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Mashiko

Sorry for how long it’s been since my last post, but nowadays, leisurely meals at a restaurant become a huge production once you add a toddler into the picture. Let’s just say Cherry and I have become meticulously selective of if and when we decide to eat out. Last night happened to be my birthday, so we figured that was a reason as good as any to dine out. We also had fortune of Grandma watching Rylie for the evening! Cherry surprised me with a dinner at a spot I’ve had on my radar for quite some time; Mashiko! Mashiko is a sushi restaurant that practices and focuses on sustainability. Making sure the fish they serve is not only fresh and local, but responsibly caught and not of the massively farmed variety. It is a small restaurant with simple décor that shows the sushi bar in the back along with the daily specials. I will also preface this post by saying that a majority of my experience with sushi/sashimi/nigiri is from AYCE sushi spots in the Seattle area as well as Vancouver BC.

mashiko entrance

entrance off california ave

The Food:

Cherry and I opted for the omakase or “chef’s choice” meal. At Mashiko, they have four different omakase meals. We ordered Nami ($70 for two) , which included an assortment of sashimi, ten pieces of nigiri, one grilled fish, rice and dessert. I could tell Cherry was a little apprehensive, since anything raw beyond ahi (tuna) is outside her comfort zone. But she handled everything like a champ and I’mvery proud of her. Next time I’d like to step it up to their Honkaku meal; which has the disclaimer,“Novices need not apply.”

 

mashiko tako sashimi

first course: tako sashimi over a bead of sunomono

All of the tako I have ever consumed prior to this meal has been chewy and relatively flavorless; however it’s always been one of my favorite foods. However, the tako here threw everything I knew about it out the door. It was outrageously tender and simply delicious. I felt like Neo when he was unhooked from the Matrix and using his eyes for the first time in the real World.

 

mashiko.sashimi

second course: (from top going clockwise) white king salmon, tombo, gulf prawn, red tuna, rainbow trout, saba,(middle) tako (hood) mussel with wasabi mayo

Each piece of sashimi was incredibly fresh and very delicious. I won’t go into detail into each piece of sashimi, but I will highlight a few of my favorites. The gulf prawn had a pleasantly sweet flavor and the saba was very rich and flavorful. The mussel was also extremely fresh and the wasabi mayo added a creamy texture and additional layer of flavor. My absolute favorite piece on this plate was the white king salmon. It had a wonderfully subtle flavor that you find with fresh fish but had the texture like butter! It literally melted in my mouth. Experiencing such a delicate texture flushed all  preconceived notions and past experiences of sashimi down the drain.

 mashiko.nigiri

third course: (clockwise from back left) uni, sanma, iwashi, tombo, coho salmon

Again only highlighting my favorites, which happen to be the entire back row. The sanma, or Pacific saury was local and had a very rich fishy flavor. The iwashi or sardine was also locally caught. Like the sanma, it carried a richer fishy flavor that I thoroughly enjoyed. “Fishy” flavors tend to carry a negative connotation in Western culture, but that isn’t so much the case in Asian culture. There is also a big difference in stinky fish flavor and fresh fish flavor. Both these fish had the latter. The uni was probably my favorite. Behind the gelatinous texture that may hinder people from trying it, it carried such an awesome flavor that I can only describe as, fresh & clean ocean.

 

mashiko.ling cod

fourth course: grilled ling cod with miso sauce on bed of sunomono

This dish was more down Cherry’s alley. Simply and perfectly grilled fish topped with a savory sweet miso sauce and a side of rice. Ling cod is already a light and subtly sweet fish so it doesn’t need much done to it. The miso highlighted the sweetness of the fish while also adding umami to each bite.

 

 mashiko.brownie

fifth course: coconut tempura brownie & green tea ice cream

Our meal concluded with a perfect desert. The brownie, which is from a local bakery, was rich but not overly sweet. The coconut tempura was fried perfectly with the batter providing great crunch and texture. The green tea ice cream was great in adding a contrasting creamy texture and earthy sweetness.

My Conclusion:

Everything about our experience at Mashiko was excellent. Our server was extremely attentive and did a great job explaining what each item within each course was. The food was fantastic; expertly prepared and impeccably fresh. Chef Hajime is definitely master in his craft and his team truly exudes that excellence.

 

 

 

 

 

Voula’s Offshore Cafe

Cherry and I decided to have breakfast at Voula’s Offshore Café, yesterday, and walked out quite pleased and very full. Located on NE Northlake Way, Voula’s is a family owned diner offering hearty meals with touch of their Greek heritage. I didn’t even realize until after we walked in, that Voula’s was also featured on Foodnetwork’s, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! Flavortown, here we come!

voulas.entrance

entrance off  ne northlake

voulas.grill

front-row seating

    The Food:

voulas.bigone 

voula’s big one $10.8

Cherry opted for Voula’s Big One, which came with three eggs (scrambled), two pieces of bacon, two pieces of sausage, hash browns and toast (rye). This is your standard, but bigger than average breakfast plate, offering all the morning necessities. The bacon was crunchy and thickly cut, while their Greek sausage was very savory and rich with the herbs and spices they use. Their Greek sausage is made with beef rather than pork – and it works wonderfully. The scrambled eggs were cooked well and the crispy hash browns  succeeded in finishing the plate off.

20140929_103654

the oddinator $11.3

Voula’s menu is full of uniquely name dishes, but the oddinator resonated with me. Seeing as how it is also an omelette, made it the logical choice. This three egg omelette came stuffed with their in-house smoked pork, mushrooms, green onions, Swiss cheese and topped with BBQ sauce. Hash browns and toast (English muffin) also came with this dish. I first tasted their BBQ sauce which was sweeter than I’d prefer, but it did carry a pleasant underlying spice.. This was a very well made omelette. I almost felt bad cutting into the pillowy-soft egg that delicately wrapped everything together – like a warm fleece blanket wrapping up a newborn baby. The flavors of the smoked pork were highlighted by the creamy Swiss cheese, while the mushrooms added earthiness and the green onions added a bright pop to each bite. They did provide some house-made hot sauce that provided that missing bite I always look for. Everything came together excellently.

My Conclusion: Voula’s is a friendly spot offering deliciously hearty breakfasts. No fancy or frilly plates here… but lets be honest, a little extra butter always soothes the soul.

Last month a group of us traveled to San Francisco to celebrate our friend, Derrec’s birthday, as well as getting our grub on. It was also our friend Meuy’s mission to get a 12th Man photo at the Golden Gate Bridge. As expected, we endured plenty of heckling and dirty looks as we went through the city, representing the 12th Man and the Seattle Seahawks!

 

sf_ggbridge group 1 wm

12th man in enemy territory

 

Day 1:

HRD Coffee House

Extremely popular spot located on 3rd Street that serves up Korean/Mexican Fusion dishes and has people lined up out the door and down the street. It’s a pretty small spot that’ll immediately hit you with the aroma of spices the second you step in. One thing that was great to see as our group ate, was despite being super busy, the staff still stepped out of the kitchen to walk through the floor checking on tables and customers.

hdr_outside wm

lunch line

 hdr_bulgobibibimbap wm

bulgogi bibimbap $9.95

Served with brown rice, this bowl was visually, very appealing. The pickled daikon and cucumbers provided a bright crunch that was nicely balanced by the fermented and mildy spicy flavors of the kimchee. The sprouts also added an additional layer of bite. The bulgogi was tasty and very tender. My only knock on this dish was the marinade HRD uses for their bulgogi – it was too sweet for my taste. It would have been better if the savory flavors were more present.

 

 hdr_spicyporkkimchi wm

spicy pork kimchee burrito $8.95

The spicy pork kimchee burrito is the quintessential example of fushion food. Upon taking my first bite, I was immediately taken to flavortown! The pork had a nice spice to it and was also very tender. The rest of the ingredients all fused together wonderfully. There was crunch from the sprouts, cucumbers and pickled daikon, while the sour cream added a creamy component to each bite. The biggest surprise for me was the diced kiwi that was also thrown in, that added a pleasant sweetness.

 

Fisherman’s Wharf 

the gang

 fishermanswarf_crab sandwich wm

crab roll $8.5

We spent the afternoon meandering up and down the Wharf and wanted a quick and easy bite. I picked up a crab roll at one of the seafood stands and was thoroughly disappointed. The filling was probably 90% mayonnaise and 10% crab and wasn’t cheap! But that’s to be expected for food in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.

 

The Stinking Rose

Fun and family-friendly restaurant located on Columbus Ave specializing in Italian food and focusing on garlic. If you’re a garlic lover, then this is your spot because they use a lot of garlic… a whole lot of it! Vampires beware!

stinkingrose_outside wm

entrance off columbus ave.

 stinkingrose_chickenasparagus wm

chicken & asparagus pasta $19.95

Cherry ordered this dish which consisted of ideally cooked al dente fettuccine tossed with chicken breast, asparagus, roasted tomatoes and pine nuts. The chicken was moist, the asparagus was fresh and the roasted tomatoes added a bright note to each bite. The sauce was balanced and didn’t drown out the other ingredients like other pasta dishes can suffer from.

 

 stinkingrose_braisedshortrib wm

garlic braised short rib $22.95

I ordered the short ribs, which were perfectly braised and melt-in-your-mouth tender. The sautéed garlic gloves atop the short rib provided a pleasant earthy spice and two sides were very good. The creamed spinach had hints of garlic and  was both savory and creamy while the mashed potatoes also permeated with garlic.

 

Day 2:

 The Pork Store Café

The Pork Store Café is another very popular breakfast spot in the Haight District that had a line out the door as we walked up. It is a very small diner with a large counter to eat at while watching the cooks prepare food. There are also a handful of tables along the wall allowing just enough room for the servers to pass by. Overall, the food was your average American diner food with the only thing stood out, being our extremely rude server. When asked if we could split the check, we were immediately met with eye rolling and attitude as she stormed off stating, “Yeah… so next time, tell me before I bring the checks!” What didn’t make any sense to me, our server making a huge deal about re-writing five items on two checks…. it wasn’t rocket science.

 

porkstore_outside wm

entrance off haight

 porkstorecafe_porkspecial wm

pork store special $9.5

I decided to order the special that was named after the restaurant. The two pork chops were dry and flavorless. I had to rely on the table side hot sauce to aid in finishing this plate. It came with two eggs, hash potatoes and a homemade biscuit. I ordered the eggs over-easy which were cooked fine and the hash browns were your average fare found in any diner. Their biscuit was actually pretty good and may be the only highlight of the plate.

 porkstore_chickensausage wm

chicken apple sausage $7.75

Cherry went with the apple sausage plate. The apple sausage was tasty and carried nice flavors of the herbs and spices within. Her scrambled eggs were cooked well and her hash browns and biscuit were the same as mine – average hash and tasty biscuit. She was a little underwhelmed at the portion of sausage when the dish came out. You would think that a menu item named chicken apple sausage, would yield a hearty serving of sausage. It did not.

 

El Gallo Giro

Ending day two, our friend Meuy had a hankering for some lengua tacos and navigated us to El Gallo Giro. Located in the Mission District on 23rd St. El Gallo Giro is a taco truck serving up some tasty and authentic Mexican fare.

gallogiro_outside wm

23rd &  treat

 gallogiro_tacos wm

tacos $1.5/ea

 

Cherry went with three tacos pollo (chicken) and I went with a trio of carne asada (steak), al pastor (spicy pork), and lengua (beef tongue). All the tacos were flavored nicely and very satisfying, but the carne asada was my favorite. They were finished on the grill which gave the meat a nice crunchy crust that added great texture to each bite.

 

Day 3:

Yummy Yummy

 The night prior, we celebrated Derrec’s birthday. I won’t get into the details of the shenanigans that we got into, but plenty of alcohol was consumed. What better way to cure a hangover than a big bowl of beef soup!? Enter Yummy Yummy.

 

yummy_inside wm

dining floor

 yummy_fivespicechicken wm

five spice chicken w/vermicelli $9.25

Cherry decided on the five spice chicken vermicelli bowl. The chicken was fried wonderfully with crispy skin and tender meat. The spices used were savory and when mixed with the sweet fish sauce and vegetables underneath the vermicelli, it resulted in an extremely fresh and light, yet filling meal.

 

 yummy_bunbohue wm

bun bo hue $9.5

Deciding to expand my foodie repertoire, I ordered bun bo hue for the first time. The reason it’s taken so long, was the fact that the coagulated pig blood, that’s also served with the dish, deterred me. But you can’t be a true foodie without trying foods that are preconceived as unappetizing, right?! The bun bo hue had thick pieces of beef shank and pork loin that were on the chewy side. The pig blood was actually tasty – it had the consistency of a firm tofu and didn’t have any irony flavor that is usually associated with blood. The broth was extremely flavorful and full of spices and depth. I can confidently say that bun bo hue is a new favorite soup noodle dish for me and I’ve ordered it several more times since this trip.

 

Champa Garden

 Our last meal was spent at Champa Garden, a Laotian and Thai fusion restaurant off Ocean Ave. Champa garden literally sits at the end of a residential street and from the looks of it, it was recently opened. The interior was very clean and modestly decorated. After a weekend of eating, Cherry and I were pretty stuffed so we opted to share some wings and fried rice.

champa_outside wm

champa_wings wm

fried chicken wings w/sweet chili sauce $6.95

These wings which were perfectly fried, providing golden crispy skin and tender, moist meat. The chili sauce is the standard sweet chili sauce you can find in any grocery store but provided a nice sweet kick to each bite.

 

champa_basilfriedrice wm

 basil fried rice $7.50

The basil fried rice was delicious. We ordered it with chicken, which was cooked nicely and blended well with the the onions, bell peppers and basil. I don’t remember them asking what spice level we wanted but it came out quite spicy – which I enjoyed.

 

 My Conclusion

This most recent trip to the City by the Bay proved to be a memorable trip on all fronts. We got to partake is some delicious food, visited all the popular spots people want to see and got to spend time with an amazing group of friends. Cherry and I love San Francisco so much that we’re trying to plan another trip there in a few months – this time with Rylie!

 

sf_chinatown group 1 wm

china town . sf, ca

 

 

 

 

On our latest PDX trip, Cherry and I hit up three extremely popular spots for food… and we did some sight seeing too.

 

Podnah’s Pit

Located in the middle of a residential street on NE Killingsworth, Podnah’s  Pit is a popular BBQ spot in Portland, that’s also been featured on Food Network’s Diners Drive-Ins & Dives. There was already a good sized crowd waiting outside as we pulled up and we ended up waiting about 30-minutes before we were seated. As soon as we were seated, we got the unfortunate news that they were out of ribs for the night :(

 podnahs outside

crowd of hungry peeps

 

podnahs brisket sand

chopped brisket sandwich $11

Since there were no ribs, Cherry opted for the sliced brisket sandwich. Her first bite was a piece of meat that was falling out the side, which she stated was very dry. She actually had to take a sip of her  root beer to help get it down.  The meat carried a clean and lean flavor that worked well, but it was overly dry. There was a selection of various house-made sauces that Cherry had to take advantage of to help get through each bite. The coleslaw was bright and refreshing with nice heat from the diced jalapenos.

 

podnahs brisket plate

 creekstone farms brisket $16 + smoked hot link $3.5

 I went with the smoked brisket as well. The first thing I noticed was a nice smoke ring around edge of the meat. The brisket carried a nice smoky flavor and also cooked very well. Like Cherry’s sandwich, it was a dry, but I guess that’s what the table side sauces are for. I also ordered a hot link on the side which was extremely flavorful full of heat and not overly fatty like some sausages. My two sides were the collard greens and the green chili mac ‘n cheese, which was the daily special. The greens were cooked perfectly and had a deliciously rich and earthy flavor. The green chili mac was also done well with just the right amount of heat from the green chiles mixed in with the cheese.

 

Big Ass Sandwiches

With two locations in Portland, Big Ass Sandwiches is a food cart that’s earned a ton of popularity and press! We went to the 2nd ave location and got there a little before they opened (11am). It was a good thing too, because 10-minutes before opening 3 cars pulled up and a line started forming!

bigasssand outside

lil tin box

bigasssand richwich

the richwich: roast beef, bacon, grilled onions, fries, bechamel cheese $10

Cherry and I decided to split a sandwich and went with the one that won the Best Sandwich in the Northwest. We ordered it with turkey though, because Cherry doesn’t like roast beef. The sandwich had a lot going on from the large amount of crispy and savory fries to the pieces of bacon and onions thrown in the mix. The homemade bechamel cheese was awesome. It rich and creamy and did a very nice job blending all of the ingredients together. There wasn’t a whole lot of turkey in the sandwich and the thin slices that were present were a little dry for my liking. As a result, the turkey was lost in the shuffle. I regret not ordering their aardvark sauce in their sandwich, which is their secret habanero sauce.

 

Kenny and Zukes

The powers of social media guided us to our last stop before returning to home to Seattle, Kenny and Zukes. Located on SW Stark St in downtown Portland, K&Z is a popular deli offering house cured pastrami and corned beef and fresh made bagels.  The wall of windows surrounding half the restaurant provided plenty of natrual light throughout the restaurant.

k&z pastrami fries

pastrami cheese fries $11.95

If gluttony decided to take form on the savory side of food, this plate would be it. Despite being smothered in an already rich and creamy melted cheese, the seasonings and brine of the pastrami was still very present. The fries were crispy and well seasoned and had an additional layer of flavor from the rub that came fell off the pastrami.

k&z reuben

classic reuben: corned beef, grilled kraut, swiss, russian dressing $13.75

Reuben Sandwiches are one of my favorite so it was it was a no brainer to order this. The reuben here was very good. Like the pastrami, the corned beef had great flavor and the brine they used has great balance. The bread was toasted nicely and all of the ingredients came together to provide great textures and flavors.

 

My Conclusion                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Podnahs: Our overall experience with Podnah’s was favorable. The portions were filling and the flavors were on point. I don’t know why our brisket was so dry, but I’ll chop this occurrence as an anomaly. The interior was clean and our server was friendly. One thing that cost Podnah’s some points in my book was how the table next to us ordered after we were told the ribs was sold out, but someone in their party still got ribs on their platter. I didn’t want to put up a big stink about it, but definitely felt it necessary to let them know. As we left, I explained what happened to our server and let her know our disappointment. She sincerely apologized and stated the kitchen must have had “one last serving.” 

Big Ass Sandwiches: The Richwich is a tasty and well made sandwich. They’re definitely big enough to share with another person but I would have liked a little more meat in my sandwich. It’s more of a french fry sandwich with the fixin’s added on. I do plan on visiting again in the near future and will get the aardvark sauce with my big ass sandwich. As far as winning Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in the Northwest, I know a few spots in Seattle that would beg to differ!

Kenny and Zukes: Nice deli located in the heart of downtown Portland. The food is made with care and the ingredients are fresh. That being said, I’m not sure the prices are justifiable. $14 dollars for a reuben sandwich is very pricey, especially since its an extra $3 for fries or any of their other sides! I will say that our server was rad! He was extremely sociable, attentive and friendly.

 

 

 

Itadakimasu

Cherry and I were driving past UW and decided to get a bite to eat. She had a fixin’ for some teriyaki, so we stopped at Itadakimasu. The exterior is a very unassuming building located between NE 50th and NE 47th in the U-District. As we parked and walked toward the entrance, there was also a small sandwich board with a “Grand Opening” sign, but more on that later. The interior was dark with black tables and chairs and pink accents throughout. There was a nice bright mural painted on the wall of large cherry blossom trees. It did have a modern izakaya feel, just with a smaller bar. We were greeted, seated and given our menus. Right before our server left, I curiously asked, “So how long have you been open?” to which she replied which a grin , “…a year and a half…” Clever. Very clever ;)

 

itadakimasu_entrance

entrance off brooklyn ave

 itadakimasu_cherryblossom

cherry blossom trees

 itadakimasu_bar

the bar

 

The Food:

 

itadakimasu_chickengyoza

chicken teriyaki / gyoza combo special $8.5

 

Cherry’s go-to at any teriyaki joint is the chicken. She originally was just going to order the regular chicken teriyaki, but our server informed us of the daily special – which had a little less chicken but was also cheaper. The unique thing about Itadakimasu is that the teriyaki doesn’t automatically come with rice. “Teriyaki that doesn’t come with rice?! What is this treachery?!” No. Each dish comes with either one or two sides and you can opt for rice or try something else. Cherry went with the white rice and a fried egg. The chicken was well cooked and had a flavorful glaze. The marinade they use for the chicken was also rich and well balanced. The gyozas were your standard fare that you can find in the frozen section of a grocery store, but that didn’t make them any less satisfying.

 

 

itadakimasu_katsu

chicken katsu $9

 I ordered my go-to as well, chicken katsu – also with white rice and fried egg. The katsu was fried nicely, providing a nice crunch on the outside and a tender bite underneath. The sauce added a savory component that was a little on the tart side. I often add a fried egg to many dishes I cook at home, so having it as an option here, gave it a comfort food quality for me. Oh, and if you couldn’t tell by the pictures above, the portions here are extremely generous!

 

 My Conclusion:

Itadakimasu is a very nice spot providing well made teriyaki. They also do a great job catering to the college neighborhood offering large portions at a very reasonable price. In addition to all this, they also offer Korean influenced dishes that I am eager to come back and try!

Coconut Kenny’s

Cherry and I recently took an anniversary day trip to Bellingham, which is where we met 10+ years ago, but more specifically, at our Alma Mater, Western Washington University (Go Vikings!). It was extremely nostalgic walking through campus and reminiscing our college years. I’m sure Cherry and I stood out like a sore thumb as the only ones on the entire campus pushing a stroller around! After visiting, we decided to hit up a local spot, Coconut Kenny’s. Located on James St. near downtown Bellingham, Coconut Kenny’s is a fun restaurant specializing in Hawaiian Sandwiches and tasty pizza. There are three other locations; Ferndale, Sedro Wolley, and Burlington. “Aye Brah, where’s the love for Snohomish and King County!?”

 

coconutkenny_entrance

entrance off james st.

coconutkenny_counter

island flare

 

The Food:

 

coconutkenny_cheeseballs

 cheese balls $4.99 (1/2 order)

When it comes to cheese bread, these may be the top of the list!  Hawaiian bread already carries a subtle sweetness to them that make them tasty by themselves. But the addition of butter, garlic and cheese really take this dish over the top. The cheese was melted perfectly, providing excellent goo and the marinara added a bright component to each bite.

 

coconutkenny_kingmahalo

 king mahalo: chicken breast, bacon, red onions, cilantro, bbq chipotle sauce, cheddar cheese $8.29

Cherry went with the King Mahalo sandwich which apparently has been voted as a Top 5 Sandwich in Whatcom County. All of the sandwiches at Coconut Kenny’s are served on freshly made Hawaiian bread then baked with all the ingredients atop to provide a great sandwich. Everything about this sandwich worked. The cheddar cheese was also perfectly melted and acted like a savory blanket covering of the ingredients beneath. It had nice bite from the different textures of the chicken, bacon and onions but unfortunately, like many bbq sauces tend to do, it overpowered everything. It was also a little sweet for my taste, but being a Hawaiian themed restaurant, it fit. I  prefer more heat and bite to my bbq sauce.

 

coconutkenny_waikiki

waikiki pizza: chicken, bacon, red onions, cilantro, smokey chipotle sauce $7.49 (small)

The Waikiki pizza was the daily special for $6.5,  so I ordered that without much thought about the ingredients. When it arrived, I had a “Doh!” moment and realized that the Waikiki pizza is the exact same thing as the King Mahalo sandwich, just in pan pizza form! After laughing at my oversight, we went on with our meal. The Waikiki had the same tasty ingredients as the sandwich but unfortunately, it also had the same overpoweringly sweet chipotle sauce.

 

My Conclusion:

Coconut Kenny’s is a fun and family friendly spot offering unique sandwiches and pizzas with a sweet Hawaiian flare.  I want to try their other offerings but am not thrilled , that in order to do so, I will have to drive 45-minutes each way. One thing I forgot to mention is that you place all orders at the counter and the workers will then bring the food to the table. And don’t forget to bus your own table!

Cherry and I were in the mood for some noodles and turned to the ever prevalent tool that is, social media. On this particular day, the spot that had the most positive reviews in our area was, Fu Man Dumpling House. Located on Greenwood Ave N between 143rd and 144th, the dumpling house sits between a beer/wine supply store and a marijuana dispensary – ingenious location if you ask me. When we entered, we were immediately greeted and seated. Our server then came by with menus and tea. The interior  of this very small restaurant, was decorated in your standard Chinese-American theme: faded Chinese art and fortunes, Seahawks banners, lanterns, and you can’t forget the Christmas lights above the front door.

 

fuman_outside wm

entrance from greenwood ave n.

fuman_inside

dining floor

fuman_xiaocai

xiao cai (aka chinese pickled veggies)

 

The Food:

 

fuman_everythingnoodle

a little bit of everything noodles $8.75

 When this dish came out, it looked exactly how it read – a bunch of various ingredients atop a bowl of noodles. My initial thought was, “That’s some bland looking soup!” There’s more color in vegetable broth. I scooped a small portion into the small bowl each of us had and took a sip of the soup and my taste buds agreed with what my eyes presumed – flavorless. Then I took a bite of the other ingredients (veggies, meat and egg) which concurred with all of the above. I believe they literally steamed the veggies and shrimp without any seasoning and scrambled some eggs, then dumped everything atop some flavorless broth and noodles.

 

fuman_housespecialnoodle

house special shredded pork noodle $9.25

 The soup in the broth had a darker color which I hoped would bring something to the flavor party. It did, but just a little. I could taste a meaty undertone and ginger was very prevalent as part of the base. But the flavor levels still can’t compete with say, a Taiwanese beef noodle soup or even phở. The veggies in this dish worked fine but I would have liked for the pork to be more flavorful. In both dishes, the noodles were fine, holding a nice balance between a firm and soft texture – but by the end, they were closer to the soft/mushy side.

fuman_dumplings

steamed pork dumplings 12 for $8.35

 The one saving grace of this entire meal was the homemade dumplings. If you grow up in an Asian family, the best dumplings you will ever have, are usually homemade by your grandma, aunts, or mother. Much to my surprise, these were pretty fantastic. As soon as I bit in, I could taste the flavors of pork, ginger, garlic and seasonings. The wrapper had a nice thickness that maintained integrity even during tug-of-war with your chopsticks, dumpling and gravity. For me, dipping dumplings in a chili paste/soy sauce mixture is like combining peanut butter and jelly. However much to my chagrin, I knew from my experiences earlier, that their chili paste lacked any pep. I still doused chili paste atop each dumpling but I found they didn’t need it. I finished the rest without anything and was pleasantly satisfied. My da gu (oldest aunt on my dad’s side and considered best cook of our family) even concurred that these dumplings are delicious!

 

My conclusion:

All I can say is, a little salt never hurt nobody… For making and serving such great dumplings, I’m baffled as to why their noodles were so lackluster. I would definitely come back again… but only for the dumplings. Maybe other people know something I don’t, because as soon as we were leaving, the small restaurant quickly filled and became a packed house.

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