My Bo 7 Mon Experience

Beef Seven Ways or Bo 7 Mon is a traditional Vietnamese tasting menu of beef. I’ve seen it available at a handful of Vietnamese restaurants in the Bay Area, but have never been inclined to try it. Don’t get me wrong, I love beef, but seven dishes of beef seems like overkill.  

While on my recent visit to Seattle to run another half marathon, I was in search of somewhere to have a delicious post race meal. My friend and I were thinking steak. I started my internet research and ran across Seven Beef. This Steak Shop is focused on grass fed, dry aged, Washington grown beef. They also have a wood fire oven to cook up their meat. My favorite cut is rib eye, but for some reason I became drawn to the beef seven ways. After running a second half marathon in two weeks, I would deserve seven servings of beef. I made our reservations for last Sunday.

After a celebratory glass of sparkling wine at our hotel, we took Lyft to Seven Beef located in the Central District. We were happy to be seated on a corner where we both had bench seating, but it felt a little removed from the rest of the diners. It was located facing the bar which didn’t have much activity on this evening.  

In lieu of getting a traditional American steak, my friend and I confirmed we would have the Bo 7 Mon. The Goi Bo came out first. It is a beef salad with pickles, fresh lettuce and herbs, and a fish sauce vinaigrette. It was a great start. I loved the mix of fresh vegetables and protein.
The second serving of beef was the Bo Nhung Dam, which is a Vietnamese style carpaccio. The beef is thinly sliced and cooked in a vinegar sauce. I thought it was light and tasty.
The third course included three different types of house ground sausages. It was plated with fresh lettuce and herbs, rice noodles, pickled vegetables, and fresh pineapple. The sausages are meant to be wrapped and enjoyed with all of these goodies. Each sausage was prepared a little differently. The Bo Mo Chai is a house ground beef sausage with pork fat, garlic, and five spice wrapped in caul fat and then grilled over a wood fire. The Bo La Lot is a house ground beef sausage with pork fat and jicama, wrapped in wild betel leaves and then grilled over a wood fire. The Bo Nuong Sa is a grilled house ground beef sausage with pork fat on a lemongrass skewer. All of them were pretty awesome, but if I had to choose a favorite, it would be the Bo La Lot. I really enjoyed the crispy charred betal leaf.  
The final course of beef included Bo Cha Dum, a steamed beef meatball that includes pork fat, woodear mushrooms, and glass noodles and Chao Bo, beef congee with mung beans, green onions, and cilantro. The serving also came with freshly prepared shrimp chips. The congee was a little plain, but once I added the meatball into the congee, it provided me with the right amount of flavor and comfort.  
I was thoroughly impressed by the Bo 7 Mon. I am glad I got to experience this meal in an upscale restaurant. I highly recommend the Bo 7 Mon experience. And if you happen to be in Seattle, try it at Seven Beef.

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Seattle Spots You Don’t Want to Miss

I spent 3 1/2 days in Seattle and 2 1/2 of those days were to attend the International Food Blogger’s Conference (IFBC). This left little time to eat out, but I did manage to squeeze in two new places and make return visits to two others.

The IFBC was filled with evening activities, so I was only able to eat out for dinner my first night. We ate at a sushi restaurant called Tsukushinbo located in the International District. Luckily we had reservations for our party of three so we didn’t have to wait.  

The sushi was fresh and reasonably priced. There was nothing fancy about this place. It was more of a neighborhood type restaurant. My favorite items were the Ora King Salmon sashimi and the uni, sea urchin. This New Zealand salmon was smooth and buttery. The uni tasted like it was fresh out of salt water, but ironically it came from Santa Barbara which I know produces some of the best uni.  

Here’s a collage of the dishes we shared. 
 The other place I tried for the first time is Humble Pie located on the outskirts of the International District. I would call Humble Pie a pizza shack.   
 You order at the window and can eat either in the partially enclosed space or completely outdoors. We ordered the pizza with sopressata, mushroom, kalamata olives, mozarella, and tomato sauce. It ranks pretty high in the thin crust wood fire oven pizza category in my book.  
 I had an hour and a half break for lunch from the conference on one day so I walked over to the famous Pike Place Market. I stood in line at Beecher’s, a cheese shop that also sells a few specialty items like mac and cheese, sandwiches, and soups. I think of them as the Cowgirl Creamery of Seattle. I previously had indulged in their “world’s best mac and cheese.” I wouldn’t call it the world’s best. I decided this time to get their grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. It was a great combination and hit the spot on this somewhat gloomy Seattle day. My tip for the soup is to either skip the croutons or ask for them on the side.

 
The number one thing that comes to mind when I hear the word Seattle is not rain or the Seahawks. It is the donuts from Dahlia’s Bakery. Ok, the second thing is the coconut cream pie. But I seriously cannot get enough of these freshly made to order pillows of goodness. They come hot out of the fryer and are doused in sugar before you get to add the mascarpone cheese and homemade jam. Yum! Go ahead and also order the coconut cream pie.  It’s good to have the ying and the yang.

 
Seattle is a great food city and such a perfect location for the IFBC.

IFBC: Field Trip to Miele

I have been writing my food blog for over five years and decided it was about time that I attend the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) which was held this weekend in Seattle, Washington. I committed to write three blog posts having to do with the conference in order to save some money on the registration fees.  

This post is about my very first activity at the conference. It was an optional excursion that was sponsored by Miele. My first choice of excursions was actually sold out and I chose Miele because they are the makers of my prized vacuum cleaner that I love.   Twenty-one of us hopped on a bus and was taken to the beautiful Miele showroom in Bellevue. There we were greeted with smiles and champagne. We were divided into five groups to cook five different recipes using the hi-tech Miele appliances.
Here were the dishes we made:

Greek Salad

 Pasta Fagioli
 Sliders
 BBQ Pork Buns
 Paella
 It was really fun to cook and then eat with others that have a similar passion for food. In hindsight, I realized that the attendees that I networked with the most by the end of the weekend were at this excursion. It was this interactive event which was the ice breaker. I was glad I signed up for this pre-conference event.  

Pike Place Picks

I am at Sea-Tac Airport waiting for my flight home. Seattle is becoming one of my favorite Cities to visit. It is a lush and beautiful place with great food all around. I didn’t think I wanted to write another Seattle based food blog before I arrived, but I enjoyed some new things I wanted to share.
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All three items I am writing about are local, homemade, and can be found at Pike Place Market. A small Latin grocer called El Mercado Latino sells mostly imported products, but they also sell homemade empanadas and chicharrones. It was the sign for hot ‘n crunchy chicharrones that caught my eye.
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No one had to twist my arm to purchase a bag of salted chicharrones. I left the store snacking on the chicharrones on Post Alley. What was in this bag had all the features I look for in chicharrones-crispiness, lightness, and the perfect amount of salt. They were the best chicharrones I have ever had.
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I immediately went back to the grocer to get the other flavor, chili lime. The flavor was also very good, but I think the regular salted one was better. In this instance, regular is better. Next time I think I will have to try the empanadas.
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RGB stands for Rachel’s Ginger Beer. I love ginger beer and to find a shop that brews their own ginger beer in various favors must be tried in my book. My friend and I got samples of the white peach and the blood orange. I asked the guy at the counter what his favorite flavor was and he replied white peach. I liked it more than the blood orange, so I got a cup of white peach flavored ginger beer.
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I admit that RGB is not spicy like other ginger beers I am used to enjoying. It’s more like a refreshing spritzer with a hint of ginger flavor. I could also get a real beer (with alcohol) for $5 almost anywhere, but I don’t know where else I can get a homemade flavored ginger beer at any price. RGB is more for the experience and on a nice day in Seattle, it could hit the spot.
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My third and last pick is my favorite new discovery. I say it’s my favorite because I was completely surprised by it. My friend was telling me about wanting to get Greek yogurt at a place called Ellenos at Pike’s Place. Seriously? With all the great food in Seattle, she wanted Greek yogurt? I am not even a fan of Greek yogurt.
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I did not plan to purchase any Ellenos Greek yogurt, except they sold me when they gave me a sample in front of their store. It was deliciously creamy with a lot of sweet and a slight hint of tang. They have a variety of toppings, but the mixed berry compote completed it for me. It was so good, that I had it for breakfast yesterday, and I bought one in a mason jar to bring home.
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Seattle’s Best and I’m Not Talking Coffee Part II

If I lived in Seattle, I would have a lot to write about. My four days on holiday in Seattle were full of great places to eat. I could write about Russian Piroshki at Piroshky Piroshky, chowder at Pike Place Chowder, or one of the seven stops we made during our gourmet food tour by Savor Seattle.

Last week I posted about an amazing omakase meal in Seattle. This week I wanted to write something a little more representative about the food in Seattle. I would have to write about Tom Douglas. I didn’t know much about Tom Douglas before I got to Seattle, but with twelve restaurants, it’s hard not to learn quickly.

There’s a television show on the Food Network called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Celebrity chefs will share their favorite things to eat and the food gets profiled. Two of my food idols, Tyler Florence and Giada DeLaurentiis both give credit to Seattle and both has Tom Douglas’ name on it.

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Tyler Florence loves the pizza at Serious Pie, especially the chanterelle mushroom and truffle cheese pizza. On the Savor Seattle food tour, we stopped at Serious Pie and tried Tyler Florence’s favorite as well as the yukon gold potato, rosemary, and olive oil pizza. The pizzas were delicious for me, not as much for my friend who is not a fan of thin crust pizza. It stays on my list and next time I’ll have to try a red pizza or one with tomato sauce.

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Giada DeLaurentiis loves the donuts at Dahlia’s Bakery and I do too! My friend and I decided to stop by and share the half dozen made to order donuts. They are more like beignets. Not only are they hot, sugary, and deep fried, but they come with mascarpone cheese and homemade plum jam. We agreed, they were definitely one of the best things we ever ate.

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I was insistent that we have our final dinner at one of Douglas’ restaurants. I decided it would be Dahlia Lounge, Douglas’ first restaurant which he opened in 1989.

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They offered us an amuse-bouche, which was simply a local grape tomato dressed up on a spoon. It was very sweet and tasted like candy.

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We ordered the sea bar sampler which came with shrimp, Dungeness crab, smoked salmon, geoduck, and Albacore tuna. It was fun to try a variety of different seafoods and their unique take on it.

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We shared two entrees. One was the salmon with green beans, bacon, chanterelle mushroom, sweet corn and huckleberry. It was a nice and delicate dish.

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Our other entree was a pork chop with peaches and peppers in a romesco sauce. This was cooked perfectly and the flavors were spot on.

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We heard a lot of great things about the triple coconut cream pie with white chocolate and toasted coconut so we shared a slice. The fluffy toppings made this dessert light and delicious!

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As a friend summed it up, I experienced a Tom Douglas trifecta! The people of Seattle are lucky to have him and I’m lucky to have enjoyed some of Seattle’s Best!

Seattle’s Best and I’m Not Talking Coffee Part I

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Last week a friend of mine and I took a four day trip to Seattle, Washington. They say August and September are the best months to visit. We had planned to see some Dale Chihuly art, watch a Mariners game, and eat, of course!

Eat is what we did and we did it well. Seattle is known to have fresh seafood so we thought we would give sushi a try. Our first night out, thanks to yelp, we found Nishino. With 4.5 stars and about 250 reviews, it seemed worth a shot. Many yelpers were suggesting the omakase. Omakase means “I’ll leave it to you” in Japanese. At a sushi restaurant, you are giving the Chef the authority to serve you whatever he chooses. I have never ordered omakase and thought there was no better time like the present.

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Course 1
The first plate had three pieces of fish beautifully presented. From left to right we had smelt nanban, uni on top of egg tofu, and hamachi with jalapeño, ginger salsa and a fried garlic chip. I could tell this was a great start to an amazing meal. I am not a fan of uni, but this one was awesome. The combination of the fresh uni on the soft egg tofu was sweet and just melted in my mouth.

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Course 2
Amaebi ceviche with avocado, oranges, red onion, and jalapeño. The ceviche is topped with a shrimp head that is deep fried. I put the shrimp head aside and ate the ceviche. I was feeling adventurous so I ended eating the fried shrimp head minus the eyes. It was crispy and good.
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Course 3
Albacore tuna with an onion soy dressing on a bed of greens and lotus root chips. This was the only fish that Mori, our sushi chef said was from Seattle so I was looking forward to it. This was most delicious and next to the uni tofu was a winner.
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Course 4
Steamed Manila clams with enoki mushrooms and seaweed in a dashi broth. This dish puts your typical miso soup to shame.
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Course 5
Fried oysters and tempura French green beans. This may have been my least favorite dish although I enjoyed the variety.
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Course 6
Curry dusted pan seared halibut cheeks with cilantro aioli. I was amazed by the size of the cheeks. The cheeks on a fish are the sweetest and most tender part of a fish. I was beginning to get quite full, but still enjoyed the flavors of this dish.
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Course 7
Tuna, salmon, and scallop nigiri and tuna, white fish, and hamachi roll. We were on the home stretch now. There was no way I was going to eat the rice from the nigiri. I pulled the sashimi off and ate the tuna, salmon, and scallop. Salmon sashimi is my favorite, but I was a bit disappointed with this one. I’ve had better.
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Course 8
Mango, red bean, and raspberry white chocolate mochi ice cream with assorted fruits.
Although I was really full now, this beautiful dessert plate was put in front of us. I forced myself to eat the first bite of mochi, but I had no problem devouring my share.

This was one of my most amazing meals ever. Definitely my best Japanese meal. I loved the variety, the beauty, and the creativity of the omakase. For $60, it was a steal. I thought to myself, I could fly here to have dinner for about the same price as French Laundry! Well, that would be a little lavish, I guess it will have to be another trip to Seattle including a meal at Nishino.