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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

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.

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Last week, Cherry and I celebrated our 5-year anniversary eating like barbarians – at Rainin’ Ribs BBQ. Now don’t scoff at that fact that we didn’t choose a more “upscale” spot to celebrate. A restaurant’s interior décor, the fanciness of the dinner/flatware, or the price of an entrée does not dictate our enjoyment or experience – we ate food we love and we ate it together! Plus, who can’t get down with a wonderfully meaty rack… of ribs? Now Rainin’ Ribs is more a smokehouse/kitchen than a restaurant. We were greeted at a small ordering counter and when we said we’d be dining in, we were given a couple menus and directed to head into the covered dining area to sit anywhere we’d like.  Our server came up a few minutes later, took our order and gave us the go-ahead to anything at the beverage station.

 

 main entrance

main entrance off bothell way

 

The Food:

 

 

 clockwise from the left: 3 sides, 1/2 rack of baby back ribs, 1/2 lb of brisket

clockwise from the left: 3 sides, 1/2 rack of baby back ribs, 1/2 lb of brisket

 

 hushpuppy

hushpuppy

We both shared the 1/2 rack of ribs and two sides ($23) as well as the  a la carte 1/2 lb. of brisket ($10). We got our third side for free as a promotion of checkin’ in via Yelp. For our sides, we went with the hush puppies, loaded potato salad and the mac ‘n cheese. The potato salad was hearty and not overly creamy. The green onions provided a nice bright note to each bite. The mac ‘n cheese was pretty good, but not the best I’ve had.  The hushpuppies on the other hand were amazing. They had a great outer crust and a perfectly sweet and moist inside. One thing that really stood out was the bits of jalapeno throughout each hushpuppy that provide subtle heat to each bite. The honey butter they serve with was also delicious. The brisket had a nice smoke ring along the outer edges and had a good flavor from smoke and rub. We ordered the baby-back ribs dry and they were excellent. The meat was fall off the bone tender and the same great flavors of the rub and smoke that the brisket had.  Rainin’ Ribs offers three house-made sauces to pair with your food; Sweet G, House, and Voodoo.  I liked the voodoo (spicy) sauce the best. It wasn’t too spicy but just had just enough heat to satisfy.

 

 

My Conclusion:

 

With a menu also offering a variety of sandwiches and other favorites like fried catfish and chicken wings, and the fact that they have a food truck and cater, Rainin Ribs is a solid spot.  The staff is friendly and the BBQ is great. We shared our delight with our server and she suggested the tri-tip next time. I’m sure we’ll be taking her suggestion in the near future.

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Last month, my family and I were fortunate enough to take a 3-week trip to Cherry’s country of birth, Philippines.  She’s been back several times over her lifetime and this was my second trip, so it wasn’t totally foreign to me. However this time around I had a much greater appreciation  of the entire experience. I like to tell myself it’s because I’m older and more mature. Cherry’s family is from the central province of Pangasinan, on the main island of Luzon. Her mother still has a home in the Sugcong barangay of the Pozorrubio municipality, which is where we stayed. We spent a majority of our days going to the ili (pronounced ee-lee), which is the central hub of each municipality, and nights with family drinking – Tang or brandy.

Now join me on a photographic journey of the things I ate and places I visited!

* unless noted, most everything was home made

** 1 US dollar = 40-44 pesos

Breakfasts:

breakfast_3

chicken tinola, home made longanisa, tomatoes with armang (shrimp paste), rice

breakfast_2

fried tilapia, tomato with armang, rice

breakfast_1

fried fish, mulunggay leaves and tomatoes, rice

These three dishes are very common breakfast meals in the Philippines. If you couldn’t tell by the pictures, breakfast consisted of rice (a staple), a protein (usually fried) and a vegetable. Depending on what was available the protein and vegetable changed each day, however tomatoes and shrimp paste were always on hand!

tocino breakfast

tocino breakfast $130p

chorizo breakfast

chorizo a la cubano $160p

These were breakfasts offered at Burby’s Grill. The tocino was average and the achara (papaya salad) was too sweet. The chorizo was pretty horrible. It had no flavors of any seasonings and the only flavor I picked up was vinegar.. too much of it. The fried plantains were pretty good though.

chow king

pork siomai chao fan with egg $97p

In terms of number of locations, Chowking is like the Starbucks of the Philippines. The food is cheap, will fill you up and they’re open 24-hrs a day! Not exactly my idea of Chinese food, but for under $3 U.S. I’m not complaining 🙂

Lunches:

clockwise from stop left: pinakbet, pork afritada, pork adobo, ____, curry chicken

eatery from the ili clockwise from top left: dinengdeng, pork caldereta, pork adobo, pinakbet (mostly pork), curry chicken $35p each

lunch_1

left to right: diniguan, pork adobo, pancit, sweetened pork belly fat adobo, tomato and armang, rice

mang insal_1

“pm 2” meal from mang inasal $109p

Mang Inasal an extremely popular fast food restaurant known for their barbecued chicken. The chicken is tasty and well cooked with a mildly sweet glaze. It’s very common to dip your chicken in sauce comprised of soy, calamansi juice and hot chlili peppers. This meal comes with unlimited rice but you can opt to not have unlimited rice and save yourself 10 pesos.

jollibee

polobok & chicken meal from jollibee $140

Jollibee may be the most recognizable Filipino fast food restaurant, and like Chow King, they’re open 24hrs a day and on every street corner. The picture above pretty much sums up how the meal was. Both the polobok and fried chicken were average at best but satisfied my hunger.  One thing I’d like to note is that Jollibee is busy… staggeringly busy. It doesn’t matter the time nor location, there will be a crowd.

eatery_2

view from the road

eatery_1

pick a pot, any pot

eatery_3

beef steak with rice

This meal is from a roadside eatery. My mother-in-law paid for the meal so I’m not exactly sure how much it was. If I were to take a guess, I’d say around $35peso per plate. These types of eateries are also very popular in the Philippines. When you enter, you’re met with a plethora of covered pots and pans filled with various stews, meats and veggies for you to choose from. After you make your selection, the server plates it and serves you with a plate of rice. The beef was on the chewier side and the flavors of the vinegar overpowered everything.

 top: fried shrimp, grilled milk fish,  bbq pork skewers, bbq pork, eggplant bottom l to r: salad of mango, tomato, red onion, chili and fish sauce and "chow mein"

top: fried shrimp, grilled milk fish, bbq pork skewers, bbq pork, eggplant
bottom l to r: salad of mango, tomato, red onion, chili and fish sauce and “chow mein”

Cherry’s cousin treated us to this lunch at a Lisland Rainforest Resort in Urdaneta City. It was a beautifully presented meal and most everything was delicious. I especially enjoyed the fried shrimp which were crispy and enjoyable to pop in your mouth. The bbq skewers were also delicious. The glaze had a good balance of sweet and savory. The noodles on the other hand, were underwhelming. It looked pretty but the the ingredients literally sat atop a hard noodle cake. I felt like I needed a knife to cut a portion out. The icing on this noodle cake was the seasoning that seemed to be sprinkled all over. Three words: Chicken Top Ramen.

Dinners:

 native chicken tinola & bbq pork

native chicken tinola & bbq pork

The picture above was a very typical dinner each night as well. Like breakfast, it usually consisted of a protein and a vegetable. Often times we ate the exact same thing for both breakfast and dinner. They call the chicken above “native” chicken because it wasn’t farmed. They literally went into the backyard and killed one for dinner. It was definitely very tough and much chewier.

The following two pictures show preparations for  a celebration. In the barangay’s, celebrations involve a family hosting a huge dinner for the entire barangay (dozens of large families) to celebrate a wedding, anniversary or any other momentous occasion. Needless to say these types of dinners are not a regular occurrence.

 teamwork makes the dream work

teamwork makes the dream work

just another bbq

a little pork and a little carabao

to be continued…

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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Cherry and I planned a weekend trip to Portland as a “last getaway” before our baby comes. Yep, we’re having a baby this December! Portland is definitely the “weird” red-headed step sister to Seattle, with an abundance of uniquely northwest microbreweries and foodie spots. With only a limited amount of time there, here are the spots we visited.

1.)  Joe’s Crab Shack

joescrab.sampler

classic sampler $12.49

joescrab.sunsetgrilsteampot

sunset fire-grilled steampot $26.49

One thing I hate, is seeing commercials for restaurants and stores nowhere near your place or residence. Enter Joe’s Crab Shack. Nothing says foodie spot, like a national seafood chain but being the only one within 150+ square miles of Seattle, we made the exception to stop by as we drove down. Plus, years of seeing the commercials finally took its toll on us! Cherry and I shared a classic sampler and an individual order of the sunset fire-grilled steam pot. The sampler included crab dip, fried calamari and their “great balls of fire” which  are panko breaded and deep-fried balls of seafood, crab, jalapenos and cream cheese. The calamari had a nice crispy breading and the crab dip was tasty. I liked the great balls of fire, but I would have like more heat. The steam pot had both snow and dungeness crab, shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. The spicy seasoning provided nice heat and everything was well cooked with the focus of the pot, the crab, being fresh and sweet.  Joe’s is a fun place to bring the family, but it’s more expensive and you get less for your money compared to a place like the Crap Pot.

2.) Bridgeport Brewery

bridgport.beersampler

beer sampler $9

bridgeport.bbqchili

chipotle beef chili $8.95

With my growing passion for good beer, we attended a tour of Portland’s oldest craft brewery. It was awesome going behind the scenes to see how beer is crafted and what was especially impressive, was that they produce, bottle, and distribute their entire product on a staff of four! There’s even a laboratory in the back of the packaging floor where college students come as a part of their courses. A major point our tour guide and brew master emphasized throughout the tour is that for everything they make (beer & food), they practice the acronym: FLOSS, which stands for fresh, local, organic, seasonal and sustainable – I like that! After the tour, we got a small bite at the bar. Cherry went with their bowl of chipotle beef chili  which was hearty but lacked the bold flavors of spice and worcestershire normally associated with chili. I decided I’d rather drink my carbs and just ordered their beer sampler, which featured three of the year-round beers and five seasonal. All of which were equally good in their own way, but their Hop Czar was too hoppy for my taste.

3.) Noodles and Co.

noodlesnco.bbqporksandwich

bbq pork sandwich $6.99

noodlesnco.indonesianpeanutsaute

indonesian peanut sauté $7.98

Interesting spot featuring a wide variety of made to order “noodle” dishes ranging from spaghetti and meatballs to phad thai. Cherry went with the bbq pork sandwich and side of tomato basil bisque and I went with the indonesian peanut sauté. The pork sandwich was surprisingly very good. The meat was tender and flavorful on its own, but the slaw was lackluster at best. The bbq sauce also provided a nice pep to each bite. The tomato bisque was rich and had a nice balance of tomato and basil. My noodles weren’t that great, keep in mind I’m a noodle snob and have high expectations when eating any kind of noodles.  The flavors were bland and the chicken was dry. I was expecting the flavors of “spicy peanut sauce” to at least be present, but instead this dish was a haphazard attempt at something “Asian.” The only positive thing I can say about that dish is, I wasn’t hungry anymore after I ate it.

4.) Mother’s Bistro

mothersbistro.entrance

entrance

mothersbistro.floor

busy breakfast service

mothersbistro.applesausagescramble

pork apple sausage & cheddar scramble $9.95

mothersbistro.joesscramble

joe’s scramble

This spot has received a ton of positive feedback from the “foodie” world and I was extremely eager to see for myself what the craze is about. As I parked, I saw a line out the door and a mob of people waiting outside. I immediately felt a disappointingly warm smile creep across my face, like a child that was just given time out in their room… full of video games and toys. The wait wasn’t bad for a 2-top though, only about 30-minutes. I think another big reason for the unusually large amount of people was due the fact that the Portland Marathon was also that morning. Many runners ready refuel their bodies with a carb-loading session after a cruel and self-punishing run. Cherry went with the pork apple sausage & cheddar scramble. As usual, in Portland fashion, everything used is fresh and local and you can really taste that. The scrambled eggs had an almost creamy texture that held everything together nicely. The apple sausage was both savory and sweet and wasn’t greasy at all.  The breakfast potatoes were cooked perfectly and had nice subtle flavors of the herbs they used. I ordered the daily special which happened to be a joe’s scramble that featured their house-ground natural rib-eye. Everything came together wonderfully to provide a great dish. Often overlooked during breakfast is the side of bread that usually accompanies the dish. The wheat bread at Mother’s Bistro definitely cannot go unnoticed. It was unique in that each bite was clean almost like a cracker, but you knew you biting into toast.

My Conclusion:

Portland is such a spunky and quirky city that I almost want to drive down every weekend to try a new spot! Cherry and I have come down at least once a year for the past few years and always discover something different. I’ll leave you with a photo I took at Roloff Farms of Cherry’s baby belly… hope you’ve enjoyed!

cherryandpumpkin

30-weeks and counting!

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Last night I was craving some Chinese beef noodle soup and since we were already in the International District, I turned to my trusty and increasingly prevalent tool, social media!  Smart phones and social media are such a double-sided sword these days in that they’re extremely useful to look up information at a moment’s notice, but at the same time they turn individuals into zombies! “…must….check…status…updates…!” Anyways, to make a long story short, I searched “beef noodle” in my “foodie” app got a ton of nearby restaurants. Mike’s Noodle House stood out with the highest numbers of reviews and overall high rating. It’s located on Maynard Ave S. between Jackson and King. Stepping inside, I immediately noticed two things: it’s very small and very clean. I did a rough count and estimate the max capacity to be about 34, but all the furnishings looked fairly new and well maintained. We were quickly seated next to the door and given our menus.

mikesnoodle.entrance

entrance off maynard ave s

mikesnoodle.kitchen

nothin’ to hide here!

The Food:

mikesnoodle.donut

chinese “donut” $1.7

These aren’t the Americanized Chinese donuts you find at buffets, that are drowned in sugar, these are actually you tiaowhich translated literally means “oil sticks.” They’re traditionally eaten at breakfast with congee, soymilk and/or between “shao bing.” They weren’t as crispy as I’d like, and carried a more salty flavor with an subtly sweet aftertaste.

mikesnoodle.chinesebroccoli

chinese broccoli with oyster sauce $4.5

In an effort to maintain a balanced meal, we ordered the Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce. They were prepared excellently with a rich green color and a nice crunch. Many times, these can be overcooked which makes them softer with a less appealing bite. The bitterness was cooked down nicely and the oyster sauce countered with a strong savory sweet flavor.

mikesnoodle.brisketsoup

brisket noodle soup $6.1

When it comes to beef noodle soup, there are two traditional variations; clear broth and dark broth. I myself prefer the dark broth, also called, hong shao niu rou mian, or as I call it, 紅燒牛肉麵. The dark color comes from the use of soy sauce. For me, the most important aspect of a good noodle soup is the broth and the broth at Mike’s is, dare i say, almost as good as 我媽媽的 (momma’s)! It was extremely rich and flavorful with deep flavors of the soy, star anise, and spices. I put a dollop chili paste to appease my spicy-tooth. The brisket was almost fall-apart on its own tender and also carried awesome flavor from the many hours of braising. Everything about the broth and beef was an A…. the only thing I would I preferred differently were the noodles. I prefer the fresh hand pulled Chinese rice noodles which tend to be fatter, as opposed to the skinny egg noodles they serve here.  They were also under cooked requiring some diligence to cut between your tongue and teeth – unless you’re eating naengmyeon breaking noodles shouldn’t require extra efforts.

mikesnoodle.theend

i had stop when i hit plastic…

My Conclusion:

I love noodles. My mom loves noodles too, and growing up in a Chinese home, you could say she passed it down to me… I guess I “got it from my 媽媽!” I may even consider myself a noodle snob! That being said, Mike’s Noodle House definitely brings their A-game with what they serve. But, the true test is what my mom thinks when I bring her here next time… stay tuned!

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