Leson here, holding the quill for Stein. Like me – and unlike the millions of Americans who celebrate Valentine's Day (or as Stein calls it, “National Emotional Extortion Day” ) by making reservations – we prefer to stay at home and cook.
If our respective spouses are lucky, we might even treat them to rousing chorus of “My Funny Valentine.” Or the Weird Nance Lesovic version of “My Romance.” Which, not to get all romantic on you, I sung to my husband on our wedding day with its original lyrics — in front of 130 guests. Not a dry eye in the house!
As I told Stein this week, I make up for not going out to restaurants on Valentine’s Day — an annual tradition — by dining out a whole heckuva lot the rest of the year. Because I live in Edmonds and my restaurant-meal-of-choice is inevitably Asian, I’ve got a bonanza of favorites to choose from, and I mentioned several of them to Stein.
I also give a vigorous nod to its neighbor-around-the-corner, the oddly named Looking for Chai (yes, they have bubble tea, but go for the hotpot and other specialties from the Taiwanese menu).
When I want Hong Kong-style soup noodles with dumplings, I head straight for Wonton Noodle House, just north of the aforementioned. And though I failed to mention it to Stein, I’d also direct you to its next-door-neighboring café, Qin (formerly known as Biang!), where their handmade noodles are a big draw.
When I’m too lazy to make my own Chinese dumplings from scratch (or wait in line
at Din Tai Fung), I head straight to Dumpling Generation, a petite café whose owner is especially friendly to newcomers.
Korean food aficionados have a lot of restaurants to choose from north (and south) of Seattle, but you’re likely to find me next door to Dumpling Generation at Hosoonyi, where I’ve been eating spicy tofu soup and a stellar variety of banchan for nearly 20 years.
Don’t believe me? Just get a gander at the byline on the Seattle Times review posted behind the reception desk. The one in which I sing the praises of Hosoonyi and lead off with: “Quick. Name two Korean restaurants. Bet you can't.”
I wrote that in 1999, long before Korean food became trendy and every hipster in town (as well as this old broad) frequented the new wave of contemporary Korean restaurants, among them Joule (in Wallingford), Cha:n (in Pike Place Market), Girin (in Pioneer Square) and Trove (on Capitol Hill).
Speaking of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood – and it’s impossible to talk about restaurants without mentioning it – I also told Stein about Nue, where the menu is a global infusion of street-food-style eats including a tower of finger-lickin’ Chengdu chicken wings that take their cue from the Sichuan playbook.
The next time Stein comes to Seattle, I plan to introduce him to that Vietnamese comer, Stateside, whose spicy chili-cumin pork ribs are the talk of the town for good reason. Though I’m sure he’d be equally crazy for the Sichuanese cuisine at Jerry Traunfeld’s Capitol Hill newcomer, Lionhead.
So, Happy Valentine’s Day. Happy Year of the Monkey. And happy to hear all about your favorite Asian food restaurants, so do chime in.
“My romance doesn’t need a soufflé rising in vain, nor a fleet of small plates meant to remind me of Spain. No `Right this way!’ No amusé. No `Specials are’ . . .” No wait in the bar.” – Weird Nance Lesovic