Cafe, bar, and dessert all in one

I’ve driven by this place so many times and it always looked crowded. I put it on my list to try especially since I’m always in the area. They have happy hour from 5-8p and who could pass that up? It’s located on Taylor in lower Queen Anne and is called Citizen (bar and cafe).

Atmosphere: We peeked inside and saw that they also had an upstairs in addition to their ground level seating. It was a little bit dark in there from what I remember. They also have outdoor seating, which we opted for on a nice evening.

Pricing: $6-$9 for most of the entree items that include sandwiches, tacos, salads, and their infamous crepes.

Service: It was busy, but the food came out pretty quick and service was efficient.

Food:

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Pulled pork sandwich – juicy pork with caramelized onions, house aoili, pickled jalepenos,  and cilantro. Nice crunchy bagette with the pork. Quite saucy and messy but delicious!

IMG_4237Korexican tacos with bulgogi, pickled cucumbers, cheese accompanied with spicy mayo, black beans, and salsa verde. Killer combo with all of these in the taco. Beef was nice and tender and as a whole, a really great dish.

Overall:
This place is quite promising and just from these dishes, I can tell it’s more than just a cafe. They have more variety in their dishes than your typical sandwiches and pastries. It was pretty hard deciding what to eat and I love their play in food in mixing different cuisines. I have yet to try their coffee or crepes, but those are next on my list. I looked at their menu again and they also serve breakfast! The real question is.. What do they NOT serve??

Cheeky cheeky cheeky

Cheeky Cafe is located in International District and is a great find for some brunch, lunch, or dinner! It’s far away enough from ID that there’s plenty of free parking around the area, but close enough to still be in ID. This post will be a 2 in 1, brunch and dinner.

Atmosphere: Upon walking in, we were greeted by a server who told us to sit anywhere. This place has a nice cafe feel with puzzles, games, and cards in the corner and plenty of kids art decorated along the walls. It has a very family oriented vibe with bright colors.

Pricing: Reasonably priced for everything. I would say on the cheaper end of things. Brunch ranged from $6-$10 per dish and lunch/dinner ranged $6-$12.

Service: Both servers I’ve had are quite friendly and smiley. They were very polite and left a positive impression on me.

Food:
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Cheeky pancakes! Green tea pancakes with two eggs and two slices of bacon. The green tea pancakes weren’t too overwhelming and had a nice flavor to the pancakes.

IMG_3537 Breakfast sandwich – english muffin, scrambled eggs, cheddar, bacon served with sweet potato fries (loved that they serve this instead of regular fries!). You can sub a tortilla for the english muffin for no charge. This was a really great wholesome sandwich. Simple, but everything was cooked just right.

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Dinner! Spicy mac and cheese – this had a Korean kick to it. They added kim chi! I can’t handle too much spice, but this was not overly spicy. Very creamy. I prefer mac and cheese that has some burnt parts to it that make it crunchy, but that’s just my taste!

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Balsamic mushrooms – marinated mushrooms that have been deep fried served with roasted pepper and caramelized onion dipping sauce. It’s even gluten free. I thought it was a little heavy after eating a whole skewer, but it’s all like that with deep fried food.

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I’ve been looking for a place that serves okonomiyaki and I have finally found one! This is a Japanese dish of savory pancake batter with shredded cabbage, slices of beef, with shaved bonito and Kiyomi’s special sauce. I’m used to having noodles with my okonomiyaki. I wish they had that with their dish!

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Grandma Kam’s dumplings – This is a family recipe that has a crispy, deep fried outer coating with a mochi like interior that is filled with peas, carrots, kohlrabi, onions, pork, chinese sausage, and dried shrimp. Apparently, the cook is particular about these and thought these were a little overdone so they comped this dish for us. I thought this was super nice of them and shows how much care they put into making their food. This reminds me of a dish at dim sum called “footballs,” because of its similar outer texture.

Overall: I think this is a great cafe that’s welcoming to everyone. Their style of asian-fusion with many types of asian styles is unique, but at an affordable price. They incorporate Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, etc cuisine. It’s a casual place with good pricing and parking. I’d definitely recommend this place to everyone for some good cheaper eats!

Cheeky Cafe 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.

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

Poke poke poke – Sam Choy’s Poke!

I first tried Sam Choy’s at the Mobile Food Truck Rodeo in Capitol Hill. The line was incredibly long! I don’t know if I would go to another food truck festival for that reason. However, I follow them on Twitter @Samchoyspoke to get updates on their whereabouts because I know the line will definitely not be as long. Sooo I went to Sam Choy’s for lunch with a friend when they were at SLU one day. There was no line and it was much less of a hassle to get some poke. Ps. They also now have two trucks now!

Atmosphere: The truck is a nice bright shade of green. Very easy to spot! You definitely get that island vibe from the palm trees and waves painted on it.

Pricing:  A little expensive in my opinion. Dishes range from $8-$13.

Service: Pretty nice people! The food came pretty quick when I was at SLU. It took a while at the food truck festival, which is understandable. I think they were also new to the scene so there were some kinks they were still working out. For example, they had to let the rice cook for the next batch of poke bowls (which took about 20 mins).

Food:
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Spicy salmon poke rice bowl! The day I tried this was at SLU. A little bit too spicy for me actually.. so I was kind of dying. They give you a lot of rice and a decent amount of fish. This was $11, not including tax.

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This was at the food truck festival. Tuna poke salad. I felt like they gave even more fish this day. Very fresh (and not spicy!). However, it was a whopping $13 :/

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Food truck design!

Overall: They have other things besides poke like katsu, loco moco, sandwiches and wraps. I would definitely come back to try their katsu. I also hear their spam musubis are a hit and they usually sell out quick. I would definitely recommend checking their site or Twitter for updates about their locations!

Sam Choy's Poke To The Max on Urbanspoon