99% Food, 1% Skin

My Amazing Adventure at the Willows Inn

*WARNING: this is a long post.  I let myself go — geeked out and talked about the whole meal.  For this once in a life time experience, I want this to be a record for myself too.  Enjoy.

 

My friend told me how wonderful their dinner was at the Willows Inn, I was 100% sure that one day I would make it there.

Then, their chef, ,Blaine Wetzel, won the James Beard award for Rising Star Chef in 2014; I knew I was 150% sure I was going to the Willows Inn very soon.

Before food, there were a few hurdles to conquer.

First, to stay or not to stay?

I did not spawn to action immediately chasing after this promising food adventure because the journey was going to be long for 1 meal.

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Fish and Chips Versus

With Seattle being a seafood town, one would think that we must have many fish and chips specialty joints; yet I can only think of Spud, Pike Street Fish Fry, Nosh and Chippy’s, the new addition by Ethan Howell.

Yelp confirmed my suspicion, with search returned about 9 fish and chips (grills and pubs not counting) specialty shops.

I went to Pike Street Fish Fry long time ago and remembered not liking it, and never went back.

Nosh has been on my to-try list for a very long time, and I was very happy to find out that they are in downtown Bellevue food truck pod every Monday.

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Nosh the truck with their raspberry and mint Arnold Palmer

While looking up where to eat on Mercer Island, I found that there is a highly rated fish and chips place called Freshy’s.

So, the most important question: between Nosh the truck and Freshy’s, whose fish and chips reign supreme (tipping my hat to Iron Chef)?

Hands down Nosh.

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Tanglewood Supreme

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Seattle is known for its seafood.

Every out-of-town guest I had entertained inevitably asked to go somewhere for seafood.

My usual destinations are Rockcreek, Taylor Shellfish, and The Walrnus and the Carpenter.

The back of my head though, said there must to be more places to explore.

While looking for yet another seafood place for guest, I remembered reading about Tanglewood Supreme in a local magazine.

Tuck in one of Seattle’s prestige neighborhood, Magnolia, Tanglewood Supreme is a little hidden.

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Kings of Pastry and Boiling Point

Do you want to drool over some super delicious-looking pastries and cakes?

Or do you want to see the inner workings of highly-skilled French pastry chefs?

If you say yes to any of these questions, then Kings of Pastry may be the documentary for you!

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This film was about the pastry section of the once every four-year Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition, open for all ambitious pastry chefs who want the title of the best craftsmen in France.

The Meilleur Ouvrier de France is a French government-recognized honor for not only pastry chefs, but clockmakers, glassmakers, wood workers, hairdressers to name a few, out of the 15 categories of skills that can be awarded at this highest honor.

In short, they referred to this honor as MOF, and apparently it is a prosecutable offense in France if one was caught impersonating as MOF.

Sixteen finalists are selected every four years, and this documentary followed three of them, with one of them particularly at length since he is one the faculty members of the French Pastry School in Chicago.

In the Greater Seattle area, we have pastry chefs from Crumble and Flake and Midori who graduated from this prestige pastry school.

Scenes after scenes of the amazing pull sugar sculptures, mini mouth-watering pastries, chocolates, lollipops and cakes, I was ooing and ahhing a lot. Continue reading →

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Dim Sum Factory 鼎記

The concept of Dim Sum factory is awesome: dim sum all day long, along with noodles and congees.

Traditionally, dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong open as early as five or six in the morning for breakfast, and serve dim sum all the way until about 3pm; the restaurants then change over to serve dishes for dinner.

The long-hour of serving dim sum at Dim Sum Factory means dim sum fans can get them all the time, and one can even pop in and get a snack!

Opened by the lady who also owns Top Gun, Dim Sum Factory is the second dim sum location within the small blocks of Factoria.

However, reviews have not been kind to Dim Sum Factory.

We heard of soft opening, bad reviews, closed, and reopened; my interest of trying plummeted.

Then, we went a couple of weeks ago per friends’ suggestion — time to check it out.

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Mocha Versus

Seattle, dubbed by many as the coffee capital of the U.S., has countless cafes and coffee shops.

Type in “coffee” in Seattle Yelp, and select “downtown” area, it shows 227 coffee spots in a small, roughly six-by-eleven block area.

Of course, many of these stores are giant Starbucks, or smaller giant Tully’s; most importantly, there are also many local independent, or three to four store chains.

One of these small chains that I love is Storyville; they are only three stores in the Seattle area, with a roasting studio on Bainbridge island.

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Simple, fresh, elegant are the words I will use to describe Storyville.

Coffee experience at Storyville is simple: 2 blends, one caffeinated Prologue Blend, and one decaffeinated Epilogue Blend.

The best part about their coffee is freshness — roasted in Bainbridge island 10 miles away from Seattle, this supply provides coffee for the 3 stores.

Not only that coffee is fresh, their simple, few-item baked goods menu are hot-off-the-oven: cinnamon rolls, chocolate cakes and cookies that are bake fresh each stores.

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