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Uneeda Burger

Last Saturday evening, my family and I were on our way to Green Lake and decided to grab a bite at Uneeda Burger. For years, I’ve always seen this place brought up in “best burger” discussions, and finally decided to check it out for myself. Located on Fremont Ave N, Uneeda Burger is a casual restaurant with a nice sized patio and open walls, that make it a perfect spot for a summertime meal. It was a packed house when we arrived and as we  stood in line, the warm and welcoming vibes were palpable. We were fortunate to have a party finish their meals as we were scanning for a table and gladly took theirs. It is a self-seating establishment so during rush hours, expect a short wait for a table, or to share one with a friendly stranger.

 

off fremont ave n. & 43rd

off fremont ave n. & 43rd

place your orders

place your orders

 

The Food:

 

 

#6: monsieur $9 & onion rings $3.25

#6: monsieur $9 & onion rings $3.25

Note: All their burgers are listed as 1/3+ lb. beef patties made with all-natural painted hills beef. I decided to order the Monsieur, which included black forest ham, dijon-mayo, gruyere and truffled shoestring potatoes. To my surprise, this burger was served between two slices of potato bread. It almost looked like a patty melt upon first glance with a perfectly buttered & golden-brown crust atop each piece. The burger patty was well seasoned, juicy, and cooked to a perfect medium. The ham added an additional savory element to each bite. I also really enjoyed their dijon-mayo which provided a subtle enough kick to let you know it’s there, but did not overpower. Unfortunately, the shoestring potatoes didn’t add anything for me – they were lost in the burger and I could have done without them. Also, the gruyere wasn’t as melted as I would have preferred – maybe if it would have gone onto the burger sooner? I did love their onion rings though, which were thick-cut, generously battered and fried to perfection. The first time Cherry saw them, she asked, “You got donuts?!” The onions also did a great job holding fast after each bite. They didn’t all come out  with the first like some lesser quality onion rings.

 

My Conclusion:

 We had an excellent meal. The food was delicious and despite being a busy Saturday evening, they were able to push the food out quickly. The staff were all extremely friendly and did an awesome job making sure tables were cleaned and dirty dish bins were clear (you bus your own table). Uneeda Burger is a great family restaurant as well, with plenty of strollers and kids throughout. My only regret is not having a big enough appetite to sample more food but we will definitely be back! I’ll update this post as I add more of their offerings into my belly.

Asadero Sinaloa

After putting it off for long enough Cherry and I finally made it to Asadero Sinaloa last week. Sinaloa is a modestly sized restaurant tucked away in the back of a random strip mall in Kent, Wa. Heeding to the suggestions of many, we arrived early – fifteen minutes early to be exact. Rightly so however, because as we were eagerly awaiting their opening (which is at 11am), other like-minded patrons started arriving, one-by-one. We entered and were greeted immediately greet then seated with our menus. Shortly after, our drinks came.

asadero sinaloa 5.jpg

store front

 

asadero sinaloa 1.jpg

the essentials

 

The Food:

 

 

asadero sinaloa 3.jpg

molletes $3.75

This was our first time having molletes and I’m kinda mad it took me over 30-years to finally try it! Molletes is essentially a piece of bread topped with frijoles (beans) and cheese. They use sourdough here and it worked very well. The crust was crispy and the bread underneath was pillowy-soft. The beans were cooked and seasoned nicely and the generous helping of cheese was the icing on the cake. They did include a side of pico de gallo which in my opinion wasn’t necessary as the molletes were delicious on its own. I will say though, that their pico de gallo was delicious! It has a much brighter flavor than what I’ve had in the past and would have liked to take a jar of it home.

 

 

asadero sinaloa 2.jpg

mixtas $5

When I tried looking up “mixtas” online, a majority of the results were “Guatemalan hotdog” which this wasn’t, but of more a steak-filled quesadilla. One thing that really stood out was the tortilla with this dish, which reminded me of a Chinese scallion pancake. It was soft yet flaky at the same time. It also had great flavor! The steak and cheese filling were what you’d expect: melted cheese + savory meat = winning. That being said, I would have liked a little more meat. Rylie thoroughly enjoyed it though, as you can see she couldn’t wait to get her little paws on it!

 

 

asadero sinaloa 4.jpg

carne asada $19.99

 

The carne asada dish was plated beautifully – in a rustic, eat-with-your-hands kind of way.  Right away my eyes were drawn to the grill marks on most everything, which added appeal. Served alongside was grilled nopales (cactus), sausage (from Uli’s) a side of frijoles and another type of salsa not offered in the salsa bar. This was my first time trying nopales and‘ll be honest in saying I wasn’t a fan of it. To be fair, I did try two bites! It has a slimy layer on the outside similar to that of okra, texture like soft bell pepper and flavor like super tart cucumber. The sausage was perfectly grilled which a nice pop when you cut into the casing and excellent flavors within each bite. For the carne asada, I was underwhelmed. It was a very generous serving which was a plus, but it lacked seasoning and was too chewy. After attempting to cut the meat into smaller strips, I scrapped the knife midway through. It was more of a struggle to use the steak knife than it was to just rip through it with my teeth like a walker ripping into Herschel’s leg. That’s a Walking Dead reference to those sitting there scratching their head.

 

My Conclusion:

Overall, it was a good meal but we weren’t blown away. There were dishes that really stood out and others that missed the mark. We will come back again (soon) to try some of the other items off their menu.  One thing I will mention is that the unsung heroes of our meal were the fresh salsas and mixin’s provided at the salsa bar. Everything was super fresh and wonderfully prepared. I am seriously contemplating bringing a mason jar next time to sneakily pack and take home with me.

Wally’s Chowder House

Last week, Cherry and I had lunch at Wally’s Chowder House following a recommendation about their fish n’ chips. We visited their Des Moines location off Marine View Dr which has a nice view of the Puget Sound. The parking lot was packed when we arrived and when we entered, the restaurant looked to be full. To our surprise, there were a few tables left and we were seated immediately. There’s a warm and welcoming feel to the restaurant with a coastal themed interior.

wallys 1

 

The Food:

 

wallys 2

garlic cheese bread (1/2 order) $3.59 & calamari fries $5.99

The cheese bread was mediocre. Despite being a generously sized order, it was very greasy due to the oils from the cheddar soaking into the bread. The calamari fries were good though. The breading was flavorful and crunchy while the calamari underneath was tender.

 

 

wallys 3

2 piece cod n’ chips  $17.15

For our entrees, Cherry and I shared the 2-piece cod n’ chips – which was also more than enough for 2-adults. The large fillets were coated with their “special” breading and were nicely fried. The cod was deliciously tender and fall-apart-flaky. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of their breading. I prefer my fried fish dipped in beer-batter, which usually provides a nice crunchy bite. Wally’s serves a cornmeal breading that had very little crunch. Their breading was also like a separate entity – easily coming apart off the fish. There was no cohesiveness. Cherry, on the other hand prefers the cornmeal breading and really liked their take. Their fries, however, were delicious – fried and season perfectly!

 

My Conclusion:

Wally’s is a very nice establishment serving up tasty seafood. The servers were all extremely nice and despite being a full house, the food came out quickly.With a large menu that Cherry and I left rather untapped, we will be back to sample some of their other items especially their clam chowder. With fish n’ chips, a lot comes down to personal preference: batter vs breading. You can’t go wrong with either.

 

 

Pinpin

Cherry and I took a day trip to Vancouver yesterday and had a recommendation to eat at Pinpin, if we had the chance. Although the sign says “Filipino-Chinese Cuisine”, it’s definitely a 100% Filipino restaurant. The Chinese refers to a few “Chinese style” dishes in the back of the menu that are still very Filipino. With two locations in British Columbia, we went to the Surrey location, which was pretty big and quite clean upon entering. We were greeted, immediately seated and eagerly browsed the menu.

 

The Food:

 

 

bagoong rice 1

bagoong rice $9.95 ca

The bagoong  rice(pronounced “bah-goh-ong”) looked intriguing so we had to order it. Bagoong is essentially a fermented shrimp paste that is heavily mixed with salt. It is a very common ingredient is Filipino food. When it came out, it looked like a Filipino version of Bimbimbap, a Korean rice bowl with all the toppings neatly organized atop for you to mix in. This bowl came topped with diced tomato, red onion, green onion, scrambled egg and slivers of mango. The rice had a pink tinge to it from the bagoong paste. When mixed, all of the ingredients came together nicely. The red and green onions provided a bright and sharp bite while the tomato and mango added creamy, sweet and earthy tones. Egg always makes everything better so no need to get too detailed about that. If you’ve ever had bagoong by itself, then you know it packs quite a punch, which is what I was expecting. However, the rice had a nice delicate flavor of the fermented shrimp paste that worked very well. One thing worth noting is that the serving size of this bowl was HUGE and we weren’t complaining🙂

 

 

pork sisig 1

sisig $11.5 ca

We were recommended their sisig which is the Filipino “sizzling plate.” Pork sisig is the universal version and comes with chopped and fried pork mixed with onion and topped with lemon slice. The sisig at Pinpin was seasoned well and really showcased rich flavors of the fried pork. One thing that stood out was how crunchy it was – there were bits that was borderline rock hard. Those with fillings or any kind of dental work best heed caution. Another thing I noticed was lack of any substantial pieces of pork. This was pretty much sizzling plate of diced chicharrón. I literally pressed a piece with my finger and it broke down to tiny specks of coarse sand. The sisig I’ve had in the past actually had discernible pieces of pork.

 

inihaw na pusit $10.5 ca

The inihaw na pusit is their grilled squid which was also my favorite dish. The squid was perfectly grilled with great texture and bite. The bbq glaze had a good balance of sweet and savory that complimented the dish well. There was also a small cup  of vinegar you use as dip, which did an excellent job countering the sweetness of the glaze. There are three different size of the inihaw na pusit (small, medium, large) and we ordered the small – which was more than enough to share between two people.

 

Conclusion:

We walked out happy and full. The food was delicious and the service was great. There was always a server at our table the moment they saw our water was low or when our table needed clearing. With an expansive menu that we virtually walked away untapped, we’ll be back soon to explore more of their offerings.

This past Saturday, my family and I were passing through Seattle and decided to stop by the Seattle Street Food Festival. Located on 9th Ave between John and Republican, both sides of the street were lined with food trucks/carts along with local craft booths. With a game plan set, Cherry and I would split everything we order, allowing us to sample more. In this case, we opted for quantity over quality!

 

 

The Food:

 

• People of the Chubbs

 

 

 people of the chubbs

philly cheese flauta $5

philly cheese flauta $5

The People of the Chubbs truck was the first spot we stopped at. The menu was briefly up while they set up and I immediately knew what I wanted! The flauta was crispy and the filling had decent flavor. I enjoyed the Worcestershire pepper aioli as well, which brought a nice vinegary balance to the rich cheeses and meat. I was however, quite disappointed with the serving size. I did notice as they were setting up, a worker changed the price from $8 to $5, which I’m assuming was the price for two. Now you get one flauta for $5 which is overpriced. Being a chubby kid and ordering from a truck with “Chubbs” in the name, I thought I was making the right choice. I was wrong. They should change their name to, “People of the Slims.”

 

 

• Picnic

 

picnic

jamaican meat pie $5

jamaican meat pie $5

The Picnic food truck had a unique looking cart that was decorated like a picnic table and offered a couple different hoagies. They also offered a Jamaican meat pie which was their “$5 dollar item.” This meat pie was filled was filled with “Jamaican” seasoned ground beef and some peppers. The pastry was well made with a firm and flaky crust. With the beef, I tasted more curry than anything and it lacked the spice you’d associate with Jamaican foods. This was more of a curry ground beef empanada. I forgot to ask for a business card and can’t seem to find a website for them. If anyone has their contact info, please pass it along in my comments!

 

 

 

Bomba Fushion

 

bomba truck

bibimbap burrito with beef bulgogi $8.49

bibimbap burrito with beef bulgogi $8.49

I think I have a weakness for fushion foods, with Korean + Mexian fusions are my kryptonite – enter Bomba Fusion. Natrually, I ordered the bibimbap burrito. It was well made with each element (rice, spinach, carrots, bean sprouts, zucchini, gochujang) playing off each other nicely. The bulbogi was perfectly grilled to add that hearty sweetness that you look for. If you wanted to opt out of a meat/tofu filling you could save yourself $1. Personally, I could have used a little more gochujang, which is a fermented spicy chili paste. Bomba fusion is also generous in letting you add a fried egg at no extra charge. Did we add it? Duh!

 

 

• Full Tilt

strawberry bar $3

strawberry bar $3

Here’s Rylie chowin’ down on a strawberry bar before leaving. I thought it was too sweet but Rylie had no complaints.

 

My Conclusion:

We had a great time meandering up and down 9th Ave checking out the different foods and crafts. There was quite a large variety of food trucks/carts there offering foods from many different cultures. It was also nice we got there early eliminating the long lines often associated with food trucks. I was slightly disappointed when our favorite food truck, which shall remain unnamed, wasn’t in attendance on Saturday… They were there on Sunday though😦

Brunch Box

After a long afternoon meandering through the Oregon Zoo in 95 degree heat, we sluggishly made it to Brunch Box to refuel and rehydrate.  Originally a food cart, Brunch Box is now small brick and mortar on SW 9th Ave between Alder and Morrison. Upon entering, I immediately noticed their huge menu above the front counter and a few tables along the wall. We were greeted by the woman behind the counter, then grabbed a few menus off the counter and sat down. After a few minutes looking over the menu, I placed our order at the counter.

 

entrance off sw 9th

entrance off sw 9th

order when ready

order when ready

 

burger royalty

burger royalty

 

 

The Food:

 

 

youcanhascheeseburger $8.5

youcanhascheeseburger $8.5

Initially reading the description, this burger seems like your typical backyard bbq burger; ¼ beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, ketchup, mustard & mayo. Not so bad, right?! Oh, all those basics were nicely nestled between two texas toast grilled cheeses sandwiches! From the small bite I sampled, everything came together as you’d expect. The beef patty was well cooked while rich gooey American cheese filled every bite. I especially enjoyed the texas toast, which was toasted perfectly and had necessary strength to hold everything together.

 

omg $12.5

omg $12.5

I ordered a burger named OMG, and rightfully so. Besides the basics, it also came topped with bacon, ham, spam and a fried egg. I made the mistake in taking the burger out of the wrapper, because as soon as I took my first bite, both top and bottom buns pretty much disintegrated – like a wet tissue against a boulder.  As the ingredients started falling out and with mustard running down my fingers, I contemplated finishing with a fork. I had to put the burger down and re-strategize my approach. Watching in my struggles, Cherry made the suggestion, “Why not just wrap it back up?!”  Genius!  So I wrapped what was still left back in the wrapper and used it as my burger blanket. Despite the disappointing bun, everything inside was solid. The bacon was thick and crispy, the egg added a nice creamy flavor and the spam added an extra savory and salty kick that was delicious. Unfortunately, the ham got lost amongst everything else.

 

 

My Conclusion:

Brunch Box definitely appeals to those who aren’t afraid to get a little messy.  Despite being enormous, these burgers are tasty and well made. I didn’t realize it until I was done with my meal, but you can substitute the burger bun with texas toast at no additional charge, which may be a better option for some of the bigger and messier burgers.  They also allow you to substitute your beef patty for a turkey, fried chicken or veggie patty. If the monstrosities described above frighten you, never fear, there are more modest selections to choose from too.

Dough Zone

Xiao long bao/XLB (soup dumplings) have been around forever, but for some reason, their recent popularity has skyrocketed like the number of twitter followers Caitlyn Jenner racked after her first tweet.  The one thing that makes soup dumplings stand apart is the pork soup inside each dumpling from the rendered fat in the meat filling. If you ask your average/mainstream foodie where to get decent XLB in the Seattle area, the go-to response will be, Din Tai Fung – an international restaurant chain originating from Taiwan. I tend to shy away from mainstream spots and espeically places that have a ‘bougie reputation. To no fault of their own, DTF has unfortunately garnered a reputation of being both. Enter Dough Zone, a local restaurant specializing in all things dough and all things dumplings. With two locations in Bellevue, WA, we went to the original location on NE 8th St.  It’s a moderately sized restaurant with booths and tables on the dining floor and a fairly clean ambiance.  Arriving on a Sunday around 11am, I was anticipating a wait, but we were seated within 5-minutes. After looking over the menu, our server came by a few minutes later and took our order.

neccessities

neccessities

The Food:

chinese donut $1.75 each

chinese donut/you tiao $1.75 each

The Chinese donut or you tiao, is a staple in Tawainese breakfast/brunch. It’s commonly eaten between shao bing, a Chinese sesame flat bread. Overall, it was ok. The initial bite was warm and crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  Unfortunately, as it cooled the outside became harder and tough. We ordered the donut mainly as a toddler-friendly dish for Rylie, but Cherry and I ended up eating most of it.

 pig ears $3.75

pig ears $3.75

rylie approves

rylie approves

Braised pig ears are another very common side dish in Chinese meals and trust me when I’ve said I’ve had my fare share. The pig ears at Dough Zone were topped with a sweeter sauce than what I’m custom to (at home they drizzle it with sesame oil) and I would have liked them braised longer to bring out more of the anise/soy flavors.  They did get Rylie’s stamp of approval though, as she ate a majority of the plate herself!

spicy beef pancake roll $4.75

spicy beef pancake roll $4.75

I was pretty happy to see beef pancake rolls on the menu; even more so to see it offered spicy! The first time I’ve had a beef roll was in Vancouver at Peaceful Restaurant, which set the bar high. It looked nice when served, but my overall impression of the roll was mediocre. The green onion pancake was on the doughier side and the “spicy” element was a bit of chili oil inside. Like the pig ears,  I would have like to taste more flavors from the braising liquid (soy/anise.) The additional green onion added inside did add a bright pop.

 

 pork dumplings $4.25

pork dumplings $4.25

 These handmade dumplings were the highlight of my meal. The first thing I noticed was how good the dumpling wrapper was. Like Goldilocks eating baby bear’s porridge, it was just right. The pork had a rich flavor with the chives providing a pleasant accent. I can’t say these are the best dumplings I’ve personally had, but they’re definitely good enough for me to come back.

xiao long bao $9.5

xiao long bao $9.5

The featured item of our meal were the xiao long bao, or as they name it here, Juicy pork buns. Despite popular belief, I don’t think there’s a “right” way to eat a XLB, so I tried a variety of methods. The focal point of any XLB is always the soup, and the pork soup here carried a sweet and creamy flavor. Alone, the XLB were just ok. I felt the sweetness of the juice overpowered the meat filling. When combined with the vinegar/soy/ginger sauce, the tastiness took a a big jump up. I really enjoyed the bright flavors of the ginger when combined with the sour and salty flavors of the vinegar and soy. As a whole, all of the flavors came together quite nicely when eaten together.

My Conclusion: I had a very enjoyable meal at Dough Zone. The service was prompt and the servers were all very polite. Although there were a few dishes that could be improved upon, the ones that were delicious exceeded my expectations. Their menu is also quite expansive, ranging from a huge variety of different dumplings, to a ton of different noodle, congee and soup dishes. The prices are also very reasonable .