Posts Tagged ‘University District’
I’ve never owned a car. I’ve always lived in cities with an integrated public transport system where it’s cheap and convenient to navigate work and play on buses, ferries and trains. By American standard, Seattle has an adequate (and expanding) network of buses and light rail. The one exception that has foiled me time and again is getting to the University District from Downtown. There is no direct bus route! Thankfully generous friends have driven me there for meals at Shun (sadly closed), and iced chocolates at Fran’s. We deviated from routine a couple of weeks ago for lunch at U:Don.
A ‘fresh Japanese noodle station’, there was a sign at the entrance outlining the order process.
There were eight styles of udon on the menu in three sizes.
An extensive list of tempura and sides were neatly written on a chalkboard.
Black and white prints, red accent walls and birch furniture, the dining room was minimally modern. We watched the chef dunk and scoop udon and customise the bowl, and like a cafeteria, slid the tray along to select tempura and sides which were priced per item.
I gripped my tray tightly and perched precariously on the square stool. In a steaming dashi broth, my udon was garnished with grated daikon and ginger, green onions and shredded nori, and topped with an ontama (coddled egg). The broth was light and clear, and the house made noodles firm.
Kakiage, a vegetable tempura fritter, had starchy strips of root vegetables and cauliflower florets. I love eggplant but the fanned wedge was a little raw.
It was a speedy experience at U:Don!
There is a proliferation of chocolate cafés in Sydney. Guylian, Lindt and Max Brenner all have multiple locations across the city. They sell chocolates and accessories, and have seating for desserts and beverages. I frequented all three brands as they were within walking distance from work! Chocolate milkshakes after a charity run, sharing slices of gateau and opera post theatre, or a mid afternoon sugar hit, the chocolate cafés are cosy, welcoming places.
Chocolate is the colour scheme. Pale walls and dual street frontage brightens the store. A beautiful bouquet of flowers was a centrepiece at the entrance.
Displays are minimalistic and geometric.
Caramels and truffles are boxed and wrapped in a pretty bronze ribbon bow.
Persplex cases reveal the contents of gift boxes.
A selection of chocolate bars of varying cacao percentages with descriptions such as ‘intense and bold’ and ‘dark and crunchy’.
Four by four trays of truffles are neatly lined on the counter.
A strong bittersweet mocha was served in a ceramic mug.
On the saucer was a complimentary square of 64% chocolate.
Myra and Shirley sipped on a thick and creamy iced chocolate.
Grey salt caramel samples were chewy and the salt crystals heightens the sweetness.
We returned home on a chocolate high!
I traipsed up to University Village on a weekday for an impromptu lunch at Shun with Lovely Lanvin and Seattle Bon Vivant. An overcast morning, the clouds dissipated into a brilliant afternoon. Shun is located about half a kilometre above U Village on the ground floor of an apartment building.
Shun has a three course lunch for fifteen dollars for Seattle Restaurant Week and it was nearly full by midday. There are three sections to the restaurant. To the left of the entrance is a long and narrow space, perfect for group gatherings. To the right is the main dining room and sushi counter.
We were seated at the sushi counter and Japanese greetings were exchanged. Chef Yoshi’s nimble hands were making nigiri by the dozens as he chatted with Shirley. Ceramic bowls and plates were neatly stacked on shelves and a decorative plate depicted a traditional scene.
An ornate pot and dish set for soy sauce.
Three portions of seared albacore tuna and mixed greens were drizzled with an onion soy dressing. The sashimi was a little soft and the dressing accentuated the sweetness of the fish.
I selected tempura soba for the main. A large bowl of savoury broth swirled with firm strands of buckwheat noodles. A liberal sprinkle of shichimi and I slurped gently, comforted by the spicy warmth.
Two prawns, a broccoli floret and a potato fritter, the tempura were served separately. I did not put my tempura into the broth until Shirley explained that’s how it’s eaten in Japan! I like the crunch of the tempura batter but that is what adds flavour to the noodle soup.
Dessert was presented on a lime and white chequered tile with a daffodil border. A sliced strawberry and a dollop whipped cream accessorised the caramel flan. Silky custard and sticky caramel was a lovely final course.
The restaurant was still full when we left, Seattle Restaurant Week is popular!