ereidy

Seattle, WA

94 posts in this topic

Went to Seattle a few weeks ago, and had two VERY memorable meals.

The first was at Dahlia Lounge, a Tom Douglas restaurant. I started out with the Tuscan Bread Salad. Though this dish came highly recommended, I was skeptical, as I don't like "mushy" food. It was spectacular--the bread was just the right combination of chewy and crunchy, and the pesto was strong. Each bite was filled with a great complexity of flavors and textures. My entree was a spinach goat-cheese ravioli. The ravioli were tender, however I was surprised to find the goat cheese outside of the ravioli rather than inside. For dessert, I had made to order doughnut holes with vanilla marscapone cheese. The doughnuts were piping hot and came in bag with a cinnamon sugar mix. The cream added just the right amount of savory to balance the sweetness of the doughnuts. Seriously, I almost audibly moaned!! Usually when I dine by myself, I read book while eating. This meal made it impossible to read as I was so consumed by quality of the food that I had to concentrate on each bite!!

The second was a Wild Ginger. This is a family-style restaurant, so not the best for the solo diner. I started with two of their satays--a chicken and a pork. The sauces were complex, without being overly sweet. The meat was practically falling off the stick it was so tender. My entree was their fragent duck. Sadly, I was hoping for more of a taste of the anise and other spices...but really, it doesn't take much for me to love duck!

Would highly recommend either to anyone visiting Seattle!

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I also really enjoyed Dahlia Lounge, especially the delicious carrot-fennel ravioli. Tender, wonderful homemade pasta with just the right sweetness.

And Lark is also superfantastic. Little plates. Wonderful cheese with membrillo and olives and almonds. Go early, they don't take reservations.

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I too really enjoyed the Dahlia Lounge when I was there last year. Man, that coconut cream pie that they're legendary for was unbelievable.

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Wild Ginger also makes the best Kung Pao chicken I've ever had (don't laugh!). Dahlia Lounge and Etta's are both very good but I prefer Flying Fish whose chef was also nominated (may have won but I'm not certain) for a regional Beard award. The Herb Farm is a separate thread all to itself-my wife and I went before their fire ten years ago when you reserved one year to the day-first hour and then they were booked. After they rebuilt it nows reminds me of the Inn at Little Washington and has lost much of its "gingerbread house" charm.

While I have not been-yet-a friend "whose opinion I trust" absolutely raves about Lampreia. This person has a great deal of credibility; enough that on my next visit I will definitely go there.

Ray's Boathouse is also a Seattle tradition as is Emmett Watson's in the Pike Place Market. Great oysters and good fish and chips at the latter, exemplery salmon at the former.

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I was in Seattle, WA a few years back on a business trip and had a terrific meal at Wild Ginger! Glad to see that it is still doing well, and you had a good experience. I can't wait to go back myself. :lol:

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Wild Ginger also makes the best Kung Pao chicken I've ever had (don't laugh!).  Dahlia Lounge and Etta's are both very good but I prefer Flying Fish whose chef was also nominated (may have won but I'm not certain) for a regional Beard award.  The Herb Farm is a separate thread all to itself-my wife and I went before their fire ten years ago when you reserved one year to the day-first hour and then they were booked.  After they rebuilt it nows reminds me of the Inn at Little Washington and has lost much of its "gingerbread house" charm.

The Herb Farm is not just a dinner, it's an event that takes up the entire evening. Thankfully I don't think you need to call a year in advance anymore. It's well worth the trip for anyone with the time and a designated driver :lol: .

Personally I prefer Dahlia Lounge and Flying Fish over the "too popular for its own good" Wild Ginger, but the place certainly has its following. However, one dish I really did enjoy was the seven spice beef.

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Tally another one for Wild Ginger and Flying Fish (I'd choose the former at the satay bar if it was on my dime, the latter if somebody else was picking up the tab). Also don't miss Shiro's in Belltown for sushi. Get the geoduck if you are there at the right time of year; something we don't normally see on this coast.

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I'm kind of surprised that so many have been to Seattle! Has anyone been to Dick's, the locally legendary hamburger drive in that is a real throw back to the '50's when it started? And hasn't changed since.

To take this a step further has anyone been to Dick's in Spokane (separately owned) which has (believe it or not!) McDonald's original french fries from pre 1967 which were fried in 70% animal fat? Serious. USA Today a couple of years ago called this America's second highest grossing fast food restaurant after Atlanta's Varsity. But IT SERVES THE EXACT ORIGINAL FOOD THAT MCDONALD'S SERVED FORTY YEARS AGO!!! I am not making this up. It is the only place on earth that does this. Dick's in Seattle is excellent-but Dick's in Spokane (a different Dick, if you will....) is even better.

And, the McDonald's down the street-with today's frozen potatoes, frozen hamburger, chemically composed shakes-does a small fraction of the business of what amounts to the original!

True story.

This is an outstanding essay about Washington state hamburger drive ins which just happens to fondly mention the Spokane Dick's: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=4834

Edited by Joe H

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i've had equally fantastic dinners at etta's and palace kitchen (both tom douglas). if you were to make me choose which one was better, i'd take palace kitchen (although, dahlia does have the bakery on-site). there are a bunch of other restaurants that i've wanted to try, but i'll have to wait until next time.

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One of my favorite meals ever has been at Lark. It's very similar to Komi in the casual elegance of the place, though Lark has more of a rustic feel. I wish it were here in DC! We've also enjoyed Flying Fish, Wild Ginger and Brasa.

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I learned the value of these boards during a visit to Belltown - I had a few weekday solo meals to explore the Pike Place market area - found Matt's at the Market through the CH board. I would have never, never found it. I think they seat less than 20 (half are at the bar). They have no storage space so the staff shops a couple of times a day downstairs in the market... Great bar/counter for gaining intelligence about cooking and wine.

I liked the Tom Douglas experience so much I bought the cookbook (not sure if your specifically listed yummies are in it)

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I love Seattle and they have some great food! I'm originally from the area so here are my list of restaurants I would suggest to check out.

Dahlia Lounge- I agree, the Tuscan Bread Salad is to die for and their Portobello sandwich is great.

Wasabi Bistro- go there for some inventive sushi. It's a very happening place and a great place to go on a date.

Sea Garden (China Town)- This is some great authentic Chinese food. My family used to go there every weekend. I would recommend their whole crab in garlic. Their congee is really good too.

Cedars (UW)- Yummy Indian food. This place is always packed and their Naan is baked fresh. Tikka Marsala anyone?

El Gaucho- STEAK. Haven't been there myself, but my best friend raves about this place and she's a major foodie

BEST FAST FOOD FISH"N CHIPS- IVARS!!! It is an institution in Seattle. They have really yummy white clam chowder and trust me, this is no Long John Silvers. The fish is lightly breaded and flaky. They fry them on the spot so they always come out nice and hot! I'm getting a craving from just thinking about it.

Piroshky Piroshky- Polish Bakery. Wonderful to eat while you are strolling Pike Place Market. Don't remember the name but get the spiral bun with cheese and green onions.

:lol:

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Emmett Watson across the street from the Pike Place Market has fish and chips to rival Blackpool's best.

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Oh, and I forgot to add the Two Bell's Tavern for their burger. Seriously sloppy and seriously good. The place is nice and divey with some great beers on tap.

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Next time any of you are in Seattle, make sure to stop in at Union. Chef Ethan Stowell does some amazing work with a menu that changes daily. Whenever I pass Wild Ginger and see the throngs waiting in the lobby to be seated, I'm tempted to go in and direct them two blocks down to Union.

Earth and Ocean (formerly the domain of Lark's chef Jonathan Sundstom) continues to do some interesting work, e.g. sable fish sous vide.

As for some of the other places mentioned in this thread, some comments:

Flying Fish's chef de cuisine Steve Smrstik has departed for the well regarded 35th Street Bistro in the Freemont neighborhood, north of the main downtown area. Word on the street is there was some kind of dispute of the use of organic-only ingredients. He didn't believe that they universally produced better dishes.

Of the Tom Douglas places, the only one I think is worth visiting regularly is Palace Kitchen. It's especially good late nights, when it is one of the only kitchens of note still open.

Dick's is miles ahead of McDonalds, I'll give you that, but the fries tend toward the limp and greasy, and the only burger you really want to order is the standard cheeseburger. It has about a 1:1 cheese to meat ratio that makes is as much like a grilled cheese sandwich as a burger. The hand scooped shakes are decent.

Two Bell's is where I met my wife--no joke. Back then it was about 1/3 the size it is today and the burger and grilled sausage sandwich, both prepared on a tiny grill at the back corner of the bar, were pretty much the entire food menu.

Shiro's is at the top of the traditional Sushi places. The monkfish liver, when available, is by itself enough reason to visit. My other favorite Japanese place is Nishino. The chef trained under Nobu Matsuhisa before moving north from LA, and that experience clearly inspired many of the dishes. Toro tartare with caviar and yuzu and dungeness crab are favorites. They also have a killer sake selection.

I really like the food at Lark, but the one thing that kills me every time is the Denny's quality stemware. Come on guys, Speigelau is just not that expensive any more.

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And how could I forget, Salumi, Armandino Batali's hole in the wall joint where the house cure 17 different kinds of salumi. I had the opportunity spend a year curing a whole prosciutto under Dino's direction. Talk about slow food.

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Next time any of you are in Seattle, make sure to stop in at Union.  Chef Ethan Stowell does some amazing work with a menu that changes daily.  Whenever I pass Wild Ginger and see the throngs waiting in the lobby to be seated, I'm tempted to go in and direct them two blocks down to Union.

Earth and Ocean (formerly the domain of Lark's chef Jonathan Sundstom) continues to do some interesting work, e.g. sable fish sous vide.

As for some of the other places mentioned in this thread, some comments:

Flying Fish's chef de cuisine Steve Smrstik has departed for the well regarded 35th Street Bistro in the Freemont neighborhood, north of the main downtown area.  Word on the street is there was some kind of dispute of the use of organic-only ingredients.  He didn't believe that they universally produced better dishes.

Of the Tom Douglas places, the only one I think is worth visiting regularly is Palace Kitchen.  It's especially good late nights, when it is one of the only kitchens of note still open. 

Dick's is miles ahead of McDonalds, I'll give you that, but the fries tend toward the limp and greasy, and the only burger you really want to order is the standard cheeseburger.  It has about a 1:1 cheese to meat ratio that makes is as much like a grilled cheese sandwich as a burger.  The hand scooped shakes are decent.

Two Bell's is where I met my wife--no joke.  Back then it was about 1/3 the size it is today and the burger and grilled sausage sandwich, both prepared on a tiny grill at the back corner of the bar, were pretty much the entire food menu.

Shiro's is at the top of the traditional Sushi places.  The monkfish liver, when available, is by itself enough reason to visit.  My other favorite Japanese place is Nishino.  The chef trained under Nobu Matsuhisa before moving north from LA, and that experience clearly inspired many of the dishes.  Toro tartare with caviar and yuzu and dungeness crab are favorites.  They also have a killer sake selection.

I really like the food at Lark, but the one thing that kills me every time is the Denny's quality stemware.  Come on guys, Speigelau is just not that expensive any more.

The Seattle Dick's have a lot of 50's ambience but have nothing in common with the Spokane Dick's which has McDonald's original fries. Seattles are entirely DIFFERENT. Two different owners, two completely different operations with totally different food.

Thanks for the info about Flying Fish. I've been to the Dahlia Lounge twice, Etta's once and left both somewhat disappointed. When Flying Fish first opened it became a regular annual stop for me. Here there is a restaurant called Black Salt which is very similar.

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And Lark is also superfantastic. Little plates. Wonderful cheese with membrillo and olives and almonds. Go early, they don't take reservations.

Lark is one of the coolest and very best restaurants I've been to this year. A true gem, amazingly inexpensive (look at these prices!), and worth going out of your way to find.

Likewise Macrina Bakery, which is an absolute requirement for weekend breakfast.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Macrina is pretty damn good, but the hands down best pastry in town is at Cafe Besalu in Ballard. It's a small place with an open pastry kitchen where chef/owner James Miller and his crew hand make croissants in the finest European tradition. His ginger biscuits are also not to be missed.

Edited by vengroff

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One of my favorite spots that we visited on our last trip to Seattle was the Swingside Cafe in the Freemont section. Excellent food, and a great wine list.

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Lark is one of the coolest and very best restaurants I've been to this year.  A true gem, amazingly inexpensive (look at these prices!), and worth going out of your way to find.

Based on this and other good things I've read on the EG Seattle thread, I just bought a gift certificate for Lark for my brother and his wife, who live near Seattle. (The whole object of this exercise, of course, is for them to spend the certificate on me when I go visit them in February.)

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I had some delightful dining and drinking experiences in Seattle last week while visiting friends and family. It seems the options there just get better and better with every visit.

First off was a visit to papa Batali’s Salumi on Third Avenue near Pioneer Square. This little hole-in-the-wall deli still has the feel of an inside secret despite the line going out the door at lunch hour. People come for take-out or to try to nab one of the few two-tops or a seat at the communal table. It’s worth it. The house cured meats, ranging from fennel-flavored finocchiano to spicy soppresata, are luscious (Salumi also cures its own prosciutto). I had a plate of gnocchi in a densely flavorful and peppery ragu, then a sandwich layered with soppresata, salami, provolone, and a rich olive tapenade. Wine is by the glass from a communal jug of Montalcino at the big table. You pour your own and pay $3.50 a glass on the honor system. It reminded me of the times I’ve eaten at little osterias in Italy. This is a unique and not-to-miss destination for any food-lover traveling to Seattle.

A highlight of my stay was dinner at Lark with my brother and his wife. Lark is a casual space seating about 50 in a setting of exposed beams and wood floors. Jeans would not be infra-dig here. They do not accept reservations, but when I e-mailed them that I would be coming from out of town, they put me at the top of their list for my requested time. The food focuses on simple combinations of top quality ingredients prepared with exacting care. An appetizer of fluffy mozzarella and arugula was a refreshing relief from the ubiquitous caprese. Creamy cauliflower soup won me over by presenting all the essence of the aroma and flavor of the vegetable with no fanfare. Yellowtail carpaccio, though sliced somewhat thick for my taste, was paired perfectly with shavings of fennel. The foie gras dishes, both a terrine and a seared scallop, were beautifully combined with flavors of quince compote (for the terrine) and pear (for the scallop). Pork belly over polenta was crispy on the outside, meltingly tender on the inside. Braised short ribs were a highlight of the evening—deeply flavorful, rich, and tender. This is the kind of food where simplicity of preparation and presentation are used to highlight judicious combinations of flavors and textures as well as ingredients of the highest quality.

Lark operates on a sort of “family-style” concept. Our waiter advised us to order about eight dishes and to share them amongst ourselves, and each was brought to the table with a serving spoon. But there’s a disjuncture between concept and execution: all the dishes were small enough to be appropriate as appetizers or entrees for a single person of normal appetite, and sharing them often was impractical (cutting a morsel of melting pork belly or short rib into three pieces, for example, is impossible to do without making a mess of the dish). This approach also ends up being quite pricey; our food bill alone was about 65 dollars per person. Lark should either adjust their portioning and presentation to bring it in line with their concept, or scrap the concept and present the menu along more conventional lines. I’d prefer the latter.

Later in the week I had a dinner with an old friend at Tom Douglas’s Dahlia Lounge. Dahlia has developed the kind of local fame and reputation that can eventually hamper the quality and creativity of what’s on the plate, and since its founding Tom Douglas has formed a veritable dynasty of restaurants in Seattle. My expectations were therefore mixed, and I’m afraid the results were as well. Some oysters on the half from British Columbia were among the finest I’ve ever had in my life: plump, meaty, briny and absolutely fresh. But wild salmon, which should be a no-brainer for a Seattle restaurant of this caliber, was well beyond the requested medium-rare, served over a kind of hash of Brussels Sprouts and, if I remember correctly, potato puree. It tasted very good, and the sprouts went well with the salmon, but in terms of preparation, texture, and plating, I expected more from Dahlia. This just seemed tired to me. The wine list was also limited and disappointing. Service, however, was faultless.

Before Dahlia my friend and I met for drinks at Zigzag café near the Pike Place Market. This is one of those cool spots that I wish we had more of in DC. Plush booths and mahogany tables give the feel of an updated version of the cocktail lounges of yore. Zigzag takes special pride in their mixology, and it shows. I ordered a Sazerac and got into a very educational conversation with the bartender about the history of the drink. Zigzag’s version was perfect, and I think any cocktail I would order there, no matter how obscure, would probably be as well. They have an interesting bar menu, too.

It’s trips like this to Seattle that make me wonder why the hell I live so far away from my native PNW. When it comes to food, it’s hard to beat.

Edited by Banco

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Bump.

I'm heading back to Seattle for a lazy week and wonder if there are any new places I should check out.

I'll be exploring new parts of town because my friend moved from Belltown to Magnolia and I can't just walk a couple of blocks to Pike Place Market.

ETA: We're trying to get into Crush- anybody been to Jason Wilson's place?

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My gf and I just returned from a trip that included two dinners and a lunch in Seattle.

The first dinner was at Union. The service was great and the food was good, but I feel like we may have been a year or so late in terms of seeing the chef's adventurous side. As our server explained, Union no longer offers a tasting menu because the kitchen couldn't handle what amounted to two different types of service on a given night (i.e., a la carte and tasting menus), and they wanted to focus more on the a la carte side of things. That's a nice way of saying the masses are paying the bills, and the masses don't want to be challenged. Case in point -- our server called our half-bottle orders (sancerre with the fava salad and grilled barramundi starters; Willamette Valley pinot with the black bass and duck) "refreshingly civilized" and visibly shuddered when a guy at a nearby four-top was trying to order another bottle of Bud Light.

Lunch the next day began with a chees plate at The Tasting Room, the retail presence of a collective of Washington wineries locatged in Post Alley, pleasantly above the fray of Pike's Place. The secret gem here is that they offer a charcuterie plate of Salumi products; the perfect complement to big chewy reds, and without the legendary wait in line at Salumi proper.

On our vine-mistress's recommendation, we continued on for lunch at Saito's. Having lived in LA's Little Tokyo for a couple years, my sushi bar is set pretty high. But this place was awesome. Impressive selection of pristine fish, and equally impressive sake list. Oh, and natto. Yum.

The blowout dinner went down at a place called Mistral. Next time you're in Seattle, have some extra cash and three+ hours to spare, GO THERE. I'll spare the blow-by-blow -- google a few reviews for that -- and just say that Miles and Mingus were playing in the background, there wasn't a menu (just a choice of 8 or 9 courses), and the wine and service were beyond compare. The space is small and intimate yet fully refined, the food is challenging yet comforting, and the overall experience is truly special.

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I saw this on Seattleist this weekend. I'm not so enthralled by the secretive part as the creative possibilities for food, locations, etc. I've read that it's a regular thing in Hong Kong, and I'm guessing in other cities, too. . .

______________________

There's subterfuge on the menu at the mysterious restaurant called Gypsy. With no permanent address, a revolving list of chefs creating original menus for each clandestine dinner, and an application process that weeds out potential diners who'd betray the cause, Gypsy has us buzzing. Marketing is entirely by word-of-mouth. About 1,000 people have made the cut so far, and dinners for 18 usually sell out less than ten hours after the invitation e-mail is sent. The man behind it all says Gypsy is a success because diners find it liberating to leave their comfort zone: they eat with strangers, don't get to order their food, and don't even know where they're going until a few days before the dinner.

Chefs are excited to participate because they get the opportunity to make food that's entirely different from their usual fare. The intimate scale is a draw for both chefs and guests, and it doesn't hurt that a recent dinner featured dishes such as Alaskan Halibut Steamed in Savoy Cabbage with Glazed Baby Vegetables, Meyer Lemon Foam and Chervil Oil, and Foie Gras with Rosemary Roasted Grapes and a Wine Syrup. Gypsy recently hosted Anthony Bourdain, chef, cookbook author, and star of No Reservations at a meal that featured dishes such as Geoduck Sashimi on Oceanic Gelée, and Truffled Braised Veal Cheeks with Morels, Braised Leeks, and Pomme Purée. For more information, email sundays@gypsydinners.com.

_______________________________

Can we get a Gypsy? Or am I just unaware of the one we already have?

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Can we get a Gypsy? Or am I just unaware of the one we already have?

I don't know how we'd know. Because the first rule of Fight Club is...

This clandestine haute dining concept is brilliant - part The Freshman and part Eyes Wide Shut. Bourdain AND geoduck? Their Rockwell Files obviously contain fresh intel about which buttons to push. :) Properly executed, I'd go in a heartbeat. Now if only DR.com held secret, unmentionable events too.

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Sandwiches from Paseo in the Fremont area. They are just fantastic. Pork with onions, mayo, cilantro and buttery corn on the cob. It's a little shack, but it's just great.

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What a place for a foodie. "Pan Asian" seems to be a bad word to some folks, but Monsoon was excellent. Had a light lunch at Saito for some exquisite nigiri. Then had a HEAVY lunch at Salumi where we were given recommendations for dinner last night by Armandino Batali and one of his daughters. What an amazing experience! We took their advice and headed to Lark which may just have been one of my top 10 dining experiences ever. Tonight, Union where we'll meet former eG DC moderator Vengroff. Now I just need to find the perfect wine to bring along!

Sorry for the lack of details, but I need to save my strength for a kayak trip on Lake Union.

Wish you were here,

Al

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You might as well impale yourself on the Space Needle if you don't drop by Salumi when you're in town. I think I paid about $15 for this plateful of goodies. Check out the tantalizers hanging in the window too.

[Edited to state: I'll try posting these damn pics later when I have it figured out at home]

[Edited again to add: I guess I was trying to post too large a pic...]

post-27-1156372830_thumb.jpg

post-27-1156372855_thumb.jpg

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You might as well impale yourself on the Space Needle if you don't drop by Salumi when you're in town. I think I paid about $15 for this plateful of goodies. Check out the tantalizers hanging in the window too.

[Edited to state: I'll try posting these damn pics later when I have it figured out at home]

Armandino Batali is the god of American cured meats and his pork cheeks are nothing to sneeze at either. I was almost moved to tears the first time I took bites of his sandwiches. He nearly moves me to impure thoughts too (thank G-d I don't keep Kosher)! I think we might want to consider finding a way to order one of his Culatello http://www.salumicuredmeats.com/ and finding a kindly restaurant owner with a meat slicer (Dean you out there?) and giving it a whirl.

Read Heat by Bill Bruford to find out about the butchers in Italy that taught him his stuff - fun read if the author is a bit to self-referential for my taste, but that's actually the nature of the book I guess.

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You might as well impale yourself on the Space Needle if you don't drop by Salumi when you're in town.

I was on a really tight schedule in Seattle but believe me, I felt like impaling myself on the Space Needle when I went by Salumi the morning I was leaving to discover they didn't open until noon or something like that......they took pity on me and gave me a few scraps of meat but I didn't get to revel in the glory of cured meats like you did

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I was in Seattle last weekend for a very large conference, and that really seemed to affect the wait times at restaurants, according to my friends who live there, who aren't used to waiting an hour for a table. Here are a few of my thoughts on Seattle food:

Medin's Ravioli Station in Ballard is a gas station converted into a restaurant. The prices were good, the ravioli was okay, and despite its size, we were able to get a table immediately (we had tried a few other places). I had the ravioli sampler, which had four different kinds of ravioli and sauce. Unfortunately, our waitress was not very good. She forgot our wine, could not make sauce and ravioli combo recommendations (hence why I got the sampler), and when she did bring the wine, she plunked down the open bottle in front of us with three glasses and walked away, so she didn't notice that she brought us the wrong bottle. Back to the ravioli: the filling was plentiful and well seasoned, the sauces were good (tomato cream, marinara, alfredo, and red bell pepper), I wasn't so enamored of the actual dumpling part, as it was a little mushy. If you're traveling with kids, this might be a good place for them, but otherwise, I'd say spend your money elsewhere.

Ray's Boathouse is a Seattle institution that has been mentioned here before. We ended up eating in the cafe bar upstairs, since there was an hour wait for a table (that conference again). In the summer, the patio is supposed to be the place to be, but in the winter, when it was cold and rainy, we were perfectly content to stay inside and enjoy our meal of calamari, lentil soup, crabcake, seafood salad (mixed greens with chunks of seafood), and smoked salmon skewers. The skewers were a wonderful surprise, with a kind of sweetness and smokiness, but I found that the crabcake had a little too much filling for my taste. I also recommend the seafood salad.

Beecher's Handmade cheese in Pike's Place Market makes the best macaroni and cheese in the world, according to them, and honestly, I think I may have to agree. They make it from their house cheese, and there are large chunks of cheese attached to the pasta. Actually, their regular house cheese is pretty good as well. We took some back to my friend's house, and pigged out. on cheese and a loaf of bread that we got at one of the bakeries in the market. We also picked up some mussels and produce to cook at home. Mussels were $4/lb at the market.

We finished off that meal with cupcakes from Cupcake Royale, in Ballard. Cupcake Royale puts all my cupcake experiences to shame. There was a special red velvet cupcake for Valentine's Day, and it was good. All of the cupcakes that we sampled were not too sweet, dense and fresh (i.e., not dry). Their zucchini bread was also quite good, and the portion was hefty. Plus, the store was a little off-beat as well, and you can buy such merchandise as a "Legalize Frostitution" t-shirt.

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Can anyone make some general recommendations about visiting Seattle? Are the restaurants mentioned in previous posts still the ones to go to? Is there a particular part of town that's good to stay in? Is there a magic week in the summer when it might not be raining too much? Many thanks.

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Can anyone make some general recommendations about visiting Seattle? Are the restaurants mentioned in previous posts still the ones to go to? Is there a particular part of town that's good to stay in? Is there a magic week in the summer when it might not be raining too much? Many thanks.

Generally speaking, it doesn't rain much in Seattle in the Summer. November to April: every day; in between, not so much. Even the Olympic Peninsula, home to North America's only rain forest, gets less than ten inches a month in July and August, IIRC. You should be fine.

As to "where to stay," what do you want to do? Depending on finances, I'd go for "downtown", near Pike Place, Pioneer Square (and Salumi!) and the waterfront. Not to mention the Dahlia Lounge.

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As to "where to stay," what do you want to do? Depending on finances, I'd go for "downtown", near Pike Place, Pioneer Square (and Salumi!) and the waterfront. Not to mention the Dahlia Lounge.

What he said. On a previous visit I stayed a bit to the north at the cozy/charming/pricey Edgewater, probably best known as the hotel where the Beatles fished the harbor from their room window. The Pike Place area is more compact than you'd think, and a pleasure to browse, especially for specialty foodstuffs. In Pike Place itself is DeLaurenti's, an excellent purveyor of Italian specialties. Check out their cheese counter and selection of balsamics. Within several blocks are The Spanish Table, home to possibly the best selection of Spanish housewares, olives and cheeses in the country, and World Spice Merchants, although the latter is more fun than comprehensive (and might be mooted by Penzey's opening in Rockville).

Seafood, seafood, seafood! As for dining, this will sound clichéd, but I implore you to eat salmon at least once. Fresh, wild king salmon will forever ruin you for anything available on this coast that isn't smoked. I don't have any great recommendations, only a safe fallback: Palisade is big, rather more corporate than inspired, but I'd take it any day over any dozen McCormick & Schmicks, and their salmon (planked or grilled) is killer. Bit of a nuisance to navigate to, but if you go for dinner before it gets dark, it also has a gorgeous view.

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Golf? :blink: Generally, I prefer a sport that's a little speedier . ;)
Long daylight hours, lots of good weather, reasonably-priced, beautiful courses, and they almost all have good beer bars!

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Can anyone make some general recommendations about visiting Seattle? Are the restaurants mentioned in previous posts still the ones to go to? Is there a particular part of town that's good to stay in? Is there a magic week in the summer when it might not be raining too much? Many thanks.

I assume you've read my post (#24) already. You definitely should not miss Salumi. The Zigzag Café I mentioned is also a very cool place for a drink. I would avoid Dahlia based on my experience there. Other possibilities are Mistral (which I enjoyed, though it's a bit quirky) and Union Café (which I haven't tried). Egullet has some fairly extensive discussions of these.

If you go to Pike Place Market, do like the natives and go on a weekday; the weekends are for tourists. If you like sushi or Japanese food in general, Seattle has some of the best. And unlike here, they have a real Chinatown with excellent food. Bon Voyage!

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I assume you've read my post (#24) already. You definitely should not miss Salumi. The Zigzag Café I mentioned is also a very cool place for a drink. I would avoid Dahlia based on my experience there. Other possibilities are Mistral (which I enjoyed, though it's a bit quirky) and Union Café (which I haven't tried). Egullet has some fairly extensive discussions of these.

If you go to Pike Place Market, do like the natives and go on a weekday; the weekends are for tourists. If you like sushi or Japanese food in general, Seattle has some of the best. And unlike here, they have a real Chinatown with excellent food. Bon Voyage!

Or, use the fact that your body time is three hours earlier than the locals' and hit the place at 7AM while the place is half-way between setting up and open. A delightful hour -- one September Saturday it was just me and a local chef picking over the seasons' first chanterelles, while the fishmongers were shovelling ice and laying out the goods in the stall next door. We bought cod cheeks and and made a broth for them with the mushrooms and fresh corn from one of the produce vendors. mmmmmmmm.

There's a place that sells fresh donuts -- like, made before your eyes, can't eat them until they cool a bit fresh -- just to the left of the main entrance, too.

For Salumi, btw, go very early or very late if you anticipate a seat, otherwise, plan a picnic (and something to do with the leftovers). If they have pork cheeks, get 'em.

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Is there a magic week in the summer when it might not be raining too much? Many thanks.

In the Pac NW summer begins on July 4 and lasts through September. June can be quite nice, but it can be rainy as well. Salmon usually start running in June and their flavor degrades as the season progresses.

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There's a place that sells fresh donuts -- like, made before your eyes, can't eat them until they cool a bit fresh -- just to the left of the main entrance, too.
Yeah, I call them "crack donuts". They are these wonderful miniature things that you want to put in your mouth when you get them, and if you do you burn your mouth, but still is worth it to feel the hot fat pop in your mouth. Yum.

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Had a couple of nice meals in Seattle this week. Shiro's for sushi and finally got to have a sandwich at Salumi which was transporting. It was a pork cheek sandwich (special of the day) with a few grilled onions and a little garlic and parsley spread - one of the best tasting sambos I've ever had and worth being 20 minutes late to a meeting for!!*

* we got there at 11.40 and there were already 50 people in line.....

Dinner Tuesday was at a little unpretentious hole in the wall burger joint in Kirkland called The Slip - good beers (Hales) on tap too!!

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Thanks for all the tips! The trip is imminent. On the to-do list, in no particular order: Salumi, Espresso Vivace Roasteria, Place Pigalle, Dahlia Lounge, Mistral, Stumbling Goat Bistro, Lark, Palisade. Planning on spending at least half a day checking out Pike Place Market (we're staying within easy walking distance), and at least two days doing some serious hiking. And most of the rest of the time hanging around and getting a feel for life on the left coast.

Any last minute recommendations or warnings? Is it possible to get all the way 'round Olympic National Park to the Pacific coast and back to the city in one day?

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Another restaurant suggestion is Crush. Jason Wilson's cooking is pretty great and yes, he is another of Food & Wine's 10 best new chefs (2006). The Inn at the Market is probably the best location in town. Awesome hotel right across the street from the Pike Place Market. Speaking of the market, I had the best peach of my life there during one trip in late August. The vendor wouldn't allow the softball-sized fruit to to be handled so you pointed to the ones you wanted ;) If you have time, maybe drive down to Mt. Rainier National Park and stop at the lodge at Paradise (the lodge closes for the winter after Labor Day weekend) for a hike on the trail that circles up the mountain behind the lodge. Takes a few hours and is time well spent for mountain views that are truly breathtaking.

Keep us posted on your trip!

-Camille

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Is it possible to get all the way 'round Olympic National Park to the Pacific coast and back to the city in one day?

Theoretically, yes, but you'd be doing nothing but driving the whole time. You'll want to plan at least one overnight stay along the route to give yourself time to do some beachcombing or visit Crescent Lake and the Hoh Rain Forest. A trip to Mt. Rainier and back is certainly possible in one day, however.

(We'll be making a similar trip ourselves in August, staying at the Indian resort of La Push on the Pacific Coast.)

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It's Saturday night in Seattle, and I'm too tired to do anything, yet too wired to go to sleep. So here are some random thoughts on the Seattle food scene.

Coffee. It might be possible to get a bad cup of coffee in Seattle, but you'd really have to try hard. The coffee here is really all everyone says it is.

Salumi really is a pain in the ass to get into, but worth it just because, well, because you have to if you're into that sort of thing, and if you're reading donrockwell.com, you are. Into that sort of thing. At 10:50 am Wednesday the line was already 10 deep. By the time we got to the counter it was likely a good forty minute wait for those at the end. But the muffo and porchetta are tasty, and the communal table experience is fun.

The game plan for getting into Lark was a success. By the time our plane landed Tuesday, we got the car, settled into the hotel, and cleaned up, it was time to turn around and get to Lark when they opened at 5:00, which is too stinkin' early, except that it was 8:00 body time and we were past ready for dinner. We got a table right away. The only problem, really, is that we started at the top - Lark is so far my favorite place in town. I won't bother to describe it - look upthread for better descriptions than I can write. It is that good.

I shoulda known better than to dismiss Banco's opinion. The only real disappointment so far has been Dahlia Lounge . It wasn't bad, nor was it anything special. It had the feel and taste of a place too well established and settled into its niche for its own good.

On the other hand, thank goodness I took Banco's advice and booked a table at Mistral . Although not my favorite experience, the food and service were... perfect. The concept is interesting: the waiter tells you what basic ingredients Chef has for the night, asks about any dietary restrictions or preferences, and then your food starts arriving. Your only choices are whether to get seven or eight courses, with or without wine pairings. Or get bottles from the insanely expensive wine list. ('55 Chateaux Margeaux, anyone?) We had: hamachi sashimi with olive oil, citrus, and a watercress, fennel, and radish salad with celery foam; sweet corn soup with Louisiana shrimp and carrot-tangerine foam (Cloudy Bank NZ sauvignon blanc); walleye with mushroom 'noodles', zucchini, twice-fermented soy sauce, and creme fraiche (David Arthur chardonnay); foie gras with a caramelized rhubarb sauce and Granny Smith apple crisp (2001 Sauternes); rack of lamb with, uh, lots of little vegetables and a potato puree ('04 Littoral pinot noir); a fantastic selection of cheeses (Mas La Plana Cabernet Sauvignon); white peach, passionfruit, and coconut sorbets; warm chocolate cake with huckleberry sorbet and some other cold fruity things.

Remember, we didn't choose any of this. Chef enjoys the challenge of creating dishes on the fly. Or so we heard him saying to the next table. The price of a meal at Mistral will be double any other meal you eat in Seattle, but if this type of dining is your thing, do it.

If I lived here, I'd be a regular at Place Pigalle (no website; in Pike Place market). It has just the right combination of off-the beaten path (really - you wade through crowds to get to it, then no one's there) funkiness, Parisian bistro charm, and fine seasonal local ingredients in simple French inspired preparations. The waitress knew right away we're from out of town (thank God she didn't call us tourists). Why? "Because everyone here tonight is a regular, and I didn't recognize you". I ate Yukon River salmon.

Tip o' the hat to Rocks for recommending Macrina Bakery . I've eaten a lot of pastry this week, but none better than the "savory roll", a biscuit-like tender buttery thing with bacon baked in.

Got up at oh-dark-thirty this morning to beat the crowds to Paradise on Mt. Rainier. Arrived at 9 am and promptly set out a picnic breakfast of bread, cheese from Beecher's , and strawberries from Pike Place. Coupla hours of hiking, and a picnic lunch of more bread, cheese, Mt Rainier cherries, oh-my-god peaches, and finnochiona from Salumi. Then more hiking. Not nearly enough to offset all the eating. Oh well.

Dinner tonight was at Crush, but I'll have to save that story for later. Mr P is getting irritated with me spending all this time on line. ;) We're still on vacation. More later.

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Got back from a conference in Seattle and here's the very quick play by play:

Wasabi Bistro--disappointing. I was in the mood for sashimi and didn't get my $40 worth. Probably should have walked a block to Shiro's if I wasn't in the mood for rolls.

Salumi--ridiculous. The porchetta is the perfect antidote to a cold and rainy winter day. Only highlight of standing in the extensive line was the free salumi samples, which are amazing. Heed Porcupine's advice and call ahead. I was tempted to risk missing my flight and stopping for lunch before my 1 PM plane, but then I verified they were closed Mondays anyway.

Lark--wonderful meal. The place wasn't full until after 7 PM on a Friday. Carpaccio was excellent with several subtle and complementary flavors. The pork belly was a deliciously heavy counter to the fish. It'd be hard not to order both again. Finished with a half a dessert order of the chocolate madelines, which were more than enough and very tasty.

Sitka & Spruce--multiple foodies from Salumi and Lark recommended this place. Seats 25 at communal tables and the chalkboard menu changes daily (sometimes twice). Three appetizers ranging from $12-$16 a piece were well prepared including mussels and chorizo, grilled octopus, and braised pig cheeks (the unquestioned winner). The owner, who previously cooked at the Herb Farm, is opening a new place in the Georgetown area of Seattle in the coming months. At the other end of my communal table was the potential designer. Here's a local newspaper article.

Stumbling Goat--No one mentioned this place but I saw it mentioned as the immediately previous restaurant of the Sitka and Spruce chef as well as another newer restaurant named Crow that had some good word of mouth. The restaurant tries to prepare its dishes with 80-100% local ingredients. I started with 2 local cheeses that were phenomenal and followed that with my favorite dish of the whole trip: Pan-fried black cod served on kale, dungenous crab, and some other wonderful ingredient that I can't remember right now. Well planned and executed dish. Dessert, which are all made in house, was disappointed only b/c it sounded so great: Thyme-baked plums on top of a chocolate coated pastry and topped with homemade ice cream. I think if it was served hot (as I had expected for some reason), I think it would have been truly great except for the pastry. Another local newspaper article.

One place I didn't get to which Lydia R writes about upthread and many, many people called the best restaurant near Pike's Place was Matt's in the Market. Everyone had great things to say about it, including a conference couple who actually dined there Saturday. They're not open on Sundays. But there will be a next time...Beautiful city where you can easily pick out the tourists who are jaywalking and using umbrellas.

Pax,

Brian

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One place I didn't get to which Lydia R writes about upthread and many, many people called the best restaurant near Pike's Place was Matt's in the Market. Everyone had great things to say about it, including a conference couple who actually dined there Saturday. They're not open on Sundays. But there will be a next time...Beautiful city where you can easily pick out the tourists who are jaywalking and using umbrellas.
OK it's really raining here in DC for the first time in weeks, TS's Postcard includes Matt's and now Brian posts this. It's the Trifecta.

Has anyone familiar with Matt's eaten there since the expansion? The format of TS's postcards doesn't allow for more than a brief mention and no comparison of old v. new.

Matt's recently finished taking over the next door space and almost doubling its size [detailed here]. They're no longer cooking on two Butane burners and have added both a co-owner and new chef. From their website:

Matt's has a new business partner and owner Dan Bugge. Dan has been with the world famous Pike Place Fish Co. for the past nine years before joining with Matt Janke to expand the old space in the first half of 2007.

Chester Gerl, a Spokane native, is Matt's new head chef and menu creator. He served as head chef at Place Pigalle for four years, then a short stint as sous chef at Brasa under the direction of Tamara Murphy, before joining Matt's. When you dine at Matt's, you'll most likely see Chet as he works most every day, like many chefs.

Seattle is San Francisco on a more accessible scale. Seattle's lack of jaywalkers and abundance of drivers who yield to pedestrians in crosswalks is initially confusing but ultimately delightful.

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Heading to Seattle this week for a few days in the city and a few more on Orcas. What are the current 'not to miss' restaurants?

Here's the opentable list of last wk's top 10 most popular (I've eliminated Maggiano's & M&S and the like, which hold no interest for us). Any recent experiences at any of these?

Salty's on Alki

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar

Dahlia Lounge

Palisade

Magnolia

Restaurant Zoe

Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar

Likewise, anything to zero in on on Orcas or other San Juans?

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Heading to Seattle this week for a few days in the city and a few more on Orcas. What are the current 'not to miss' restaurants?

Here's the opentable list of last wk's top 10 most popular (I've eliminated Maggiano's & M&S and the like, which hold no interest for us). Any recent experiences at any of these?

Salty's on Alki

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar

Dahlia Lounge

Palisade

Magnolia

Restaurant Zoe

Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar

Likewise, anything to zero in on on Orcas or other San Juans?

i would not miss lark, on the other side of the highway, up a hill and down a hill.

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Anyone have any updates on the dining scene in Seattle? I am going to be there for a few nights in August, but we only have one night for dinner. Don't want anything stuffy, I just want something damn good. Price is not an issue, or location since I have no clue where anything is, just want a place that opens my eyes a bit.

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Anyone have any updates on the dining scene in Seattle? I am going to be there for a few nights in August, but we only have one night for dinner. Don't want anything stuffy, I just want something damn good. Price is not an issue, or location since I have no clue where anything is, just want a place that opens my eyes a bit.

I had dinner last night at Union Restaurant, on 1st and Union downtown, and it was excellent.

Grettings from SEA.

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I'm surprised to see no mention of Rover's on this thread. I had a birthday dinner here a few years back and found it outstanding. Delicate French-influenced food and great preparations of fish and foie. Not the cheapest dinner in Seattle, but definitely the best one I had in my two trips there.

Also, Shiro's deserves another shout-out. If you go, sit at the bar and talk to Shiro himself, he's very entertaining and will make you some of the most interesting hand rolls you will ever try. He is also the one (according to him) who started the whole miso-marinated black cod trend that Nobu picked up and made popular several years back. His version is better than the one I had at Nobu in Vegas a few years back and a fraction of the cost.

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I'm surprised to see no mention of Rover's on this thread.

Ask, and ye shall receive (from a dinner I had there in 2003):

My mother warned me as she always does when I tremble at the prospect of impending pleasure: “Don’t get your expectations too high. If you expect a Northwest restaurant to be at the same level as your experience in Tokyo [Taillevent-Robuchon], you’ll be disappointed.” I wanted to take my sweet mom by the hand and lead her to the Food Whores website [now defunct], where our statement of purpose plainly says that we enjoy food at all levels of sophistication, so long as it’s good food. But there’s little one can do to banish the guarded attitude toward future fulfillment that is characteristic of Central Europeans of her generation. And besides, she stares at me like I’m a complete freak when I’m in full Food Whore fury. It scares her.

True, T-R’s modest little place in Tokyo was the closest thing to gustatory Nirvana I have ever experienced; yet Rover’s, which is widely rated as the finest restaurant in the Pacific Northwest, met my high expectations in almost every respect. This extremely rare occurrence (mom knows me pretty well, after all) is reason enough to give you all a full review.

Rover’s opened in 1987 and is located in Seattle’s East End, a few minutes from downtown and near Lake Washington. Though pleasant enough, the area is not one that invites associations with grand cuisine. (As we parked my brother said, “The best food in the Northwest? Here?”) Off a main drag in a neighborhood dotted with a few restaurants and shops, one enters a plain concrete courtyard facing a semicircle of single-level units that look like they belong to a former apartment or office complex from the Seventies; Rover’s occupies a set of units on one end. Inside everything changes. Past a small vestibule that serves as the reception area, we were led into one of three or four interconnected and tastefully decorated rooms that managed to combine openness with intimacy. The setting resembles a private home and is a highly successful example of what high-end restaurants in the Northwest (and elsewhere) almost always strive for but seldom achieve: “casual elegance.” The atmosphere at Rover’s reminds you that this hackneyed phrase can actually mean something if it’s properly understood. The service was along the same lines: knowledgeable but unfussy, friendly but decorous.

Rover’s does not serve à la carte but instead concentrates on three tasting menus: a five- and eight-course, plus a five-course vegetarian. The composition of these menus changes daily according to the market and season, and, presumably, the creative whims of executive chef Thierry Rautureau and his chef de cuisine, Jim Roberts. The wine list is carefully chosen. It was refreshing to see that the justifiable pride taken in offering a rich selection of domestic and local wines did not lead to the provincial error of neglecting the French classics, among which were some very fine bottlings. Unfortunately, I began the evening on a low note. Having asked for a sherry not on the menu, the Lustau Almacenista, I was delighted to learn that they had it. In Tokyo this dark dry wine was a bracing and luxuriant start to the meal, but here it arrived at room temperature, slightly oxidized, and, judging by its cloudiness, not carefully stored. (Why is it that even some of the best restaurants in America and Europe do not know that dry sherry must be served frais, in both senses of the term?) Next time I’ll stick to what’s on the menu.

I paid this gaffe little attention and moved on. My brother and I ordered the eight-course, his wife and mine the five-course menu. The program began without an amuse in the traditional sense, but topping the eight-course line-up was a no-less-amusing presentation of an egg with its cap removed, the contents lightly scrambled with flavorings and poured back into the intact shell, topped with a piping of lime-laced crème fraiche and a mound of white sturgeon caviar. The flavors of the two types of egg were perfectly combined, and the touch of lime in the crème fraiche was an inspired offset to the caviar. The scrambled egg, ensconced in its shell, was warm, frothy, and viscous, a simple but wondrous charm whenever one is fortunate enough to encounter it. It was dishes such as these that would prove the most successful throughout the evening: classical, even common, combinations enlivened with a creative fillip and beautifully presented.

An even better example of this approach was the next dish on the eight-course menu. In a kind of riff on Salade Niçoise, fingerling potato salad was topped with diced smoked salmon and haricots verts, all formed into a perfectly round little cake that showed off the layers like a parfait. This was surrounded by tiny paupiettes of fresh white anchovy and drizzled with a lemon vinaigrette. The execution was flawless. The salmon was diced to just the right size to contrast with the coarse chop of the potato salad—which, incidentally, had the honest, uncomplicated taste of good old fashioned potato salad. Again: basic flavors combined and presented with panache.

Meanwhile, my wife and my sister-in-law had begun with a salad of Dungeness crab and Walla Walla onion, accompanied by an heirloom tomato soup. All these icons of Northwest culinary bounty, combined so well! The three distinct sweetnesses and textures of the Walla Walla, the crab, and the tomato played off each other beautifully.

Next for brother and me came a large cup filled with a soft-shell crab bisque garnished with baby white carrots, sea scallops, and toasted hazelnuts. Presenting soups in cups of one size or another has become fashionable, but I have seen it so often now that it’s beginning to feel like a tired joke. The bisque was richly flavored, though it did not transcend the merely good and competent, which was a bit of a letdown considering what came before it. Here the textures did not work as well, the scallops and carrots in inelegant chunks, the hazelnuts somewhat lost in the crowd. But things were put right again with the next course: medallions of curried Maine lobster on a bed of fried leeks with curry sauce. At this point I began to realize that the chef liked to work with sweet notes: Walla Walla onion, curry, crab, tomato, lobster, scallops. Yet he almost always managed to combine them with sufficient contrast and texture. In spite of myself I practically inhaled the lobster, which would have melted in my mouth had I given it the chance. The perfume of the curry, the rich and unctuous sauce, the sweetness of the lobster—everything worked, and everything worked together. There was much grabbing of arms and laying-on of hands, much to the consternation of my wife and the delight of my sister-in-law.

Between mouthfuls of lobster I glanced at my brother across the table. Although he has always liked good food and drink, he has never been one to seek out restaurants, certainly not ones like Rover’s. But as I watched his reactions—the intent enjoyment, the stare into space as if in search of some metaphor, and yes, the glazed, half-drugged expression of gastronomic ecstasy—it began to dawn on me: MY BROTHER IS A FOOD WHORE! This epiphany midway through our eight courses and thirty-nine years into our relationship immediately doubled the pleasure I took and would take during the entire evening.

As I was giggling to myself in supreme self-satisfaction, the ladies were tucking into their sea scallops and seared duck foie gras with corn and raspberry vinegar sauce. The soft textures of the foie gras and the sea scallops, both done to velvety perfection, contrasted perfectly with the al dente corn, all of which were harmonized with the sweet and acidic notes of the raspberry vinegar-flavored demi-glace.

Up to this point we had been drinking a wine that will sound familiar to those privileged enough to have been at the Food Whore Star Chamber’s founding session at Taillevent-Robuchon: a 1996 Savennières. Although the same vintage, the wine in Seattle came from the property of Clos des Perrières, whereas our Japanese selection was from La Coulée de Serrant, one of the two Grand Crus in the appellation (the other being La Roche aux Moines). The humbler origin of our wine in Seattle was noticeable, though it was, as in Japan, an excellent pairing with the many seafood selections on the menu, especially the shellfish and salmon. It was served too cold, but after it warmed up in the glass it developed the same steely Chenin Blanc kick and honeyed nose combined with dryness on the palate that I remembered from Tokyo. I think steamed lobster in anise-laced butter and a bottle of Savennières has got to be one of the meals you get in heaven.

Next my brother and I had our turn at the foie gras. Our version was a seared morsel that topped a kind of blanquette of rabbit and golden beet (again that sweet note) inside a tartlet shell and sauced with a thyme demi-glace. The contrast of textures here was especially effective, the beet also adding lightness to an otherwise rather heavy dish, particularly at this point in the menu, on which more later. By this time we had moved to what would be the first of two bottles of 1995 Beychevelle, which again echoed Tokyo in that the 1994 Gloria we had there was also a St. Julien, though the Beychevelle was clearly a richer and meatier wine. It of course was a fine companion to the foie gras and rabbit.

Next came fish again for all around. The ladies had Alaskan Halibut with leeks, baby carrots, and lobster sauce. Halibut has been one of my favorite fish varieties since I was a kid, probably because in the Northwest it is always of such high quality and freshness. (Halibut on the East Coast, I find, tends to be dry and lifeless.) This specimen had been delicately poached in a simple but effective presentation that brought out wonderful flavors in all the ingredients. Meanwhile, my brother and I had Virginia striped sea bass with a ragout of corn, tomato, and roasted garlic. As earlier with the ladies’ scallops and foie gras, the crunchy texture of the corn was a fine backdrop to the nuttiness of the bass—a fish that often can be dense and heavy but that here was sent up marvelously by the astringency of the tomato and the mellowness of the roasted garlic.

Following a spice infused Pinot sorbet (I found the spiced-wine taste, which I associate with winter and skiing, somewhat distracting) the ladies moved on to duck breast with fennel and a lavender-infused demi-glace. Fennel and lavender are two of my favorite flavors, and here they were combined with subtlety and skill. The fennel, which can be an unruly vegetable to cook, was sweet, tender, and not at all fibrous. Its anise overtones combined with the lavender to make a subtly provençal backdrop to the duck breast, which was so tender it seemed to suck up the demi-glace into its pores. Meanwhile my brother and I were presented with medallions of New Zealand venison with chanterelles and a black peppercorn sauce. For this dish I would have preferred a bit more pepper heat, but otherwise it was flawless. The venison was absolutely tender and flavorful. And how can you go wrong when you accompany it with the consummate garnish for game, that glory of the Pacific Northwest that I gathered by the bagful with my parents long before the dot-com yuppie hordes invaded the forest—the noble chanterelle.

When the cheeses arrived (a fine selection of local and European choices, all at the proper temperature) we all had eyes too big for what remained of our appetites. The desserts also were excellent, finely crafted, imaginative, but exceedingly rich by this point. And this is the main criticism I would have of our experience. Even an eight-course dinner should not leave one feeling bloated and “full.” At Taillevent-Rouchon, for example, the program was of similar length but the feeling afterwards was of being au point—not full, just pleasantly sated. At Rover’s, even the five-course menu proved a bit much for the ladies, who had begun with eager appetites. The problem was two-fold. First, almost all the portions could have been a tad smaller. Unfortunately, the best-meaning chef can find this difficult to accomplish in American restaurants, even at this level, since there are still a great many people with more money than taste who think they are being cheated if they see a lot of empty space on their plates, regardless of what comes before or after.

Second, the eight-course version in particular showed how important it is to conceive the shape of a menu. I prefer an arch, with heavier keystones flanked by lighter supports. Instead Rover’s erected a staunch rampart of rich seafood selections that rose to progressively daunting heights with foie gras, see bass, and venison. Cheese and dessert, no matter how well executed, could not help but appear as afterthoughts. Perhaps a cold soup, or offering the foie gras as a terrine rather than a seared scallop, would have helped leaven things a bit. This is not to detract from the individual merits of the dishes, practically all of which were executed with great care, skill, and imagination. The arrangement of those elements, however, needed the same attention. A final quibble: Rover’s should invest in some good crystal and silverware as a fitting complement to its excellent food. The tools on offer shifted the casual-elegance balance a bit too far toward the former.

All in all I could come away from the evening and face my mom with defiance. “Well, how was it?” she asked with trepidation. “Excellent,” I said. “My expectations were met, and I found out my brother is a total food whore.” You should have seen her jaw drop.

Rover’s

2808 East Madison

Seattle, WA 98112

Phone: 206-325-7442

Fax: 206-325-1092

www.rovers-seattle.com

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I have never been to Seattle but have a very good friend who is associated with the Waterfront Seafood Grill. I have recommended it to others based on my friend working there, but I have never met anyone who's dined there. Anyone on this board familar with it? What are your thoughts?

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Sitka & Spruce--multiple foodies from Salumi and Lark recommended this place. Seats 25 at communal tables and the chalkboard menu changes daily (sometimes twice). Three appetizers ranging from $12-$16 a piece were well prepared including mussels and chorizo, grilled octopus, and braised pig cheeks (the unquestioned winner). The owner, who previously cooked at the Herb Farm, is opening a new place in the Georgetown area of Seattle in the coming months. At the other end of my communal table was the potential designer. Here's a local newspaper article.

I dined at Sitka & Spruce a few weeks ago and was pretty impressed. It's a tiny place that's jammed into a dumpy strip mall next to a 7-Eleven, which made the modern, Pacific Northwest, dimly-lit interior all the more impressive. I also had the grilled octopus (my first experience with octopus), which was excellent, and the Wagyu Hanger Steak over Collard Greens with Fingerling Potatoes. The exterior of the steak was a bit too charred for my tastes, but overall very good and not terribly expensive. With a glass of wine, I got out for under $50

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Looking for input on some places that sound interesting, but aren't mentioned here:

Tilth

How to Cook a Wolf

Elemental @ gasworks (sounds like quite an experience)

Cache

Licorous (for cocktails)

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Any recent recommendations for Seattle? I am staying near the market, but willing to travel. Winery recommendations sought as well.

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Any recent recommendations for Seattle? I am staying near the market, but willing to travel. Winery recommendations sought as well.

There is a very active Seattle group on mouthfulsfood.com and I'd check there for recent updates. They all seem open to folks coming into town. I wouldnt recommend it if I didnt do the same thing here on dr when I'm heading to D.C.

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Any recent recommendations for Seattle? I am staying near the market, but willing to travel. Winery recommendations sought as well.

Elemental @ gasworks was a pretty wild experience. I forgot to post about it. They have a menu, but apparently no one orders from it. Instead, the kitchen sends out course after course of food paired with wine (sometimes paired with multiple wines). I lost track of how many courses were served, and it must have been at least 10 different wines + a cocktail that a accompanied the food. The price was very reasonable, bordering on cheap for what it was. You won't be told anything about what you're eating or drinking, unless you ask (the idea is not to have preconceptions, but I'm not sure I liked repeatedly having to ask about the wines). It's in the first floor of a condo building on the edge of Gasworks Parks. The unlikely space makes it seem like you're at a fun dinner party at someone's house. You'll need to get there early and wait in line. The best food I've ever had? No. One of the most unique food experiences I've ever had? Yes.

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Elemental @ gasworks was a pretty wild experience. I forgot to post about it. They have a menu, but apparently no one orders from it. Instead, the kitchen sends out course after course of food paired with wine (sometimes paired with multiple wines). I lost track of how many courses were served, and it must have been at least 10 different wines + a cocktail that a accompanied the food. The price was very reasonable, bordering on cheap for what it was. You won't be told anything about what you're eating or drinking, unless you ask (the idea is not to have preconceptions, but I'm not sure I liked repeatedly having to ask about the wines). It's in the first floor of a condo building on the edge of Gasworks Parks. The unlikely space makes it seem like you're at a fun dinner party at someone's house. You'll need to get there before they open and wait in line. The best food I've ever had? No. One of the most unique food experiences I've ever had? Yes.

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I'm at Sea-Tac waiting for my flight home after a week of Seattle and the great outdoors. We didn't try a ton of places as we mostly cooked for ourselves at the cabins we rented (although two kinds of salmon, Dungeness, razor clams, halibut cheeks, alder smoked salmon (OK three kinds I guess), oysters, and a couple of Salumi salamis were noteworthy for home dining as well).

The great: Anchovies and Olives is a sort of Italian themed smallish plates for sharing type of place and the menu is loaded with seafood. Our crew tried about half of the menu and the standouts were the hamachi with pickled rhubarb and the bugoli with anchovies and loads of garlic and chilis. Everything we had was good though, and with a couple of bottles of wine and a round of drinks, full bellies were only about 60 bucks per person. The wine list was mostly Italian and we had a rose and a zin that were on the value end and perfectly fine. Maybe deanG can go and tell you about the wine list as I have yet to master the Italians. http://www.ethanstowellrestaurants.com/anchoviesandolives/

Fine: Peso's for brunch. My chicken fried steak with jalapeno gravy was good but a let down as it's their signature brunch dish, and I felt similarly about their house-infused seven pepper vodka bloody mary. I would go back but it fell short of "Best Brunch in Seattle" as it was advertised to the group by someone's friend. http://www.pesoskitchen.com/

Pike Place Market is obviously great with lots of tiny vendors and a small farmers market outside. The fish from the place where they yell and throw it across the room fed us as described above, and was amazing though obviously not cheap. Flavored pastas from one of the vendors there were not a let down even at 10 bucks a pound. We had the garlic and onion, and the jalapeno, some of which is coming home with me in a bag. Some Russian stuffed pastry was the star of our street food adventure, but I can't recall the name. You'll know it when you see it.

http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/

Le Pichet for charcuterie and French breakfast is worth a mention as well. Great coffee and a wide selection of pastries and charcuterie (tongue sandwich for breakfast anyone?) http://www.lepichetseattle.com/pages/menus.php

All in all a great foodie trip. I think I hiked 60 miles this week and still probably gained weight.

PS: the Full Sail beers, which I believe are from Oregon and have not seen in DC, are all great. Session, their bargain line, was the drink of choice in the cabins at a buck a beer (oddly 11 oz though).

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Paseo - The sandwiches are just as good as they were when I first visited a few years ago. Sweet roast pork loin with great aioli and roasted onions. Excellent Cuban with really good, but maybe a little bit too sweet roasted pork shoulder.

Mistral - Good meal. Some items were a bit hit or miss for me, and the service was bizarre: bringing first course before we had a chance to order wine, receiving the same recite-a-spiel twice, dishes brought to the table and described while guests were away at the bathroom. But the foie gras was heavenly with huckleberries, cacao nibs and a rose gelee. Loved the overall concept, but just frustrated by the service since I had brought guests as a treat.

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In Pike's Market:

The Crumpet Shop - hidden away a little bit, but really great crumpets with fresh preserves... nicely browned and slightly crisp on the bottom

Uli's - great sausages and wurst. They mostly do a take home and cook it yourself business. But you can choose what type you like and they'll cook it and top it to order, and get a decent German beer to go with it.

Mini doughnut guy - around the corner from the seafood stand that throws fish... powdered mini donuts... mmm...

DeLaurenti's - If you can't make it to Salumi they have their meats available as well as a solid selection of gourmet items I've never seen before

Zig Zag Cafe - great place for cocktails

Tavern Law/Needle and Thread - good speakeasy, solid drinks, and I have it on good authority the food is very good.

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One the last day of my 10 days in Seattle. Below are the best places I came across while here.

  • Daily Dozen Donut Company – In Pike Place Market. A small stall near the throwing fish guys. These mini donuts are great. You can get a dozen for less than $3 with your choice of topping.
  • Urbane - Near Convention Center. Only tried this one for lunch. Is probably an extra block away from where normal conventioneers would go, so it is a good choice for lunch with some nice choices.
  • Café Campagne- Nice French Bistro near Pike Place market.
  • Steelhead Diner – High end diner near Pike Place. Has a cool “Chef’s Counter” where you can sit and watch the crew cook. They do full and half portions of most fish on the menu.
  • Quinn’s Gastro Pub – Pretty cool gastro pub, although they were out of the goat confit/lamb heart dish I wanted to try. However, the oxtail/crispy marrow dish I had was great.
  • Wild Ginger – Nice Pan Asian restaurant. Have a “Satay Bar” with a large choice of Satay.
  • Tulio – Rustic yet refined Italian cooking. Is attached to the Vintage Park Hotel (excellent Boutique Hotel with nightly Wine Tastings for hotel guests).
  • 94 Stewart - Hands down best meal I had in Seattle. Also near Pike Place. From the website you get the impression the Chef is a combination of Gillian Clark and Michael Landrum. Regardless, the lady can cook. Her cooking is both inventive and tasty. The service here is awesome as well.

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Can't argue with Campagne and Steelhead--haven't been to the others wineitup mentions.

Vessel is an excellent "proper" cocktail bar. And Zig Zag has a bunch of our Willetts, in addition to a fantastic cocktail program.

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In Seattle last month - Poppy was very good. They serve Thali. Amongst 5 of us, 2 got the 10-thali vegetarian platter, the other 3 of us got the one with meat. Almost makes no sense to recount because the menus seems to change daily. Interesting selection of cocktails also.

Also had a great croissant and apple turnover at 3 Sisters Bakery at Pike Place Market.

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I'm going to bump this since the posts are a tad old and the restaurant world can change immensely in a mere year and a half.

I haven't started researching Seattle too much yet, so I don't know what neighborhoods are the best to stay in or explore, or even if we'll need to rent a car (Taking the train from Vancouver).

The only definites: CakeSpy Shop and Mariner's Game.

I've heard some things about:

  • Katsu Burger
  • Lark
  • Crush
  • Kinokuniya (not food related)
  • Pike Place Market
  • Poppy
  • Rover's
  • Quinn's
  • Elemental

We can afford to probably eat at one really expensive place, but since we'll be binge-ing in Vancouver for several days before, we can't afford to eat $$$ every meal.

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I absolutely loved Poppy. Here is an excerpt from my blog post about it:

I choose a ten item thali, which includes two main dishes. This is a plus for my indecision. The coho salmon has also already caught my attention. To this I add lavender duck leg with parsnip, red cabbage, and pomegranate. This is accompanied by eight small dishes. We are instructed not to eat them one at a time, but to go back and forth to vary the tastes. My dishes are: pumpkin cardamom soup; leek, tomato, and black olive salad; grilled fig, radicchio, and pumpkin seed salad; marina di chioggia squash with fresh fennel seed and lime; roasted cauliflower with apple and dill; corn and basil spoonbread; Asian pear pickle; and nigella-poppy naan.What can I say? There is an explosion of flavors that is simply mind-blowing. Each dish has its own complexity which changes according to the order in which you eat it. So a bite of squash before the salmon tastes different than the squash followed by the salads. The salmon brings tears to my eyes- it is that good. The soup brings about simultaneous hot flashes for the three of us who are eating it. It’s not overly spiced, so we can’t really figure out what causes it. We are not deterred from eating more.

Full review and a couple of more Seattle suggestions on my blog at: http://beenthereeatenthat.net/2011/10/awakenings-in-seattle/

Don't miss Top Pot Doughnuts!

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Don't miss Pike Place Market. It's uniquely Seattle, is a great stroll, and you'll find plenty of things to eat just walking and nibbling (or you can grab lunch at the awesome Steelhead Diner - Matt's in the Market has always been uneven for me but a great spot for a drink). Of the places you listed if you're looking to spend I'd go with Poppy or Crush - Elemental can be hit/miss, and while Rover's is great this area isn't exactly lacking for splashy French cooking. Honestly, if you're not hung up on that list I'd honestly look into a few other options. Canlis is doing amazing work lately with their new chef, Sitka and Spruce is still about as Seattle-post-dotcom-boom a dining experience as it gets, Revel has the kind of modern Korean plates and hip location that would absolutely murder in DC. Same with Staple/Fancy and Walrus/Carpenter, which are what I tried to lie/convince myself Pearl Dive would be like.

Quinn's though - Quinn's is great for a pint and a sandwich. What the northwest has that DC doesn't are those mid-range priced places that still leave you feeling like you ate like a king. You really don't need the Rover's/Canlis price - you'll eat super well at those places, but it ain't necessary.

Get to Paseo and eat a roast pork sandwich. Thank me later.

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Thanks ad.mich! I just searched my RSS reader for "Seattle" and those were the places that popped up, so of course I'm open to anything! I'll look into the recommendations you made, especially Walrus/Carpenter and Paseo.

Would you say places in Seattle are spread out enough to warrant a rental car?

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I'd say it depends on where you're staying and how flexible you are with weather/distance. It's not a huge city but things are as spread out in pockets more than DC - plus public transport is limited to buses. If you're cool with walking a decent bit and build a plan around staying put for a spell at one of Downtown/Pike-Pine/Fremont/Ballard you'll be ok with a few cabs. Otherwise a car is pretty much a necessity.

No kidding on Paseo - just re-reading that comment got a Pavlovian reaction from me and I haven't had one in a few years.

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Thanks for the recommendations everyone! We missed out on a couple of places we really wanted to go to due to timing not working out (Zig Zag Cafe, Hazelwood, a Chinese noodle place in ID). We were also limited in what we could do because on the weekend (75% of our trip), there was a block party that was on Pike St and made it so we couldn't get to places we wanted to go because access required a paid ticket. A lot of places are also open only for dinner, and when you only have 3 dinners on a trip, places are bound to get left out.

Here are the places we ended up eating/visiting: (wow, writing this out, I can't believe we ingested ALL of these things!!)

  • Stumptown Coffee - good coffee, but not the best we had in SEA. It was too acrid for my taste
  • CakeSpy Shop - I'm a fan of this blogger/artist and we were staying in Capitol Hill nearby. Sadly, the shop/art gallery is closing, but I'm glad we got to visit
  • Marination Station - some of the best food we had all trip. It's a Hawai'ian place tucked into a shopping center with great sauces, daily specials (ex: Theo chocolate chicken mole because the Theo factory is nearby), and juice drinks from HI. Mac salad with spam? Yes please.
  • Cupcake Royale - I only really wanted to try one cupcake place (Trophy), but Cupcake Royale was *Everywhere*. I only tried one mini cupcake and it was good. I've heard their ice creams are good too.
  • Little Uncle - It was a bit of a hike to get here, but since a lot of Pike was closed, we had had time to spare. We opted for the green rhubarb and peach shaved ice. The space is very interesting and the staff was very nice and friendly. The food smelled so good, I was tempted to order something, but we were very full.
  • Molly Moon's - Though we were very full, we ate Stumptown Coffee ice cream anyways. They had interesting flavors and made their own waffle cones, but the ice cream was a tad too soft for my liking.
  • Old School Frozen Custard - We just had tastes here since we were on the verge of diabetes at this point. They have vanilla, chocolate, and a special flavor every day. It's milwaukee-style and similar to Milwaukee's Frozen Custard around here, so we didn't go back.
  • Bluebird - we stopped here for a taste of the weekend special, "Phantograham" ice cream. I don't like graham crackers, but graham cracker ice cream for some reason tasted great. Since it was a weekend special, we made it a point to come back the next day, which was easy because they're open late. They also make their own waffle cones, serve beer, and have board games that you can play like 1993 UNO and Boggle.
  • Restaurant Zoe - dinner here was almost great. The drinks were nice, but a tad too sweet and weak. We got gnocchi, shaved beef tongue, wild boar pasta, and tumeric glazed lamb with lentils. There were too many lentils with the lamb, and the beef tongue dish was almost flavorless, but the macadamia short bread cookie-accompanied coffee creme brulee we had for dessert and the soft and salty bread made up for it.
  • Tavern Law / Needle & Thread - Needle & Thread is a speakeasy inside Tavern Law. We had a black tea rye fizz while waiting for our reservation for needle, then went upstairs. Though it was a Saturday, we were the only people inside! I think it was because of the festival/block party going on at the time. We got to talk a lot to the staff about cocktails and spirits in general, but at times it was a little too much one-on-one. Every cocktail was custom tailored to our request and all of them tasted great. We also got 2 containers of digestifs/bitters with our check. (Think - Columbia Room on the West Coast, with more seats)

  • Victrola Coffee - I liked this place the best in terms of coffee in Seattle, @merc340 liked it second to Ballard Coffee Works. I liked how you can see the coffee roasting in the back, similar to Sweetwater Taverns beer setup in Centreville.
  • Pike Place Market - I'm glad we went, but in hindsight would have probably gone on Monday instead of Sunday. It was jam-packed full of tourists, which was such a stark contrast to Granville Island in Vancouver (which we visited on a Thursday). I also didn't realize that since it was a Sunday, places opened later, around 11. We had some very good almonds and jam at some stands too.
  • Piroshky, Piroshky - Got the beef/cheese and apple. The apple was fresh from the oven and tasted good, but nothing special. The beef/cheese one grew on us and was like a super-tasty hot pocket from our childhoods.
  • Original Starbucks - I don't know if the crowd was for taking pictures of the outside or to get inside, but we skipped it.
  • Pear Delicatessen - I'm glad we stopped in here because I got some local Scrappy's Bitters and they had a lot of interesting local finds (including Hawai'ian soda!). It was nice to step inside to get a break from the chaos outside.
  • Beecher's Cheese - We got a mix of the "spicy" and regular mac n cheese. The regular mac n cheese was better - I like that they use penne pasta there and you can see them making cheese next door.
  • The Chocolate Box - really friendly people that were willing to let me talk way too long about chocolate. I got a 5 piece assortment of banana fosters, yuzu, darjeeling tea, masala chai, and a caramel. I also got some samples of their drinking chocolate and walked away with some of that. It's next to a cupcake royale and there is an opening/shared wall between them, which is odd.
  • Ballard Coffee Works - A very large coffee shop. They let me taste hemp milk before ordering it with my latte, which ended up being half hemp and half non-fat. This was BF's favorite coffee place in Seattle.
  • Ballard Farmer's Market - another market, crazy right? This one is similar to Dupont Circle Farmer's market and as you walked the perimeter of the market, you could go into local shops like Blackbird or Anchor Coffee, then pop back out to continue perusing the market.
  • Pete's Perfect Toffee - A stand at the market, it really was perfect. Each flavor he let me sample tasted better, until the last which was Dark Chocolate Coconut. Sold!
  • Dante's Inferno Dogs - apparently cream cheese is a popular topping for dogs in Seattle. We got a smoked bacon cheddar dog with some cream cheese, peppers, mustard, etc. The guys were really nice and friendly about recommending topping combos.
  • Kukuruza Gourmet Popcorn - we tried the hawaii'an sea salt caramel and the chicago mix and were sold. both were crunchy without being too hard.
  • Savor - they were sampling bitters, what else do I need to say? It was a good place to stop in and look around while waiting for our reservation. It reminded me of Society Fair in Alexandria.
  • Ballard Loft - we stopped here while waiting for our dinner reservation. They have games to play like shuffleboard, but it's a typical sports bar. The sangria I had was just white wine, no fruit (was it sangria then??).
  • Walrus & The Carpenter - I think this was the best meal we had in Seattle. I was wary. They don't take reservations and I don't eat raw oysters (it's an oyster place!!). But, it was worth the gamble and the wait. We had fried oysters that were so meaty, they were like chicken nuggets that took a dip in the ocean. Our house cured salmon with fennel and absinthe was also very good, and went well with the drinks we were imbibing in at the time.
  • Canon - This was recommended by a lot of people in Vancouver, but it was a tad disappointing. The layout of the space was a bit awkward (large open area in the middle, but we weren't allowed to "stand" next to any table, which led to us being cloistered in a tight corner spot). We got the brownie with fernet marshmallow and orange caramel (I was thinking about the absinthe marshmallows in the Monk's Hot Chocolate at Rogue 24), but it was a bust. Everything was just way too dry. The bourbon beer nuts/popcorn everyone kept ordering smelled like B.O. and was very off-putting. The cheese plate we ordered was good, but as usual, we ran out of bread way too fast and the service was very slow. The drinks were alright. They sounded very good on paper, but in reality fell short of expectations.

  • Top Pot Donuts - These were good, but not as good as they proclaimed. They said they have the "best bavarian creme" and it was good, but not the best. Apple Fritter had too much glaze and was rock hard, but the cinnamon sugar was moist and perfect level of sweetness.
  • Honeyhole Sandwiches - We got the gooch, which is tri-tip, sharp cheddar, horseradish mayo, and a side of au jus. This is the type of sandwich that you don't mind dripping down the side of your arms. It was that good.
  • B & O espresso - they make their own caramel for their caramel lattes, but other than that it was okay. Seemed more neighborhood/book club vibe since they have a separate seating area you need to get a table in if you're getting anything other than a coffee to go.
  • Chihuly Glass Garden - we chose to go here instead of the space needle and it was great! The glass was very interesting, though I wish there was a discount for students (yes, my student ID from 2007 isn't expired yet! Yay GMU) since the price is a bit steep. You get a $5 discount if you go to the space needle, but I just thought it was unnecessary.
  • Macrina Bakery - everything here was scrumptious. We got cocoa puff (brioche filled with ganache), which was like a chocolate croissant but not as buttery and rich; ginger apple cider was warming and refreshing; rick's cookie (apricot, espresso, chocolate), peanut butter oatmeal cookie, and double chocolate chunk. The environment was nice and calming and I liked the interesting foil artwork along the wall. They also had italian nutella, which they gave me tax-free!
  • Ian - An interesting clothing store with very nice staff. We spent way too much time there (same with Scout).
  • Fuji Bakery - we were lucky we visited them the day before they closed for a month of renovations. The staff was very friendly (one of them was from Manassas, VA and one from DC!) and we decided on an apricot tart. The tart was a bit burnt on the bottom, but the large apricots were sweet and chewy on top of a sweet cheese filling.
  • Uwajima Market Village - we stopped by kinokuniya, the japanese book store, but then were so hungry but didn't have time for a real meal before the baseball game. We got a mix plate style lunch of rice, char siu, and general tso's chicken. The char siu was dried, almost like jerky, so I passed on that, but the rest was ok. I stopped in the market and got some cold drops and a cute chick shaped pastry filled with white bean (they had these in Japan when I was studying there and haven't seen them state-side!). It too was also a tad burnt, but rich and sweet on the inside. I skipped Beard Papa and the Crepe place here because I needed something savory, not sweet.
  • SafeCo Field - The great thing about this was that the game was very exciting. Yankees vs Mariners and Ichiro had been traded to the Yankees earlier in the day! There were a lot of Yankees fans, surprisingly. We got to use our CAD and buy some Garlic Fries. I don't know why these are so popular, the garlic is RAW on them. I was expecting it to be at least a little cooked down.
  • Trophy Cupcakes - We went here twice in the mall downtown. The first time was on sunday, they said they opened at 10 and we got there at 1030+ and there were no cupcakes. We went out of our way again to go on Monday and got the Elvis and Chocolate Graham Cracker Marshmallow cupcakes. They were expensive, but they have a program where you get a coupon for a free cupcake next time you visit and I asked them to just split the transaction so one of them were free. The marshmallow cupcake was great and not too sweet, with swirls of graham throughout and chocolate chips. The elvis was one-note and the frosting far too sweet, so trash.

  • Homegrown - this is in the same center as butter (a home goods store that is very small) and Sitka/Spruce. We wanted to eat here for breakfast before we left to the airport, but they were having problems with their machine(s), so we had to pass. We got one last drink at Victrola instead and some coffee to-go as souvenirs.

seattle_day1-70x650.jpg seattle_day2-61x650.jpg seattle_day3-116x650.jpg

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  • Dante's Inferno Dogs - apparently cream cheese is a popular topping for dogs in Seattle.

Oh god. You have no idea.

Thanks for the fun and detailed post. Now I'm homesick!

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Up until this point I just haven't had time to post like anything.... Sorry Rockwellians, work has been brutally busy lately, but with very good results, so yay!

We were in Seattle for a friend's wedding and had a lovely time. Our first night we arrived early and checked into the Mayflower Park which was a very nice hotel, and the staff were just exceptionally nice. It was centrally located to all the tourist things, had decent restaurants, liquor stores, markets, shopping right nearby, was right by the light rail. We then headed to the SAM, which was a lot of fun. Then we took a cab up towards Spinasse where we had dinner reservations. We were a bit early, and the bar there was full, so we wandered down to the Manhattan Club. I am not sure what fascination the people of Seattle seem to have with taxidermy or non-real-animal faux taxidermy, but it seemed quite popular. I am not complaining as I rather enjoyed it. Manhattan Club had a nice selection of libations. I can't remember exactly what cocktails we had, MK also had some beers. To put it gently we were starting down a very nice road at that point, eased along by nice staff and balanced cocktails.

We then wandered up to Spinasse in an utterly fantastic mood. I had the egg noodles with butter and sage as my starter, MK had it with red sauce as his meal. I preferred my sauce, he his. The noodles were so good, thin and light, not overly flour like tasting, really, really well done. And the butter and sage just let them shine, and well eating butter is just good and this was well incorporated sagey butter sauce. This is absolutely maybe the perfect I just had a couple of cocktails now feed me food. (I didn't mention the bottle of wine we were drinking too... It was good, no clue what it was as MK ordered it.) MK had the salad with rabbit and balsamic. This may be one of the best salads I have ever eaten. I mean it was almost as good as my noodles, and it was salad. The rabbit was cooked perfectly and had been marinated in what I am not quite sure, but it enhanced the rabbity flavor and did not hinder it. The whole thing was just really good. I had the rabbit meatballs wrapped in caul fat with braised turnips. I loved this dish, it was a little- sour, tangy, but I like that flavor profile and thought that worked well with the meatballs. MK wasn't as keen, but he likes different flavor profiles than I do. We were so full I didn't even have dessert, but it was so good.

The next day we went to Pike Place before the wedding as it wasn't until early evening. We had piroshky piroshky, MK had the ground beef, I had the sausage, friends had the apple turnover. They were all good, I liked the ground beef the best, it was kind of like a hamburger turnover in a great way. Also after the night before it served a very nice purpose. We picked up some dried cherries, smoked salmon and salmon jerky for a housewarming for the second leg of our wedding vacations in Connecticut. Ate other random things given to us throughout the market. Then we had brunch at Cafe Campagne as our travel companions are more meal than snacky people. I had a very nice nicoise baguette, the baguette could have been better, but it wasn't bad, just fairly standard. The ingredients inside: tuna, egg, caper, lettuce, tomato, balsamic were all fresh and very good.

We then weddinged it up and between ceremony and reception headed to Smash Wine Bar, who wasn't supposed to be open, but graciously let us come in and drink while they finalized opening for dinner. We had a few snacks there- duck spring rolls and tater tots, which were both good, nothing unusual. We then headed to the Zoo for the reception which was actually a pretty cool/interesting venue for a wedding reception.

The next morning we had brunch with the newlyweds at BluWater Bistro. They don't serve anything in small portion here. I had an omlette with sausage and spinach and a side of breakfast potatoes- huge plate of food, but a very solid breakfast, nicely done. We then headed to the locks and then had coffee at Firehouse, which had a REALLY good lavender mocha iced latte- I am acutally kind of happy that I don't know anywhere closeby that makes one, way too good. We then wandered the Ballard Seafood Fest and shops in that area. That night we had dinner at Ray's Boathouse. This place isn't trendy or hipster, but the fish was really fresh and well prepared, the view was really nice and it was a nice evening. The preparations of the fish were not completely classic, but not too evolved either, but they really let the seafood shine. I also highly enjoyed the chocolate and port dessert tasting (Why don't more places do this?)

The next day we did fairly touristy stuff. We ate lunch at Green Leaf and had some very tasty Vietnamese food. I had curried chicken, and stole some of everyone's elses food. I forget what everyone had, but this is a nice little whole in the wall. (We had wanted to go to Salumi and I thought it was a different day and it was closed...) That night we had sushi at Shiro Sushi. I really enjoyed it. They had a very nice varied menu of sushi, everything was really impeccably fresh, the sushi was expertly made, it wasn't absolutely horribly unreasonable, a nice selection of beer, wine, sake, etc. Decor is fairly sparse, but really great place. There were complaints about service on Yelp if you don't sit at the bar, we had a lovely server with absolutely no problems at a table.

The next day we went to Olympic National Park. We stopped at some huge Indian reservation gas station deli before we got to Port Angeles, that was a good decision lots of decent picnic options. Nothing horribly gourmet, but a good selection of prepared items, sandwiches, drinks, snacks, etc. We took the long way home on bad advice from a ranger and ended up eating emergency dinner at McDonald's because our cell phone batteries died, our zipcar didn't have the right thing to charge them, we had a not very competent map (it could get us home but I didn't want to veer off it was just the park map with no detail). I had really wanted to get back in time to go to somewhere else good on my list, but it was an adventure, and a really nice day at the park, so no complaints. I would just not go back that way next time. Anyway then we boarded a flight to Connecticut to go off to our next wedding, it was quite an adventure. There are so many restaurants I didn't get to that I need to eat at next time. But as my very good friends live there now, I am sure we will be back.

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In Seattle for the holidays. My wife is from here, and we return here frequently -- it's as close to a second home as I think I'll ever get. We are delightfully under-programmed for this trip, as many family and friends aren't around. That means lots of time to eat.

We elected to hit up an old stand-by on our first night here, Pizzeria Pulcinella. We first took my mother-in-law here years ago. It doesn't look like much, and is located far from any of the more hip, commercial strips of downtown Seattle. But the pizza is that elusive combination of simple and simply terrific -- crust with just the right combination of chew and crunch, simple and unpretentious toppings, and an outstanding tomato sauce. I had the puttanesca pizza special -- olives, capers, anchovies, and basil on tomato sauce with no cheese (!!). After a long flight I wasn't up for something heavy and the lack of cheese was frankly welcome. If you're not a salt lover you may disagree, but I loved every bite. My wife had the chiaia (cheese, tomato sauce, eggplant, parmesan) and my MiL had the margherita. Both raved about their choices, as usual.

The best part: a $10-14 pie at Pulcinella is 14 inches and can easily feed two, especially if you get a salad or other starter. So now we have a fridge full of pizza leftovers. It's rainy and gray over here on the left coast, and I'm preheating the oven. Time for breakfast!

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I'm woefully far behind on jury-rigging some posts from a bunch of travel done in the past several months but, suffice to say on Seattle, you must go here. Nishino is a memorably outstanding Japanese restaurant, on almost any measure, in a country with more and more great places for traditional and modern Japanese fare emerging every week.

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If this is what I think it is, kudos to Sitka & Spruce, 2013 James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef, Pacific Northwest which went to Chef Matt Dillon.

But what catches my eye is their Monday-night menu, quite possibly Chef Dillon's night off. I suspect they turn the kitchen over to Alvaro Candelo-Najera, and make him "Chef For A Night," giving him free reign to show off specialties from his native Mexico. It is a completely separate menu from Chef Dillon's offering on other evenings, and is the only menu available on Mondays. In essence, it turns Sitka & Spruce into two completely different restaurants - what a *great* idea this is, and (assuming I'm correct), I've never heard of it being done before.

What does everyone else think about this? I think it's absolutely brilliant, and a chance to showcase a rising star. In fact, I'm arriving in Seattle on Monday, August 5th, and may just give this menu a go if it's still around. Bravo!

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Filling Two Beards With One Zone

 

I only had one night in Seattle, as logistics dictated we'd make it a layover on the way to Canada (logistics being that the *entire* city was booked, save for an overpriced airport Doubletree), so after one very long day of travel, the day got even longer and more exhausting by trying to fit in a 2013 James Beard nominee.

 

We were deciding between several places, two of which were Joule and The Whale Wins, with chefs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, and Renee Erickson being nominated as 2013 semifinalists for Best Chef, Pacific Northwest. The Whale Wins was also long-listed for a national award for Best New Restaurant.

 

The problem is: they both had the same address: 3506 Stone Way N, which made us go, 'huh?' For about twenty minutes, we had a genuine, out-of-town, WTF moment. Then, this from SeattleMag.com: "The Power Of Two: Joule and The Whale Wins," by Allison Austen Scheff. Apparently a growing trend in the Pacific Northwest, sort of like it is in Springfield, is sharing of space by two distinct restaurants under completely different ownership.

 

Think about it: The Fremont Collective - which probably had pretty low rents - instantly turns from nothing, into a dining destination. Our dining choice(s) became a no-brainer.

 

Twice, we needed to call Joule and apologize for pushing back our reservations. A long walk, then a light rail, then a cab, took *much* longer than we thought it would, and I was exhausted - cranky exhausted - the type of exhausted where you just want to go home, curl up, and do nothing. (Little did I know that our train to Vancouver the next day would take 8.5 hours. The definition of "suck?" Yep, that's it.)

 

As we waited for our table in Joule, I sipped a Fremont Brewing Summer Ale ($5) - we were, after all, in Fremont - while Matt had at his delicious-but-way-too-iced-down Sweet Roasted Corn Tea ($3).

 

Five minutes later, we were seated at the end of a community bar table (no privacy issues - the spacing was fine), and went light on Part One of our Diptych Dinner. More and more, I'm letting Matt pick our meals so he becomes more comfortable with taking control (he is, after all, going to college in a couple of years, and needs to impress the ladies). 

 

Salmon Caviar Dip ($6 for a small) with yuzu crème fraîche was the consensus favorite of the trio, and quite frankly, it's hard to believe this was a small (a large is $10). Well, the square bowl it came in was fairly small, but the amount of roe was quite generous; the crispy bruschetta were decent dipping chips, but we only got four of them - our server offered another order of them which I suspect happens often. If you enjoy bagels with cream cheese and lox, this is the starter for you.

 

Actually, now that I'm typing, I take it back: Matt's favorite was the Beef Tartare ($10), with Asian pear and spicy cod-roe aïoli. He was pretty hungry, and this dish came with a good portion of clearly hand-chopped steak. I backed off a bit and let him plow through it because I saw he was starving.

 

I thought sure the dish of the night would be the Smoked Tofu ($6) with "honshimeji confit," (quotes explained in a moment), and soy-truffle vinaigrette. The tofu didn't have much smoked flavor, and there was almost nothing I could discern that should have been termed confit - the honshimeji were placed atop the tofu, and there was some oil at the bottom of the dish, but that's about it. 

 

The dessert menu was tempting, but we had, after all, another restaurant about twenty feet to our right (the building is pictured in the article I cited in the third paragraph, but the setup was similar to Radius and Tonic in Mount Pleasant). So after paying the bill, and taking a five- or six-second stroll across the corridor, we found ourselves in The Whale Wins.

 

It's hard not to instantly fall in love with a restaurant featuring a drawing of a Moby Dick-like whale severing Captain Ahab's ship in half, especially when you're instantly seated outside on a gorgeous evening (both of these restaurants are nearly identical in design, and both are open to the sky in the front end).

 

Matt started with a delicious mocktail - I don't know what it was, but it had honey, ginger, and was probably gin-based when served high-test; I started with a local beer, "brewed right across the street" - Hilliard's Chrome Satan (only $6 for a 20-ounce draft).

 

An important ordering strategy at The Whale Wins is that, according to our server, the "large plates" are double the size of the small plates, even though they're only about 30% more expensive, so *always* get the large plates if you want the most value for your money - because of this, we ordered two entrées and nothing else.

 

Well, okay, one other thing, and it was money well-spent, too: a basket of Columbia City Bakery Bread & Butter ($4), about six pieces of two types of bread, one sourdough-based (and fantastic); the other more of a traditional baguette styled loaf. The butter was both creamy and salty, and you should get this to swab (get it?) up your sauces.

 

Hama Hama Roasted Clams ($20; a "small" was $14) with sorrel, tarragon, crème fraîche, lentils, and urfa biber were good, fresh clams in a *great* sauce, perfect for ye olde bread dunk. These clams weren't quite good enough for me to order a second time, but I have no regrets trying them onceand you won't either.

 

Around this time, I ordered an Interurban IPA ($6 for a 20-ounce draft) which I slightly preferred to the Hilliard's - this, even though I'm not a huge IPA fan in general. These beer prices are amazing, and this was yet another beer brewed right in Seattle.

 

Carlton Farms Roasted Pork Shoulder ($20 for two pieces; $14 gets you one piece) with Willowood Farm Braising Greens, drum roll please ... ROCKWELL beans (always in good taste, and a must-try for anyone serious about food), anchovy butter, and lemon peel was, at first taste, extraordinary, with a crispiness to the exterior of the pork shoulder that made our eyes as wide as saucers. However, as we got further into the dish (and began to get absolutely stuffed), we began noticing that the interior was fibrous and tough, and that the exterior was the highlight. The menu said "roasted" and I believe them, but this is the type of toughness you get with sous-vide cooking of certain meats, easily enough concealed by a high-heat searing at the finishing step. Still, while this wasn't "the perfect meat," it was a very fine value for the money, an interesting combination of flavors, and boy was that finishing sear close to perfect. 

 

It wouldn't be fair to choose a favorite, based on ordering appetizers at Joule, and entrées at The Whale Wins, but the combination of the two restaurants, side-by-side, makes the trip irresistible. You won't regret going, but *do* call for a reservation, and I recommend Joule first, The Whale Wins second, due to the lighter-to-heavier nature of the cooking.

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I still haven't made it out to Seattle, but one of the reasons why I wanted to visit - Vessel - has closed, according to reports.

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Due to some logistical issues our trip to Hawaii necessitated a 20 hour layover in Seattle on the trip out (and a nine hour layover on the return, which was spent entirely in an airport hotel). This was not a bad thing, although it was an exhausting day. 

 

Market Grill - We'd held off on eating on the plane, and as a result were starving when we arrived. The Market Grill, in the Pike Place Market, hit the spot. The chowder was fantastic, and necessary, so that we didn't start consuming our own limbs while our salmon sandwiches were cooked in front of us (for those reading my posts today in chronological order please know that, despite how it seems, I don't eat chowder for every single meal). Delicious. The smoked salmon available at the fish vendor right next to us was incredible as well. 

 

Radiator Whiskey - We wanted a cocktail before dinner, and were initially planning on visiting Vessel. As SeanMike points out above, they're closed. Instead we ended up here, and it was fantastic. It's a small spot, and hard to find unless you're looking for it (directly next to Pike Place Market, on the second story of a nondescript building). It was slammed when we got there, but we were able to carve out some bar space, and eventually some bar stools as well.  They've got a huge bourbon and whiskey selection, and some great cocktails. Extremely nice and talented bartenders. We also ordered some Buffalo chicken livers to tide ourselves over before dinner, and they were delicious.

 

Bar Sajor - We quite enjoyed our dinner here. Service was very good and attentive, and our food was great (I'm having trouble remembering exactly what we had). I'd recommend it.

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I recently spent a few days in Seattle and with the help of a relatively functional bus system, managed to get to a dozen coffee shops while there. My preference is for brewed coffee and will always pick from brewed-to-order options when available. My experience in Seattle was not that different from what I have grown accustomed to in DC, which is that most places offer a very limited menu of single-origin brews and focus most of their energy on espresso based drinks. I also find that a lot of specialty roasters hue to a profile that highlights acidity at the expense of complexity. The thing I find especially problematic about these roasts is the lack of body in the cup. That said, I did find a few good cups in Seattle. Here is a rundown of the places I visited:

 

Lighthouse Roasters. Roasts own on site.
Besides espresso drinks, they only offered a house coffee that appeared to be brewed in French presses than poured into an airpot. It was fairly stale and flavorless.
 
Fremont Coffee Roasters, roasts own off site.
Again only bulk brews available in two varieties House Blend and a single-origin French roast. Got an espresso, which was overly tart.
 
Milstead & Co, sources from a revolving menu of roasters, brewed to order on Aeropresses
Bows&Arrows, Rwanda. Average, lots of acidity with mild floral notes, little else
Heart, Colombia, Average, lots of woody acidity, mild florals
Wrecking Ball, Sulawesi, more robust, a tad too roasted, but some pleasant chocolate, earth notes
 
Caffe Vita, roasts own off site
House coffee, no brewed-to-order options, which is a shame since they had some interesting beans.
The house coffee was a dark roast (though not super dark) Congo
It was bitter and lacked any of the fruit complexity I am accustomed to in this origin.
 
Slate Coffee Roasters, roasts own off site
Beehive, Brazil, super light, mild florals, some misleading aromatics
Ethiopia Indido, modest fruit at temperature, quickly faded as cooled
 
Vif, (a wine bar really), Olympia Roasters,
Kalita brewer, Rwanda, lots of acidity, muted florals
 
Neptune Coffee, multi-roaster
Hand pour, Ecuador Taza Dorado 2012, lot 9, Velton Roasters, great body and balance w/lots of choc and berry notes
House, Mexico Nyarita dry process, big jammy fruit at temperature which turned sour on cooling.
 
Broadcast Coffee, multi-roaster, sort of, Slate for brewed & others for espresso
Kenya, lots of acidity, tinged with bitterness.
 
Vivace, roasts own off site.
Espresso only. Smooth, nicely presented, but oversized and uninteresting macchiato.
 
Analog Coffee, Herkimer Roasters
Colombia, poorly roasted and stale.
Spot is hip in the worst way possible. Think vinyl-based audio set-up and too cool for u 'tude. If there was one place I would actively discourage people from wasting their time visiting, it is this one.
 
Trabant, Kumi Roasters
Clover brewer (looked ancient and produced a very muddy cup of coffee)
Ethiopia Natural, big acidity with distinct berry, turning sour on cooling
Guatemala, roast-imparted brightness, but some cocoa and spice notes too.
 
Victrola Roasters, roasts own on site
Hand pour, Kenya, uninspiring, little flavor or body

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In Seattle, we ate at Walrus and Carpenter, Cascina Spinasse, Lark, Il Corvo, Salumi, Shiro's, and Spur Gastropub. We ate...really well.

 

(My subjective best to pretty darn good)

 

Il Corvo - amazing pastas and everything else, there's a line nearly to the door by 11:45 AM (they open at 11 AM) and it's well deserved.  Definitely get every pasta on offer for the day, even if you're just one person.  All three we tried were perfect.  The cacio e pepe is at least equal to the version at Rose's Luxury and $9 will get you a hearty portion.

 

Cascina Spinasse - imagine Fiola at half the price and a warmer atmosphere.  If available, definitely get the lamb and mint ravioli, but everything we got here was wonderful.

 

Spur Gastropub - The kitchen here is quite enamored with modern gastronomy, so foams/gels/sous vide/microwave sponge cakes.  And they all worked great.  The closest DC equivalent I can think of is again Ashby Inn under Tarver King.  

 

Walrus and Carpenter - gorgeous room unlike any other dining room I've been in.  They run happy hour (half price oysters 4-6 PM, marked down from $3-4 each) and it's good to go early as the room fills up quick.  The West Coast oysters were predictably delicious.  The other dishes we tried were great too - scallop tartare, foie gras torchon, really wonderful steamed clams, cured salmon.  The only downsides to this place is the wait if you don't go early and the relatively high prices.  In my opinion, the quality of the seafood and prep here knock the pants off of Blue Water Cafe in Vancouver.

 

Shiro's - only in a lowish position on the list because everything else in Seattle was so great.  We waited in line for 45 minutes to be amongst the 11 admitted to first seating at the sushi bar.  The fish was all impeccable, with the octopus and live sweet shrimp and tuna cuts being particularly good.  The other fish might be about par to Sushi Taro (so, pretty darn good), though there were a lot less varieties on offer.  I may be suffering some jadedness from a fairly recent magnificent meal at Mitsui in Taipei and not judging fairly.

 

Lark - +1 liked what we got pretty well, but I wasn't as enamored even though I admit the preparations and ingredients were good.  Just a bit boring for me compared to the other exciting meals that we had been eating.  The octopus on bamba rice risotto was a definite highlight.

 

Salumi - the salami platter was great, the porchetta sandwich wasn't.  The texture of bread and juicy meat was right, but there wasn't much flavor in their famed sandwich.

 

We'll be swinging back to Seattle for one more meal on the trip, will report back on that.

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i've enjoyed reading your pac-northwest stories astrid.  i'm experiencing a great deal of envy.

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Our last meal in Seattle turned out to be at Paseo, a highly touted sandwich and rice bowl place.  It got mentioned as a place to go for people disappointed by Salumi's Porchetta sandwich.  The sandwiches wer got were incredibly impressive in size, each enough for two normal appetite meals.  They were a bit tricky to eat but the flavor was very good (a Caribbean emphasis on seasoning) and amply stuffed of meaty goodness.  I wouldn't say it's essential eating as I enjoyed other sandwiches more on this trip (Fol Epi in Victoria, Bunk in Portland), but certainly much much better than Salumi's Porchetta Sandwich. 

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Ten years since this thread started and I'm happy to report that our meal at Lark (new location) during our 2 weeks there in late June - beginning of July was excellent.  Went with 8 locals from another food board & had a great time/meal.  Other very good meals were had at Matt's at the Market, also still going strong, and Copper Leaf, near the airport on the old WaMu retreat grounds.  Copper Leaf is well worth the short drive.  We rented a place in Belltown and walked in to Black Bottle one evening to sit at the bar and have small plates & glasses of wine.  We returned 2 more times for very nice, informal, friendly bar hang out/meals.  Some Random Bar, also on 1st in Belltown, was worth a seated at the bar dinner as well.  Other good meals were had in Ballard & Capitol Hill.  We really liked getting meat/cheese/deli stuff and glasses of wine at DeLaurentis at Pike Market and eating there.

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First thought was that, man this is a bigger city than I thought. Just felt large, and lots of big buildings, and traffic. Not what I imagined. Second thought was that these people are freaking crazy about the Seahawks. There are "12"s everywhere, every storefront, and then when on a drive for a hike, there was a huge random 12 on a forested cliff.

 

Got in super late, went to Damn The Weather. Great name for a bar. Had a beer and a bunch of fried food - chicken skins, housemade hot dog, lamb kibbeh, and something else fried. It was pretty good, but at this point, it was 2AM EST and probably wasn't the best choice, but in that part of the city, there wasn't much open for late night dining, and we weren't about to drive around.

 

Coffee at Milstead in the morning. Legit. This was amazing. They do charge $3.5 - $4.5 for individual pour overs (I don't think they even have drip coffee). Sis had one of those, it was so tasty. I had an Americano, which I loved. Something I noticed at a lot of places is that the Americano price was fixed, regardless of size. That's nice of them the realize that they are just adding a little bit more water. Had baked goods here, too. Nutella filled crossaint is the breakfast of champions.

 

Pike Street Market was amazing, but we weren't ready to eat, so didn't try anything here. I think the fish throwing is really cool. Not overrated in the least! The line for the original Starbucks was too long, otherwise I certainly would have went. We went to Local Color Cafe, instead. Super cute little gallery/cafe. 

 

Lunch at Tsukushinbo. Wow, this place was dope. Tiny hole in the wall, people line up at lunch time, especially on Fridays, when they do a special shoyu ramen. $9.50 for a bowl, 3 gyoza, and side of rice. I guess it is prepared over the course of 3-4 days, and then only served on Friday until they run out around 1.30p-ish. That's what I got. Sis got some rolls, eel and the Marine roll (scallop with spicy sauce, topped with seared salmon). Ramen broth was earthy, rich. I don't know how to describe it. I said (in the least bad way as possible) that there is something like "feet" about it. Sis not impressed with that description. Maybe it's that umami or whatever. I can't explain it, but I would eat that ramen day in - day out on cold winter days. We got a side of some fried tofu in sauce, and that was great, too, I think it's Agedashi. There was a Japanese couple sitting next to us, one from Osaka, the other from Kyotu. They said that the ramen there reminded them of home, as did the agedashi, but the sushi was Americanized. Very fresh, though.

 

We went on a Seattle Underground tour. It was the evening one, which is supposedly more scandalous. It was $25 and you get a cocktail at the end. The tour guide was a hoot, she dressed up like a western gal from the gold rush era. The night tour is basically about all the whores whose shoulders the city was built on. Did you know that the blow job has a very, very special role in the development of Seattle?

 

Dinner was very late, and we were sofa king tired. Went near the hotel to Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar. It's straight up oysters here. Some mussels and clams, but they don't have real entrees, only shellfish. We got a half dozen oysters, 6 kumamatos, sis got an oyster stew (she was craving some sort of seafood stew, but they didn't have a mixed version) and a caeser salad which had whole anchovies in it, ha. Also ordered a half of a dunganess crab ($23!) which was unbelievable. I was eating it like I had never seen food before. Could have eaten the shell. That was some sweeeet crab meat. I don't even want to deal with blue crab any more. Passed the hell out after that, it wasn't even 1030PM.

 

Got up and went to Espresso Vivace. Sis had sore throat so she got tea, I got a 8oz latte. Smooth as silk. This town just gets coffee. Trail mix bar was moist and good, too.

 

Hiked a bit of Mt. Si, and then headed out for lunch to the sichuan place in Bellevue. La Bu La. Sis wanted a noodle soup, and the sichuan beef noodle soup hit the spot. She asked 4/5 and it came out damn spicy. It had fatty chunks of beef in it, a great broth, and filling noodles. I got the fish and intestine in spicy broth. Really organ-y. Not sure why I got that, it was just too much texture for me, but I made a decent dent in it. Much more expensive than HKP or Panda Gourmet or Joe's.

 

Watched the ridiculous end of the Michigan - Michigan State game, and watched several hundred dollars vaporize at the final whistle. That sucked. Went to the Space Needle, and remind me not to go to tall structures for a view, especially if it costs $5 or more. This was $22 a person, and it was cloudy and raining, and couldn't see a damn thing. If you are going to go to this, go in the day time, make sure the weather is decent, otherwise google the view. 

 

Last dinner was at Local 360, typical farm to table American food. Ate at the bar. Ordered deviled eggs, and waited a while to order entrees b/c hate it when it all comes at once. Got an Old Fashioned that was tasty. Ordered pork loin, sis got steak frites. Waitress says, "I swear I put in those eggs"... They finally show up 25 minutes later, and within 10 seconds the entrees come. Good loin. Good steak. Not much else to say about the place. It came on recommendation from sister's colleague. 

 

Last meal was brunch before our flight. Americana. This place was pretty great. Standard fancy brunch, great ambience insted, a random saw hanging off of the wall, weird signs. Good "Seattle" crowd, like what you imagine people that live here look like. Pepper bloody mary was great, sis got a souped up Fuzzy Navel. Shared a chorizo/manchego/potato omelette and orange honey pancakes. Perfect... Probably my favorite meal here. They give you good coffee while you wait, and I've always loved places that do that.

 

Too much in this city for a Thu - Sun jaunt! High high density of good restaurants, lots of Asian it seems like (Vietnamese, Cantonese, Thai seem to be everywhere). Lots of hiking within 1 hour - 2 hours. Great coffee. Smart population. Maybe they are looking for an oncologist? Haha

 

Love these trips with little sis. They clear my head, and remind me how lucky I am to have such a good friend in her. What's next, Sheena?

 

-S

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