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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

Red Mill Burgers and A La Mode Pie

In Eating Out, Food on April 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm

The last several times when my father was in Seattle, we went to different burger joints to find his ultimate favorite.

I brought him to Burger Masters, Blue Moon, Fat Burger and 5 guys.

When we went to Red Mill Burgers, he fell in love.

He told me, “we don’t have to look anymore”.


We went back this time, and he had his favorite, double bacon cheese burger.

I had their veggie burger with caramelized red onions.

Their buns were toasted perfectly — light soft bread, with just a touch of toast to give a harder crust.

I could not comment on the beef burger as I did not want to deprive my dad of his full experience by taking a bite from him.

My veggie burger on the other hand was tasty.

Fresh crisp lettuce that literally crunch in the mouth, and with simple juicy tomato slice.

The caramelized onions were sweet, strong in onion flavor, which added complexity to the veggie patty.

The veggie patty contained lots of shredded carrots and mushroom chunks, which gave a chewier texture to the patty which I enjoyed.

We had their onion rings as well.

Very crispy cornmeal coating that held up very well in the frying process and the soft onions inside.

The cornmeal gave a different texture and also different flavors than conventional flour breading.

I shall return again to have the actual beef burger one day!


Red Mill Burgers on Urbanspoon

It had become our ritual to stop at A la Mode Pie after Red Mill Burgers.


I LOVED their French Apple Pie!

Surprisingly, this was a statement from someone who normally skipped apple pie.

I did not like most apple pies because the apples were soggy, or too cooked.

I might have been traumatized by McDonald’s apple pie when I grew up in Hong Kong — and that was my first apple pie introduction.

Since then, I had other store-bought or even some home-made apple pie, and I still found the apples soggy, until A la Mode’s!


bought a whole one home so DH could have some!


The apples held their sliced shape, and actually still had a chewy texture of raw apples.

The crust was buttery and the crumble on top was sinfully delicious.

The crumbles did crumble, and gave an enjoyable sandy texture in the mouth.

The apple pie was also sweetened just right and with a hint of tartness from the apples.

I did not want to know how much calories I had consumed, and it was the perfect time to just enjoy the pie.WP_20140321_14_36_25_Pro20140324173437

We also tried the strawberry rhubarb pie at the store as my parents were curious with rhubarb, something we did not have in Hong Kong.

It was very sour with nice strawberry flavors.

It was in a conventional pie crust, which I was not too huge of a fan of; not because it was not tasty, but I had not preferred them for as long as I could remember.


I had also tried their Mexican chocolate mousse in previous occasion.

Silky, luscious with lots of chocolate and strong hint of spices, it was a real treat!

A La Mode Pies on Urbanspoon

Jin Ya and Ellenos

In Eating Out, Food on April 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Doof Out

New ramen place at Crossroads Mall!

I had been waiting for Jin Ya to open since the day I saw “coming soon” sign outside the store front.

Jin Ya is a chain ramen bar with stores in Vancouver BC, CA, NY and TX (yes sis, in Houston!).

The store in Bellevue was not very big, and since it opened couple weeks back, I had heard that they had lines outside the door frequently.


I went on a weekday for lunch right when they opened at 11am, so no wait necessary.

Jin Ya offered mostly rich pork soup, tonkotsu, with chicken and veggie broth options as well.

Some combinations already had egg, and others did not.

If ramen egg was an object of desire, read the description on the menu carefully.

Toppings could be added – extra vegetables, meat, eggs and seaweed etc.


Since they were famous for tonkotsu, a spicy version was my choice for the day.

The “Tonkotsu Red” did not come with an egg, so I got it on the side.

I felt that it was important to try the egg in every ramen store, as I strongly believe the egg spoke a lot to the quality of a ramen store.


Verdict: I liked the flavor of the tonkotsu broth.

It was rich, thick, milky, meaty and dense.

A big plus was that it was not salty.

I wish that the broth was hotter; it was at a luke warm temperature that was not very appealing to me.

Especially with thick broth that tended to feel slightly gelatinous and sticky in the mouth, it was even more important to have the soup hot.

I ordered “spicy” for my ramen, which was the middle level spiciness.

It was not hot enough at all — might have to give the “hot” one a try next time.

The pork was very tender — the pork piece fell apart readily when I picked it up with chopsticks.

It was also done in a thick cut, which was delicious.

The noodle had good texture, they were firm and chewy in a good way.


The egg, however, was a disappointment.

The flavor of the egg was nice. but the egg yolk was not runny at all and was cooked all the way.

My friend asked for extra raw garlic on the side.

I added a little garlic into my soup and it did sass up the flavors even more.

Can Jin Ya replace ramen places in Vancouver BC (my favorite, Motomachi Shokudo)?  not really.

However, it is probably the best that we have in Seattle (definitely better than Samurai, Kukai or Aloha in my book) so far.

Jin Ya on Urbanspoon


Then, dessert with real Greek Yogurt!

Ellenos opened its second location inside Uwajimaya in Bellevue.


They had about 10 flavors at the store, mostly fruit based (mixed berries with real berries, passionfruit, lemon curd to name a few), with caramel, mocha and latte flavors as well.

We settled with the passion fruit yogurt and it was excellent!

It was really smooth, creamy, with lovely acidic flavor that was expected from yogurt.

The yogurt had very clean finish and did not leave a milky film in the mouth.

It had real passion fruit with crunchable seeds and fantastic flavor.

I tried the lemon curd and found it too sour, and the caramel was too sweet.

The yogurt were sold in small, medium and large tub, perfect to carry home for breakfast!

Ellenos on Urbanspoon



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