Sriracha Popcorn

My wife was the first to notice this product at the Bellevue Uwajimaya—sriracha popcorn. Whoa! My favorite movie snack combined with my favorite hot sauce? Could I resist? One guess. Here was another innovative snack that intruded into my life after stumbling upon furikake potato chips. If you're a chilihead (or more properly, chilehead) and even if... Continue Reading →

Lunch at Taqueria El Rinconsito (Bellevue, WA)

Soft tacos are such a popular snack in Mexico that it was inevitable that they should make an appearance across the border. This has been a relatively recent phenomenon because the Mexican restaurants of yesteryear—at least the ones I frequented in Southern California—usually served tacos with crispy, fried shells and ground beef fillings. I have to... Continue Reading →

55 Hours in Victoria (BC)

A geographical oddity was created when the Oregon Treaty of 1849 ceded Vancouver Island to the British. Victoria, capital of British Columbia, along with approximately one-quarter of Vancouver Island, lies below the 49th parallel. Yet, for all its proximity to American cities—closer to Bellingham and the American San Juan Islands than to Vancouver—it has a... Continue Reading →

Lunch at Noodle Cart (Victoria, BC)

Reviewers on tripadvisor and urbanspoon rave about Noodle Cart on Blanshard. WHERE magazine, the freebie that all tourists find at their hotel/motel/inn lobbies and at information centers, named it the best new restaurant of 2012. Armed with these endorsements, we decided to have lunch there after walking back to city center from Craigdarroch Castle. Paintings on the walls throughout the restaurant... Continue Reading →

Springtime at Butchart Gardens (Brentwood Bay, BC)

No matter how many times we go to Butchart Gardens, one of the most beautiful in the world, we are never less than spellbound by the floral displays. This attraction, over 20km north of Victoria, is a premier destination of tourists from all over the world. It really is amazing what determination, imagination and top... Continue Reading →

Cooking with a Spice Merchant’s Daughter

I have never wanted to take a cooking class. Wine tasting, conversational Italian, taiko, stained glass, piano, pottery class—yes. But, cooking class? No. Why?—since I love to cook and food is one of my passions. Maybe I felt that I could learn whatever I needed by poring over cookbooks and making some of the recipes.... Continue Reading →

Brunch at Bastille Café and Bar (Seattle, WA)

One kind of breakfast I don't have often is French. In fact, I have to wonder if I ever have. French meals at other times are another story. You can take bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes and cereal, and all their variations, only so much before they get, well, old. Don't get me wrong, I love... Continue Reading →

Back to Jimbo (Honolulu, HI)

One of the under-appreciated Japanese restaurants in Honolulu has to be Jimbo, which specializes in udon. The buses and people lining up in Waikiki suggests that Japanese tour companies favor Marukame Udon, which features make-your-own udon, a concept that has been picked up by U:Don in Seattle's University District. Jimbo is located in a part... Continue Reading →

Mana Nalu Mural Project (Honolulu, HI)

In the middle of Ala Moana (between the shopping center and Ward Center) is a mural painted on the side of a building. Like many murals, you wouldn't notice it unless you're oriented correctly. It was difficult for us even when we were looking for it. The work is a masterpiece of trompe l'oeil as... Continue Reading →

Lunch at Shirokiya (Honolulu, HI)

For me, no visit to Honolulu would be complete without a stopover, not to mention a meal, at the food level of Shirokiya, the Japanese department store in Ala Moana Shopping Center. I might lust after a ramen shop here, a tonkatsu restaurant there, poké at various places, Leonard's, even mochi ice creams at Bubbies. But... Continue Reading →

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