Pasta night @Vespolina!!

Aragona turned Vespolina-- and I liked it very much!!

Same decor with beautiful lamps all around. Great view from the bar and the patio! That expansive counter top where you can watch all the hustle and bustle of the kitchen! All there! It's like Aragona but with much better food! You got my attention!!

Drinks- we had the capri sun and Aperol fizz. Both were bubbly! I like the Aperol fizz better.

Food!

Sautéed calamari served chill. I like it. It's mellow and good.

Salami rosa with figs jam- much lighter in color for salami! And way less saltier. I liked this one a lot!

Rabbit liver mousse- didn't get to taste this one but it looked quite amazing. 

Pasta

**Fonduta Ravioli -stuffed with cheese and served with caramelized with broccoli + pint nuts. I love the texture of the ravioli. It's al dente! Not crazy about the broccoli and the smell of it. 

** lamb meat balls with samolina gnocchi- meatballs were tasty! The samolina cake aka their version of gnocchi wasn't ready. It wasn't set yet and too soft to serve. 

** Tagliatelle with pomodoro! This was my favorite. You can really taste the fresh pasta through the light creamy tomato sauce. I like!

** Cavitelli with zucchini, ricotta and basil- least favorite dish mainly for the sauce. I think they cooked zucchini to the eggplant texture. It was rather slimy.The sauce was bitter! I do like the cavitelli though. 

I also saw that they have tagliatelle with ragu/bolognese for lunch! Sounds delish!

We sip, nibble and ate our food with the next view. It was fun. By the time dessert menu came, I had no room! But I got to taste everyone else's dessert!

Panna cotta with huckleberries - it needs to be set longer! It wasn't ready to be served. ( I make a lot of Panna cotta at home) Im sure it would taste different if it was set.

Bonet - dark chocolate pudding with olive oil gelato and amaretti crumbs. Yum!

Carrie's torrone gelato terrine- this was the best one! Soft hazelnut nougat with vanilla gelato, peaches and crisp rice wafer. So tasty!!

Overall, I liked this place! I like this a whole lot better than Aragona. I'm glad they are back to their pastas! They make them fresh and so well. Why change it! Next visit here definitely be for lunch so I can try different sauces! You got my vote Vespolina!

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Tagliatelle  in pomodoro! So good!

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Lamb meatballs with samolina gnocchi. 

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Rabbit liver mousse 

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Sautéed calamari!

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Salami rosa!

Meat cravings done right @ Afrikando Banadir

All about the meat!

I've passed by this place about a dozen plus times and never made it in till yesterday. What a pleasant surprise! First of all, the parking is hard to find. They have their own lot but it is almost always full. I find going down a few blocks to park and walk is a much better option.

We came on a sunny September Sunday(shocker!) and decided to take advantage of their outdoor seating. Plus the inside looks quite full. It's definitely a hole in the wall type of place with its charm.The man that was running the place seems to got it all. I believe he's the owner/manager/ server. One person running the whole place, you got to be patient with that. 

Now let's talk food! The menu is small enough and big enough. They have about 4-5 appetizers ranging around $2- $4.99. And about 7 entrees from $10 - $13.99. They all sounded familiar to each other except for the salmon and whole fried tilapia. But you gotta try it anyways! So we did.

** Honey ginger tea- quite tasty and not overly sweet. It was delish!

** Plantains appetizer - yumm! They baked them rather than caramelizing with sugar. 

**Banadir Rice - you have a choice of chicken, beef or goat and a choice of getting it stewed or steak. We got it with the basmatic rice, salad in a stew style! It was quite tasty!! I don't know what they use for the seasoning on the chicken but it was really good and came of more like stir fry than a curry thing. They also gave us the rice on a separate plate. So flavorful!

** Debe - last but not least, the lamb dish! yummmmy. Grilled lamb chops with rice, salad or plantain. We got this with plantains and salad. A whole plate of plantains! Oh so tasty! Lamb was seasoned lightly and grilled. Tasty!

They did tell us the lamb take over twenty minutes to prepare. I didn't mind. It was a hole in the wall place with casual atmosphere. Food was great. Service was laid back and just fine. And I ate enough for days! You can say that I'm now a fan!! :)

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Tastiest chicken dish- Banadir rice with chicken stew. 

 

 

 Tasty bakes plantains! Way better than fried ones.

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Debe- grilled lamb! My absolute fav!

Zapverr - Chiang Mai in Seattle!

Hello new favorite place! Thanks for bringing all my isan/esaan favorites to Seattle!!

Zapverr made me happy! They have all the northern classics plus traditional Thai dishes. The place is set up like a lounge/club type. I like the dark atmosphere with all the bright lights. It's casual yet upscale. 

Ambiance- beautiful 

Service - attentive 

Food- spot on!

It took us about 10 minutes to decide what to order because of the varieties they have on the menu. But once you break it down, it's pretty simple. They have esaan style street food like meat skewers, sausages, nam priks and such. If you've been to Chiang Mai or are familiar with the cuisine, you know can pretty much get these dishes all over Chiang Mai. I've had them on the streets of Chiang Mai and it was a love at first bite. The spice, the freshness, the taste of that little extra lime, peppers, charredness: totally made my tastebuds sing! 

Food

***Grilled pork skewers with chilli lime sauce- delish! Juicy, soft, charred, melts in your mouth. Serve with chilli lime sauce. Tasty!!

*** Esaan sausage : tasty. Serve with fresh peppers, cabbage, lettuce, peanuts and like pieces. You can wrap them(fixins) all in one or enjoy it by itself.

** Kai nok kra na nok--Quail eggs!!!!!!!! Zomg quail eggs grilled in this little pan. This was my Obsession in Thailand!! Mainly because it's like the cheapest street food but with the coolest way to make. You get to see the ladies crack a few dozen quail eggs into this massive pan with little cubes in it. 1 mins later--- viola!! You get a dozen grilled quail eggs for $1! They were magic!!! Now zapverr has it $9 for 6 I believe. Not as cheap or cool as you would in Bangkok or but I still appreciate finding this item on the menu. Totally!

** larb gai - I'm obsessed with Thai salads. This is one of them. We got their larb with chicken. Nice and spicy!

***Nam prik- spicy fish paste with all the fixins and BBQ pork. Great spice kick to eat with drinks. And very local to Chiang Mai.

**Som tom poo pla? They have a whole page of papaya salads for you to choose from. I went with the crab! Yummm.

**Tom kha- house special soup with shrimp. This was good but much smaller for what you pay. And a little too strong for my taste buds. Too much salt/fish sauce maybe. 

**Steamed tilapia - this was good! Could use a little more lime. 

We also had this dish with raw shrimps and chilli sauce on top. Try it if you feel adventurous. I like it!

Overall, I had all the dishes I would have in Thailand. And they were all spot on! I skipped rice and noodles but they all look pretty good. Portions might be on a little smaller side but I had so much left overs as well. Prices are around $12-17 for entrees and $8-14 for appetizers/ salad. It won't be a cheap meal if you want to try them all!!

Good flavors, bold flavors, good service and cute atmosphere. I would suggest more lights on the table so you can read the menu but overall, you got my vote Zapverr!! Can't wait to come back!!

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Esaan sausage with all the fixins!

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Super tasty grilled pork 

L'Atelier de Joel Robouchon- Paris, France

5 rue de Montalembert, 75007 Paris

 

Fantastic!

Having been to the one in Vegas, I kind of knew what to expect. But I also know that The Chef himself is here which heightened my excitement and expectations. Happy to report that he did not disappoint!!

I can still tastes the food. The magic purée!! Michelin stars were rated for this I thought. That was till I tasted the best lamb chops of my life. Simply wow!!

 I take immense pleasure in documenting my food aka taking pictures. I've been doing it for as long as I can remember.But this meal: I didn't touch my phone or camera once. It was that scrumptious, delicious and amazing. I was busy eating for once!!! Also because the atmosphere was so glamorous, I didn't want to bust out my dslr to ruin it. But really, it was because of the food. Too good, it kept me focused from beginning to end. That happens almost never.

Ambiance - 5 stars! It is dim, dark, romantic. We requested the bar seats just so we can watch all the actions. It is stunning, intimate and romantic.

Service - Even with my broken French, I've received a great service. It wasn't overly friendly or snooty. No complaints here. 

Food - 10 course tastings! Wahhhhhhhhhht!!! If you can/want to splurge, this is the way to go. At 175 euros, it aint cheap but it is one of those you only live once moment thing. If I live in Parih, I'd probably come back for my favorites rather than the whole entire 10 courses.

Lamb chops - like I said, the best lamb chops I've ever tasted.

Robouchon potatoes - It was more like a dish of butter with a side of potatoes. It goes straight to your butt! But it tastes so good, you wouldn't care.

Famous foie - If you love foie gras, this is how it's done!

Langostini- melts in your mouth!

I also had an amuse bouche of foie gras, custard like thing with lobster gele, quail, ,angus beef, scrumptious desserts and so much more!! There was this fruit soufflé thing! You lose counts after 3 courses. But each bite was magical. I couldn't stop omg-ing! Maybe I came anticipated to love this place. Maybe the rich interior and their stunning orchids made me mellow. Maybe it was the food. So many maybes! But it was definitely a memorable meal! Not cheap but memorable. Now, there is no shortage of great restaurants in Paris. This was perhaps the friendliest in service. Definitely worth checking out!!! Those potatoes though....man! Hmmm hmmm hmmmm. I can still taste the butterrr. And this is coming from a non potatoes lover. Well played, Robouchon. Well played!

The Walrus & carpenter- oysters love affair!

Oysters and tartare love affair! 

I remember walking into dinner to Staple and Fancy when they first opened (2010!) and saw the busy little back space. We found out it was an oyster spot and they were serving brunch (or opening with it) that very weekend. Naturally, I had to come back the next day for it! That was September, 2010!!

And that was it. The end. Ha I kid I kid. But long story short, Walrus went from buzzy little beautiful spot in the back to the top 10 most important restaurants in the country in no time! And right fully so. Chef Rene Erickson knows exactly what fresh seafood is she serves them the best way at her raw bar! Add stunning little décor, outdoor seating, huge marble counter top at the bar + delish drinks! You got a perfectly good spot!

Food-

Oysters!!!!!!! I've had anywhere from a dozen to 4 dozens plus in one sitting. I love the variety! They always have kumamoto, kushi, Hama Hama and then some. I like the mixture of sweet and briny together.

Beef Tartare - this was and is always going to be my favorite spot for this particular dish. Ground seasoned raw beef and fresh quail egg on top? It's a creaminess galore in your mouth.

Scallop tartare- soo amazingly tasty, fresh, light and all that!

Salmon tartare- on the creamier side but I still liked it.

Smoked trout - serves cold with lentils. This could go either way. You'll either like it or hate it. I thought it was beautiful!

Fried oysters- I don't believe in frying the oyster! But I did have this with a non raw oyster eating friend. I thought it was nice but I prefer my oyster fresh and raw!

They also have a great list of wine, rose and champagne and even cocktails! Their copper cup Moscow mules are delicious as well as their champagne! Oh and check out their happy hour. Total steal!! Get a bottle of bubbles, a few dozen oysters and viola! A perfect meal!!  What else can you ask for really? Nothing!!

Squealing for Humble pies!!

Pie so cute, makes you squeal!! 

Cute little spot- check! 

Super cool pizz oven - check!

Outdoor seating area with chickens- check check!

Pies humble enough to gorge on for days/ check check check!! 

This place has all the cute and coolness factors you can want from a pizza joint and then some. Not to mention their amazingly delicious pies! It's a total win. I wasn't sure how big the pizzas were online so I ordered two on the phone. I came in, squealed and waited a few minutes. They apologized for the wait since I called 15 minutes ahead but I didn't mind the wait. It was sunny and quite pleasant to sit out on the patio! And I got to watch my pizzas being cooked in their cool dome oven. All bubbly and stuff.

And viola! 

* Prosciutto with arugula and egg - the egg was nice and crispy! I really love this even though  I felt there were a tad too much arugula on it. 

* Pizza with potatoes! This was just a last minute add in because I wanted to try something different. Think margherita but with potatoes slices instead of mozzarella. Definitely different and tasty! 

They were also pretty darn big in size too. I could've just gotten one to share between two people. But with their prices being so affordable, I didn't mind. The egg on that prosciutto pizza was simply bomb! They have pretty extensive menu too. Looking forward to going back so I can try all of their tasty little humble pies! Yey!!! Thanks ,humble pie!

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Oh so tasty potatoes pizza!


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Proscuitto pizza with arugula and crispy egg!

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!