I had eaten at Bowl’d on Solano Avenue a few times over a year ago with mixed feelings, so I did not have high expectations when we lunched there last week. But I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised.
For some reason I had neglected to tuck my little Lunching Down Solano notebook in my backpack, so I had to scrounge around for something to write my notes on. Luckily I had a little Weight Watchers tracker, which I never actually use to track my food. (I always have good intentions when I leave my meeting Saturday morning, but usually by Saturday afternoon, I’ve already eaten something that I have no idea how to track, so I give up.) So for once, I was actually recording food choices in the tracker, but I didn’t calculate points.
We arrived at 12:30 and got menus and hot tea fairly quickly. It took a long time to get our water, though. My daughter is always excited when vegetarian pot stickers are available. So we ordered the fried vegetable dumplings as our appetizer. Kylie got a sizzling rice dish called bipimbop, which sparked a whole conversation about Baby Bop, Barney the purple dinosaur’s sidekick on the sickly sweet kiddy TV show back in the 90s. Dave had printed up a sign that he affixed to the inside of our station wagon that shared with the world his feelings: “Death to Baby Bop!” I’m pretty sure our neighbors thought we were evil.
We got our dumplings at 12:45, which was after the diners to our left were served, the ones who came in after we did. Not that we were keeping track or anything…The dumplings were quite hot and tasted good, but they were a little too crispy for me. Dave and Kylie were not put off by the crispiness at all. At half the size, they were quite adorable as well. (The dumplings, not my husband and daughter. Although, my husband and daughter are actually quite adorable.)
Along with our entrees, we were given seven little side dishes to share: cabbage kimchi, tofu kimchi, seaweed, pickled radish, broccoli, potato salad, and something I couldn’t figure out. Dave did verify that the red and white dish was potato salad, which didn’t strike me as particularly Korean, but what do I know? I tried it all except the potato salad (it may have had mayo in it)* but really just liked the broccoli. Kylie loved her dish that had mushrooms and what looked like quinoa. Dave and I were both quite happy with our spicy ramen dishes. The broth was particularly rich and flavorful, and the big bowl of noodles and beef was definitely satisfying.
I am not a fan of their slippery stainless steel chopsticks, though. Now I’m no expert, but I can certainly hold my own using wooden chopsticks. But my noodles slid and splashed back into my bowl almost as often as they made it into my mouth, causing dark broth spatters on my white blouse. Next time I will wear a bib.
I’ve taken to photographing the inside of the more interesting bathrooms, and this one had a fun mirror. It was also very clean.
Although I would not say I was bowled over by my lunch experience, I would go back to Bowl’d. (But I might bring my own chopsticks.)
*I am of the opinion that mayo is disgusting and avoid it by any means possible.