Revel in Seattle

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My last meal on this trip to the Pacific Northwest was brunch at a trendy place called Revel in Seattle. It’s about three miles away from Downtown in an area called Fremont. Revel serves Korean fusion food. My friend and I sat at the kitchen counter where food was also being plated. This gave us a great view of the chefs in action.

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I wasn’t planning to have a cocktail, but the Kimchi Bloody Mary was calling to me. I asked the waitress what she thought of it and she said it was really good. Why not? It was my last day of vacation. It was a pretty drink that came with an olive and Chinese long beans. The drink was lined with Korean chili powder as well. I’m glad I had it because it was really tasty and packed a punch.

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My friend and I decided to share two dishes. I ordered the Revel ramen with pork belly and kimchi. The ramen had a good consistency, the pork belly was sliced thin and melts in your mouth, the kimchi was a good balance of spice, and the broth was flavorful and comforting. It also came with a perfect soft boiled egg.

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My friend ordered the short ribs and eggs, arugula, chimichurri, and rice. I was watching the chefs throw marinated short ribs on the grill and slice them. I also had a great view of them constantly fry up perfect pairs of eggs in pans. I was anxiously awaiting this rice bowl. The flavor of the beef was spot on and the runny yolk mixed with the rice sent me home. I thought the chimichurri sauce gave it a pretty green color as well as a hint of tartness. It also had me thinking rice and beef make for a good breakfast.

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After traveling for a week, this was such a great meal to end my vacation. Revel transcends Asian comfort food into hip and cool.

Brooklyn Girl Eatery: A Must In San Diego

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So my old roommate who still lives in San Diego had posted something on Facebook that really intrigued me. She called it Pie in a Jar. I was about to spend 24 hours in San Diego and that could mean finding out what Pie in a Jar was all about at Brooklyn Girl Eatery, the newest restaurant in the Mission Hills neighborhood. I attempted to call and make a reservation but had no luck getting through. Open table was not working either. I texted my friend to see what my chances are for a walk-in. Lo and behold, my friend’s husband knows the owner and hooked me up with a reservation for two. Score!

Upon arriving early, the manager Michael gave us a warm friendly welcome even acknowledging that we came from San Francisco. Since our table was not quite ready, he gave us a tour of the restaurant in this beautiful urban space. I was feeling quite special. Although we were told we had a five minute wait, we actually ended up waiting about twenty minutes. I think there was a mistake on the hostess’ part. I didn’t mind too much because I had anticipation and excitement keeping me busy.

When we sat down, we received complimentary flavored popcorn. I love popcorn and thought this was a fun surprise. It was cutely displayed on top of paper that had The New York Times printed on it.

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Before we even ordered, two dishes were brought out to us compliments of the kitchen. I was really feeling special. One appetizer was the B.G special hummus which came with flatbread, crackers, and plantain chips. The hummus was great and I also enjoyed all three of the homemade crisps.

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The second free appetizer was a salad called Butter and Bacon. It had butter lettuce, marinated cherry tomatoes, pancetta, fried capers, goat cheese, and a sherry herb dressing. This was a simple fresh salad where surprising the marinated cherry tomatoes was the star.

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We did get to order some other items. We got the classic margherita pizza. It’s been awhile since I have eaten anything that tasted like a New York pizza until B.G.’s. There was a good amount of tomato sauce, the texture was chewy, and the bottom crust remained crisp.

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We shared the Brown Stone Brick Chicken. This was absolutely fabulous. The crispiness of the skin and the tender juicy meat was perfection. There is not much else to say.

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We had a side or what they call “Me Too!” of Wood Roasted Cauliflower. It seems these days that cauliflower is the new vegetable. It’s good for me when done right. These were fine.

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Although we were past full, I had not completed my mission yet. Key Lime Pie in a Jar was calling my name. In fact it was screaming my name 800 miles away. It was a beautiful dessert both inside and out. The balance of sweet and tart was just right.

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Brooklyn Girl Eatery is the best addition to San Diego and I look forward to more visits.

Chicken Buns: Good Luck Dim Sum

The best area for Chinese food in San Francisco has not been Chinatown for a number of years. Those that seek out good Chinese food are likely to make a trek over to the Inner Richmond area. It has also been referred to as the “New Chinatown.”

What lies between me and New Chinatown, San Francisco is a bridge and a thirty minute drive so my trips out there are fairly infrequent.

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My friend introduced me to the chicken buns from Good Luck Dim Sum in the Inner Richmond and I was hooked. What is nice is that when she is in the area, she’ll text me and ask if I want her to pick me up some chicken buns. The answer is always yes!

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As a kid, I remember not liking chicken buns because they were overwhelming, the size of a grapefruit, too much bun, and inside was also an egg that seemed to make it dry. This was not a snack item, it was more like a meal.

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I like the chicken buns at Good Luck Dim Sum. These are more like the size of a tennis ball. In the center of the soft white bun is a chicken based meatball boasting with flavors that include green onions and ginger. I actually like having one for breakfast or a mid day snack. They are also inexpensive, three for $1.60.

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I tend to buy more than I can eat at once. I reheat them by wrapping a wet paper towel around one chicken bun and microwaving it for about thirty seconds. They also freeze pretty well.

Go early on the weekends because they tend to run out in the afternoon.

My Weight Watchers Journey

I have been unhappy with my weight for the past ten to fifteen years. I never considered myself overweight, but for the past few years, I have seen myself go from a size 2 to a size 6. I gave myself plenty of excuses to eat whatever I wanted and ignore my weight gain. Turning 40 was one and starting a food blog was another.

Last year, a size 6 started getting tight and a size 8 was more comfortable. I became somewhat depressed. I asked myself when would this stop? I ignored my weight and focused instead on the compliments I received about my food blog. Late October of last year, I decided I had to do something about my situation. My sister had recently joined Weight Watchers and a friend at work was joining Weight Watchers at Work. I would join Jennifer Hudson and millions of others.

I felt like a smoker who was going cold turkey. I ate small portions and kept track of everything I ate. I walked 3 miles a day and on weekends I walked more. I was feeling good and was dropping about 2 pounds a week for several weeks. Dropping pounds was keeping me motivated as well as my coworker, my sister, and my Weight Watcher at Work group. I was feeling great about being able to lose weight and maintain my food blog. I still ate bacon and other things I love, just not as much as I used to. It was a delicate balance.

In mid-March, my coworker and I reached our goal weights. I dropped a little more than 18 pounds. We had to maintain our weight for six weeks, only being able to fluctuate up and down by 2 pounds. At that point we would become Lifetime members of Weight Watchers and no longer have to pay dues. My coworker and I made a pack at the start that we would celebrate in Napa when we made Lifetime.

Last weekend, we celebrated our victory. We shopped for our new sizes at the Napa outlets and went over to Yountville to have lunch at Bouchon Bakery, facials at the Villagio Inn and Spa, and dinner at Redd Wood.

It was a great day and here are the photos of what we ate at Red Wood. We started with fried cauliflower and Brussels sprouts which was so delicious. It reminded me of flavors you get when eating fried calamari.

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We shared a lardo, mushroom, spinach, and fontina pizza. This was a white pizza and pretty good. The pizza crust was excellent and I would not hesitate to try other toppings in the future.

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Next came crispy spicy chicken wings with a calabrian chili sauce. These were like upscale buffalo wings and very tasty, packing a punch.

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We were celebrating, so we had to have dessert. We enjoyed the strawberry rhubarb crisp with vanilla ice cream. It was the perfect seasonal dessert to end our day trip to Napa.

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Between the two of us, we ate every bite of what you see in the photos. Not bad for the two of us on Weight Watchers who for the past several months have made mindful choices and continue to do so.