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I (L) Teriyaki

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

I-Heart-Teriyaki-exterior2 OGF: 3/5

A small family run Teriyaki place – aren’t they all – just around the corner from Wibley’s. Nothing about this place screams out awesome or shocks you. It’s an average Teriyaki place serving the meals you would expect at reasonable prices. For those of you not familiar with Teriyaki joints you can expect Chicken/Beef/Whatever Teriyaki, Katsu (breaded and deep fried meat), Tempura (battered and deep fried), yakisoba (a stir fried noodle dish) with rice and a side of vegetables or salad.

Taste:  3/5 – Nothing special just you’re average Teriyaki joint.

Price: 4/5 – It’s a fair price around $7 a meal.

Quantity: Just Right – There won’t be food left over for doggy bags but you won’t leave hungry.

Wait Time: 5 minutes – Straight in, the place isn’t as busy as Sapporo’s so you should get a seat pretty easy.

Rotation: 0.25 – There is quite a few Teriyaki places around and ones that feel just a bit better

% MSFT employees: 50%

Parking: Easy – You won’t have trouble finding spaces nearby.

Prime Card: No.

Don’t Miss: Help yourself to soup free with every meal.

I <3 Teriyaki
2255 140th Ave NE Bellevue, WA 98005

http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=47.634902~-122.140975&style=r&lvl=15&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=37552880&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&sp=Point.ry4gfc4tm90b_I%20(L)%20Teriyaki____&encType=1

Taco Time

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Taco-Time-Exterior

OGF: 2/5
A North West fast food chain which purports serving what can be called "tacos" only in the loosest, technical sense.  Serving "Mexi-fries" (tater tots) and "crisp burritos" (deep fried tortilla wrapped meat), even Taco Bell beats them in taste and authenticity.  The best you can say about this place is that the lettuce shreds are green and fresh.  Why on earth you’d go here when delicious and cheap options like the taco truck on 24th and 148th abound is beyond me.

Taste: 2/5 – Somehow, they managed to take what looks like a burrito and make it blander than your Minnesotan mother’s tuna noodle casserole.

Price: 3/5 – Not particularly cheap for a fast food joint, and definitely not worth it.

Quantity: Just right

Wait Time: 5 minutes

Rotation: 0

% MSFT employees: 25% or less

Parking: Difficult

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: The exit, and if you’re brave enough to actually eat your order, make sure you locate the bathroom.

Taco Time

2001 156th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&ss=ypid.YN925x15737578&encType=1

Taj Palace

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Taj-Palace-exterior

OGF: 4/5
With more and roomier seating, a wider selection of vegetarian dishes (along with all the meat dishes you’d expect) and far easier parking, we can heartily recommend Taj Palace over the slightly closer Mayuri to satisfy your Indian lunch buffet needs.  The day we visited, there were all the standards (Tandoori and butter chicken, palak paneer etc) along with an additional set of 4-6 rotating dishes.  The fruit, vegetable and desert selections are also worth a stop.

Taste: 4/5 – The dishes seemed slightly better prepared and of higher quality than Mayuri.  Nothing amazing, but solid choices all around.

Price: 3/5 – Typical price for a buffet lunch in Bellevue of about $10.

Quantity: Just right – It’s an all you can eat buffet, so quantity is not an issue

Wait Time: 3 minutes – there was a short line for the buffet when we arrived, but nothing compared to Mayuri on a typical weekday.

Rotation: 1

% MSFT employees: 75% or more

Parking: Easy

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: Those balls floating in goo at the desert tray are actually honey and cardamom soaked donut holes.  Delicious!

Taj Palace

2331 140th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&ss=ypid.YN925x15733839&encType=1

Thai Chef

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Thai-Chef-Exterior

OGF: 4/5
Good Thai food at a fair price.

It’s easy to overlook the Thai Chef restaurant as it’s nestled in the Safeway / Office Depot strip mall at 140th Ave and Bel-Red Rd.  But it’s still a pretty popular spot with the soft, inside is a sea of badges and glasses.

Taste: 3/5 – My cashew chicken was a bit too sweet, but cooked perfectly and very pleasing to the eye.  Rated a 3 because it’s pretty generic Thai food, which isn’t a bad thing!  Were it not for luminary Thai spots like Chantanee I could easily rate this place higher.

Price: 5/5 – Great lunch menu prices ($7 for an entree or $8.50 with salad/pad thai).

Quantity: Just right.  But if you have a hearty appetite you should probably get the combination.

Wait Time: 5.  This is a pretty big place and they serve the food up fast.  I could only imagine getting the food faster by calling ahead or installing some sort of ESP device.

Rotation: 1.  Could easily be your regular Thai lunch.

% MSFT employees: 75%

Parking: Easy

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: Super heavy chairs!

Thai Chef

1645 140th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98005-2320
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&where1=1645%20140th%20Ave%20NE%2C%20Bellevue%2C%20WA%2098005-2320&encType=1

Kidd Valley

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Kidd-Valley-exterior

OGF: 3/5
A local fast burger chain with decent food and good appetizers, but the burgers can’t compare to Wibbley’s.  Don’t get us wrong, Kidd Valley’s still a class above national chains like Burger King, McDonald’s or Wendy’s.  Service was friendly and fast, although not chain-fast, which is a good thing.  However, when compared with all the excellent burger joints that can be found in the Seattle area, it can’t really stand with the Red Mills, Blue Moons and Wibbleys (although unless you head into Seattle, you’re not going to be able to hit up the Mill or the Moon for lunch).

Taste: 3/5 – A good selection of quality appetizers (we tried them all – the onion rings and sweet potato fries were our favorites).  The burgers however were a bit uninspired, and even a bit cold when they arrived.

Price: 3/5 – In the $5-$10 range depending on how much you order.  More expensive than McDonald’s, but cheaper than most sit-down places.  About what you’d expect.

Quantity: Just right – menu items range in size from snack-sized mini-combos to double burgers, it should be easy to find a meal to fit your appetite.

Wait Time: 10 minutes – once we ordered, the food arrived quickly, just took a while to make our way to the front of the line with only one cash register open shortly after noon.

Rotation: 0.5

% MSFT employees: 75% or more

Parking: Difficult – a very small lot, but when we arrived, there was still one spot

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: The sweet potato fries and the indestructible, milk-shake-proof straws.

Kidd Valley

15259 Bel Red Rd, Bellevue, WA
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&ss=ypid.YN925x42158560&encType=1

Than Brothers (Bellevue)

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Pho-Than-Brothers-exterior

OGF: 4/5
Not exactly a hole in the wall – these jokers have 11 locations.  If you like pho (fuh fuh fuh!) you’ve probably been to one of them.  If not, go!  They treat you to some puff pastries as an appetizer.  This offends Andy because they are dessert.  But you can just stare them down until you’ve polished off a hot steamy bowl of beefy goodness.

Taste: 5/5 – Pretty standard fare Pho, but the broth is just a bit better than the rest.  Addictively so!

Price: 5/5 – For the amount of food you get, the prices are great.  Pho is under $5.

Quantity: Just Right - I’ve never ordered more than a small and it’s plenty for my normalish appetite.

Wait Time: 10 minutes. Beware, if you can’t find a seat right away, you might be better off coming on another day.  It can take a while for them to turn a table.  Come early or come often.

Rotation: 1/5 – They specialize in Pho without much variety.  Unless you are a pho-fanatic I can’t see going here several times a week.

% MSFT employees: 50%

Parking: Easy – usually not a problem aside from being on a busy street and some killer speedbumps.

Prime Card: No

Don’t Miss: Chili sauce in your Pho.

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Than Brothers

1299 156th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98007
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&where1=1299%20156th%20Ave%20NE%2C%20Bellevue%2C%20WA%2098007-4599&encType=1

Pizza & Sandwich House

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Pizza&Sandwich Exterior

OGF: 2.5/5
A small family run shop selling pizza and sandwiches along side Chinese food.  Family pictures line the walls.  About half full, immediate service.

Taste: 2/5 – we ordered a pizza, a sandwich and a Chinese noodle dish.  All decidedly average, didn’t find a “crave-it” dish.

Price: 5/5 – Easy to find a $4-8 entree including a full “grinder” sandwich for $4 as a lunch special.

Quantity: Just right

Wait Time: Less than 10 minutes

Rotation: 0.25 – While it would be easy to go several times a week by rotating between sandwhich, pizza and chinese, there’s nothing here to draw you back.

% MSFT employees: 25% or less

Parking: Easy

Prime Card: No

Don’t miss: The warm cookies provided with the bill

Pizza & Sandwich House
2245 140th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&ss=ypid.YN925x15733845&encType=1