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Birthday Dinner 2014

Hi There,
I actually came back from an amazing meal at Sitka & Spruce. Truly wholesome, modern Pacific NW cuisine made beautifully. Although I went for lunch, it was one of the best meals I've had for the year, especially with their vegetable dishes. Although I was actually quite full which contradicts other people saying "it was so little food for the price", you can always walk next door to Taylor Shellfish Farms Oyster Bar for some awesome, unpretentious oysters. The Service at Sitka & Spruce was great while the decor is quite tasteful.

Dec 02, 2014
mlbartender in Greater Seattle

Breakfast and Lunch Places Open on Thanksgiving Day

Hi Everyone,

I would like to ask the Seattle Chowhound board if you know of any restaurants in Seattle worth going to that are open for Breakfast and Lunch on Thanksgiving day. I've already locked in a place for dinner, Aqua by El Gaucho, but am concerned for the times I've just mentioned. Particularly anywhere in Downtown Seattle, especially at Pike Place Market is appreciated.

BTW, I will be dining at Canlis, Sitka & Spruce and Taylor Shellfish Bar for my culinary vacation up in the city. Thanks!

Nov 25, 2014
mlbartender in Greater Seattle

"The Getaway" Season 2 on the Esquire Network (Executive Producer: Anthony Bourdain)

Premieres on Oct. 15 at 9/8c

Here's the link to the Season 2 Trailer:
http://tv.esquire.com/videos/71446-th...

List of first 5 episodes:
http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/09/05/the...

Oct 11, 2014
mlbartender in Food Media & News

Question with the re-edited version of No Reservations: Tokyo, particularly with the Sushi/Sukiyabashi Jiro scene

As a few episodes of No Reservations are back on Netflix as the Travel Channel decided to bring it back, I've noticed that with the Tokyo episode, the Sushi/Sukiyabashi Jiro scene was edited out. I ask of you knowledgeable people of Chow Hound why did they take out the best scene of the episode as it's being distributed by Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, etc.? I couldn't find an answer elsewhere nor did I find anyone asking of this. It's funny as the description of the episode mentions that Tony was looking for the best sushi in Tokyo when that freaking scene was taken out.

Oct 11, 2014
mlbartender in Food Media & News

Need help for Seattle Thanksgiving itinerary

Definitely agree that they serve food that's suited to the typical palate. However, those are the only few places that seem worth considering that are open on thanksgiving. I definitely wished Sitka & Spruce or The Walrus and the Carpenter would be open on that day.

Oct 01, 2014
mlbartender in Greater Seattle

20somethings in Seattle need recos!

Bar Sajor: lots of small plates while serving great cocktails

Although in the Ballard district: The Walrus and the Carpenter - Amazing seafood and small plates

Sep 30, 2014
mlbartender in Greater Seattle

Need help for Seattle Thanksgiving itinerary

Thanks for sharing your experience!

For my future meal at Canlis, I would definitely like to experience their classic dishes the restaurant's originally known for while also enjoying the opportunity of eating Chef Franey's dishes of modern cuisine developed from his experience of cooking at Eleven Madison Park in NYC.

I should definitely reconsider in selecting my main dish at Canlis and also plan on enjoying King Salmon somewhere else.

Sep 30, 2014
mlbartender in Greater Seattle
1

Need help for Seattle Thanksgiving itinerary

Thanks Mary! Their menu looks awesome with their Pacific NW fare while being relatively affordable.

Sep 30, 2014
mlbartender in Greater Seattle

Need help for Seattle Thanksgiving itinerary

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. When I first read about Elliott's closing on October, in my head, Tom Haverford/Aziz Ansari was screaming "Noooooooooooo!". Be that as it may, I greatly appreciate the heads up.

In regards to Open Table, I actually had already looked it up for restaurants available on Thanksgiving day. As I want to get away from tradition of eating Turkey on Thanksgiving, I definitely want to lean more towards seafood as it seems more unique of the area. What I had in mind are: Aqua by El Gaucho, El Gaucho, Daniel's Broiler, and Chandler's Crabhouse. From Reddit, I found out that the Five Point Cafe is open on that day offering a Thanksgiving feast. However and evem though I should feel comfortable saying the following on Chow without judgement: I would like a more upscale experience for dinner. In the meantime, which out of the mentioned restaurants would you guys recommend?

Sep 30, 2014
mlbartender in Greater Seattle

ANAHEIM -- Anything Chow-ish near the Convention Center?

If it's not too far for you, I would recommend Ohshima in Orange, CA. They have some of the most authentic sushi in the area although I still haven't got around to trying it. If you're willing, I would highly recommend going to Ikko in Costa Mesa as it's my favorite sushi restaurant in Orange County. Also, there's a great upscale bar next door, Mesa, which is great for after dinner drinks.

Sep 28, 2014
mlbartender in Los Angeles Area

Hillstone/Houston's -- excellent service

I've been frequenting the Irvine (Orange County) location these past couple of years and I've also had a couple visits at their Pasadena location. They are both amazing for solid American fare. Granted, I have an issue of calling them a steakhouse as they don't seem that exclusive towards steaks as some people have been considering Houston's as. Be that as it may, their food is always top notch and comes out quick for the price you're paying. Even though some people might consider it to be somewhat pricy, the quality you're getting, such as their steaks, beats out any other typical chain.

Houston's/Hillstone's business model is quite solid and efficient which is how it greatly transcends other chains in addition to serving high-quality dishes and offering impeccable service. They keep their menus short and simple, therefore eliminating unnecessary upkeep of wasted ingredients and effort of preparing them. Speaking of service, I love how they replace your cocktail glass with a freshly chilled one if it has been sitting out there for a bit. Only complaint is how they have you charge you for individual bottles of Coke or club soda instead of having a soda dispenser/fountain built into their bars.

I hope it's fine if I can provide a link to a YouTube video that isn't mine, of course. Here is a video of a Check, Please! Bay Area episode of Hillstone in San Francisco: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrpD_R...

Sep 28, 2014
mlbartender in Chains

Need help for Seattle Thanksgiving itinerary

Hi All,

I plan to arrive in Seattle on Thanksgiving day. In addition, I have dinner already planned on the following day at Canlis. So, I'm definitely excited for that. For Canlis, I plan on having the Foie Gras, the Peter Canlis Prawns, the Canlis Salad and for my main course, either Sea Bass or King Salmon (depending on what's available but leaning towards Salmon as it reflects more of the local product).

On Thanksgiving, which Seattle dining institutions do you recommend and/or know of that are open for dinner on that holiday? I want to eat dishes that are more uniquely Pac. NW.

Also, for lunch on the following day, the New American/Pacific NW cuisine restaurants I have in mind are Sitka & Spruce and The Whale Wins. I probably would have chosen The Walrus & The Carpenter if it were open during lunch. Be that as it may, I've narrowed it down to those two restaurants unless if anyone has a better suggestion for modern Pacific NW food.

For my lunch before I head back to SoCal, I actually plan on eating at Elliot's Oyster House albeit touristy. Be that as it may, I've always wanted to dine here as it seems like an iconic Seattle restaurant, aside from Canlis of course.

If you have any recommendations, whether it be for my menu at Canlis or any other subjects I'm asking for help on, please feel free to chime in.

-Thanks!

Sep 28, 2014
mlbartender in Greater Seattle

Tokyo Itinerary...Thoughts and Suggestions?...

Hi There,

As someone who lives in SoCal as well, I do understand you wanting to settle your craving for high end French gastronomy as the area is lacking in that department relative to the SF Bay Area and NYC. Tokyo is the the best city outside of France for French cuisine.

I would definitely recommend Pierre Gagnaire as I was there for dinner in June 2012. The great thing about Pierre Gagnaire's restaurants, unlike say Joel Robuchon, is that each location is unique by incorporating the ingredients and cooking techniques of the region the restaurant is in. There will be a huge Japanese influence present in the cooking and his chefs execute it so well of welding the two cuisines together to make an ideal harmony. Along with great food, sitting high up on the 36th floor overlooking the Tokyo Tower and the city is another great perk about the restaurant.

Another restaurant that I would suggest is L'As in Omotesando, Tokyo. Although much more casual, it has an enticing price of 5,000 Yen for both Lunch and Dinner of set menus only. Even though I haven't eaten there yet, it is on my list for my next Tokyo trip. It should have rave reviews for their French-Japanese cuisine. Here are some links along with their main site:

http://www.las-minamiaoyama.com/en/in...
http://tokyoeater.blogspot.com/2012/0...
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2012...
http://foodfile.typepad.com/blog/2012...

Aug 07, 2014
mlbartender in Japan

Ukyo in Azabu Juban

Thanks for the info! I've found out from your postings that you operate bento.com in which I'm a big fan of. I hope that maybe in the future that you could cover this place on your site :)

Aug 07, 2014
mlbartender in Japan

Ukyo in Azabu Juban

Thank you for your post. I hear that it was pretty popular from the blog post but then again, that's the only information in English that I could find. They do have a facebook page so maybe I hope that someone might communicate back in English. It's good that you've pointed out how there are more fruitier sake variants as I'm more either into very dry (Otokoyama) or subtle/complex ones (Kubota Manju). If you don't mind me asking, how was the food over there?

Aug 07, 2014
mlbartender in Japan

Ukyo in Azabu Juban

Hi, it's shown in the tabelog link I provided in my self reply. A slab of Foie Gras on a bed of rice; maybe even with truffles

Aug 06, 2014
mlbartender in Japan

Ukyo in Azabu Juban

Here is the Tabelog link for the restaurant: http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1307/A13070...

Aug 06, 2014
mlbartender in Japan

Ukyo in Azabu Juban

Hi Everyone,

As I was doing some research for a future trip to Tokyo, I came across a restaurant called Ukyo in Azabu-Juban in Tokyo from another person's blog: http://www.eataku.com/post/9125191870... . From the looks of it, it looks very delicious and obscene (in a good way with the overwhelming usage of amazing ingredients such as Truffles, Uni, Caviar and Foie Gras.

Have any of you guys dined there? How was your experience If so as they're nearby Roppongi, do they have an english menu and/or english speaking staff?

Aug 06, 2014
mlbartender in Japan

Orange county must eat

Hi there,
I know this other amazing hole in the wall restaurant if you're into sushi. At first when I started to live in Orange county, I was surprised how besides Mexican, Japanese and Vienamese cuisines are big in OC. The place I'm referring to is called Ikko in Costa Mesa. Besides some of their fusion dishes, they serve mostly traditional preparations of pre-seasoned sushi that calls for immediate eating when served and don't carry American-style rolls. They've even posted on their chalk board in the front where they would used to post specials saying that they don't serve these sort of rolls as many people would just flat out leave after looking at the menu. The first pic is a citrus vinaigrette carpaccio (must ask sushi chef directly for this as they've taken it off) with a fish imported from Kyushu, Japan called "chicken grant" (i know, weird name). Second pic: Maguro (tuna), Third: Albacore, Fourth: Toro (I think it's Chu-toro instead of the fatty O-toro). I've taken many friends to this place and they all love it. Even people who used to not like anything raw change their perspectives on sushi. Here's their address and reservations are highly reccommended: 735 Baker Street Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 556-7822

Jul 25, 2012
mlbartender in Los Angeles Area

Orange county must eat

For Mexican, I would travel to Santa Ana as they have a large, if not, the largest Mexican community in Orange County. Granted, it won't be as pearly as Laguna Hills. However, if you're looking for authentic tacos, especially al Pastor tacos with meat shaven off the shawarma/kebab grill, go to Taqueria 2 Guys. Here's a recent OC weekly article on the restaurant. http://www.ocweekly.com/2012-04-05/fo...

Also, the prices are really reasonable from around $1.29 a taco. After 5pm, the al Pastor tacos are only a buck each. Be sure to look at the other reviews on the net. Their really spicy Jalapeno salsa is amazing! The following pics are their al Pastor Tacos along with their special (all-meat) buritto for only $1 more (approx $6 total) with meat of your choice.

Jul 24, 2012
mlbartender in Los Angeles Area

Tokyo's Romantic Restaurants...

Hi there, I just came back from Tokyo and want to suggest a romantic restaurant. I had a posting on here about it but as it was linked to my blog, it was unfortunately taken down. Anyways, I want to recommend Pierre Gagnaire where it's at the 36th floor of the ANA Intercontinental hotel. It's a very fancy hotel and it views the entire city at that high of the level with an amazing view of the Tokyo Tower. As mentioned by others and yourself, the high-End Japanese restaurants aren't exactly the romantic type when it comes to atmosphere. At Pierre Gagnaire, the waiter thought I was being hasty and said it was alright to take your time and enjoy the meal. The service there is amazing and of course the food is too as well. I would recommend ordering the Apinac menu with the seasonal premium main course of the Japanese Beef Tenderloin topped with Uni. it's on their website if you google it. I hope this helps!

Jul 15, 2012
mlbartender in Japan

Kamatoro

Hi everyone,
I was Japan recently and with how much I saved up, I ended up going to Pierre Gagnaire as my big meal in Tokyo. If I had more money, I would have gone to one of the fabulous sushi restaurants in Ginza. Nevertheless, I had to eat sushi in Japan. Near my hostel in Asakusa, Tokyo; I went to a nearby standing sushi bar called Maguro-Bito (Kaminari-mon Branch). Maguro-Bito is actually a famous chain of conveyor-belt sushi-ya but these branches of standing sushi bars under the same name could be privately owned as I asked on the Japan-guide.com forums (http://www.japan-guide.com/forum/quer... ) After I ordered o-toro, the chef ends up pulling out this amazing-looking piece of well-marbled tuna and said it was kamatoro, the fatty part located around the collar. It was extremely delicious and the best piece of toro I've ever had, granted never being at one of the high end sushi restaurants in Tokyo. After researching from here: http://www.sushiencyclopedia.com/blog... I found out that this amazing part of the tuna was even rare in Japan. Therefore, if you arrive in Japan looking for sushi, especially in Tokyo, ask for the kamatoro!

Jul 07, 2012
mlbartender in Japan