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

Local sushi

My family lives in Renton and there’s a homey, local sushi restaurant, owned by my friend that I haven’t been to in a long time. I decided to visit because I was craving some sushi while I was home.

Atmosphere: It’s a pretty small cafe, but a nice size to accommodate the average amount of customers that come on a daily basis. There’s a  bar and some comfy seating against the wall.

Pricing: I’d say it’s a pretty average price for sushi, nothing crazy expensive or dirt cheap. A yelp rating of probably $$.

Service: Very friendly wait staff! I’ve had my friend as a waitress and she definitely knows what to recommend. (Her name is Garmyn and it’s a family owned restaurant)

Food:
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Appetizer of gyoza with sweet sauce – pretty much what I expected it to taste like.IMG_6118Lunch bento box with 3 pieces of tuna, shrimp, salmon, and scallop with a California and tuna roll, and seaweed salad. I was really full after eating this!

Overall: It was a pretty good deal, for ~11 bucks. I would definitely come back because their menu is always changing with unique combinations for their rolls. The first time I went, they had a really good dessert – tempura ice cream! In the end, my craving was satisfied :)

Sushi Cafe on Urbanspoon

Buffet brunch!

I heard about a really good brunch from my brother, foodhipster206.com, and I knew I had to try it! I’ve been to their sister restaurant, Revel and I really enjoyed the food there.. so I had to go to Joule (also an asian fusion restaurant). They recently moved from Wallingford to Fremont (they share a building with The Whale Wins which I have yet to try).

Atmosphere: High ceilings make it seem quite spacious. They have their kitchen right in the front just like revel. We got to sit there and just watch them cook. They also have a porch area with a fire place. It’s a little small, but they make good use of the space.

Pricing: For brunch, they had it buffet style but with a twist. You get a main entree and then there were salads/pastries/other assortments that you can help yourself to. Each portion was $17, and if you got a more expensive dish with steak, it’s $20.

Service: Very friendly, we talked to a chef working and gave us good recommendations.

Food: (Pictures taken with iPhone 5)
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We started with the buffet while we waited for our entrees. From L-R, pickled cucumber salad, pear salad, bok choy with ramen bits (actually very good!), tofu, onions, cashew and celery salad.. and a random pickle!IMG_1719

My boyfriend’s entree, their version of chicken and waffles. Black sesame waffles with chicken fried steak (katsu), smokey maple sauce with a dollop of marscapone cream. Overall,  I thought it was ok. The chicken was good only if pieces of salt were sprinkled on it to bring out more of the flavor.

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My dish.. and boy was it delicious!! I had the porchetta with an apple salad. The porchetta is a bacon, breakfast sausage mix. It was crispy on the outside and full of flavor in the center. Apple salad was ok, there were better salads at the buffet counter.

IMG_1721Some pastries from their buffet – mushu pork pastry with hoisin sauce and a black sesame muffin. I thought these were both ok. The mushu pork had a little bit too much hoisin for my taste.

Overall: I would definitely come back to try something new! They have delicious look entrees to try (mac and cheese with sausage is my next). Their entrees are also REALLY BIG. We had to take the rest of our food home. They also have a rotating buffet menu that they change every month. This month was Chinese. I love the new location because it’s bigger and very close to where I live! I will definitely be coming back for dinner too.. to try their kalbi burger.

The latest food craze

I’m talking about the ramen burger! I had the opportunity to be in NYC and got to try this novelty. It was the 4th week of Smorgasburg that Keizo Shimamoto would be serving his burger. I got there at about 9:30 to wait in line (the flea food market opens at 11). We were probably behind 50 people and they would serve 450 burgers that day. The location that this Saturday Smorgasburg was in was Williamsburg (Brooklyn) and man it had a gorgeous view of the NYC skyline. You could see everything!

Atmosphere: Food flea market where all the hipsters of Brooklyn flee to. Their booth is across from another burger booth… I’m sure they weren’t pleased at all these past few weeks.

Pricing: 8 bucks for a ramen burger and only 1 per person

Service: They have an assembly line going on.. one person that makes the ramen, another the burger, and a couple of ladies to assembly it right in front of you.

Food:
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Overall: The texture of the ramen wasn’t crispy or anything that you might expect. It was just warm and compacted noodles. You can definitely taste the beef more than the ramen in each bite. The sauce that goes on the burger was certainly the best part. Overall though, I’d say that the ramen burger was just ok! There’s a huge hype because it’s so unique, but other than that I had a fun experience at Smorgasburg and got to check out other vendors. I really enjoyed one in particular – a stand that sold this lemonade drink and they used large mason jars for it, all for 6 bucks!

More dumplings!

I read about this restaurant somewhere in an article a while back and I’ve been meaning to try it! It’s one of the few restaurants around Seattle that serve xiao long bao. This place served them only on the weekends, but now they serve them daily! The food feels authentic and home made. The restaurant is called Ping’s Dumplings and is in the heart of Chinatown.

Atmosphere: The restaurant is pretty small. It is also connected to their market next door. I would say a group of 4 is probably the maximum size I’d go with.

Pricing: It’s very cheap! They have lunch specials that are only $4.99 – you get a porridge and one item from a selected list. Other dishes range from $6-$8 for their specialties, dumplings for ~$5-$6, skewers and buns for ~$1.50.

Service: They are really friendly! The lady that was serving us gave us some nice suggestions and was quite smiley.

Food:
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IMG_6473Dipping sauce with ginger

IMG_6474Our first Taiwanese style porridge! Tainmore porridge of corn meal, mung bean, red bean, tofu, peanuts and spinach. This was something completely different I’ve ever eaten. I’m used to eating congee.

IMG_6476Shrimp, pork, and cabbage dumpling. A plentiful amount for $6.

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Green onion pancake – a pretty standard Taiwanese item. I thought it was ok!

IMG_6477Here they are! The xiao long bao. The cheapest around the area for only $8 bucks for 10 pieces. They don’t make any other kinds, just the simple juicy pork.

IMG_6481Mapo tofu. Boy was it spicy! I think if they toned the spice down, it would be more enjoyable. They definitely give you a lot for your money!

Overall: There are some other dishes I’d like to try so I would definitely come back. If you want more variety for the xiao long baos, I would go to Din Tai Fung. They keep it very simple here. Stop by here if you’re craving something like your mom’s cooking!

Ping's Dumpling House on Urbanspoon