Tag Archives: Food

Oriental Mart

14 Jan

The famous Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle is without a doubt a place where any food lover can lose herself or himself in;  it’s by far, one of my favorite places.  I could spend a day in Pike Place and it would feel like it’s my first time there all over again.  When I worked in DT Seattle, I would find excuses to walk to Pike Place; it wasn’t just a physical exercise, it was also a mental one.  The bustling market is filled with so many amazing sights, smells, and sounds, which change everyday: the locals and tourists, the food, and the musicians all play a part in making Pike Place Market a one-of-a-kind market.  If you love reading and you happen to enjoy children’s books, A Day at the Market by local author, Sara Anderson, is wonderful to read and view.

Pike Place Market Post Alley

In Post Alley of Pike Place Market, you’ll find shops and vendors with wares as unique as they are.  At Oriental Mart, you’ll find a mishmash of Asian groceries and knick-knacks, and the store also serves popular Filipino dishes such as chicken adobo, longaniza, and pancit.  The ladies behind the counter are amiable and put their customers at ease with their friendly chats.

Oriental Mart

After spending part of the morning at Benaroya Hall (me) and the downtown Seattle Library (The Hubby), The Hubby and I rejoined in front of the library then walked together to Pike Place for lunch.  Lunch was a shared plate filled with rice swimming in adobo sauce, pancit, longaniza, and chicken adobo.  To sum up our lunch, it was malinamnam (that’s yummy or “nom nom” in Tagalog).

longaniza, chicken adobo, pancit, and rice

The shop is also known for their salmon soup which was already nearly finished for the day except for the broth.  They were kind enough to give us a small bowl por gratis.  The broth had a pleasant sourness to it; if the soup was done to the style of sinigang, then tamarind was used to flavor it.  I can understand why the soup was almost done.  It’s cold here and it makes for a great winter soup!

salmon soup broth

Filipino cuisine uses down-home cooking, its ingredients are humble and it’s all about taste… I consider Filipino cooking as the soul food of Asian cuisines.  If you like Filipino food, or if you’re never had any before and you’re interested in trying it, give it a go at Oriental Mart.

Oriental Mart on Urbanspoon

Crown & Anchor

8 Jan

Last stop for my and my girlfriend, Jess’, second year of Holiday chow and chat circuit.  This is what goes down during our get together: we eat, we catch up, we eat, we talk about science topics, we eat, we talk smack about ginger guys, and we eat and talk some more.  Thus, it’s only fitting that we ended up in a pub to end the evening.

Crown & Anchor claims to have been voted “#1 Pub in Monterey County”.  Monterey County has 29 cities and census-designated places, with only a small number of actual pubs, so being #1 is an easy feat.

Crown & Anchor

The bar was packed and so we found ourselves in the dining area of the pub.  The décor is dark, heavy, and overly decorated for the Holidays.  Crown & Anchor feels like a “man cave” restaurant with the man going overboard and overly macho.  Having lived, studied, and visited various cities in England, I consequently have patronized several pubs so I know that a British pub should feel like a casual hangout place, not a cultured macho man’s lair where whiskey flows like a fountain and smoke from fine Cuban cigars covers the room like a heavy cloak.

The service was friendly and courteous.  Our server knew what he was doing and his social skills are not too shabby.  He did not belong in a pub.  Even if the pub is the “#1 Pub in Monterey County”.  So to our server, “GERIC”, if by some unlikely probability that you’re reading this review, take this advice: get your polite self in a fancy joint.

inside Crown & Anchor

Dinner was okay.  The appetizers we chose were edible and fit for a bar (how else can I make my sarcasm known), but I don’t think they should be standard for the “#1 Pub in Monterey County” (ah, yes).  I wish I tried the pub foods but I already felt stuffed.  At least, we walked out with leftovers.

shrimp ceviche

The shrimp ceviche had puny shrimps.  I’ve made ceviche before and I was not stingy with the size of the shrimps.  Maybe if the ceviche was my first meal of the evening, I’d have done less grumbling but given everything else before this, well…

spicy wings

Spicy wings…  Pass.  It was too acidic for my taste.  The cook who made it got a little too happy with the vinegar.

Mussels in a Spicy Curried Sauce

This has got to be the saltiest mussel dish I’ve ever tasted and also the first time that the curry spices of a dish were hard to taste, and being that it’s called Mussels in a Spicy Curried Sauce, the curry should have been obvious.

What would make me return to Crown & Anchor?  My verdict is that I shan’t be returning any time in the future, unless a VIP in my life asks to go to the “#1 Pub in Monterey County” to which I would roll my eyes and go along to make her/him happy… even if it makes me unhappy.

Crown & Anchor on Urbanspoon

Persian Grill

8 Jan

Thanks to my mother who was a traveling RN during her younger years, and most certainly my and my sisters’ even younger years, our exposure to various cuisines began early.  As my Mom was stationed in Saudi Arabia, her familiarity with Middle Eastern cuisine showed itself when she gets adventurous with her cooking.  Though I do believe it’s my sisters and I who enjoy the cuisine more and also the cuisines that it has influenced.  Kat loves Lebanese foods while Greek foods make my corazon skip a beat.

Persian Grill

I was rather gleeful to find an Iranian restaurant in our dear city by the sea.  I wouldn’t be surprise if my sisters already know about this place.  Claire and Kat took advantage of being residents of Monterey County.  Meanwhile, I’m no longer a resident but I enjoy discovering and rediscovering MoCo’s sights.

inside Persian Grill

After Crystal Fish, my girlfriend and I walked across the street and a block to Persian Grill.  Closing time is 9:30 PM and it was already pass 8:30 PM when we finished off the sushi rolls.  The short walk was helpful in getting our appetite rearing for dessert.

inside Persian Grill

The scents in Persian Grill were calming and inviting; and if I were in a romantic date, the lovely setting in Persian Grill would easily have set the mood.  So here’s a little tip for you boys and girls: seduce your darling at Persian Grill.

Persian ice cream and Faloodeh

Our dessert consisted of sandwiched Persian Ice Cream and Faloodeh.  The desserts should come with a warning for being perfectly light and refreshing.  I could easily have had more.  And I did!  I made two take-out orders of Zuloubia Bamieh for my friend and me.

I didn’t get a chance to try any of the main dishes and I’d love to give it a go when I’m back in town again.  For my next time at Persian Grill, I’d like The Hubby as my date. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge…)

Persian Grill on Urbanspoon

Crystal Fish

8 Jan

The holiday season has a way of making me seek non-traditional holiday foods.  I tend to go Asian for a good reason thanks to the usually non-rich foods of Asian cuisines.  December is that time of the year when we go to California and find ourselves both in the Bay Area and Monterey County.  How fortunate to have the opportunity to go back and forth between those two particular regions of California.

Crystal Fish

The eve before Christmas Eve, my highschool girlfriend (visiting from Alameda County, east of SF for those of you interested) and I went to Monterey, where my family and I usually take our visitors for “show and tell”.  Crystal Fish was our restaurant mission for the night.

inside Crystal Fish

The place is small but busy and lively.  As it is, I prefer cozy traditional seafood restaurants to enormous ones that make me feel as if I should be wearing stilettos, tight pants, and a scandalous top because apparently a club atmosphere is de rigueur for Japanese restaurants these days.  Do pardon my ranting.  Crystal Fish has none of that flashy ambiance.  Thank the seafood gods.

Crystal Fish menu

What to have?  What to have?

I choose you (no, not Pikachu) Totoro Roll and Pink Dragon Roll.  Come on, how could anyone pass up Totoro?

Totoro Roll and Pink Dragon Roll

Fresh?

Check!

Tasty?

Check!

Would I return to Crystal Fish again?

A definite check!

Crystal Fish on Urbanspoon

Boudin Sourdough Bakery and Cafe

20 Dec

It’s hard not to be hungry after a back and forth jaunt on the Golden Gate.  Add to that having only a meager breakfast of two servings of sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, and having to avoid the many tourists who also had the same idea we did, my energy was dangerously low after our walk from Marin County side to SF side.

Golden Gate Bridge from Marin Co side

How I managed not to whine and gripe from being hungry could probably have been due to the pain of having badly scrubbed my knee.  (Long story, won’t bother with it.)  We decided that Fisherman’s Wharf was the closest place to go to for a late lunch; so off we went and found ourselves in Pier 39.

Boudin Bakery & Cafe

We chose Pier 39 out of convenience and necessity: we were close by, we were hungry, and we wanted free parking.  That’s right, Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Cafe, you had us at free parking.  Muah.

Boudin-inside the cafe

Boudin served its purpose for us in terms of convenience.  Good location and good atmosphere.  The food could be better.  Those five words are usually the intro to a critical review so before I begin, I just want to say, the sourdough bread bowl used for the chili was great.

I had the “Best of Boudin” which is the diner’s choice of soup and sandwich, and for me were: clam chowder and a turkey-avocado sandwich.  The clam chowder lacked creaminess and seasoning, and the clam bits were far too chewy.  Why Boudin, why?  Also, how long were the clams cooking?  Seattle and Greater Seattle is not lacking in excellent seafood bars so clam chowder here is also popular, and now I need to go to a seafood joint to remind me what a good clam chowder is all about.  The sandwich was okay and it’d have been better than okay but the croissant was semi-dry.

clam chowder and turkey-avocado sandwich

The Hubby ordered chili in a sourdough bread bowl.  The bread was good, no problem there, but the chili was unexpectedly blah.  By “blah”, I mean bland.  Again with the question… Why Boudin, why?

chili in sourdough bread bowl

Here’s my deal breaker: I was already hungry.  Because I was hungry, everything should have just gone down easy… but they didn’t.  Boudin, I hate to say it but… boo for now.

Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon