Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Frida's Gourmet Mexican @ Mill Creek

Thanks to a recent coupon, I now have a new found love for Mexican food. Gourmet Mexican food, to be precise. For a Vegetarian, Mexican Cuisine translates to rice, beans, cheese, pico di gallo, and tortilla in various forms such as Tacos, Enchiladas, Burritos, Chimichanga, Fajita, Quesedilla and Chili Releno. If you are mighty lucky, you will find a Vegetarian Tamale or some veggies in your food. So, we don't eat at Mexican restaurants that often. Especially because, there are zillion other cuisines that offer much better healthier variety for vegetarians.

But after a recent mind blowing dinner at Frida's, we have developed a new found love for Gourmet Mexican. The one that has a lot of interesting flavors like sweet, sour and spicy and is also known as Authentic Mexican. Such restaurants are rare to find and am glad I have one about a mile from where I live.

Frida's is a fairly small restaurant in a strip mall at Mill Creek. Because of its obscure location, it is not so popular. But once you visit, you will want to go back again and again.The restaurant is warm and inviting once you step in. A softly lit decor with soft lighting and a Spanish melody playing in the background.

There is a small bar too.

No one knows the secret ingredients that this restaurant uses. The food is fabulous. It seems the owner doesn't share the secret recipes of the various sauces even with his own chefs; he makes them himself.

The waitress brought a basket of colorful tortilla chips, a couple pieces of bread and three different types of dips - Salsa, Salsa Verde and a white creamy dip (no, not sour cream or ranch) - we assumed - for the bread.

We ordered the Champinones al Ajillo - mushrooms, onions, guajillo chilies and herbs sauteed in oil till perfection and served with a roasted garlic sauce and house herbs. One word - Fantabulistic!! I Have never seen something like this at a regular Mexican restaurant! One thing to note - this appetizer is not available during lunch. The steaming hot tortillas were brought wrapped in a napkin.  The pico di gallo was served in a flower shaped tortilla shell.

We then ordered a plate of Morrales Dona Rocio - A lovely blend sauteed vegetables wrapped in a large crepe, served in a sauce of blended light cream cheese and zucchini. The beans were in a bowl shaped tortilla. It came with rice

Next was the combination dinner. Chiles en hojaldre - Poblano chillies filled with chihuahua cheese, wrapped in thin layers of baked pastry, served with a light zucchini bloom sauce and Enchiladas Chipotle - Two corn tortillas covered with light cream sauce with chipotle chilies and roasted peanuts. It came with beans and rice.

 The poblano chili releno was so different from the ones we get at other restaurants. Very delicious.

And, the food was not heavy at all. Cheese was used very sparingly. The sauces were to die for. This restaurant gets full points for presentation, taste, innovation, ambiance and service! If you want to try gourmet Mexican food, I highly recommend this restaurant.

Frida's Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ephesus @ West Seattle

It is hard to drive by and not notice the huge pink structure that houses this restaurant. What an amazing Turkish restaurant in West Seattle!

Don't get fooled by the exteriors, the interiors are rich and decorated in a Sultan-ish style. Upon entering the doorway, I was pleasantly surprised at how warm and inviting it was. We were greet by two or three staffs, asking us where we would like to sit. We slid into a booth and sat on huge comfy chairs.

They are only open for dinner. They have a big parking lot, so parking was not a hassle. They also have a huge out door seating, that's open in summer. There were only two vegetarian entrees and quite a few appetizers to pick from.

We ordered Ezme to start with. It is served cold with warm pita. Crushed tomatoes tossed in olive oil with Pomegranate sauce and walnuts. A marvel of mediterranean food is that even when it is bad, it is still good. May be I was really hungry or the dip was ultra delicious (the latter, am sure), I sopped the leftover Ezme with a hunk of pita and licked my fingers clean. Eating with your fingers makes it tastier. (I guess like in India, the middle easterners consider eating as a sensual activity. According to them, one should enjoy eating with as many senses as possible - taste, smell, sight and touch.) I wished they would refill the bowl, like the chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants. I could have some more. Can someone please explain how such simple a dish, that doesn't need any cooking, taste so good?

For the main course, we ordered Toprak Garvue - A buttery stew of vegetables cooked with an amazing blend of spices, served with rice. It was nice of them to accommodate our request for a vegetarian version, that's not listed on their menu.  It came with Fatoush, a salad.


How healthy! When the waiter first brought it out, we had doubts about the quantity being sufficient for the two of us. But as we started guttling, the buttery richness of the stew, rushed in and quickly filled up every corner of our stomachs.When the last morsel was polished off, i found myself saying, "Oh, this was more than enough!". And it is a little on the expensive side.

It will be nice if they can introduce more vegetarian options. We'd be privileged to try a lot more of the yummy food. Food, service and ambiance were fantastic. Our pursuit for a casual dinner after a long walk along Alki Beach, turned out to be an extraordinary dinner!

If you want to celebrate a special evening with your special someone, in a quiet place, where food and conversation are the highlight of the night, Ephesus is the place to go!

Ephesus on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 4, 2010

Punjab Sweets @ Kent

My only complaint about this fabulous North Indian vegetarian restaurant is that it is too far away from where I live. Seriously! I love, love, love the homemade punjabi fair at Punjab Sweets. Authentic Parathas, Chaat, Malai Kofta and many more! And the huge array of sweets and snacks! Oh yum!

I have been to PS a few times, but never got a chance to review it. Guess what? A won a free lunch at PS :) and we were going to be in the area anyway, so stopped by for lunch last weekend. The quality of food hasn't changed a bit. The same authentic and flavorful punjabi food at its best.

One thing that's new - each table has a small bowl of nibbles, something for you to munch on while waiting for the food. This is something new and thoughful of them!

We ordered a Thali - rice, roti, malai kofta, kahi pakora, mutter paneer, raita and gulab jamun.

Everything was as delicious as ever. I can never stop raving about their Malai Kofta. It IS a must-eat.The only restaurant that makes it so well! So creamy and yet so light! To be honest, I don't think I have had such good Malai Kofta even in India!
And then the Paneer Paratha.It was huge and came with pickled radish and yogurt. Fantastic. Though, I love their Aloo Paratha more.

We finished with a Mango Kalakand. This was one amazing sweet with flavors of real mango. It was too small a piece and was over even before I could click a pic!

If you have never been to PS, it is definitely worth the long trek.They are expanding these days and I heard they have even introduced the South Indian Dosas in the menu. Quite frankly, I would never order Dosas at PS. C'mon! It is like ordering Samosa at an Italian restaurant (if they even make Samosas)! They are good at North Indian food and I totally agree and love them for it. I don't think they should be introducing Dosas, though.

Preet's is comparatively closer and we go there often. PS, it will be great if you can open another branch on the Eastside!

Punjab Sweets Vegetarian Indian Food on Urbanspoon
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