Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rock Bottom @ Bellevue

A typical casual bar cum restaurant boasting high ceiling and flat screen TVs at every nook and corner. They have two floors of indoor seating and a recently developed, well defined outdoor seating, that's open during summer.We are members of the mug club and go quite often for the happy hour. 

They have an in-house brewery and make interesting handcrafted beer that are mostly seasonal. The happy hour appetizers are $5 each and the Pizzas are $7 each. We usually go for the brewery nachos or the pizza. We have also tried the Spicy Spinach Dip. All very tasty!

The rustic pizza- Old world Italian pies, hand-stretched with their signature sauces and custom cheese blend. We got the Margherita - Fresh Mozzarella, basil pesto, Roma tomatoes, roasted garlic and spinach.

The pizza was excellent. The hand tossed crust was like Naan. The service is usually good; rarely some waitresses put on a big attitude. Join their mug club and you can get really huge mugs of beer for $2 or so during the HH. A nice place to hang out in the evenings.

Rock Bottom Restaurant (Bellevue) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Maltby Cafe @ Bothell

Ever had those days when you wake up late on a Sunday morning, and it happens to be a special day for you (like your wedding anniversary) and you are too lazy to cook and you begin the day with a nice hearty breakfast? Such was my day.

We went to Maltby Cafe at about 11 am for brunch. This ancient traditional cozy little faimily owned breakfast place, so close to home is a real blessing on lazy days. There was a big line waiting to be seated, but as we were just the two of us, we got a table in less than 5 minutes. Usually people come in big groups and have to wait for an hour or so.

The cool thing about Maltby Cafe is it offers egg substitute ( for $1.50 more) instead of real eggs in some of its dishes. We got the Zorba Omlette - Roasted red and yellow peppers, sun dried tomatoes, onions, black olives, fresh spinach and Feta cheese. It came with Country Fried Red Potatoes and Maltby Toast.

We asked for an order of Thick Sliced Maltby Bread - Toasted, served with delicious freezer jam. We are both fans of buttered toast and homemade jam and this was fingerlickin' good!

And the cafe was buzzing with people, as usual.
I saw many people holding boxes of their famous plate sized cinnamon rolls coated with sugar. It is quite popular there. A cozy mom and pop breakfast place so close to home! Will definitely go back again to try something different.

Maltby Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mediterranean Kitchen @ Kirkland

Sometime back I reviewed my favorite haunt in Bellevue here. This outlet in Kirkland is their casual/ fast-food joint. We go here very often for various reasons:
  1. The food is cheaper. No splitting cost.
  2. You get a salad with your entree in addition to the soup n pita. Of course, you have pay a $ more for Toum ( the garlic sauce) and the pita is not unlimited. Unless you are a regular and are pally with the manager ;-)
  3. There is a lot more variety in the menu. Shawarma wraps, sandwiches like Bathinjaan, Greek fries, et all.
  4. Of couse, it is closer to where I live.
That said, the Bellevue location is reserved for meeting with friends and other special occasions. We went to this fast food joint at noon on a Saturday. There were a couple of families happily tucking in the food and a few more people walking away with huge take out orders. We asked for the usual Veggie Shawarma Plate. The portions are as huge as what you get at their main location at Bellevue. For $10 (with tax and tip), we got a bowl of lentil soup, a small salad, a pita bread and a huge plate of Veggie Shawarma. Boy! Isn't that a steal?

Lentil soup and salad:

Here's a picture of the Veggie Shawarma - Red wine vinegar, spices and garlic, and is tossed with grilled onions, green onions, red cabbage and tomatoes, served with tahini sauce, on a bed of saffron rice.

And a picture of the restaurant -

We love this place and will visit n number of times in the future!

Mediterranean Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 5, 2010

Madura Indian Cuisine @ Sunnyvale

A trip to the Bay Area is not complete without eating at one of the South Indian restaurants, to remind us of home. We usually eat at Saravana Bhavan, so wanted to try out a different place.
Madura is a fairly new vegetarian restaurant in Sunnyvale and is known for it's Thaalis. They even have breakfasts on weekends.

It's a very casual restaurant with minimal decor and excellent food.

The thali came with Pooris for me and Chappathis for A.

Each item in the Thaali was so homey. There was Korma, Kara Kuzhambu, Koottu, Sambar, Rasam, Veggie Biryani, Beetroot Curry, Kesari, Yogurt, Pickle and Appalam, Poori and rice. It felt like I was eating off the plantain leaf at my Grandmom's house. So homemade and so flavorful and so perfect. They also have a variety of dosas and other stuff on their menu. A asked for another helping of Koottu and the waiter gladly brought it to for him. Thaalis are actually not unlimited, but they never charged us for it.

A really great south Indian restaurant. Much better than Saravan Bhavan in quality and service. We will definitely visit it the next time we are in the Bay Area!

Spicy Talk Bistro @ Redmond

We have been wanting to check this place out for a long time now. Especially after we heard that the owner is the ex-owner of Seven Stars Pepper and Chef Sezchuan. So, we went for dinner last Saturday. We were lucky; there is a dumplings festival going on.

Things I like about Spicy Talk Bistro:
  1. The portions are really huge.
  2. When they say "spicy", it really is spicy.
  3. The food is amazing. Very flavorful.
  4. Lots of veggie and tofu options.
  5. They have a veggie + egg dumpling. No meat.
  6. Service was quick.
  7. Price is very reasonable for the quality and quantity.
Things that can be improved:
  1. It will be nice to have an option of brown rice. The entrees don't come with rice, anyway. So, I might as well pay for brown rice instead of white.
  2. One of my pet peeves is Chinese restaurants not offering fortune cookies. I know its silly, but it's my thing. Dinner is not complete without cracking the cookie and reading my fortune or misfortune ;-)
We got the Vegetable+egg dumplings. During the festival, it is $4.95 for 15 dumplings as opposed to the regular $8.00 for 8 dumplings. We chose the pan fried ones. It was pretty bland and definitely needed to be paired with some hot sauce.

We then split the Sizzling Dry Bean Curd Szechuan Style. Bean curd tossed with bell peppers, onions and mushrooms. From what I read, bean curd and tofu are the same. Does anyone know why then it is called bean curd? The numbing peppers made it extra spicy. It is a dish that you don't get in any other Chinese restaurant. It was a really huge helping and for $2.50, we got a big tub of rice with it!

Another thing about this restaurant - they don't give plates. Instead, you have two smallish bowls that you can eat from. Its good in a way, because, you don't eat as much from a bowl as you would from a plate :). Here's my bowl-

And they say their hand shaven noodles and sauces are made from scratch. Will definitely be visiting again to try out their other great creations. Quite happy with the abundance of Szechuan restaurants in the Seattle area!
Oh, here's a picture of the restuarant -

Spicy Talk Bistro on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hula's Island Grill & Tiki Room @ Monterey

Am fantasized by anything tropical. The beaches, the umbrella, the Mai Tais, the flip flops, bamboo, tiki, so on and so forth. That said, the "Tiki" was more than enough to drag me to this cozy little bar and restaurant. That, and a glance at their menu, online. They seem to have a vegetarian option in most of their dishes, or rather, exotic dishes.
The long drive to Big Sur and a hike to Andrew Morela Beach resulted in a growling stomach and an insatiable hunger. We reached at around 8:30 pm and were seated right away. It was a sunday night and kind of quiet.

We got the Jungle Tofu : fried tofu, plantains, jungle curry sauce, peanuts.

This dish was packed with protein. There was tofu and lots of black beans and brown spanish rice. It had a slight mexican flavor to it.More of a fusion, I would say. It was like digging into a huge salad bowl.

From the "Fresh Fish" list, we picked the vegetairan option - Coconut Crusted Tofu, with tropical lilikoi sauce, rice, slaw. Oh boy! This is a wonderful creation, no doubt!

I don't know of any other restaurant that has such a wonderful Carribean-Spanish-Tropical fusion. If you are in Monterey, I definitely recommend dining at this little Tiki Bar.

Hula's Island Grill on Urbanspoon
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