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Archive for the ‘Mexican Food’ Category

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.

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store front

 

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the essentials

 

The Food:

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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!

 

 

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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.

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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!

 

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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.

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lunch line

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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.

 

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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

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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!

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entrance off columbus ave.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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entrance off haight

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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.

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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.

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23rd &  treat

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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.

 

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dining floor

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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 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!

 

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china town . sf, ca

 

 

 

 

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This past weekend a group of us got together to celebrate our friend, Renee’s, birthday. Of course it wouldn’t be worth talking about if it didn’t include food! Here’s what our day looked like.

 

Serious Biscuit: Can’t go wrong with a biscuit brunch and you definitely can’t go wrong with Tom Douglas 😉 The Serious Pie & Biscuit location on Westlake Ave is a fairly large restaurant offering two levels of dining that also doubles as the Dahlia Workshop.

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 special: pulled pork, slaw, fried egg $9

Cherry went with the special which featured a pulled pork and apple slaw (I believe?) topped with a fried egg. The pork was rich and flavorful and also carried an extremely subtle hint of sweetness. The slaw was fresh and bright and to top it off, the fried egg was the ideal touch. Not to be overlooked were the biscuits served here, which were perfectly baked. The outside was borderline crunchy and the insides were a soft and buttery delicious.  I’m regretting not ordering a few to-go! Poor me, I’ll guess I’ll just have to come back…

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the zach: fried chicken, black pepper tobasco gravy, bacon, egg $13

If you know me, then you know I obviously with went w/the “zach.” The bacon was thick cut and the chicken was cooked excellently. It had great bite despite being doused with gravy and the meat was very moist and tender. You can’t tell by the picture, but there is an egg under all that greatness that provided an additional layer of texture and flavor. I would have liked for the gravy to have provided a little more flavor and heat. Tobasco sauce definitely punches one in the face with its bright vinegary spice; so understandably, the gravy was toned down a little. But if you advertise “black pepper tobasco gravy,” I would think the heat would be present…no worries though, they offer a variety of hot sauces to quench your heat thirst.  

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crispy hamhock, collard greens with smoked onions $10

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wood-fired skillet baked egg: applewood smoked bacon, roasted kale, crimini mushrooms $9

Our friends ordered the crispy hamhock and collard greens biscuit as well as the skillet baked eggs. I should have taken an “after” picture,  because judging by how clean their plates were, it’s safe to assume they were delicious!

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass:

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rylie is clearly uninterested

This is an awesome exhibit featuring the work of local artist, Dale Chihuly. I won’t regurgitate who he is and what he’s done… there’s google for that. But I will say his work is amazing and I would highly recommend this place as a, “must visit” stop in Seattle!    

 

Los Agaves:

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tacos: adobo chicken, al pastor, la lengua $2 each

After spending the afternoon visiting Chilhuly and wandering Pike Place, we decided to grab a quick bite before we headed home. Los Agaves is literally located in a little crevice between a seafood and dairy stand. At $2 a taco, what’s not to love?! I was pleasantly surprised by how good their beef tongue was. It was cooked perfectly – extremely tender and flavorful. I would highly recommend it for anyone able to look past the fact that they’re eating cow tongue. Ohh, and their “spicy” is exactly that. They poured some salsa verde atop each taco and as took my first, it was like the green light at the Indy 500 for my sinuses and the pores atop my head! With my taste buds burning, my eyes tearing, and my mind asking for more, I was very pleased… we all have a little sadist in us.

 

My Conclusion: I’m not ashamed to admit that despite being born and raised in Seattle, I still get very excited, eager and wide-eyed, each and every time I get to explore the city…  kind of like an a teenage boy going to a gentlemen’s club  for the first time.  

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my peeps

 

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Located on Capitol Hill, Chino’s is a refreshing spot that fits nicely in a very eccentric and diverse area of Seattle. Self advertised as an Urban Tiki House & Taiwanese Cantina, Chino’s serves both Taiwanese & Mexican comfort foods and offers a huge drink list specializing in Tiki drinks. One could easily miss this place due to the window signs being obscured by trees and the sign in front being small. The first thing I noticed was the large mural painted on the front wall – there is no mistaking the Mexican and “L.A.” influenced décor throughout. A decent sized bar with a few tables and stools are the second thing that greets you, followed by an open kitchen and open dining floor that fills the rest of the restaurant.

beacon of color

 

The Food:

 

 

lonchera tacos: pork, cilantro, onion & salsa $2 each (happy hour special)

 The tacos were tasty and the pork had good savory flavors of the seasonings and onions it was cooked in. The elements that really make these tacos are the fresh onions and cilantro. These two simple ingredients really brighten up each bite and add great contrast to the flavors of the meat.

 

 

gua bao platter:  pork belly buns, with pickled mustard greens, cilantro & crushed sweet peanuts $9

 If you haven’t tried the gua bao from Chino’s then you haven’t lived! The braised pork belly was full of rich savory flavors and the greens countered wonderfully with a bright pickled crunch. Cilantro always adds a nice element and dept of flavor and the sweet peanuts acted like the cherry atop of beautiful sundae! Cherry initially mistook the peanuts for brown sugar because of how fine they were ground! The bowl that held this sundae together was the bun – which also had a perfect balance of being able to hold all the ingredients together without losing integrity but soft enough to really help meld all the great flavors and textures together.

 

zha jiang mein: spicy “Chinese spaghetti” – minced pork, hot bean paste, sweet bean sauce, over noodles $11

 Growing up, I always had the spoiled privilege to have my Nai Nai’s (grandma’s) homemade zha jiang mein. Pretty much every week when I visited, as soon as I’d step in the house she’d have a huge plate for me fresh off the stove! Needless to say my Nai Nai’s zhai jiang mein was the best in the entire World! Having experienced the best, I can honestly say Chino’s did a might fine job with their version. The hot bean paste and sweet bean sauce combine nicely to provide a very rich, savory and almost smoky flavor that left me wanting another bowl. The pork had good flavor and the julienned cucumbers added a nice visual touch to the bowl and provided a subtle crunch of freshness. One also major plus here is their use of fresh noodles – unlike dried/boxed noodles, fresh noodles are wonderful in soaking up the flavors of the sauce.

 rice bowl of the day: pork spare ribs over rice, pickled vegetables, braised egg $12

 Cherry opted for the rice bowl and she initially asked for chicken, but our server (who happened to also be the owner) suggested the special of the day – pork spare ribs. The plate had a generous serving of ribs over a bed of rice and also a nice side of pickled cauliflower, cucumber and jalapenos. One thing I especially enjoyed with this dish was the addition of a halved lu dan (roasted egg.) Lu dan is a common food in Chinese culture typically served as an appetizer with roasted beef shank and pig ears. The pork had a nice smokey flavor and was falling of the bone tender. I have never had pickled cauliflower, but after trying it here, I can say I enjoyed it very much. The pickled veggies were excellent in adding a bright note to the overall dish and lu dan served here also had deep flavors of soy sauce and spices.

viking fog cutter: cruzan light rum, voyager gin, hennessy, orgeat, orange, lemon, sound spirits aquavit float $11

 I decided to partake in one of their specialty Tiki drinks and asked the owner if there was one that he liked over the rest. He suggested the Viking Fog Cutter which he stated was a lighter drink with citrus accents and fairly strong. Sounded like something down my alley so I ordered it. He was very meticulous in preparing the drink – carefully measuring each ingredient and making sure everything was perfect. The verdict… everything was exactly that! The drink had nice bright flavors with a subtle hint of sours that I enjoyed. It was deceptively strong – not a overpowering flavor of the alcohol but after one drink, I was definitely feeling good.

My Conclusion:

 To me, Chino’s has a winning recipe: clean, delicious comfort foods influenced by Taiwanese & Mexican cultures, strong drinks, very friendly staff and reasonable prices. If it weren’t for the brightly painted sandwich board sign out front, one could easily walk past this urban oasis that is, Chino’s.

 

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