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Archive for the ‘Food Truck’ Category

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 😦

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I was pleasantly surprised when I recently discovered that Seattle has a food cart offering jian bing. Social media is seriously one hell of a global phenomenon! Despite not having the most engaging or even updated website, I was able to confirm via Twitter, that Bing of Fire would be stationed at Westlake Park for lunch on this particular Friday. For anyone too lazy to click the hyperlink posted earlier, jian bing is a Chinese savory crepe that pretty much blows all savory crepes out the water.  You won’t find any deli meat, mayo, cheese or any of that junk like I’ve seen at the local mall crepe station. These come filled with green onions, cilantro, Chinese pickles, egg, chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce and crispy fried wonton crackers… and that’s just the base ingredients. There are a few more free ingredients you can add as well other ingredients that will cost you a little extra including roast duck, pork belly and bbq pork.

 cart in westlake park

cart in westlake park

layin the foundation

layin the foundation

methodically done

methodically done

The Food:

jian bing w/bbq pork $8

jian bing w/bbq pork $8

Coming from a Chinese background, I will say that this jian bing is on point. First off, I was hit with all the flavors that satisfy; the bright kick from the green onions and cilantro, the sour from the pickles, the sweet from the hoisin and the spice from the chili garlic sauce. Texturally, I was really pleased with how the bing and the egg held everything together with the crispy wonton crackers providing a crackling crunch to eat bite.  The jian bing start off at $7 for just the basic ingredients, but I chose to add bbq for an extra dollar. The bbq  pork was decent but not the best I’ve had,  and would have liked just a touch more of it. Nevertheless, the portion size was an adequate lunch meal, even for me.

 

 

My Conclusion:

I’m really pleased with Bing of Fire’s representation of a common street food found in China. With the rise in food truck/cart popularity, it’s refreshing see one that isn’t selling tacos, bbq, or gyros. And while their menu really only consists of one thing, they do it right and they do it well. I look forward to trying their other variations.

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Hey everyone! As you can obviously tell (and what I try not to let happen), my activity on this blog has taken quite a big dip this past year. Priorities in life take a change in the world of parenthood. Nevertheless, Cherry and I planned this past weekend to get out and try new spots. So let’s get to it!

Peaceful Restaurant

We spent Saturday north of Washington State’s U.S. border in Canada. After seeing Peaceful Restaurant featured on DDD, it quickly topped my “must eat list” for Vancouver. We visited their W. Broadway and Cambie location around 3pm and it was extremely busy. Despite being small and narrow, Peaceful Restaurant was bustling and full of life. Regrettably we only ordered a couple of dishes, but that only means we’ll be back!

 

peacefulrest.entrance

entrance off w. broadway

peacefulrest.kitchen

the heart of this establishment

peacefulrest.narrow

narrow quarters

The Food:

 

peacefulrest.beefroll

peaceful beef roll $7.95 ca

This was the first time I’ve had a Chinese beef roll and it was wonderful. It consists of braised beef shank wrapped in a green onion pancake with hoisin sauce. This type of beef happens to be one of Cherry’s favorite, and for good reason. It’s braised in a mix of soy sauce, star anise, and five spice until tender and packed full of flavor. The green onion pancakes are savory and crispy to provide a nice bite. The hoisin sauce adds a terrific sweetness to balance everything out.

 

peacefulrest.zhajiang 1

peacefulrest.zhajiang 2

beijing zha jiang mian $7.95 ca

If you’ve been following my blog or even glanced at my “who the heck!?” page, you probably have read that zha jiang mian is my favorite noodle dish. Peaceful Restaurant does a decent job with their take on this very popular Chinese noodle dish. The menu reads as “savoury dark pork sauce,’ which is really a black bean sauce/paste. Pork combined with the sauce is placed on top of the noodles alongside shredded cucumbers, bean sprouts and carrots. The sauce was on the bland side and needed more salt. The veggies added a bright note and also gave each bite some nice texture. The star of all noodle dishes here  is their hand pulled noodles, which have a fantastic textu that you can never get with boxed noodles.

 

Nosh

On Sunday, we went to the Fremont Farmers Market with one thing in mind, fish and chips! After getting many good recommendations and even a personal invitation from the owner himself, Nosh was the obvious choice. Walking up towards the truck, the verbal invitations from owner Harvey Wolff could be clearly heard from down the street. His method of attracting customers was quite simple, offer a “money back guarantee if his fish and chips aren’t the best you’ve had!” The British accent didn’t hurt either.

nosh_bone harvey

follow the crowd

nosh_bone menu

zagat don’t lie

The Food:

nosh_bone marrow

roasted bone marrow $7

This was the first time I’ve had bone marrow and I now understand why I’ve always heard it to be delicious. The marrow itself is salty and quite flavorful. It is also very gelatinous so if you’re an unfortunate individual that has trouble with those kind of textures, I’m sorry for you. What set this dish over the top was the salad and crostini served with it. The salad consisted of shaved red onion, carrots, celery leaf, capers and parsley.  The crostini was toasted and salted. The rich savory marrow, the bright and pickled salad and the crunch of the salted crostini came together as one of the best bites I’ve ever had.

nosh_fish

british fish ‘n chips $10

Now for the Pièce de résistance. Does Zagat’s assessment hold true? In short, yes.  I’ve had my fair share of fish and chips in and around the Northwest and also in my travels around the country, and I can confidently say that these are the top. First off, you get an entire filet! Not only is the cod daily fresh, it is also sustainably caught. The batter is well seasoned and the fish is perfectly fried. The batter provided a nice crunch yet was incredibly light as well. The fries were awesome – thick cut, and ideally cooked and seasoned. The minty mushy peas were also a first for me, and I dug ’em! With all the deep fried deliciousness going on, the peas balanced everything out with a nice bright and minty freshness. As Harvey would say, “If you’re ready for grown up food, come to Nosh!”

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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

 

 

 

 

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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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I first discovered Marination Station long before I started this blog and felt it would be a travesty not to share their delectable offerings. Originally introduced as the food truck serving a fusion of Hawaiian and Korean comfort foods, Marination Mobile’s success and popularity quickly grew, earning an abundance of media recognition including Best food Cart in America by Good Morning America. Enter Marination Station – their “brick and mortar” permanent location off E Pike St and Broadway in Capitol Hill. It is a very small spot having only about six stools along the windows inside, two tables outside and a handful of makeshift standing counters outside for customers eating outside. There’s a fairly eclectic menu consisting of spicy pork tacos, spam sliders, kimchi fried rice and kalua pork quesadillas.

beat the rush 

The Food:

 

kalbi beef tacos $2.25 each

 These tacos are amazing. The kalbi beef, which is wrapped in two warmed corn tortillas,  is perfectly seasoned with a great balance of sweet-savory flavors. On top of the meat is a tangy slaw that provides great crunch and countering textures. Beneath it all, is their signature Nunya Sauce, which brings a creamy spice. My favorite thing about these tacos is the pickled jalapenos they serve on the side. Despite being thinly sliced, they bring a burst of heat and is balanced well by the bright and sweet acidity from the brine. They even sell them by the jar if you want to bring some home!

kimchi fried rice $5.50

 You get a generous portion of kimchi fried rice, topped with a sunny side up fried egg. If you’re not familiar with kimchi, it is a Korean dish of fermented vegetables (traditionally napa cabbage) served as a side dish during meals. Kimchi is also used as the main ingredients in various soups and stews.  It is an acquired taste and may not be for everyone, as it has both a spicy and fermented sour flavor… I happen to love it! Marination does a very good job fusing these extremely bold flavors with a familiar dish – fried rice. The plentiful pieces of napa cabbage stir fried within bring the flavors kimchi lovers look for but also cutting the sourness just enough to not scare away unaccustomed Westerners. There is a bold spice that permeates each bite and will definitely leave your tummy warm and satisfied. The rice is cooked perfectly with each individual grain of rice being coated in the spicy and bold kimchi sauce.

My Conclusion:

 It no mystery why Marination has received a TON of local and national recognition and  why 2-minutes after I ordered my food, a mob of 15 customers walked in eager to get their orders in. Marination Station is on point when it comes to creativity, execution, presentation and taste. If their Capitol Hill location is too far for a lunch break, never fear, they’ll come to you! Whether you’re in West Seattle, Sodo, Belltown, Fremont, South Lake Union or the International District, you can find their Mobile Food Truck daily schedule and location here – or follow them on Twitter @curb_cuisine. What are you waiting for?!?

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