Easter brunch at Ma’Ono!

I’ve been to Ma’Ono before they became Ma’Ono and was excited to return for brunch (they were formerly known as Spring Hill). We tried making reservations but it was completely full, but they had open bar seating. There were 5 of us and it seated 8 so we tried for that. We arrived a little earlier before they opened (9:30a) just to ensure we’d get seated. This restaurant is located in West Seattle just down the street of the infamous Bakery Nouveau.

Atmosphere: The first thing I noticed were the pretty light fixtures in the middle of the restaurant. They have a ton of tables, good for large and small parties with booths along the side. There were 2 or 3 large tables that were for sharing or larger groups. We sat at the bar which was at the corner and had seating for 4 on each side.

Pricing: Brunch items were on average ~$13. They’re known for their bottomless mimosas for $12!

Service: The bartender was always there so service was quite fast if we needed anything.

Food:
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Fatty saimin – everything I could ever want in my saimin. Soft boiled eggs, fish cakes, nori, cabbage, BACON, and pulled pork. Delicious flavor!! Not too salty either. This is a really big portion and you will definitely be full by the end of this dish. I just wish there was a little more broth.

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Pork loin ham benedict – I thought overall this was an okay dish! Everything was done well technique wise – poached eggs were runny, nice hollandaise sauce, crisp english muffin, flavorful potatoes, smokey ham. However, I was just not wowed with it. I mean it was good! Don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t mind blowing.

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Apple malasadas with vanilla cream and cinnamon sugar. This was definitely a wow! Chunks of apples were inside the donuts and the flavors were all there. I would highly recommend trying this if you come.

Overall: To be honest, it was a little difficult trying to pick a more traditional breakfast dish. I resorted to the saimin (as my back up) because I wasn’t really feeling the other items. I’m not sure how good they are, but I feel like they could add more breakfast items to their menu. However, I was still really happy with the saimin because it was that good. They are known for their fried chicken, so I would definitely try that next time. (Reservations are recommended!)

Ma'ono Fried Chicken & Whisky on Urbanspoon

Happy 3rd Anniversary, Lloyd Martin!

Lloyd Martin. My absolute favorite restaurant in Queen Anne and probably one of my top 5 restaurants in Seattle. Sam does such a great job of modern American dishes that are unique and really worth while. I know I’ve already done a post featuring them during Seattle Restaurant Week, but here goes another :) This event was celebrating their 3rd anniversary and they had such a good deal for $25/person showcasing 10 different dishes along with bread and other appetizers.

Atmosphere: This is a 21+ restaurant with bar seating about about 6 tables. Good for a company of four. I would advise to make reservations because this hit spot can fill up quickly!

Pricing: A whopping deal for $25/person. Suchhhh a good deal I couldn’t believe it.

Service: My favorite server is Michael. He has such a class while presenting dishes to you! I love that he describes each one as they come out. He also doesn’t need to check our ID’s anymore because he recognizes us.. hehe

Food: I apologize for the cell phone quality pictures! It was also kind of dark in there.
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So after we got some appetizers (bread and cheese/meat plates), we were served our first course. Black truffle with white bean mousse! Nice starter for the night.

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Their infamous hamachi crudo! Great bite size hamachi with that extra garnish to accentuate the flavor of the fresh fish.

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Mushrooms with sherry and thyme! Quite an ample amount of mushrooms. Really, who doesn’t love mushrooms?

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Big shrimp, chirizo, and sherry butter. WOW! Succulent shrimps that had banging flavor.

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Lobster and chicken caramel ravioli. Nice subdued flavor of lobster that was gave it a sweet subtle hint from the caramel.

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Pumpkin pie soup! Nice palate cleanser in the middle of our courses.

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They ran out of their gnocchi fondue, but instead got the sweet pumpkin ravioli with truffles. The truffles are really to die for.

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Elk ragu with huckleberry. Ok by now, I was getting quite stuffed. Not too gamey, but you can definitely tell it wasn’t chicken.

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Pork roast and house BBQ. Great way to end the night with this hunk of meat. Tender, and cooked to perfection.

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Maple cotton candy. Fun dessert that was quite interesting. Again, Sam mixed up the flavors with the salty, but sweet taste.

Overall: Congrats to this restaurant for making it 3 years! I’m a loyal customer and will be back. I can’t believe all these 10 dishes were only $25! Such a deal. They put a lot of thought into their dishes and it’s always such great quality. Keep up the great work!

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Tea party!

At the top of Queen Anne is Cederberg Tea House. You can find it at the three way intersection. It’s a South African tea house that specializes in the rooibos latte and hosting tea parties. I’ve been here twice and love introducing people to this cafe!

Atmosphere: Cute cafe that has 4-5 tables a couple of couches and window seating. It’s a nice place to meet up with friends to catch up, get some studying done, or a have a tea party!

Pricing: Pretty average pricing for their lattes (~$4) and their pastries ($3-4) and other food items like sandwiches ($5-6).

Service: Really nice baristas that’ll help explain the process of making their infamous Rooibos latte and other delicious goodies.

Food:
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Chicken and mushroom pastry with some gravy and pickled veggies. I think this pastry was about average for me.

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Sausage roll – great savory pastry with a nice flaky outer coating. I love sausage, so I would definitely get this one again.

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Melktart – milk custard tart. Not too sweet. The top reminds me of a sponge cake. This is probably one of their most popular desserts. Nice crusty edge.

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Rooibos latte! They make this by extracting the Rooibos tea leaves through their espresso machine. Love it!  FYI it’s herbal so don’t expect any caffeine in this. It’s a delicious, soothing drink. I love that it also comes with a little shortbread.

Overall: I love this little shop! My friend also likes their appletiser, which is sparkling apple cider. They also have other South African cookies that they sell in packages. I have yet to have a tea party here, but you can reserve a table by phone or online and it’s starting at $30/person for one of their menus and $35/person for the other. They have a ton of goodies that they include and it seems like quite a delight to indulge in. Overall, this is a unique cafe that’s a great find in Seattle :)

Cederberg Tea House on Urbanspoon

The complete Portland meal

If you’re ever in Portland, you have to try these two places. They’re within a block of each other. I know nearly everyone has heard of Voodoo Donut’s. They’re known for their crazy donuts with cereal, oreo, candy, caramel, bacon… whatever you can think of! In my opinion, it’s all about the novelty of how unique they are but if you’re looking for something delicious, you have to try Bluestar Donuts. If you’re still hungry, walk down a block to a sandwich shop called Lardo. This post will highlight these two places.

I’ll start with Bluestar. So we went here around 3p and they only had 2 types of donuts left by the time we made it to the front of the line. They sell out FAST of their good stuff. I’m thinking okay these donuts have probably been here for most of the day and I assume they make it fresh daily so here’s what’s left..
Atmosphere: Small donut shop. Expect a line that would probably go out the door! This one is located in SW Portland.
Pricing: $3-$4
Service
: Quick service at the counter
Food: They also have coffee!
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Left donut: Meyer lemon custard filled donut. Their filling is concentrated in the direct middle so you don’t really get it after one bite, but once you get a taste of the filling with the donut it’s oh so good!
Right: Green tea donut. I was surprised at how GOOD this donut was. Sure these were leftover but I’m still in awe that they’re both so good. They weren’t stale or anything and still tasted quite fresh. Great light green tea flavor that wasn’t overwhelming of matcha. This was 10x better than Voodoo and I really wished we came earlier.

IMG_0013Overall: You will NOT be disappointed if you try this place. I bet everything is good and I can’t wait to come back to try new things. I’m eyeing that apple fritter I see online…

Lardo: They have very unique sandwiches and let me warn you, are on the heavier side. Come hungry and prepare to leave very satisfied and full (as implied by their name)
Atmosphere: You order at the counter and they’ll bring your food over. Not that much space for seating so I wouldn’t go with an enormous group. FYI, I went to the SW Portland location.
Pricing: $8-$12. Pretty average for a nicer sandwich shop
Service
: The wait wasn’t terrible for your food. Not much service as you are just ordering in the front. I’m sure they’ll be glad to help you decide on what to eat.
Food:
IMG_0003On the bottom left is the Korean pork shoulder sandwich with house kimchi, chili mayo, cilantro, and lime. Like I said a very heavy sandwich. Lots of dark flavors but the kimchi brightened it up a little. My critique on the bread: a little hard for my liking.
Right sandwich is the pork belly gyro with cucumbers, lettuce, tomato, tzatziki, and aardvark sauce. Everything was good until this one bite…. it had what appeared to be actual bits of lemon peels. Not sure if this is normally in there but it was such a bad taste that I didn’t like the gyro at all despite the yummy crispy pork belly.
In the background is their dirty fries of pork scraps, marinated peppers, fried herbs and parmesan. Super heavy and we could barely finish it. I thought overall these were okay!
Overall:
I was not as impressed as I thought I would be at Lardo. The pork shoulder sandwich was good but not mind blowing. I hear their meatball banh mi is probably the most popular. I would try this place again just to give it another shot. It seems to have potential!

Best french toast EVER.

This is my third time at Geraldine’s Counter and I am still very happy every time I visit. They have the BEST french toast I’ve ever had. It’s so unique to other ones I’ve had and it really is top notch. This cute diner is located in Columbia city, about 10 minutes south of the International District.

Atmosphere: Their restaurant is on a corner and so the room is kind of split between two sections. There’s a counter for seating as well. Lots of tables! They display a lot of local art on their walls and I really enjoyed it because it brings back childhood memories of watching Totoro and other Studio Ghibli films. Lots of natural light from all of the windows. They use a lot of colorful plates and cups so it adds a lot of character and brightness to the restaurant.

Pricing: Pretty average brunch pricing. Dishes range from $8-$11. They also serve lunch and dinner, but you really come here for the brunch/breakfast.

Service: Everyone I’ve had is super friendly and helpful

Food:
This post will consist of my two of my brunch visits!
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This was the Slammin’. Choice of sausage patty, chicken sausage, or bacon with 2 eggs of choice and pancakes (or sub for french toast for $1. Of course I did that!) I wanted a nice balance between my sweet and savory. They rotate their french toast toppings and this day’s were caramelized peaches.

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My BF ordered the corned beef hash *squash, beef, potatoes, green peppers, celery, and onions) with english muffin. I haven’t had much corned beef hash in my day but this was really good! There was a lot of meat and the squash and peppers really made the dish much more balanced with these lighter flavors. I know the potatoes and meat can make it heavy but it was really well balanced. I would highly recommend this if you don’t get the french toast.

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My first visit to Geraldine’s. This is the complete order of their french toast. I’m not even completely sure what kind of bread they use, but it’s crispy and not overly crispy where it hurts to eat but a nice “crunch”! It’s all about the experience on this dish because I can’t even describe how unique and good it is. Caramelized apples for this topping!

IMG_5566Biscuits and gravy! There was a TON of sausage in the gravy :) Good overall dish and they do it well. Nothing wowed me but it was still good.

Overall:
I hope by the end of this entry you will be dying to try the french toast. I hear the chicken fried steak is another popular breakfast dish. I would expect a wait during weekends just FYI. This place is big but not that big. I might try their lunch or dinner items sometime, but I am always tempted to just get the french toast since breakfast is served all day. Happy brunching!

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