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Jun 13, 2009 09:59 AM

PacNW tour - Olympia/Seattle help

This is the second leg of our tour. My family will be touring the Pacific Northwest at the end of this month by car, starting in Portland with a couple of days in Cannon Beach before venturing northward (I have a previous post for that).

On July 1st, I plan on having lunch at La Tarasca in Centralia, tootling over to Olympia, and then having dinner at Xinh's in Shelton. I was here slightly over a year ago, and was pointed to these fabulous stops by fellow CHers.

My focus will be on good food, regardless of the ethnicity although somewhat tempered by price, since it will be me and my wife as well as my 10 year old son and 8 year old daughter. My kids enjoy good food (hence the price thing) and are adventurous (but don't like hot spice yet). They are well-behaved, so I'm not too worried about making scenes.

So, probably no true intimate fine dining, but upscale casual to hold-in-the-walls are fair game.

And again, if there are raw oysters to be found, please guide me to them!

Comments on where I plan to go are appreciated, especially if kids and the restaurant aren't a good mix.

Jul 2 - would like a lunch place in Olympia or possibly Tacoma that shouldn't be missed. Will probably go to Elliot's Oyster Bar this day.

Jul 3-6 - will be in Seattle, more specifically at the Silver Cloud Inn by Lake Union.

Will spend Friday grazing Pike Place - I think I have enough info from the board to fend for ourselves for the day. Probably go to Steelhead Diner for dinner. I'm not sure if we should head to Matt's in the Market for lunch or not.

Independence Day will be spent shopping (as promised to wife) at the Premium Outlets north of Seattle. Any good places for lunch there? For dinner, we'll probably go to Shiro's for sushi.

Sunday, there seems to be a whole host of places for brunch, so I'm a little unsure of where to go around where we are staying. Suggestions appreciated for this.

Or we could go to Bainbridge Island and hit Cafe Nola.

Would like to go to one of Tom Douglas' places for dinner. Which one is more appropriate with kids?

On Monday, would like to hit either Salumi, Paseo, Baguette Box for some sandwiches - which would be more convenient for us?

Finally, I would like one dinner that either screams Seattle or is just unique in and of itself, regardless of which city it is in.

July 7 - will probably drive up to Vancouver, via Chuckanut Drive to Bellingham and stop off at one of the view restaurants or Oyster bars there for lunch. I'll have Vancouver mapped out already!

Appreciate all the information I've found on the board already and any future help!

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  1. Salumi is closed the week after the 4th of July for their annual family vacation.

    Along Chuckanut Drive I recommend the Rhododendron Cafe.

    Your travel itinerary (with the exception of the Outlet Malls - not worth the drive, IMO) is spot on. Can I join you!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Simpatico

      Thanks for heads up about Salumi! Will probably do Paseo as per BallardFoodie instead then. Scenery is always appreciated, especially from a flat-lander...

    2. Lunch Oly or Tacoma: My suggestion would be Tacoma Szechuan which is located in south Tacoma close to Parkland. IMO, one of the best Chinese restaurants in the Puget Sound.

      I like Paseo better than Baguette Box. Paseo recently opened up a new location in Ballard. Grab some food and head on down to the Golden Gardens park for a good meal and scenery. Ray's Boathouse is near this Paseo's and I think that it is a pretty good reflection on what Seattle has to offer (view/seafood), but if you hit this Paseo, you've already knocked out the scenery side of that equation.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BallardFoodie

        I like Tacoma Szechuan a lot too, but if you are destined to have lunch in Oly, a good choice would be to take out sandwiches from Bread Peddlar, or even just some bread and cheese (cheese from somewhere else), and enjoy a nice al fresco moment. This could be along the boardwalk by the water, or you could pack up your stuff and head out to Woodard Bay -- you might end up with the one and only picnic table overlooking the bay. (It's about a half-mile walk from the parking to the bay, and it takes about 15 minutes to drive there from downtown. There will be salmonberries & thimbleberries along the walk, but not yet blackberries.)

      2. By the resounding silence, I'm assuming that there isn't anything worthwhile around the Premium Outlet Mall in Marysville/Tulalip?

        How is the buffet at the Tulalip Casino? Looks like it is right beside the mall. How about Ivar's Seafood Bar across the way? Chain I know...

        3 Replies
        1. re: ybnormal

          The buffet at the casino is, well, a casino buffet. Certainly not the worst I've eaten, but nothing to write home about. I read something a while back that they'd opened a new resto that does "modern American Indian" cuisine. Haven't been, but would like to check it out. The diner at the casino has decent steak & eggs (for the price).

          In Olympia, I'd go to Cicada. I generally catch Sat/Sun brunch there - the food is awesome. If this place were in Seattle the wait would be 2 hours long. Excellent. Some posters have said that the service isn't great, but I've never found that to be the case.

          Both Paseo and Baguette box (they have a Fremont location - there is free parking in the garage in addition to their capitol hill location) have their pluses, and are good take out, so you could do all of them, if you were up to it. With 4 of you, share two sandwiches at baguette box (their fries are ok, some people love them) and then head down to Paseo and share another sandwich or two. My fav at BB is the tofu (OMG) and the lemon grass steak. At Paseo (I vote for the Ballard/Shilshole location - easier parking, shorter (or no) lines and they don't run out of things as quickly as the Fremont location. I love the chicken thighs and the cuban roast sandwich (they changed their sandwich names - it's the one with caramelized onions, jalapenos, cilantro, etc. not the pressed sandwich or the pork loin). YUM.

          1. re: akq

            That cuban roast sandwich looks good!

          2. re: ybnormal

            If you are willing to drive about 15 minutes north of the Outlet Mall on I-5, I highly recommend Bistro San Martin in Arlington for dinner. It's really a gem of a restaurant and I'm surprised their isn't more chatter about the place on this board. (Fine with me. The easier a reservation is to be had).


          3. I would like to second the recommendation for Cicada in Olympia. We eat lunch there at least once a month and service is always good. We had Sunday brunch a couple of weeks ago and found a full house but still-great service.

            1. Welcome to the PNW, and please do tell us about lunch at La Tarasca, and about Xinh's. Change happens and it's always good to have a report of a recent experience.
              You've got oyster's here nailed, since you have Elliott's oyster happy hour in mind. Go early; order your fill...
              Friday might turn out to not be quite enough of grazing Pike Place. You will have a great time there, exploring the levels and nooks. If Texas border fare appeals, take the kids down the Pike Place Hillclimb, to the Seattle Aquarium, on the water, and hit El Puerco Lloron. Last time I was there, they would still serve me a dozen fresh tortillas, so ask for that.
              It's hard to guess if the best time to stop for Gelato on this route will be at Bottega Italiana, 1425 1st Ave, or down the stairs at Procoppio Gelati.
              Lat time I was there, Matt's was still a really great lunch. I was happy to enjoy a Catfish sandwich and a salad for 15 bucks. I was less happy at dinner, because the wallet is not a trifle, after all.

              About brunch:
              At the (good, but distinctly hotelish) end, see Brasserie Margaux in the Warwick Hotel, 401 Lenora Street.
              A long-time neighborhood joint, Julia's 14 Carrot Cafe 2305 Eastlake Ave E.
              To catch a trendier set, at a spot renowned for eggs Benedict, see Glo's,at 1621 E Olive Way. Go here to really get FED, if not altogether gracefully.
              The Crumpet Shop - 1503 First Avenue, offers a novel breakfast. Fresh crumpets with unimagined toppings. Come back for lunch, as they make fresher than fresh.

              Douglas with kids, probably Lola, though Palace Kitchen is fine, if boring for most kids.

              Most of the destinations you list (Salumi, Paseo, Baguette Box) are accessible by bus (free downtown, during the day - the kids will love the tunnel - catch the 73 at Fairview and Galer/Eastlake- it will dive under the city and once you are in the tunnel, you can hop on and off for free all you want. Go see the Settle Tower (most kids will not understand this at all, except for the escalators) .
              Geographically from your hotel, Baguette Box wins, but all are available, by easy bus (find the METRO Trip Planner on the web) though Paseo means venturing across (gasp) the canal.

              Fin(ish) dining with kids in Seattle is Lark, though Tamarind Tree or much of Chinatown will do. Panos Kleftiko is Greek and a fun dinner stop, because most sensible dinners are had from the (knowingly huge) appetizer menu. A lot of fun and you can see the Space Needle (If you go there, visit the observation deck, but skip the restaurant. The food is not worse than Denny's, no matter what they say, and sometimes quite OK, but do try to eat elsewhere). For a view rivaling that, visit the Volunteer Park Water Tower. It's nuts.
              Most especially Seattleish dinners can be had at Chinook's, with a view of Fishermen's Terminal, where the fleet docks, or Ray's, with a great sunset view of the Sound.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mrnelso

                Thanks for the suggestions and I really appreciate the tips for getting around, especially the bus. My wife will definitely make use of the brunch suggestions, as she will travel miles for a good Eggs Benny.

                And I was going to skip the Space Needle anyways - I'd rather have a nicer dinner somewhere - the Volunteer Park Water Tower is more our style - appreciate the tip!

                We'll see how the kids hold out - that'll be the limiting factor. And we'll just have to fend for ourselves at the Premium Outlet Mall... :-) I'll just get some goodies from Pike Place for lunch!