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Seattle Trip Report

In hindsight, maybe the +1 rating was a bit harsh because I would definitely go back and try another sandwich.

Ahhh, the hot sauce at Sol Food...that is some good stuff. Are you serious about a trade? I'd be more than happy to do that!

May 25, 2011
CW415 in Greater Seattle

Portland Trip Report

Lucky enough to catch some great weather and sample a bunch of restaurants in Portland/Seattle last week (see separate post for Seattle report). Here is my trip report, with all ratings on a +/-10 scale (zero isn't bad, just not something I'd order again). Thanks to all of the Chowhounders that provided a ton of suggestions and info!

Highlights: Breakfast Sandwich at Detour Cafe
Disappointments: Ramen.

Detailed Report...

Thursday Dinner, Ramen Mirakutei
Spicy Yuzu Ramen -1. Thin broth, lacked richness. Not very spicy. Noodles, one sheet of Nori, bamboo, and fish cake.
Tonkotsu Ramen -1. See above.
Overall pretty disappointing, but then again, its pretty tough for soup and noodles to be much below -1. If I made instant ramen at home and got to add corn and some extra stuff, thats probably at least a +1 on my scale. +2 if I get to add TJ's frozen Gyoza and some fresh cabbage or bok choy.

Thursday Late Night Happy Hour, Jake's Crawfish
Clams in Green Curry Broth +6. Not expecting too much but they were delicious! Fresh clams, mild green curry with just enough kick. Almost good enough to drink the broth out of the bowl, but a little salty. Very generous portion for $3.95.
Salmon Cakes -2. Way too much bread or filler. Kinda mushy, no Salmon taste. Didn't finish. Not a bargain, even at $2.95.
Moscow Mule [cocktail] +1. Fresh grated ginger and candied ginger gave it a nice ginger kick. But too sweet. Not fizzy enough, not very strong.

Friday Breakfast - Detour Cafe
Don Egg Sandwich +9. Two eggs, scrambled and baked, with portabella mushrooms, onions and feta right in the eggs. Topped with Italian sausage, avocado, tomato and basil. Wow...delicous!! Bread was soft and airy, eggs were fluffy, mushrooms were tasty, basil and tomato were fresh....everything in perfect proportion! Never thought I would find a breakfast sandwich to rival Mike and Patty's in Boston but this was delicious!!

Friday Lunch - Good Food Here, 43rd and Belmont Food Cart Pod

Lardo: Porcetta Sandwich -3. I need to learn a very valuable lesson. If you are in a quest for the city's best X and for some reason you don't get it, its not a good idea to go to another city and buy the first X. In this case, Salume in Seattle / Porcetta Sandwich --> Lardo Food Cart in Portland / Porcetta sandwich. I had asked if they could pack the bread separately since we were driving an hour to Multnomah Falls. They said "sure, no problem" and I even tipped them extra because he said he was going to do that. I guess the two orders they received in five minutes were too much to handle. However, that alone would not have saved the sandwich. I'm okay with it being somewhat fatty, but seriously the meat was 40% fat. Nothing like biting into a soggy piece of bread and a mouthful of fat. Bleh.
<unknown>: Green Curry and Rice: +1. Not bad, apples in the curry a nice touch. Pretty mild, tasty but nothing special
<unknown>: Green Salad w/Chicken: +0. Generic salad. Only thing I remember is that the olives were HELLA salty but the yogurt sauce was pretty good.
The Sugar Cube: Fizzy Drink. +3 Ginger and Lime (??...not sure anymore) soda. Surprisingly good!! Not too sweet, refreshing and tasty!

Friday Dinner/Snack - Tonic Lounge
Beef Sliders +1. Pretty standard bar fare. Cheesesteak style served with round whole peppers. Better than expected...only ordered to hold us over until late night happy hour. However, the urban reggae bands were pretty good so we ended up staying longer than we should, missing many of the happy hours.

Voodoo Donut.
Bacon Maple Bar +2. Surprisingly good. Bacon was reasonably crumbly, not stale and chewy like I was afraid of
Arnold Palmer +1. Cake donut with powdered lemonaide and iced tea sprinked on top.
Dirty Snowball -2. Cake donut with coconut sprinkles and mystery sweet goo. Bleh.
Voodoo Donut +0. Bonus points for being in the shape of a voodoo doll. But jelly filled was gross.

Friday Late Night Happy Hour - Bunk Sandwiches
Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup -3. Super greasy fried sandwich with tasteless cheese. Tomato soup was not creamy...just tasted liked thick canned tomato sauce.
Tuna Sandwich +1. Not too bad...a little greasy on the bread but pretty tasty
Beans, Rice and Pork +0. A little salty, not enough rice. Not bad, not great.

Saturday Breakfast
Bunk Sandwiches +4. Egg, Cheese and Sausage/Ham on Poppyseed Bagel-like bun. Considering it sat in the bag for a couple of hours before we ate them, they were surprisingly good! The bun held up well, the sausage was good and overall it was put together well. Tried to go back to Detour Cafe but they didn't open until 8am. Neither did any of the food carts. Very sad...where can you get breakfast in Portland before 8am?? Sadness. Woke up early and was really looking forward to trying more sandwiches from Detour.

Saturday Lunch
Q'Doba Beef Burrito -2. Sponsor of clinic provided burritos. Poorly distributed meat...big, huge chunk that was kind of tough. Salsa was good. But sure made me long for a Gordo's burrito.

Saturday Dinner
Late Night Happy Hour - Masu Sushi.
Overall a very good meal at nice place. Late night happy hour made it reasonableish for a fancy place...kinda trendy. Urban/indistrial look with low lighting, high ceilings, and electronica/loungy music.
Tonkotsu Ramen -2. Another ramen disappointment. Sigh. Broth was very thin. No toppings worthy of mention, although the soft boiled egg was very good.
Nemo Roll +2 Dungeness Crab, Shrimp Tempura, Salmon, Hamachi. Pretty good, but nothing special. Further proof that the better the sushi place, the better off you are sticking with nigiri.
Hamachi Nigiri +4. Definitely better than the average sushi place. Very nice fish/rice ratio. Mild, but buttery.
Benezaki Nigiri (Sockeye) +2. Nice texture. Cut was a little thin, not as rich/fishy tasty as I like for Salmon.
Sake Nigiri (Chinook) +5. Excellent Salmon. Nice marble, rich and creamy. Best of the sushi.
Ama Ebi (Sweet Shrimp) +3. Very fresh but not as sweet as I've had. Fried heads were good.
Bincho (Albacore) +2. Very mild, but good texture and good fish/rice ratio.
Maguro +2. Generally I don't like Maguro much as its usually too mild but this was definitely better than average.
Kiwi Gimlet [cocktail] +3. Very refreshing! Nice and limey but Kiwi didn't come through as much as I hoped...but still delicious!

Sunday Lunch - D Street Noshery. Food cart pod, 32nd and Division
Awesome Cone: Pork Cone +3. Nice concept...waffle style cone willed with spicy BBQ Pork and coleslaw. Pretty good result - I liked the top of the cone with the pork and coleslaw. But towards the bottom it was all pork and the cone got soggy/chewy. Pork was better mixed with the slaw for balance.
The Pie Spot: Chicken Pot Pie +1. Buttery crust, good chicken. But too much sauce for my taste...would rather have more filler.
The Pie Spot: Lemon Pie Hole +0. Buttery crust, pretty good filling. But would prefer a good lemon bar.
The Pie Spot: Pecan Pie Hole +2. Yummy. Nuts were not soggy/chewy and gooey part was not too sweet, which tend to be the downfall of most pecan pies I've had.
Pok Pok: Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings +3. Highly recommended/reviewed. Pretty good, but wings weren't as meaty as I hoped. And too salty. But very good crisp outside and flavor with the heat being just right...definitely spicy and leaving a little burn on the tongue, but balanced by sweet/salty to make you crave more. Would probably have ranked higher if I had not had wings from San Tung and Yummy (three doors down from San Tung) recently. Not part of the D Street Noshery but right across the street.

Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

Bunk Sandwiches
621 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR

Masu Sushi
406 SW 13th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205

Tonic Lounge
3100 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97232

4130 SW 117th Ave Ste H, Beaverton, OR 97005

D Street Noshery
3221 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202

May 25, 2011
CW415 in Metro Portland

Seattle Trip Report

Lucky enough to catch five days of good weather in Portland/Seattle last week as well as sample a bunch of food. Thank you everyone on the board for providing tons of suggestions and info. My rating is on a +/-10 scale (so a zero isn't "bad", but not something I'd order again). See separate post for Portland if interested.

The Summary:
Highlights: Almond Croissants from Nouveau Bakery
Disappointments: Seven Star Crab, Paseo Sandwich

The Details:

Nouveau Bakery, West Seattle
Vanilla Blueberry Pastry. +1. Flaky crust, filling was creamy and not too sweet. Blueberries were fresh and tasty. But they put big sugar sprinkle things around the outside that made it unnecessarily sweet.
Roasted Duck Sandwich -2. Bread had nice crust but too dense and rubbery. Duck had no flavor..almost fishy. One layer of lettuce, nothing else worth mentioning.
Spicy Pork Pizza -1. Bottom was crisp but dough almost undercooked. Tomato sauce very ordinary...jalapenos were supposed to provide the heat. Bleh.
Twice Baked Almond Croissant. +10. Not sure if its truly deserving of a +10 rating but its definitely the best almond croissant I've had by far (and I've had a LOT). Dense inside, flaky outside. Lots of almond flavor and perfect amount of marzipan...from end to end. Only the tiniest little bite at the very end would be without some marzipan. So good we ended up making three trips there, eating six, and taking a box of 10 home. Yum. Our favorite thing on the entire trip. Hoping they would consider sending some down...or if there are any Chowhounders from Seattle coming to the SF Bay and willing to carry down a box full of 'em...well, lets barter!

Seven Star Pepper, Seattle Chinatown
Dry Fried String Beans +5. One of the best I've had. Crunchy and fresh, perfect amounts of garlic, chili and salt.
Spicy Pepper Crab -1. Chowhounders raved about this crab. Looked absolutely delicious...fresh and large (2.5lbs) crab served with mounds of chili and peanuts. But extremely salty and spiced with a very strange seasoning that left my mouth and tongue kind of numb and fizzy/tingly. Could it be Sichuan pepper?? Hmm...dunno, but the fear of OD'ing on MSG or going into some kind of convulsions while walking the streets of Seattle Chinatown kept me from enjoying the dish. (note: did not, however, keep me from finishing the dish.)

Paseo Caribbean Takeout
Cuban Roast Sandwich +1. Highly regarded sandwich. Got recognition on National TV. Pretty tasty pork but a little fatty. Not much else going on with the sandwich, except for WAY too much maybe 5x too much. Okay, so I don't like a lot of mayo normally but this was total overkill. Should take a page from Roli Roti (SF Food truck) which just rubs the bread with the juice from the roasted pork.
Smokin' Thigh Dinner +1. Side salad was actually pretty good. Beans and rice were good, nothing special. Chicken was a little dry, outside was crisp. I thought it would be more garlicky/savory but was actually more sweet. Not bad, but not as good as Sol Food.

Tolouse Petit, Late Night Happy Hour. Very cool place, great service. Hip but laid back and not overly trendy.
Catfish Bites +0. Batter was pretty good...not too thick. Crunch outside. Tartar sauce average.
Crispy Pork Cheek Confit. +0. Sounded good, but nondescript. Not crispy, not porky. Just kinda...there.
Beef Sliders. +1. Fries were good. Sliders were pretty tasty but a little overdone.
Moscow Mule cocktail +3. Vodka, Ginger Beer, Fresh Lime. Nice amount of fizz and lime. Perfect sweetness. Strong.

Lowell's at Pike Market
Corned Beef Hash +4. Nicely cooked over easy eggs. Corned Beef Hash with real corned beef?? Nice!! Not too salty either. Very tasty.
Breakfast Tacos +4. Tortillas were very good...chewy and tender and almost translucent. Chorizo tasty but not too greasy. Avocado salsa was very good, eggs were fresh...excellent recommendation!

Mini-Donuts +0. Fresh, but a little too greasy for me...when you can taste the oil over the sugar its a little too much. Not sure if its because the surface/inside ratio is too high or they needed to change the oil. Bonus point for the extra donut (7 instead of 6) but minus points for the tipping sign that said "GOD KNOWS IF YOU TIP" or something like that.

Din Tai Fung, Bellevue, WA
<Plane was delayed so got another meal in just before leaving>
Sauteed Green Beans +2. Nicely cooked, simple seasoning
Juicy Pork Dumpling +3. What they are famous for. Handmade dumplings with soup inside. Pretty good, but not better than what I've had at dim sum here or at San Tung.
Singapore Rice Cake with Chicken +4. Love the super chewy rice cakes. Remind me of Korean dok-bok-ki. Nicely cooked - not too much sauce, not too salty.

Paseo Caribbean Restaurant
4225 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

Green Bean
210 N 85th St, Seattle, WA 98103

May 25, 2011
CW415 in Greater Seattle