Finding an interesting and original place to eat in the heart of the Seattle’s downtown shopping proves difficult for us. There is an overwhelming amount of sub par Thai, chain steak houses, sushi, or burger joint options, most of which are overpriced and unsatisfying. This explains why we watched with heightened anticipation the final construction touches on the Olive 8 Hyatt hotel/condo living with Urbane Restaurant and Bar. As we would walk by and peer through the large glass windows our excitement increased. We regularly attend the MET opera Live in HD at AMC Pacific Place 11 for the encore performances during a week night and need a quick dinner prior to 6:30 or 7 PM show. After exhausting our efforts on Capitol Hill restaurant locations we visited Urbane prior to the MET’s Les contes d’Hoffmann performance. Visually, the restaurant is extremely pleasing with sharp clean lines, contemporary serving ware, and a spacious seating area. On first glance the happy hour menu and dinner menu looked creative, satiating, and very affordable. A large pint of micro-draft beer at $3 is the best value. We ordered a couple items on the happy hour menu and one second course plating from the dinner menu. Read more…
In the summer of 2006, Robin and I were fortunate to travel East to China for a 3 1/2 week trip of backpacking adventure. We traveled to big cities (Beijing and Shanghai), visited iconic sights (Terracotta warriors in Xian), and traveled to the country-side. One of our favorite stops on this trip was to the Chinese province of Sìchuān (四川, meaning = 4 circuits of rivers). During this visit, we stayed in the province’s capitol Chengdu, hiked the Buddhist holy mountain Emei Shan, and visited WuLong- home of the Panda.
Located in southwest China, the Sìchuān province is most famous for their distinct food. It is often characterized by locals and natives alike as being spicy, hot, fresh, and fragrant. Some of the best, most interesting food we had in China was while we visited the Sìchuān region. A few months ago Jonathan Kauffman (formerly of Seattle Weekly) reviewed “Spiced” restaurant in Bellevue. His review brought us back to our travels in 2006, and had us yearning to try Spiced.
When you walk into Spiced you are greeted by a friendly woman and a full case of specialized cold items. The selection was daunting, but we managed to narrow the choices down to seaweed, cucumbers, and shaved pork ears. The seaweed was chilled nicely, slightly crunchy and a bit spicy. The cucumber dish was refreshing, and the pork ears is a delicate mix of sweet and salty.
We decided to order 2 main dishes and a vegetable side. The menu, like at most chinese restaurants is huge. But based on the reviews, we had heard it was best to select from the “Chef’s Special” and/or Casserole section. We ordered the Lamb Dry Pot, the Chong Ching Chicken fried cubes, and the chinese celery with chinese vegetables.