This Dough Zone Is Not Like the Others

Expect a more colorful, contemporary version for the Seattle expansion
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Come to me.

Oh man, this is exciting. 

News broke a couple of months ago that Dough Zone—the Eastside temple of dumplings—was (finally, gloriously) expanding to Seattle. They’re the first confirmed tenants of a new building on the edge of the International District at 5th Avenue S and S King Street. Keys are in hand, and construction has begun.

Well, today details are emerging on what we can expect from the fifth Dough Zone location, besides their excellent Chinese dumplings, congee and noodles. You may have noticed that the (two) Bellevue, Redmond and Issaquah locations are fairly sparsely decorated—spokesperson Vickie Ji says they’re family-style joints to match their neighborhoods. But for Dough Zone’s Seattle debut, she says they wanted to match the modern, hip vibe of successful eateries they scouted in Ballard, Capitol Hill and Fremont. They’ve hired local architect and design firm Board & Vellum, responsible for Oasis Tea Zone and Ada’s Technical Books and Café. There will be hanging decorations from the ceiling, a mural by local artist Sarah Robbins (who did this awesome painting for Cupcake Royale), and seating for about 60. (Issaquah, which just opened in October, will still be the largest.)

While Dough Zone’s celebrated xiao long bao and other steamed dumplings are made in each location’s kitchen, many of the menu items are made in a central Eastside kitchen and distributed to the five restaurants prior to service every day. Seattle’s location will be the furthest from the kitchen, which will present some added logistics.

It was briefly rumored last year that Dough Zone was considering Northgate as a potential location—which pleased me to no end, as that’s closest to my own ‘hood. I asked Ji and she says that’s part of the “goal plan” still—I’m choosing to interpret that as there’s still a chance. Ah well, at least this new spot won’t require bridge toll.

When will the new shop open? Ji is keeping tight-lipped for obvious reasons, but says they’re in no hurry—after all, Issaquah is still new, and they want to make sure all the kinks are worked out first. We’re hoping to get our hands (er, chopsticks) on those dumplings in the next few months.

In the meantime, the new Din Tai Fung in Pacific Place should be open momentarily (by momentarily, I mean in the next month or so, after a series of delays) to meet any immediate downtown soup dumpling needs.  

Recipe of the Week: Casco Antiguo's Corn Mash

Recipe of the Week: Casco Antiguo's Corn Mash

Serve it as a side dish or eat it straight from the pan
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A little like mac 'n' cheese... but with corn!

Comfort food takes many forms. That satisfying combo of sweet and savory are almost necessary. Plenty of cheese doesn’t hurt. Now here’s a recipe that hits on all the best elements of comforting cuisine, plus a little Serrano chili for heat. 

Casco Antiguo is a Pioneer Square Mexican restaurant best known for its 30-ingredient mole. But it’s this modest corn side dish that’s a favorite among regulars. Owners say it's a play off a traditional Mexican street food called" ezquites," where corn is boiled with epazote and butter, then served in a disposable cup with cheese, salt, lime, chili powder and mayo. 

Since it's damn hard to find fresh corn this time of year, so I used all frozen, and I think the flavor was still good. If you don’t have crema on hand, I used sour cream in a pinch—it was firmer than crema, but I think leant a similar flavor. I used a whole Serrano and was disappointed in the lack of heat, though that’s a fault of the pepper and not the dish. Perhaps leave the seeds in if you want it a little hotter (I will next time). At the restaurant, it’s served alongside everything from braised pork cheeks to baby octopus—I think it would be a great with a Southern-inspired barbecue feast as well. 

Casco Antiguo Corn Mash
Makes 6-8 Servings

1 tbsp canola oil
2 ½ cups raw sweet corn
2 ½ cups pre-cooked frozen corn, thawed
½ -1 Serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
¾ cups crema Mexicana (found in Mexican markets or specialty stores)
¾ cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated

In a large sauté pan on medium heat, add canola oil and raw corn. Sauté for two to three minutes. Add the thawed corn, chopped peppers, salt and pepper. Sauté until corn and peppers are tender. Fold in the cream cheese until corn and peppers are thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in the crema Mexicana until the dish becomes creamy in texture. Add the Monterey cheese and continue to whisk until the cheese is melted and the dish is smooth and saucy. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes before serving.