Posts Tagged ‘pickles’
I don’t remember where and when I’ve eaten Taiwanese food. The only dishes I know are oyster omelette (蚵仔煎) and ‘three cup’ chicken (三杯雞), both of which are common in Cantonese style restaurants.
Facing East was recommended by several people and our group of four gathered for a weekday lunch. I paced up and down Bellevue Way between 10th and 12th checking the numbers and had to call for directions. Similar to Tamarind Tree, Facing East is located in a mall with no street frontage.
A small dining room for a popular eatery, the space is modern and bright.
The glossy menu is categorised into snacks and sides, rice and noodles, chef’s specials, and desserts. Service was polite and we let our waiter guide our order.
On a wooden tray, the oolong tea (烏龍茶) was ceremoniously rinsed and poured. A petite ceramic teapot steeped the leaves and a miniature jug was enough for four tiny cups of oolong tea. Hot water refill was in a stainless steel thermos to quench our thirst.
First was Taiwanese pork burger. Reminiscent of the famed Momofuku pork bun, this is a comparable version. A snowy steamed bun was agape with a slab of pork belly, pickles, peanuts and sprigs of coriander. It was a decadent combination of meaty, fatty, sweet and sour.
It was National Fried Chicken Day so we had five spice fried chicken with basil. Lightly battered, the tender morsels were garnished with crisp Thai basil leaves and sliced pickles.
Portions of Painted Hills short rib were tossed in an appetising black pepper sauce. Pickled pearl onions tempered the richness of the succulent beef.
A modest size bowl of spicy pork stew with rice was savoury comfort food.
A mound of green beans sautéed in garlic was crunchy and sweet.
I have added Facing East to my list of quality Asian restaurants in the Seattle area!
I had a sandwich for lunch every day during secondary school. It was a utilitarian meal of chicken or tuna with mayonnaise, Kraft Singles, tomato slices and iceberg lettuce. Weary of soggy bread, limp lettuce and mealy tomatoes, I avoided sandwiches in my university years and I still rarely them.
A recent highlight was Fusion on the Run‘s coconut ginger chicken bánh mì at last year’s Mobile Food Rodeo. Naomi suggested Sub-Sand (潛水艇) for a weekday lunch. Located next to Fuji Bakery, Sub-Sand specialises in bánh mì style sandwiches.
Coral walls and a black menu with orange print was the backdrop for the sandwich counter. An illuminated light box displayed photos of dishes.
A shark motif decorated the dining room. Shark shaped lamp shades were on the ceiling and a hammerhead sharks mural was painted by the owner.
We ordered two sandwiches to share. The ingredients were layered in crusty baguettes and pinned by a toothpick. Both were garnished with batons of pickled carrot and cucumber, slivers of red onion, shredded lettuce, sprigs of coriander and jalapeño.
Aromatic and succulent, the lemongrass chicken was a delicious contrast of meaty, crunchy and chewy textures.
I had expected the salt and pepper tofu sandwich to be stuffed with cubes of deep fried bean curd, instead they were marinated slabs smeared with mustard. A curious combination in a sandwich, the silky tofu was pleasingly savoury.
I had spotted egg waffles (雞蛋仔) displayed in the window and was delighted that they made my favourite traditional Cantonese street food. I devour a bag a day when I’m in Hong Kong!
A thick batter was poured into a pockmarked waffle iron and rotated for even cooking. The sweet scent perfumed the air, so much so that a guy asked us what we were eating as we exited the restaurant! Crispy edged and spongy inside, the bubble wrap lattice was a light dessert.
Priced between four and six dollars, the generous portions were excellent value!
I spent twelve hours in Portland last Friday. I had visited Vancouver three times in the past year but had not travelled south to Oregon. Crossing the Columbia River Bridge was a spectacular entrance into the state and city. Of Portlandia and tax-free shopping fame, Portlanders were friendly and I adored their boutiques. A stoic posy of daffodils defied the cool temperatures, sheltered by a flowering camellia tree.
A curious structure of wooden beams, corrugated roofing and bamboo walls, the aesthetics were of Southeast Asian hawker stalls.
Festive lights twinkled and the heater glowed. Water was steeped in pandan leaves which tasted of toasted rice.
The dense menu detailed ingredients and cooking methods for each dish.
Although tempted by a Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, I was already buzzing from two caffeinated beverages. I selected a glass of cha manao instead, a Thai iced tea with fresh lime juice. It was refreshing and its delicate sweetness tempered the bold flavours.
Three of us shared four main courses and one dessert. The Pok Pok special was a plate of game hen (kai yaang) and papaya salad. Roasted on a rotisserie over charcoal, the portions of chicken were smoky and tender. The spicy sweet and sour, and tamarind dipping sauces were appetizing, so much so that I emptied the remainder onto coconut rice and sticky rice. Julienne green papaya, halved cherry tomatoes, batons of snake beans and crunchy peanuts were mixed with Thai chilli, lime juice, tamarind, fish sauce, garlic and palm sugar.
Next was gulf prawns grilled over charcoal (kung phao). The charred shell peeled easily and the succulent crustacean was swirled in the shallow bowl of lime, garlic, coriander root and chilli sauce.
Ike’s Vietnamese fish sauce wings are a Pok Pok signature. Marinated in fish sauce and palm sugar, deep fried, and tossed in caramelised Phú Quốc fish sauce (nước mắm) and garlic, the poultry was served with pickles, lettuce and slices of cucumber. The chicken wings were an ominous crimson and each bite numbed our mouths. Our lips tingled and our fingers sticky, they were a fiery highlight.
A classic Thai stir-fried rice noodles, the phat si ew was silky and peppery. A dark soy tan, and flecked with Carlton Farms pork, Chinese broccoli and egg, I would have been happy eating only this as my meal.
We ignored the durian dessert and ordered the coconut ice cream sandwich. Wedged in a brioche bun on a bed of sticky rice were four scoops of coconut jackfruit ice cream sprinkled with peanuts and drizzled with condensed milk. We requested no chocolate syrup and also abandoned the bread. Coconut, sticky rice, peanuts and condensed milk were a pleasing combination.
Pok Pok readied us for an afternoon of shopping!
I walk through South Lake Union several times a week. The neighbourhood is busy during the week, especially on the Westlake thoroughfare from Whole Foods to Harrison. I noticed the construction site on the corner of Harrison and Terry many months ago and didn’t know it was Cactus until recently. I love the pink window frames!
Next to the trio of Tom Douglas restaurants in the Terry Avenue Building and opposite Portage Bay Café, it is an emerging dining hub. The eateries already do brisk business on weekdays but foot traffic is minimal on weekends.
Cactus is located in an elongated room with a high ceiling. A bar is at the entrance and the dining room splits to the right and left. A private function room is on the mezzanine level. Floor-to-ceiling glass filters in natural light and patterned cylindrical lampshades are elegant and muted in contrast to the colourful furnishings. Chairs were painted and upholstered in azure, lime, saffron and copper.
We were seated at a booth on a quiet Sunday lunch service. Hand painted motifs featured on each wooden table. The modern and vibrant space is welcoming and cheerful.
Mango agua fresca, a fizzy beverage of agave nectar, fresm lime, mango, mint and sparkling water was refreshing.
The other Cactus restaurants are in Alki Beach, Kirkland and Madison Park and each has a unique logo which is printed on the serviettes.
We nibbled on salsa, guacamole and corn chips while we perused the menu. The salsa casera, homemade salsa, was appetisingly piquant.
A basket of warm corn chips was plentiful for the bowl of guacamole. Avocado, cilantro, lime, onion, serrano chillis and pico de gallo mashed together as a chunky dip.
Mr S selected the fajitas with grilled skirt steak. A plate of condiments and warm flour tortillas accompanied the sizzling skillet of Spanish rice, cumin black beans and caramelised onions. There is a rustic charm in wrapping ingredients and eating it by hand.
There are two tacos per serving and the kitchen kindly accommodated my request to mix and match. Spanish rice and cumin black beans were requisite for a Mexican meal.
On a house made white corn tortilla, the pescado had a fillet of battered fish, coriander and pasilla coleslaw, pico de gallo and buttermilk crema. A little soggy, the flaky white fish absorbed the tangy flavours that were tempered by the squirt of buttermilk crema.
The second taco was carnitas Yucatecas, Carlton Farms pork in achiote marinade and roasted in banana leaves, caramelised pineapple, Cotija cheese and red onion escabeche. It is a delectable combination of tender meat, sweet pineapple and pickled onions.
Flan is a one of my favourite desserts and this three milk Cuban flan is one of the best I’ve tasted. The sepia toned custard was poised in a puddle of sticky sauce. It was firm, smooth and creamy, topped with a vanilla speckled layer of caramel.
Cactus is a welcomed addition to South Lake Union!
We had an extra couple of hours on our Zip Car reservation on the weekend and we drove the scenic route home. We leisurely wound our way through Redmond and Woodinville where tree lined streets were leafy in shades of red, orange and yellow. And the deciduous green ones were a palette of all three colours. Mr S directed us to Phinney Ridge for an early dinner at Red Mill Burger.
Red Mill Burger was featured in the Seattle episode of the infamous Travel Channel show Man v. Food. At the corner of a busy intersection, the small car park was full but we found a spot quickly on an adjacent street.
There were picnic tables on the sidewalk under an awning, and a mixture of counter seating and booths inside. There were eleven beef, four chicken and three vegetarian burgers on the menu, and a selection of beverages and sides.
Owned by the Shepherd family, there are now Red Mill Burgers at Phinney Ridge, Interbay and Totem House in Ballard which opened earlier this month.
Pastel yellow walls are decorated with vintage signs and Dutch themed collectibles. A letter board displayed the nostalgic message of ‘go Sonics‘.
A bowling pin and a clog guard the condiments in assorted containers.
Stainless steel table, red chairs, squeeze bottles of mustard and ketchup, serviette dispenser - this view of the dining room reminds me of Grease!
Mr S queued to order while I hovered for a table. He selected the bacon deluxe with cheese. Wrapped in foil, the burger had a flame grilled beef patty, pepper bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and Mill sauce. Two days later, he is still waxing lyrical about the crispy bacon, ‘the best I’ve had in Seattle’.
I picked the Red Mill deluxe with cheese. Wedged in a soft sesame bun was a juicy beef patty, molten American cheese, slices of tomato and red onion, an abundance of pickles, fresh lettuce and Mill sauce. It was a generous size burger, tasty and cheap. I would rank this a close third after In-N-Out and Shake Shack!
I had a thick and creamy chocolate milkshake and we shared a serving of French fries. These were lightly salted and crunchy.
We exited the time warp, happy to have sated our burger craving.