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3 days in sea update: (almost) food itinerary-feedback?

a
asc339 Feb 2, 2008 11:13 AM

See initial post here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/484525
I hate that you can't edit anymore. I was hoping for some more feedback, please!

Thank you ALL for the wonderful suggestions! We'd need a month to get through them, and a solid week to even make a dent! But alas, we only have 3 days and way too many good eats for our 9 meals (all problems should be so hard)...

We'll probably spend a day being tourists (haven't been there in 11 years) and a day out in Fremont/Ballard (thanks for all those recs!). I've been trying to narrow down our food options (hard!) and we ALMOST have a food itinerary. Any further ADVICE is welcome. (I know it's tough to compare some of these, but it's the best I could do so far...) Thanks again for your help. I'll be sure to report back.

Breakfast/brunch (need 3
)Steelhead Diner
Etta’s
Crave
Cafe Campagne

Lunch (need 3)
Matt’s in the Market
Jack’s Fish Spot
Tamarind Tree
Serious pie
Chiso (Fremont)
Paseo (Fremont)

Dinner (need 3)
Marjorie’s
Restaurant Zoe
Cascadia
Palace Kitchen
Nishino

Happy Hour OR lounges/bars
Umi Sake House
Cascadia
Brasa
Black Bottle
Brouwer’s café (Fremont)
Jolly Rose Taproom (Ballard)
Ray’s Boathouse Café
ZigZag

Coffee, Tea, Desserts
Café Besalu
Caffe Ladro
Dahlia bakery
Mighty O Donuts/TopPots Donuts/Trophy Cupcake
Panama Hotel (tea)

  1. ThreeBowls Feb 2, 2008 01:41 PM

    I looked thru the original post and I don't see this noted but do apologize if I missed and this is a dupe - Crave is great but if you decide to go for an official brunch instead of breakfast or lunch (I am not quite sure how diff the menu is between those but their website should say or call ahead), just be prepared for a possible wait. It's teensy and popular so sometimes can take a bit to get in. I hate to wait (makes me crazy!!) but at least there's a lobby to stand in and you can get a coffee whilst you wait. But if you decide the breakfast or lunch menu look a-okay, you might want to do that instead on a weekday. If you are a patient sort, disregard!

    Sorry to add more to your list, but if you decide to hoof it a bit, Phinney (which isn't far from Ballard) has a new cocktail place called Oliver's Twist that I like. They have some very nice small bites (truffled popcorn, some kind of cheese-stuffed fig or date, I forget which, refined little grilled cheese with tomato soup "capuccino") and some tasty cocktails. Last time we went it was crazeee busy (fri nite right after nice write up) and so things were a little slow, but the staff were very cognizant of acknowledging it and handling it as best as they could, which is really all you can ask. And so hoping they have now upped staff after that spike. Anyway, it's got some happy hour deals AND if you have a happy hour small bite and late dinner, you can squeeze in FOUR meals a day! :)

    Panama is lovely and Top Pot is a nice cute little rest stop too.

    Gotta say, I love Tom Douglas but was underwhelmed by Serious Pie. I don't know if I'd call it a must do.

    I know how you must feel, every time i have guests come to Seattle, 2/3 of the way through their visit I despair at all the eating we won't have time to do...

    1 Reply
    1. re: ThreeBowls
      a
      asc339 Feb 3, 2008 09:04 AM

      Thanks for the tips. We're planning on hitting Crave on a Fri. morning, so hopefully it won't be so bad.

      I've added Oliver's Twist. And that makes two so-sos on Serious pie. So that helps, thanks!

    2. m
      mrnelso Feb 2, 2008 03:38 PM

      Breakfast/brunch (need 3)
      Steelhead Diner
      Etta’s
      Crave
      Cafe Campagne > great weekend brunch

      Lunch (need 3)
      Matt’s in the Market >>> yes,this is it
      Jack’s Fish Spot >>fun, unique, not the choice this trip except for a quick appetizer (cup of cioppino, crab cocktail...)
      Tamarind Tree >>> Good Viet, spotty service
      Serious pie
      Chiso (Fremont)
      Paseo (Fremont) >>>absoutely. Best if you have a nearby friend so you can re-plate the to-go feast, but it can be done on-site

      Dinner (need 3)
      Marjorie’s
      Restaurant Zoe >> never been, but high on our list
      Cascadia
      Palace Kitchen >> We have enjoyed PK the few times we've been
      Nishino

      Happy Hour OR lounges/bars
      Umi Sake House
      Cascadia
      Brasa >>tamara is goood
      Black Bottle
      Brouwer’s café (Fremont)
      Jolly Rose Taproom (Ballard)
      Ray’s Boathouse Café >>great view
      ZigZag >>>yes

      Coffee, Tea, Desserts
      Café Besalu >>definitely top of the list u need a croissant...
      Caffe Ladro
      Dahlia bakery
      Mighty O Donuts/TopPots Donuts/Trophy Cupcake
      Top pot for me, ymmv
      Panama Hotel (tea)

      1. n
        nseattlefoodie Feb 3, 2008 08:34 AM

        Breakfast/brunch (need 3)
        Steelhead Diner - skip steelhead, other 3 are great choices
        Etta’s - oh, the mimosas and biscuits and gravy...
        Crave
        Cafe Campagne

        Lunch (need 3)
        Matt’s in the Market - you must go for atleast one meal, wonderful! can't say enough good things!
        Jack’s Fish Spot
        Tamarind Tree - skip this one, nothing i haven't found in other cities
        Serious pie - skip serious pie, just so so, other douglas' restaurants are much better!
        Chiso (Fremont) - dont miss these two :)
        Paseo (Fremont)

        Dinner (need 3)
        Marjorie’s
        Restaurant Zoe
        Cascadia - dinner is wonderful, but i think their HH is more fun and better on the wallet
        Palace Kitchen
        Nishino - my favorite for sushi

        Happy Hour OR lounges/bars
        Umi Sake House
        Cascadia
        Brasa
        Black Bottle
        Brouwer’s café (Fremont) - can't miss if you like beer, great atmosphere
        Jolly Rose Taproom (Ballard)
        Ray’s Boathouse Café
        ZigZag
        have to add Oliver's Twist as someone said above, just N of Fremont in Phinney, wonderful place for amazing cocktails and small bites, was on the cover of one of the Seattle Mags, gets busy.

        Coffee, Tea, Desserts
        Café Besalu - do not miss their pastries! and if you want to battle the crowds, i think the quiche comes out at 10am? great place to grab a coffee and savory or sweet pastry.
        Caffe Ladro
        Dahlia bakery
        Mighty O Donuts/TopPots Donuts/Trophy Cupcake - Mighty O is ok, top pot is awesome as is trophy
        Panama Hotel (tea)

        just my two cents.... enjoy seattle, let us know where you went!

        2 Replies
        1. re: nseattlefoodie
          a
          asc339 Feb 3, 2008 09:02 AM

          Thanks for all your recs. I was literally just going to post that question about Cascadia. The HH menu looks awesome too. We may have to take Three Bowls' advice and do a HH and late nite bites to squeeze in 4 meals one day...

          Is Steelhead not all that or are the others are just better or more unique? (Someone had recommended their crab cakes and I love me a good crabcake...) thanks!

          Also, I meant to say Tamarind Tree or Green Leaf. I'm leary of no reservations but we'd probably try lunch. How do you feel about GL compared to TT? (I know, several threads on this, but since you mentioned it..) thanks!

          1. re: asc339
            n
            nseattlefoodie Feb 3, 2008 02:33 PM

            oh yeah, if you do the four meals, you must do Oliver's Twist :)

            I didn't like their crabcakes, I prefer any of the Tom Douglas places if you really want crabcakes, I just thought Steelhead added way too much stuff, everything was loaded with a sauce and mayo or something, and not smothered in the good way, you couldn't even taste the food. And also think you can get more unique, so I guess to answer your question, both? other places are better and more unique. Go to Etta's for brunch instead of Steelhead.

            I prefer Green Leaf, but honestly being from the Bay Area, I don't think you will be impressed. Stuff in the BA blows away both of those IMO.

        2. l
          Lauren Feb 3, 2008 10:43 AM

          Of your breakfast spots, I would say Steelhead for sure. They have great NW style breakfasts. The Sequimbled Eggs are so full of dungeness crab you won't believe it. (btw - it's pronounced skwimbled). I know I'm in the minority - but I have never been a fan of Etta's. I like Crave and Cafe Campagne fine but they aren't uniquely Seattle.

          For lunch, you must go to Matt's in the Market. I'm also addicted to Paseo's midnight cuban sandwich.

          You dinner choices are interesting in that none of them seem very "Seattle" to me. I like them all a lot (except Cascadia - I'm not a fan) but, if I had a friend visiting from out of town, these aren't the places I would take them.

          HH/Bars: Zig Zag has the best cocktails the places on your list. Brouwer's has the best beer selection. Ray's Cafe has the best view.

          Please, please, please take Mighty O Donuts off your list. We want you to come back to Seattle - not run screaming from it! Top Pot is the place to get your donut fix. Or the Daily Dozen in the Market.

          Have fun and please report back.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Lauren
            a
            asc339 Feb 3, 2008 10:56 AM

            thanks, Lauren. any other dinner recs then? where do you take your guests? no reservations have been made yet... thanks!

            1. re: asc339
              l
              Lauren Feb 3, 2008 12:05 PM

              I would take out of town guests to Union, Ray's (I know others don't like it - but I've had some of the best seafood preparations in town there - and it has a great view. And actually, upon further thought, Nishino is a good suggestion. Places that are not uniquely Seattle that I like better than those on our list would be Lark, Boat Street and Sitka and Spruce.

              1. re: Lauren
                l
                laurahutch Feb 4, 2008 01:48 PM

                I would absolutely second Union. Creative but solid food. And a nice grown-up vibe. Not crazy about Steelhead Diner myself, in part because of the atmosphere. Kind of kitschy and not in a good way. The caviar pie is a should-try but otherwise wasn't horribly impressed. L'oeuffs en meurette are a MUST-TRY at Cafe Campagne's brunch. Truly too-die-for although getting in another two meals that day would be tough. I like Serious Pie and could generally take or leave the rest of the Tom Diuglas oeuvre. Call me crazy! But the potato and rosemary pizza is the ultimate comfort food and everything else I've had there is yummy. Ettas?! Myeh... HAVE FUN!!

          2. c
            cocktailhour Feb 3, 2008 10:55 AM

            For breakfast, I consider Etta' and Cafe c classic Seattle because of location and they have been here a l ong time. Etta's does NW and Cafe C is all French. I would happily take out of town guests to them, but have not been to the other 2 on your list.

            For lunch, Jack's is good, but my number one thing to do with visitors is to go tot he Locks and get fish and chips at the Lockspot. Food is sometimes too greasy at jack's.

            For dinner, Zoe is great. Palace is fun for late night, andx both have a good NW undertone. The rest probably wouldn't make my short list, but I do like cascadia a lot more than some other people do.

            For bars, I would try to squeeze in Vessel because I love their not-sweet and creative cocktails. (downtown).

            Besalu, Top Pot, and the doughnuts in the Market are your best choices, although Dahlia is great too.

            1. natalie.warner Feb 4, 2008 09:23 AM

              Breakfast-
              Etta's- close to market, Tom Douglas restaurant, heard good things about brunch, good seafood
              Crave- try the orange champagne eggs benedict or french toast- also the buscuits and gravy are one of my favorites- chicken chiorizo sausage!
              Cafe Campagne- local highly rated french cafe, try and sit outside if it is sunny

              Lunch-
              Matt's- good fish sandwiches and specialties, local favorite
              Paseo- must try- is on too many people's top ten list to skip
              ?

              Dinner-
              Palace- local icon
              ?
              ?
              I am not fimilar with your choices but have heard good things

              HH-
              Cascadia- mini burgers! alpine martini
              Brouwer's- beer! and frites- also great lamb burger
              Ray's- view view view
              Brasa
              and Oliver's Twist :)

              Coffee- and what not-
              Caffe Ladro- the downtown Fremont location could be a good start to your morning
              Trophy Cupcake- this is a fun snack or dessert- you could stop by the charming vintage party cupcake store (you will end up browsing and enjoying) after a Paseo lunch :)
              Daily Dozen while wandering the market and Top Pot if you are in the area just up from the market

              Another dinner option when you are doing your Fremont/Ballard/Wallingford/etc. day would be Tilth (organic northwest cuisine in an renovated house) or Elemental (eclectic courses paired with wines- very unique experience) - research both and see what you think*

              3 Replies
              1. re: natalie.warner
                b
                bluedog67 Feb 4, 2008 12:44 PM

                I hate to confuse you more, but if you have a M-F opportunity - Salumi is a must for lunch.

                Also, for your upscale dinner, Mistral is not on your list. Right there with Zoe, if not better. I do love Cascadia, but if had to pick between everythign on your list, would do HH there, b/c then I could have both!

                1. re: bluedog67
                  natalie.warner Feb 4, 2008 01:10 PM

                  I second Salumi- it owned by Mario Batali's father and he has done his research on sandwiches. It is not open monday's or the weekend I believe. The line is usually long. It is in a part of DWTN that you probably otherwise won't get to- Pioneer Square- a short walk from everything. People have always suggested ordering the specials.

                  1. re: bluedog67
                    l
                    Lauren Feb 5, 2008 08:04 AM

                    I don't think of Zoe being even close to the league of Mistral. Mistral is definitely top tier in Seattle.

                2. terrier Feb 5, 2008 08:33 AM

                  I'd skip Steelhead and Campagne for brunch, honestly. Maximilien is better than all three, IMO. I'd also have a "walking breakfast" through the market one of those days.

                  I really think Serious Pie is excellent, no offense to the other posters here. Paseo is a must when you're in Fremont, and Matt's is a must for lunch in the market.

                  Skip Cascadia for dinner, but do try the miniburgers in the bar area. I don't think Marjorie's is in the same league as the other places you mention. Palace Kitchen is highly recommended.

                  1. f
                    Finspot Feb 5, 2008 09:00 AM

                    I like Crave, but I'd go to Lark instead--and it's nearby. A drink next door beforehand at the co-owned Licorous would be a good plan. (For what it's worth, the chef at Lark is pulling down the kudos, including a James Beard Award last year.)

                    1. a
                      asc339 Mar 3, 2008 08:26 PM

                      hi again seattle hounds! thanks so much for all of your wonderful recommendations. we just returned from our seattle weekend and I'll begin by saying there were simply not enough meals in the day (we tried, really we did)! there were some definite highlights, but we'll have to return to try some other spots, especially those beyond belltown/downtown. so here's my report overview:

                      Th. lunch: Matt's in the market. yumm. we had a perfect table at the end of the bar by an open window overlooking the market on a sunny(!) day. we shared the wasabi crusted ahi sandwich and lamb burger with goat cheese on the most delicious brioche bun. good thing we ate the ahi first -- it was good, but the burger was phenomenal. thanks for the tip. also tried a local ale and ice cider.

                      Th. dinner: this is kind of funny. Cascadia happy hour turned out to be our dinner -- multiple sliders went down way too easily. my hub ate 4, loaded with cheddar and grilled walla walla onions, gone in a perfect 4 bites each. I tried the beef and salmon, beef was better. hub was intrigued by the alpine martini, he really enjoyed it and found it refreshing.

                      we had a long list of options for dinner where no reserves were needed (e.g., lark), but we were too full to eat again! we have to pace ourselves better...

                      Fri. breakfast: it was hard to find a place open early on Fri. and we planned to go be tourists for the day and got a late start. so instead of heading to Crave, we just grabbed a quick pastry at Macrina bakery near our hotel. quiche was ok but too cheesy and hub wasn't impressed with his turnover. we should have stuck to the cupcakes and other things that looked and smelled really good.

                      Fri. lunch: the goal was either the ID for vietnamese or malaysian, OR Paseo in Fremont then Ray's for drinks -- but we never made it to any of these (the horror!). we ended up with quick forgettable pub grub in lower Queen Anne -- nothing else nearby was open at 2pm. but don't worry, we made up for it later...

                      Fri HH: we tried to go to Zigzag but it wasn't open yet. so we made our way to an early HH at Umi Sake House. we really enjoyed this, though we also ordered from the menu. how could we resist the special salmon and incredible sake menu? we did a salmon and sake tasting, with 3 kinds of each: atlantic (standard HH fare), wild copper river sockeye and wild white king salmon, which were each melt in your mouth delicious big chunks of fish. one yummy sake was made from red rice (with hints of honey and hibiscus) and tasted like a lovely provencale rose. we also had some crab, yummy and fresh. we never made it out for other sushi, though chiso and nishino were both on the list...

                      Fri. dinner: I didn't think we could fit another meal, but we had some small plates at Marjorie's around the corner from our hotel -- grilled plantain chips, spinach salad, chicken tikka masala, and a special quail stuffed with pears, goat cheese and greens over grits. highlights were cocktails and dessert. I had the best mojito ever, made with Westerhill rum from Grenada and served chilled and straight up, just like candy... also had a wonderful oregon pinot later. for dessert, hub tried the stout ice cream with espresso, and I had a delicious brioche bread pudding (though the bourbon caramel sauce was too much; the dollup of whipped cream was just enough). the food was good though we stuck to the small plates, and we enjoyed the fun atmosphere of this warm and cozy spot.

                      Sat. brunch: Maximilien's. the view was outstanding, but I wish we had gone for lunch instead of brunch so I could've had the mussels and salad with dungeness crab and salmon. I couldn't bear to eat that so early. we ate well though. I had the crab crepe (big lumps of dungeness crab was tasty with scrambled eggs). hub had a special beef tenderloin with eggs that was a bit heavy for so early... oh, and our server forgot our basket of pastries, first before and then again after our meal. but don't worry, because...

                      Sat. snack: we headed out to Ballard and found Cafe Besalu. wow! I wish we had saved room to try the quiche, but instead we had some pain au chocolat which were the best I've had outside of paris. I had an incredible housemade chai too, with fresh ginger. while we sat and enjoyed our treats, they sold out of 2 quiches.

                      Sat. snack #2: Old Town Taproom. does beer count as a snack? sure it does. hub tried some local ales (dick's cream stout and some double amber) and I had my fave belgian ale on tap (hoegaarden). I know it's not local, but good. great spot. never made it to jolly rose taproom.

                      Sat. snack #3: we discovered (5th st. downtown) Top Pot Donuts when we least expected it... it was after 6pm and they were near closing, but I tried a choc. frosted with sugar, and hub had a plain one. next time I'll have to try the maple and other seasonal treats! loved this spot, very cool.

                      Sat. dinner: this was a tough one. so many places, so little time. we were reluctant to try many of the places that don't take reserves on a sat. night... but we tried palace kitchen anyway, and were really happy with our choice. when we walked in at 7:40 they said it could be a 45 minute wait. so we found a perfect spot at the end of the bar, two stools by the bread station with a perfect view of the kitchen. the bartender was completely attentive and we settled in, ordered some drinks and apps. then just as we were starting to get comfy and enjoy the view, a table opened up. we considered eating at the bar, but took the booth...

                      we had the goat cheese fondue and another willamette fontina-style cheese tasting. hub had the wagyu steak and it was great, though he also really wanted the burger (next time!). I really enjoyed the trout with brown butter and almonds, cooked perfectly. it was huge, I've never seen such a big trout before and I couldn't finish it. I had the featured pinot too. for dessert, hub's fave is coconut cream, so he was in heaven. I couldn't decide, I'm normally a choc. person but I tried Tom's famous creme caramel and loved it, like a creme brulee sans brulee. and then we hurt a little bit after all these good eats....

                      Sun. brunch: we met some friends at Steelhead Diner. they're locals who wanted to try it and liked it, though it didn't feel like a real "diner." I took your advice and got the Sequimbled eggs, (and even pronounced it right). great crabcake (no peppers, I hate peppers in my crabcakes!). hub went nasty and got the chicken fried steak, because he figured why not, and friend got the Hangtown Fry which was huge. in all, a fun way to spend our last meal...

                      so many things we missed (e.g., lark, mistral, sitka&spruce, union, cafe campagne, ray's, paseo, nishino, etc.). but many thanks again for all your great recommendations -- now we have a list for next time! until then...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: asc339
                        l
                        Lauren Mar 4, 2008 08:36 AM

                        Great report! Thanks!

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