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Sep 19, 2008 06:11 AM

Must eat, must drink - Seattle and Portland

Hey guys,

I will be in the Seattle area on business and pleasure for a few days in October. I am going to rent a car and drive down to the Portland area one day.

A few questions -

1. What are a few restaurants in Seattle I must try to get the quintessential Pacific Northwest experience?

2. I want to go to five or six Seattle area (Woodlinville) wineries - where must I go?

3. What is a fun/funky/ecclectic Portland place for a late lunch/early dinner that locals love?

4. I want to go to four or five Oregon wineries not far from Portland - where must I go?

This is my first trip to the Pacific Northwest, and am very excited. Thank you in advance for your advice.


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  1. I'm addressing your question #1: restaurants for a quintessential Pacific Northwest experience:

    Matt's in the Market
    (206) 467-7909
    Located above Pike Place Market with a fantastic view, this restaurant is perfect for lunch or a casual dinner. I always start my meal with a cup of soup because they excel at them, and I'll order their seafood special of the day. I've never ever been disappointed. They have a great counter where a single diner can snag a spot, but it's a popular joint so reservations are recommended for both lunch & dinner.

    Market Grill
    This is grill counter inside Pike Place Market across from Uli's Sausage. Grab a salmon sandwich here for lunch. I always get it blackened because their blackening spices don't contain salt so it doesn't overwhelm the flavor of the salmon. It will be the best salmon sandwich you've ever had. This place is very popular with the downtown lunch crowd.

    A selection of restaurants from Tom Douglas
    Tom Douglas is a local restauranteur with an outstanding array of downtown restaurants. I recommend visiting at least one of his establishments. Here's a synopsis of my favorites:

    Dahlia Lounge - upscale PNW dining, charming environment, outstandingly delicious food. Make a reservation.

    Palace Kitchen - hip, comfortable restaurant with a specialty on applewood fired dishes. Great for late night dining/drinking. I like their plini (chard/sausage ravioli) and they always seem to offer one vegetarian menu option which is always fantastic.

    Serious Pie - very casual pizza from a wood-fired oven. Only eat here if you're open minded as they don't offer red sauce/mozza/pepperoni choices. Think of it as oven bread with inventive toppings. This is my favorite pizza joint in Seattle.

    Dahlia Bakery - next door to Dahlia Lounge (which is also next door Serious Pie), this bakery offers my favorite breakfast item: a toasted english muffin with honey-spiked almond butter and sliced banana. It's filling and satisfying. They also have cooked-to-order donuts that I adore when I want a splurge.

    Have a fantastic visit, bring a rain jacket, and please report back on your dining adventures!

    1 Reply
    1. re: frygirl

      Fantastic selections!

      Yeah, I have been shopping for a rain jacket!

      And I will definitely report back - with photos!



    2. A funky and ecclectic place in Portland that I would recommend is Pok Pok. Chiang Mai style Thai food. None of your usual items you'd expect from a Thai menu. Favorites include the fish sauce duck wings and the steak salad.

      Keep in mind, though, that funky and ecclectic could be used to describe most any place in Portland. I swear I'm having a really difficult time answering this question; could you help narrow it down a bit? Budget? Cuisine preference? Neighborhood?

      -- SauceSupreme (Navy brat, raised in Norfolk)

      5 Replies
      1. re: SauceSupreme

        Hey SauceSupreme

        Not that "the sky is the limit" but I am not too concerned with a budget.

        I don't really know Portland, so something that would be relatively easy to find - maybe not too far off the interstate that runs to/from Seattle.

        I don't really have a cuisine preference, either - I love all types of food - I just want to have a cool experience, and some place that locals really groove on.

        In what part of Norfolk did you grow up? How long have you been away?


        1. re: patrickevanshylton

          Harvest vine
          Green leaf
          Cafe Juanita
          Pok Pok
          Apizza Scholls
          Clyde common.

          1. re: dagrassroots

            As for wineries: there are many threads about where to go, both here and on the Wine board. Just scroll down, take ten minutes, and it's all there.

            Also for Portland, in addition to the above excellent ideas: Ken's Artisan Pizza, Pambiche, Wildwood.
            98% of PDX places are "funky & eclectic".

            1. re: dagrassroots

              East-coaster traveling through PDX - tried all three and and loved them all, especially Pok Pok and Apizza Scholls! Am on my way to Seattle and looking to trying at least one of the three you recommended, dagrassroots!

              1. re: pleen

                Your welcome. If I had to choose one of the three I recommended I would go with harvest vine.

        2. What do folks think about Voodoo Doughnut in Portland? I've see it on television - looks interesting. I was raised on Krispy Kreme here in the fat-and-sugar capital of the country (the Deep South), so of course I am intrigued. It is worth a diversion to help sop up the sloshing of fermented grape juice in my belly once I finish at some Oregon wineries?

          1 Reply
          1. re: patrickevanshylton

            Hi there - I'm from Northern VA, currently doing a drive from SF,CA to Seattle, WA. I am a fan of Krispy Kreme donuts back East, so was very excited to try VooDoo in Portland. I'm sad to report that I agree with chipqmunk...VooDoo is more hype and "entertainment" than taste. We tried 5 donuts there: the original, glazed, glazed cake, bacon bar and one other that I don't even remember now and they were all mediocre in taste and mouthfeel. The dough in the doughnut was unremarkable and the maple icing was overwhelming and unpleasant. It's a fun place to visit, but don't expect your tastebuds to be too pleased.

            While in Portland, we tried both Pok Pok and Apizza Scholls and they are both AWESOME! Worth the wait...Apizza Scholls was so good that we went back a second time!!!!

            I am encouraged by chipqmunk's comments on Top Pot though! I'm driving to Seattle today and spending the weekend I will definitely give it a try!

          2. VooDoo is worth a stop for the atmosphere or if you want to try one with odd stuff on top like Tang or Capn Crunch cereal, but the donuts themselves are just good, not great.

            However, if you want a donut that blows Krispy Kreme out of the water, try Top Pot in Seattle. The 5th Ave. location is within walking distance of several of the Tom Douglas restaurants. And right about now, they should be bringing the pumpkin old fashioneds back out. Makes me long for a Top Pot store in PDX (not including the sad version you can find at Starbucks).

            If you want to eat at Pok Pok or Apizza Scholls, either get there right at 5 pm or be prepared to wait an hour. But the food is great once you're in. And from Pok Pok, you can walk a couple of blocks to Pix Patisserie for dessert.

            Also, look up the food cart scene in downtown Portland (it is mentioned elsewhere on this board).

            1 Reply
            1. re: chipqmunk

              I agree. Top Pot is yummy. But they are conspiring against me. Not only do I have to live with in a short walk from Top Pot. They opened one up at my bus stop in Bellevue. It's like they want me to be fat.

            2. As for PDX-area wineries, some of my favorites with nice tasting rooms and very close (about 40 min) from downtown Portland are Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Torii Mor, and Argyle. Drouhin (DDO) has a fully gravity flow operated winery, which is really neat and beautiful hillside vineyard slopes. The Laurene is their prime Pinot Noir, delicate and well-balanced. Torii Mor makes some fun wines, is right nearby, and has a dessert wine selection. Ask for their late harvest Gewurztraminer, they don't have it on the tasting now but it's delicious if you like that sort of thing. Argyle was doing an all bubbles tasting last time I went, which is fun.

              NOTE: Call these places to get directions from highway 99W, DO NOT depend on a GPS. It will lead you astray (from personal experience).

              In Seattle - not a huge fan of the Douglas restaurants, although Palace Kitchen is good for late night. A good "Seattle-y" experience is probably one that takes place in or around the market, so try either Matt's in the Market or Steelhead Diner. Never been to Cafe Juanita, but note that it's not in Seattle, it's in Kirkland, which can take over an hour to get to around dinner-time. A great, funky experience would be at Sitka and Spruce or the Corson Building.