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Posts posted by creepygirl

  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. 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.

  3. Anything else you'd say they do better besides Ants (I've had 7SP Ants a number of times, so it would be an easy comparison)? Service isn't an issue for us-we go every weekend for crabs, beers and lots more, and so always get treated fabulously. Not that that makes it okay that you had bad service.

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. Has anyone tried Szechuan Chef in Bellevue, the place that Nancy Leson wrote about in today's Times? It sounds worth a trip across the bridge. I hadn't realized 7 Stars Pepper had been sold last year-there was no change in quality or waitstaff.

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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. :wub:

  8. I'm thinking that chocolate at this level starts coming down to individual taste more than what's objectively "better", because while I have several friends who swear that Scharffen Berger is the best chocolate they've ever had, period, I find it very acidic, sour, and not very chocolatey. My taste buds must be different.

    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 :wub: I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

  9. I think that veganism and vegetarianism can both be considered "luxuries of the affluent" in certain contexts.  As Bourdain has written/said, there are plenty of places on this planet where folks are happy to eat whatever little food is available to them.  Compare this notion to that of a vegan who avoids locally-produced meat or dairy in favor of out-of-season produce which has been transported from afar into the vegan's town.  While the vegan who purchases that produce may not be wealthy, its very availability is a function of an affluent society.  In such cases, the dietary choice does require a certain level of societal wealth.  Societal wealth makes what may be absolutely unattainable for some, instantly accessible for others.  It transforms what could otherwise be an issue of survival into nothing more than a simple choice at the supermarket (or restaurant) . . . thus, the perception of luxury.

    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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. I looked at the brunch menu they posted in the window.  Looks great.  I am planning to bring out of town guests on Satuday for the Chestnut flour pancakes topped with flambe bannas and chestnut honey flavored marscapone.  My friends are pancake lovers so we'll see how they stack up.

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. Occasionally we'll decide on the spur of the moment to have cured meats, cheese, and bread for dinner. So if we decide this on a Wednesday night or a Saturday afternoon, obviously we can't go to Salumi for meat.

    I've been to DeLaurenti's, but wasn't particularly thrilled with what I got (mortadella and cappacola, if I remember correctly). Also, DeLaurenti sells meats from Salumi at a huge markup (something like $30 per pound for lamb prosciutto) which makes me wonder how much they're marking up everything else in the store. What are some other alternatives?

  15. We received a gift certificate to Mistral for Christmas this year, and last night used it to take a friend out for her birthday.

    We went for the chef's menu, with boyfriend and friend getting the wine pairings and me abstaining.

    The presentation of the food reminded me a lot of Union, but I liked the bolder flavors here better. Service was also better, but a bit hover-y early in the meal when we were the only people in the restaurant.

    Neither boyfriend or friend were particularly impressed with the wine pairings, so we'd skip the wine next time, and just enjoy the food.

    Standout dishes were the English pea soup with a perfectly seared scallop (I ate the whole dish in silence, and boyfriend noted that my silence can indicate that something is so good, I'm focusing all my attention on eating it) , the lamb with an assertive buttery potato puree, and the vanilla and cherry brandy ice creams that accompanied the desserts. :wub:

  16. Nishino's been on the list for a while. I discovered the Rococoa cookie dessert during one of their 25 for $25 events (we were ordering off the regular menu, but the cookie looked divine), and I was raving about the cookie by April of 2003, so they've been on it for at least a year or two.

    Their 25 for $25 selections always look good to me, with some of the most interesting menu items, but if I'm going to Nishino, I want to order off the full menu.

  17. Wow! I'm overwhelmed by all of the suggestions, particularly for things I didn't think of, like the drive from San Diego to San Francisco. I have enough potential meals for several trips to either place.

    Ten days until the trip, and I'm so excited! Expect a report back sometime around March 7 or so.

  18. The only thing I can think of is that the only apples he likes are golden delicious that have gone mushy. Which means that we can't share in the enjoyment of the many, many apple varieties that we have available here.

    Really, that's a minor quibble, since I know I'm the more guilty party in terms of pickiness:

    I don't like shredded coconut unless it has been used in ways that make both the flavor and the texture subtle. Coconut flavor and texture can easily overwhelm all others to me.

    I find bell peppers to have a similar potential to overwhelm other flavors, so I'm a bit wary about ordering it or cooking with it unless I have reason to trust the instincts of the chef/recipe writer.

    I don't like foie gras, pate, or ankimo in large quantities. A little bit with something that contrasts in flavor and texture is how I like it best, and usually not how it's served at restaurants.

    I'm particularly sensitive to sweetness in savory dishes. This means a lot of meat & fruit preparations taste way too sweet to me. I once had a dish of roasted parsnips that I could have sworn had sugar in them, but were actually just really sweet parsnips. I also find adding sweeteners to squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes to be utterly cloying--I usually need lemon or chile or something to balance the natural sweetness of those vegetables.

    I hate iceberg lettuce and supermarket tomatoes on sandwiches, and try to order sandwiches without them whenever I can.

    Fortunately for me, boyfriend isn't irritated by my quirks, just orders the things that he likes when wants them. He also knows that if he's craving something that I don't like, I'm willing to cook it or share it with him at a restaurant. I have my preferences, but I don't have to eat optimally at every meal, and maybe someday, somewhere, someone will make glazed carrots that taste like carrots and not sugar to me.

  19. Will be taking a trip to SD and SF (we will have a car) at the end of Februrary-beginning of March.

    (Questions were also posted on another website)

    Here's the San Diego side of it:

    I am hoping to find some good Mexican food, as well as seafood. What would be ideal is a little Mexican seafood hole in the wall, the kind that serves ceviche tostadas and the like. Is there something like that in the San Diego area?


    I would also welcome recommendations for other styles of cuisine, since I don't want to burn out on Mexican food.


    Also, I want to check out a Chuao Chocolatier store. Apparently there's one store in Encinitas and one in La Jolla. Anyone know if there's any difference between the stores, like one being bigger than the other, or one offering a more diverse selection of chocolates?


    I've heard praise of Cantina Panaderia, but I don't know what kind of food is served and what the prices are like. Can anyone tell me?


    So far I'm considering:


    Nacho's Taco Shop in La Mesa

    Bahia Mexican Restaurant  

    Boo Cho Korean

    Emerald for dim sum

    Mama’s Lebanese

    The Fishery

    El Porvenir

    Gelato Vero

    Carnitas Urupan


    Khyber Pass


    A final consideration: one of our potential dining companions has a very low tolerance for chili heat. She loves Mexican food so long as there's one thing on the menu that she can order that won't blow her head off. If any of these places are for fire-breathers only, please let me know.


    Now here's the SF portion:

    I've researched some of the restaurants in SF and have some questions.


    Will be there for three days at the beginning of March (Thursday, Friday, Saturday).


    We're pretty much open to all kinds of cuisine, but I'm a little more open to lowkey places, because I tend to burn out when I'm only eating at high-end places.


    Here's what we've decided so far:


    One dinner will be at Aziza.


    One lunch will be at Ti Couz.


    One lunch or dinner will be at Chez Panisse's cafe.


    Ferry Plaza market for breakfast or lunch on Saturday.


    I am considering Curry Corner in Hayward for one of the lunches.


    XOX truffles and Rechiutti's chocolates, and possibly Tartine Bakery or Citizen Cake for baked goods.


    A close friend suggested the Gingerbread House in Oakland for dinner. She hasn't lived in the area for a while so I'm interested in any current impressions of the place.


    About Chez Panisse: is lunch in the cafe similar to dinner in the cafe in pricing and menu options?


    A similar question about Tamal. They have a dinner menu on their website but no lunch menu. Are the items available and the prices similar to the dinner menu?


    We're also interested in Chinese food (I have Yank Sing and Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Millbrae in my notes), and any other suggestions would be welcome.


    Finally, an open-ended question: What else shouldn't I miss?

  20. Let me think about it and put together a small list of my favorite places to eat at when I make it down there to hang out with friends and family.

    Please do! My boyfriend and I will be taking a trip to San Diego at the end of the month, and we're more interested in hidden gems than high-end dining. Especially Mexican, since there isn't a whole lot of good Mexican where we are.

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