Tag Archives: lunch

Ramen Noodles for Bachelors

Being a single guy living alone, I’m able to eat anything I want for dinner. I admit to eating some strange things now and then, but this stuff takes the cake.

Someone suggested I try Ramen Noodles. Okay, fine! I headed to the store and found out that you can buy like a case of these little packets of food stuffs for around a dollar. I only bought one, though, to see if I would even like it.

After opening the package and taking a bite, I couldn’t figure out why they tasted so plain. It says “Chicken Flavor” right on the front! Thank goodness the chat room pointed the way to the little packet of flavoring still inside the original package.

Dumping half of that in my mouth didn’t really make it taste like chicken, though. It just tasted like I licked a big block of salt. What’s up with that?

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong here, but I don’t think I’ll be crunching on these again any time soon.

How to Save Money and Still Eat Well

Geek!This is Rogue Puppet’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Today, everyone is looking for ways to stretch a dollar further. Here are some ways you can get more for less – right at home, in your kitchen.

(1) USE your kitchen.

If you are in the habit of eating out for dinner 2, 3, 5 or even 7 times a week, it’s time to cut back. Those drive-by meals from Burger King or Subway while you are running the kids from one place to another? Those count as eating out as well. Dining out can be fun, but that gets expensive quickly. Modify that pattern to accommodate a special social event to be shared with friends or family instead. Think you are too tired, too busy or too clueless to cook? I say: Balderdash! With a little planning, you can choose and make meals that are easy (or even ones that cook while you are gone at work). Clueless? The Internet is a vast resource of recipes and how-tos, including step-by-step video guides. You can even get a Nintendo game that will teach you how to shop and cook. There is no excuse not to try.

(2) Share in the family love.

Most stores (and even some butchers) offer items in bulk or “family-sized” packaging at lower costs. While it may be difficult for you to make good use of a three gallon jar of mayonnaise (does ANY family use that much?!), there are some such items that you can use – no matter what your family size is. Buy the family pack of meat, break it down at home, and freeze it in individual packets that fit your family’s size. Lots of other items freeze well that you might not have considered, too. Try re-sizing and freezing things like spaghetti sauce, baked goods (bread), or even cheese.

(3) No Bones about it.

For many, cooking with meat means buying pre-prepped skinless, boneless cuts and using those in recipes. Relying on the meat processing company to do all your meat prep for you adds a lot of cost. You can generally save a lot on meat if you are willing to skin and de-bone it yourself. Even better, for chicken, buy the whole chicken and either cut it up or cook it whole. Being willing to get your hands just a little dirty can save you real dollars on your food bill.

(4) Cook from scratch.

For some, cooking dinner means opening a frozen meal and heating it up. While this is convenient (and sometimes tasty), it is still an expensive proposition. Most dinner recipes involve less than 15 minutes of prep and about 30-45 minutes of cooking time. If you get home late in the day (and are really hungry), consider cooking with a crock pot. For a small investment, you have a countertop appliance that can slow cook marvelous meals that are ready to eat as soon as you get home. Most people think of things like chili or stew in a crock pot, but the possibilities are nearly endless – and include things like pot roast, roasted chicken, pork chops or even vegetable dishes. Do a quick search on “crock pot recipes” and you will get thousands of results. For days, with no time to prep in the morning, freeze leftovers in meal-sized portions for your own version of “frozen dinners.”

(5) Brown Bagging, FTW.

Thus far, we’ve largely covered dinners, but making and taking your lunch to work (instead of buying something while at work) is the next extension for saving money. If you are not lucky enough to work from home, and have to eat lunch far from your own kitchen, take a bit of home with you. Instead of a $7-15 lunch, you can have a meal for a couple of bucks. Tired of bland sandwiches? Use a tortilla and make it a wrap! Fill a thermos with soup or stew – or chili. A tossed salad with the dressing on the side paired with some homemade bread is a winner any day. You think outside the box all the time to solve problems at work, so have fun getting creative with your lunch as well.

Put some (or all) of these steps into action and you will find that your eating expenses will quickly decline, but your eating experiences will grow.

Gnomedex Will Feed You Dinner

Okay, it’s not enough that we’re giving you breakfast and lunch at Gnomedex, but Ponzi just told me that we’re also giving you dinner on Friday and Saturday night!!! It’s not going to be a three-course layout either night, but should prove to be something substantial (far beyond carrot sticks and dip). She says: “it probably won’t look like dinner, but it’ll be filling.” I’ll have the menus posted soon enough so you can decide for yourself, but we’re basically telling everybody that we treat all Gnomedex attendees like VIPs. This includes all Cove Gnomedexers, too. Now you wonder why we’re still looking for sponsors – this food extravaganza is killing our budget!

Food Seattle

Got a note from Kevin Freeman the other day. Don’t know if I can help him directly, I think I can help him indirectly:

Chris: As we climb the search engine ladder for the key words “seattle restaurants” I always see your name so I thought I would introduce myself. My name is Kevin Freeman and I have Chron’s disease and have created this new concept to help others like myself dine out with special dietary needs. Here is a recent article done by the Vancouver Sun. We are entering into a new market in Seattle and need assistance. Mainly in the way of word of mouth or a blog entry also we do require photos of restaurants. If you do know of anyone that would want to be paid to go and cold call restaurants in Seattle, take photos and fill out information on our free sign up page that would be great. We are a start up company and cannot pay a lot but for part time work it pays ok. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon

There are so many great restaurants here in Seattle. Sometimes, we just don’t know where to go. Ponzi likes to try new restaurants all the time – but if I’m not in the mood for something, it’s difficult to make an unfamiliar choice. Sushi is our trump card.

Seattle Restaurants

I received an email this evening from a friend who’s visiting Seattle in a few weeks. She wanted to know what I recommended for restaurants in the area. I started to scribble a couple of names, but the effort soon ballooned into a full-blown list. I’m sharing it here for your digestion (pun intended). This way, if anybody else ever asks me for good “local” food, I can just point ’em here.

For seafood, I’d recommend Salty’s on Alki – great view of downtown seattle and the Sound at night. Great food, too. 🙂 I like their seared ahi, but (then again) that’s pretty much all I get there. Ponzi always seems to enjoy the salmon or white fish. The valet parking is nice.

For fondue, try The Melting Pot. If you’ve never been to a fondue restaurant before, it’s worth trying. Ponzi found out about this place while she was visiting Thailand (!) – so we went there last night and really enjoyed ourselves. Be prepared to stuff yourself silly. This is a “must” for any cheese lover. I’d recommend going as a couple, but not as a double-date – because everybody pretty much shares the same pot of everything.

For sushi, I’d recommend Chinoise on Madison. I personally love sitting at the sushi bar and ordering “Omakase,” which you should be able to do at any sushi bar. That’s when the chef makes whatever he things is good – and you get to experience great flavors that aren’t on the menu. We also like Toyoda, Ototo, I Love Sushi (Bellevue, NOT Seattle), Saitos, Maneki, Rain, and Kozue (Kozui?). I’ve heard “Wasabi” is great, but it sounds overpriced and too trendy.

For dim sum, it’s all about Top Gun. Let me put it to you this way: I’m usually the only gringo in the joint when we go. We’ve tried a few places in Chinatown, but they weren’t as nice. Sunday mornings at Top Gun are a madhouse. Worth doing, even if you’ve never had dim sum before (which is more of a breakfast/brunch meal).

For pho, it all depends on your taste. “What the Pho” in Bellevue is a pretty safe flavor. “Pho Bac” is also good in the International district, I hear. If you’ve never had Pho before, it’s pretty much soup with a lot of noodles and a meat of choice. There’s a lot of pho out there. Try the young coconut juice if you go.

For doughnuts, try Mighty-O Donuts. They make ’em without hydrogenated oils, so they’re “healhtier” for you. I can’t eat any other donuts in the city, so this is pretty much it for me. If you’re gonna be decadent in the morning, you might as well minimize the artery damage.

For coffee, Zoka beats the hell out of Starbucks. I don’t drink it anymore, but Ponzi would make me drive all the way across town just so she could have something from Zoka – passing a million Starbucks en route. The one in Tangletown (north of the Wallingford district) is across the street from Mighty-O.

For steak, I’ve always had an awesome filet at the Pampas Room (which I believe is downstairs from El Gaucho). I’d probably recommend a chain like Morton’s or Ruth’s Chris, too. The Keg also has a pretty good steak, if you’re into the “down home” atmosphere.

For online dinner reservations, by the way, I’ve been using OpenTable. You don’t need to sign up for an account, and it’s got a great range of tastes for you to choose from if you’re in the mood for something new or different. I found out about it when I was looking to make reservations for a place in Las Vegas. Wonderful free service here.

For slightly “trendy” dining with good flavor and good prices, try the Black Bottle in downtown Seattle. Their potato and cauliflower dish is awesome (and I hate cauliflower), as is their bread with sundried cherries… oh, and the hanger (?) steak is also amazing. I was quite suprised – and judging from the crowd, this is a real winner.

For Italian, Machiaveli’s. It also happens to be across the street from “The Chapel,” which used to be a funeral home – where Bruce Lee lived and (subsequently) had his funeral. How’s that for a little bit of history? There’s also a nice Italian place kitty-corner from the Seattle Public Library, but its name escapes me at the moment.

For Pizza, it really depends where you are. I’ve personally fallen in love with All-Purpose Pizza – “Ked’s Fave,” in particular. It may not be close to where you’re staying, though – and the concierge may be able to recommend something a bit closer that might be just as good. Just avoid Pizza Hut if you can at all help it – or any nationwide chain, for that matter.

For late night dining, try the reuben sandwich at 13 coins. We’ve been there a few times when we were feeling like having comfort food. Decor hasn’t been updated since the late ’50s (or so it seems). If you’re hungry at 3AM, this is pretty much the only game in town I’d recommend without reservation. We’ve been there a few times, but only once “after hours.”

For Ethiopian, get over to Queen Sheba. If you’ve never tried Ethiopian, it’s very spicy (and very tasty). I’d recommend getting the meat and veggie samplers, and you’ll be set for four people. For two, I’d likely choose one over the other.

For casual dining for lunch or dinner, try BluWater in Leschi (not the other one). It’s always filling. Even though we kinda live down the street from it, we don’t go there as often as we could – largely because there are so many other great restaurants in Seattle for us to try. We’ve been here for a year, and probably sampled 1/100th of what’s out there.

For burgers, it’s Dick’s Drive-in. They’re not gonna be gigantic burgers, but for fast food, this is excellent. Try one while you’re here, if you can. Kidd Valley is also pretty good (and Ponzi likes their garlic fries). For Hot Dogs, go to Diggity Dog Hot Dogs – which is near Zoka and Mighty-O.

For Russian, go with My Favorite Piroshki. They’re like sandwiches, with many of them comprised of ground beef and potatoes. If you’ve never had one, they might be worth trying – just to say you had one.

For Greek, you must go to the Mediterranean Kitchen. We found this place on accident and fell in love with it instantly. The baba ganoush is out of this world. Great prices, greasy spoon atmosphere. When we’re doing something in the neighborhood, we always stop by – if only for the baba ganoush. Did I mention that I love their baba ganoush?

For Mexican, we’re happy with any Taco Del Mar. 😉 I haven’t heard of many great Mexican restaurants up here in Seattle. Everybody seems to be disappointed. Then again, many of us have never had authentic Mexican – so we’re happy with whatever we find. Again, stay away from chains.

For Chinese, you must go to Bamboo Garden. It’s Chinese cuisine – with no meat. You’d be surprised at how realistic the sweet and sour chicken tastes. We don’t really eat a lot of Chinese, but when we do, this is typically where we go. I’ve also heard that Seven Stars is also unique.

For something unique, try Coastal Kitchen. Every few months, their menu changes to highlight a different culture! Right now, they’re serving Portugese. The Chow Foods restaurant family has always had great food, including the 5 Spot. This would be a great choice if you’re not sure what you want to eat.

For Thai, Thai Ginger or Wild Ginger are pretty good. If you want authentic Thai, I’d recommend Thai Heaven. Ponzi’s really picky when it comes to Thai – because she’s had the real deal. She doesn’t like Racha Thai at all, but I think it’s great.

For a general dining experience, we found McCormick & Schmick’s to be good (and they’re the ones who cater Gnomedex). Some might find it a bit stuffy, and some younger friends of ours said that it seemed to cater to the 60+ crowd, but I would certainly go back if given the opportunity. We had lunch there, but I’d imagine the dinner would be just as nice.

For fusion, try Seastar restaurant for lunch or dinner. Try the deviled eggs – topped with Tobiko! This is over in Bellevue again, but I get a kick out of the lamps – which remind me of the miracle of birth. You have to see it to really understand what I mean. Anyway, Seastar is a good choice for a good meal – alebeit a little overpriced, IMHO.