gracecheung604 | write on time: August 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RN74 in Seattle - Happy Hour

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One of the things I love about the States is the many places that offer a Happy Hour Menu. IMG_1915 We were staying close to this restaurant so we decided to pop in and give it a try. I liked the casual decor as well as the fun coasters, plate settings and menus too. IMG_1917 The first thing I had was the Black Truffle Popcorn, and the aroma was heavenly. The oil was gently tossed with the popcorn to avoid sogginess in places and barely there flavours in others. These Rosemary Steak Bites were good, quite tender and medium rare. I found them a touch oily though, leaving a not-so-nice stain on my wine glass. IMG_1919 And who can say no to Deep Fried Cheese? Actual balls of cheese, battered and deep-fried served with a vat of ketchup. There were really gooey when they arrived, so be sure to eat these first before they become firm balls of semi-hard cheese. 

A few of the items I had here are not on their current menu, but I'm hoping some things will be back.

Take note:


  • Get a Shot and a Beer for $5.74.
  • Happy Hour is Saturday, 4-6pm.
  • Truffle Popcorn is only $3!

RN74 on Urbanspoon

Denny's - an oldie but still a goodie

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So last week, we headed out to Denny's for a quick brunch. Now, if you're like me, most of your experiences with Denny's are of the late night variety, usually after bouts of consuming spirits, shots and very little else. I think one of the reasons they were popular was their proximity to establishments serving aforementioned beverages as well as their hours of operation (24 hours/day). I honestly don't remember if the food was good, I don't actually remember much of those late night visits.
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Everyone has heard of the Grand Slam, but you can now customize your own. There are even semi-healthy options to choose from. You can choose four items from a fairly large list of your usual breakfast fare. Biscuits, pancakes (wheat option available), English muffin, grits, hash browns, toast and even oatmeal form the carbs section. Bacon, sausage and turkey bacon are your protein choices. Eggs are available, as are egg whites only. IMG_4065 What you have above are Two Poached Eggs, some Hash Browns and Two orders of Turkey Bacon. Hey, you get to order four things, no one said it had to be four different things, right? The hash browns had a bit of colour but could have used a touch more crispy bits. Also, we found the bacon to be just a bit under, and asked that they make it a touch crispier. See the result below. IMG_4068 It came back crispier, but I can't tell if they pan-fried them more, or just deep-fried them. Thoughts? IMG_4069 And this is the same idea, with Two Wheat Pancakes, Two Sunny Sideup Eggs, Sausages and regular Bacon. Yes, a piece of turkey bacon also made it onto the plate. Look at the difference is size! The wheat pancakes were good, just a bit grainier than your regular buttermilk pancakes, and actually felt heartier and more rustic. I liked them. The eggs were, well, eggs, no crispy edges on the whites but I think I'm expecting too much. The sausage was actually quite lean, but I still had to blot off some of the oil. IMG_4061 This is a Softball Pancake Breakfast. It's pretty simple but enough for smaller appetites. You get One Pancake, One Sausage and One Slice of Bacon. Why Softball you ask? The raspberry syrup is supposed to be the red thread on a softball! Add some fruit to make it a well-rounded meal. It's pretty standard fare and maybe just a touch better than a McHappy Meal.  
Take Note: 
Celebrate your birthday at Denny's with a FREE Grand Slam®. Bring a valid ID for proof. 
Kids Eat FREE 4-10 pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Subject to change, call to confirm.
The main dishes are quite cheap but it's the sides that get you. 

As part of Denny's launch of their mobile app MyDenny's, their marketing department sent me a gift card to go and check them out. The new app allows you to earn perk points for dining at Denny's. every dollar you spend. Redeem your points for food and beverages on future visits, or you can share the joy by gifting points to family and friends. Hey, if you're going to hit up Denny's for late night eats anyways, why not get the app and start earning some points?!

Denny's on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 25, 2013

RockingRajio for @VANEATSca

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Earlier last week, I was invited by the VANEATSca crew to give Rajio a try. When I agreed to, I had no idea that this restaurant was part of the group responsible for bringing Kingyo and Suika to us. lights at rajio What I noticed most about the decor were these fantastic lights! How many of these characters can you identify? I can only name four.IMG_4102 Once we were seated, we were treated to a complimentary Cabbage Salad. This was lightly dressed with a Miso-Soy Dressing. It was refreshing and served to abate and ease our hunger as we perused the menu. IMG_4108 First dish of our complimentary 4-course tasting was a Cold Tapas, and we picked the Mackerel Nang Bang Zuke. It's a few pieces of Marinated Deep-Fried Mackerel served with a broth made with soy and vinaigrette. There are sliced veggies on top for a refreshing crunch. This was really good and the batter mackerel had a good flavour. IMG_4118 Another delicious that come with with VANEATSca package is the Carpaccio. I had thought this was going to be something reminiscent of Beef Tataki but I was wrong. It was an assortment of fish sashimi, a bit of salmon, tuna and some hamachi too! The portion was fairly large and each slice of fish was coated in a creamy soy dressing. The tobiko topping was very appreciated! IMG_4131 For a change of pace and something hot, we were served our 6-Pieces of Deep Fried Skewers. We had two skewers each of scallops, taro root and chicken. I found this to be a bit oily, and the batter could have been just a bit crispier.IMG_4135 Our final course was the Dynamic Balsamic Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs. These were super tender, falling off the bone and had a really good tang. Thankfully, the sauce wasn't cloying and did add a gooey touch when you eat with your hands. Fingerlicking Good! So for $18, you can get everything we've eaten so far through VANEATSca.
If you want to see what else Rajio has to offer, read on!   IMG_4116 And because that's what I do, we added a bunch of other items that weren't part of the VANEATSca package. First up? The Squid Tentacles, served as a Karaage. These deep-fried tentacles were tossed in some spicy spices, but I could have used more heat. My fault, since you're supposed to ask if you want it hot!  IMG_4121 We wanted something fresh so we decided to get some Amaebi. Our waitress told us it was 5 pieces (for just $5!) and at first glance, it looked like we only got three, but once you see how they placed some of the heads, there really were five. The shrimp was small but were super sweet. And yes, they will deep fry the heads for you, just ask!  IMG_4132 Have you had Oden before? Essentially, it's a bowlful of fish cakes, daikon and boiled eggs in a dashi broth. It is light and super comforting. You will appreciate it when winter comes!  IMG_4124 There are a ton of Sauces you can use for dipping to add extra flavour to the mild tasting fish cakes. There is a traditional sauce Kushikatsu, essentially a blend of soy and worcestershire, then the teriyaki sauce as well as some onion and tartar based sauces. I really liked the lemon salt, it really brought out the fishy taste!  IMG_4134 Our last dish was the Negitoro and Ikura Bowl. No explanation needed here really...it's a bowl of sushi rice with half a cup of negitoro, and a lot of ikura, with a sprinkling of tobiko. This was refreshing and I thought the presentation was really nice. We couldn't finish this but it was just as good the next day for lunch! 

Go and get your $18 VANEATSca package now! 

Take note:


  • Large hot sake for just $8 and served in a teapot
  • Daiki, the manager is super knowledgeable and friendly.
  • The decor is eclectic and they have a tiny patio for al fresco dining! 

Rajio Japanese Public House on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sushi Mura - has potential!

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There has been an "Opening Soon" sign at 49th and Oak for about six months now, and a few weeks ago, they finally opened! It was a sushi place called Sushi Mura.  IMG_3889 They have taken care to make themselves look a bit better than the usual Chinese-run Japanese places that have homemade menus riddled with typos. IMG_3900 First things first, I really wanted to try out their Tako Sunomono, since it is one of my favourite Japanese dishes. I was delighted by this version. Lots of fresh slightly crunchy tako pieces, sliced not too thick and not too thin. I hate the super thick slices at some other sushi places. And the vinegar dressing was just right, with a good blend of sweet and sour tang. I really liked the abundance of vermicelli as well. The shredded carrots and red cabbage gave the dish a great blend of textures. IMG_3897 For our other appetizers, we tried their Ebi Gyoza, which was a whole prawn mixed with ground pork. The wrapper was on the thin side, which is what I prefer, but they sure could have used a bit more colour. The filling was plentiful and this was a great appetizer.IMG_3899 We also got an order of regular Gyoza to try. And as you can see, these have a bit more colour than the Ebi Gyoza. However, they were just a touch on the greasy side. The part where the two skins met was a bot too thick, something that I didn't notice with the Ebi one. The dipping sauce was probably from a bottle, but add a bit of the 7-spice powder and you've got a winner. IMG_3892 For a heavier dish, our first choice was the Chicken Teriyaki. The dish came piping hot, with a side of white rice. There was plenty of chicken, and lots of stir-fried veggies, ranging from carrots, sprouts and cabbage. There could have been a bit more sauce, but otherwise the dish was a success. IMG_3898 Yum! Crispy and flaky battered Prawn Tempura. The batter was quite light and the dish wasn't greasy at all. The prawns were a touch small, but had a sweet taste. IMG_3906 We also got their Deluxe Sashimi, and I thought this was wonderful. The presentation was pretty, there were lots of daikon and other garnishes. The cuts were clean and  the pieces were fairly uniform in size. I really enjoyed this dish and loved the variety of seafood on the plate. IMG_3910 We also tried their Awesome Roll, which seems more like a California Roll with some salmon and masago on top. There is also some sauce and tempura bits too. This was okay, nothing special and I doubt I would order it again. 

Take note:


  • Service was okay for us but many complaints online by others.
  • Food comes out randomly, cooked items arrived before sashimi.
  • They weren't licensed when I visited in July.

Sushi Mura on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fortune City Seafood Restaurant - #Chinese Bites

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Another Signature Chinese Bites dinner...this time I'm really excited because we were promised Peking Duck. Despite it being a quintessential Chinese dish, in the 10+ dinners we've had, it has never been served to us!IMG_3857 We started off with some seafood in the form of these Pan Fried Tiger Prawns - 頭抽老虎蝦, headless but shell-on, just the way I like them. They were butterflied slightly, making the extraction process quick and easy. But to honest, I sometimes eat the shells too, if they are crispy enough. These ones weren't but the fleshy prawn was sweet with a just a touch of savory from the sauce. IMG_3860 At last! The shiny, crispy Peking Duck - 北京片皮鴨 arrives! Some people like very little meat on the skin, but I don't really mind a bit of meat. However, I find that I have to peel off the layer of meat first, and then scrape some of the fat underneath off. IMG_3862 On the right are the Steamed Crepe, used to wrap up the Peking Duck. These are thin with a bit of a chew to them. There isn't much taste on their own. Nearer to the front are the condiments required for the duck wrap, some julienned scallions and lots of HoiSin sauce (a blend of soy bean, sugar, salt and vinegar, amongst other things). The sauce is very thick and when using this at home, I tend to mix it with a splash of water to make it easier to spread. IMG_3863 And here you have it, a completed Peking Duck wrap! There was lots of duck skin left, so I ended up having another one with two pieces of skin inside. So delicious! IMG_3867 Part Two of the Peking Duck entree is the Lettuce Wrap - 生菜包. The take all the meat off the carcass of the duck and stir fry it. Common additions include diced veggies such as carrots, celery and water chestnut. They added some diced Chinese sausage as well, which made the dish different that normal, it was much better, actually. The stir-frying process really enhanced the fragrance of the Chinese sausage. This was really good. (On a side note, I revisited a few weeks later and the Chinese sausage was missing from this dish) IMG_3869 So with our duck craving satisfied, we moved on to some seafood. The first up was the Sauteed Ling Cod with Veggies - 龍躉球炒時菜. The fish was very flakey and cooked to just the right level of doneness. The veggies were okay, not bad, but also not amazing. I could have used a bit more ginger and seasoning overall. IMG_3877 Another seafood offering was the Braised Egg White and Crab Meat with Broccoli - 賽螃蟹. This dish is actually quite healthy, containing mostly egg whites, water and some crab meat. The flavour is again very mild, with just a pinch of salt to bring out the sweetness of the crab. I think the egg whites were just a touch over, though I enjoyed the additional tobiko on top, giving the dish a punch of colour and additional saltiness. IMG_3879 Our final seafood course was the Winter Melon with Assorted Seafood - 瓜環海中寶. I love the idea of using food as part of the presentation and this was no exception. Some ham was placed along the side of the tender melon for added flavour. Inside the melon bowl were lots of seafood including scallops, prawns and some squid as well. There were also crunchy veggies such as the snow peas and carrots.   IMG_3873 So now, back to the poultry end of things, this is the Deep Fried Crispy Skin Chicken- 炸子雞 and it's unmistakably crispy. The chicken was moist on the inside and had a great burst of briny flavour, especially after the rather mild flavours of the seafood dishes. You can further enhance the flavour by dipping the chicken into some spiced coarse salt.  IMG_3876 One dish that was new to me is the Pork Chop in Plum Sauce - 話梅豬扒. The plum sauce isn't the garden variety that you get with your spring rolls at the mall, rather, this is a preserved plum sauce. The preserving process gives the plum a super salty and sour flavour, but when made into a sauce, it becomes much milder. There was lots of this sauce, and I felt that the aroma was more powerful than the taste. The pork chops were a touch soggy as a result of the sauce, though that could have been the intention.  IMG_3882 Discounting the crepe that we had with our Peking Duck, there wasn't any carbs present in this meal, yet. Here to the rescue is their House Special Chow Mein - 招牌炒麵. It's the best "no thought required" way to end the meal, since it has something for everyone. There are veggies, assorted seafood and meats as well as lots of crispy noodles. Add some hot sauce as I did and this is a great way to wrap up dinner.  IMG_3885 For dessert, we were all looking forward to the Baked Tapioca Pudding Pastry - 酥皮西米焗布甸. If you haven't had it before, you are in for a treat. The thick and gooey tapioca custard/pudding is kept piping hot under a blanket of flakey and patterned pie crust. Oh my goodness, as many of you know, I'm not a dessert fan but this one gets me everytime. Perhaps a key point is that the custard itself isn't overly sweet.
Overall, this was a good meal but I found the flavours a bit too mild on the seafood dishes. The duck and chicken were the standouts for me, as well as the dessert.

**Fortune City Seafood Restaurant hosted Chinese Bites for this tasting but my opinions are my own.**

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More reviews available here for Signature Dishes Tour Dinners. 



Fortune City Seafood Restaurant 百福海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon

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