For the Love of Food (Late Entry)

Entry was written on February 27th - March 1st during our (hubby and I) trip to Seattle.

I am supposedly continuing the Indonesia 2013 post tonight, but the momentum of being in Seattle just isn't able to keep me from blogging about our three-day outta town food trip. We were planning this weekend trip since last month, and this time we're staying for two nights instead of one. We picked Seatac, which is near the Seattle's international airport Seatac, as a location of our hotel. Our rationale is simple: we love the convenience of taking Link Light Rail to get to downtown. We always try to avoid driving downtown Seattle; It is truly a pain in the butt due to the steepness of the streets, not to mention the busy traffic itself.

It took about three hours to get to Seattle from where we lived. We didn't drive straight to the hotel. Instead, we had planned a trip to an Indonesian restaurant located further north of Seattle. Indo Cafe is the name of this tiny Indonesian eatery. The place was quite cozy, with a pretty big bar area. The bar didn't seem to be there out of necessity; It was a mere frill to the space conferring a nice ambiance, I thought. 

Hubby and I ordered three dishes: Siomay and Mini Rijsttafel Empal Beef for me, Ayam Bakar Manado for him. He also got a mango juice, which turned out to be Buavita's. I warned him of his dish' spiciness level, but he insisted that he could handle it. I later was surprised that he even ate it with some sambal (red chilli sauce). The tab came out very reasonable at $29.41 before tip. I had to ask for a small box for my siomay,.. too much food for me indeed.

Nasi Empal at Indo Cafe
Nabeyaki Udon (this big for $8,75!). Veggie tempura in the background.
We rested for a little bit at our hotel Holiday Inn before heading downtown that early evening. I already set a 7:30 PM reservation at this old Japanese restaurant on the 6th Ave at the International District (part of of downtown Seattle where you wanna venture if you look for authentic Asian establishments -be it food, potables or grocery stores). This establishment is named Maneki. It was opened in 1904 and is quite well know for its authentic Japanese cuisine. For someone who visits Seattle quite often like me (at least 20 times, easily, since I moved to Pacific Northwest in 2008), it's a shame that I had never really made an attempt to dine at Maneki. Glad we made this happen this time.

Black Cod marinated in miso

Nabeyaki Udon was the food of my choice. It was so big that I couldn't even finish. Hubby ordered quite a bit of items: black cod collar, tako sunomono (it's a salad dish garnished with picked cucumbers, sesame seeds, and octupus *tako in Japanese), vegetable tempura, rice, and miso soup. 

Oops, bubble tea is a must for me. I spared time before dining at Maneki picking up my taro milk tea. Speaking of bubble tea, there are several authentic boba places in International district. I chose to stop by at two of them. Ambrosia, is the name of the first place. This is a privately-owned establishment (non-franchise) ran by a bunch of Taiwanese youngsters. Not the kind of place where you sit for hours to chill while drinking your boba, but the taste is very well-depicted in the name of the establishment (Ambrosia -food of the God in Greek mythology). 

The second place we visited (on day 2) was called Oasis. It is located right across the Japanese grocery store Uwajimaya in International District. If you like your tea a little less sweet and a bit stronger than Ambrosia, come to Oasis. I myself, a fan of both places depending on what I am in the mood for.

Hubby got to pick the next day's lunch place. His choice went to Falafel King, a place we've been going to whenever we're in town since 2008. We each had a plate of Schwarma Chicken, with Greek salad as the appetizer. 

The beautiful weather of Seattle, with Pike's Place Market captured in the photo
We got the whole afternoon strolling around downtown Seattle on day 2. The famous Pike's Place Market was on our usual list. Sun was out yet wind was chilly. It was one of those perfect days one could ever had in Seattle. People call Seattle a place that's only beautiful for three months in a year, and it's simply because of the great deal of rain the place has pretty much throughout the year -much less in the Summer. So there... Summer's the beautiful time of the year in Seattle. However, if you're lucked out enough you can have those abnormal non-Summer days when the rain hides and the sun shines quite brightly.

Hubby getting on Light Rail Link at Tukwilla Station
Blending in with the locals, we took the city's public train Link Light Rail to get around. From our hotel, we drove to the nearest station "Tukwilla International Boulevard Station" and parked the car. All day ticket is $5.50 each for adults, which is super reasonable compared to the bigger next door neighbor's city San Francisco, which charges about twice as much (and even more depending on what pass deal you get).

Up-close look of my bibimbap
For dinner on our second night, I picked out a Korean restaurant located on 502 S King Street at the International District. As you can see in the picture, I had Bibimbap (literally means mixed rice in Korean). The thing I love about this dish is it provides most of the nutrition one need in just one meal. You'll get carbohydrate from the rice, protein from beef, egg, and mushroom. And don't forget those fiber, vitamins and minerals in the veggies (typically carrot, cucumber/zucchini, beansprout). My best half settled with grilled mackerel and sun-dubu (Korean tofu soup). They served us four types of ban-chan (side dish), which were all good and made the stomach content.
Me & taro milk tea at Ambrosia
Oasis' Original milk tea and passion fruit juice 

The last restaurant we went on this trip was Lemon Grass on S Grady Way in Renton, WA. Renton is just south of Seattle. And by the way, the restaurant serves Vietnamese cuisine. We decided to stop by the Uwajimaya store in Renton instead of going back to the one in International District, and Lemon Grass happened to be in the same hood. Much to my surprise, their pho was pretty tasty! It definitely compared quite well with one I had in Ho Chi Minh City. Hubby had Pan-fried prawns noodle bowl – Bún tôm. It's rice vermicelli noodle topped with prawns, garnished with lots of veggies and served with fish sauce.
What a refreshing bowl of pho!


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