COA, Great Mexican Dining in the Skagit Valley

Fire burn, and caldron bubble. The Bard came to mind because the broth bubbled non-stop in a fiercely hot molcajete, like a fire underneath that didn't extinguish until dinner was almost done. This wasn't a witches' brew but a tasty stew of grilled chicken, carne asada, shrimp, nopal, tomatoes, pico de gallo, pickled red onions and queso asadero... Continue Reading →

Golden Deli Holds Court in San Gabriel Valley

Jonathan Gold knows a thing or two about Southern California food. (He no longer is with us, though his legacy and influence remain.) The Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer once named Golden Deli one of L.A. area’s 99 essential restaurants.  Located in a strip mall in the food mecca of San Gabriel Valley (SGV), doing business... Continue Reading →

A Weighty Question—Does Windy City Pie Have Seattle’s Best Deep Dish Pizza?

Do I like Chicago deep dish pizza? At one time, the answer would've been an emphatic 'no,' not because I tried it (I hadn't) but any pizza thicker than a half inch and crust not made with "00" flour with its low gluten and crackly edges was not my preference for a great pie. That was... Continue Reading →

Shanghai Cafe Continues to Surprise—Beef with Black Bean Sauce

Shanghai Cafe remains my go-to Chinese restaurant even as new ones open in the Seattle area. My wife and I tend to order the same things every time, menu items that have stood the test of time over the 20 years we’ve been customers. (You can read about our favorites here.) Years ago, one of... Continue Reading →

There’s Something Shrimpy About Fresno’s Don Pepe Taqueria

I had my doubts that I could find a shrimp dish to equal the ones from Fumi's Shrimp Truck in Kahuku. Their shrimp is reason enough to trek out to the North Shore of Oahu. My favored combination of garlic, butter and sriracha (optional) sauce is a heaven-sent recipe. That was before I found Don Pepe... Continue Reading →

Shizuku, Portland’s Significant Japanese Restaurant

Four years ago, I lunched at Chef Naoko Bento Café, a Japanese restaurant on the edge of Portland's downtown district. The storefront was unremarkable like the surroundings. Interstate 405 was practically its western border. On my visit, a semi-truck parked just outside blocked sunlight from lighting the interior. The atmosphere inside was a lot more pleasant,... Continue Reading →

Nue: The World’s Street Food

It’s the thing nowadays to have street food at restaurants. Many of us have gone traveling abroad that noshing on things foreign is not the hesitation it once was. International food is now within easy reach, a cookbook, restaurant or food truck away. These are exciting times if your palate runs far and wide.  In Seattle,... Continue Reading →

Of Obsidian, Lava Casts and Waterfalls: Newberry National Volcanic Monument

The lava sparkles. In a sea of black, rocks reflect light like mirrors. It's eerie enough to walk through a lava field where the ground beneath seems scorched by a cataclysmic firestorm, inhospitable to life, meager vegetation struggling to stay alive. Here in Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Oregon there also happens to be an enormous... Continue Reading →

Getting Serious About Restaurant Dar Hatim’s Pastilla (Fes, Morocco)

"It's jam." So said Fouad when I asked him if the reddish chile seed-laden paste was harissa. He chuckled. A little dab on my tongue told me it was ground up fresh chiles and preserved lemon, salty, intense, definitely spicy. Later, as the pastilla was served, he pointed at the plate of powdered sugar. "This is... Continue Reading →

Kona Kitchen: Ono Grinds in Seattle

Loco moco is not the first thing I'd normally order when breakfasting in Hawaii. Steamed white rice topped with a fried egg and brown gravy sound tasty enough, not so different in concept from an egg benedict really. It's the ground beef patty that gives me pause, the potential always there for lean and rubbery... Continue Reading →

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