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Oct 11, 2009 10:43 PM

My 4-Day Seattle Trip

My wife and I just returned from a Thu-Sun trip to Seattle. We did things tourists do, but here I'll focus on the food. Most of my pre-trip research is done using,, Zagat guides, and various google searches.

Day 1:
Flying out of Burbank gave us the benefit of eating breakfast at Porto's Bakery. We had Egg & Bacon Paninis, an Iced Chai Latte and an Iced Mocha (his & hers), and a Cheese Roll for good measure.

After arriving in Seattle, checking in to our hotel, and in time for a late lunch, we introduced ourselves to Seattle cuisine with burgers from Two Bells Tavern. I got the Tavern Burger, add Swiss; my wife got a Cheeseburger with Havarti. The patty in my Tavern Burger was juicy and thick. The sourdough roll was harder than typical burger buns/bread but worked fine. Bacon and grilled onions with the terrific patty combined to make this an exceptional burger. In my personal top 3.

For dinner we went to Thai Ginger, located on the 4th level of Pacific Place (shopping center). We ordered Beef Salad, Chicken Pad Thai and Panang Curry with Chicken. The dishes were served faster than seemed possible. Thai Ginger allows you to set the level of spiciness from 1 to 4. We opted for 2 on the salad and curry dishes. The meat in the Beef Salad was very tender. Seemed like a better cut than is typical. They used less fish oil than most. This salad was a winner. The Pad Thai came looking oily, but to my relief it was more a water-moist than oily. Tasted great. Sweet. The curry was very good, too. The service was friendly and upbeat. The meats in all three items were of excellent quality.

Over to Pike and then east opened up some nice coffee and dessert options. Some of the extra calories I didn't need to take in at Thai Ginger were burned off on the walk to Caffe Vita. Saw Quinn's on the way and made a mental note of its location since it's on my burger list. I'm not a true coffee drinker--I get the frou-frou drinks. So at Caffe Vita I got an Iced Vanilla Latte and my wife got an Iced Mocha (she's on an iced Mocha kick).

Another block east and we landed at Cupcake Royale (or is it called Verite Coffee?). Not sure of the official name of the joint but I got a cupcake named "Kate". She was chocolate with pink-colored vanilla icing. The cake was on the more dense side, not very moist but definitely not dry. Creamy icing topped it. The proportion of icing to cake was ideal. Not an overload of icing like many cupcakes.

Day 2:
Glo's on Olive for a late breakfast (slept in). Fantastic Eggs Benedict. Their Hollandaise with the egg, ham and tomato were great together. Fresh fruit was very fresh. Service was very slow and I never got the orange juice I ordered, but it was still worth it.

Later, while walking to the Space Needle we stopped at The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Company. Shared a very good cupcake--yellow cake with chocolate icing. The icing was two-part. There was a thin, dark chocolate coat on top of the cake, and then a more traditional chocolate icing on top. Very good, but I'd put Cupcake Royale a notch above it.

Through the telescope on top of the Space Needle I was able to see the Skillet-mobile, which was located at 1st and Republican that day from 11am to 2pm. I didn't see a line as I had read about. Looked kinda slow. I saw a couple of guys emerge from the metal thing for a smoke break.

Took a cab to Stumbling Goat for a burger. It was closed but the backup, Red Mill, which is about a half-minute walk away, was open. I got a Deluxe Bacon Cheeseburger. It was great, and while I'd put it in the top 3% of fast food burgers, I definitely have to disagree with epicurious putting in the top 12 in America or best in Seattle.

Caught the #5 bus back to downtown. Much cheaper than the cab ride up.

We were feeling like having some pizza for dinner that we could eat at the hotel. Walked over to Serious Pie and ordered their pizza with cherry bomb peppers and sweet fennel sausage. While waiting for the pizza I noticed that their pizzas were pretty small and might not be enough for two. We didn't want to order another, but we also didn't want to end up hungry later. Some people see a crisis. We saw an opportunity. Plan: honey waits for the pizza while I walk to Palace Kitchen and order a burger to go. It worked well--she and pizza showed up at Palace Kitchen only a couple minutes after I ordered a Palace Burger Royale with cheddar and bacon. Before the burger was ready we had a few minutes to walk to McDonalds for Coke and a Sprite. Very nice for washing down pizza and burger. Back to the hotel for chow time. Wow, that pizza was good. Really liked the dough. Reminded me of naan. The burger was really good. Very thick. Great taste & bun. The patty was mostly medium-rare, as I ordered it, except for the center, which was closer to raw. I'm still alive to write this so I guess all is well. The fries were thin, very good, but a little to salty.

Before retiring for the evening I brought the pizza box and buger containers downstairs to dispose of them so the room wouldn't smell. On the elevator ride back up with me there was a pizza delivery guy. I patted my stomach and told him I had some good pizza tonight myself. He asked me where from. I told him Serious Pie and he said he never hear of it. He said that his pizza was name best in Seattle for something like 12 years. I asked him who decided that and he said some TV station or something. The logo on his shirt was Pagliacci Pizza.

Day 3:
Brunch at Macrina Cafe. Love the atmosphere. We started with the warm pastry of the day--a Pear and Frangipan Braid. Got two entrees: 1) Brunch Cafe Special - corn bread topped with 2 eggs, crisp pancetta and tomato salsa. Served with herb roasted potatoes, organic green salad and seasonal fruit, and 2) Buttermilk Waffle topped with roasted cameo apples, vanilla sugar whipped cream and toasted pine nuts. Served with Zoe's applewood smoked bacon. Every item was excellent. I was also impressed by how the cook, visible behind the counter in a small working area, was able to turn out so many dishes. Very efficient. Everything she needed was within arm's reach in various drawers and trays. Sitting at the counter for this view was enjoyable. If I lived in Seattle I'd probably visit Macrina periodically. About half of their brunch menu changes each week. I'd enjoy discovering "What are they serving this weekend?".

Lunch at Ivar's Seafood Bar on the waterfront. Fish & Chips with Cajun spices. That was fun. Fed some fries to some seagulls. Some of those things are aggressive and mean. I threw some fries to some of the weak, brown ones that were bullied to the edges of the feeding area by the stronger (or meaner) gulls. That was something.

Enjoyed some (frou-frou) coffee drinks at Cherry Street Coffee House, Pioneer Square. Really liked the setting and decor of the basement-level lounge.

You'll never belive this. Maybe you will. Pretty tired and ready to crash, we didn't feel like going far for dinner. Did Two Bells again. This time I got the Bleu Burger. She got the hummus plate and a salad. The Tavern Burger is my favorite of the two burgers I tried there.

Cooled down with ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. Mud Pie Mojo.

Day 4:
Slept in. Donuts and coffee at Top Pot. Donuts: Chocolate Sandcastle, Old Fashioned Glazed. Coffees: House Roast, Iced Vanilla Latte.

Lunch time already? Wife and I both craving pasta but not enough time to go to Spinasse or elsewhere. Walked to Il Fornaio. Didn't even get pasta. Shared and enjoyed a spinach salad and a risotto with chicken and broccoli.

At the airport shared a Mocha Ice Blended Frappe from Dilattante Chocolates. Haven't had much protein today. Got a Bagel Dog with Bacon & Cheese at Great American Bagel Bakery.

Other notes/questions:
1) The tap water in Seattle was good.

2) Didn't try but high priority next time I visit: burger at Stumbling Goat, burger at Quinn's, Thai Tom, Trophy Cupcake.

3) While at McDonalds for sodas I noticed a poster advertising their Frappes. They had Mocha and a Caramel. Anyone had it? Any good?

4) Is Pagliacci Pizza worth trying next time I'm in Seattle?

I'd love to hear any comments or questions about my visit.

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  1. great report! Thanks for posting!

    I had Serious Pie for the first time a few weeks ago and it blows Pagliacci's out of the water. I liked your description of the crust being close to naan, because now that I think of it, that's pretty spot on. Pagliacci's has more traditional pizzas, and it's ok-to-good for take-out/delivery. Not worth wasting a meal on if you're visiting from out of town, IMHO.

    btw, I'm from LA and miss Porto's! That burbank location is fantastic - great to stop in right before catching a flight.

    1. Pagliacci is very good local delivery pizza, very traditional, and not worth an out of town trip.

      4 Replies
      1. re: cocktailhour

        If only it was very good, or even rather good, that would make it ubiquitousness and persistent buzz more bearable . . . .

        1. re: not the bad Steve

          Thanks for the details, really good review. Two times at Two Bells, at least that means you liked the burger!

          Come back and try Quinn's and Goat burgers, you won't be disappointed. But next time, please don't feed the sea gulls; that is why they are so agressive/nasty.

          1. re: bluedog67

            I'm with you. I'm anti feeding the birds, but there were signs there that said it was okay to feed the seagulls but not the pigeons. They are nasty.

          2. re: not the bad Steve

            As many people have noted before (including myself), Paglicacci's is good pizza IF it's ordered well done. It's not very good, but the Pesto Primo is close to being very good.

            Sorry to hijack...great write-up on your visit. If you're set on getting good burgers, I really enjoy those from Skillet, Dahlia Lounge and Lunchbox Laboratory.

            Lunchbox Laboratory
            1253 Thomas Street, Seattle, WA 98109

            Good Burger
            5962 Guide Meridian, Bellingham, WA 98226

            Dahlia Lounge
            2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

        2. Great write up. Thanks. I like the way you think - getting a burger to go from Palace Kitchen while you wait for your pizza at Serious Pie! And thanks for reminding me about Glo's. It's been way too long since I've been there.

          1. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

            I sometimes snag a slice of Pagliacci if I'm starving, walking, and need a quick and cheap bite. It is nothing to put on the to-do list if visiting. Very pedestrian.

            550 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109