Nearly 2 years ago, I was chosen by Visit Seattle to be one of the curators for their 2 Days In Seattle campaign. Visit Seattle is the official destination marketing organization for Seattle/King County. Click here to read about our 2012 trip. We usually make at least one trip to Seattle each year, so this time it was suggested that we explore Bellevue. Just on the east side of Lake Washington and only about a 15-minute drive from downtown Seattle, Bellevue is Seattle’s largest suburb and second largest city centre in Washington state. It boasts a great selection of shopping, dining, and cultural attractions. In 2010, it was even voted by CNN as being the 4th best place to live in America.
We checked in to our Executive Suite on the 19th floor at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, and were greeted with a nice cheese and fruit platter along with a bottle of wine. The Hyatt Regency is centrally located in downtown Bellevue and is located right next to The Bellevue Collection.
The Bellevue Collection is connected to the hotel by a series of sky bridges, and includes three properties: Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place. With over 250 stores and 45 dining and entertainment venues, this is a must visit destination for shopaholics. We dropped off our bags in our room and explored the mall for a few hours, before checking out the Snowflake Lane show right outside of Bellevue Square.
We had a great vantage point of the show from our hotel room. This 20-minute show takes place every day at 7pm from now until Christmas Eve. With toy soldiers, drummers, music, and lights, this family-friendly show is quite the treat.
Facing East Taiwanese Restaurant
After a day of driving and shopping, we had both worked up quite the appetite, so we decided to check out Facing East, which is just a block away from The Bellevue Collection. I had read great reviews of this place, touting it as an authentic Taiwanese restaurant, so I couldn’t wait to try it. We’re no strangers to Taiwanese food. Click here to check out our post from our 2012 trip to Taipei. We arrived at around 7:30pm and we had to wait around 20 minutes for a table. This isn’t too bad considering the very popular Din Tai Fung, which is just up the street, had wait times of over an hour. Since we’d already been to several DTF’s in Taipei, Singapore, and Hong Kong, we decided to try something new instead.
Left: Spicy cucumbers; Right: 5 Spice fried chicken with basil. Both were very delicious, but I especially enjoyed the fried chicken, which was crispy, moist, and flavourful.
Left: Taiwanese beef noodles. Easily the tastiest bowl of beef noodles that I’ve had outside of Taiwan. Right: Taiwanese pork burger (pork belly slices, pickled mustard greens, crushed sweet-salty peanuts, and cilantro, all stuffed into a Chinese steamed bun. This is a must order item if you visit this place. Suffice it to say, we’ll definitely be back again to try out more dishes.
Eques at Hyatt Regency Bellevue
The next morning, we checked out the brunch buffet at the hotel restaurant Eques. They serve à la carte breakfast and contemporary buffet seven days a week. It’s a fantastic deal for just $19.50 per person.
Left: Their hot food buffet station includes delicious items like polenta with chorizo; Right: An omelette station that serves it up your way.
Left: Brunch fanatics will love the self-serve Bloody Mary bar. For just $3, you can get a shot of Smirnoff vodka (tip: add $2 to get Grey Goose instead), and then garnish your Bloody Mary as you see fit. Sorry Canadians, they don’t do Caesars in the States. I guess clam juice is a distinctly Canadian thing. Nevertheless, the Bloody Mary that I made was super spicy and delicious. Right: Bacon waffles? Yes, please!
Above: Not part of their buffet menu, this à la carte crab cake benedict was fantastic and features Alaskan dungeness crab, remoulade, and pepper jelly. We also tried their shaved proscuitto benedict, which was also very good.
Above: The Tiramisu Pancakes, which is not on their buffet menu, tastes as decadent as it looks. With marscarpone cream, chocolate-covered espresso beans, candied hazelnuts, and chocolate shavings, this dish was a memorable standout. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to order this.
We actually wanted to visit Revel, as Bryce from White Moustache Adventure Company took us there to eat a couple years ago and we both really enjoyed it. Click here to read about our food tour. We were thrilled when we found out that Joule is actually the newest restaurant by husband and wife chef duo Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi. Located in north central Seattle, this restaurant was recently named as one of The Hot 10 Best New Restaurants in America for 2013 by Bon Appetit magazine. Their menu and vibe actually reminds me a lot of PiDGiN in Vancouver, which ironically was just named one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in Canada for 2013 by Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine.
Left: Just like at Revel, Joule also has an open-concept kitchen and dining room that allows you to see all the action happening in the kitchen. Right: They have a small but great cocktail menu. Most of their cocktails are infused with Asian ingredients in some way. We tried several of them, including this Jalisco Campfire (tequila, lapsang souchong, agave, Thai chili, and lime)
Above: Spicy rice cake with chorizo and pickled mustard greens. I love spicy foods, so this dish did not disappoint. It was my favourite dish of the evening, and one of those that you can totally enjoy with a cold beer on a cold winter or summer night.
Left: Smoked tofu salad with Honshimeji confit and soy truffle vinaigrette; Right: “That” short rib steak with kalbi and grilled kimchi. The steak was grilled to perfection and paired well with the heat from the kimchi.
Left: Roasted cauliflower with bonito and smoky yogurt; Right: Beef tartare with Asian pear, pine nuts, and spicy cod roe aioli.
Above: For dessert we had the Joule Box, which contained pearl tapioca, ruby grapefruit brulee, and coconut shavings. A very unique dish with flavours that really complemented each other very well.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Joule and will definitely be back again next time!
Black Bottle Postern
As a nightcap, we ended off our evening with some local craft beers from Black Bottle Postern, conveniently located across the street from our hotel. We made it just in time for last call, but unfortunately their kitchen was closed already. Their menu items are affordably priced and they also have daily happy hour specials, so we’ll be sure to stop by again next time.
We had a great time during this brief weekend trip, and with so many great restaurants around Seattle, it’s no surprise that we’re always discovering new ones to dine at whenever we visit. We’re glad that we stayed in Bellevue as we never knew that it had so much to offer. We highly recommend that you take some time to explore Bellevue during your next visit to Seattle. What are some of your favourite restaurants in and around Seattle? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Disclaimer: We were comped our stay and brunch at the Hyatt Regency. We were also comped for the food at Joule. All opinions and views are our own, and we were not paid for them.