Jack's Fish Spot and Crab Pot

A Walk through Seattle: Pike’s Place – Jack’s Fish Spot and Crab Pot Followed by a (Few) Glass of Wine at the Truffle Shop

Pike’s Place is definitely a tourist destination. However, that does that preclude it for having incredibly worthwhile bites (although some shops may be over-hyped and are not worth the imposed wait).

Jack’s Fish Spot and Crab Pot

Jack's Fish Spot and Crab Pot

Jack’s Fish Spot and Crab Pot – Buy some fresh seafood or have them steam/fry ’em right up

Among the many fish markets, Jack’s has a reasonable line with the freshest of seafood cooked-to-order. They have a broad selection of fresh fish as well as smoked fish that can be packaged and bag checked for any traveler hoping to bring a bit of Pacific Northwest seafood back home.

During my walk through Pike’s Place we took a bite of the classics: a dish of freshly made cod fish and chips w/ garlic fires, and a good ol’ bucket of steamers.

Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips – Fried Cod with a light crispy outside and a juicy flaky inside

The fried fish had a puffy batter to get a good texture with crispiness on the outside and tender, juicy softness in the middle. Naturally, the cod was fresh and succulent. I wouldn’t expect less from fresh fish.

Steamers

Steamers of mussels and clams; adding a bit of clarified butter and a squeeze of lemon makes eating these suckers pure bliss

The steamers were wonderful. It should not be surprising that the key to steamers is the freshness of the shellfish – there is very little other ingredient involved. A hearty serving of mussels and clams with lemon and clarified butter is definitely the right way to enjoy shellfish at Pike Place. Without being too fishy, the bowl of steamers had a freshness that hints towards being freshly picked off the ocean. While the taste of the steamers were incredibly well balanced, clarified butter always help smooth out and enhance the mineral taste of fresh shellfish.

The Truffle Shop

Nothing beats the pairing of fresh shellfish along with a glass of white wine – particularly a refreshing, chilled glass of Chablis or prosecco. The micro-bubbles tickle the tongue and the mineral aftertaste ties in with the savory mineral taste of the ocean. The creaminess in the wine further enhances the shellfish taste in a similar way to butter. With those thoughts in mind, we strolled into a local wine and truffle shop in Pike Place for a wine tasting. The owner, is an extremely friendly and talkative Seattleite originally from southern California. He is well versed in his Italian wine and boasts about his experience visiting local family vineyards that are too small to export. We learned quite a bit about the less prominent wine regions in Italy and the history behind each of the vineyards whose wine we were tasting.

Truffle House Wine Tasting

Wine tasting at the Truffle House

In my flight, I enjoyed a prosecco, a pinot grigio, and a blend. The prosecco, in particular, really brought me back to the steamers enjoying the steamers earlier as it picked at the mineral aftertaste of shellfish in my mouth.

Aside from wine tasting, the Truffle Shop also has a variety of dips that pairs incredibly well with wine or your favorite bruschetta. This ranges from black truffle with olive oil, Italian hazel nut spread, truffle with mustard and garlic, and more – all which is free for tasting while browsing the shop.

The shop is definitely a worthwhile place for wine tasting and to relax while visiting Pike’s Place. I would especially recommend visiting after consuming a few bites of fresh seafood.

Sakenomi-tasting

A Walk through Seattle: Discovering a Retail Sake Bar Called Sake Nomi

While walking through Seattle, my friend and I was looking for an izakaya-type restaurant to enjoy grilled meats and good sake. After wandering around Pike Place, a wine vendor recommended us to try a “legit” place called Sake Nomi.

Sakenomi-sign

A small sign on the sidewalk directs the wandering customer into a sake bar

Tucked along a small narrow street in Pioneer Square, Sake Nomi is a small retail Sake shop with a Sake tasting bar. Upon entering Sake Nomi (translating to drink sake), the customer is confronted with a plethora of shelves stocking various Sake bottles, barrels, and labels.

Sake Shop

The sake “bar” is really a sake specialty shop with all kinds of sake

The owner, Johnnie, opened Sake Nomi with his wife Taiko after traveling in Japan for years. It would be a mistake to think of Sake Nomi as a regular sake bar or an izakaya Continue reading

Roy Moore Fish Shack - Lobster Roll

Roy Moore Fish Shack Restaurant @ Rockport, MA; No Need To Go All The Way To Maine For Fresh Caught Lobster

The best lobster and shellfish I’ve had is in Portland, Maine, 108 miles away from Boston. However, for less than half that distance of 43 miles, Rockport, MA offers amazing local caught seafood that doesn’t pale in comparison. Among the seafood markets in Rockport, Roy Moore Lobster located on the Rockport Harbor is one of the more notable seafood-market-turned-restaurants that is really impressive.

There are two ways to enjoy fresh lobster from Roy Moore Lobster: on benches at the back deck of the actual Roy Moore Lobster market where the fishermen/lobstermen do their thing, and at their Roy Moore Fish Shack Restaurant, where they source their seafood from the market into a cute diner restaurant setting. Since the weather was incredibly chilly on the pier, we made the wise choice of visiting the well-insulated Lobster Shack.

Roy Moore Fish Shack - Dining Floor

Dining Floor – The dining floor is spacious and warm with a good view of the harbor along the windows

The menu has a large selection of diner type food. They have salads, fries, sandwiches, pastas, hot dogs and grilled chicken. Really, I don’t understand why they are offering anything other than seafood, because I wouldn’t come to a seafood shack for anything other than seafood. That would just seem silly.

Roy Moore Fish Shack - Menu

Menu – The menu has a large selection of diner type food. From fries and grilled chicken to pasta and salads. However, I wouldn’t go to a seafood shack and choose anything other than seafood – in this case, lobster.

The choices we made for this trip was obvious. We started with a shared plate of fried clams to start out. The clams were fresh and delicious. The simple claims were covered and fried in a very light, airy batter that really lets the clammy taste come through.

Roy Moore Fish Shack - Fried Clams Appetizer

Fried Clams – Fresh clams were covered and fried in a light, crispy batter

Among the entrees, Continue reading

Gaslight Restaurant - Front

Gaslight Restaurant in Boston’s South End

The Gaslight Restaurant is a French Parisian brasserie located at 560 Harrison Avenue in Boston’s South End. It offers refined dining with a very neighborhood-friendly feel and value. The Parisian zinc bar, reclaimed wood floors, mosaic tiles, and beamed wood ceilings, Gaslight’s ambiance is warm and inviting for anyone looking for a nice, solid place to dine in.

Restaurant Entrance Street View - Gaslight is encased in a red-bricked building that almost looked abandoned. Without a clear outdoor sign, this gem can be easily overlooked at night

Restaurant Entrance Street View – Gaslight is encased in a red-bricked building that looks as if abandoned. With very subtle signs, this gem can be easily overlooked at night

With a reservation made on OpenTable, we were guided immediately to our table at the arrived time. The service was great, as we were presented with a decked out table setting with a bottle of fancy mineral water.

Table Setting- Classy French Brasserie table setting with a bottle of S Pellegrino mineral water

Table Setting– Classy French Brasserie table setting with a bottle of S Pellegrino mineral water

To start off with the meal, we ordered a small bucket of their pomme frittes, which are solid. These fries are dangerous for people with smaller stomachs because they can easily be devoured really quickly and leave little room for the main course. Of course, French Baguettes were served with a side of butter as well.

French Baguette and Pomme Frites with ailoi- Great appetizer with complimentary crisp baguettes and an order of pomme frittes fried with parmesan and fine herbs

French Baguette and Pomme Frites with ailoi- Great appetizer with complimentary crisp baguettes and an order of pomme frittes fried with parmesan and fine herbs

After the appetizer, we chose two main dishes. The first was the Berkshire Pork Chop. Naturally, the Berkshire pork is an amazing cut of meat that is way superior to a normal pork chop in that it’s so much more fatty and tender. Gaslight serves are really large cut of bone-in Berkshire pork chop that is juicy and magnificent. Garnished with a vinegary red onion jam and baked in bacon juice, the pork chop had a very rich, deep flavor that made each bite a delight.

Berkshire Pork Chop

Berkeshire Pork Chop – A large cut of juicy, tender, bone-in Berkeshire pork chop with braised greens, red onion confiture, and house-smoked bacon jus

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Kung Fu Soy - Shaolin Signature #1,

Kung Fu Soy: Where’s the Soy in This New LA Taiwanese Dessert Spot?

Kung Fu Soy is a relatively new venue in Montery Park, just a few minutes east of LA, that tries to differentiate itself in the over saturated Boba/Taiwanese dessert market by offering Tofu Pudding. Frankly, I love tofu pudding and this place makes a decent one; although it’s not amazingly silky smooth, the tofu pudding tastes fine.

However, for a store named Kung Fu SOY, I’m incredibly disappointed by how small a role the tofu pudding played in their dishes. First of all, the tofu desserts occupy only about 1/3 of the menu. The other main elements of this dessert shop is Aiyu and Herbal Jelly; 3 main signature ingredients in total.

Kung Fu Soy Menu - The menu offers 3 types of desserts on the left panel using their 3 signature ingredients: tofu pudding, aiyu, and herbal jelly. The customer also has an option of customizing their dessert dish on the right side of the menu.

Kung Fu Soy Menu – The menu offers 3 types of desserts on the left panel using their 3 signature ingredients: tofu pudding, aiyu, and herbal jelly. The customer also has an option of customizing their dessert dish on the right side of the menu.

I ordered the Shaolin Signature #1, which seemed like their signature tofu dessert dish. It contained tofu pudding, taro balls, sweet potato balls, red beans, boba, and red dates over a bit of shaved ice. For $7, it wasn’t that much tofu; rather, the tofu pudding was a topping for the shaved ice rather than the dessert. I would have loved it if they reversed the proportions and made the pudding into the base rather than the topping. In addition, they also try to flash the limelight on Herbal Jelly and Aiyu, which are delicious toppings found in Taiwan desserts. However, again, they are just additional topping options.

Kung Fu Soy - Shaolin Signature #1,

Shaolin Signature #1 -tofu pudding, taro balls, sweet potato balls, red beans, boba, and red dates over a bit of shaved ice

This place is cute, but I’m not too optimistic of how well they will do in the long run. Their menu is also pretty chaotic and could be a lot more user-friendly. Continue reading

Welcome to Zhong Li Xi Ming Night Market Main Entrance!

Exploring Taiwan and the Taste of Fermosa: The Zhongli Night Market

As part of the around-the-island Taiwan tour to explore as much as Taiwan as possible in 8 days, when we landed in Taiyuan International Airport, we set off to explore Taiyuan, where we would be staying for our first night. Taiyuan is the metro area about an hour southwest of Taipei, and in general seems to be considered pretty rural by most people from Taipei city.

Rough map of ZhongLi Night Market from the airport

Rough map of ZhongLi Night Market from the airport

Certainly it’s not much of a metropolitan city, but Taoyuan district is still thriving and has several bustling night markets! The most notable night market in Taoyuan County, is the ZhongLi night market in Zhongli District 中壢區, which is just a few minutes south of the airport.

Welcome to Zhong Li Xi Ming Night Market Main Entrance!

Welcome to Zhong Li Night Market Main Entrance!

As this was my first night market in Taiwan, I was incomparably excited for cheap and delicious street food. Note that the exchange rate during this visit is about 1 USD  to 32 TWD. With most street food costing between 40-100 TWD each, every food stall offers an incredible deal!

Taiwanese night markets operate along a single street. Within that street there are usually 2 or 3 lanes of stalls set up that ranges from food, shopping, and carnival games. The Zhong Li night market certainly offered a variety of all these things.

In no particular order… Continue reading

Steamed Onaga Special - The Onaga is steamed Chinese-style with a sauce composed of ginger, soy sauce, truffle oil, and olive oil .The sauce was truly rich, fragrant and delicious. The onaga is a tender red snapper, and has an extremely tender, springy bite. This is served over steamed saffron rice.

Review: Duc’s Bistro – An Elegant Bistro That Fuses Vietnamese, French, and Local Hawaiian Flavors

If you think about it, finding a place like Duc’s Bistro in the heart of Honolulu Chinatown is kind of strange. If you think about it some more, perhaps it’s not so strange. Duc’s Bistro is an elegant French fine dining restaurant, run by a Vietnamese couple, using fresh local Hawaiian flavors, on a grimy street of Chinatown. If you don’t know what you were looking for, the restaurant’s store front is easy to miss, particularly because they achieve their clientele mostly through word of mouth. This restaurant concept that can only be described as local Asian fusion, which is something that is pretty characteristic of the mixing pot demographic in Hawaii. Duc’s Bistro, in particular, strives to “cultivate the idea of combining the unique dishes of Vietnamese cuisine with the lush and fresh ingredients of Hawaii.” In this case Duc’s Bistro has a menu concept that is Vietnamese French cuisine infused with Aloha.

Duc's Bistro Restaurant Front - Definitely a place that can be easily overlooked among the vendors and shops on Maunakea St. In Chinatown

Duc’s Bistro Restaurant Front – Definitely a place that can be easily overlooked among the vendors and shops on Maunakea St. In Chinatown

Once you walk into Duc Bistro, you can see that it’s a nice restaurant with a pretty classy French Bistro atmosphere.

Duc's Bistro Restaurant Inside - The general atmosphere inside looks clean and classy; characteristic of a French bistro

Duc’s Bistro Restaurant Inside – The general atmosphere inside looks clean and classy; characteristic of a French bistro

Duc's Bistro Restaurant - The bar and tables inside look nice and clean

Duc’s Bistro Restaurant Inside- The bar and tables inside look nice, clean, and seems to be able to accommodate a large crowd

Feeling a bit ambitious, I went ahead and ordered a typical salad, main, and dessert spread for myself. True to my instincts, the food is as much of a fusion as their restaurant concept. Continue reading

Kai Coffee Storefront

Review: Kai Coffee in Waikiki- Ascending As A Premium Coffee House in Oahu

Forget about the Starbucks across the street. If you are in Waikiki and looking to experience a nice cup of joe, head to Kai Coffee in the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Kalakaua Ave. My favorite place for coffee used to be Beach Bum in Downtown Honolulu, but since they vanished, Kai Coffee has definitely picked up steam as the go-to place for premium coffee.

We know that Hawaii is famous for Kona coffee. Some coffee shops will have some Kona Coffee or Ka’u coffee available, but very few will have any more than those options available. Most coffee shops are pretty “normal” (I have yet to find a Starbucks in Hawaii that serves any type of local coffee, unfortunately).

Then there are places like Kai Coffee. Kai Coffee has developed nicely with a beautiful island style branding that caters to the modern coffee drinkers searching for the freshest options in beverages.

Kai Coffee Storefront - The store has a clean design and has developed a brand that encompasses the island-style feel

Kai Coffee Storefront – The store has a clean design and has developed a brand that encompasses the island-style feel

Kai Coffee serves “premium” quality coffee. However, they still are able to cater to a broad market that may like the concept of premium quality coffee, but don’t want to venture too far from the usual Starbucks-type of product offerings.

Kai Coffee Order Counter

Kai Coffee Order Counter

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