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  1. My favorite places in Factoria are Shanghai Cafe (across the street from Factoria Mall) and Tasty Thai (in the Loehmann's shopping center). Shanghai Cafe's house special barleygreen noodle chow mein and pork w/dried bean curd & pickled cabbage are pretty good. Tasty Thai has excellent mussaman curry and panang curry. Closer to Eastgate, there's South Gate Korean BBQ, which is good (but not quite as good as the places on Aurora.) If you're willing to venture a little farther away from Factoria, there's a couple of places in the Trader Joe's shopping center (NE 20th and 156th). Zenyai noodles is an upscale Asian place (seems to be a mixture of Thai, Vietnamese, and a few Japanese dishes.) It's relatively pricey but very tasty. Mayuri has really good lamb biryani and ginger chicken.
  2. David and I went to Doong Kong Lau on Aurora for dim sum this morning, and received bad news: they're closing in about a week. I'll miss the Hakka pork in pickled mustard greens. We're hoping that they stay open for the weekend so we can do dim sum there one more time.
  3. It's in the Uwajimaya complex, facing 5th Ave.
  4. Note: This topic on Samurai Ramen was split off from the "Chinese Restaurant in the ID" topic. -- CA David and I visited Samurai Ramen today. I had the tonkatsu broth ramen and he had the chicken broth ramen. The tonkatsu broth was decadent--David called it "liquid bacon". I don't know much about ramen, so I can't tell whether or not it was authentic, but it was very good.
  5. Tea-smoked duck. At 7SP it was served cold and was OK (not sure it's even on the menu at 7SP anymore). At SC it's served hot and the duck fat just melts in your mouth.
  6. David and I went to Lark for the first time this weekend to celebrate our friend Rupa's birthday. David and I had been hesitant to try Lark for a while because we'd had downright awful food at Earth & Ocean back when Sundstrom was there. But the years of people raving about Lark finally wore us down, and now I'm sorry we didn't go sooner. The rillettes, the cauliflower soup (just a silky essence of cauliflower), and the pork belly were amazing. I can't wait to go back.
  7. David and I went on Wednesday night, the day of the review. Not surprisingly, they were clearly overwhelmed, even though the restaurant wasn't full (it's big.) I had to get up and walk over to a waiter to get our menus (if we'd waited for someone to come to our table, it would have taken a half an hour.) We had to ask for water three times. The good news is that food-wise it seems to be Seven Stars in Bellevue, which is a dream come true for me. We had the Chong Gin chicken, which was exactly as good as it is at Seven Stars. We also had a seafood curry that was great. I noticed many of the favorites from Seven Stars on the menu--dan dan noodles, ant on a tree, cumin lamb. The specials board had only one item--Szechwan crab. However, the menu itself is huge, so I think perhaps the specials have been incorporated in the menu itself. We also saw quite a lot of people enjoying hot pot there. So bottom line, at this point, for Seattleites it's probably not worth crossing the bridge, when Seven Stars has basically the same food and better service.
  8. My favorite place for truffles, buttercreams, caramels, and chocolate-covered nuts is Amore Chocolates in Bellevue. I really love Guittard (the chocolate they use for their confections), and the way the ingredients are balanced so that the chocolate isn't overwhelmed by other flavors. It's amazing how good something as simple as milk chocolate covered peanuts can be when the chocolate is good and the peanuts are fresh. They're always trying new things. Since I last reported on them, they've added chile truffles with 5 star and 10 star heat levels, a raspberry hazelnut buttercream (tastes like raspberry cheesecake for some reason), Bourbon Street caramels, and tiramisu buttercreams (lovely coffee flavor), and an amazing peanut butter truffle. Around Halloween, they had a spicy brown sugar and pumpkin buttercream, and right now they have boozy Eggnog buttercreams and eggnog truffles. They also have some of the best cookies in town. And your first chocolate is free.
  9. Most of my favorites have already been mentioned (the midnight cuban sandwich at Paseo, the lamb prosciutto at Salumi, Zaina's lamb sandwiches, various banh mi), but here are a couple more: Turkey with cabrales and dried cranberries from Matt's, tragically not on the menu right now. I hate turkey with cranberry sauce but the dried cranberries add just the right amount of sweetness to offset the cabrales. Totally addictive. The turkey sandwich and ham sandwich at Arosa Cafe on Madison. Really good panini bread, pressed so that the meat and cheese and tomatoes all combine into salty/tart squishy goodness. And you can get one of those delicious sweet waffle thingies as well.
  10. Mine, too. I recently tried a Scharffen Berger milk chocolate bar and a bittersweet dark chocolate bar. My immediate reactions were "Yuck, why is it so sour?" and "This doesn't even taste like chocolate." I felt really unsatisfied after eating it--none of the happy chocolate brain waves were going. To me Guittard bittersweet is the epitome of chocolate flavor. And I live near a chocolatier who uses Guittard coverture for all of her creations I'm the luckiest girl in the world.
  11. Yabbut . . . I would be shocked if 10% of omnivores in America buy local meat and dairy or care whether their produce is locally grown. I can't see how buying meat and dairy transported from afar IN ADDITION to buying out of season produce from is any less of a choice that requires a certain level of societal wealth.
  12. I must admit to being puzzled by the notion that dietary veganism is expensive. When I look at my shopping cart, the most expensive items are the dairy and the meat items. Tofu where I shop is less expensive than any meat I can buy. And grains and dried legumes (which are the first things I'd think of if all animal products disappeared one day) are even cheaper. I'm sure that products like flavored soy milk and the like could be expensive, but I don't see that one has to buy them, any more than a non-vegan needs to buy cold smoked salmon or premium ice cream. Of course, I'm a meat and dairy consumer, so I may be ignorant of the hidden costs of veganism. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has practiced it for a considerable amount of time.
  13. Here's I Heart Bacon's review from her blog. The short version: she ran into the same long wait, explained just as rudely as you describe. The restaurant does not put people's names on a list. She went several places for drinks, returned really late and enjoyed the food. I can understand a small restaurant being swamped by the attention of a good review, but it's possible to be civil to customers (or potential customers) even when you're swamped. Perhaps I'm just not enough of a food warrior, but I'd go elsewhere.
  14. David and I went to brunch at Volterra last weekend, and I had the chestnut pancakes with apples and mascarpone. They were really dense and had a strong flavor that I assume was the chestnut flour. I enjoyed them with just the apple/mascarpone topping and the dusting of powdered sugar, but David liked them better with lot of maple syrup to them. We also had some perfectly cooked fennel sausage, and their frittata with prosciutto. I can't wait to try them for dinner.
  15. I tend to think of meals at chains mostly in terms of opportunity cost: I have a finite number of meals left in my life, and every meal I eat at a national chain restaurant is a meal I won't be able to enjoy somewhere else. Right now I have a list of about 40 independent or small local-chain restaurants I want to try out for the first time, and I probably have about that many that I've tried before and like enough to go back to. And there are new restaurants popping up every week! I do go to Cheesecake Factory or Chevy's when group gatherings demand it, and that's more than enough for me. Frankly, they always seem overpriced compared to what I can get elsewhere, even if I find the food ok. If I want simple, good, and familiar, there's the banh mi shop down the street, or the taco truck that makes wondefully fresh carne asada tacos, or a barbecue place that makes delicious brisket sandwiches, or another vietnamese place for pho. I'm living near absolutely great restaurant city (Seattle) and see no need that national chains can fill for me. Obviously they fill a need for other people and that's fine.
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