Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Root Table @ Ballard

It was 5th wedding anniversary on the 27th. We didn't want to do the usual Italian romantic dinner. We were in the mood for an Asian Fusion cuisine. And a small, cozy and intimate restaurant is what we had in mind. Root Table in Ballard seemed to meet our requirements.

The decor of this restaurant is so different from anything I have seen. So earthy. The tables and chairs live up to their name, intricately carved from natural wood and imported from Thailand. Even the menu is made of wood!

They have quite a few Vegetarian Entrees and Tapas as well. We got the Curry Corn Fritters - Mild curry, sweet corn fritters. Served with a chili peanut sauce,

and the Sweet Pumpkin Tempura with soy sauce. It was fried to perfection. So crispy on the outside and the soft on the inside.

Both were absolutely delicious. Especially the Corn Fritters. It had curry leaves in it, which is actually an Indian herb, that's used to add flavor to the dish. For main course, we ordered the Menage-a-Thai - Three different curries with tofu, served with roti and jasmine rice.

The three Thai curries were the red, green and yellow curry; each with its own distinct flavor. The Roti is again an Indian fusion. It'll be nice if they could give us a choice of white or brown rice. The curries and the tofu were fantastic. We also ordered the special of the day, Firey Asparagus - A stir-fry of Asparagus, mushroom, bell pepper, carrot and fried tofu, in a light soy sauce, served with rice. It was marked as very spicy, but was not even a bit spicy. It was delicious, anyway.

Root Table is one of those restaurants where the food is very innovative, the decor is striking and the service is good. The kitchen is open, but it was not smokey and there was no trace of the smell of food being prepared. The price is very reasonable as well. Plus, they have Happy Hour. Seattle lacks Asian Fusion restaurants and I think Root Table attempts to fill the gap!

Root Table on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 21, 2010

Amir's Kabob House

By the sound of it, I pictured it to be a take-out kind of restaurant, where the menu would be hand written on the wall and the smell of charbroiled kabob would be wafting from the smoky open kitchen. But, I was pleasantly surprised to see an ethnic decor, middle eatern music playing in the back ground and a couple of belly dancers who were more than eager to entertain us with their hip drops and belly rolls.

The waitress brought out some Afghani bread to start with. The first round of bread is complimentary. We didn't need any more after that, though. We ordered the Kadu - Pan-fried butternut squash with onions and garlic served on sour cream.

Fantastic. The flavor and texture of Kadu was one of a kind. I haven't had anything like this before. Next, we asked for Bulani Plate - Grilled turnover filled with mashed potatoes and herbs served with plain yogurt.

This is very similar to Aloo Parantha, the Indian stuffed bread. We heated the left overs the next day and munched them on the way to Big Sur. Was fresh and as good as new.
A got the Vegetarian Platter - Served with rice, sabzi, gulpee, and banjan.

Sabzi is Sautéed spinach with onions and garlic, Gulpee is Cauliflower steamed with tomatoes, onions, and crushed peppers and Banjan is Pan-fried eggplant baked with tomatoes, onions, and garlic served on sour cream. The rice was very flavorful as well. A fantastic platter! The food was not spicy. It was perfect after the Habanero episode ;). We were really amazed to see so many vegetarian options. I highly recommend this restaurant if you are visiting Monterey.

Amir's Kabob House on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tofurky Pizza

Ever craved a pizza and then shoved the thought away after mentally calculating the calories and fat that will be consumed when a piece of that greasy slice makes its way down the oesophagus? I do that quite often. I am really glad I bumped into this vegan frozen pizza @ Whole Foods.

The thin, whole wheat crust is smothered with a layer of zesty garlic pizza sauce and shredded Daiya™ dairy free cheese. Chunks of yummy Italian Sausage with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil is then piled over it.
Finally a blend of fire roasted veggies is added for a flavorful punch. Packed with protien, this is an awesome healthy pizza, I would say. This is currently on sale @ Whole Foods for 7.99! Go grab it!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dosa on Valencia

This restaurant was not in the agenda. The plan was to have lunch at Herbivore and head down on Hwy 1 S. We had read the good reviews about this place but decided to ignore it due of lack of time. We were driving to Herbivore, when we spotted Dosa. It is located adjacent to Herbivore. Now, coming across Dosa was like bumping into a huge sample sale in NYC. How could we just walk past it? So, we made a plan B. We will eat at Herbivore and split a dosa at Dosa. How cool, huh? If only I had an elastic stomach.....

Dosa is a super restaurant, where the food is so authentic and the service is excellent. They have both veg as well as non veg dishes. They use organic eggs and can accomodate "vegan" requests. On weekends, they have a brunch menu.

The waitress brought out some papad and gave us the menu.

We asked for the Habanero-Mango Masala Dosa. Dosa is more like an Injera. It is a savory rice and lentil crepe, served with tomato & fresh coconut chutney, and sambar, a flavorful lentil dipping soup made with vegetables and spices.

Here's how you eat it - Take a piece of the Dosa, dip it in the sambar, pile some chutney on it and pop it in your mouth. And, feel free to use your hands, the Ethiopian way.

The waitress warned us that the habanero dosa is very spicy. But according to A, when people here call something spicy, it really is not. Yeah, no problem, he said. Apparently, the Dosa was indeed spicy. The burn my ass kind of spicy. With his head all itchy, he called the waitress over and ordered a Sweet Lassi, a refreshing natural yogurt drink. God bless the Lassi! We were able enjoy the Dosa, finally.

Oh, the food was fantastic. The sambar was hot until the last spoon and had a homemade flavor. The potato stuffing was awesome. Though it was spicy, we thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the meal, including the heat ;-).
We will definitely visit this restaurant in our future visits to SFO.

Dosa on Urbanspoon


This is a vegan restaurant that offers an international cuisine. The food is good. The service is good. They use faux meat like soy chicken and seitan in their preparation. The portions are really huge and the price is very reasonable.
The decor is nothing fancy. Just a casual breakfast/brunch kind of place with an open kitchen. We first ordered the coconut noodle soup - rice noodles, tofu, spinach, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, pineapple, bean sprouts, oyster mushrooms, green onions and cilantro in the "cup" size. When he brought it to our table, we thought he had got the "bowl" instead of the "cup", but he grinned and said that's the "cup" of soup.

Such a huge bowl for $3.95.  Unfortunately, the flavor of coconut was so strong that it numbed the other spices. May be that is how it is supposed to be, you know. My bad, I expected it to taste a little different, Thai, more like. I poured in enough hot sauce to counter the coconut flavor.

Then, we ordered the Soy chicken shawarma with seasoned onions, tomatoes, hummus, hot sauce, pickles & tahini in a wrap, with a green salad with potatoes, eggplant and avocado.

Darn...why do they call it Shawarma? It was just a delicious huge wrap that came with a side of salad. The salad  had a very mild dressing and was fantastic. Having eaten authentic Shawarma sandwich , I expected this to be as good, but it was no where near a shawarma. I would call it Soy-chicken wrap. There, much better.
Next the Shish kebab - char-broiled vegetables with either tofu or seitan served with lemon-garlic sauce or peanut orange-miso sauce. choice of brown or basmati rice. We asked for basmati rice. This was fantastic.

The veggies were perfectly char broiled and very juicy. We rubbed the lemon juice on the Kebab and poured the sauces over it and wolfed it down with rice. The best kebab I have had so far.

This is a great restaurant for Vegetarian/Vegans, as they have a really huge menu to pick from. Just don't go by the names of the various dishes. Read the descriptions instead or even better, ask the waiter. You will not be disappointed!

Herbivore on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sumo sushi Bar & Grill @ Miami

We stoppped by this place for a quick lunch on our way to SoBe. I am not sure they can differentiate veg from non veg. They are the wisenheimer types that think no meat equals veg. Doesn't matter if there is fish sauce or oyster sauce. As long as there is no meat, the food is veg. Sigh. Never again.

The restaurant is located in a strip mall in the Sunny Isles Beach area. They have some happy hour specials too.

We wanted to play safe, so just ordered the Tofu with garlic sauce and Tofu Schezuan Style as a lunch combo. Lunch combo comes with rice and soup. And, we told the waitress to make sure there is NO fish or oyster sauce. "No fish sauce, no oyster sauce, no meat....", repeated the amused waitress and shot back in.

We waited for sometime. There was no sign of soup. Er...didn't we order a lunch combo? A signaled to her and said, "Don't we get a soup in our lunch combo?". Uh..umm....let me check if it is vegetarian, she said. She came back with two steaming bowls of Egg-drop soup! Excuse me? Since when is Egg-drop soup vegetarian? Shouldn't she check with us before bringing it? Luckily, we are OK with eggs. But this one had a strong eggy meaty smell and I could not even bring it near me. I was forced to send it back. The waitress was pissed, for sure. Well, too bad. She stomped back with the soup. A stiffled a laugh and said she was likely going to throw us out, and continued to sip the soup.

Then our food arrived. Both looked the same, but tasted slightly different. By then I had developed a distaste for anything that came out of their kitchen and could just eat a couple of bites. Tofu in Garlic Sauce-

A seemed to like his Tofu Schezuan Style though-

Though this restaurant has Chinese, Thai and Japanese food all under one roof, somehow, this is not for me. I will always have doubts on what actually is on my plate. So, no, not again.

Sumo Sushi Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Bali Cafe @ Miami

The day before we left Miami, we wanted to go to Indomania for dinner; they have this Veggie Rijsttafel plate that looked very interesting. But sadly, they are closed on Mondays (bummer, I know). My mind was set on Indonesian food and wasn't willing to settle for anything else. So after some googling, we found Bali Cafe in Miami Downtown which had good reviews. And, it is Zagat rated. We called and made sure that they can make some of the dishes without meat or fish sauce or oyster sauce or of the sort.

Bali Cafe is a family owned cafe. There was a man doing all the cooking. A girl, who was our waitress. Two other women ( probably mom and sis) were sitting outside the restaurant and catching up on some gossip. Very homely and cute place. By the time we were done, they themselves were having their dinner, sitting at a table in the corner and partaking some soup!

The waitress brought out water and explained what each thing on the menu is. She also pointed out the ones that could be made vegetarian. We ordered the Soto Betawi - Tofu in a milk broth seasoned with ginger, sweet soy sauce and lemon then topped with fresh tomatoes, potatoes, beattlenut chips, green onion, and fried shallot.

It is a soupy dish and is usually paired with rice. The blend of various exotic spices make this soup incredibly fragrant.
And then, the Ketoprak - freshly steamed beansprout, rice patties, tofu and rice noodles with crispy chips and garlic peanut sauce.

It seems this dish is mostly sold by street vendors in Indonesia. I guess I would call it the Indonesian Chaat.. It was delicious and quite filling too. Usually it is are eaten with steamed rice or lontong a dish made of rice stuffed into banana leaves shaped into a tube, then boiled until it's ready to eat. The original version of Ketoprak uses peanut sauce, and mainly consists of beansprouts, fried beancurd, and boiled angel hair-like noodle.

It is really worth trying this restaurant out, if you happen to be in Miami.

Frankly, I am stumped by all the different Asian flavors I get to sample these days. And I look forward to many more!

Note:- They only accept cash!

Bali Café on Urbanspoon
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