Love at First Sight: Yummy Mammy

Spinach Noodles

Yummy Mammy is the Zooey Deschanel of Chinese restaurants. It's got her quirky looks and takes hints from the way she hides behind big glasses to fool people into thinking she's not so  hot. Digging in deeper, ignoring the garbage bag full of dried red peppers sitting on the hostess stand, I found my manic pixie dream girl restaurant. Yummy Mammy's name alone gives it points in the "most adorkable" competition: awkward to get off the tongue and giving no hint of the stellar Chinese food hidden within. Emulating Zooey's Jess, from New Girl, it's just different enough, without crossing … [Read more...]

The French Laundry on Yelp: A Zero Star Review

CheeseCourse

1/8/13   Okay, people, listen up. I went to the French Laundry, and obviously I’m the most qualified person to offer this review, even though there are fifty one-star reviews already on the site, because this is going to be the first person to give a ZERO star review! FIRST ONE HERE! Also, I actually went to the restaurant, so that puts me a leg up on more than half of those silly one-star people. I thought this place, was, like, super exclusive, or something? I was extremely angry that I got the exact day and time I wanted for my reservation (by following the instructions on … [Read more...]

Where to Eat in White Center

PuffPastry

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...]

Eating America: The Best Food in Chicago, Part 2: High-end Restaurants

Hot Chocolate at Alinea

Consider this the food blogger's guide to Chicago. As I say on my About Page, being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. Each year I tell my stories of trips to Beijing, Hanoi, and Mexico, but sometimes I leave out my favorite places right here in the U.S. No more! This is the latest installment of my 'Eating America' series, featuring the best eating around our fine nation. Alinea. Yeah. I went there. We ate at Alinea. It was an experience. It’s ranked the 7th best restaurant in the world (a ranking which, having been to others that are … [Read more...]

Eating America: The Best Food in Chicago, Part 1: Budget Restaurants

PDSoupBetter

Consider this the food blogger's guide to Chicago. As I say on my About Page, being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. Each year I tell my stories of trips to Beijing, Hanoi, and Mexico, but sometimes I leave out my favorite places right here in the U.S. No more! This is the latest installment of my 'Eating America' series, featuring the best eating around our fine nation. In my few trips to Chicago, I’ve mostly had the chance to eat at only a few places while passing through the city on the way to Brett’s family’s place out in the burbs. … [Read more...]

Altura Takes Itself Just Seriously Enough

Papardelle

It was a coincidence that Altura received a semi-finalist nomination for a James Beard Foundation award the day we had reservations. It made it all the more surprising that tables around us sat empty for hours as we ate, despite my needing to book two weeks out to get a reasonable time slot. After the level of service and cuisine we witnessed, I can't help but wonder (hope!) if it was purposeful--to relax the kitchen and the waitstaff workload--so that the diner's experience is impeccable. If not, perhaps we were just fortunate that nobody read the nominations and tried to jump on the … [Read more...]

Where to Eat Mexican Food in the I-5 Corridor: Bellingham, WA to Salem, OR

Torta

From the Canadian border straight south to Salem, Oregon, there is Mexican food to be found right off the highway. Food, which, even if not dead-on authentic, beats the ever-loving grandma jeans, diner cleanliness and canned mushroom soup off any other road food you'll encounter. As might be expected, the food gets better the further south you go, which of course makes me want to commit to continuing this series with an episode 2: Salem to Sacramento. If only I had occasion to ever be in Sacramento. Do things happen in Sacramento? Regardless of the eventfulness of California's capitol, there … [Read more...]

Dear Seattle Restaurants: A Chicken and Waffles Challenge

Chicken and Waffles

 This picture, folks, is the ultimate in chicken and waffle cuisine. Not familiar? Neither was I. I was dubious, to say the least, as all of my friends urged me to try Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles while I was on vacation in Los Angeles. I like fried chicken as much as the next person, and well, who can dislike a waffle, right? But together...I narrowed my eyes in wary judgment. How wrong I was! Now, I'm reduced to chasing this delicacy up the coastline, in search of the same succulence. Seattle restaurant owners, I issue you this challenge: Make a chicken and waffle dish that rivals … [Read more...]

Wordless Wednesday: DimSumCouver #7

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[Contest] Where to Eat at Pike Place Market: A Local’s Perspective

Like Eloise in the Plaza, I ran about the Pike Place Market as a child; ducking into stands and around tourists. If I were lucky, there was a post-swim-lesson lunch courtesy of my parents, maybe at the Turkish deli. Other times, my friends and I would slunk about, mixing in amongst older, more experienced vagrants. We'd laugh at the tourists, posing outside the wrong (not the first) Starbucks. Today, I'm no different, no less a kid in a candy store. I sneak through the market at 8am, on my way to work, when only the useful stalls--the fish, the vegetables, are open. Pike Place Market in … [Read more...]