MONGOLIAN HOT POT AND PINBALL IN THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT
Fun, Slow-Food Dining and Old-School Gaming
Little Sheep Hot Pot and the Seattle Pinball Museum in Seattle's International District
Our first visit to Little Sheep Hot Pot was to celebrate Bella's birthday. After a string of blustery and rainy winter nights we were sick of hanging around the house. We drove to West Seattle Bowl but the wait was several hours so Tim, Bella and I decided to head to the Pinball Museum for virtual bowling instead.
GOOD FOR couples, groups of friends, families
If you are feeling the need to slow down life a little and interact with your favorite people while eating delicious food, consider an interactive hot pot dining experience in Seattle's International District. There are different styles of Hot Pot, where meat and vegetables are cooked tabletop, by you, in hot aromatic broth (similar to fondue). So far, our favorite hot pot is the Mongolian style served at Little Sheep Hot Pot. What we like most about this restaurant is the aromatic flavor of the broth and the varied meat and seafood offerings and then, of course, the fun of cooking food at your table!
The first decision to make for your table is whether you want original, spicy or half and half (I highly recommend this option) broth. You then mark the quantity of each meat, seafood or vegetable that you want to cook in the broth on the menu provided. The first time can be a little confusing, but the servers are happy to help with selections and quantity. Next, your hot pot is delivered to simmer at your table while you await your ingredients which come out sporadically. When the veggies, meat and seafood arrive, you either drop portions in your preferred broth or in the case of enoki mushrooms, hold them in place in the pot with chopsticks. A slotted spoon (with a lip to keep it safely parked on the side of the pot) is used to scoop out the delicious cooked food (which takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes). The banter on the cooking process and losing and finding food in the broth is pure entertainment, especially if someone accidentally grabs a chili or schezwan pepper (important tip: avoid directly eating spices and chilies in the broth unless you are a pro!). It's super fun!
After your delicious Little Sheep meal, a unique way to extend your time in the International District is to walk around the corner for old-school gaming at the Seattle Pinball Museum. Unlike most museums, you can touch and play with the "art." I think the reason they call it a museum is because the place has pristine pinball machines dating back to the 1960's, but almost all of them can be played. I am not a big gamer so I wasn't too excited about spending a few hours stuck inside of an arcade. However, it was surprisingly entertaining and we had a lot of fun. In fact, I unexpectedly became addicted to the 1976 "Sea Wolf" game where you look through a periscope and shoot enemy submarines. We also played a virtual bowling game that worked by spinning a ball at the end of the lane.
The unlimited play cost is $15 for adults and $12 for kids, and if you are looking for snacks, no worries. They sell candy, vintage sodas, cider and beer (all machines have cup holders!). For those who are wondering...yes, they have Ms. Pac-Man, and Galaga in the upstairs game room.
IF YOU GO
ABILITY TO UNPLUG: low. There is good cell coverage, but everyone will be having so much fun with the interactive dining experience and game playing that they won't want to use their devices.
Prices listed above are for no re-entry. You can pay a few bucks more to come and go for throughout the day.
Kids need supervision to use the upstairs game room.