Tag Archives: lunch

Spicy Tofu Poke Bowls

spicy tofu poke bowl

There are several food trends that hit Hawaii long before they made it to the mainland. Like Bubble Tea. Acai Bowls. And most recently, Poke Bowls.

Poke – which is essentially a raw fish salad – has been a long-time staple in Hawaii. It’s traditionally made with chunks of fresh-caught ahi tuna, but nowadays it’s common to find poke in a variety of different seafood and flavors. No matter what the combination, poke is easy to find at grocery stores or even as an appetizer at most local restaurants.

Recently the poke game was bumped up a level with genius invention of poke bowls. Poke bowls are simply poke served over rice. You guessed it, in a bowl. It’s more of a meal than an appetizer, but however you eat it, it’s delicious. It’s no wonder that poke bowls are served just about anywhere in Hawaii these days. Continue reading


Salads In A Jar {for every day of the week!}

Salad In A Jar

Can we talk chores for a minute? And when I say talk, I mean, um, complain. 

Here’s the deal, guys. I don’t mind taking the dog out, cleaning the bathroom, or washing the car. But for some reason, I simply can’t stand packing lunches every morning before work. Especially before I’ve had any coffee. But because I’m: 1) frugal, and 2) trying to be healthy, I know I have to take this whole lunch-making job seriously. A few weeks back, I started making an effort to pack my lunch for the whole week on Sunday night. And while that might sound slightly crazy, I have to assure you that I’m not eating soggy sandwiches on Fridays. I’m eating salads. In jars. And it’s actually – dare I say it – a fun chore have. Continue reading


Double Dragon: Portland-style bahn mi

This year’s Taste Of The Nation offered bites from over 60 of the area’s top chefs and restaurants. One of my stand-out favorites was a surprisingly delicious sample from Double Dragon. This underdog stole the show by serving an open-faced version of it’s Portland-style bahn mi sandwiches.

Sam and I couldn’t wait to try the real deal, and arranged a double-date with one of our favorite couples to see what these sandwiches were really about. Double Dragon did not disappoint in delivering “crazy” bahn mi sandwiches as promised on the website.

The signage and decor was adorable, but the sandwiches were the clear visual take away:

{Chicken Chorizo Bahn Mi}
{Meatball Bahn Mi}

Sam’s Chicken Chorizo actually tasted like chorizo. The Veggie Bahn-Mi was like eating a fresh, spicy salad. But the group winner, which is also apparently the staff pick – was the Meatball Bahn Mi. It’s not the most traditional, but the homemade meatballs, aioli, jalepeno and pickled vegetables were a killer combination. It was spicy but balanced. Although I loved the heat, I’d recommend requesting light sauce if you’re a spice wuss.

Speaking of spicy, each of the sandwiches came with a side of spicy-potato chips. And speaking of being a wuss, I was glad that we had also ordered the jicama salad to cool the fire in my mouth. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. It was totally worth it.

You know what else was totally worth it? The toasted coconut cookie (from Le Cookie Monkey), and a glass of homemade sweet tea. The crew at Double Dragon nailed this savory/sweet drink made of house-made black tea infused with lemongrass and basil.

The reviews of Double Dragon in Portland have been mixed, but here’s my two cents. I’ve never been to Vietnam, and I’m sure these are not traditional Vietnamese sandwiches (per the sign at the door). But, any sandwich that packed with flavor is definitely worth $7.50 in my book. Add in the cute decor and patio – and this seriously might be my new summer hang out.


Tilikum Place Cafe, Seattle

Mental note: If you scribble important blog notes on the back of your Mapquest directions – make sure and not THROW AWAY the scratch paper when you clean out your purse.
True story. Sam and I were up in Seattle and made a special trip to Tilikum, which had been recommended by several friends. We had one of the best lunches I’ve had in a long time. It was such a delightful experience that I took extra time detailing the menu, each item we ordered, the tastes and smells, and even the interactions with our waitress (who was a dear!). Despite the fact that I didn’t have my notebook (the lunch was a surprise, planned by Sam), I took notes on scratch paper from my purse (aka our directions to the restaurant) – and I was really excited to share my experience with each of you. However,  sometime between that lunch and our drive back down to Portland a few days later, I decided I didn’t need the directions anymore and carelessly threw away the paper. DOH!
So without many details, here’s a brief – but totally worthwhile – account of our lunch.
Tilikum is an unassuming French bistro, just a short walk away from the heart of downtown Seattle. It’s adorable and inviting, and the kind of place that you’d have to stop to peer in while walking by.  Inside the small-but-cozy restaurant, we were greeted by a warm staff who seated us at a table by the window, looking out at the Seattle Space Needle. It was one of those rare sunny and clear winter days in the northwest, and the view of the Space Needle was spectacular.
Although we showed up at noon expecting lunch, we were greeted with a Saturday brunch menu. The menu included traditional French breakfasts,  salads, quiche and soup, plus daily specials including fresh pastries and crab eggs Benedict. I wouldn’t consider us mid-day drinkers, but since the menu featured mimosas as well, we went ahead and started our Seattle visit with a toast.
We’ve heard wonders about Tilikum’s butternut squash quiche, which unfortunately was already sold out by the time we got there (a testament to restaurant’s philosophy for making everything fresh daily). Sam ordered plan B, the Roast Chicken Salad with potatoes,  peppers, boiled egg and aioli. This was truly  a French style  salad – meaning it wasn’t really a salad at all. I think Sam was surprised when it came out looking more like a chicken dish than a pile of lettuce. But let me tell you, he was not disappointed. It was totally delicious.
{Roast Chicken Salad}
I ordered the special soup of the day, a Kale Garden Vegetable Soup. Sounds pretty simple, but it was so incredibly flavorful and satisfying. Filled with kale, carrots, sweet potatoes and more, I would make this soup weekly if I could get my hands on the recipe. The “salad” I ordered was almost a European style cole slaw; a mix of cabbage, pistachios, bacon and feta cheese with a light vinaigrette dressing. Wowza, Another winning entrée.
{Cabbage Salad}
{Kale Garden Vegetable Soup}
Each dish seemed so effortless and simple, and yet so flavorful and detailed at the same time. There were lots of “oohing” and ”aawing,” and plenty of plate passing during our meal. And Sam doesn’t like sharing his food, so the mimosa must have really got to him.
{French Press Coffee}
As if the lunch couldn’t get any better, we topped it off with French press coffee, as well as ice cream and Cinnamon Chocolate Chip cookies made fresh in the back kitchen. I stuck with good ole vanilla ice cream, while Sam was adventurous and ordered the cranberry sorbet. A totally extravagant treat to end our fabulous lunch, which seemed fitting.
{Tilikum’s Homeade Vanilla Ice Cream}
{Cranberry Sorbet}
{Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookie}
There are about a million other details missing from this scrumptious meal, but if I had to sum it all up: GO THERE. You won’t be disappointed! This is our new favorite spot in Seattle.