Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pico de Gallo

A couple weeks ago, I bought something I've wanted for a long time. I've wanted this item for over 2 years, but every time I was ready to buy it, my school tuition notice would magically appear in my inbox with impeccable timing. That money I saved up could no longer be used for that one thing I wanted, instead, it went into helping pay for that tuition. Each and every time this happened, it was another chance that slipped away from me.

This time was different. I've waited long enough and I had to have it. What did I buy? A DLSR Camera! After asking for advice from a couple of friends, I decided on getting the nikon D3200. It wasn't exactly my first choice but all my friends brought up good points. Did I know how to use a DSLR? No. Did I want to realllyyy want to get into photography? Not really. Did I want to spend over $1000? Heck No! The nikon D3200 seemed like a good choice, a good entry level camera and decently priced. I could always upgrade if I wanted but it was best to learn the basics first.

I still have no idea what I'm doing with this thing. I have tons to read up on and a DVD that came with the package to watch. This Pico de Gallo was my first attempt with a DSLR, so hopefully it doesn't look like crap.

I love Pico de Gallo. The juicy tomatoes, crunchy onion, spicy jalapeno and fresh cilantro are one great combo. Give me tortilla chips and some Pico de Gallo and I'll be good. This week I ate a quesadilla with a boat load of this Pico de Gallo 3 times...I think that says a lot. Not to mention, this recipe is beyond easy to make.  

AJ's Secret:
  • My mom has always told me she learned that the harder the jalapeno, the spicier it will be. Whether this is true or not is completely up in the air. All the jalapenos around our house has been hard and spicy so maybe it's true?
  • Some people seed the tomatoes and I say why? I personally don't mind the seeds and it's one less step to do. If you're picky about the seeds, go ahead and squeeze them out or simply run your fingers in the inside to ease them out and dice them up from there.
  • Make this Pico de Gallo in advance, at least 2 hours, for the flavors to marry. It's definitely one of those things that gets better with time, if it lasts that long that is.

Pico de Gallo
Recipe by Me

4 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1/2 a lime
1 tsp salt

Mix the tomatoes, onion and cilantro in a bowl. Add in the seeded and minced jalapeno to your desired heat level, as well as the juice from 1/2 a lime and the salt. Mix the pico de gallo until everything is combined thoroughly. Adjust for seasoning if needed. This can be made well in advance.

-Aaron John

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mexico Cantina y Cocina

Last week I talked about meeting up with my Chem study group and I left you with eating Sushi. Well, here's where we ate after!

We decided to eat at Pacific Place in Downtown Seattle because they have a parking garage and the last person to arrive was driving into town. Downtown parking is a nightmare so convenience is key. However, pay attention to parking rates when parking in garages in downtown and keep track of your arrival time!

Because it was so nice out when we came, we decided to eat out on their balcony. We were seated and out came the tortilla chips and salsa. My friend A. said the tortilla chips had a lime flavor to them and I thought he was crazy because I didn't taste the lime on the chip I ate. However, after taking another chip, he was right! The lime flavor was more prominent on the second chip I had. That added lime flavor is something I haven't seen at mexican restaurants so it was an interesting surprise. The salsa was great as well.

When it came down to ordering, I opted for two enchiladas, one with chicken and their poblano cream sauce and another with beef with red chile sauce and sour cream. The chicken enchilada was fantastic and I loved the poblano cream sauce. Slightly spicy and creamy which paired well with the chicken. The beef w/ red chile sauce was just alright. The sauce was a bit bitter for my taste and had a strange after taste which I wasn't fond of. The rice was fantastic and so were the beans. I loved how you were able to see whole beans which was a nice change from completely mashed ones.

The service was great as well. Our waiter was attentive, personable and even promised us a song and dance. Dinner theater anyone? He sang a song from the cartoon South Park but didn't dance. At least he tried?

My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Mexico Cantina y Cocina
Pacific Place Center - Level 4
600 Pine St
Seattle, WA 98101
Telephone: (206) 405-3400

-Aaron John

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sushi Bella

I love sushi! Whether it's sushi that comes around on that conveyor belt or sushi that will cost you $50, I love the sweet and tangy rice, the oceany flavor that the seaweed imparts and of course, the fresh seafood that fills them, not to mention the veggies such as cucumber that gives a fresh crunch and avocado that gives a nice creaminess.

On a little reunion of my Chem study group, we decided to meet up in Downtown around Pikes Place market for some dinner. We were just going to walk around and see what was good to eat. I arrived in Downtown and so did my friend C. While waiting for the last person to arrive, we were starving so we decided to walk around and find a snack to eat while we waited.

While walking down Western Avenue, just a couple blocks from Pikes, we found Sushi Bella, looked up it's ratings and decided to give it a try. We walked in, ordered a california roll and a tuna roll and it cost a little over $10.

The sushi was delicious and the fish was fresh being that Pikes Place was just down the street. The owners were friendly as well and overall, there wasn't anything bad to say about this place. With decent prices, this is a great find to have a small snack when you want something quickly without waiting in line.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sushi Bella
2100 Western Ave (between Lenora St & Elliott Ave)
Seattle, WA 98121
Telephone: (206) 535-6401

-Aaron John


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