Bellevue Downtown Blog

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  • Chef feature: Chef Kirsten and her beast mode stew

    by Geri Massengale | Aug 28, 2015
    Chef Kirsten Grow Washington CarrotsWe had the pleasure of catching up with eastside-based personal Chef, Kirsten Helle. A Seahawks fan and also personal chef to some of our favorite players, Chef Kirsten shares her story and top picks for a tasty, game-day viewing menu. Make sure to try out her recipe for Caribbean pork and pumpkin stew.

    1. Who is Chef Kirsten and why is food her passion?

    I have loved food all of my life, both of my parents are great cooks and we spent a lot of weekends finding delicious and sometimes strange foods at stores all over the area.

    I also grew up eating a LOT of food, including a lot of processed foods and was not very active. I was overweight most of my life, obese from about 9th grade on up. I was over 100 pounds over weight at 25 years old. I was pre-diabetic, had high cholesterol and blood pressure and hardly had any energy to play with my young daughter. I decided that if I didn’t change my life right then and there and be a better role model that my daughter would likely follow in my footsteps. I decided to study nutrition and started living a “real food” lifestyle and creating a new healthy family legacy for my family. I didn’t set out to lose weight for once, just to take care of my heart. I lost over 100 pounds and can honestly say that healthy food changed my life. I love to share the passion I have for not only cooking delicious foods but also helping people learn how to create their own healthy family legacy.

    My dad also makes incredible smoked meats like kielbasa, pepperoni, jerky, smoked fish, summer sausage and more in his huge smoke house. He’s a legend! When I was a young mom I started experimenting more with cooking and found I loved to cook and feed people.

    Being a young mom who worked nights on a tight budget, going to cooking school was not in the cards. I began self-studying and would check out every cook book from the library. I checked out technique books from the great cooking schools and try every single thing. I would check out Asian cook books and cook nothing but Asian food for 3 months, then move on to Italian, bread making, etc. I began thinking about how I could make a career out of this love of cooking but not have to work nights and weekends in a restaurant. I came across the personal chef industry and decided it would be a perfect fit.

    2. Ok we heard Chef Kirsten is a Seahawks fan and personal chef to some favorite Seahawks players! What is it like working with them?

    I work with their doctors/trainers/nutritionists to help them eat to maximize their performance on the field as well as care for their bodies for long-term health. I love cooking (a LOT of food) for them and helping them not only eat well but also enjoy what their eating and even bring a taste of home (their heritage and favorite flavors) to their table. I have to say that each and every one of the players I work with are so kind, humble and think so much of the fans. It is a real honor for this 12th woman!

    3. It’s football season and 12s are hungry! What beast mode tips do you have for whipping up an awesome tailgating menu?  Where are some touchdown spots in Downtown Bellevue to shop for ingredients?

    We are season ticket holders and tailgate every single home game and I definitely know the 12’s are hungry! We have a big group that’s been getting together for years and we definitely throw down. Loading up on beer, chips and other traditional tailgate favorites all of those weekends can really do a number on the waist line if you’re not careful.

    Chef Kirsten Seabreeze Farms ChickenWhile we do indulge in some occasional treats, I try to make our offerings a little healthier while still satisfying even the biggest 12th man’s hunger. I find that offering up something like a big chili or thick, hearty stew you can make in advance and bring along in the slow cooker is one of the easiest and best crowd-pleasing meals. The best part is you can sneak in a lot of vegetables (wink). From there it’s all about the snacks and sides and it helps to make healthy since we usually munch for hours before the game.

    While I’m hitting the Bellevue Farmers Market for the fresh ingredients for my main entrée in the early part of the season I love to grab some artisan cheeses, pickles or maybe a fun artisan treat. Whole Foods is the stop for me to pick up baked tortilla chips, pre-cut vegetables and fruit, popcorn, salsa, healthier dips, olives and nuts for snacking on. When we really want to have some fun tailgating offerings stopping in to Uwajimaya is the place to go! Bringing along some fresh oysters, maybe some interesting crackers or my personal favorite, their prepared fresh ahi poke (just keep it on ice!) can really jazz up the tailgate in a healthier way!

    4. Where does Chef Kirsten like to go to watch away games & eat yummy tailgating-inspired dishes in Downtown Bellevue?

    Away games are the chance for me to not have to cook and get out and enjoy some great food with other fans. 520 Bar and Grill has a great selection of food. We like to order up a bunch and share. The atmosphere here is fun too! Bellevue Brewing Company is a total win also. Kid-friendly (till 8pm) with a great beer and wine selection. The food is done really well with gourmet sandwiches, salads, soups and stews. Best of all there is a HUGE television screen to watch the big game on! Scotty Browns also has a really great vibe, good food and a great selection of cocktails, wine and beer. For early away games mean this is the place to grab brunch while you enjoy the game on the multiple television screens. During the early season you can enjoy the patio outside too!

    Caribbean pork and pumpkin stew

    Caribbean chili 2This is a delicious recipe that is not only packed with flavor, it is also healthy and perfect for loading into the slow cooker to take to your tailgate on a chilly fall day. Round it out with some crispy baked tortilla or plantain chips and some salsa for a satisfying, crowd pleasing meal.

    Serves 6-8

    2 tsp healthy oil/fat of your choice

    1 ½ lb boneless pork loin, cut into 1” dices

    1 red onion, chopped

    2 carrots, chopped

    1 red bell pepper, chopped

    1 small sugar pumpkin or 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” dices (about 2 cups, you may substitute frozen cubed squash)

    (optional) ½-1 scotch bonnet (VERY hot) or jalapeno to taste, minced

    1 tsp onion powder

    1 tsp garlic powder

    1 tsp dried thyme

    ¼ tsp nutmeg

    ¼ tsp allspice

    ¼ tsp cinnamon

    2-3 pinches Kosher/sea salt or to taste

    Lots of ground black pepper or to taste

    2 limes, juiced

    1 can coconut milk

    1 Tb honey

    1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

    Fresh chopped cilantro for serving

    Preheat a large soup pot over medium-high heat, when hot add oil, swirl to coat. Add the pork in an even layer and allow the first side to get golden brown before flipping each piece to brown on the other side. When the pork is nice and golden brown add the vegetables, spices, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring gently, until the vegetables begin to soften and the spices are very fragrant, about 8 minutes.

    To continue to cook on the stove top: Add the lime juice, coconut milk, honey and kidney beans, stir. Cover partially and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally at a gentle simmer for approximately 1 hour until slightly thickened and the pork is tender. Top each serving with the cilantro and enjoy!

    To continue in the slow cooker:  Pour into the slow cooker and stir in the lime, coconut milk, honey and beans. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. {Note: If you’d like to take this to an early tailgate make this right before you go to bed and let it cook in the slow cooker overnight.} Stir. Top each serving with the cilantro and enjoy!

    Photos by Leigh Olson


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  • Chef Profile: Jobbie Domenden of Palomino Rustico

    by Geri Massengale | Aug 28, 2014
    By Rachel Shimp
    Photo provided by Palomino Rustico

    Native Hawaiian Jobbie Domenden started working for Palomino Rustico’s parent company 14 years ago, moving to Seattle eight years ago where he continued to helm the kitchen to much acclaim. He’s been at the Bellevue location for a year and a half, turning out masterful cooking that woos fans and commands the respect of his team.

    What are your favorite ingredients for fall?
    When it gets cooler, I like doing risottos. They’re nice, hearty and really warm. Good for the rainier season. We sometimes do a butternut squash risotto. I like working with all stone fruit. I love making desserts, I’ll do a cobbler with peaches or apples. Utilizing all the stuff here during each season is really exciting. In Hawaii we don’t get that, we must import or grow a lot of things like apples, or vine-ripened tomatoes in the summer. The seasonality of everything [here] is pretty exciting.

    What wines do you pair with the fall menu items?
    Most of our wines are from the local area, wineries like Chateau Ste. Michelle. Their red wines go well with our flank steak. For white, we like full-bodied, Sonoma Catrere. The butter texture goes really well with salmon and other fish on the menu.

    What’s a most-requested dish at Palomino?
    Our rigatoni bolognese. We use Italian sausage, San Marzano tomatoes from Italy. It’s always been one of our signature dishes. Everybody comes by and asks for it.

    What’s your favorite thing to make?
    I love making desserts. All kinds: cobblers, mousses, also for the fall, bread pudding. I love it because you can get really, really creative. You can go outside of the box.

    What do you do for fun when you’re not at work?
    When am I not at work? When I’m at home, I cook for my wife. I get creative at home, spend time with family and friends. I do a lot more cooking. If I’m not cooking, I’m not having fun.

    Grilled Fennel Crusted Flank Steak with Warm Potato Salad

    Potato Salad

    2 pounds red baby potatoes, cooked until tender, cool & reserve
    Pinch salt
    Pinch pepper
    2 tablespoons picked red onions chopped ¼”
    4 eggs, chopped ¼”
    ½ cup dry Spanish chorizo, diced ¼”
    2 tablespoons Pecorino cheese, shredded
    2 teaspoons dill, minced
    8 tablespoons whole grain mustard
    4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    2 cups Best Foods Mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    Cook the potatoes until fork tender. Cool in refrigerator for an hour. Mix all ingredients except for the potatoes. When ready to prepare, cut potatoes in half, sear in frying pan until slightly brown. Add remaining ingredients. Toss gently. Serve warm.

    Lemon Pepper and Fennel Rub

    8 tablespoons lemon pepper
    8 tablespoons fennel toasted
    8 tablespoons black pepper

    Marinating Flank Steak

    1 whole flank steak, approx. 2 pounds
    1 cup Chimichurri
    1 tablespoon salt and pepper
    4 tablespoons lemon pepper rub

    Cut the flank steak into four pieces (optional) or leave whole. Place in to a ziploc bag and add 1 cup chimichurri. Marinate for at least 12 hours. (Save the rest for after grilling). Remove from bag and season with salt and pepper. Crust the steak with the lemon pepper fennel rub. Place on grill and char each side minimum of 5 minutes or until desired temperature. Always cut flank against the grain for tenderness. Medium rare to medium is recommended. (120°-130°F).


    3/4 cup Italian parsley
    1/4 cup oregano
    1/4 cup basil
    1/2 cup green onions
    3-4 cloves roasted garlic
    1/4 cup lime juice
    1/4 cup aged sherry vinegar
    1/2 tablespoon red chili flakes
    1 cup extra virgin olive oil

    Mix all ingredients in a blender and set aside to marinate the steak.


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  • Chef profile: Brian Durbin of Black Bottle Postern

    by Geri Massengale | Aug 28, 2014
    By Rachel Shimp
    Photo by Denise Sakaki

    Brian has been the executive chef of Black Bottle since its downtown Seattle inception in 2007, and this year marks the fourth of the company’s Bellevue location, Black Bottle Postern. The gastropub offers customer favorites like the delectably charred “broccoli blasted” and pork belly kimchi to go along with its unique libations list, while switching things up per location. “We’ll offer oxtail in Belltown and maybe beef short ribs in Bellevue—something to make each place unique.”

    How do you keep the Black Bottle vision consistent in each restaurant?
    I’m around all locations every day, sometimes six days a week. Each unit has its own executive sous chef. We meet regularly and do menu development and discuss new items and what’s going on in each kitchen. I eat there a lot because I’m in each observing a lot, at different times of the day.

    What’s the best thing about the Bellevue location?
    It’s really modern and really works with our concept of being an urban tavern. We brought the old and the new together. It’s a convivial place to go eat with great, fresh ingredients. We want people to think about the company they’re with and to have a good time.

    What’s in the works for your fall menu?
    We’ll be bringing back the wild boar, whatever’s local and available. We do a really nice squash cheesecake. A cassoulet, with duck and white beans. Probably some roasted fall vegetables.

    What are your personal favorite culinary flavors?
    I lived in the Caribbean with my family for a year running an eco-lodge, and I like a lot of those flavors. I took a cooking class in Tokyo and I like those flavors. Different street foods from around the world, that give you an idea of the region. If you’re traveling here [to the Pacific Northwest], you’re going to get salmon and berries and oysters. That’s what you’re going to get. I like flavors of the Southwest United States, Mexico, Central America.

    Do you bring these influences into the restaurants?
    Our menu is international and a little bit eclectic. As chef it’s awesome. Our poke is inspired by my last trip to Kauai. I had the best poke of my life. The pork belly kimchi is inspired by an izakaya in Tokyo. I wish I could travel every month. I’ve recently been to Nicaragua and just got back from a three-week trip to Italy. That’s what I try to do with the menus in both Black Bottles: let people travel through my travels.

    Pork Belly and Kimchi Skewers

    Braised and Pressed Pork Belly

    3 pounds pork belly (skin on)
    1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
    1 cup carrots (coarse chopped)
    1 cup yellow onions (coarse chopped)
    1 cup celery (coarse chopped)
    3 cups chicken stock
    3 cups water
    2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
    3 whole dried bay leaves
    3 tablespoons gin

    Pan sear both sides of the pork belly and set aside. In a large Dutch oven heat oil. Add carrots, celery and onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, remove from heat then gently place pork belly into the liquid. Put a lid or foil cover on the Dutch oven and place in 250°F oven for 6 hours. Cool in pot un-covered overnight. Once pork is fully cooled, gently remove the skin and place on a dish towel lined sheet pan. Place an additional tea towel on top along with an additional sheet pan on top of that and something heavy on top of that. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

    Sweet Garlic Chili Sauce

    6 red Fresno peppers (red jalapenos)
    12 whole garlic cloves
    ¼ cup ginger (peeled and chopped)
    1 cup rice wine vinegar
    ½ cup apple cider vinegar
    2 cups sugar
    ½ cup water
    1 tablespoon kosher salt
    2 tablespoons potato starch
    ¼ cup water

    In a food processor, combine Fresno peppers, garlic and ginger. Chop into small pieces being careful not to over process. In a medium sized non-aluminum pot, combine the vinegars, sugar, salt, 1/2 cup water and processed ingredients. Bring to a slow boil/strong simmer and cook until total volume is reduced by 1/3. Combine potato starch and 1/4 cup water and mix well, add this mixture to the main pot, bring back to a boil, remove from heat and cool.

    Time to Skewer

    Bamboo skewers
    Your favorite Kimchi (we use whole Napa cabbage leaves rolled in to cigar shapes cut in to 1 inch cylinders no msg)
    Green onions (thin bias sliced soaked in cold water)

    Once all ingredients are cool and pressed you are ready to build your skewers. Cut pressed pork belly into 2 inch by 1 inch rectangular cubes and slide them carefully on to skewers one at a time alternating between pork and kimchi. Preheat oven to 400°F and place skewers on a parchment lined sheet pan. Top skewers with a healthy drizzle of your homemade sweet garlic chili sauce, and bake until hot and crispy on the edges (about 10 to 12 minutes). Top with fresh cut green onions and serve!


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  • Chef profile: Bradley Dickinson of PEARL Bar & Dining

    by Geri Massengale | Aug 28, 2014
    By Rachel Shimp
    Photo by Rina Jordan

    The amiable co-owner and executive chef of Bradley & Mikel’s PEARL Bar & Dining has been contributing to turning Downtown Bellevue into a dining destination since 2008. Times change but the friendly vibe of Dickinson’s eatery is a sure thing, from season to season. “People like to come in and see us and they know we’ll be here. I like to get out [on the floor] and say hello,” Dickinson says.

    What have you got in store for fall at PEARL?
    Fall is a lot of fun food-wise here. We’ve still got great salmon, and oyster season starts back up. Fresh shellfish starts to look great. Local farms are good through the fall. There’s little fresh summer produce, but wild mushrooms start coming up nicely. They start to change to more savory tones. In the fall, people change their habits as well. They drink more red wine. They start having heartier things, like short ribs braised in merlot.

    Tell us some of your MVP ingredients for the season.
    Some of the wild mushrooms, like chanterelles, are beautiful this time of year. Black trumpet has a really rich and earthy flavor, and it might end up in a risotto with a little truffle oil and parmesan. Who knows? It could end up over steak or a piece of beautiful fish.

    And a personal favorite from your fall menu?
    Our sablefish is done in a honey miso marinade, and a namya broth with curry and coconut. Its depth of flavors is amazing. On the side are our Dungeness crab dumplings, made in-house, that people love. I’m personally excited about the transition itself. It’s nice that as we move to different seasons in the Northwest, we can reflect that change of pace on the menu. It’s a real opportunity to mix things up.

    Savory Chicken with Wild Mushrooms

    8 oz. boneless, skinless
    chicken breast or thighs
    1 teaspoon porcini powder
    Salt and pepper
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    ½ cup seasonal mushrooms
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    ¼ cup cooked white beans
    Pinch fresh rosemary
    1 tablespoon Marsala
    ¼ cup chicken stock
    1 tablespoon truffle butter

    Season chicken with porcini, salt and pepper.
    Warm oil in sauté pan; add chicken; sear on all sides.
    Add mushrooms, garlic, beans and rosemary.
    Sauté lightly until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
    Deglaze with Marsala and stock. Allow to reduce by 1/2.
    Whisk in truffle butter to thicken sauce.

     Truffle butter

    ¼ cup whole butter
    1 tablespoon truffle oil
    1 tablespoon truffle peelings
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Mix well


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  • DINE TO WIN Recipe Spotlight: Lot No. 3’s Watermelon Salad

    by Geri Massengale | Jul 13, 2014

    Lot No. 3 Watermelon Salad

    Watermelon is the fruit of summer. Simply slice it up and you’ll have a healthy treat in seconds. Lot No. 3highlights watermelon in a refreshing and tangy salad. Stop by the restaurant to enjoy the watermelon salad or make it in the comfort of your own home. Recipe follows.


    1 watermelon
    Misithra Cheese
    Fleur De Sal
    Grape Tomatoes
    Olive Oil
    Balsamic Gastrique (recipe below)


    • Start by cutting the rind off the watermelon

    • Once the rind has been removed, you can then begin to cut the watermelon into portions.

    • For portions, you can cut the watermelon into any shape you want, we happened to do triangles.  The main thing is to not cut them very thick.  Shoot for ¼” thickness.

    • The grape tomatoes, cut into coins.

    • Chiffonade cut the mint


    • Start by laying your watermelon slices down on the plate, 4 pieces per plate (you can adjust this to desired amount)

    • Then add tomatoes

    • Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the set

    • Using a fine zester or small grater, grate your mizithra cheese right over the watermelon and tomatoes

    • Sprinkle a touch of fleur de sel over the whole plate

    • Drizzle the balsamic gastrique onto the set

    • And garnish with you chiffonade of mint.

    Balsamic Gastrique


    4 cups Balsamic Vinegar
    2 cups Sugar


    • Place everything in a pot

    • Bring to a simmer and reduce by ¼


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