Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just really good Pho

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I go for Vietnamese Phở more in the winter time, than the rest of the year, so I thought I'd recommend one of my favorite places to go on Queen Anne. I think everyone has a favorite in each neighborhood in Seattle. I'm mentioning Pho Viet Anh at 372 Roy Street, because that's the place I'll go during the work week with my co-workers.

I think more than anything, the key to a good Phở is the broth. There's nothing more unsatisfying than a weak broth, let me tell ya. I ordered the vegetarian soup last time, thinking to myself that I hope it wasn't just like water and veggies, and it wasn't. Far from it. The broth was heaven! I even tasted my friend's chicken stock broth, and the veggie one was just as fulfilling and rich in flavor.

Funny thing is, every time I go here, I usually get their Rice Vermicelli Noodles, because it's just too tempting and too good. This time, it was rainy and miserable out, and I had to go for the soup. It was delicious, and I will continue to go back to Pho Viet Anh as long as they have one of the best bowls of soup in town!

Pho Viet Anh!  It's Lunch!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Dray: Best Little Pub in Town!

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"This is a damn good sandwich."

"This is damn good beer."

That's all you really need to know about a new little pub we discovered over a month ago, called The Dray. Located on NW 65th street, just across from the Goodwill, where we were originally trying to get to that day but it was so crowded we decided to get some lunch and ran into this awesome place.

If you love trying all sorts of beer, watching soccer or football (Both American and English types), hot interesting grilled sandwiches, and friendly owners, you will love The Dray. If you want a menu with a 100 items on it, and a bunch of tasteless fried crap, don't come here.

They list their beer according to color on the menu, which is actually very helpful whether you're a novice or a connoisseur . I ended up choosing a Fox Barrel cider (delicious!), because I don't drink beer. My husband LOVES his beer though, even to the point of making his own home brew, so he was definitely perusing the beverage list for a long time, virtually in heaven. I can't remember what he got, but he ended up being very pleased with the two choices he made.

I was a little low on protein that day, so I chose the Grand Salame sandwich. Filled with Genoa salame, provolone, sliced pepperoncini, basil aoli on a Macrina herb roll, the flavors danced in my mouth, doing the cha-cha between tangy and hot all over my tastebuds. I kept thinking to myself, "Why don't I do this at home?!" And proceeded to ponder the thought of blowing a wad on a fancy Calphalon panini press.

"Nah...I'll just come here." I decided.

My husband Darren, who rarely finds anything vegetarian to eat at a pub, totally grubbed on their Grilled Cheese that had English sharp cheddar, pear chile chutney on Macrina whole wheat cider bread. I caught him humming and "mmm'ing" as he shoved his face with the gooey sweet and salty toasted sandwich of love. I tasted it too, and moaned.

So yea...basically, GO CHECK OUT THE DRAY! It's a tiny place, too, so if you come with a big group, just be prepared to get a little cozy.

cider
close salame
beer and grilled cheese sandwich

Friday, November 28, 2008

Blue C Sushi Simple and Quick

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I decided to review Blue C Sushi in Fremont, Seattle, because I didn't want this blog to simply be about the best places I've dined. I want to include not-so-good and middle of the road experiences, because that's really what my Wandering Fork does on a weekly basis.

In this case, I guess it's a "wandering chopstick." But I like going to Blue C sushi when I want something immediately ready, my salmon fresh (there's a high turnover rate with that one), and moderately priced. The conveyor belt of sushi is quite fun to watch, as Anime plays on a huge white wall behind me, and trendy house music is heard in the background. Each plate is color coded, according to price. I snatch up an orange-colored $2.75 plate of Spinach Gomae (blanched spinach with toasted sesame dressing), which always makes me happy to start off with. I just saw my Salmon Nigiri go by, but luckily I see another one coming my way! Another orange plate, so another $2.75. I then grab a more expensive dark blue plate of Seared Tuna, which ends up being a bit too chewy, so I don't eat all of it. See, that's the thing, you never know how long things have been rotating around the belt, so there is this off chance that you might get the older one. I live life on the edge folks. I then finish things off with a vegetarian plate of sesame noodles, trying to decide if I should have grabbed that Potato Katsu that keeps rolling by...nah, I have Thanksgiving pie left at home I should save room for.

I'm actually a really big sushi lover, so the fact that I lower my hoity-toity standards a bit, just to head to Blue C for something quick, might shock my closest friends. But what can I say? When I don't want to drop $50+ at one sitting, this is the place I go. The staff is nice, and when I'm ready for another drink, or want to order from the menu, you just press a blue button in front of you, that lights up another blue light above you and alerts the waiter/waitress, that you would like something else. You also pay your bill like this, pressing the button to get your check.

If you're from Seattle, then you'll know there are a hundred better places you could go to, but at least nothing has ever been "fishy" and I leave pretty satisfied. There's also a nice bar upstairs where they have various interesting cocktails like "Plumartini" (Stoli vodka, plum wine, shaken and served up), lots of sake, beer and wine.

My total came to about $20, and my green tea was a nice way to end the meal.

If you're ever in Fremont, check it out! And then you can go blow $100 at Chiso some other time.

Blue C Sushi in Fremont
Anime playing at Blue C Sushi
Sushi goes by on conveyor belt
price color coded plates at Blue C Sushi

Friday, November 21, 2008

Beautiful Radicchio!

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I just got another one of my photos published online! It is featured in an article called "Ruby Red: Radicchio from Treviso", which you can read here: http://www.sanpellegrino.com/index.html

Radicchio

I'll have to post more of my work now and again, that various blogs, websites and book publishers have used. It really is neat when people ask to use them and it inspires me to become a better photographer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Last night's "Bites of Asia" cooking class at PCC Natural Market was fabulous! We learned how to make the Vietnamese style fresh roll wraps, scallop dumplings (including how to fold the wontons properly), and curry lamb skewers! Everything was absolutely delicious, my favorite being the dumplings...oh, if I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I'd be happy for life. The scallops and scallion filling was so fresh tasting, and really light. We steamed them in a large bamboo steamer, lined with cabbage. We also made dipping sauces for everything, which all had spicy, sweet, and salty elements to them.

I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving! I'm from Vancouver, Canada, so their Thanksgiving was back in October. Mum would usually bake a ham. I really love how excessive the American one is, though (Aren't I shameful??). Maybe because I grew up with no siblings, ours was always really small, so I relish in the thought of about 10 people getting together to make a bountiful feast! I especially love being so full to move, falling asleep on the couch, waking up, and then eating again.

Hope yours is a nummy one!

mmm piiiiieeee

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oliver's Twist a Seattle Gem!

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Your first thought when you walk inside Oliver's Twist in Greenwood, might be either, "Wow this place is cool!" or "Oh man, this place is too fancy schmancy!"

But just chill out okay. Try not to be intimidated by "cool atmosphere" and "ambiance".

This place is by far my favorite place to do happy hour or small bites and drinks any night of the week, in Greenwood. I think we have tried everything on the menu by now, my husband and I, usually ordering about 5 items to share with a couple of drinks. I highly recommend several things: The Kale with Garlic and Chili Flakes, which have the perfect amount of kick and earthy flavor, always ordering two plates because it's so tasty! The Tomato Cappuccino with Mini Grilled Cheese, a really a neat concept by frothing the sweet and bold soup so that it has foam on top, ladled into a coffee cup, and really fun to sip and dip the buttery grilled cheese into. One of their specialties and what you smell upon entering this fantastic joint, is the Garlic Truffle Popcorn, which I can't stop eating. In fact I hoard it, stuffing huge handfuls into my mouth like someone who hasn't eaten in days. The truffle isn't overwhelming at all, and you get a perfect dose of garlic in every bite. I can't forget to tell you about the Blue Cheese-Bacon Stuffed Dates. The moment they go into your mouth, you can't help but moan and wonder how they came up with this heavenly pairing. You can imagine, the blue cheese and bacon might be overwhelming for some, but if you like strong flavors with both salty and sweet, this dish is for you. Oh, and if you can swing it, order the Olives...can't go wrong with a bowl of tangy plump oil cured olives.

Dessert, you ask? Think 2 huge scoops of chocolate gelato, sitting on top of homemade peanut butter caramel, topped with a sprinkling of sea salt. It's basically like eating a Reese's Peanut butter cup "on crack" as the waitress said.

The drinks are good too. I always order a Miss Nancy, consisting of gin, blood-orange bitters n' bubbles, rhubarb-tarragon syrup, and a lovely sprig of tarragon! I usually only need one, as they are pretty stiff. *smile* Some of the cocktails have some pretty interesting combination's, which you may or may not like. But I would say trying them is half the fun!

Prices are a bit on the high end, but when you consider what the ingredients are, it's understandable in my eye. Food ranges from about $6-$10 per small plate (a few bucks less during happy hour) and drinks are $7 or $8. Just make a special night of it, treat yourself or meet some friends to share!

Here are some of my nummy photos!

tomato cappuccino, mini grilled cheese sandwichall green food
blue cheese-bacon stuffed dates, marcona almonds,warm tomato vinaigretteMiss Nancy
peanut butter caramel, chocolate gelato, sea salt

PCC Cooks!

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Tonight I'll be heading to the PCC Natural Food market around the corner at the Greenlake location, to take one of their cooking classes! A birthday gift from a friend, they offer many different classes both hands on and demonstrative. With my crazy schedule, I couldn't find a class where I'd actually be cooking, but I found a relatively easy one to observe and take notes, and afterwords we get to taste! It is called A Wrap, a Skewer and a Dumpling: Bites of Asia. I can't wait! I will definitely have to try a more hands on class, when the opportunity arises.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Best Veggie Burger in Seattle!

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best veggie burger 1

I discovered this place while running an errand during lunch one day. It's from the Cherry Street Coffee House at 2719 1st Ave. @ Clay Street. Totally homemade, with just the right amount of veggies, cheese, burger and mayonnaise. A real treat! But what sets it apart from an "ordinary" veggie burger, is the middle eastern flavors filling this scrumptious patty of love. Turns out the owner is Ali Ghambari, who started at the B&O Espresso on Capitol Hill, and then created his own business with the Cherry Street Coffee House. The menu includes Hummus, Falafel, and gigantic Gyro's, but you can also get homemade soups (my favorite being a lemon rice soup much like Greek Avgolemono), sandwiches, bagels, salads and pastries. And let's not forget the coffee! It's really REALLY good strong coffee, and that makes me smile from ear to ear when I can have a fantastic lunch followed up with great cup of Joe. So just keep doing what you're doing Ali! I recommend this place to everyone.

my lunch today!Really good Falafel

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Boat Street Kitchen for the Win!

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If you're looking for a tasty, non-greasy, clean and cozy dining experience at lunch time, the Boat Street Kitchen is the place to go! Most people like their lunches fast, but on occasion I want to take my time and it's nice to be able to find a place that makes their lunches with fresh ingredients, taking a little more time to prepare one of the most tasty lunch experiences you'll ever have. I recommend the Leek Tarte with baked apple and splurge on the Goat Cheese Cheesecake! TO DIE FOR!

Here's their website:
http://boatstreetkitchen.com/

My leek tart with baked apple and salad

Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Figs

Broadway Grill Disappoints

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What happened to the Broadway Grill? I have always gone there expecting fresh food and timely service. This time, however, I was sadly disappointed. I ordered a small salad, dressing on the side, and a pasta dish. As I waited, with the clock ticking close to 40 minutes, I could see my little wee salad sitting there at the food station...waiting...waiting. I finally got it, and not only was the dressing not on the side, but it was SMOTHERED in it. Basically inedible. I was so hungry though, I had a few bites, and waited another 10 minutes to receive my entree (keep in mind, it's almost been an hour waiting for food). I expected my pasta to be like it always was there, fresh and hot, and not overdone. It was none of these things. The pasta was so over cooked, smothered in way too much sauce, with shrimp like rubber, and an old piece of bread I almost cracked my tooth on. I felt really bad that I had this experience, because their seafood has always been fresh, and the meals were never sloppily put together. I decided to order dessert, to see if that had changed too. My chocolate bundt cake, ended up being the only redeeming thing during my meal, thank goodness! So at least I know they can warm up a cake, throw some chocolate and ice cream on it and make it look pretty. The only way I would go back, is if I had to for a group function or drinks. Sorry Broadway Grill! You need a makeover.

Broadway Grill (a review)

chocolate bundt cake
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