Monday, August 10, 2009

Late night eating in the ID

And we thought we were being so clever by taking the bus to the Sounders vs. Barcelona game on Wednesday. Ha!

Oh, it probably was better than trying to drive through the mayhem, but we sure as heck didn’t want to stand in line at the bus stop for an hour. Nor did we want to struggle with the drunks in Pioneer Square. So we instead headed to the International District to see if anything was open where we could grab a bite to eat.

If only we'd paid a little closer attention. Just that weekend The Seattle Weekly had published an article about the "Ragin' Asian" scene in Seattle that keeps ID restaurants open until as late as 3:30 a.m. Unbeknownst to us, we could have gone to any number of restaurants within minutes of the ID bus station, but luckily the place we found turned out to be a real gem.

What led us there was a sign on King Street that Bryan thought said Noodles, so we walked toward it and saw the sign actually said Models. No worries, though, because right next to it was a cafe that really did say noodles and it had people in it, so we ended up at the Homestyle Hong Kong Cafe.

I was not disappointed. The menu was full of congee and different kinds of noodles and other dishes. But I saw congee and there was no turning back. There was a moment when I was wondering if it was appropriate to order congee at night, since it's typically something Mom serves in the morning, but then I saw "real" Asians ordering it so I figured I was good to go!

When the congee, which I ordered with preserved duck eggs and pork, arrived I was so excited it didn't cross my mind that since the congee was sizzling, the stone pot it was in was probably even hotter. Um, ouch. So watch out for the bowl, but do get the congee if rice cooked into mush sounds like something you would like.

My former Seattle P-I co-worker, Hsiao-Ching Chou, who has gone on to do much bigger and better things in the foodie world, includes some instructions on making congee here, but stay tuned for Mom's. She told me once how she makes it and it made my head spin. It's supposed to be a simple meal, but of course Mom turns in into a gourmet masterpiece. And people wonder why I fear cooking Chinese food!

I do think I'm going to try to bring Mom to the Homestyle Hong Kong Cafe someday, even though she hates eating out. Let somebody else make the congee for once!

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