Doughy fun at Dough Zone!!

Dough Zone

15920 NE 8th St, Ste 3, Bellevue, WA 98008

Tasty doughyyy fun!!

Comparable to Din Tai Fung? Not so much. There's a reason Din tai fung has a Michelin star that this place will never have! I don't mean just from the geography standpoint.

Location- in the strip mall behind the crossroads shopping center. It is easy and hard to get here depending on the time of the day. They have street parking and parking lot but they also have 5 restaurants in that same plaza. It's bound to be busy.

I came in right after they open at 11:30 am. Seating was a breeze. I had an option to get a table or sit at the bar like area meant for single eaters which I thought was pretty cool. Except when you want to order a ton of stuffs!

I moved to a table after I've ordered my food. Kind of had to!They wouldn't all fit!

I went with a few items on their menu since prices seem quite reasonable! What's the harm in tasting food right? I got about 5 dishes-Yes, a lot of food for one person but nobody said you have to finish your food. It's all about tasting for me!

**Lamb sauce noodle soup - this was the first item to arrive. It was ok. Very salty and mouth numbing from the pepper corns. I don't see any special appeal to the noodle or the broth. Skip this!

**Noodles in Sichuan sauce - this only cost $4.75? It was good to taste a bite. Not crazy about it!

**Wontons in spicy sauce - love the wontons, not the sauce!

**Boiled pork dumplings - these were my favorite! At $3.75, you get 6 pieces! And I was full after 2 of them!!

**Steamed beef dumplings! Another fav for only $4.75? Again, it came with 6 pieces, I had 2!

Over all, I enjoyed the dumplings. Service was efficient. Would be better if you speak Chinese! Noodles gave me a massive headache right after. Holy sodium batman!! Seriously bad for you. Out of 5 items, I liked 2! I don't hate the place. But it is also not that great if I can only eat about 20-30% of their menu. That being said, I would go back when I'm in the area purely for the dumplings. They came steamed/boiled without any sauces on top. Which might be a good thing because their sauces and broths are not edible.

So, I definitely liked it! I was excited for it! I'm still excited to go back for really cheap dumplings made fresh to order. It isn't comparable to din tai fung which is 100 times better but it's still fine. I'm sure their xlbs are pretty epic and close to the ones there. 3 is as good as it will get! Definitely worth trying though. Just watch out for the dehydration aka sodium overload in their sauces and noodles!

Time travel with Tavern Law

Night cap with Vespers & Gatsby's garden!

Tavern Law has been my go to bar for a few years now. It's like an oasis in the youngest neighborhood of Seattle. Really! The youngest neighborhood= Cap hill! All the college students from nearby, the hipsters, the 20 somethings and early 30 somethings can all be found here. There are plethora of hipster bars, fun bars and restaurants nearby. But this place is like an escape from them all. Oh and that Old Sage next door of course :)

Décor- perfection! It has that old classic bar feel with great wooden bar and interior. I love the candles, love the food, the music and of course, the drinks!! 

Food

Fried chicken - the best!

Foie Gras - so tasty you will order it twice!

Pork belly burger

Mac & cheese

Cracklings

All so good. Most of the time their tables are jammed packed! But if and when you do get a table, try their food as well as their drinks. I've been here a few times for their events and the most memorable one was the Great Gatsby premier party event! We ate, watched the movie and came here for after party upstairs! Now that was fun. They even had a special drink for it! It was similar to French 75 but with a twist. Again, this isn't your typical bar in Capitol hill. It is mellow, classy and was named the top best 6 bars in US! You have to come for a good, grown up fun with hand crafted cocktails. No cheap alcohol and mediocre drinks here.

One can say the drinks are a little on the pricier side but I feel they are about right. My favorite cocktails has bitters, egg whites, basil and all sorts of fun, fresh items. It is worth the price. They also play really good music! One can come here, sit at the bar, get a drink and just relax! Or if you are with a bunch of girls, take over that little area on the right! It's almost like having your own private area. Just give your bartender sometime to make you a perfect drink! I was never really big on scotch but after trying their scotch cocktails, I am sold! They are so delicious! I even love their old fashions! It has just the right amount of everything. Over all, this is one of my top five go to bars in Seattle. I love everything about this place! Minus the crowd at times because it can get really busy!!! But that's a good thing! And if and when you do manage to get upstairs, you just might never leave! :)

Ba Bar -Vietnamese street food with a twist!

Ba Bar

550 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Better late than never!!

Ba Bar's been my obsession for a few years now! 3 or 4 years to be exact. I remember my first time here way way back. It was the second night of service, jammed packed! And I was introduced to this magical libation in a copper cup call the Moscow Mule. And I fell in love. The end!

Ok maybe not the end but pretty close. I've had everything on their menu that first time around because I came with 15 friends. 

Crispy imperial rolls - amazing!

Pate Chaud- puff pastry! Pork! Yumm!

Fried frog legs - they tasted like fluffy chicken. 

Steamed manila clams- so fragrant! lemongrass, dill and Saigon beer! 

Grilled painted hills farm beef - yummm! 

Grilled white prawns- I love the dipping sauce that came with this.

Pho Ga- came with soft egg. It's a mellow dish.

Pho oxtail - yumm!

Vermicelli bowl with seared cat fish -yummO! It comes with imperial roll! Talk about two in one :)

Lemongrass beef vermicelli- I'm in love with painted hills farm beef and the way they make them here. It is so tasty, you almost don't need to put on that sauce on the side.

Grilled prawn vermicelli - light!

My favorite dishes-Rotisserie! 

*Chicken- you can get this with fresh banh noodles or broke rice. So fragrant, this is my go to dish!

*Spicy pork belly- pork belly, peppers, lemongrass! Another good one.

*Peking duck- My second favorite. I always have a hard time choosing between this and their chicken dish! Always! Love the chao sauce and five spice!

I've tried them all with both broken rice and banh noodles. I think the banh noodles win for me!

I've also heard that the chef fired the bartender on a very busy night because he wasn't doing it right. Talk about gutsy! You often can't find a good Vietnamese food with amazing décor! Most are food centric or atmosphere-centric. And you certainly won't find a place that has both great food and atmosphere plus delicious drinks!! That is until you visit Ba Bar! This place has it all. Talk about awesome sauce and kick ass in one sentence! 

To top all of that amazingness off? They have MACARONS! AMAZING MACARONS!!! Can you feel my excitement???? Seriously!! There's a reason I've been coming here for years. Sometimes, I drop in just for their macarons. Now how many times can you say you had delish Vietnamese street food in this cool spot with kick ass drinks and amazing macarons? Almost never!! Ba bar will change that for you. It did for me! :))  I'm a fan. Well played Chef Eric Banh,well played!

Saimin in a palace- Aloha!

Palace Saimin

1256 N King St, Honolulu, HI 96817

Saimin me crazyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Saimin is my crack. I can eat it day and night and then some. I've obsessed over it as a kid, I'm still obsessing over it. Simply saimin with a little charsui makes you go mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! There are a ton of saimin places here now on the island but this place kept it simple. It is a small place with few tables and benches. And the menu? All about saimin!

Saimin plane is around $4.99 for an Xl bowl. I got a small bowl for $3.99 I believe. And a wonton min was a dollar more. Wontons floating in a huge bowl of saimin soup. The noodles are soooooo ono. Yumm yumm. They also have meat sticks- grilled barbecue meat on the stick. Super tasty as well.

And if you are still hungry after- or want to try more noodles: try the combo! It's saimin and udon soup in one bowl. I prefer my small chewy saimin over udon but some people like it. They charge $.25 cent for a take out box if you can't finish your noodles! Or take some fresh ones to go. The service is super fast. Parking is right outside but usually full. But you'll find a way to make it here because the food is damn good. Simple and tasty! Ahhhhh I can use a bowl or 3 right now! Yumm yummm.

Din tai fung- Dumplings with Michelin Star

Din tai fung

2621 NE 46th St, Seattle, WA 98105

Dumpling obsession of 4 years now on west side!!! Woot woot!!

I was thrilled when they announced the plans to open second Din Tai fung in U village!! That means I no longer have to cross the bridge to get my fix! That means I only have to drive about 7 mins to get xlb and beef soup! And their spicy wontons!! With free parking too!! What what!' 

This location is much more casual setting compared to Bellevue location!! But hour long lines are still here no matter what time you come!! The tip??? I only sit in the bar. I go early for dinner- and again sit in the bar! Eat, drink and watch some games in 30 mins or less!! Linger around if you want to finisher the game but bypass all those lines!! Or wait till someone finishes and fly into their seat. Literally! 

So what makes this place so amazing?! Dumplings of course!! They are different from any other ones you'll have. It's Taiwanese with love. 

Favorite items

1. Xiao Long Bao - juicy pork(soup) dumplings with little liquids inside. A must have!

2. Shrimp and pork shao Mai- pretty like a little flower! Except the flowery party is made with shrimp. Yummm yumm!

3. Juicy pork & crab dumplings- similar to xiao long bao but with crab. 

4. Chicken / fish dumplings- these are more steamed and thicker compared to the first three. But still good. You can choose either or depending on your mood.

5. Steamed chicken soup- $7 for a cup but Oh em gee!! You wouldn't expect it to be tasty!! It's like crack. You can taste that chicken! So amazingly tasty chickeny soup. Simple abs flavorful. 

6. Braised beef noodle soup- Spicy!! This was/is my favorite!! I can never have enough!!! Their noodles are perfect. Beef is tender, chunky and tasty! And the broth! Lately it's been a little more watery than what I'm used to but it is still tasty! Make sure you get the spicy one through. Regular braised beef isn't all that flavorful compared to the spicy version. 

7.Pork buns- Veggie & pork buns: these are the big buns. You get two per order. Steamed to perfection. Tight,fluffy, steamy ones. Love them! 

8. Shrimp & pork wontons with spicy sauce!!! This is just bomb.com!! Uhmazing! Oh so tasty!! All that. 

9. Noodle with sesame sauce- with peanuts and all. You wouldn't expect this to be tasty but it is. Almost creamy from ground sesame and peanuts. Perfect noodles on a a bed of sesame sauce. Toss it together and viola! Crack crack!! 

10. Shanghai Rice cake with shrimp- you'll find this in the noodle session. Rice cakes, shrimp, Bok Choy and magic! Ahh!

11. Shrimp fried noodle- if you aren't feeling up for the rice cake, try this!

12. Shrimp fried rice- I know I know. It's $9 but it's worth it! Trust me. It's simply and sooo flavorful. 

13. Veggies!! I don't eat veggies. You can't make me! But if you make them like the way they do it ...then I shall have it!

***Sautéed string beach with garlic- yumm!!

***Sautéed Bok Choy/ crush tasty green! So simple and so good. 

And if you have room after all that food, try the dessert dumplings!! 

14. Dessert dumplings- you can get an order of 10 dumplings or an order of 2! Go for 2!

***Taro bun- tastyyy!

***Red bean bun- mmmmm hmmm. I just ate two of these five minutes ago. So good. I hate dessert. But I love these!!! 

Buns are more thick and fluffy texture compared to fr dumplings. If you don't want too thick of a bun, try the taro dumplings. Thin steamed dumplings with less bun. They come out piping hot though so watch your mouth!

But those dumplings though- Mmm hmm. I guess you can say I love this place!! Unless I move to Taiwan tomorrow, I don't see my obsession dying down anytime soon. Its a must try if you haven't! I'm eating them as we speak! Well ate them already!! But so good, had to write this on the spot!! Try it! You'll love it too!!

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Xlb- juicy pork dumplings 

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Noodles in sesame sauce- divine!

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Pork chop fired rice!! Yummm!

Andina--Peruvian in Pearl!

Andina

1314 NW Glisan St, Portland, OR 97209

Best Peruvian in the PNW!!!

Another treasure and obsession in PDX. Found this little spot on my trip back in 2010 thanks to my friends who live here. I was on the hunt for a spicy cocktail. They told me to go to two places. A place right around the corner from here ( Eeck) and this! But warned us about the crazy long wait. 

First time around I came here purely for their cocktail but being it was happy hour, I squeezed in the grilled octopus and grilled beef hearts. They were pretty divine! I was bummed I couldn't fit in more food. The bar area can get extremely busy and crowded. It's crazy how small seating can get in the bar area. Well that was then!

I've went back plethora of times since my initial visit way back then! I've done several happy hours plus dinners here. The food has yet to disappoint! And their Sacsayhauman cocktail! Oh so tasty!! Now how many restaurants can give you that happiness time after time? Consistency is key as well as execution of their dishes and great service.

Dishes I love-

 **Grilled Octopus - serve top of mash potatoes and other veggie tasty combo pile. 

** Fish Ceviche- tasty freshness!

*Grilled beef hearts - this comes with a really tasty sauces. I love the red one the most since it;s the spiciest one.

* Oysters with salsa topping - perfect

*Scallops entree - 3 perfect scallops! It is amazing, finger licking good.

* Arroz con Pato - a very filling duck dish. I love duck! And this was done just right. Really pretty duck breast with rice and veggies. yumm!

* Corderito De Los Andes -  Rack of Lamb - a little too heavy for me. But I still like it. And those peruvian potatoes are to die for!

*Palta Rellena De Cangrejo - avocado stuffed with crab and poached prawn on top! 

** Pescado al rocoto y kion - new fav dish!! Roasted  fish topped with ginger and served over shiitake mushrooms with bok choy in a smoked pork broth and quinoa fried rice! Yes quinoa fried rice has been my new thing and I totally love this version.

**Bistec novoandino - filet mignon, grilled to order, topped with oyster mushroom salsa criolla and black beer sauce!!!  Serve with humita and a sauté of fingerling potatoe.  YUmmmm!

And this is the one place where you would want to order dessert even if you are full!

Do order - Alfajores and peruvian truffles! It comes out so beautiful, you might almost feel bad eating it. And their creme brulee is also fantastic.

Overall, this place has been consistently amazing for a good 4 years. They are always adding new dishes to the menu which I appreciate. But they also keep the classic favorite ones. Definitely make reservation even if you plan to come during happy hour. I've dined here in all three levels. The bottom is cute and casual, middle/ the main floor is more classy and upstairs is romantic. Make reservation, show up, listen to the music, watch the kitchen in action while you sip your cocktail. And proceed to eating!! You will love every bite of it!

Pomerol state of mind- oui oui!

Pomerol restaurant

127, N 36th St

Seattle, WA 98103

 

Délicieux !!

When I heard the name Pomerol , all I can think of was my visit to stunning French country side/ wine region Pomerol! A country side surrounded by villas, grape vines, stunning chateaus and of course: beautiful wine. It is right next to the famous wine region -Bordeaux. The vibe here is just something else. It's Southern France vibe mix with that ease and bliss you get from being in a wine region. One can't help but be relax in happy wine filled state of mind here. 

Fast-forward to Pomerol the restaurant in Fremont! I planned a dinner with my best friends on a Saturday night. I wanted a nice ambiance, food needs to be great and have that memorable factor. I debated between two different French restaurant but decided to give this place a try based on the name and location factor. And so glad I did.Six of us dined here for hours with great service, tasty food and amazing drinks thanks to our super friendly and super cool bartender! What a Rock star he was! :)

Décor- Casual and charming. It has that beautiful Fremont charm, cushy outdoor seating as well as indoor. Dim lit, somewhat dark, wooden chairs, big windows. Basically everything I love in a restaurant! Add in amazing staffs and that hardcore grill from their open kitchen- Wowza!!

Service: my favorite part of the dining was the service. We were all running late for our 8 pm reservation. I was the first one that made it at 8:15 pm but they made sure I wasn't in a rush. I also appreciate that they called me while I was parking instead of giving the table away. Told me not to rush and kept our beautiful table set. Who doesn't love that?! Our beautiful waitress check on me several times while I wait for the rest of my party. She wasn't pushy or overbearing. She was just right. It definitely helps when you are sitting by yourself in a big table! :)

Drinks: With the name Pomerol, you expects a great wine list. And this place meets that expectation. They have everything from full body red and white to delicious rose and champagne from Bordeaux, Walla Walla, Columbia valley and Burgundy region. They also have a great cocktail list! This is where our rock star bartender came in. We all wanted something different. My girlfriend wanted scotch but they didn't have the brand she wanted. Our bartender brought out several different kinds in the same price point for her to taste. She loved it! The rest of us went with cocktail, wine and more scotch! There was a gin cocktail with basil- delish! Dirty martinis, manhattans, raspberry sunset and few others I can't recall. All tasted great! 

Food: This we took a while to decide because we were busy drinking and catching up! But good things take time :) We started out with few appetizers and went on to all out carnivorous dinner!

Oysters on half shells - delish with thai chilli mignonette! You get 6 per order. Perfect!

Hamachi with green cherry tomato - tasty!

Arugula salad with radish, prettiest cherry tomatoes and charred corn- too pretty to eat!

Chilli garlic rubbed octopus with aioli- love this. I'm a fan of octopus, especially a charred grilled one with good sauce. This one was pretty tasty!

Entrees-

Lemon herb rubbed lamb steak with corn, baby anise and green chutney type sauce. So tastyyyy! 3 of us got this same dish for the love of lamb and we were glad we did!

Pork steak with pork belly, mustard greens and onion. Another great dish!

Slow grilled beef short ribs with shallot confit and cauliflower puree- a little bit tough but tasty.

Roasted chicken! I have a thing for a well cooked chicken that's not dry or overcooked. This was nicely done. 

Grilled sirloin with chantrelle mushroom- tastiness!

Grilled zucchini - so good, I actually ate it!

Goose fat potato- this was everyone's favorite! 

Pomms Pure- yum!

Shallot rosit potato! 

 I tend to avoid desserts but this was such a special meal, I decided to extend it but adding few more plates with dessert. 

Marshmallow spread --Berry compote, hazelnut crumbs, IPA sorbet! They need to have an all you can eat brunch buffet of this! Or tasting menu based on marshmallow spread! It can be 5 tastings of this same dish. Just give me the spread! 

Flourless chocolate cake with ganache, pistachio meringue and berry pellets? Oh so pretty! Perfect way to end this great meal. We had some more drinks and wine in this lovely space before we said goodbye well after they closed. They closed at 11 pm and we left around midnight without any pressure! Our bartender even came out to photo bomb our group picture. Such energy! I love it! :)

Overall, Pomerol gave me similar Pomerol region visit feel. Loved everything from the charming atmosphere to friendly staff and tasty meat fest! Such a relaxing and memorable meal! Makes me smile and salivate every time I think about it! Thanks Pomerol!! I can't wait to come back and do it all over again.

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Arugula salad!

 

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Lemon herb lamb steak 

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Garlic rubbed Octopus in aioli!