Friday, February 4, 2011

All you can eat Korean BBQ, say what?

So I'd been hearing a lot about this $15 all you can eat Korean BBQ place called Palace particularly because a few of my friends love eating here when they are down in Federal Way/Tacoma and need a Korean BBQ fix.  I'd never been, but I just so happened to be in Tacoma last weekend and I just so happened to be with these friends that were craving BBQ..... so off we went to eat ourselves into blissfulness.

I have to say for the price we pay, this deal is amazing.  There are about seven or eight different different selections of meat from pork to beef to shrimp along with refillable banchan (side dishes), one stone pot soup, and a bowl of steamed egg.  Our first order of food allowed us to pick five items.  We had the beef marble brisket, pork belly, shrimp, grilled marinated beef, and marinated tender beef. Yes it was a lot of beef! To offset all the meat, we had plenty of banchan and also a salad.  The service was quick and they started the grill in front of us as soon as we finished ordering and brought out the banchan a few minutes later.  The restaurant was not quite full as we got there early in order to beat the dinner crowd at around 5:15 pm.

As the platter of meat was brought out, our hungry stomachs began to rumble.  We began to throw our meat onto the hot grill and soon the aroma of cooking meat began to fill the air.  Although there was a filtration system turned on above us to collect the smoke, we all still collected the smell of meat in our clothes and hair.  Delicious meat with hot rice soon began making its way into our stomachs.  We took turns cooking so that we'd all have a chance to eat. For girls we ate a lot and soon were on to ordering another plate of meat with not quite as much as the first order. 

first round of grilling

some kalbi and shrimp

pork belly and kalbi

banchan dishes and my plate 

We were stuffed beyond words at the end of our dinner. Why do we do all you can eat when at the end we feel like we are going to burst?? One answer because it tastes so good!! We are done with BBQ buffets for a while....... until the next craving strikes!  All in all, Palace is a great place with good food and a good deal.  The people are nice and the service is quick.  Love Korean BBQ? This is your place!

31525 20th Ave S
(between 314th St & 316th St)
Federal Way, WA 98003

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fresh Bistro

A couple of weeks ago some friends and I went to try a relatively new restaurant in West Seattle called Fresh Bistro.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but since good things are what I'd heard, I was expecting what else but good things. The restaurant itself is known for cooking with a lot of local and fresh ingredients.... hence it's name.

We arrived around 7:45 pm to find the restaurant busy, but not too crazy.  We were seated in a corner booth that was comfortable and promptly given menus.  The ordering didn't take too long, but surprisingly the waiting for the food took quite a bit of time.  It was noticeably enough that we commented on it, but ok maybe the extra time spent waiting meant that more time was spent cooking the food perfectly! Hmmm.... I ordered the wagyu french dip that came on a french baguette, served with truffle fries and a side salad.  The sandwich was just ok.  If you've ever had kalbi (korean short ribs), the flavor of the meat tasted just like that.  It wasn't what I was expecting and the Asian twist didn't match too well with the au jus sauce.  However, the truffle fries were fantastic with its thin cut potatoes and truffle salt.  Some of the other dishes ordered were a mushroom risotto, braised beef short rib stroganoff, wagyu peppercorn New York Steak bourguignon, and grilled wagyu ribeye.  I had a bit of all the dishes and they were good, but not amazing.

Complimentary bread with ball butter

Wagyu French Dip
grilled wagyu sirloin, French baguette, au jus, caramelized onions, mushroom
cognac butter, truffled fries, our simple bistro salad

Foraged Mushroom Risotto 
fregola pasta, foraged mushrooms, butternut squash puree, mascarpone

Grilled Wagyu Ribeye 
shiitake au jus and granny smith apple horseradish
buttered fennel and baby carrots with chervil twice baked salted potato

Wagyu Peppercorn New York Steak Bourguignon 
peppercorn crusted grilled NY steak
pancetta, pearl onion, mushrooms, red wine demi,
carrots, truffled smashed fried fingerling potatoes

Braised Beef Short Rib Stroganoff 
mushrooms, cognac cream sauce, arugula fettuccine, baby arugula and enoki salad

We saved room for dessert as well.  They don't have an extensive selection, but there are some interesting and innovative desserts.  We tried the banana tapioca brulee which was quite good.  I'm not sure how they came up with the idea to use tapioca in brulee but it worked well.   It was served with a spicy chocolate milk on the side which I thought didn't pair up well with the brulee.  It was strong on the spicy flavor, kind of interesting and unique, but didn't work for my palate.  The other dessert we tried was the chocolate chestnut bread pudding cake which was also different.  Our waiter told us that it would be very chocolaty, which wasn't the case.  Despite that, we enjoyed the moist cake and chestnut flavor along with a scoop of ice cream.

Banana Tapioca Brulee
served with a spicy chocolate milk

Chocolate Chestnut Bread Pudding Cake
served with vanilla caramel ice cream

All in all, Fresh Bistro was a good place to eat at, clean and nice, but it wasn't a memorable place.  From some of the reviews I read, breakfast and brunch might be a bit more exciting.  Perhaps it was just our luck that night that the service wasn't up to par and the food just ok, but who knows, maybe better luck next time!

Fresh Bistro
4725 42nd Avenue Southwest
Seattle, WA 98136
(206) 935-3733

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hawaii Visit and then some....

It was a busy past few months including a short trip back home to Hawaii to celebrate Christmas and New Years and now preparing to move back home this upcoming February.  I have neglected this blog I know but that does not mean I have not been eating and enjoying life!  Going back home always means a lot of potlucks, visiting family and friends, and enjoying the weather.  I was lucky to have missed the majority of the flash flood rain in December and blessed with beautiful sun and lots of vitamin D. 

One of the things I love about Hawaii is the feeling of ohana (family), particularly family get togethers which = lots of good food! We had a Christmas, New Years eve, and New Years Day potluck and in addition to a lot of talking, it was a lot of eating.  Example, one of my dinner plate (below in picture) consists of from top left to right, homemade maki sushi, konbu maki (seaweed wrapped pork), broccoli salad, grilled portuguese sausage, mochi rice with azuki beans, kalbi, steamed fish with rice noodle, and tempura. This was just the first plate, yes I did go back for seconds and  no that was not the end of the food. Although I didn't get to take a picture of the dessert table, it was just as full as the dinner table. Back at home for potlucks, the table is not for sitting around, no, its purpose is to hold the food.  You grab your plate and fork, go around the table collecting various goodies and then bring your plate back to the living room where you sit on the floor around a low table or lounge on the couch.  It's comfortable and relaxing, very nice close family feeling.  I enjoy that a lot! The night before we had stayed up till midnight playing fireworks as it was the last year to play without buying a permit, so New Years day was a rest and relax day.

New Year's plate

Happy New Years!

I was able to do some cooking, but since my time at home was so short not as much as I would've liked.  Besides, there are so many good places to eat at, might as well make it out.  I wasn't able to bring my camera for a lot of these outings so sadly they aren't documented, but know that it was all good! 

 Curry Fried Noodles

One other thing I love about home are the sunrises and sunsets.  I was able to wake up early enough to cath this sunrise off of Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park.  Every morning is a new day full of new adventures and surprises. Aloha until next time!

Early fisherman with Diamond head in the distance

Paddlers out for a morning paddle

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Time for Dine Around Seattle again!

Brrrr November brings cold and rain to Seattle, BUT it also brings back Dine Around Seattle! For the entire month people can eat fancy smancy 3 course lunch or dinner meals for the affordable price of $15 for lunch or $30 for dinner. It is a deal that can't be beat! Although the selection of restaurants were not as wide as last years due to the Restaurant Week that was held the prior month, there were a few good places to try out.  I had always wanted to try a place down in Pike Market called Steelhead Diner.  It is off of a side street in Pike and if I hadn't been watching out for it, I probably would have walked right by the restaurant.  As it was I was on a lunch date with my sister and we found it easily enough.

We were seated quite quickly and I have to say that the service was superb.  Our waiter was attentive and we had all of our dishes brought at appropriate times with enough time to enjoy each course.  My sister and I each had different appetizers and main courses so that we could have a taste of different things, but the dessert we both had their signature Theo's pecan pie because of the great things we had heard about it. Ok, so appetizer, my sister had the Star Crimson Pear& Frisee Salad with Smoked Pecans, Rollingstone Creamery Goastster & Cider Dressing.  It was very light and refreshing.  The cheese and the cider dressing added a wonderful flavor in your mouth of salty and sweet.  I had the Butternut squash soup with ginger creme fraiche.  It was delicious, creamy and full bodied flavor of the butternut squash with just a touch of ginger to add an extra zing. 

 Bread and butter

Star Crimson Pear & Frisee Salad 
with Smoked Pecans, Rollingstone Creamery Goastster & Cider Dressing

 Butternut Squash Soup 
with Ginger Crème Fraiche

The main star of the show, entree came out next.  My sister had the sauteed Idaho Trout fillet with Pan Roasted Cauliflower, Macrona Almonds & Garam Marsala Butter Sauce.  The trout was fried to perfection and although was a little bland was great with a little splash of the season shaker.  The cauliflower and the sauce went well with the dish and helped to add flavor to the dish.  I ordered the Wild mushroom and Ceppo pasta "Stove Pipe" Pasta with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Sherried Cream Sauce & Grated Grana. Oh my, this was an explosion of flavor in every bite.  The chanterelle mushrooms were soft and released so much flavor  from the sauce because of its absorbent nature.  I could have just eaten that and would have been happy, but the sherried sauce with grana (a type of grated cheese) really made the dish.  It wasn't too heavy or full, but light and flavorful.  My sister and I soaked our bread in that sauce to get every bit of goodness. 

 Sauteed Idaho Stream Raised Trout Filet 
with Pan Roasted Cauliflower, Macrona Almonds & Garam Marsala Butter Sauce

 Wild Mushroom & Ceppo Pasta 
"Stove Pipe" Pasta with Chanterelle Mushrooms
Sherried Cream Sauce & Grated Grana

We were so full from the entree, but we still had one more course, dessert! Theo Pecan Pie was the best pecan pie I have ever had and I havent had many that I liked.  Under the layer of pecan is a layer of Theo chocolate and that just made our day.  Usually the middle portion of pecan pie is too sweet and sticky for me, but the pie here was smooth and really was quite good.  It was a satisfying way to end the meal.

Theo Chocolate Pecan Pie

Stuffed but completely happy my sister and I walked out of Steelhead Diner feeling like we got a great deal on food, service, and quality time spent together.  The weather was beautiful and we strolled along Pike Market enjoying the rest of the day.  If you're in Seattle you still have time to take advantage of the Dine Around. Enjoy!

Steelhead Diner
95 Pine Street, Suite 17
Seattle, WA 98101

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Homegrown Sandwich?

There's a little restaurant in the heart of Fremont called Homegrown and it advertises itself as the sustainable sandwich shop.  Now what could that mean? A lot of things in Seattle are green friendly and organic so that's what I assumed and that's what I got. Everything used is fresh, organic, local and recyclable from the napkins to the oatmeal containers.

I would never have tried Homegrown if it weren't for my roommate.  We tripped off at 7:45 am in the morning to Fremont to grab breakfast before work.  The commute wasn't so bad going local and parking on the sidestreet was relatively easy.  Walking into the restaurant your eyes are immediately drawn to the menu which stretches across an entire wall.  They have everything from breakfast sandwiches to regular sandwiches, oatmeal, salads, and soups.  They all were interesting and different sandwiches in a good way made with aioli sauces etc.

Crazy menu

We went with the oatmeal and breakfast sandwich combos.  My friend had the bacon, egg and cheese which was zoe's bacon, a fried egg, aioli and beecher's flagship on a griddled sesame roll, served with a mini cup of oatmeal  and I had the lamb sausage, egg, and cheese- homemade lamb sausage, a fried egg, sage aioli + beecher's flagship on a griddled sesame roll, served with a mini cup of oatmeal.  I must say it was filling and quite good.  The bun was slightly sweet and had just the right amount of crisp to it.  My friend's bacon was crispy and salty which worked well with the egg and cheese.  The aioli sauce we both really liked, it had a garlic flavor to it.  The only suggestion would have been to add more sauce to the sandwiches as we only had a taste of it.  My lamb sausage was a bit overcooked and salty, but with the rest of the things in the sandwich, it was fine.  Oatmeal was flavored with cinnamon and brown sugar and helped to balance the salty from the sandwich.

Bacon, egg, cheese
 zoe's bacon, a fried egg, aioli and beecher's flagship 
on a griddled sesame roll, served with a mini cup of oatmeal 

Lamb Sausage, egg, cheese
homemade lamb sausage, a fried egg, sage aioli + beecher's flagship 
on a griddled sesame roll, served with a mini cup of oatmeal

Overall, we liked the place.  There weren't too many other people in there, maybe because it was morning, but the restaurant is clean, friendly, and makes good local, organic, food.  I'm glad we got to try it!

3416 Fremont Ave N
(between 35th St & 34th St)
Seattle, WA 98103

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Restaurant Week in Seattle!

Yes, it is now fall in Seattle and along with the changing leaves comes the pouring rain and gray skies.  Normally the weather would bring me down but not two nights ago when some girlfriends and I took part in dining at a nice fancy restaurant for a very affordable price thanks to Seattle Restaurant Week! For just $25 we were able to have an appetizer, entree, AND dessert at a very romantic and delicious restaurant by the name of Il Bistro.  We were celebrating a birthday so it was a perfect occasion for a girls night out.

Il Bistro is tucked away in a corner of Pikes Marketplace.  I would never have known it was downstairs right below the famous pig at the front of the market had we not made reservations for dinner.  Walking into the restaurant, we all right away noticed the dim romantic lighting and elegant table settings.  Hmmm will 6 girls be quiet enough for this place?

Il Bistro

We had a variety of options for dinner and had a tough time choosing.  The majority of us for appetizer either got the Bruschetta al Pomodoro which was a grilled Tuscan bread with vine ripened tomatoes, Sicilian olive oil & organic basil or the Antipasto Misto. Both were delicious.  The bruschetta had a wonderful crispy texture that worked well with the fresh tomatos and blend of olive oil and herbs.  The antipasto had a variety of salami, cheese, and marinated vegetables like mushrooms, olives, and bell peppers. Eaten together with the complimentary soft bread it was fantastic!

 Bruschetta al Pomodoro 
Grilled Tuscan Bread with Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Sicilian Olive Oil & Organic Basil

Antipasto Misto 
A Selection of Italian Meats, Cheeses & Marinated Vegetables

Our entrees were also well presented and cooked. The majority of us chose the Salmoné Wild King Salmon, grilled and served with whipped potatoes, swiss chard & black truffle butter.  It was perfectly cooked and the hint of truffle oil made you want to savor each bite.  Other choices were the Filetto del Maiale which was a pan roasted pork tenderloin, garlic rustic potatoes and a bing cherry-port demi glace and the Linguini con Frutti di Maré  which was linguini pasta, clams, mussels, calamari & salmon in a white wine & herb broth.  Both were very good and rich with flavors.

Wild King Salmon Grilled and Served with Whipped Potatoes,
Swiss Chard & Black Truffle Butter 

 Filetto del Maiale 
Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Garlic Rustic Potatoes
and a Bing Cherry-Port Demi Glace

 Linguini con Frutti di Maré 
Linguini Pasta, Clams, Mussels, Calamari & Salmon 
in a White Wine & Herb Broth

Dessert complimented the meal.  We had a choice of pumpkin gelato, tiramisu, and a chocolate torte.  The gelato was different and actually quite good with a distinct pumpkin flavor. Both the tiramisu and the chocolate torta were rich, but so good.  The tiramisu had a bit more run then we would have liked but the torta was smooth and velvety chocolate all the way, yum!


All in all, a very good dining experience. Our waiter was great and catered to our needs and the food was delicious.  I would definitely go back again for another experience as others did judging from the full tables.  If you need a place for a date dinner, Il Bistro is a must place to try.

Il Bistro
93-A Pike St.
Pike Place Market
Seattle, WA 98101

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Bread!

I am in the fall mood! Fall is officially here. The leaves are changing colors and the smell of wood burning and pumpkin pie is in the air! One of my friends hosted a cookie decorating night the other evening and made some really cute pumpkin bread with a  fall cakelet bread mold from Crate and Barrel. I loved it so much I asked if I could borrow it today to make some of my own.  I also stopped by Crate and Barrel today to pick up a fall cookie pan that I thought would be great as molds for pumpkin bread as well.  Did I say I love fall??

I used a great pumpkin bread recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 3 cups white sugar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
  • In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (30 mins for cakelets and 15 mins for cookie pan)

    They came out great! I love pumpkin bread and cute molds. The pans were easy to use and hand washer friendly as well. I totally recommend getting these for the holidays. They are great for snacking and eye pleasing as well. Enjoy!

    Cookie pan

     Fall Cakelet pan

    Fall pumpkin cookie bread