Pike Place Chowder

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A must try in Seattle is Pike Place Chowder. I’ve been here in the past, but S had never been. I decided to take him to the one near Pike Street Market which is in Post Alley, which is also a tourist spot worth visiting. The tiny shop is within an indoor market and opens at 11am. We arrived right at 11am, and there was already a huge line up. The good thing is they give you the menu while you’re lining up, so the line goes by quickly. We were able to order within 15 minutes and our food was served pretty much right away since they just keep pumping the food out.

 

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Captain’s Roll and New England Clam Chowder
We got a whole Captain’s Roll which features Bay shrimp and Dungeness crab meat, mixed with secret seasonings, lemon juice, mayo and celery. S and I both loved this! They didn’t cheap out on the crab meat either. It does come at a high cost though at around $16 USD. Quite pricey for a small roll. We also got the New England Clam Chowder, which had meaty clams flavoured with bacon, cream, and a secret blend of herbs and spices. Pike Place Chowder has won many awards for many years, so you must get a chowder here! I really enjoyed the flavours in this one and they give you a piece of sourdough bread to dip in.

 

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Seafood Bisque

We stayed near Pacific Place, a mall on Pine Street. The night before, we had dined at Din Tai Fung, which is a new branch in downtown Seattle inside Pacific Place. There, we found that they actually had another Pike Place Chowder inside the mall! Since we were in a bit of a rush the next morning, I suggested we just grab some food at Pike Place Chowder again since it was nearby. This location has a lot more selection including beers, seafood and chips, and more. But of course, I had to get another one of their soups, so I decided to try the Seafood Bisque this time. This had a medley of Pacific Cod, Northwest Salmon,
Oregon Bay Shrimp, flavored with fresh basil, and simmered
in a creamy tomato-based broth. The bisque was packed with flavour and you got bits of fish in it. So good!

 

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Wild Northwest Salmon Fish n’ Chips
Since this location has fish and chips, S decided to try their Wild Northwest Salmon Fish n’ Chips. You can choose 3 pieces or 2 pieces. This was decent, but we found the salmon to be on the drier side. Definitely not as moist as Pajos!

 

Overall, Pike Place Chowder is a must try when in Seattle! With the two locations, I would suggest going to the Post Alley location as I feel like the turnover for the food is more frequent. However, if you have a large group or are looking for a larger menu selection, then the one inside Pacific Place might be a better choice since there is more seating.

Pros:
– Delicious chowders and seafood rolls!

Cons:
– Fish and chips could be a bit more moist

Price Range: $10-20 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

Pike Place Chowder Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Steelhead Diner

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For our first night in Seattle, we decided to go to Steelhead Diner which is located on downhill near Pike Street Market. The restaurant has a large selection of beer and cocktails so great for those looking for a drink.

 

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We started off with complimentary bread and butter. The bread was sourdough while the butter sat in a plate of pesto oil. The butter was so good with the pesto!

 

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Pike “Kilt Lifter” Fish & Chips

S of course got the Pike “Kilt Lifter” Fish & Chips which featured two pieces of Scotch ale battered Alaskan ling cod served with tartar sauce and lemon. S can usually eat quite salty food, but even he found the fish to be extremely salty. It was to the point that he didn’t finish his fish and I don’t think I’ve seen that before! Even the fries were on the saltier side.

 

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Flash Fried Pacific Oyster Po ‘Boy

For myself, I had the Flash Fried Pacific Oyster Po ‘Boy which was a huge portion! The fried oysters along with a aioli type sauce was great, but I did also find it slightly on the saltier side. Not sure if we are just used to less sodium in our foods, or if they just went nuts with the salt here.

Overall, we were slightly disappointed with our food. It had really good ratings, but our food was just too salty for our liking. Something I disliked was that an automatic tip of 20% is added to our bill. I don’t mind tipping more if I get really good service, but 20% is a bit steep given the venue and I don’t think our service was anything beyond expectations. Location-wise, good spot for tourists, but other than that, nothing memorable.

Pros:
– Good location for tourists

Cons:
– Our food was way too salty for our liking
– Automatic 20% tip

Price Range: $25-30 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 2 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 2.5

 

Steelhead Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Blu Burgers & Brew

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During the holidays, S and I made a short trip to Seattle for fun. Our first stop was to check out the Boeing Factory in Mukilteo near Everett. Since we arrived in the area during lunch time, we decided to go for lunch first. I did some Googling and there aren’t too many restaurants nearby. However, Blue Burgers & Brew had good ratings, so off we went.

 

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The restaurant is quite casual and you order and pay up front. You can then choose a seat and they will bring you your food. Of course, their menu consists mainly of burgers but there are some select sides you can choose from as well. They also have a selection of beers. Surprisingly, there were quite a lot of families with children here during lunch. I guess they are quite family friendly as well.

 

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Chicken Tenders

Given S does not fancy burgers, of course he went for the Chicken Tenders served with fries. For $6.50, this was decent with 3 strips and a decent amount of fries. S said the tenders could have been warmer in the center and that they were rather average. But then again, they are known for their burgers.

 

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Shroom ‘N Onion

For myself, I had the Shroom ‘N Onion which featured crimini mushrooms, onions, swiss cheese, romaine lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and a house sauce. The burger stacked tall and they didn’t skimp on the ingredients. My mushrooms were overflowing and that house sauce was bomb. The patty was also very moist and juicy. My only complaint is that for around $9USD, I’d expect it to come with fries which was an added cost. Definitely not cheap given the self-serve type of set up, but the quality of the burger is great.

Overall, a good stop if you are heading to the Boeing Factory or if you’re in the area, but I wouldn’t make a trip out here just for this.

Pros:
– Great execution of burgers

Cons:
– Slightly pricey given self-serve

Price Range: $10-20 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: N/A Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 3

 

Din Tai Fung (Bellevue) – revisit

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It’s been over 3 years since I last visited Din Tai Fung located at the Lincoln Square in Seattle (Bellevue). Back when it first opened, the restaurant was bustling with long waits, and when S and I visited for lunch on Christmas Eve, it was quite the same. The wait wasn’t half as long though. You can watch the chefs prepare the dumplings and buns through the glass window while you wait. Their waiting system now offers a text to alert you that your table is ready, which is quite convenient. The restaurant is famous all over Asia, but it’s interesting to note that at this location, there are barely any Chinese employees. I guess they cater to the Caucasian population here.

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Juicy Pork Dumplings

After a 20 minute wait, we placed our orders and first up were the Juicy Pork Dumplings. One order comes with 10 dumplings. I liked how the dumpling skin was very thin, but I found that the soup inside cooled down really quickly. I would have preferred it to be still sizzling hot. Nevertheless, they were pretty good or above average.

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Rice & Pork Shao Mai

I suggested we order the Rice & Pork Shao Mai, which is essentially sticky glutinous rice with pork stuffed in the dumpling skin to appear like a shao mai. These were very sticky and rather filling. Not bad. Again, they one order came with 10.

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Chicken Fried Noodles

Lastly, we ordered the Chicken Fried Noodles. A mix of chicken and vegetables along with the thick Shanghai noodles. I liked how the noodles had a good chewy texture to it and the dish wasn’t too oily or salty.

Pros:
– Good quality food at decent prices
– Ambiance is much nicer than your typical Chinese restaurant

Cons:
– Always a queue for a table
– Service was rather slow for us

Price Range: $10-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4
Service: 3
Ambiance: 4
Parking: 4
Overall: 4

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Pike Place Market – Beecher’s Handmade Cheese + Pike Place Chowder (Seattle)

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Before starting full time work, I decided to head down to the States for a road trip with my friends. Our destination was Portland, but we decided to stop in Seattle to grab lunch. Of course, we ended up at Pike Place Market. First, stop, we went to Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, which is an artisan cheesemaker and retail shop. Normally, they have huge line ups because tours bring them here, but we arrived early in the morning, so there were no line ups!

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You can purchase cheese here, but also grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and other items. What’s unique about Beecher’s is that they mainly use pasteurized milk, but they also have their own farm and cattle to control their cheese products. You can actually see the cheese being prepared right next to the cafe.

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World’s Best Mac & Cheese – penne pasta combined with Beecher’s award-winning Flagship cheese

We decided to share the World’s Best Mac & Cheese, which was absolutely delicious! It used penne pasta and was drenched in Beecher’s award-winning Flagship cheese which is aged for one year! It was thick and creamy and full of cheesiness. I found it quite pricey though since it was around $9 for a large, which really wasn’t too large.

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After wandering around the market, we decided to head to Pike Place Chowder. They don’t open until 11:00 am, but by 11:30, there was already a huge line up!

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Pike Place Chowder is famous for their award winning chowders. They serve 8 varieties of chowders, but also sandwiches and salads.

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Sampler (four 5oz cups of any chowder)

I decided to go big and got the Sampler, which comes with four cups of chowders of your choice. Probably a bad choice, because 5 oz is actually a lot! I was basically drinking 20 oz of chowder…and they are quite thick! This would be great to share though. On the top left was the Seared Scallop Chowder, which came with sweet, tender scallops served in a creamy broth and flavoured with dill and lime juice. This was probably my least favourite. I found the broth to be too creamy and the dill was a little off-putting for me. On the top right was the Smoked Salmon Chowder, which came with nova smoked salmon, capers, and cream cheese. This was much lighter and had a strong smoked salmon flavour. Not bad! On the bottom left, was the Market Chowder. That day, it was a crab and oyster chowder, which was probably my favourite out of the four. If you love seafood, this one is perfect! I also loved the strong flavour of oysters. It wasn’t too heavy as well. Lastly, on the bottom right was the Seafood Bisque, which had Pacific cod, Northwest salmon, Oregon bay shrimp and crab. It was seasoned with fresh basil and simmered in a creamy, tomato-based broth. This was also one of my favourites as the bisque was light but full of flavour. I really enjoyed the tomato-based broth as well. Your chowders come with sourdough bread as well, but I was way too full drinking the soups to be dipping the bread in.

The Sampler is a good deal if you’re looking to share, since you will actually get really full from a 5 oz cup if you’re looking for a snack. However, their chowders are still quite pricey at around $6 for an 8 oz cup.

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Old Country Buffet

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I go to Seattle pretty much every year just to do some shopping. Finally, I got my passport back from applying for a Visa, and I could go down south! On a random weekday, K, E, and I decided to do a day trip just to Bellis Fair. We got there at around lunch time, and wanted to grab some cheap food. We’ve been to Bellis Fair multiple times, and we always pass by Old Country Buffet. Honestly, it reminds me of Uncle Willy on the outside. Never really dared looking in or even checking out the menu. For some reason, we just impulsively decided to just go try it out. Lunch is until 3:30, so make sure to get there before that time, or you will be paying the dinner price. Lunch is around $8 and drinks are an additional $2. Your total comes to around $10 a person for lunch. Honestly, the $2 for drinks is a stretch for me, since I can’t even finish a full cup of soda usually. I definitely should’ve stuck with a glass of water for free.

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After you pay, you basically find your own seat wherever you want. Don’t expect any service whatsoever, other than someone coming to take away your dirty plates. I didn’t really get any close ups of any of the food in the warmers, since there were people all around me, and I also didn’t have any hands to hold my camera with a plate in the other hand.

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But as you can see, they have multiple bars with different categories, like vegetables, salads, meats, and desserts. They even had an area to make your own taco with everything you would need from salsa to sour cream. They only had hard shell tacos though, which was fine since they were surprisingly crispy. I would’ve loved a soft tortilla though, since it’s not as messy to eat.

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The variety of food is quite good for the price you pay. There is also a stir fry section where you can get a server to add the ingredients of your choice to make a stir fry immediately. I didn’t try it out though, since I assumed the stir fry wouldn’t be even comparable to actual Chinese stir fry.

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This is my first round. Definitely not very presentable, since I just pile my food on top. I had some ribs, a seafood pancake, sweet and sour pork, some pasta, and caesar salad. Pretty typical food, and I wouldn’t say anything was amazing, but it wasn’t terrible.

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K got the freshly baked pizza, which was apparently quite good.

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E’s plate.

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My round two consisted of more caesar salad. My poorly put together taco is also in the back. I also got some mac and cheese, which was pretty good! It was super cheesy. I also got a piece of fried chicken drumstick, and it was actually fried quite nicely. You could easily get your money’s worth just by eating fried chicken. (I hear that’s what people do at buffets, don’t they?)

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I only have two rounds of actual food, and I got excited to move to desserts. However, I was utterly disappointed. Look at the pictures! None of the desserts looked appetizing…

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Maybe the cookies or brownies? But they looked really sweet…

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The pies and custards also looked overly sweet.

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But I found a soft-serve ice cream machine! They had chocolate, vanilla, and even a swirl! I was definitely impressed with the swirl machine they had. Not many buffets have this.

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But they also had orange sorbet, so I went for that instead. I can pretty much guarantee you it’s artificial flavouring though. I liked how they also had a variety of toppings and sauces you could add to your sundae. Perfect for the kids.

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And last but not least, I was amazed at their slurpee machine. Okay, maybe I get amazed pretty easily. Our buffets in Vancouver don’t have this stuff! Or at least not at such a low price! I tried the blueberry fanta, and it made my tongue blue. Definitely artificial. Tasted sort of weird too… They have a bunch of other soft drinks, coffee, and lemonade as well though.

Overall, I can’t say Old Country Buffet is amazing, but it also isn’t terrible. I guess for the price you pay, it’s decent and you get a wide variety of food. I always feel ripped off at buffets since I can’t eat a lot, but at this price, I feel like I can eat my money’s worth of food. I hear they also offer breakfasts at a really cheap price, but I wonder what they serve.

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Bottega Italiana

Pistachio Gelato, Watermelon & Pineapple Gelato

Last food stop for the Seattle adventure! Of course dessert, and it’s my favourite – ice cream! We actually walked by Bottega Italiana on our way to Thoa’s, and we had a look around the market for other ice cream shops, but we decided this one was the one. Well actually, Bottega Italiana isn’t an ice cream shop, since it’s a gelato shop! Gelato has around 60% less fat and calories than American ice cream, so I like to think of it as a pretty healthy dessert…

Anyways, they let us try flavours, but I was mostly interested in the Pistachio Gelato, so I got a sample, and decided to get it right away. It was smooth and very strong in pistachio flavour. Maybe a little too strong actually. J got two scoops and got Watermelon and Pineapple. These were amazing! The Pineapple flavoured gelato was especially good. They were totally opposite from the creamy gelato I had, and was not at all creamy or milky. It was almost like eating pineapple slush, but not to that extent of iciness. It was still gelato, but without the cream. They were also made with fresh fruit since there were pieces of pineapple pulp inside. The watermelon flavoured gelato was also great, but not as good as the pineapple. I kind of regretted not getting one of the fresh fruit gelatos instead, since they had a variety of flavours.

Overall, great place to grab gelato around the market place, and the fresh fruit gelatos are a must try! Forget the normal gelato!

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Piroshky Piroshky

Beef & Cheese Piroshky

Off we continue with our Seattle foodie adventure. So after lunch at Thoa’s, we decided to head back to the Pike Place Market to explore. Still full of people, but most of the lineups at the food shops had definitely died down. On our way to Thoa’s, we had actually walked by a bakery. We actually didn’t spot the place originally, but the aroma was so strong that it attracted us to walk closer. And then we knew it was of course a bakery! A bakery named Piroshky Piroshky that had a massive line up too… Since we were starving, we obviously didn’t wait, but luckily, the line had shrunk by the time we got back after lunch! Okay, we were still pretty full to be honest, but hey, this place must have some good stuff with that long line up from before! So we lined up behind the others, excited to try a “piroshky”. So what exactly is a piroshky? I honestly had no idea, and was still pretty clueless after eating it.

We were quite full from lunch, so we decided to just share one piroshky, since they were quite large. So many choices! But a Beef & Cheese Piroshky seemed pretty safe. It was a bun filled with beef, cheese and some spices. The dough was soft and warm, and the filling inside was not overflowing or too little. Just the perfect amount. It actually sort of reminded me of a curry beef bun you can get in Asian bakeries, so I didn’t think it was THAT amazing. Maybe I had just expected much more seeing those line ups. They’re decent, but I didn’t find them too special. Perhaps next time, I would try some of their other unique fillings.

For those of you who want to know more about piroshkys, I went home and googled them up. So they are basically Russian baked goods – usually in the form of a baked stuffed bun. They are usually filled with meat and vegetables, (usually onions), so the meat and cheese piroshky was actually quite close to the traditional piroshkys! Other variations include savory fillings, such as fish, and also sweet fillings, such as apples. These were all offered at the shop as well!

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