Pretty sure this is what pasta is supposed to taste like

There’s this great spot in Pioneer Square that serves deliciousssss pasta! Bad news though, it’s only open during lunch time M-F. It’s called Il Corvo. If you get a chance to try this place, I would definitely recommend it! It’s a hidden, delicious gem. This post will consist of my 2 visits :) I apologize for the iPhone quality pictures!

Atmosphere: Upon walking in, you’ll see a marble community table on the right with small tables everywhere else. It’s a small space that is always bustling with people.

Pricing: $9 for pasta. There’s usually 3 different ones to choose from. They also have some antipasta.

Service: You order at the counter, they’ll give you a number, and they’ll deliver your pasta to you when it’s ready. I’ve found that everyone is generally smiley and nice. They will give great recommendations and answer any questions you have.

Food:

IMG_2680Cavatelli in veal sugo and house made sausage. This was so delicious!! I wish there was a little more sauce, but I was still really happy with the sausages (I wish there was more of that too…).

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Bucatini with pancetta in tomato sauce. Great texture to the bucatini. I’m not a huge fan of tomato sauce, but this was very classic and I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSquid inked gigli in spicy clam sauce. Gosh it doesn’t get any better than this. I’ve been wanting to try squid ink and I finally came on the right day! This was taken at my 2nd stop to Il Corvo.

Overall: This casual pasta place will definitely just give you the right amount of fill for lunch and not put you over the edge to food coma. I’m never disappointed when I come here. I can’t wait to come back and try their pesto pasta. That is by far, my favorite sauce. They change their pasta menu on a daily basis. You can check their blog for more info and past dishes.

Il Corvo on Urbanspoon

“I’m Top chef, you’re top ramen, I’m top shelf”

This post will be a combination of two different locations! This will feature Santouka, a ramen restaurant that is world wide. The first one I went to was in Vancouver, Canada. This past spring, one opened in Bellevue!

Atmosphere: Vancouver – It’s on a pretty busy street downtown. There’s a large table near the front that’s for community seating. There’s some seats wrapping the bar/kitchen and more tables in the back.
Bellevue – Also in downtown Bellevue. The decor here is much more modern and I feel like there is probably as much or maybe less seating at this restaurant. For the first few weeks of opening, there’s a line that forms outside of the restaurant and what’s interesting is that there is a sign saying there’s a max capacity of 48. That seems so little!

Pricing: Same average price of ~$11-12 for a normal size and you can get a smaller bowl for $1 less and a large bowl for $1 more. I added a soft boiled egg for an extra $2, which is a lot more than I would have wanted to pay.

Service: Pretty average in Vancouver. In Bellevue, they mixed up my friend’s order (but this was a couple weeks after opening so that’s understandable).

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Vancouver – Tonkotsu shio ramen! This was probably the best tasting ramen I’ve ever had (or that I was really hungry). The char siu was SOOOO tender and literally melted in my mouth. I added the soft boiled egg for extra. SO good.

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Vancouver – The second time I went to Vancouver, I had to stop by again. This time, I got gyoza along with my order. This was the tonkotsu miso ramen!

IMG_3654Bellevue – Tonkotsu miso ramen along with my $2 soft boiled egg. This serving platter is a staple of Bellevue’s compared to Vancouver’s. I just wish the egg was cut in half for me.

Overall: Vancouver is still by far much better than Bellevue, despite being the same chain. I’m not sure if it’s because Bellevue is still new and working out the kinks, but I prefer Vancouver. I have yet to visit Bellevue again after everything has settled down, but I definitely will give it another try. They also now have happy hour from 3-5p. There are a couple of other ramen places in Bellevue so I will be sure to try those before finding my favorite in the area.

Blind Pig Bistro.. with a twist

Blind Pig Bistro took over the teriyaki place next door and kept the name of Eastlake Teriyaki for a while. They recently upped their game and renovated to Babirusa (I have yet to revisit since the remodel).

Atmosphere: It has a very teriyaki feel where you order at the counter and they’ll bring your food to you. Very casual place. Quite opposite of next door.

Pricing: Appetizers to main dishes range from $6-$12

Service: Very friendly guy that was helping us out and gave us some great suggestions.

Food:
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Painted hills burger with pesto sauce and mushrooms. The guy who took our order said that if we enjoyed the steak next door, then we would enjoy this! This piece of meat was so delicious….

IMG_3263Pork belly with rice and kale salad. This was their play of a typical teriyaki dish and I think it’s a great rendition. Their sauce is homemade and you can really tell. Not too overly sweet.

Overall: I can’t wait to come back because they change their menu nearly everyday. It’s super close to where I live so there’s no reason not to go! Such gourmet food for a great price. Even if Blind Pig is full, you can hop over next door and have a drink and still get delicious food :) I encourage everyone to try this place! It’s kind of a hidden gem that not many people know about yet. It’s a great place to go and eat family style.

Deep Dish Round 2

Next  stop was Lou Malnati’s! This was located on a busy street with lots of cute restaurants, shops, and tons of people walking around. This is towards the end of the Magnificent Mile past the John Hancock Tower. It was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel.

Atmosphere: Upon walking in, I noticed that there is a lot of seating outside on their patio as well inside. I wouldn’t peg it as a pizza place at all. It looks a little fancier than your average pizza parlor.They even have some couches by the entrance they use for seating! They also have a bar in the middle of their restaurant and beyond that there is more seating in the back, some seating in a large room, and a couple of private rooms for events.

Pricing: Pretty comparable to Giordano’s. Our small that we ordered was $14 (we finished that between two people.. for three you’d for sure have to order a medium and possibly have leftovers). Personal pizza is ~$7-9, small ~$11-5, medium ~15-20, large 20+.

Service: Our server was very attentive, friendly, and helped us choose our delicious pizza.

Food:

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We of course had to have a salad to balance our meal. This was the Malnati salad and it was EXCELLENT. It was probably one of the best salads I’ve had and beats Gio’s by far! Romaine lettuce, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, salami, gorgonzola cheese, and their sweet vinaigrette dressing (which made the salad so good). $9 for this size and there is also a family size for $13.

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A slice of heaven. We ended up getting the Malnati Chicago Classic, which had a layer of their lean sausage, extra cheese, and vine ripened tomato sauce on their special buttercrust. My oh my. This crust was much tastier their Gio’s! It was flaky, easy to eat, and crisp to perfection. Their pizza was quite simple with just sauce, cheese, and sausage, but still very satisfying and tasty.

IMG_1287 IMG_1289 Overall: I think this is a great alternative to Giordano’s. It’s different even though they’re both deep dish pizza. If you want a little more complex pizza with toppings I’d go with Gio’s. Lou’s only features a few deep dish pizza’s on their menu like cheese, sausage, pepperoni, the Chicago Classic, the Lou, and crustless (but really.. who wants to get that!?). Not many choices, but they’re quality is what makes it so good.

It’s a tough decision over which deep dish I liked better.. they both have their pros and cons. Gio’s has better selection and more toppings, but the crust at Lou’s is flaky, crispy, and buttery. I would have to say I liked Lou’s a little more due to the crust (I also like sausage, too). If you’re ever in Chicago, I’d say try both and give it a go! Let me know which you liked better :)

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Deep Dish Round 1

When I went to Chicago, I heard of two rivaling deep dish pizza spots. Even though I was only there for the weekend, I knew I had to try both! The first restaurant I went to was Giordano’s. It was only a couple of blocks away from our hotel. The one I went to was located on North Rush Streeth, near the Magnificent Mile (huge shopping area). The wait averages around an hour, so you could keep busy by visiting some nearby stores like Zara or Nordstrom Rack.

Atmosphere: Upon entering through the revolving doors, the place gives a cozy, homey feel with Chicago based decor and wood everywhere. There are two floors, with a small and cute elevator lift to the next level. There was a TON of seating. Our wait was probably ~35-40 minutes for a group of 3. The first thing we did after putting our name down was picking out a deep dish pizza and pre-ordering it. I suggest this for everyone! It’ll cut down your wait time when you get to the table because a pizza takes about 30 minutes to cook.

Pricing: Our small pizza was about $20. This includes 6 large slices. Prices range from $15+ depending on the size and toppings. A medium specialty pizza is about $25.

Service: It was excellent! Our waitress kept coming by to refill our water, checked on us, and even poured our sangria carafe for us. She was very smiley and had a cheerful attitude.

Food:

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Busy corner where this particular restaurant was located.

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This delicious sangria tasted like juice. $17. I loved all of the fruit in each glass.IMG_1064

We got the house salad to split among us to feel slightly less guilty for our stuffed pizza. A pretty standard salad with light vinaigrette.
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Here it is! The Chicago classic – green peppers, pepperoni, mushrooms, and onions. It was stuffed with cheese. This thick crust was a little difficult to cut through with a knife and only got thicker and harder towards the edges. I noticed most people did not finish their crust. It was definitely overwhelming to eat all my two slices. This small pizza was very filling and definitely shareable between 2-3 people. We for sure wouldn’t have been able to finish the medium! IMG_1068

My lovely pizza model and tour guide!

IMG_1069Overall: I thought this place was a great first experience of deep dish pizza. This is exactly how I imagined deep dish would be. Although it looks like there is a ton of sauce, it was not too saucy, but tasted more cheesy, I’d say. They also have frozen pizzas you can take home. I believe you can also order online and have them ship it to you! I would recommend that you try this if you’re in Chicago. It’s a chain so you’ll most likely find one nearby.

Giordano's Pizza on Urbanspoon