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May 18, 2009 04:05 PM

recent winners from a boston transplant

Hi folks,

We recently moved to seattle from boston, and are getting used to the food landscape.
I'm a little surprised at the low volume on CH, given what appears to be a higher food nerd density. Is there some other forum that is more popular?
But more about food:

Some places we've eaten in the last couple of months that have been good:
(And I know the regulars are rolling their eyes about some of these --- just trying to inject some more data into the system...)

Alladin Gyro-cery in U district: Lamb sandwich.

Araya: lunch buffet -- a good way to get some vegetables. Dinner - more put together.

Pagliacci: I might get razzed for this, but I've found it to be totally acceptable delivery pizza.
I liked the margherita. Also I appreciate that they have logistics down.

Jack's tapas: I'm not sure the region (Some of the dishes seemed taiwanese..) , or why it's called tapas or cafe, but the eggplant basil hooked me up. ALso the green hot sauch with chiles and fermented black beans. Hand cut noodles were good too. I think one of the specials menus never changes and should just get printed up as a menu...

Galway arms: Burger + beer. I like a high food quality to ambience ratio, and this is off the chart with what I think has been the best burger so far, the second diviest atmosphere so far. (first is the blue moon...) Fried fish was also well fried, but more of a batter style than I like.

Sitka + spruce: Simple preparations, good ingredients. We had some apps and drinks standing at the "bar", and the menu lends itself well to getting a few small plates to share.

Tilth: Pretty awesome. The standout was a smoked bean dish that we ordered as filler. Maybe too nice service and atmospere for my liking.

rancho bravo taco truck on 45th: Pretty solid. Not sure why, but no one seems to put beans on a torta by default here. Also I haven't seen al pastor on as spit.

salumi: porchetta (duh...)
Paseo: roast pork sandwich. messy and a bit sweet, but delicious. Beans and rice: meh.

Seattle deli: pork banh mi (and the other ones in a one block radius. All pretty good)

Green leaf:; their marinated mushrooms were particularly amazing.

Overall observations as a boston transplant
Grocery store sticker shock. Where's a market basket when you need one?
expensive low-end food -- sandwiches etc.
(A lot of mediocre $6 sandwiches)
Even bad coffee is better here.
Farmer's markets are a whole different scale.

Ethiopian on Cherry... sorry, I forget which ones but so far all good!

Things I'm missing and would love to find if they exist here, though I know I should learn to love Seattle's unique offerings as well:

Brazilian by the pound
a cheap steamed tortilla burrito (A la anna's/boca/felipe)
Greek. At first I thought I was in luck seeing "olympic" this and that, but no, those aren't greeks.
the gyro at pike place was pretty good though.
Turkish (brookline family....)
Low end Indian
budget Puerto Rican (izzy's)


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  1. bbc- I moved to Seattle from Boston in 2002 and moved back a few years ago so this might be outdated. Brazilian P. Rican and Indian escaped my rader there if it was there at all. I tended to miss "comfort food" in Seattle i.e. fried clams, "greek pizza" etc... But now back east I miss the excellent Asian and Mexican. I live between Annas and Boca G in cambridge now but cant eat either, or the pho in supposedly authentic Dorchester. Take advantage of the great markets (farmers and supermarkets like central market) nothing like them back here. South Park neighborhood has Mexican places (muy macho was my go to) with real pastor on a spit. Different oysters, halibut and salmon all the time, local beer selection in Seattle probably equals the entire Northeast.

    4 Replies
    1. re: uwebres

      thanks for the tips! [off topic porter sq rec: tacos lupita's torta al pastor.]

      1. re: black bean can

        try the muy macho al pastor, then tell me what you think. Two totally different things.

        1. re: uwebres

          It is indeed a great torta, and in a totally different style. thanks! (the rest of the menu looks good too)

          1. re: black bean can

            I miss it like crazy. Just as in the pizza debate, what you are used to usually wins out. I went out there just as Annas was expanding around town here and I actually liked it. Now that I am back, I just cant eat it anymore. Boca Grande has some legit stuff, but almost every mexican place here is actually Salvadorian owned and operated. The 2 countries are close together, but I see the difference now.

    2. Welcome to Seattle and thanks for the report.
      By the way, don't worry at our eye-rolling, it's a local issue...

      Jack's tapas: Lamb stir-fry is for me, after, of course, the hand-shaved noodles.

      How can I not know Galway arms? Thanks for the tip.
      Grocery store sticker shock. Where's a market basket when you need one?
      See Cash & Carry Commisssary for good prices on industruial groceries.

      A cheap steamed tortilla burrito - try Gordito's or Burrito Loco (Mole)

      Greek. Skip Costa's Opa, but see Panos Kleftiko and dine from the huge app menu.

      For me, Low end Indian is probably Taste Of India, on Roosevelt.

      1. i found the best sandwiches in Seattle to be more satisfying than the best sandwiches i've had in Boston (and no more expensive)-- I'm thinking (in Seattle) the pastrami or reuben at NY Deli (which I prefer over Sam LaGrassa's in Boston), sandwiches atTat's, catfish or fried oyster sandwich at Matt's, lamb burger at 94 Stewart, burgers at Lunchbox Laboratory... a few more non-Boston items to enjoy while you're in Seattle . Boston does have its lobster roll but I have to say the best lobster preparation i've ever had was in Seattle (at Crush), not in lobster-happy New England

        3 Replies
        1. re: barleywino

          That's so sad, barleywino! Because, really, there are some good lobster dinners to be had in New England. (You know: where lobsters come from.)

          What, pray, was this "lobster preparation" you had at Crush? I am agog to learn!

          1. re: Pigeage

            THey have several variations, but if it says "butter poached" or "in coral sauce" be sure to get it-- cooked just this side of rare, so it melts in your mouth

            1. re: barleywino

              Yeah, those east coasters always seem to overdo it with their seafood preparations. I felt like a lot of times, seafood was merely a butter deliver device for them...

              -Native Seattlite back after 7 years in the NE

        2. As a Boston transplant (almost 6 years in Seattle), I have to say welcome. Your assesment is pretty dead on - Seattle is a vastly better food city than Boston in most areas. I spent a week in Boston earlier in the month and it made me realize how good we have it here. Even going out for a burger and a beer here is a much better experience. The grocery store sticker shock is a big one (especially with the sales tax) but I find that shopping the farmers markets, getting a CSA box and using Trader Joes to fill in the rest does help a great deal.

          5 Replies
          1. re: cvn66

            I wouldnt' go so far as to say that Seattle is vastly better than Boston in most areas...for high-end dining, for Italian, and for Japanese and CHinese food (but not Vietnamese, Indian or Korean) I would give Boston the edge...also for cocktails (although I do like Spur)...Boston has great ice cream, Seattle has great gelato...

            1. re: barleywino

              I have trouble saying any major metropolitan area is vastly better than any other. Part of finding good restaurants is actually living in the town for some appreciable amount of time and, honestly, I'm not going to say that the food in (say) Austin is better or worse than Seattle, because I live here, not there, I can spend time finding gems here while there I'm a bit rushed and need to depend upon other people to help me make decisions (which isn't always the best idea unless you have lots and lots of time to figure out whose opinions you can trust).

              Boston isn't better than Seattle (says the Mass. Native), Seattle isn't better than Boston. They are two different cities with different restaurants. I can name resto's in Boston area that put Seattle to shame (Blue Ribbon BBQ, Bob's Clam Hut, Elephant Walk) and one's here that do the same.. well, actually I can't name them right now because I've been out of Boston for too long.

              Same goes for other cities. NYC isn't better than us, it's different. Same with Vancouver. Same with SFO.

              (can you tell I'm sick and tired of 'Restaurants in XYZ are better than the ones in ABC!' threads?)

              1. re: jaydeflix

                C'mon. Let's be serious - we are on a food opinion site here. New York has better restaurants than Seattle. I live in L.A. New York has better restaurants than L.A. This is not something to dispute and get upset about. It is pretty well established and why amateur opinion sites get bogged down and trusted review sites are worth subscribing to. The "it's just different" argument is silly (unless you own a heap of Contemporary Art - then it's just funny, and soon to be a loss if you read about recent sales). Lobster is better in New England. Why? It's fresher. But guess where Olympia oysters and handcrafted brews and most salmon are better? Celebrate your strengths, don't dwell on weaknesses, support the great places identified on this site, and try to encourage good eating, reward sustainability, encourage independent restaurants rather than chains, etc. But don't give me a load of PC - I know full well the pizza in WA isn't as good as CT. So what? The Copper River salmon in New Haven is non-existent. BTW - I am heading to Seattle this weekend and am really looking forward to my visit - I'll be spending money in restaurants that I found recommended on this site, helping the local economy, and excited to try the good stuff. Don't confuse the mission of this site - it isn't to boost us up with the quasi-political idea that "we are all winners" - it is to identify, clarify, and reward excellence locally. I've loved reading the Pacific Northwest board and you have helped me decide where to go and what do do this weekend - thanks to you all, even those I'm sparing with! ;-) Viva la Chow!

                1. re: Pigeage

                  It's not being PC.

                  It's being sick and tired of people complaining because restaurants in place A aren't as good as restaurants in place B.

                  Tell you what, you want to say that NYC has better restaurants than Seattle? Fine. Stay there or don't go out to eat here.

                  There are restaurants in Seattle that are better than restaurants in NYC.

                  And there are restaurants in NYC that are better than restaurants in Seattle.

                  1. re: jaydeflix

                    Why would you be tired of people expressing their opinions (complaining)? This site is to encourage debate, not to stifle it. It seems silly to suggest that we all have to agree. I am sorry you disagree with me - such is life. But your anger is misplaced - I am merely stating something that to me is quite obvious. And you might want to steel yourself for further disappointment and frustration, because I won't be taking your advice to stay in New York (one: I don't live there). No, I think I'll stick to my planned itinerary and hop this plane this to Sea-Tac. I expect to eat well and happily all weekend at a variety of restaurants in Seattle (and maybe even buy some of the Mangalesa pork I've been reading about at the University farmer's market and have a cookout with friends), and write about my experiences and express my opinions on this very website when I get home. Have a nice weekend!

          2. > the gyro at pike place was pretty good though.

            Better gyros at Aladdin Falafel Corner‎ on University Way in the U District, Athina Grill in Lower Queen Anne, and Main Street Gyros in Pioneer Square. The place at the market often their meat off the spit in advance and stores it in a steam table, where it soaks up water and gets soggy.