Happy Hour at Eureka, University Village

The second happy hour we went to in the UVillage. Not super inspiring, although I generally like Eureka’s burgers.

We ordered the truffle cheese fries – it came in a humongous platter but did not have much truffle taste imo. The cheese they use also has a slightly powdery texture as opposed to a cheez whiz texture :P

The best item we tried from their HH menu was the Puget sound steamers – clams steamed in a white wine and herb broth – very nice! Be sure to sop up all the sauce with the hunk of bread provided. The clams couldn’t be fresher.

Their fried chicken sliders are somewhat different from typical southern fried chicken sandwiches in terms of choice of pickle and bun (as you can see in the picture). Not bad at all, but I thought the carb to protein ratio was a little off- too little chicken and too much biscuit.

We got a garden salad with bleu cheese crumble, dried cranberries and lemon vinaigrette – standard fare I suppose, you can’t go wrong with that.

We also tried the osso buco riblets, which I kind of expected to be more tender/fall apart, but it turned out to be riblets (possibly fried) in buffalo chicken hot sauce. They were really tough and chewy! I would not order this again.

So, as many hits as misses, but there are several other things on the happy hour menu I have not tried. In general I would say I’m not a fan of this restaurant’s cheese anything (be it mac and cheese or cheese fries), because they use the same powdery textured cheese with everything (chevre? I have no idea what it is). It works if you are a fan of that type of cheese, but I happen to think mac and cheese should be made with fontina and other melty cheeses (even velveeta is better).

If you come here for happy hour order the clams!


Happy Hour at Mama Melina, University Village

This is the first happy hour restaurant we tried in Uvillage. It starts at 5pm if I’m not wrong and if you’re there for the happy hour, it’s free seating anywhere in the bar area, so you basically snag whatever seats are empty. Otherwise, the maitre’d will seat you in the dining area but you essentially have to leave by the time the dinner menu starts.

The food here is great! And there are lots of options on the happy hour menu that make for a really satisfying dinner.

We got a caesar salad – rather average; I’m still not used to how sour their Caesar dressing is here.

The rock shrimp and dungeness crab mac and cheese was amazing. It has huge chunks of prawn and crab meat soaking in a creamy fontina sauce and was just perfect. The light breading, the al dente rigatoni, and the sprinkle of chervil.. everything was perfect! The portion is also quite large so come with somebody to share.

We tried their margherita pizza which has a really fantastic tomato sauce. The crust may not be the most authentic (also not salty enough) so I didn’t finish it but the tomato and mozzarella combination was pretty divine.

Since we wanted to get a broad perspective of the food here we also ordered the deep fried salt and pepper calamari. At this point you’re probably thinking – How do two people eat so much??? Z has a super high metabolism and I generally don’t finish anything if I don’t feel comfortable finishing it. (We did finish this entire meal though and were stuffed afterward :/). The calamari was really tender although I may prefer a thinner batter on it. They served it with a really spicy chipotle aioli but I like my calamari simple with a squeeze of lemon.


Happy Hour at Boom, University Village, Seattle, WA

This has one of the best happy hour menus I’ve seen in Uvillage – they do fusion food, and pretty well at that! Everything we got was really tasty (at crazily affordable prices cause it’s happy hour) and their cocktails weren’t bad either.

I really liked their san choy pau – lettuce wraps with sriracha, fried rice noodles, and cilantro

Here’s the fried pork filling. It’s surprisingly authentic and really similar to the san choy pau I get at Peach Garden (in singapore). They also have bottles of hoisin sauce on the table for your to slather freely on the lettuce before dolloping the meat into it. Hands down the best dish we ordered.

We also had the tonkotsu ramen, which they kindly portioned into two bowls for us with TWO onsen tamagos! Ze really liked it although I thought there was a strange mushroom taste. Kinda chemically and strong. The chashu was not bad though but I wish they would use more normal tasting mushrooms.

This is the first time we’re trying Edamame puree (with lots of kewpie) served with

renkon chips, seaweed chips, cassava chips. Such an innovative dish! We saw it in Blue C Sushi as well but they are essentially chains in the same organization. It’s like an asian dip, and is such a clever way of clearing old edamame. They puree it really smooth so it’s like hummus.

Their gyoza has a crispy thing skin and is charred really beautifully. It doesn’t come with the typical soy vinegar mixture but instead with amazing sesame sauce (that I think might just be better than my regular dumpling vinegar). This is one of the best american-style gyoza I’ve had in the US.

The tempura rock shrimp with sriracha mayonnaise looks really good but was more batter than shrimp. There was such a lot of it we got tired of it easily even though it wasn’t bad at all, just no sustaining power.

I ordered a lemongrass lemonade – Z’s mum makes lemongrass and citrus drinks all the time in Singapore so it was extremely pleasant to have this here – I’m glad someone else realized how great they go together.

Because it’s Happy Hour, and we don’t feel good patronizing restaurants without ordering drinks, ze got their cocktail special which was some orange cocktail with sake. I liked it although I think I’d have preferred it with something other than sake! The fermented rice flavour was really strong!


Lazy Sunday Afternoon Brunch at Frank’s Oyster House

This place serves an amazing brunch menu, and one that is not all eggs benedict and sausage gravy with biscuits either – it’s got fried chicken with waffles! And they’re the best fried chicken with waffles I’ve ever had. They do have a happy hour, which I’ve not tried out because the small plates they serve for Happy Hour are less to my liking than those at Pair’s, which I think are run by the same people.

We had a carafe of unsweetened tea that was served with a glassful of ice and a little syrup pitcher

I ordered the bruleed grapefruit – it looks really simple to make actually, I think I might try it out at home so my kitchen torch will get some more exercise rather than only during my twice a year creme brulee. Anyway this was delicious with the crackly eggshell crust of sugar on top and the slightly warm grapefruit flesh underneath.

Z ordered the Sausage gravy, biscuits, and poached eggs – he says it’s the gravy he likes best in Seattle, because it’s slightly similar to the thanksgiving gravy sort which has a great meat flavour and not so much cream. And we’ve had biscuits and gravy at a lot of places here..

I had the fried chicken and waffles, and i’m definitely going to order this every time I’m back here for brunch. The chicken is seasoned magnificently, and goes perfectly with their waffles, salted butter, and maple syrup. So unhealthy but so worth it.

This is one of those restaurants whose hype does not die over time – I am every bit as enthused about their food as I was when I ate there and can’t wait to go back.


Miso spaghetti

What do you do when King salmon is on sale at your local grocery store? Look at those fats oozing from the layers of salmon.

This recipe was invented by Z’s mum. It’s really simple to throw together, although one does need a lot of veggies. They are all “rustically cut” though so nobody needs to waste time unnecessarily julienning everything.

Miso Spaghetti recipe:

2 Big red onions : cut into chunks
Red, Yellow capsicums : 1 each – cut into blocks or slices
1 Japanese cucumber : sliced
6 to 10 fresh button mushroom : sliced or cut into blocks
Sugar : 2 teaspoons
Miso paste : 4 tablespoons, dissolved in 6 cups of water and stir well
Squeezed lime : 3 tablespoons (or more, if you prefer it sour)
Mint leaves (optional)
Salmon (amount as desired) : sliced and marinated in teriyaki sauce for 20 min. – Toast separately for 5 min.
Angel hair pasta/capellini amount as desired) : Cook separately

1. Cooking the miso broth mixture
a. Stir fry onions till golden brown.
b. Add capsicums, cucumber and mushrooms and sugar. Stir a minute.
c. Add miso water and bring to boil over gentle fire.
d. Once boiled, add lime juice and turn off fire.
2. Place cooked spaghetti on plates.
3. Top each plate with 1 to 2 slices of salmon.
4. Pour the broth mixture into each plate.
5. Add mint leaves.

I used shiromiso (white miso, milder tasting, less fermented) for the broth, which really brings out the flavours of the cucumber. Japanese cucumber is I think the equivalent of English cucumber here – darker green skin, fewer seeds, thinner body. I also added shrimp and asparagus. You can do this with other fish but I think the best combination is when it is prepared with salmon.

And here was the king salmon that was something like 40% off, i.e. $9.42 for this hunk of wild-caught salmon with the skin on.

It tasted just like we were back in Singapore at the dinner table!


Sad dinner from Taco Del Mar

Thursday nights are homework nights.
Which also means LZ goes out to forage for dinner because I am too busy to cook.

Last week we decided to try Taco Del Mar (in an attempt to mix up our eating out schedule which consists of happy hours/middle-class restaurants with cheaper options like takeouts or fast food).

I like mexican, and I like seafood, so Taco Del Mar sounded like a good idea. I’ve never tried it.

It was, to borrow a phrase from Jon Stewart, mexican food “drenched in human misery”

The ground beef taco salad was soggy by the time it got to my house (5 minutes away) – and I’m pretty sure it started out soggy at the store, the cheese was stringy and not at all melty, the worst part I think was the sour cream that actually clumped.

The fish tacos were even more disappointing (if that was possible). They say they use alaskan white fish, which was basically a glorified fish finger which was barely seasoned/spiced. I guess my expectations of a “fish taco” were a little misplaced with Taco Del Mar. I’m also not very sure why they wrap the meat with two tortillas per taco. When they do that in Taco Bell it’s because they put cheese or mashed beans between the two tortillas, but here each taco is just wrapped with two layers. Why?

I’m not sure I would come back. Even Denny’s (which was the original restaurant described to serve up slamwiches drenched in human misery) has a way better taco salad than whatever they serve here.


Dinner at Tampopo (Takashimaya)

This is the last of the Singapore restaurant posts for a bit. Going through the photos now are pretty torturous, but at least it’s just Japanese food (which I can probably get here) and not like hawker food, which would be even worse.

We ordered an ajitsuke tamago to add on to the crab ramen. It was delicious. I’m glad I can at least make this myself!

Ajitsuke tamago with one bite taken out of it. Look at that ooze. We’ve only had ramen here (in Seattle) once at a restaurant called Boom and they served an onsen tamago with their ramen instead of an ajitsuke tamago. If you have a mega sous vide machine I guess making onsen tamago is easier than ajitsuke.

We tried the wagyu beef and egg croquette as well, and it was magnificent. I would definitely order this again, it was like a beef and egg salad but fried in a mashed potato crust

One of our usual orders, the black pork truffle fried rice. A meal at Tampopo would be incomplete without this.

Just to mix things up we also ordered the baked scallops with mentai mayo and cheese – I would skip this. It wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t the best rendition of mentai mayo anything and the scallops were more like bay scallops rather than the humongous Hokkaido kind.

The crab ramen at the Liang Court branch is slightly better than the one a the Takashimaya branch I think! What is also nice about the Liang Court branch is that one can walk through Fort Canning Park to get to the red line after dinner to work off some of the fats acquired over dinner. Still, a very good seafood broth.