Posts Tagged ‘capitol hill’

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: 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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I’m finally gonna share this lil’ gem of a burger joint that I’ve proudly proclaimed as my numero uno burger spot: Li’l Woody’s. Sittin’ in Capitol Hill off E. Pine and Minor, Li’l Woody’s is a small independently owned burger spot serving delectable burgers using hand formed Painted Hills ground beef. As you step through the wood-framed glass door, you’ll notice their menu on the right wall. Ahead you see a small ordering counter followed by the the kitchen/grill area. On the adjacent wall, there are two soda coolers offering various bottled sodas. There is a small dining area atop the stairs and even fewer seating on the ground floor.


entrance off e pine





order/pick up counter & kitchen

The Food:


basket of fries $3.5

These hand-cut fries remind me of the kind you get at Dick’s – minus the oil seaping through the paper bag. They’re crispy, well seasoned, freshly made and tasty. For a little extra, you can get them topped with homemade queso sauce or with a side of Molly Moon’s milkshake for dipping… aka crack.


good mornin’ woody: 2 eggs, hills bacon, tomato, tillamook cheddar , rooster mayo $4.5

Despite being a “breakfast” sandwich, the good mornin’ woody is very hearty.  It’s essentially a complete breafast meal between two buns. The bacon was thick cut and crispy while the gooey cheddar melted over the egg. The tomato adds a nice flavor contrast and the rooster mayo (spicy mayo) had the adequate heat to wake those taste buds – acting like the hot sauce you pour atop your eggs.


li’l woody: 1/4 lb. burger, tillamook cheddar, chopped onions, pickles, ketchup, mayo $4.5

Cherry normally goes with the Li’l Woody and rightfully so. The one thing that always stands out with Li’l Woody’s, and a main reason why they’re my top, is quality of their beef. I’ve had several off their signature burgers and each and every one has been fresh, flavorful and juicy. In these cases, juicy does not mean greasy. That being said, the cheddar cheese is perfectly melted while the onions and pickle add both texture and countering sharp and pickled flavors. It’s a perfect burger for those who prefer a more classic cheeseburger.



picnic burger (burger of the week): potato chips, pepperoncini, cheddar, coleslaw, ranch $8.5

Li’l Woody’s has a rotating burger of the week menu that’s usually creative and a li’l out there… and this week just so happened to be the picnic burger. I actually had to read the menu twice just to make sure I was reading it correct: coleslaw and potato chips in a burger?! The friendly woman behind the counter assured me it was “delicious” and highly recommended it. When they called my name for my order, I was expecting to see a sloppy stack of ingredients between two buns itchin’ to be an accident on someone’s shirt or pants. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this burger was cleanly made. I did however, have to excersize the  hand press technique to be able to fit everything in one bite. The first thing I noticed was the crunch of the potato chips and then a bright mild spice of the pepperoncini. Adding to this picnic, was the cool crunch of the coleslaw. The ranch provided a creamy flavor, while unfortunately, the cheddar was someone lost in the shuffle. A second reason why Li’l Woody’s is on top is their buns – which seem like potato buns to me. In an article in Seattle Weekly, owner Marcus Lalario would only share that their buns come from Tacoma. Wherever they come from, they’re always very delicious, soft and stable enough to keep from falling apart.

My Conclusion:

You know that feeling you get when you stumble across something great and want to share it with everyone so they can experience it too… but at the same time, feel torn to because you want to keep it all for yourself?  That’s how I am about Li’l Woody’s… hence, why it’s taken me so long to write this review.  Everything on their menu is delicious and highly satisfying. If you’re one that doesn’t partake in the eating of meat, don’t shy away – they also offer a black bean burger, which I haven’t tried personally but I’m sure won’t dissapoint. I’m sure there are countless arugments of who has the best burger in Seattle, however Li’l Woody’s sits atop that category for me… and frankly, anyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter 🙂

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I had a longer lunch yesterday and was pleasantly surprised when Cherry decided to stop by and take me out. She decided on a burger from Lil’ Woodys and I decided to walk down a few doors to try a spot I’ve read a lot of positive things about, Baguette Box. Located on the corner of Pine St and Melrose Ave, Baguette Box is a small bistro-style spot offering banh mi  inspired baguettes – elevated. As soon I stepped in, I immediately noticed how full it was and a dreadful long line of people waiting to order By the time  placed my order, there were 12-tickets ahead of me, but the wait wasn’t terribly long – only about 15-minutes. There are several large paintings along the walls and a set of stairs along the Southeastern wall, leading to what I’m assuming is a second level of seating. The kitchen is compact and holds just enough room for the one person preparing food and one taking orders.


baguettebox.entranceentrance off pine


baguettebox.counterordering counter 

baguettebox.paitings whaddup dawg!



The Food:


baguettebox.drunkenchickencrispy drunken chicken: battered crispy chicken, sweet tangy sauce, caramelized onions, cilantro $6.9

Then bright greens from the cilantro and pickled jalapeno really popped against the golden brown of the crispy chicken and the dark caramelized onion. The baguette was toasted well, carrying a crispy crunch with a soft bite underneath. The sweet tangy sauce was  more salty than sweet but had a nice flavor of ginger. The onions added an additional layer of savory flavors that were countered well against the bright flavors cilantro and pickled jalapenos. They also added some leafy greens that also added a softer texture.


My Conclusion:

Baguette Box offers a solid selection of baguettes with a variety of ingredients. Everything is fresh, made to order, and they also have vegetarian-friendly selections as well. There is also a selection of sides that look very appealing that I will have to try next time such as the truffle fries and the red potato salad with apricot aioli. You can check out their offerings here.

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If you’re ever on Capitol Hill and looking for a cheap and quick lunch, look no further because Georges’s Sausage & Delicatessen is your spot. Located on Madison Street between Terry and 9th, George’s is a small European Delicatessen offering quality meats, tasty treats and delicious sandwiches. European Deli’s differ from American Deli’s in that they usually carry specialty and higher quality meats. The meats are also usually more expensive. George’s is a very small shop with standing room for about six people. Aside from the deli fridge, mini counter, and a drink cooler in the corner, the walls are filled from floor to ceiling with stuff! From a wall full of European snacks and treats to another wall full of various fixins’, anyone with claustrophobia be advised.

main entrance (slightly hidden)

counter & menu

a few fixins’

european snacks

just some meat

The Food:

corned beef sandwich on wheat with everything $5.45

 I don’t need to tell you that the sandwiches at George’s are the real deal…  just look at the picture! The corned beef was stacked a mile high and full of rich savory flavor. The vegetables are all fresh and crisp – I like how they use both iceberg lettuce on top and a piece of romaine lettuce beneath. The onions, tomato and pickles all join the party to provide the clean and delicious flavors I look for in a well-made sandwich.  The standard cheese they use for the corned beef sandwich is provolone which also works well. If corned beef and provolone aren’t you’re cup of tea, they offer many meats and cheese you can choose from. All the sandwiches are made to order and ready within 5-minutes of ordering.

My Conclusion:

Sandwich chains are fine and abundant, but when you compare a George’s sandwich to say… a Subway sandwich, its like comparing a watermelon to a grape! You’ll never find yourself wondering… Is that all the meat I get?” The only question you’ll be asking is, “Can I get some more napkins?!”

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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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Working on Capitol Hill, there’s never a shortage of places to go for lunch. On this day, I went with the newly opened, Pot Belly Sandwich Shop. Pot Belly offers toasted sandwiches with locations all over the country – there are five Western Washington. It very busy when I stepped in, the tables were full and there was a long line of patrons waiting to order. I was immediately greeted by an employee who took my order energetically on an iPad. Behind the sandwich counter is squadron of employees all with varying tasks. Some making the sandwiches, others prepping and making their hand-dipped milk shakes, and at the end, a group taking payment. Once I got up to the counter, a designated worker greeted me again, confirmed my order, and directed me to one of the “stations” to pay. It almost seemed like I was getting ready to ride a rollercoaster with him saying, “Head right on down to station 3, so-and-so will ring you up!”

entrance from madison

 the beginning of the line


happy employee



The Food:

the wreck: salami, roast beef, turkey, ham & swiss cheese  with  all the toppings (minus mayo and oil) $4.80

For under $5, their six-inch subs are reasonably priced lunch option for someone on the go. They would be even more reasonable if they put more meat in the sandwich. Despite having a nice variety of meat, there was only one slice per, and a lot of bread. Their meat:bread ratio doesn’t work well for me, especially since I’m trying to cut back on my carbs… Nevertheless, the sandwich was tasty and the bread was toasted just enough to make each bite warm but not to the point where it’s cracking apart in pieces. The veggies were fresh and crispy, but the element that made this sandwich was the hot peppers. They carried a nice heat that gave this otherwise ordinary sandwich some pep!

My Conclusion:

If it wasn’t for the tasty hot peppers, these minimally meat filled sandwiches would be average at best. I attest the busy lunch hours to the fact that they’re still newly opened, otherwise you can find better from the other dozen or so sandwich shops in and around Capitol Hill. I don’t normally review or post about chains, but I tend to write my intros after I write my food review – so it was only then did I find out they were a chain… c’est la vie.

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On any given day, if you asked Cherry or I what we were in the mood for, nine times out of ten we would respond with, “Pho!” If you’re reading this and asking yourself, “What is pho?” … well that wouldn’t be possible, because there’s no way you have access to a computer from the rock you’re living under! Over the years, Cherry and I have had Pho in countless spots – literally from Bellingham down to Federal Way, but only one business stands out and far ahead of the pack, Than Bros. There are 14 different locations in Western Washington and having been to seven of them, I am confident in saying, they are each equally delicious. You won’t find fancy decorations or even a big menu here – they only serve two things; pho and cream puffs, both of which according to their website, are secret family recipes.

The Food:

complimentary cream puffs

Each patron receives a complimentary cream puff which are always made fresh and very delicious. The pastry portion always has a nice balance of firm outside and marshmallow-like softness in the middle. As soon as you bite in, you’re hit with the creamy and custard-like  sweet filing. These cream puffs are great in that they’re not too sweet – just enough to leave you craving for more. If one isn’t enough, you can buy them: 3 for $1.50


all the necessities: bean sprouts, jalapeno slices, basil, lime slice


medium number 8 chin sach: brisket & tripe $6.25


my pyramid  of beansprouts

I always order the number 8 which includes brisket and tripe. I love their brisket, which in my opinion, is more tender and carries a little more flavor than the cuts served. For those texturally courageous enough to try it, tripe is delicious.  It has a chewy texture and carries a very subtle salty beef flavor that works great with the rest of the ingredients. Now to the main focus of any pho restaurant (also my judging criteria), the quality and flavor of their beef broth. Compared to the other spots we’ve tried, Than Bros, hands down, always has the most flavorful and savory broth. It is full of rich beef flavor from the beef bones and other seasonings that go into it. The rest of the ingredients (onions, basil, green onions, bean sprouts & lime slice) all combine to provide happiness in a bowl! Crunch from the bean sprouts, bright and sharp flavors from the basil and onions and a contering tartness from the lime juice… I’m craving a bowl as I read/write this! A subtle but important thing worth noting is the temperature at which they serve their pho. You may be wondering, “…temperature?!” Indeed! Nothing is a bigger let down than a bowl of pho that is barely lukewarm when you’re only 1/3 of the way through. The perfect bowl of pho is hot enough to not only cook the rare meat that is an common choice, but to maintain it’s temperature even to the last drop. Needless to say, Than Bros doesn’t disappoint here either.

my usual sauce spicy/sweet combination: sriracha & hoisen


you know it’s good when…

My Conclusion:

Depending on which location you choose, it may look clean and new or like a a rundown hole-in-the-wall, but who goes into a pho restaurant for the décor anyway!? Whether you’re battling the sniffles or craving something hot, flavorful and fulfilling, the pho served at Than Bros will do the trick. Their service is fast – wait times for your food to be served is less than five minutes, and the food is fulfilling. On average, Than Bros is also cheaper than the other pho spots we’ve been too. And lastly, for those with dietary restrictions, they also serve chicken pho and vegetable pho so no on leaves unhappy.


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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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Here is the menu for Irbille Edible’s July Pop-Up at Olivar in Seattle. Please call for reservations.



•Papaya Salad 8

papaya, radish,  mizuna, calamansi

• Kamatis Salad 8

heirloom tomatoes, red onions, crispy silver fish, cane vinegar

 Pagkaing Dagat

• Fried Talaba 12

fried pacific oyster, coconut rice,  grilled corn

• Scallop Sipo 16

seared scallops,  peas,  wallawalla onions, mushroom puree

• Gabi 15

coconut braised taro leaves, garlic prawns,  forbidden rice


• Sisig 10

seared pork, arugula, mango

• Pork Adobo 10

braised pork belly,  leeks, garlic rice, adobo sauce

• Grilled Manok 10

grilled chicken, fava beans,  braised new potatoes, apritada sauce

• Grilled Baka 12

grilled sirloin steak, sautéed red onions, cherry tomatoes, toyomansi sauce


• HaloHalo 8

coconut granite, ube ice cream, strawberries, jackfruit, coconut cream

• Champorado 8

chocolate rice pudding, raspberry ice cream, hazelnut polvoron crumbs



10% of the dinner’s proceeds will benefit Noel House Programs.

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 Just when you thought these Pop-Up’s couldn’t get any better, last nights event marked an occasion truly worth speaking of – 100% of the proceeds from last nights dinner are to be donated to Noel House Programs. For those that may not know, Noel House is the largest women’s only shelter in Seattle. Providing both permanent and temporary housing, food, resources and support for women in need, Noel House is truly a blessing for women in need. It is awesome  knowing that Irbille Edible’s partnered up with such a great organization.

The Food:

mango salad: manila mango, mizuna, watermelon radish, green mango vinaigrette

This salad was dressed wonderfully. The julienned mangos really popped against the backdrop of the mizuna and was a pleasing plate to look at. This is the second time I have mizuna (the first was at his April Pop-Up) and I can honestly say I enjoyed it! It has a more mild flavor than arugula and does well in cutting through the sweetness of the mango. One critique I have about this dish is I didn’t notice the watermelon radish – which was listed on the menu. 

roasted eggplant: baby eggplant, bell peppers, almond sauce

Cherry and I opted to lean away from our norm and order the roasted eggplant. The eggplant was roasted nicely with a good char and soft inner layer. The almond sauce added a countering sweetness almost like a peanut sauce and worked great with the eggplant! However, again, the menu stated the dish would come with bell peppers, and if my memory (and photo) serve me correct, there were none.

 steak bagoong: anchovy marinated hanger steak, purple yams, heirloom tomato

For me, this dish was the highlight of the meal. The steak was cooked perfectly with a perfect char on the outside and a tender pink in the middle. The anchovy (or bagoong) marinated stead had great flavor and really added a nice depth of flavor. Acting almost like a sweet potato mash, the purple yams added a delicious touch when combined with the tomato and steak, it was sublime.


 My Conclusion:

It is always great coming to these Pop-Up dinners,  not only to support an up-and-coming chef, but also a friend. Being able to witness Chef Irbille’s progression of his creativity, technique and plating from his first Pop-up to now, is truly something great. Learning and growth is something that is constantly the goal of any professional and despite some missing elements on our dishes, these miscues were mere hiccups in the overall dinner. Furthermore, in the grand scheme of things, the main winners are the residents  and staff at Noel House, for they are the ones who will directly benefit from this event – I was lucky enough to be apart of the ride.

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