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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The Man Behind Pocket Bakery


Meet Josh.

Baker, entrepreneur, foodie, father and avid baseball fan, Josh Grunig is the brain child behind pop-up bakery Pocket Bakery in Central District.

Pocket Bakery has been growing inside Magpie Toy shop since August 2014, and will have a permanent home very soon … with your help!

The memory of his mother preparing home-cooked meals from scratch, including baked goods, while growing up is one of Josh’s fondest memories and inspiration to baking.  He also remembers the magic of visiting Italian bakery as a kid with their enticing display of sweets and breads.

Baking started in 2006 for Josh when he went to San Francisco Baking Institute.  In this past 9 years, he had worked in many prestigious places in the Bay Area until his relocation to Seattle in 2012.  He worked at Grand Central bakery until he went out on his own, and heeded the advice from a friend to start the pop-up, to create loyal following for his baked goods.

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99 park

Where do you find a lay-back and hip food place, with a large and nice patio, facing a park with plenty greenery?

99 Park Restaurant in downtown Bellevue is it.

Opposite Bellevue downtown park, 99 Park stands on a quiet corner between NE 1st Street and 102nd Ave NE, stone throw away from Fumie’s Gold.

There was lots of hype when 99 Park opened 8 months ago; and on a sunny day, we went for their happy hour to see for ourselves.

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First thing I noticed was that the staff were extremely nice and very tentative.

The happy hour menu has great variety, offering seafood, meats and burgers with plenty of Asian influence.

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Shanghai Shanghai 新天地

As one of the largest seaports in the world, Shanghai is a metropolitan city in China that has played pivotal role in Chinese history.

From early cotton cultivation, to a foreign trade hub in the 1800s and early 1900s due to Treaty of Nanking, to China’s industrial center in the 1900s, and further development well into present times, Shanghai has seen history and culture, survived its hard times and continues to grow.

Its resilience was something that my Shanghai grandma was very proud of.

She was also very proud of sharing the unique Shanghainese food with us when I was growing up.

Famous dishes such as xiao long bao (made famous by Din Tai Fung), sheng jian bao (pan fried buns), drunken chicken and soy braised pork shank are all distinctively Shanghainese.

WP_20150424_17_36_30_ProI am afraid to report that there really is no real Shanghainese restaurant in Greater Seattle area: Shanghai Cafe only has very few dishes that are strictly Shanghainese.

That is why when I heard about Shanghai Shanghai, I was giddy.

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Book Bindery was an awesome restaurant, just very unfortunate it was a page in the past for Seattle’s culinary scene.

As Chef Shaun McCrain moves to start his new venture, owners of the old Book Bindery team up with Nico Borzee, and once again opened their door at their beautiful spot by the Ship Canal Trail.

This time, the place is called Hommage.

WP_20150423_19_00_36_ProI was really grateful to celebrate my birthday there with my dear friend!

We sat at the green house part of the restaurant, enjoying the scenery and lively conversation.

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