Comin’ back to Seattle (Go Hawks!) Part 1: Pike Place Market

My wife and I decided to go to Seattle for a mini vacation. She has never been, and I have wanted to show her around. We picked a great time to go because the weather was great (for the most part). I do have to admit that Seattle is one of the most beautiful cities that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. My heart will always be in Los Angeles, but my stomach will happily oblige to dine in Seattle.

It was five days of Seattle for us! I’m glad I get a chance to share with you some of the things that were seen and eaten!

I don’t think a trip to Seattle isn’t complete without a visit to Pike Place Market, which is the oldest farmer’s market in the United States. Sure it’s the ultra-touristy thing to do, but I did come back to Seattle, but I came back as a tourist this time. Pike-Place-Walkthrough

As you’ll see, we were greeted by a bright sun and blue skies…

Public-Market-Sign

This is where all the flying fish on TV come from.

Pike-Place-Fish-Market

We didn’t just come to Pike Place Market for the sights. We headed over to Beecher’s cheese for some of their absolutely awesome mac n cheese. It’s so good, they called it the “World’s Best” Mac N Cheese. That’s a mighty high claim, but I’ll have to concede that it definitely doesn’t disappoint. The cheese is rich and gooey. Beecher’s also serves up their Flagship, which is one of my favorite cuts of cheese. On rare occasion, I would spot some Flagship being served up in a Whole Foods Market. If you see it, grab it. You’ll be happy you did.

Beecher's-Mac-N-Cheese

Piroshky Piroshky was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s show. We grabbed a smoked salmon pate filled piroshky (pictured) and a beef filled piroshky. The salmon one was great, but the beef one was too salty. Do yourself a favor and order ahead like the bag says. It’s good food, but not worth the crazy wait. Next door (or a few doors down, I don’t remember) there was a German deli. I didn’t take any pictures of it, but it seemed to be filled with some great German fare. I’ll have to visit them next time. Maybe, you should too!

Piroshky.jpg

There’s a big flower section within the market. Some amazing colors and compositions to be seen.
Pike-Place-Bouquet.jpgPike-Place-Tulips.jpgSeafood-Collection.jpgFresh-King-Salmon.jpg

Some grilled salmon sounds good right about now…

Gum-Wall.jpgOf course it’s right after seeing food.

Blue skies turned to grey really quickly. At least it didn’t rain.Public-Market-Gloom.jpg

Next up…

We go to Un Bien!

 

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Good Things Apparently Come in Subs

I heard about this place from a friend of mine who had previously visited this restaurant, and really liked it. He had told me about the pastrami dip sandwich, and how it was really good. Alright, I’ve got to try this place. From the outside, it’s very unassuming, and seems like nothing has changed much since many decades ago. When you walk into the small dining area, those impressions do not fade, but are slightly permutated to a hopefully, more positive one. A bright red neon sign confirms that you’re indeed at Connal’s, but also that you’ve gone back in time. The old school coke decor dominates the room giving you a sense of nostalgia. Not that I would really know since I’m still pretty young, but I figured it would make my review of the place sound better, so…why not? You head up to the window to order and notice the ATM machine (shoot! cash only), and the menu that is absolutely inundated with items to add serious calories to your daily allowance (or lack thereof if you really stopped caring).

Welcome to Connel's

There it was…this pastrami dip sandwich that lie in front of me. Flanked by an ice cold Diet-Coke on one side and a bag stuffed full of fries on the other. Already, the meat and bread was losing its grasp on the oh-so good juices that graced much flavor to the meat, because there was so much of it already. No worries, the meat was still very flavorful and oh-so tender. I was thoroughly impressed with these sandwiches (there’s more to come!) because it was great on so many levels. Firstly, it was so dang cheap for the amount of food you get (it’s more like…”Can I get some bread with all that meat!?”). The place could’ve easily charged in excess of $10 and it still would’ve been a good deal. The bread just soaked up all that delicious au jus so it added so much moisture to each individual bite. The meat was seasoned absolutely perfectly – it wasn’t too salty, nor was it bland. There was this great peppery finish that nicely accented each bite. This was absolutely paramount as pastrami tends to be fairly heavy. A very subtle spiciness elevated this sandwich. The only thing that I personally thought was lacking in the sandwich was more pickles, as I thought the sour/tartness of the pickles should’ve been more pronounced to add more depth to the sandwich. But, that’s just being nit-picky. Yes, it’s not a gourmet sandwich, but it’s a dang-good sandwich.

 

Didn't I tell you it was pastrami with some bread!?

The fries on the other hand were sub par. They’re the medium cut fries, which I don’t mind, but I thought they were slightly more on the soggy side – basically, I wanted more crunch. Honestly though, this isn’t a big deal just because there was so much food, and the sandwich is the main player here.

I also got to sample the Combination Submarine Sandwich. In terms of the meat (non-arguably, the most important part of any meal) it contains an amazing combination of salami, turkey, and ham. This turns out to be a great combination when it is integrated into the sandwich along with fresh lettuce and tomatoes, provolone cheese, and a drizzle of what tasted like olive oil + vinegar, and then finished off with a generous sprinkle of oregano. Honestly, I wished I had ordered this instead. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the pastrami sandwich, but this is on another level. All the ingredients come together and harmoniously express themselves on your tongue. It’s like a giant party in your mouth, but everybody is REALLY invited, and make themselves known. You taste the individual slices of meat ending with the salty (but not in a bad way) salami, you then proceed to the creamy provolone, and then to the crunchy lettuce and citrusy tomato. Finally, that olive oil dressing kicks in with a subtle, buttery, nutty flavor accentuated with the oregano. There are a lot of layers of flavors going on here. Yes…this is not a gourmet sandwich, but oh mah gah, it’s a blast your mind out the water sandwich. If you ever come here, start with this sandwich. Then explore. Maybe you will never do so, but it’s all good in the hood.

The sandwich from afar

Let's get a little more intimate

I highly recommend this place. The staff are so friendly, and you can tell it’s a totally local joint. The customers here are loyal ones that are remembered by the staff and really dig the food. The prices are great for what you get. I might even argue that it’s a steal. Finally, the taste is phenomenal. Is it the best sandwich you’ve had in your life? Maybe not. But it will definitely satisfy that need for a good, if not great, piece of grubbin.

Here’s the place.

Connal’s Burgers Salads Subs

1505 E. Washington Blvd.

Pasadena, CA

Service: 10/10

Ambience: 8/10

Value: 10/10

Taste: 9/10

Mind-Blasting Factor: 8/10

Overall, I would give it a 4.5/5

Been here before? Share your thoughts! Any other places that you would recommend if you had a sudden sandwich craving?

Thanks for stopping by. God bless. Happy eating. Remember to share.

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Quintessential Rain Food

I live in Southern California, a land where rain almost seems like an oddity. Some welcome it when it comes…others freak out on the freeways and go 50 MPH. Suddenly, some of the craziest (or worst or the most frustrating – however you wanna look at it) drivers in the nation become the most paranoid, docile drivers on the road. I went to undergrad in Seattle where rain is an unfortunate commonplace in the daily lives of those who inhabit the Evergreen State, so it doesn’t trouble me. Despite the driving qualms, I love the fact that there are certain foods that fulfill the soul, stomach, and mind like a satisfying, warm bowl of soup – this time around, it’s pho, a Vietnamese noodle dish (well, technically bowl) filled with thin noodles that swim in a delightful beef broth that has been stewing for who knows how long. This is what it looks like my friend.

The Total Package

What You Get

Once this heart-warming concoction arrives in front of you, you do what my friend does…

This is what you can do to your bowl

I typically add Hoisin Sauce (a.k.a Oyster Sauce), which is a thick sauce that is primarily sweet. For some much needed kick I highly recommend the almost obligatory Srichachachachachacha, otherwise known as Rooster Blood (It’s not really blood). Sip, taste, let those thoughts marinade for a bit, and then…

Good times!

if it tastes good this is hopefully how you feel, just on the inside cause if you were to show this to those next to you,then I’m sure they wouldn’t be having good times.

On this particular rainy day, I travelled out to Westminster/Garden Grove, to an area called Little Saigon to a place named Pho 79. I don’t know why and how the numbers are there, they just are. Let’s forget the name and focus on the food! This bowl comes to you steaming as if to tantalize your sense of smell first to tease you and let you know that yes, it’s a good bowl of pho. You have to hold back your animalistic instincts to just dig in immediately. Remember, you gotta put all those extras in. Well, you don’t really have to, but you might as well experience it. Then again, you can just sneak a sip to provide temporary gratification. Once seasoned properly with the Hoisin + Sriracha, you take that first (if you were good) dip into the soup. Remember those Campbell’s commercials where the spoon just stays up next to their face, eyes closed, a slight grin, and that vocal “Mmmm…”? Well, you’ve just encountered the Asian version, my friend. But, you’re not done just yet! Those noodles are there! Oh my! There’s meat also!? The trifecta just blasted your mind. You slurp, sip, and “Mmmm” your way to the bottom of that bowl. Then comes that satisfactory kick back into your chair, the pat on your tummy, and those famous words, “Ooof…I’m so full”.

The oh-so suttlely sweet, but predominantly savory (thank you MSG) broth has fully taken over. The tender bits of flank steak that may be accompanied by soft bits of tendon (or in my case, also accompanied by tripe) give you your protein requirements. The perfectly cooked noodles give you that carbo load that’s prevalent across all forms of gastronomic adventures. To balance it all out, you have some veggies in there. A completely satisfying meal.

Here’s the place I went to if you ever want to try it out.

Pho 79 ***NOTE that this is the HAZARD location. NOT the Bolsa location***

9941 Hazard Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92643

Service: 8/10

Value: 9/10

Ambiance: 6/10

Taste: 9/10

Mind-blasting factor: 8/10

If I had to…I’d give it a 4/5 overall.

Been there? Let me know what you think! Any other recommendations? They don’t have to be pho. What do YOU like to eat on a rainy day?

Thanks for stopping by. God bless. Happy eating. Remember to share.

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Wok BBQ + Fosselman’s

Today was a rainy day in Southern California. My mind was on food and food was on my mind. A friend of mine and I were supposed to get together to get some good grubbin around Monterey Park. Wok BBQ was suggested as it would be good for hot pot- something to warm the soul and fill the tummy. I do declare, this place was quite the satisfactory choice. It’s a fairly small place and very clean. Fortunately for me, my friend spoke immaculate Mandarin. All I had to do was decide on what to order and she would convey our desires.

So the process is simple. You order a stir-fry dish, which happens to be the main dish. Your order arrives onto your table in a wok carrying all your ingredients, which is placed onto a conduction cooker. I believe this was the first time that I ever tried something like this, and I have to say it was quite a fulfilling experience. Now, I have to admit that my spice tolerance is quite low, especially for a Korean, so the order came in not spicy. This was a regretful decision however, as the dish demanded some heat. Salty, savory, and sweet dominated the dish. Individual portions are then transferred over to your plate. Chili oil was then requested and added to the portion, which livened it up quite a bit. Once we had enough of stir-fry, we then opted for the wok to be transformed into a hot pot. Ingredients are ordered a la carte to spruce up the hot pot. We had ordered Chinese vegetables, egg dumplings (best described as mini-omelets filled with some meat), shrimp dumplings, spam (yes, spam), wide noodles, and tripe.

I do declare, the broth was quite delicious. The stir-fry sauce was allowed to reduce adding extra flavor to the broth. With the addition of the chili oil, the broth had reached its complete form, one that would satisfy, soothe, and conquer hunger like no other. The deep layers of flavor, full of complexity and richness definitely left me content and wanting more. I was beyond stuffed, yet the spoon kept digging for more and I was happy to oblige to accept.

A happy meal is not complete without a satisfying dessert. Fosselman’s is a great place to go as it’s a local spot, and they make great ice cream! I ordered a waffle cone filled with one scoop of cappuccino goodness. Was I still very full? Heck yes! But as they say, there’s always room for dessert. This place has been reviewed a lot I’m sure, so I’ll keep in short and sweet. The cappuccino flavor was spot on, and not too overpowering. I really enjoyed the creaminess of the ice cream. It was quite the good ending to a fabulous meal.

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