Overhead Door (35/365)


Just in under the wire. I don’t love it, but I didn’t actually take any other photos with my “good” camera today.

I had a totally romantic, really delicious meal at Poppy today. I can’t believe I’d never been, and I certainly will again. All I have is this terrible picture, but OMG, the duck. Maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten.


(Yes, I’m probably exaggerating, and no, I don’t think that really makes a difference.)

My cocktail was also delicious. It was called a “Six Twenty-Two” and was basically a rhubarb-flavored Manhattan. Did I mention I’m totally into Manhattans lately? I blame Canon, and Gene.


909 (32/365)



I didn’t know you could use that much glass and still create brutalist architecture, but apparently it’s possible. On the sunny side, you can get a margarita made with Tang downstairs, as well as a pretty amazing burger.

Who would have thought? Bellevue is slowly becoming a burger mecca, between John Howie, two weekly stops for Skillet, and! A couple months ago I was talking with the woman working the counter at Katsu Burger, and she said maybe a year from then we might be having that conversation in Bellevue.

Katsu. Burger. OMG! I haven’t written here about Katsu Burger yet, have I? Something for the backlog.




Yes, this is a Jack in the Box bacon milkshake. Yes, I bought and tasted this. For science. You monster.

It was… it was… surprisingly inoffensive! The bacon flavor (provided by Torani syrup, from what I understand) wasn’t particularly fake-tasting, and in fact the whole thing tasted exactly like a Frost smokey bacon maple bar — if said bar were liquified and sucked through a straw, that is. I threw it away after a few sips, but that was for the sake of my diet, not because I was gripped by disgust.

Speaking of disgust: no, I didn’t have a Jumbaco, although I may have had two thirds of a Jumbaco. If anything, that was the mistake of my day.

In related news, yesterday’s Bizarre Foods America was about Seattle. Seattle! I was thinking, how bizarre can you actually get in Seattle? Oh, look, he’s at Marination. Now he’s at the first Starbucks. Tasty, but not especially biz… Aaaand now he’s eating a raw cow placenta. Okay.


Workstation (27/365)



I totally ate this yesterday:


… which is to say, Marination Station (and Mobile) has a new macaroni & cheese, with panko and sesame and gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes). You can even ask them to add Spam, which — of course! — I did. It was super-tasty, and I even scooped a little bit onto my accompanying Spam slider.

This was before Canon (pictured yesterday), so overall it was lovely for a Thursday night.


Today, I’m slightly crushed. I made Meyer lemon bars tonight but Uwajimaya was plum out of Buddha’s hand citron. So no grand experiment this time.


La belle


Jill at the Sorrento. Seeing old friends is always reviving! Seven years is much, much too long.


Skillet Diner


Extremely delicious and only slightly perverse at Skillet Diner: veggie burger with bacon jam. So good.

Here’s one of Alicia, possibly experiencing a Whiskey Wednesday induced aneurysm:



Parade, indeed

Today, I tried the Matsuri dog at Gourmet Dog Japon at Pike Place:


… It was a good idea, but too salty. Will definitely try something else next time.

Then I made lamb korma tonight from Salman Rushdie’s recipe in Parade and it was quite good:


But what am I doing reading Parade??

They’re showing a 25th anniversary Les Misérables concert special on PBS. Oh goddess, I’m living through high school again!



Still reeling from the dinner I had tonight at Nobu:

  1. Yellowtail sashimi with Jalapeno
  2. Big eye tuna tataki with ponzu
  3. Japanese snapper with dried miso
  4. Black cod with miso
  5. Beef tenderloin with uni butter and fried leeks over confit peruvian new potatoes

… and what sounds mundane was definitely not! This was no normal sashimi, and the black cod was just… amazing.

Also had two different kinds of sake, one of which was listed as such:

Scarlet Ongakushi “Kosho” 10 Years Old - “Aged to classical music.”



I realize the last entry was crying out for a photo, and I was tempted to steal this one from the P-I article I’d linked, but thought better of it. Sadly, my photography has been as absent as my writing, so I’ve none of my own to share. From Samurai, that is. Here’s a little something from another decent ramen restaurant in Bellevue, Mamasan:


Their tonkotsu is decidedly less rich than Samurai’s, but a little more complex. Ginger, probably sake as well. I’ve also heard, from multiple friends, that the Nagasaki champon is where it’s at, but haven’t tried it myself. A warning: there’s a pretty a sketchy vibe if you go  after dinnertime — they’re open late, and the place is filled with Japanese businessmen and eager-to-please waitresses hanging off their sides as they sing karaoke. Eww! And if you decide to brave it anyways (and especially if you’re a woman dining alone), prepare to get a good dose of stinkeye.

On the other hand, lunchtime has always felt pretty safe.

Twilight intervention


Musubi, again

As Jim commented more than a couple months ago (but still on the front page! I am so lame!), there’s a new Hawaiian restaurant in Wallingford, and it makes a beautiful spam musubi — my new favorite in Seattle! Hawaiian Breeze makes them perfectly-formed and plump, with a great balance between spam and rice, crispy, high-quality nori, and just a touch of sauce. Yummy! Their BBQ shortribs feature a very flavorful, savory-sweet glaze, and loco moco is just wonderful, if you’re a fan — dense, beefy patty and tasty gravy (though honestly, I do prefer my eggs more on the runny side). So quiet, though — I fret about their long-term prospects. So please! Go and eat, you’ll be happy. (oh, Miranda, you would so fall in love, I just know it!)

Ashamed to admit it, but Just sat through all of The Perfect Man. Yuck! Can’t anyone make a good romantic comedy anymore??

(and why am I doing this to myself instead of going to SIFF?)


The Fatty Crab

Back in New York, with a seriously flaky internet connection (but yay for a phone that doubles as a bluetooth modem, despite the constant drops), and — a now-slightly-less-flaky stomach!

Had dinner at the Fatty Crab, a Malaysian-inspired eatery in the West Village. Small and uncrowded on a Tuesday night, both the dining room and the dishes were colorful, quirky, and beautiful. Everything was really tasty, but I found myself seduced by the salty-sweet-sour fireworks of the watermelon pickle & crispy pork salad. The fatty duck was nicely seasoned and sat on a bed of surprisingly spicy white rice (only later did I notice thinly-sliced red peppers mixed in). The chili crab was… big, and v. messy. But also good!

Ahem. I’m not really feeling eloquent tonight, so I will just pepper your imaginations with photos:

[Watermelon pickle and crispy pork salad]
[Fatty duck]
[Chili crab]

(…can’t say I’m an expert, but I strongly suspect these dishes sit firmly on the “new wave” end of the authenticity scale!)

Hsiao-Ching Chou’s “You gotta try this” piece in the P-I is mostly old hat, but good lord, does this sound good. And frites! Is there any reason to ever leave Capitol Hill again?


Musubi Musashi

Oh! Spam musubi, how could I have forgotten you? No list of favorite dishes can go without.

Twenty-Five for $25 is over. We’ve now been to over twenty of the listed restaurants (though not all in this month!), so at this rate by the time December rolls around they’ll all have been hit. This March’s biggest hit has to have been Sazerac, whose complimentary corn pan bread was absolutely to die for — so soft, basically corn meal suspended in sweet butter — along with a wonderful entrée in cider glazed pork ribs (plentiful and oh-so-tender) accompanied by tangy green chile posole (if you know me, you know that’s all I had to hear!). Their gumbo was tasty, too, if unconventional; they used duck and other unexpected ingredients in the recipe. As far as gumbo goes, though, BJ’s will always be my first love.

Those who ordered chicken were less enthused, but. I mean, cider glazed pork ribs! They should’ve known better.

Other restaurants this month: Szmania’s (ordered off the regular menu, as I was in the mood for jägerschnitzel; very happy to have done so, though portion size was gargantuan), Nishino (pretty good, but think I’m becoming jaded by pretentious, haute cuisine sushi — give me fresh and simple any day), and Yarrow Bay Grill (everything sampled — calamari, crab cakes, asparagus soup, lamb stew, divers scallops — was quite tasty).

Have discovered Musashi’s in Wallingford, a busy hole-in-the-wall “Japanese diner” (to quote a friend), under weathered purple awning on 45th. Sushi selection is good, if limited; no frills, large cuts of fish, decently fresh. It’s no Shiki, but is decent, filling and cheap: a well-stocked nigiri plate goes for under ten dollars, while plump single pieces go for a buck and a half. Their bento box is even better, also under ten, but my favorite really has to be their onigiri (grilled salmon inside a rice-and-furikake-ball wrapped with nori) — big, tasty, and which give spam musubi competition in the race for best rice-based handheld snack (you get two for $2.75).




Shiki is Seattle’s only restaurant with a fugu license (and in fact, one of only seventeen in the United States — twelve of which are in New York City), but I’d always thought you needed to give them advance notice and it didn’t really matter since everything else on the menu is so good — not much for those seeking fusiony new age rolls but plenty for the purist, with large and oh-so-fresh slabs of melt-in-your-mouth hamachi and toro and salmon — but today’s list of specials included both fugu kara-age and fugu nigiri, and what’s a little risk of death by poison in the name of culinary adventure?

[Fugu nigiri]

Loved the texture of the flesh, which was somewhere between firm fish and clam, something to linger on and really get to know. I can’t really say how much of the flavor was fugu and how much was from the dressing (which was ponzu-like, tataki-style), but all combined it was really yummy.

That’s yubiki (fugu skin salad) garnishing the plate, which was very much like tiny pieces of squid or octopus — also v. tasty!

Honestly, though, I’m generally squeamish about taking risks and was a little bit timid about the whole thing. So there’s a twinge of disappointment that I liked it so much, since I’ll probably crave it again when I go again. Time to get poison control in my phone’s memory, I guess!

Apparently fugu season will be shorter than usual this year due to typhoons, so if you want to try some at Shiki you’d probably better hurry. But you really can’t go wrong with the safe stuff either.

Also: little fried swamp crabs!


Update: for those curious about prices: fugu nigiri was $16 for two healthy-sized pieces, and the kara-age $35 — but figured, as long as I’m going to risk an exciting death in the name of experimentation, it wouldn’t be a breaded and deep-fried one!
As for death-by-fugu, I’m still breathing, though a night of pleasant, warm tingling and slightly worrisome, but possibly imagined twingeing, I can see how fugu can be addictive (but scary!) stuff.

Confidential to Kallie, remember: a little white truffle oil goes a long way. I used a splash in my melted butter when I grilled the sandwiches. Yum!



Last week, Mixtura, a new Peruvian/Andean restaurant recently opened in the old Szmania’s-Jäger location in Kirkland. While there are three or four entrées on the menu, its emphasis is very much towards small plates — very tapas, heavy on seafood and potatoes. I especially liked one dish, chilled, with creamed blue potatoes, crab meat and smoked salmon, as well as the “lasagna amazonica,” a dessert made of layered pineapple sheets, mascarpone and passionfruit purée. The bread course was tasty quinoa baguettes with a collection of sauces. Our biggest disappointment was that pachamanca, so mouth-wateringly described in the P-I article above, wasn’t actually on the menu.

We met Emmanuel Piqueras after dinner, shorter than expected but still looking every inch the surfer chef — which was very neat. Mixtura is definitely one to try again.

Speaking of which, there’ve been many food adventures I haven’t really talked about here, because, well, I haven’t really been talking much about anything here. Is anyone actually interested?

…and then there was that last dry sunset before the rains, a last hurrah at Discovery Park for the photojunkies, hikers, stargazers before the clouds came back for good. People with telescopes were starting to search for comfortable spots in the clearing, but we’d already camped out at the bluff’s edge, tripods in position, hiding from the wind behind our coats and scarves. All the while the sky danced in brilliant colors before us, while we snapped pictures in short bursts while our hands went from pocketed warmth to numbness. Somewhere out there, I think I realized why I would miss this weather — while Seattle’s perpetual mist is comfortably familiar to me, there’s rarely beauty to be felt in it anymore, and certainly no reason to be standing outside in darkening twilight, getting soaked.

But maybe it’s time to start looking for the sights in-between. It’s too easy to only appreciate life in moments of punctuation, only natural to see things afresh while riding extremes. I mean, how many sunsets were missed because we weren’t about to lose them? And even now, what sits invisible, hidden by routine?

All it takes is the right viewpoint, and maybe some numb fingers*.

* of course, this might have been a contributing factor to why none of my pictures came out. Small price to pay for an epiphany!


Pork buns

[9 Chatham Square]

Okay, totally ignore this entry unless you want to know the secret location of the world’s yummiest Chinese baked pork buns. They’re so good — sweet, soft, filled with a perfect mix of roast pork and caramelized onions. I’ve been grabbing them greedily on my New York visits for years but until now never bothered to get the actual address down so that I could share with others.

So! It’s Chatham Restaurant at 9 Chatham Square, which is Bowery near its intersection with Mott Street in Chinatown. You can’t miss it, it’s the big red awning near the Subway sub shop. Remember, they’re baked — not steamed — so we’re talking doughy rather than fluffy, but trust me on this. You won’t be sorry.

I admit it, I finished Angels & Demons on the plane ride home. It was a light read and it did confirm one thing: that Dan Brown’s writing style improved considerably between this and its sequel. Still, that’s not saying a whole lot. We’re talking huge swaths that read like bad fan fiction:

The Hassassin smirked. He had been awake all night, but sleep was the last thing on his mind. Sleep was for the weak. He was a warrior like his ancestors before him, and his people never slept once a battle had begun. This battle had most definitely begun, and he had been given the honor of spilling first blood.

The writing’s worse, but the story is somewhat better, at least until it all falls apart in the endgame. I enjoyed the fact that we’re finding our heroes looking for answers at an honest-to-goodness library when the doomsday clock is ticking — though it makes me long for an adventure book starring a librarian rather than a “professor of religious symbology,” whatever that means.

I think I’m Dan Browned out for the rest of my life. Jessamyn told me over the weekend that Deception Point was actually a fun read, but it will have to wait. I need to read things where the words are beautiful, at least for awhile.


Umm, dude.

Forget cheesesteaks! There’s a Chick-fil-A here!


Making frites

[Making frites]

Dug this one out of the archives, where that expanse of white shirt-back kept getting in the way of any appreciation I could muster. I’m still not sure it works, but there’s just something — in her glance, or the dance reflected in hazy shadow on the spatter shield…

This was taken at Pommes Frites in Manhattan, the best place ever.

I said this in comments, but I watched the rest of the BBC Jane Eyre last night. Still so good, but St. John Rivers? Total freak!

Piling up for an Austen marathon: should I rent the BBC Northanger Abbey? Anyone seen it?

Currently in the pile:

Finally, I just discovered AustenBlog today and have spent far too much time reading it — and through it found the trailer for Focus Features’ new Pride & Prejudice. Matthew McFadyen? Keira Knightley? Sign me up, please!

And, back to Brontë: SB says I must see the 1944 Jane Eyre with Orson Welles, but it doesn’t seem to be available on disc. Sigh…


Central Park West

[Found mirror project 1]

Whirlwind day in Manhattan, browsing the sample sale at Triple Five Soul, shopping at Lush, H&M, and tons of cute little kitsch shops, ooh-ing at Origins’ fab new Modern Friction dermabrasion rub but backing away a little at the price. Also: nibbles at Jaya Malaysian, Woorijip and Le Pain Quotidien with Miranda and Lia (rockstar!), and finally meeting Jarvis and Samson, adorable fuzzballs — all while fighting off jet-lag.

Lots of fun, but tired tired tired.

Okay, breathe, Yuki, get some sleep. You’ve a train to catch in the morning.


Food and anti-food

Have lately frequented the British Pantry, where I lunched fabulously today: Stilton cheeseburger with potato salad and Cock’n Bull ginger beer. Not your typical ginger beer, it’s sweet and gingery without much in the way of bite or spice. Oh, I like the sharp stuff too, but this is one marvelous brew. Earlier this week, bangers and mash, and sinfully decadent sticky toffee pudding.

Also at the pantry, I spied a can of “Stahly Vegetarian Haggis.” What?? I almost bought it for its novelty value but at $8 a pop, reason caught the better of me.

Speaking of food abominations, a Cold Stone just opened across from the local Fatburger and Krispy Kreme, completing the trifecta of evil.

Fat Kreme a la mode?

Jill’s my hero, so in her footsteps I present:

Moscow Mule
2 oz vodka
juice from 1/2 lime
4 oz ginger beer
stir vodka and lime juice in a highball glass filled with ice. add ginger beer.


Royale with cheese

Contrary to popular expectations, there is a Quarter Pounder with cheese sandwich served in McDonald’s restaurants in Egypt. The odd thing is that right next to it on the menu is a completely different sandwich called a McRoyale (to all intents and purposes, equivalent to the not-so-accurately monikered “Big ‘n’ Tasty”). For a second, I almost considered ordering it, but the resemblance was too great.

Now, one could ask (and quite rightly) why an American traveling abroad would choose to sup at that most American of establishments, especially in the middle of a huge cultural and commercial area like Midan Tahrir. First: yes, it’s truly and excessively sad, but I do enjoy springboarding a conversation with ridiculous situations like that. More importantly, I actually find foreign versions of familiar things to be really fascinating and possibly more exotic than the authentic cuisine of a region.

For instance, say you’re in London and you’re confronted with the choice between a dead-to-rights vindaloo (available at who-knows-how-many fine Indian restaurants in any decent-sized U.S. metropolis) and a Lamb McCurry burger from the golden arches.

“A-ha!” you exclaim. “Presented that way, obviously the latter!”

No? Ah, fine.

Though it’s certainly how I chose, I’ll admit that that may not have been the most appetizing example. At any rate, you’re never going to find a McChicken Korma on this side of the Pond, or a kimchi & bulgogi pie in an States-side Pizza Hut. Given the chance, I’ve tried them all — even the Burger King bean burger (a lot tastier than it looked!).

On this night, however, it was not to be. As exotic experiences go, this Cairene McDonald’s was a giant letdown; aside from the aforementioned McRoyale, there was nothing even remotely strange on the menu. Alas, B. was tired and didn’t have the energy to find another restaurant, so there, in the shadow of the pyramids, I dined on a Big Mac and fries.

I blame Quentin Tarantino.


Faux cuisine

MSNBC - Chefs cook up gourmet ‘fakes’

In this age of gourmet everything, a restaurant menu offering Argentine steak, wasabi-encrusted fish, or a cheese plate of camembert isn’t unusual.

It is, however, impossible.

That is because wasabi is almost always horseradish; it is illegal to import beef from Argentina; and U.S. law bars cheese makers from using the raw milk that is an essential ingredient of real French cheese.

A great article about the stuff you’re probably shelling out the big bucks for when you go out to eat.
[thanks Mike]


Bad sign

Apparently, according to the staff at Tojo’s, I am now a “regular customer.”

It seems that stage one is complete.


Men With Brooms

Someday I’ll compile a full report on SIFF 2002, but that day is not today. After missing two weekend films for which I’d already bought tickets (Takashi Miike’s Happiness of the Katakuris and the non-Miike May), I made sure to head out early to catch today’s 4:30 showing of Men With Brooms at the Harvard Exit Theater. It’s a Canadian comedy… about curling.

I watched (out of pure fascination) a lot of the CBC’s coverage of curling during the Salt Lake City Olympics (in fact, I first saw commercials for Men With Brooms during these broadcasts), and, well, I came away completely confused. Now that I’ve seen this film, though, I think I finally have an idea of what’s going on. The movie itself was pretty funny as well; sure, the script was rather painful at parts and hit every sports movie cliche in the book, but there were plenty of real laughs peppered liberally throughout. Best of all, the film takes shots at things an outsider might find ridiculous about curling (and indeed, sports in general), but you never get the feeling that writer/director/star Paul Gross has anything but a deep admiration or affection for the sport. I’d give it 7/10 (probably the highest rating I’d give to any post-Naked Gun film starring Leslie Nielsen). Really entertaining.

After the film, kakumei and I went to Delfino’s at University Village for dinner. Still the best Chicago-style pizza I’ve found in the area. The only, in fact.

Random-but-related factoid of the day: The Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien has a painting in its collection by Breughel the Elder entitled “The Hunters in the Snow,” dated 1565. Suspiciously familiar activity in the background?

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