Omakase Dinner at Miyabi 45th

A five-course omakase dinner for two at Miyabi 45th for $60? Yessiree, Groupon. I was motivated because of an excellent soba lunch that I had there recently. The Groupon special is not the only way to have this kind of dinner. A party can otherwise decide how much to spend per person and the Miyabi kitchen... Continue Reading →

Bellevue Demonstration Garden Dahlias

The King County Master Gardeners manage the Bellevue Demonstration Garden, also known as the Lake Hills Greenbelt Urban Demonstration Garden. Among the many plots is a section devoted to dahlias. There were two varieties that stood out. One of them had cream and ivory petals tinged mauve on the outer edges (top image). The other had peppermint candy... Continue Reading →

Dinner at Setsuna Japanese Restaurant

The intriguing black ramen that I enjoyed a year ago at Setsuna Japanese Restaurant & Bar got me to wonder whether there was a hidden gem of a ramenya in the Northgate area. Opportunity knocked when we went with friends for dinner there. Setsuna's ramen menu offers four kinds: white, sakura, black and red, roughly descriptive of their colors. White... Continue Reading →

Botanical Ordnance: Cannonball Tree

A more fascinating tree I've never come across. It's more commonly known as the cannonball tree because its russet-colored fruits are shaped like and almost as heavy as cannonballs and give off an explosive sound when they fall and hit the ground. The fruit pulp inside is bluish-gray and attracts wild animals which eat the seeds that get propagated through droppings.... Continue Reading →

Fish n’ Chips at Wally’s Chowder House (Des Moines, WA)

Fish and chips restaurants abound in the Pacific Northwest, not surprising when there's nothing but the Pacific Ocean to the west. Perhaps the most well-known fish-n-chippery in the Seattle area is Ivar's, once owned by Ivar Haglund whose image and personality in local circles rivaled those of Colonel Sanders. His corporation also used to fund a big... Continue Reading →

Moon Jelly

While cruising in Puget Sound waters on our friends' boat, I couldn't help but notice scores of jellyfish floating by. I'd never seen jellies in the wild, so it would be an understatement to say I was pretty excited. Even as we returned to the Quartermaster Yacht Club's dock, there they were again around the... Continue Reading →

Max’s World Cafe: Rapture in Issaquah

It's easy to miss, even as you're driving slowly along Front Street in Issaquah looking for it. The storefront is just a sliver, which also describes the very tiny space inside, taken up by four small tables and a skinny counter with stools. Don't let any of that fool you. Max's World Cafe is world-class cuisine. The... Continue Reading →


This year, a fine stand of sunflowers appeared for the first time along an urban path in Bellevue, attracting many admirers, myself included. But, beyond the attraction to humans, there was a beneficial attraction of another kind.

Chyashu Seiro Soba at Miyabi 45th (Seattle, WA)

Amid the current craze to start ramen restaurants, it's refreshing to find a restaurant that serves only soba. Sobaya (restaurants that specialize in soba) are not common in the States, though many Japanese restaurants have it on the menu among their other offerings. Seattle has a sobaya (and izakaya) in the form of Wallingford's Miyabi 45th, which began business... Continue Reading →

Tonkotsu Kara Miso Ramen at Santouka

Major construction on the northwest corner of Main Street and Bellevue Way prevented a friend and me from having lunch at La Cocina del Puerco because of the lack of parking spaces. So as I drove up to Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, I noticed no one standing outside waiting to be seated. Friend was agreeable to... Continue Reading →

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