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

Sashimi galore

I’m surprised I haven’t written about this place on my blog yet! My favorite place to grab some really tasty, quality, well worth your money sushi is at Musashi. They started with one location in Wallingford on 45th, a few blocks from Molly Moon’s. They opened a second location a couple of years ago in Factoria.

Atmosphere: In Wallingford, it’s very tiny! You could probably fit about 30 people at one time. Large groups are hard to accommodate so I would probably go with a max party of 4. The Factoria location is maybe a little bit bigger. The wait time there is much shorter compared to Wallingford.

Pricing: Chirashi bowl is priced at $14.50. You can’t beat that! They also have traditional rolls like california, spicy tuna, salmon, etc for $4 on average. They keep it very simple.

Service: The host at the Wallingford location is always really nice and polite to me. It’s always the same guy who seems to be the host. I remember when I ordered to go one time during the winter, I told him I would wait outside and he said it’s fine to wait right here because my order was almost done. It’s a really small and cramped restaurant so I was a little surprised when he said that.

Food:
IMG_3813I know it’s only one picture for this post, but this really is, in my opinion, the only thing worth going for! They give you four plentiful pieces of salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and albacore EACH. They also give you a slice of shrimp, unagi (DELICIOUS), and scallops. My favorite hands down is the salmon. Look at the ribbed fattiness of the salmon! It’s so juicy and delectable. The texture couldn’t be more perfect.

Overall: As you can tell, I really like this place! Some tips: cash or check only! If you want to skip the wait, I suggest calling in your order to go. Lastly, you can modify your chirashi bowl to your liking. I have gotten salmon and unagi only. My friends have gotten all salmon. It’s all the same price! They are also closed Sunday and Monday. I’m really happy they opened a second location because it’s close to my home home 🙂 Happy eating!

Musashi's on Urbanspoon

First media tasting

I had the pleasure to attend a tasting at Bai Pai Thai Restaurant in Ravenna, not too far away from my home at the U-district. Chef Jack Kanand was really helpful in explaining his knowledge about wines and showed us pairings for dishes. There were traditional plates as well as some fusion dishes.

Atmosphere: Upon walking in, it was a really great ambience with really nice decor. There’s some red lighting, which was not conducive to my picture taking. There was a bar in the back and they had a plentiful amount of wine. The restaurant is very spacious with nice wooding.

Pricing: A little bit pricier, but it is finer Thai than I’ve had. Appetizers are about $6-$10. It’s about $11-$15 on average for entrees. The most expensive is lamb for $28. They do offer a happy hour, half off appetizers and specials on drinks.

Service: Their wait staff was really friendly and quick to offer help.

Food: I apologize again, the pictures may not be my best!
IMG_6089Started out with a glass of Loredona Viognier, very light and crisp

IMG_6104Lamb satay – one of their premium features of the tasting menu. This is an appetizer. Craft Australian lamb legs marinated in red curry & rosemary and then charboiled served with peanut sauce. Very tender, one of my favorites
IMG_6101Tea smoked salmon – an entree, grilled tea-smoked salmon with coconut-pineapple sam bal sauce topped with enoki mushroom. I thought the salmon could have been a little more moist.

IMG_6100Pork & shrimp dumplings served with spicy pineapple dipping sauce complimented with bok choy. This was also another feature of the tasting menu that has never been served. I thought this was very good, especially with the pineapple sauce.

IMG_6094Entree. Rice noodles with egg, mixed veggies, and peanuts. I thought this was a pretty average phad thai dish.
IMG_6092Sautéed eggplant, basil, bell peppers, and fried tofu in black bean sauce. I really like eggplant and I thought it was a good mix of veggies.
IMG_6091Spicy honey wings glazed with garlic soy honey. I really liked this appetizer and the glaze were perfectly crunchy.

Not pictured:
Appetizers
Garlic string beans (tossed in a thick garlic sauce)
Larb (ground pork tossed with roasted crispy rice in lettuce cup wraps) – A traditional dish that you wrap using lettuce and I liked crispness of it, reminded me of a Vietnamese dish I would eat
Steamed ginger rice

Entrees
Bai pai noodles with prawns (spicy wide noodles with basil, egg, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes & prawns) – I really liked this dish with its many components. Very tasty
Chop-chop basil chicken (ground chicken sautéed with garlic, chili, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, topped with a fried egg) – Bai Pai is known for this dish and it’s generally a favorite.
Massaman curry beef (served with apple chutney & cucumber relish) – The apple chutney really made this beef even more delicious.

Dessert:
Mango sweet sticky rice with thick coconut milk – To be honest, because the mango was not ripe, it was not the best dessert. The rice was very traditional sweet sticky rice.

Overall: As this is my first media tasting, I am really honored and grateful to be a part of this. The hostess, Catherine, was also very helpful in coordinating the event. I would definitely come back to try their happy hour menu. This is a finer Thai restaurant that is classier than the Thai restaurants in the U-district. If this is what you’re looking for, you have found the jackpot. They also have open mike night twice a month, catering, and a private room for special events.

Bai Pai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Neighborhood treasure

Before going to Wicked, we went to Ristorante Doria, a quaint little Italian restaurant on the corner of Roosevelt and 50th in the U-district. I’ve been here once before and I really enjoyed everything they had to offer.

Atmosphere: Upon entering, it’s a cozy restaurant that instantly seems family oriented. With it’s semi-dim lighting, it sets the mood as romantic and intimate, yet also welcoming and homey. Nice decor, can accomodate a large party as well.

Pricing: It’s about the price you would expect for an Italian restaurant, entrees were about $13-$20. Their price is pretty reasonable for the portion size you get. Well worth it!

Service: Very friendly wait staff. Their chef sometimes comes by to greet everyone and say hi, which is nice because you know how busy they can be. Excellent service though.

Food:
Crab bisque, one of the specials for the night. Nice tomato flavor and plenty of crab to go around.

My dish! Calamari linguini with pesto sauce. I love pesto and I love calamari! It was really  tasty as I expected. Not too heavy on the stomach either. I couldn’t stop eating it.

My friend’s dish. This was also the special for the day. A mixture of seafood with light tomato sauce.

Another friend’s dish – linguini with clams in extra virgin light olive oil, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, and tomatos.

Rigatoni tossed with homemade sausage, tomato sauce, cream, and a touch of white truffle oil.

Johnny’s dish. I really liked it – lots of flavor from the chicken breast in marsala wine demiglace with wild mushrooms that went well with the pasta in tomato sauce. I couldn’t stop eating it!

Overall: I really enjoyed our dinner, the food came out pretty quick and it was a really great evening. They also have happy hour from 4-6p that I will definitely have to try (some dishes that are half off!). There were so many dishes that sounded delicious. One in particular that I had last time was gnocchi and I must say it was the best I’ve ever had! It was so light and fluffy that melts in your mouth. You will NOT regret it 🙂

Ristorante Doria on Urbanspoon

Simple Sandwich

Living in the U-District, I never really went to the near by neighborhoods much, but I’m definitely starting to explore more. This sandwich shop has gotten so many great reviews and there is always a line outside the door regardless of the time of day. Paseo is in Fremont and known for their Cuban sandwiches.

Grilled pork sandwich

Cuban Roast

Both sandwiches come with lettuce, jalapenos, cilantro, and onions. The meats just differ and Cuban Roast is definitely the most popular sandwich. This is a cash only establishment and the prices range from $8.50-$10 per sandwich or entree. This is a VERY messy sandwich, but definitely worth a try. The bread is has a little crisp, which makes it a great taste with every bite. Tip: call in your order beforehand to skip the line. If you’re in the area, definitely try to stop by and even check out the Fremont troll a few minutes away.

Fremont Troll, and boyfriend 🙂
Paseo (Fremont) on Urbanspoon