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Archive for May, 2014

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!

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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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If you do a visual scan of the city block between East Thomas and Olive, you’ll find cafes, a tattoo shop, a nail salon, a smoke shop and among other diverse restaurants, Americana. Despite having a plethora of places to eat, Cherry and I don’t often come to Capitol Hill – mainly because parking is usually both tough to find and will cost you a limb. On this occasion, we got lucky – we quickly scored a free spot. Americana is a smaller restaurant that has a bar in the back and local art for sale displayed on the walls. Our server came by, explained the daily specials and then took our order a few minutes later.

 

americana_outside wm

entrance from broadway. baby not included

americana_inside wmview of the bar

 

The Food:

 

americana_seattleslam wmseattle slam: two pancakes of the day, eggs any style & choice of bacon or chicken sausage $12

The pancakes of the day were applesauce pancakes topped with cinnamon butter. They had a pleasant sweetness to them, but I wasn’t able to pick up much of the applesauce. The cinnamon butter provided a nice sweetness and if I remember correctly, Cherry finished the pancakes without using any syrup. She went with scrambled eggs which were cooked well and had a buttery flavor. The chicken sausage was clean, hearty and you could really taste the seasoning and herbs.

 

americana_benedict

americana benedict: two poached eggs, smoke gouda & canadian potato cakes, creamy tomato & mushroom sauce & served with toast $11

I have mixed feelings about Americana’s version of the benedict. I thought it was a creative spin on a breakfast classic, but the execution fell a little short. One egg was poached well with runny yolk, but the yolk of the second egg was way overcooked – 30 seconds short of being hard boiled. The potato pancake was mediocre and I would have like to have seen more Canadian bacon. The one major critique I have is on the tomato & mushroom sauce. It completely overpowered everything on the plate and masked all of the underlying flavors. The toast was good.

 

My Conclusion:

 

Our brunch had some highlights but also had some big miscues. Despite all that, the service was great, which brought up our overall experience to decent. The rest of their menu looked enticing, which may warrant another visit.

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