Where to Eat in White Center

I've repeatedly explained to people that some of the best eating in Seattle is in White Center. Which technically, isn't Seattle, so perhaps that's why people are so scared to venture down there? Formerly a piece of unincorporated King County, recently annexed by the city of Burien, White Center picks up where West Seattle leaves off, at the south end of the city. Culinarily, White Center holds much of what Seattle lacks: authentic, cheap foods from all parts of the world. Having worked in West Seattle for over two years, I've spent a lot of lunches dining on the cheap tamales, the lovely … [Read more...]

Wine Dinners and Wine Learning: Matthews Estate at Monsoon

"Oh, I don't know anything about wine" or "I just like the kind that gets me drunk" I hear these phrases all the time from my peers, even my most food and flavor obsessed friends. Yet, despite happily dropping $50 on a dinner and another $40 on cocktails in a night, it seems that people my age don't seem to attend wine dinners. Brian Otis, the representative of Matthews Estate and I mulled over this. It strikes us both as disappointing that these opportunities for great food, amazing wines and education are dismissed. I had chosen to accept the free media pass to Monsoon East's Matthews Estate … [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...]

Ben Thanh: Vietnamese Beyond the Menu

A blue neon sign astutely states "Lau De" in the window of Ben Thanh, tucked in the armpit of the MLK/Rainier intersection. Literally, this area, with beautiful, imposing and classic Franklin High School to one side and the, bright, modern light rail to the other, looks like a forlorn place. But if you know that 'Lau De' of which the sign speaks, you look a little closer. Traditional Vietnamese goat hot pot, to a person like me, anyway, holds much intrigue. I first came to Ben Thanh in search of a quick meal, low expectations, on a time limit, it was there. While I was vaguely aware that … [Read more...]

The Joy of a new (restaurant) Love: Bamboo Grill–Update: Closed

It's the rush of adrenaline that comes as you push open the door of an untested restaurant, the thrill of finding that it is not a dud. From first bite to the last wave at our waitress, I knew that the Bamboo Grill would be a new favorite for us. Bamboo Grill is a Vietnamese restaurant, but not a hole in the wall pho place like Pho Bac or Than Brothers. Nor is it a shiny beacon of culinary fancies as are Greenleaf and Tamarind Tree. No, Bamboo Grill is what it is, a corner restaurant in my neighborhood serving up a small, precise menu of delicious specialties from Vietnam. As the only people … [Read more...]

Seattle Roll Bakery

"mhhmmmm" was the noise I made as I drew a deep breath through my nose upon entering Seattle Roll Bakery. It was a heavenly smell, that of everything good that has ever been made into baked good form. My patience quickly frayed, as I felt the urgent need to step over everything that lay between me and the counter where I would be able to procure an item made with this bread. This included, among other things, a rolling rack full of freshly made baguettes, an elderly Asian woman and a refrigerator. Yes, a refrigerator. Oddly, there were a number of these hanging about in the room. My … [Read more...]

Hanoi Food Part 3: Wake up for Pho!

It turns out in Hanoi, Pho is served from 6-9am on the street. We had not made it out of the hotel in that time period and we were on the last day there. We were leaving for the airport at 8:30pm. Here we realize we have about 14 hours left in Hanoi and have not eaten any of the stuff we wanted to! Basically we took it up on ourselves to fix this, creating one of our infamous walking tours to ensure that nothing was missed. We walked by a lot of cultural sites, waving hi as we ran to try the best chicken in town. But damn, that chicken was good! At 7am I shook B awake, guilt tripped him into … [Read more...]

Hanoi Food Part 2: We need to try more!

Wow! That was quick. See, I'm already back with part 2 of my Hanoi food fest. Upon returning to Hanoi from Halong Bay, we realized we needed to try some more local delicacies, so we spent the evening searching out good food. Okay, the start of the food walking. The first thing we did was chase down a durian lady. I've been wanting to try it for sometime, since it is made into such a big deal on all the food shows. My opinion? Nothing wrong with it, but nothing I'm chasing down again. It's kind of like a pear. If there is one in front of me, yeah, I'll grub down, but I don't think I'll run … [Read more...]

The Late but Delicious Hanoi Food Post: Part 1

It's now been a months since I left Hanoi and I'd be no closer to posting on it if it weren't for this perfect storm of coincidences. Literally. Seattle is paralyzed by the worst storm in my 25 years of living here, the coldest temperatures in my dad's 40 years of living here and let's be honest, an amount of snow that would be an average Monday in Buffalo, NY. However, in Seattle this is cause for not moving anywhere so I've been blessed with, as I mentioned before, a few snow days. I've caught up on things, played in the snow, re-arranged my kitchen, and now, thanks to a reminder from Brian … [Read more...]

The Magic Words at Lemongrass (Restaurant Review)

Near my house is an area known as "Little Saigon". I call it the best corner of eating in the city. It houses two amazing Sichuanese restaurants, arguably the best Vietnamese restaurant, an unbelievably good Malaysian restaurant, a beautiful MiW (Meat in Window) chinese barbecue place and at least 7 permutations of the name "Saigon Deli" all of which serve a mean bahn mi. However, last friday night we were looking for something cheap and simple, and it was late. Late meant bahn mi was out, simple meant we didn't want to tempt ourselves with fancy Vietnamese and the concept that there would … [Read more...]