Seattle: House of Hong in the International District

This is our last post on our quick vacation to Seattle. It’s Day 5 and we decided that we go to Chinatown and check out the dim sum in an American city. We had expected that the dim sums here would be Americanized … you know … serve things like chop suey, beef & broccoli, fortune cookies and such.


We had wanted to go to a place called the Jade Garden and Hongkong Restaurant. It was recommended by Jeniffer who also recommended Cedar’s to us. As it turned out, we could not find parking. Well, we could find pay parking but we did not want to pay for parking. Alright, I admit, we are stingy especially for things that is supposed to be free!

So, we ended up going to this place called the House of Hong. As it turned out, it was a good thing we came here.


The House of Hong had won a lot of awards over the years. The awards (for best chinese, best dim sum, etc) were all plastered all over a wall near the entrance. The interior was cavernous which surprised us. We hardly had such a huge dim sum place in Vancouver and yet the one we went to is so big. It was very early on a weekday when we were there and there were only two tables taken.

We like the courteous and prompt service.


The Baked Char Siu Bun were great … soft and fluffy with moist sweet BBQ pork in it. We were pleasantly surprised how authentic the dim sum was.


Braised Chicken Feet … we love it. (more…)

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Seattle: Paseo Caribbean

Updated: 31st Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to

One of the must-visit places that I had on my list was Paseo. I did some brief research before the vacation and found that everyone is raving about this place. I could hardly find anyone that had anything negative at all despite the various shortcomings like parking, tables, etc. As a matter of fact, everything is bad except for the food. The food is so good that everyone overlook these shortcomings.


Locating the place was difficult. We have an address but Paseo did not have a sign in the store front at all. There is not even a number posted on it. We took a couple of drive up and down the road and each time the GPS announced “you have arrived”, we looked around and did not see any restaurant at all.

Paseo, after all, is just a shack. We had not expected that.

Paseo is sometimes described as a Cuban and at times a Caribbean restaurant.


We only found this place after the third day. When we first came by at night, we could not locate the place and left. On the next night when we finally figured out the location (by counting address numbers!), we found out to our chagrin that it was closed. Paseo closes on Sundays and Mondays.


The place is a shack alright, not quite what we expected. He he he … it is certainly not what one would call a family restaurant. We felt kind of out of place here.

The place is so small that they had only six very tiny tables in the entire place. Also, if there is a queue, the queue will snake out of the outlet even if there are 6 people in line.


They accept cash only, so be forewarned. After all, this place is a no frills place. All they care about is good food.


The first order was their Cuban Roll Sandwich. (more…)

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Seattle: The Pacific Science Center

The last place we went to this trip was the Pacific Science Center. Entrance to the Science Center is covered by the CityPass we had. We almost had difficulty getting in because the guy who manned the entrance were quite insistent that we produce our media credentials. This is because the CityPasses that we had been issued were “media passes”. It took him a few phone calls to get clearance for us to get through.


The Pacific Science Center is located in the area of Seattle called the Seattle Center. The Seattle Center is a park, fairground, arts and entertainment center all rolled into one. This is actually the site of the 1962 World’s Fair and when they constructed the Space Needle as the centerpiece structure of the fair.

We had been up the Space Needle before and did not go up again this time.


The entire Pacific Science Center is located in several buildings, each focusing on a particular areas in science. It is designed more for young children.

There are actually TWO IMAX theatres here. Our CityPass admission includes an IMAX movie. Because of time constraint, we opted for the one which is the most convenient timing-wise. We caught a show called “Mummies, Secrets of the Pharoahs”. I enjoyed the IMAX a lot … the chairs were so comfortable and the air conditioning so cooling. Good thing Suanne nudged me everytime I started to snore. No, the show was not boring … it’s just that I was tired.


I don’t know the story behind the structures in the center of the Pacific Science Center. (more…)

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Seattle: Woodland Park Zoo

After breakfast, we headed off to the Seattle Zoo. It is better known as the Woodland Park Zoo and located just north of the city.

I had no idea exactly how big The Woodland Zoo is but it sure felt like it’s a medium sized zoo. We got in using the CityPasses which included entrances to the zoo. Without the CityPasses, it would have costs $11 each.


We did not spend a lot of time in the zoo. I think it was 2 hours or maybe 3 hours max. We like this zoo because it is so compact and well planned. Most important of all, it is very walkable. I remembered how tired we were when we visited the San Diego Zoo which located in a hilly area — lots of steep slope and all.


If you ask me, I would feel that the Woodland Zoo is designed with the young ones in mind. There are a lot of really kid friendly exhibits. Our boys were quite bored because they wanted more exciting stuff.


The last time we were there, there was a flight demonstration at the Raptor Center. Our timing were off. Instead of waiting for the next flight demonstration, we decided to move on. (more…)

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Seattle: Breakfast at Shari’s

Day Four. Today is the last full day we have in Seattle. Sightseeing wise, we only have a couple more places to cover but as far as food is concerned, we still have a long list we wanted to check out.


We started the day with breakfast in Shari’s. For some reason, we had always enjoyed Shari’s when we are in the Washington State. Given a choice of Shari’s, IHOP and Denny’s, we prefer Shari’s. We like the way the restaurant is laid out — it is always housed in a hexagonal building which maximizes use of windows. Breakfasts are to be eaten in bright places — that’s the only way to start the day … bright, sunny and cheery.

We like their menu too. Lots of tantalizingly delicious pictures. We always had a hard time deciding what to order. We wanted everything!


We like their coffee too. I am not sure the background of the Arosta coffee but they are pretty good. I like the consistency of the quality … i.e. they always taste great, always. Some places, we find that the coffee is iffy, sometimes they are great, sometimes not.


Normally, we would order three items to share between the four of us. The first item we had was the Flat Iron Steak and Stuffed Hashbrown Platter. (more…)

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Seattle: Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que

We had a dinch at Famous Dave’s. Dinch is the meal in between Dinner and Lunch. Sometime, one can refer to this meal as Dunch or even Lunchner.

Lee Ping of Hip Food recommended Famous Dave’s to us. At that point of our trip, we were craving for meat, real meat. We had planned to go to one BBQ place. It was either going to be Famous Dave’s or Dixie’s BBQ. Since we were south of Seattle and Dixie’s is in Bellevue, we opted to go to the nearer place. It was a great choice.


Famous Dave’s is a chain restaurant specializing in Southern Style BBQ. The exterior and interior is all western with stone and pine wood panelings. It has a very bright and upbeat atmosphere. Since it was Dinch time, there were no one there but us. The restaurant we were in were quite big with, oh, something like 30-40 tables or so.


On every table is Famous Dave’s very own sauces. We tried everyone of them. The hottest of them all is the Devil’s Spit … which they warned are for adults only. It’s funny the way they describe this … “A generous slathering will make girls prettier and boys stronger, taller and more handsome-or vice versa.”

I like it too the fact they have a roll of paper towels on the table. Real BBQ is meant to be eaten by hands and is supposed to be messy.


We love the atmosphere and the service was great. We ordered some drinks. It happened many time before … (more…)

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Seattle: The Museum of Flight

The highlight of the day is the Museum of Flight. This is the third time we’re here but we’re never bored of this place. For one, I love museums and can spend an entire day checking the exhibits.


The Museum of Flight is located just south of Seattle. I think this museum will interest just about everyone, whether you have any liking for planes or not. It is just so fascinating and they have a very wide range of exhibits. It is not just technical stuff and so it will definitely appeal to just about anyone.

The entrance is $14 for an adult. We used the Seattle CityPass for the entrance. The Seattle CityPass costs about $44 that includes entrances to four other popular tourist attractions.


We got ourselves each an audio guide. It’s just a few bucks each but is an additional cost. Using this is easy … just punch in the number shown next to the exhibit.


The Museum of Flight is divided into several galleries and exhibits. Some indoors and some outdoors — mostly indoors. The grandest gallery is aptly called The Great Gallery. This is a really spectacular sight — a six story high all glass and steel exhibition area with almost 40 full sized planes from all eras.


One could spend two to three hours just going through all the exhibits here alone. (more…)

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Seattle: Portage Bay Cafe

Day Three. The highlight of the day is the Museum of Flight. Since we are traveling southward that day, we decided to go for breakfast at one of the recommended places.


The Portage Bay Cafe is located in the University District. This is supposed to be one of the most popular breakfast places. Parking is a bit of a problem because their parking lot is so puny. We ended up having to do pay parking along the street.


It was quite early in the morning when we got there. Moreover, it was a weekday and so we were seated very quickly. We were quite worried of the reported long waits (over 1 hour) that we had read. Customer service sucks really or maybe we just got a grumpy impatient waitress — she does not seem too happy with us asking about the all-you-can-eat breakfast bar. *shrugs*

Anyway, they serve all-day breakfast here. They prepare the food in an open kitchen and behind the breakfast bar of fruits, whipped cream, maple syrup and what-nots. Because of the hype and prices of this place, we expected that fruits in particular should be fresh, like being prepared just a hour or so ago — some of them looked sadly soggy and decidedly yesterday’s fruits that’s just taken out from a freezer.


Started with the coffee, the litmus test of a good breakfast. (more…)

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Seattle: The Tamarind Tree

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were all dead tired. I guess it was not because of the places we visited today but the past three days. So we decided to go back to the hotel to have a nap and then go out for a late dinner. It was certainly what we all needed.

We woke up at almost 8PM but Arkensen was still very tired and wanted to continue to sleep. We had bought some fried chicken from Albertson’s and left that for him to eat in the hotel while we took a drive to the Tamarind Tree for dinner.


The Tamarind Tree was one of the highly recommended places from readers of chowtimes. They are located in Little Saigon. If not for the GPS, we would probably have rounded the place a few times because this restaurant is hidden behind a strip mall on 1036 S Jackson St.


We were impressed with the restaurant. This is certainly not like any Vietnamese Pho restaurants we had ever been to. The Tamarind Tree is many class above that. I was wondering if there is a place like this in Vancouver, I can’t think of any. This does not appear to me like a family restaurant maybe because this is an upscale Vietnamese restaurant.

For one, this place does not reek of pho soup. You know what I mean? Everytime I have a meal in Vancouver’s Vietnamese restaurant, I always end of having my clothings and jacket smell like pho. I can’t see anyone having pho here. No siree.


The table setting is very nice but am not sure if this is Vietnamese though. We did not have the ubiquitous plastic Sriracha hot chilli sauce bottle here.


But the place is really dark. It was so dark that it’s impossible to read the menu even after moving the menu next to the candle cup … any nearer the menu will probably combust. We had to ask for a torch light and I am amazed that they had to scour for one for us. I was thinking that this place is so dark I was quite sure many customers would have asked for one too. Maybe we’re getting old and our eyesight is failing! Time for us to get one of the credit sized magnifying glass cum lights.

Because of the poor light, many of the pictures ended up fuzzy — I wanted you to know that. I cranked the ISO to 1600 on the camera and yet there was not enough light.


We decided to order their “7 Courses of Beef”. I think it’s their specialty and was recommended by the waiter. The first course was the Beef Salad which came with some kind of fish sauce (above). We were told to pour it over the Beef Salad (below).


Nanzaro had never been one to like vegetables, let alone salad but he absolutely loved this. (more…)

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