Many good eats in Pioneer Square and too little stomach space!
Recent trip brought me to Kraken Congee.
I heard about their creativity and their take on the Chinese congee when they were a pop-up, but was never able to make it; so I was extremely glad that they have a brick and mortar store now.
On a lunch date, I had their duck confit congee, Bang Bang shrimp pinch bun and sticky fish sauce chicken wings.
I was stunned by the congee!
Extremely creamy and smooth, it was better than some of the Chinese restaurants around.
The duck confit was very tender and flavored with five-spice, it was beautifully presented with a dash of red beet soaked mustard seeds, soy sauce egg yolk, boy choy and pork crackling.
Lots of flavors in a bowl and I loved the color, the presentation and the flavors — although I admit the flavors were foreign at first.
I had to get used to strong flavors being put on the congee, rather than mild flavors from ingredients cooked in the congee.
The Bang Bang shrimp bun was delicious.
Soft buns with slightly crispy fried shrimps tossed in mayonnaise and hot sauce, with fish eggs, chives and cucumbers.
Many texture and a cohesive flavor, I only wish there was more fillings in the buns.
Sticky fish sauce chicken wings, however, was a disappointment.
I had such high hopes from the other dishes, and was really hoping that the wings would be good enough to replace the long drive to Pok Pok in Portland.
Alas, that was not the case.
The wings were soggy, and came with a sweet honey. slight fish sauce flavor sauce.
Nothing stood out, and in fact the sogginess of the wings was quite undesirable.
Overall it was a good meal, and I am curious enough to return for other dishes such as crab fat congee, their simple chicken congee and kare kare beef noodles.
Another beautiful spot for meals is Girin.
Decorated beautifully, Girin made Korean restaurant upscale.
We had the Gochujang wings, and they were nicely fried with good spiciness and flavors, the sauce was runnier than I expected, and the wings were tiny.
Kalbi was tender and marinated through and through, and the accompanying miso paste was bold and strong.
The side kimchi was crunchy and garlicky, and the salad had a flavorful toasty sesame dressing with fresh lettuce, delicious fried onion and not too much crab.
Side soup had a rich broth with firm tofu and mushrooms.
Food was good with beautiful presentation, but it was not that much better than Stone Korean.
Lastly, Elm Coffee Roasters.
Loved the modern white/wood, minimalist décor with the backdrop of red bricks – signature of many buildings in Pioneer Square area.
Elm Coffee Roasters roasts their own coffee on site.
I had the decaf mocha, and it had single origin chocolate in it.
It was caramelly, roasty and dark, quite acidic and completely unsweet.
The latte had unique flavor as well.
It had a grainy character, almost chestnut-like smoky milk flavor.
While I appreciate the freshness and the stand-out flavors, the coffee was more acidic than my liking.