Tonkotsu White at Jinya Ramen Bar (Bellevue, WA)

I was seriously thinking of not going in. I stood outside for a minute or two, but decided to give Jinya Ramen Bar a shot anyway. A little background. Our good friends ate there after it soon opened in Bellevue in March, along with so many other eager rameniacs that the two of them had to sit... Continue Reading →

Barbecue Choice at The Boar’s Nest (Seattle, WA)

It has been getting warmer in Seattle. Warm weather tends to stimulate my appetite for barbecue. Only a few blocks from my daughter's condo, maybe The Boar's Nest would fit the bill. Opened in 2011, The Boar's Nest specializes in pulled pork and ribs, though there are also chicken and links on the menu. Looking through... Continue Reading →

Happy Hour at Golden Beetle (Seattle, WA)

Maria Hines is a celebrity chef around here. She was recognized with a James Beard award (Best Chef Northwest in 2009) and had beaten out Chef Morimoto on Iron Chef. Her restaurant that she opened in 2006, Tilth, is noteworthy not only for its fine cooking but its use of mostly organic and sustainable ingredients. In... Continue Reading →

Seattle’s Restaurant Week, Monsoon’s Catfish Claypot

It was the Spring run of Restaurant Week again earlier this month. Over 130 Seattle area restaurants offered three dinner courses (a starter, main and dessert) for $30. Some restaurants also had a lunch menu for $15. Monsoon East in Bellevue (and its sister restaurant, Monsoon, in Seattle) always seems to participate in this and the similar October festivities,... Continue Reading →

Of Koalas, Kangaroos and Penguins

I expected to see lots of them when we set foot on Australian soil. Kangaroos, kangaroos and more kangaroos. Maybe not in Melbourne, but surely along the Great Ocean Road and other parts of undeveloped Victoria. "Kangaroo crossing" signs along the roadways didn't lessen the expectation. Yet, we never saw a single one. I should... Continue Reading →

Is It Autumn in the Northwest?

No, we're still enjoying Spring. But, the Bellevue Botanical Garden has these nice Japanese maples with reddish foliage: a laceleaf (Acer palmatum 'Garnet', above) and tree (Acer palmatum 'Burgundy Lace', below).

Flower Power: Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (Mount Vernon, WA)

Last weekend was likely the best for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. It was warm and sunny and the flowers were reportedly in full bloom. But weekends invite the most crowds. Though we hadn't gone in years, with the remainder of the week forecast to be rainy, we decided to skip one of America's great... Continue Reading →

Cathedral of Commerce and the Gothic Bank (Melbourne, VIC)

It's seems rather odd when walking along Collins Street, Melbourne's swanky avenue lined with boutique shops, restaurants, historic churches, some of Australia's tallest buildings and its banking center. For such a commercial and financial avenue, one wouldn't expect to find the city's best examples of Victorian-era architecture. It seems that the 19th-century captains of finance were in the habit of erecting and working in grand,... Continue Reading →

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