Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dinner at The Loft

One of my favorite dinner spots in Edmonds is a small, hip, modern restaurant called The Loft. We've been there a few times in the past for a late night bite to eat or drinks, but never for dinner. Honestly, it's mainly because of the price, however we recently had something to celebrate and a $25 for $50 Groupon.

We decided to share all of our food in order to try multiple dishes. We started with their beet and blood orange salad. Sweet and refreshing.

My favorite small dish at The Loft - Truffle Fries! They serve the fries with Truffle oil, salt and herbs, black pepper, and a Dijon bechamel sauce on the side. The bechamel sauce was good, but call me a truffle purist because that's all I need.

Me enjoying my truffle fries.

Spicy Pancetta Pesto Prawns - pancetta wrapped black tiger prawns, sauteed with chili basil pesto, spicy butter, grilled romaine heart, and grilled crostini. Spicy, savory, and delicious. Basically a combination of all of my favorite flavors.

We ended with the melt off the bone tender braised short rib. Slow braised beef, truffle mushroom risotto, roasted pistachios, Marsala demi glaze, shaved Grana Padano cheese. I had risotto the week earlier at Mama Melinna and this risotto blew that one out of the water. You really can't go wrong with a slow cooked braised short rib and this one did not disappoint.

Amazing meal, fun little location, and a great restaurant we highly recommend. If you want to get out and try something different, make sure to come up to downtown Edmonds to check out The Loft. Also they have an outdoor set up as well which will be perfect for the summer. We just need it to warm up a little.

- Kyle

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Malay Satay - Singapore in Seattle

In serious withdrawals from the amazing food we enjoyed in Singapore, we were super excited to re-discover Malay Satay in the ID off of Jackson. Emi's parents had taken us there a few times in the past, but we had completely forgotten about the place until some of the Singapore hunger pangs started to kick in.

We went out to celebrate Emi's mom's birthday. Her favorite drink there is the Avocado Shake. We also ordered "lime juice", but unfortunately they tasted more like normal limes instead of Kalamassi limes. A little too sour for my liking.

Malay Satay's version of roti prata. A little too thick and bready. It was good, but not the same as the flaky, thin, buttery roti from Singapore.

Emi's curry chicken. Similar to the dish she enjoyed for our last meal in Singapore, but not as sweet and of course, like most of the other dishes at Malay Satay not as authentic as the real thing.

I didn't find this dish in Singapore, but man oh man I love it here in Seattle; Singapore Rice Noodles. I love the thin noodles, with the spicy, curry sauce, vegetables and prawns. I could eat these noodles until I passed out. Love them, but again I didn't see them in Singapore.

Belachan string beans, with sauteed onions and prawns.

Malay Satay's version of chili crab, not the same as Long Beach Seafood in Singapore, but Emi said it was still pretty good. Sweeter and made with Dungeness crab, instead of the bigger Malaysian crabs.

All in all a decent meal and something different. If you want Malaysian, Indonesian, Singaporean food, there is no where else to go in the whole state of Washington. So if you want a taste of Singapore make sure to go check out Malay Satay and if you enjoy the meal, just keep in mind you'll love the food in Singapore by a multiple of at least ten.

- Kyle

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Man Party - Wine Tasting and Fast Food

For my birthday this year, I had a group of my friends over to celebrate at our house. Being a "Man Party" I decided to host a blind wine tasting competition. Try to class it up a bit. I selected three wines for my guests to try as a part of a blind taste test. All they knew was that I had three reds for them to try and the bottles were all different prices (also nothing too pricey). The challenge was for them to guess what kind of wine they were trying and which wine was the most expensive.

I used three of my favorite wines. The first wine they tasted was one of our favorite new wines, the Ross Andrew "Glaze" Cabernet Sauvignon. This is Ross Andrew's "economical" limited run brand, we tried it for the first time at an Innovators Network event. We also found it at Toulouse when we went for dinner, but they told us they were taking it off the menu because the demand had outrun the supply. This is a smooth, bold cab, and only $15 a bottle. Most of my guests were able to guess that this was a cab.

The second wine was the Nota Bene Cellars Syrah. Similar to the Glaze Cab, we purchased this bottle after a tasting at Savour, a specialty food shop in Ballard. If you haven't been to Savour yet, make sure to check it out. We went for lunch and saw a sign advertising local wineries hosting tastings there. Nota Bene was the highlighted winery of the weekend, so we decided to hang around for some free booze. Maybe it was the multiple glasses of wine or that we really enjoyed it, but we left with a few bottles. The syrah was about $35. Another great wine and we did have a few people guess that this was the most expensive bottle.

The third wine ended up being the favorite for the majority of my guests and it was the cheapest. The Alamos Malbec is around $8 a bottle and can be found at any grocery store in the area. I must admit, it is very, very good. One of my favorites and for the price why not get a couple bottles?

For dinner this year we decided to change things up a little. What pairs well with three solid bottles of red? Fast food of course! Last year Emi and I cooked throughout the night for my friends. This year I decided to have everyone pitch in and bring in our favorite fast foods to enjoy for the night.

We had Red Mill Onion Rings, McDonald's french fries which we paired with my friend's homemade chili and another batch with truffle salt, Dick's cheeseburgers and Deluxes, Five Guy's Burgers, Ezell's spicy fried chicken and for late night we had two Papa Murphy's pizzas, Hawaiian and Chicago style stuffed pizza. What a greasy feast all topped off with my Baskin and Robbins ice cream cake.

Red Mill onion rings and Ezell's spicy fried chicken

Dick's Deluxe and Cheeseburgers

B&R Ice Cream cake, for my little brother Kyle Jr.

Fun night, good food, and even better company. Probably why I'm already thinking about what I want to do next year.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Lunch with Tommy D - Grand Opening of Ting Momo

Earlier this week my coworker told me about the new Tom Douglas gastropub Brave Horse located in South Lake Union. While talking about all of the new restaurants Tom Douglas was opening in the area we touched upon Ting Momo, his new Tibetan handmade dumpling restaurant. The food gods must have been smiling down upon us because when we looked up Ting Momo online we found out that day was the grand opening AND they were only open for lunch, perfect!

Ting Momo is located on Terry between Thomas and Harrison St and within walking distance of our office and right across the street from the new Amazon offices in South Lake Union. Ting Momo is located within a food lover's triplex of Cuoco which specializes in housemade pasta and Brave Horse the before mentioned gastropub.

When we arrived to the quaint restaurant with shareable tables there was a line to the door. Instead of taking a seat and waiting for a waiter to take your order, you stand in line, watching the workers (probably authentic Tibetans too) making the handmade dumplings. After squeezing in the door, Tom Douglas, the man himself, walked over and told the guy behind me, he was the last customer.

We decided on the Samo Plate which were fried dumplings filled with Carlton Farms pork, cumin, coriander, and apricot. The dumpling was flaky and buttery. The inside was a punch of flavor to my mouth, which tasted like spicy curried ground pork, all extinguished with the cool, yogurt dipping sauce.

Deciding to go family style, we also ordered the Tingmo Plate, which were soft steamed bread dumplings, instead of the fried variety. We went with the curried crimson eggplant, walla walla onion, and red curry. The bread dumplings were amazing and surprisingly soft and fluffy. Great flavor and made me forgive the fact that they were out of their other meat variety dumplings.

The lunch was a fun experience because we got to see Tom Douglas in action. I'm sure being the first day of operation for Ting Momo it was important for him to be there. It was fun to hear him barking orders to the cooks, urging them to work faster and to remember to check the soup so it wasn't too salty. He also served everyone's food too! Emi was disappointed I didn't ask him for his brussels sprouts and pork belly recipe. With him opening a new restaurant every day I'm sure Emi will track him down sooner or later.

A few observations:

  • They currently only serve lunch and are open M-F from 11am-3pm. Dinner to come soon.

  • Everything will be new to most Seattlelites so be open to trying something new: golden colorado yak, tingmo, momo, azag azog, thukpa soup

  • A Tom Douglas signature restaurant - my definition of "signature" - delicious, unique, leaving you craving for just a little bit more, and unfortunately a little pricey.

  • It looks like their Daily Specials will be the lunch time deals to take advantage of, 5 spice roasted duck, steamed buns, and dekyi sauce/ Coriander beef broth, beef momo, and scallions/ Chickpea curry, lentils, basmati rice.

Tasty food, great new find, and a fun lunch because I had Tom Douglas serve me my food. I hope to make it out a few more times to Ting Momo soon and highly recommend it to all of you as well.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What a Treat - Dinner with a Chef

Another meal from the Holidays, that I wanted to share with everyone. Sorry it's not very timely, but good food should always be shared with others. Emi, her parents, and myself enjoyed an awesome meal with Emi's cousin Scott Sakaguchi, a trained chef in town from Hawaii visiting for the holidays. Emi's cousins Harry and Dawn (Scott's sister) live in Lynnwood and graciously hosted us for a family get together, with Scott as the "entertainment" for the night. Scott is the executive chef at the Contemporary Museum Honolulu Cafe (check out the menu). Also since his aunt is vegan, he can cook up some delicious vegan meals as well. So if you're vegan and in Hawaii, I have just the place for you. Doubt any vegans really frequent this blog, but you never know.
We started off the night with his spicy tuna rolls. We love homemade sushi rolls because it always reminds us of family gatherings such as this one.

One of the highlights of the night, the homemade hummus! Amazing and served with tomatoes, cucumber, AND homemade bread! The hummus was great, not your standard overpowering Costco hummus, but made from scratch. Emi tried to pry the recipe out of Scott, but he wouldn't relent. He told us this is one of their specialties.

A Hawaiian favorite, Li Hing pineapple. Li Hing is a sweet and sour powder that is added to everything in Hawaii. I'm assuming the pineapple was brought in from Hawaii too because it was sweet and juicy and not too acidic. With the Li Hing powder added to it, it was a great unique Hawaiian inspired treat.

For dinner Scott made a stuffed beef roast with root vegetables. Just the hearty, stomach filling meal we required on a cold winter evening.

Mixed greens salad with Scott's homemade salad dressing.

Chocolate cake with whipped cream topping. He made the cakes, then spread raspberry jam and fresh raspberries between them before layering them and adding his whipped cream which of course wasn't of the can variety.

The dogs were passed out after playing all night and after this amazing meal all I wanted to do was curl up on the ground with them.

We can't wait until he comes back to visit! - Kyle and Emi

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Singapore - Chili CRAB!

On we go with our culinary journey through the food-fantastic land of Singapore!

Cheers! We found a quaint wine bar in Dempsey Hill, which houses British Army barracks that have been converted into restaurants and bars. We had to warm up our tummies for the life-changing meal that was to come later in the evening...

Chili crab is the unofficial (or maybe official?) national dish of Singapore. There are many restaurants and hawker stands that serve chili crab, but Carmen and Jamie's favorite is Long Beach in Dempsey (not to be confused with the other restaurants in the chain that are located throughout Singapore).

Kyle's favorite staple to Chinese meals: salted fish fried rice

These are the house special prawns, which we had to order for Kyle who happens to be allergic to one of my favorite foods, crab. Don't feel too sorry for him, these were delicious. The Singaporean people sure know how to cook prawns, and these were fabulous.

Crispy duck. How they managed to keep that duck so moist and tender, while achieving the most crisp and flavorful crust, is a great mystery that I will spend the rest of my life working to uncover.

Here we go with the star of the show: Chili Crab! I kept a food journal while I was in Singapore (and not the Biggest Loser kind that tracks calories. No, this was quite the opposite--a journal that captured all my food thoughts in the moment!) I will share the journal entry I wrote as I woke the next day, still in a daze from the previous night's meal.

"Chili crab and crispy duck at Long Beach in Dempsey last night will stick with me in my food dreams for years to come. The chili crab was more like lobster. The Sri Lanka crab was thick and meaty, with claws that store juicy hunks of meat. Carmen and Jamie let me have one of the prized claws and I accepted, gratefully devouring it and using the meat to slop up the thick, spicy sweet sauce. There was a savory donut like pastry they serve on the side that you can also use to soak up the sauce. I wanted to take home the sauce and ship it home, but thought it would be tacky to ask. This morning, I woke up at 6AM laughing, remembering that after that delicious meal, Kyle and I passed out in the cab ride home--officially in a food coma."

I realize I sound overly dramatic when talking about the food in Singapore! I admit that the natural high of being on vacation and seeing old friends for the first time in a long time might have added an extra kick of flavor to these meals. However, it is undeniable that Singapore will be one of my top food vacations of all time.

Thank you, Carmen and Jamie, for hosting us and giving us the grand tour of your fabulous new city! While it is hard to see your friends leave for far off lands, I am grateful for the opportunity to have new vacation destinations and excuses to explore our world.

Happy Eating,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Singapore - Eating in with the Booths

Even though we ate out for almost every meal of the trip to Singapore, one of our favorite meals was the one we ate in. Our hosts had an amazing condo in Singapore and being great cooks themselves wanted to treat us to a night in. It was the perfect change of pace and the meal was amazing and something we wanted to share with all of you.

Almost all of the recipes were from their favorite chef, Jamie Oliver. We've dabbled in his cookbooks before, but definitely want to try to recreate these dishes moving forward. We started off with a nice salad, which was definitely needed after days of fried rice and pork belly. It was probably time for healthy eating.

Really good green beans and asparagus with crispy garlic and cheese. I love garlic and cheese and the asparagus and green beans were great too. Definitely a recipe I need to find.

Smashed veggies, this was one of the highlights of the meal. I think it consisted of a lot of root vegetables and went really well with the main course. Emi found the recipe and made it for her parents and added truffle butter to it. This is the perfect side dish for any meat dish like a beef roast, lamb, etc. I'll make sure the recipe is posted in the near future.

A nice refreshing drink they made for us. Water with lemons, raspberries, cucumber, and mint. Just what we needed after a long day exploring the city.

Jamie and his $50 lamb shoulder. It was well worth the money which was also delivered to the door by the butcher shop. The lamb came marinated in olive oil, I need to do this. I guess lamb was expensive at the time because it came from New Zealand which had been hit by the earthquakes and floods so lamb was a little scarce.

Delicious, tender, juicy, garlic, mint lamb. I love me some lamb, not so much mutton, but lamb is amazing and this was amazing. I couldn't stop eating it.

Emi and me excited for our meal.

The house also smelled delicious from the aroma of the cooking lamb that wafted throughout the apartment. We had it in the oven for about 3 or 4 hours so my mouth was watering by the time we were ready to dig in.

Me picking at the last bits, soo good.

For dessert we picked up some macaroons. Macaroons are really popular it seems right now and after eating these I could see why! These were melt in your mouth, delicate, and sweet cookies. I've never had a proper macaroon before, but am looking forward to our trip to Paris this summer so that I can get more!

Great meal, great company, and it was nice to stay in a night yet keep up with the good eats. Thank you Carmen and Jamie!!

- Kyle

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Singapore - Street Vendor Food Part 2: Singapore Food Trail, La Pa Sat, Amoy Street Food Centre

It's actually painful to write this blog post because I know the only way I can get another amazing meal like the ones described below would be to hop on a plane for 24 hours... So sad, but at least I have my photos, a few extra pounds of chub, and the memories to reflect upon.

One food center we went to on multiple occasions was the Singapore Food Trail which is at the base of the Singapore Flyer (giant ferris wheel that gives tourists a view of the whole city). Being that it's located next to a highly frequented tourist stop, the food is a little pricier, but still affordable while maintaining authenticity.

The idea behind the Singapore Food Trail is to recreate famous street vendor locations around the country.

Satay one of my favorite snacks of the trip. However I quickly learned they only serve satay for dinner and with dinner plans most nights this usually impeded my satay consumption time. I could eat satay for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Luckily on this day, we were there later in the evening, so they had the smokey, juicy satay all bbq'd up and ready for me to consume and the spicy peanut sauce on the side was great too.

We went back the last day before our flight to order more food which included fried rice and satay again. We also took ten satay to go for our flight back. They even packaged the peanut sauce in a to go bag for us that we ripped open sometime between Hong Kong and SF.

Katong Keah Kee Fried Oyster. Fried oyster omelet. This is the only dish the guy made and I read he took ten years as an apprentice to learn how to make it. If someone is making the same thing all day night in and night out with a long line in front of it, I'm eating it. Don't care what it is, I have to try it.

The finished product served with a little hot sauce. This was very rich, but really good and I enjoyed the oysters.

One of the more unique dishes, Emi and I have ever tried was the BBQ stingray and it was really good. One might assume it would be a little tough, but it was very tender and flaky. Also on the side were these giant weird looking crawfish, it was more giant prawn like texture over lobster and very good.

Me capturing for you.

One of my favorite drinks was the fresh sugar cane juice. Here's a guy making it. He would grab stalks of sugar cane and stuff it through this juicer that would crush it all up and squeeze the pulp and juice out for the sweet and refreshing drinks.

The very refreshing finished product, almost as good as lime juice. This is probably why I enjoy Mexican cokes made from sugar cane over a normal Coke.

Emi's Ice Kachong dessert. It wasn't like a Hawaiian shaved ice at all. Not melt in your mouth shaved ice, but more like an ice cone. We weren't sure what all the flavors were, probably melon, sugar cane, and random flavor? Also they had red beans in the bottom. Didn't compare to the sweetness of an authentic Hawaiian shaved ice, but something we wanted to try.

The Amoy Street Food Centre during the lunch hour. This place is located a quick walk away from our hosts office. This would be bad news for me... I would probably need to pack a change of clothes after eating the delicious spicy food in this hot humid weather. Otherwise I would head back sweaty and sticky. We had the amazing spicy fried chicken rice here.

The famous and even more packed La Pa Sat located next to the financial district. This place again was packed with business people. Probably a little overwhelming if you're not prepared for such a large mass of people, however with all of the food options and how fast everyone cycles through you never have to wait in line all that long.

This place had all sorts of soups and was very popular for lunch, but I also noticed they had Xiao Long Bao or the soup dumplings that have become the rage of Seattle with the introduction of Din Tai Fung.

I thought this was cool, I've seen people make fresh noodles by hand on TV, but never in person. What a freaking master, he's holding a block of dough and slicing off noodles into the soup. Very cool.

The hot, flavorful soup balls and they were perfect. They took a little while to make, but were well worth the wait and they murdered Din Tai Fung, they need to start up a chain out here in the States too!

Chicken murtabak which is roti prata filled with a cheesy, chicken, and onion mixture. A very delicious greasy snack. Almost like a flaky, greasy Indian quesadilla.

I wanted more food, so of course picked up some more pork belly. I can never have enough pork belly and this was a great way to end our amazing meal at La Pa Sat.

We had an amazing time in Singapore and obviously ate a lot of delicious food. Hopefully our posts will inspire others to take the plunge into Singapore because you won't regret it.

- Kyle