99% Food 1% Skin

Persian Sweets and Couzin’s Cafe

In Eating Out, Food, Food Product for Home on April 23, 2014 at 11:03 am

We went into a newly opened Persian market in my neighborhood.

My Dad and I loved checking out ethnic grocery stores.

It was so much fun to see foods that were exotic, ask questions and learn along the way the different ingredients we normally did not use, nor exposed to in a regular basis.

Adventurous and exciting!

Some goods were familiar as they were goods from Bulgaria or Armenia — olives, tomatoes, vegetable spreads (similar to Zacuscă from Romania), different kinds of jams (notably young walnut jam and rose jam).

There were also others that were unfamiliar, e.g. bags of dried whole lemon and whole lime.

The shopkeeper told me they were for boiling teas or soup making.

We also found these desserts that were completely foreign.

The more different they were, the more I wanted to try!

We got Faloudeh to try.

Upon reading online, we found out that Faloudeh was a traditional Iranian dessert.


Unfortunately, we were trying it un-authentically.

Shopkeeper said that I should let it semi-melt, then add lemon juice and chopped pistachio.

I had neither at home so we tried Faloudeh straight, still semi-melted at least!

It was a lovely light dessert made with simple ingredients of water, sugar, rose water and starch.

The starch was made into vermicelli like noodle, and frozen with sweetened rose water.

In the past, I had dessert made with rose water and I was not a fan.

I found them too fragrant, too floral in a way that it felt not meant for eating.

The amount of rose flavor in this Faloudeh was just right, slightly floral, light hint of rose and very pleasing.

The dessert was refreshing and thirst-quenching.

I could see myself buying this a lot (or try to make this myself!) when our temperature gets hot here in the Northwest!


There was not really any good breakfast places on the eastside.

Found Couzin’s Café in Kirkland that was rated pretty high, decided to bring my folks to give it a try.

We went on a Sunday and there was definitely a line out the door to this tiny spot.

We were lucky that space opened up for us in about half and hour and service was pretty quick!

I rarely had American full breakfast and decided to go all out with country fried steak.


Crisp English muffin (with loads of butter), crisp hash brown and runny sunny side up — checked.

Not wow but tasty.

The beef was thin, tender and crisp, with great flavors in the breading.

I only wish the gravy was not as starchy; it was a little sticky to the teeth and palate.

Flavor of the gravy was good – nice peppery chicken flavor, what I would expect in a good diner.

My Dad had the pigs in the blanket.


He did not like the apple sausages.

I believe because he was not used to sage — sage was not used in Chinese cooking.

I quite enjoyed the apple compote and caramel sauce; it had nice brown spice flavors.

The pancake batter had very good flavor, but it was a little dense.

My mom had the blueberry crepe.

Same story as the pancake, the crepe batter flavor was good and with strong vanilla, but it was soggy in texture and thick.


I will return when I have a serious country/chicken fried steak craving and want to stay on the eastside.

Couzin's Cafe on Urbanspoon



Rain Shadow Meats Squared

In Eating Out, Food on April 21, 2014 at 10:38 am

Heard much about Rain Shadow Meats Squared at Pioneer Square serving food and I brought my meat-loving father there.

I first saw them in Capitol Hill’s Melrose Market and bought some pork rillet from their meat counter, and was very happy with my purchase.


R top: fresh meat for sale — R bottom: cured meats for sale or order at the shop

Essentially we went there for snack since we were all full from our late breakfast at Morsel.

We had a cured meat plate to share.


L: pork rillet — mid: sopressata — top: pate foie de porc — R bottom: speck

Most of the pates and rillets were house-made along with the mortadella.

Other meats were from other cured meat producers from California or Oregon.

We had the delicious soppressata which was citrusy, fatty but not greasy.

Their pork rillet was one of my favorite with peppery chunky pork and smooth lard.

The speck was dry, chewy, smoky and peppery with light salt.

The best part was the fat that completely enhanced the smoky flavor and just heavenly on its own.

The pate foie de porc was excellent!

It had strong liver flavor with chunky pork; it was peppery and addictive!

The meat on top gave a dense texture and the pockets of liver was soft in the middle.


L: mortadella — R: celery soda

The mortadella was very soft and light in flavor in general.

Smoke lightly and floral; the tendon part was chewy, and release delicious meat flavor as I was chewing on them.

It was fantastic.

The accompanying crackers/toasted bread were unfortunately too hard, too crunchy and too strong in burnt flavor.

They overshadowed the meat and rillet, and also hurt my palate.

The pickled onions were crunchy and vinegary, a perfect compliment to the meats and pates.

The refreshing celery soda was a new experience.

It was lightly salted but was not very strong in celery flavor.

There was a definite crispness in it and it paired really well with all the meats.

It was a fun experience with my dad in the meat shop.

The shop served many sandwiches which looked delicious on other’s tables.

I will be back to try them and I hope Rain Shadow Meats will make more of their own cured meats in the future!

Rain Shadow Meats on Urbanspoon




In Eating Out, Food on April 17, 2014 at 10:21 am

I am very lucky to have parents that are gamed to try almost any kind of food.

I brought them to Mamnoon, a Middle Eastern restaurant I wanted to go for a very long while.


We went there for lunch, and they were serving mostly Mana’eesh, similar to a wrap and kulage, a griddled Arabic sandwich.

They were making their wraps and bread fresh in the restaurant, and they were really tasty.

It totally brought me back to the memory of having delicious shawarma in Cairo.

The wrap was soft, thin, crisp and fresh.

Strong enough to hold the tasty content, and thin enough to let the content shine.


For the wraps, Mana’eesh, we shared a fleifleh, the wrap with hot pepper paste and sesame, with the addition of shish taouk, marinated grill chicken.


fleifleh with shish taouk

The fleifleh had peppery chili flavor and spiciness, it was also a little sweet and flavored with parsley and perhaps mint as well.

The additional shish taouk was tender.

We also had lahm bi ajine, wrap with a thin layer of lamb paste, onion, chilli and parsley.

The slightly gamey lamb flavor that lamb-meat lovers adored was partnered with nice herbs and fresh crunchy parsley.

The wrap was also a little peppery spicy.

Finally, Kulage, sandwich, we had kefta arayess – thin layer of beef, with onion, chili and parsley.


kulage — kefta arayess

Nice onions, crisp lettuce, it was buttery and with thin layer of beef.

The bread was toasty, fluffy and still thin.

On the side, we had baba ghanoush.

Smoky and smooth eggplant, with a well of olive oil and chives, it was perfect spread for the even more impressive pita bread.

There were whole wheat and also white pita.

The white pita was fluffy, soft with the comforting doughy aroma.

The wheat pita was hardy and tougher in texture.


baba ghanoush with pita

Shorabat Adas, a red lentil soup with cumin, fried garlic and coriander which was extremely delicious.

It was probably the best flavored lentil soup I had in town so far.

Strong aromatic in cumin flavor, it was every bit garlicky and smooth.

A very nice touch with crisp pita bread to contrast the smooth soup texture.

I just wish it was a little less salty.


L Front: Shorabat Adas — Back: lahm bi ajine — R front: mint tea

Lastly, I had to tried their ful madamas, fava beans with onions and tomatoes.

It looked like the ful had other beans with fava beans as well.

It was also cumin dominant, meaty, savory, and a little salty.


ful madamas

I had the mint tea, and waiting for it to repeat the mint tea sipping experience in Siwa, Egypt — with an extremely strong brew of tea from lots of mint leaves and LOTS of sugar!

This mint tea was nice and soothing, and was not sweetened and could be stronger.

Their dinner menu was small but attractive, and I cannot wait to go back and try their lamb kefta and seabass dish.

Mamnoon on Urbanspoon


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