The Top Six Dishes I ate in Seattle this year

I'll be honest, this started out as a top 5 list, but I had six dishes that truly stood out in my mind that I ate this year. I eat out a decent amount and I don't always write about them--especially if the rest of the meal was distinctly underwhelming, as was the case in at least one of them. I like just picking a dish because I'm not judging the whole restaurant experience (another of these dishes was served with a side of horrifically bad service), nor am I needing to make extensive commentary. The only point of this is to give props to the creativity and skills of the chefs and restaurants … [Read more...]

Beijing Part 2: Holes in the wall and Xinjiang restaurants

In which I describe the delights you can find only by adventurously ducking into the whatever steamed in window you see in a Beijing back alley (aka hutong) as well as delve into the first of the many regional Chinese cuisines we tried while there. At first glance this might seem like an odd combination, but really there was a lot of overlap. A feature of Xinjiang food is grilled things on sticks and flat, pizza-like flavored breads, both of which you may know, make excellent drinking foods, thus many double as great places to consume large amounts of weak Chinese beer or strong Chinese rice … [Read more...]

Beijing part 1: Street Food Favorites

The people of Beijing are hardy stock--everyone perfectly dressed and coifed despite the frigid temperatures, a street life, food vendors included, that is not hampered by the dry cold that froze me immediately. Needless to say, one of the best cures for a half-frostbitten fingers is to hold something warm, something comforting, something delicious, between my hands. To heat my belly with the fire of spicy, delicious food fresh from the nearest bundled up cook on the sidewalk. The man above is making the snack on the left, a thin, crispy egg wrapper filled with two kinds of sauce, one of … [Read more...]

Asian Dumplings: A Book Review

If I had to choose my two favorite foods, it would be noodles and meat, so the dumpling is my own personal superfood. Andrea Nguyen, my new hero, has recently written my dream book: Asian Dumplings. Yes, all about dumplings. Oh, dear. I'm drooling already, just thinking about it. When my copy first arrived on the doorstep, thanks to her generous publisher, I opened the box and sat down on the couch. It was ten o'clock at night, I was exhausted, I had just returned from a long dinner meeting and just wanted to relax with my beautiful book. And then I opened the book. My advice for readers of … [Read more...]

What have I been up to?

Life gets busy sometimes, and shocked as you are by it, I'm sure, posting on my blog is one of the things that has a tendency to fall by the wayside. Not to worry, though, as I've been having a good time. First I want to share with you what I will be up to in the next few days, weeks, whenever. Without delving into the irony of a Taste of Kirkland being held in Woodinville, I will point out that the salient fact here is that I am crossing the lake for an event (pausing for applause). No, am not going solely because Pat Cashman, formerly of Almost Live! is hosting, though I'll admit it … [Read more...]

Am I Fooling Myself about New World Seafood?

I'm hesitant to post my feelings about New World Seafood, the new dim sum place I have found next to Seven Stars Pepper in the ID. Sometimes I wonder if I project my high hopes for a new dim sum restaurant onto the place and that is why I like it. I loved the food at Tea Garden at first, and that panned out okay, but not quite where I wanted it. Though I did know right away that Duk Li was bad news. Yet, while I thought the food was excellent at New World, I'm worried that as the shiny newness fades, I'll realize that it is just another decent dim sum place, nothing special. I could hold my … [Read more...]

On the Hot Path of Hot Pot at Szechuan Chef

Something happened recently that turned our little hot pot world upside down. In fact, it turned my whole theory of eating vs. driving distance around. I liked a restaurant in Bellevue. This is big. A true Seattlite, I try to never allow my West-side of the water snobbiness to be overruled by my search for good food, but I'm afraid it has happened. There is a restaurant that I feel fully justifies driving across Lake Washington for. And yes, I realize it is further to most parts of Seattle from my house than to Bellevue, but it is the principal of the thing. Szechuan hot pot is a favorite … [Read more...]

A Tale of Two Pickles

My favorite Sichuanese restaurant serves these amazing cabbage pickles as an amuse bouche before every meal. I love them. I kind of want to marry them. They seem so simple, like they'd be something so common. Yet when I search my vast collection of cookbooks and the wide world of the internets, I'm unable to find them. Anywhere. I found two vaguely 'right' sounding recipes and proceeded to make them both. The first, found here, is good, strong crispy, crunchy, fresh tasting cabbage and daikon pickles. I like it, but it was not the kind they make at the restaurant. So continuing on my search, I … [Read more...]

Olympic Eating

If there's one thing I love as much as food, it's the Olympics. I can't explain it, I'm obsessed. My tivo is filled to bursting with running, jumping, swimming and uhhh...trampolining? I love the Olympics as much as I love Chinese food, which is to say...well, alot. As annoyed as I am by NBC's tape delay of everything--their primetime shows are mostly broadcasts of the previous days event and I already know the winner, I really do enjoy watching Bob Costas organize everything. Weird, right? So last week, Mary Carillo, his correspondent for all things China does a segment on eating in … [Read more...]

Foolproof!: Easy to make Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)

The holy grail of foods, that one thing foodies will travel thousands of miles to eat, you bet, yes they are that good. Here's the thing though, here in Seattle, I have tried a few iterations and I have yet to get any actual SOUP in my soup dumplings. So this was my first big challenge. Must keep soup in dumpling. Second important thing: Must make taste good. Now, I will admit that bringing soup dumplings TO a party was a bad move. Next time, you have party come to soup dumplings. I thought I'd keep them fresh by laying them on leaves of cabbage, as should be done when cooking them, then … [Read more...]