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Korean

Tray Kitchen – Seattle, WA

What a fun place!  First impression is that it resembles Revel decor wise, but that’s a compliment in every way.  I even noticed some artwork from Electric Coffin (good work guys!).  I went with four girlfriends (two of which had been before) and we ordered like crazy.  It’s hard to say no when they come to your table with a tray full of delicious looking plates that all seem to be calling your name.  There’s a menu with a la carte dishes in addition to the cart items if you please and boy did we!  Everything was cooked to perfection, tasted so fresh, and all had a unique burst of flavor.  I’m excited to go back and try different things.  I’d say this is definitely one to put on your list of places to try.

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Blue bird farm farro, asparagus, snap peas, pea tendrils, house made ricotta cheese

Blue bird farm farro, asparagus, snap peas, pea tendrils, house made ricotta cheese

Charred octopus, white beans, baby arugula, lemon

Charred octopus, white beans, baby arugula, lemon

Kale Salad, black sesame yogurt, sunflower seeds, almonds, apple - Shaved Brussel Sprouts Asian Caesar, togarashi with Chinese donuts

Kale Salad, black sesame yogurt, sunflower seeds, almonds, apple – Shaved Brussel Sprouts Asian Caesar, togarashi with Chinese donuts

Duck Confit fried rice, maitake mushroom, leek, soy cured egg yolk

Duck Confit fried rice, maitake mushroom, leek, soy cured egg yolk

K.F.C. (Korean Fried Chicken wings), pumpkin seeds, Korean chili sauce

K.F.C. (Korean Fried Chicken wings), pumpkin seeds, Korean chili sauce

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Chinese doughnut cannoli, raspberry cream, chocolate, candied ginger - Dark chocolate mousse, toasted marshmallow

Chinese doughnut cannoli, raspberry cream, chocolate, candied ginger – Dark chocolate mousse, toasted marshmallow

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Trove Noodle – Seattle, WA

Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi have proven themselves ingenious chefs once again!  Trove, located on the corner of Pike and Summit, is four concepts in one.  You’ve got Noodle, Parfait, Bar and BBQ.  All are very unique and different yet they compliment each other perfectly.  I’ve been to all four but because they’re each their own, they also deserve their own blog post so stay tuned.

We couldn’t help ourselves and had to order three different noodles.  First the yellow curry rigatoni with cauliflower chickpea and yogurt.  Out standing!  So much flavor, awesome texture…standout dish for me!  I believe the nuts on top were toasted hazelnuts and there were also raisins or currants in there as well.  Perfection.

Next the spaghetti stir fried with meatballs and swiss chard.  Sounds plain but there was so much more to the dish and it was tasty!

Last but not least (and somehow I forgot to take a picture) was the rice noodle, chipotle pad thai with pork belly and yu choy.  Awesome!

I really don’t think you can go wrong.  The menu rotates so get in there often and try something new each time.  IF you aren’t stuffed when you leave, stop by Parfait on the way out.

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Revel (brunch) – Seattle, WA

You wouldn’t think Revel could get much better but if you haven’t been there on a weekend then you’re definitely missing out.  On Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 2pm, Revel offers the most incredible and unique brunch.  From your classic eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast to ramen, Kalbi burger and kaffir lime yogurt – it caters to everyone!

Your best bet is to go with a group of 4 so you can sample something from every category on the menu without getting overly full.  All of the dishes are appropriate to share so don’t be afraid to order more than you normally would…take a little and pass it down:)  I promise there won’t be food leftover.

Must haves include the bacon gruyere biscuit, the Revel ramen, the Kalbi burger (you won’t want to share this once you take your first bite), kaffir lime yogurt with mango and black rice puffs, and the short rib rice bowl.  The Abura noodle bowl is also very scrumptious.  More on the savory side for breakfast/brunch – I would love it anytime of the day.  It might sound like most of these things are filling but again…go with friends and share!

Kaffir lime yogurt, mango, black rice puff

Revel ramen, pork belly, kimchi

Short rib and eggs, arugula, chili chimichurri, rice

Kalbi burger, bacon, shallot pickle

Porridge, Meyer lemon, rhubarb, candied almonds

Caramel coffee roll, cocoa nibs

Mandoo – New York, NY

On our recent trip to NYC we met a few friendly locals at a bar who gave us some very helpful tips, one that lead us to Mandoo (the Korean word for dumplings), a little spot that’s easy to pass by in the heart of K Town (Korea Town).  Being fans of Korean food already we knew we were going to love this and we did!  Before you even walk in you know the food is going to be fresh seeing the Korean ladies in the windows making the mandoo.  Because it was our last day and we were on a mission to finish out some mandatory eating spots, we knew we needed to eat light and just get appetizers.  We decided on the Goon and Seafood Mandoo dumplings…both delicious in their own way.  One is boiled, the other pan-fried.  One is seafood, the other pork.  If you’re in NYC and happen to be in K Town, I highly recommend this spot for either a light bite or a full meal (they’re open all day until 10pm).  I’m dying to get back and try the Kimchee Mandoo – steamed dumplings filled with Korean Kimchee, tofu, pork and other vegetables.  Yum!

The cute little ladies making dumpling after dumpling

Goon Mandoo – lightly pan-fried dumplings filled with pork and veggies

Seafood Mandoo – Boiled dumplings filled with shrimp, crabsticks and vegetables

momofuku noodle bar – New York, NY

I’m a big fan of David Chang’s and have been dying to try one of his restaurants.  What’s funny is that the whole time we were in NYC I thought we were going to momofuku ssåm bar but when I googled the address this one came up instead so we went there by accident but things happen for a reason and this was a great mistake.

We got to the restaurant at 11:50am only to be greeted by a line.  Luckily it wasn’t too large and by the time the doors opened we got a prized spot at the bar overlooking the kitchen.  In any restaurant that has counter seating by the kitchen, I LOVE sitting there.  I enjoy seeing the chefs at work, hearing their conversation and jokes and as one of my culinary instructors once said, “the ballet”, referring to the chefs working together in a small open space without talking but avoiding getting in each others way.

Back to the food:)  Everything we ordered was so good!  My favorite thing of all were the shrimp buns.  Wowzers…I could eat a lot of those!  I also ordered the special ramen of the day – a red miso ramen with prawns and arugula.  Great choice by me:)

Next time I’m in NYC I’d love to try the ssåm bar since we missed it but so far I can say David Chang is living up to my expectations.

Brussels Sprouts – spåetzle, sausage, mustard (there was also some fresh cubed apple on top which added a nice touch of acidity)Grilled Octopus – scallion kimchi, Chinese sausage, squash (pepitas and arugula added a nice touch to this dish as well…fresh greens and a little texture is always good)Shrimp Buns – spicy mayo, pickled shallot, iceburgI love you!Red Miso Ramen – Mayan prawns, hijiki, arugula

Revel – Seattle, WA

For those of you who don’t know the background behind Revel…here it is in a nutshell…

Iron Chef America husband and wife team, Seif Chirhi and Rachel Yang, are the chefs behind this 7 month old restaurant in Fremont which has gotten an unprecedented amount of press since opening in mid-December 2010.  First it was the New York Times mention, then the taping of The Best Thing I Ever Ate for the Food Network due to Frank Bruni’s visit and now love for the asparagus rice bowl, next it was the Wall Street Journal and most recently Revel was named the Best New Restaurant in Seattle for 2011 by Seattle Weekly.

The concept is Korean street food.  Salads, dumplings, pancakes, rice bowls and noodles.  The menu changes appropriately according to the season so don’t get too attached to one thing.  It’s refreshing to know that even if you go often you’ll always find something new.  During the summer you’ll find the BBQ smoking on the deck and a whole animal being served up a number of different ways.  One week it might be a goat, next a whole pig!

Next door (attached to the restaurant) is Quoin (the architectural term for cornerstone), Yang and Chirchi’s bar.  There’s a spacious deck off the back with a great fire pit and plenty of seating around.  For those that can’t get in or don’t have the patience to wait for a seat at Revel, the full menu is served inside and out at Quoin.

If you haven’t been, what are you waiting for?  The wait can be long but I promise the food is worth it!

Corned lamb salad with mizuna and spicy nuoc cham

Pork belly pancake with kimchi and bean sprouts

Lamb dumpling with goat yogurt and cucumber

BBQ of the week – whole cow

White gulf shrimp, cilantro pistou and coriander noodles

Spice cake ice cream sandwiches with salted caramel dipping sauce

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