprised that the spicy tuna was actually spicy (my heat tolerance is quite high), and it was good. i'm not going to go into the texture/flavor of the rice and the technique because, come on, this is mall food, and it did exactly what i wanted. it was quick, inexpensive, filling, and delicious.

when we first arrived, we passed by a red mango, which is a korean frozen yogurt joint, much like crazyberry and pinkberry. the selections were a little different than the ones at crazyberry; they had more fruit selections available at the same time, cinnamon toast crunch, ghiradelli dark chocolate, and granola (all of which cb doesn't have). also, if you click on the menu picture, you can see that they have a TWO TOPPING option!!! at crazyberry you either get one topping or three...and you can get two, but you'll just have to pay for three, and then why the hell not get three at that point?!?! yeah, pissed me off, too.

the fro-yo slanger also wears a uniform. unfortunately i couldn't snap a good picture of her get up (since she looked a little self-conscious to begin with). you'll just have to imagine: red visor with logo, mango-hued short-sleeved shirt with white long-sleeved underneath, red apron with logo, side ponytail (i think her creative addition).

i went with the raspberry/slivered almond combo. i love slivered almonds, especially in frozen yogurt. mmm! also, fresh raspberries??? yes please! the yogurt is actually quite distinct. it was more creamy and almost left a greasy feeling around the corner of my lips (gross), whereas crazyberry's is more ice crystal-y. also, red mango's base was lest tangy than crazyberry's (i am a fan of the tart yogurt flavor).

pepp got almonds and coconut. delicious. i love coconut, too...i should have gotten that as my third topping, but i felt like i should take advantage of the two topping option.

the red spoons were so choice! i really liked them, and they were heavy duty! small details count in my book.

overall, i'll most likely visit crazyberry more because it's so convenient (broadway), and i enjoy the yogurt base more. however, thanks bellevue square! i enjoyed your wares and food selections on my eastside foray.

Rice-n-Roll (Bellevue) in Bellevue

Red Mango on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Still Kurrent

Happy Hour can be a fun thing if you find the right spot. A few friends of mine who are on the edge of one of the best jewelry businesses ever started (click here)....stopped by Kurrent to plan out our empire and to grab a few snacks and a drink.

Now, I have been to Kurrent before as you most likely read below. But I didnt have the chance to eat there until now. I tried to order the cocktails that I attempted to order last time, which the bartender told me they no longer make. But this time, instead of telling me that the bartender who invented them is no longer there, this server told me they were off the menu because they were disgusting.
Hmmm..... GET A NEW MENU. Anyway, Im not mad. I decided to try the bloody mary, which was quite spicy and tasty.
K. and R. both had standard cocktails as well. Margarita and Martini....classy.

Next we got down on some tofu fries which I was really hoping to try. They were good. Nicely cooked and served with a garlic and paprika aioli. We also tried the "signature" crab cakes. I though these were pretty good too. Nice spice and consistency of the cake. I would have preferred them to be served a little bit hotter, but they were fine. I dont know why they are called signature because they tasted pretty standard to me. They were also served with a sriacha aioli. Nice use of never occured to me to mix it with basically mayo.

Now on to the cracklin calamari salad, which was nice and spicy. I am not a huge fan of calamari but it was good and not full of grease. It might be hard to tell from the picture but the fried calamari was sitting on a bead of cabbage and onions. I navigated around the bell peppers (not a fan) and enjoyed the light soy dressing covering the dish.

We really wanted to try the crab artichoke melt but apparently they rant out and were in the process of making more which according to our server would take several hours. So he offered to buy us another appetizer. We choose the garlic vegetable satay. Which I think you can take one glance of and realize it was not that impressive. I mean come on. Tofu and bell peppers? I was at the minimum hoping for like a piece of squash. I will admit the peanut sauce was tasty, but this dish is totally boring. And if you are not on happy hour its gonna cost you $9.50. No way.

Overall, I think this is a good place to meet a few people. They have a cool little nook with a fireplace which was perfect for us to lay out our beads. And the happy hour prices make it a bit more convincing to eat there. I am not impressed by this food but it was tasty. Next time I might move into the realm of trying and entree because the pictures on their website look good.

Good luck Kurrent your bar seems out of place right now but you might feel better once the huge condo goes up across the street.

600 East Pine
Mon-Sat 11am-2am
Sun 11am-11pm
ps. they have valet if you are that guy or if you hate trying to park on cap hill

Kurrent Restaurant and Ice Bar in Seattle

Friday, December 7, 2007

broadway's salsa verde is so bomb

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gosh i love tacos guaymas! my favorite outpost is in fremont, but on those days when i don't want to make that trek 'cross town, the broadway installation does the trick.

just check out the amazing interior decor...the space is pretty industrial with a 20ft-ish ceiling, but they make it a little more inviting with faux foliage, anatomically-exaggerated murals, and insanely bright, sponged walls.

one selling point for all guaymas's is the salsa bar. they have salsas rojas of varying heat intensities, salsa verde (bomb), chipotle salsa, pickled jalapenos/onions/carrots, pico de gallo, and avocado sauce. m always orders the chips, but it's really not necessary. they are usually the element that push my fullness-factor over the edge.

m. got a single carnitas taco filled with cubed carnitas, chopped tomato, and onion...pretty standard and always enjoyable.

he also went for the tortilla soup; a bit out of the norm for this diner, but it was chilly outside. he usually orders chips and salsa, ceviche de pescado, and two tacos (carnitas and/or pescado). he said that the broth was quite "flavorful," aka salty. i was curious, so i sipped a was indeed salty, but it was really the strong flavor of animal that threw me off. the bowl was also the size of a halved NBA-regulation basketball, so m had to do some deep sea diving to salvage the last remains of chicken shreds and cheese.

a. ordered the wet chicken burrito...he went in thinking that he would get chicken enchiladas, but neighboring diners had burritos, and he ran with that inspiration. it looked great. meaty. cheesy. delicious. enormous. perfect to wash down with a negra modelo.

i'm nothing, if not consistent. i always get the chile's just so perfect: poblano stuffed with cheese, dipped in a fluffy egg batter, then flash-fried until the cheese is molten lava. the last time i ate at broadway guaymas, the relleno wasn't hot enough, hence the cheese was more like playdough, and there wasn't enough red sauce. this time, the sauce was plentiful, and the relleno was hot. my only hangup was that the cheese wasn't hot and leaky enough....i think their oil was perhaps too hot, so the exterior was browned to perfection and the chile was hot, but the cheese just didn't have enough time to tranform into that tasty magma.

this little video is bizarre, but it was one of the first things that came up when i googled "tacos guaymas." enjoy: a day @ tacos guaymas. i don't know what would possess this man to eat so many burritos, but it is impressive.

1415 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 322-7311

Tacos Guaymas in Seattle