Trip Review: October 22-26 [Very long] I LOVE SEATTLE!!!
Here’s my summary. Thanks again for all the comments in my previous post – I included it for reference for those interested in this type of itinery: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/649213.
Thursday: Palace Kitchen. Cool place. Pistachios on the bar! I got there around 11 pm – was starved. I sat at the bar as was suggested. The bartender was very uncommunicative and gave extremely slow service. I refused to let that sway me from having a good time on my first night. I tried the Vancouver Bay scallops with brown butter pear sauce and roasted grapes. I was underwhelmed. To me, the flavors blended to a softness that didn’t really excite. Now, the pan roasted halibut with green lentils, parsley pistou, newaukurn valley salsify and almonds was delicious! Perfectly flaky fish, lots of fresh flavors jumping out from this dish.
Friday: I was at Pike’s Market for six hours. I felt like I was in a dream… Had an early lunch at Jack’s Spot - Dungeness crab cocktail and Cioppino. Super fresh, great place to hang and eat and watch the crowd, good prices for very good food. I can’t remember who recommended this place, but you have my thanks. (It was so good I went back again on Sunday, late afternoon after a nice walk in the drizzle along the harbor and had the exact same thing!)
Walked around (by the way, I think the gum wall is gross) and stopped by Elliott’s around 2:30. Too early for the special, but since I was there decided to get a ½ dozen oysters. I tried the South Sound Kumamoto (rack and Bag) and the Totten Virginica from South Puget Sound (Intertidal Beach), washed down with Mac& Jac’s African Amber. This was a very special snack – especially the super sweet, buttery Kuma. Being landlocked, I couldn’t imagine oysters so fresh and with so much nectar.
Dinner was at the Union. I had reservations at 8:30, by which time there were out of three appetizers and one entrée, which I think is a lot as their menu is quite small. I talked with waiter, he said they had fresh halibut not on the menu (menu item was Branzini) that they could make in the same style (with artichoke and olive salsa). Another item on the menu was pork cheeks served with brussels – I love brussels, and asked if I could have that as an app/side dish, and they complied. Both dishes were wonderful - superb flavors, outstanding service. I paired with a ½ bottle of Bergstrom 2006 Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir. I left very pleased and happy to have had the chance to eat here.
Saturday: Went to Bainbridge Island. The sun came out! I went to the cute little farmers market at the end of town, where I bought an apple for immediate consumption. Also had a cup of Fall Harvest Soup made at a stand that used ingredients from the market. It was delicious – lots of root vegetables, garlic, and they said they used pink lentils to thicken. Fall and Soup are the perfect marriage. Here’s a tip – hire taxi driver at the ferry landing - $50 an hour – and take a tour around the island. Ask for Kip – he was very nice and loved sharing the history of the island. My fav’s were the Bainbridge vineyard – Joanne was great fun to talk with – and the park on the northeast point.
Lampreia was my dinner destination. Wow, wow, wow. Started with amuse of oyster mousse with blood orange citrus vinaigrette and lemon wafer. My appetizer was Dungeness crab wrapped in honey crisp apple with smoked sea salt. Next was foie gras served inside a pink pearl apple and accompanied with a blood orange vinaigrette and a few drops of aged balsamic. Main course was roasted halibut with citrus vinaigrette, creamed potatoes and smoked salt. I sat several moments and just breathed in the heavenly aroma. Last, I had cheese course of parmesan reggiano served with 50 year old balsamic and a glass of grappa. I loved how underlying ingredients – citrus, sea salt, apples, balsamic – were carried throughout the dishes in a very complementary manner. Every single dish was executed perfectly. The service was outstanding – I liked how they carefully and thoroughly explained each dish as it was set down. This restaurant has made my list of favorites.
Sunday: Went to Pike’s early am to pick up noshings for a brunch: a piece of smoked salmon, beecher cheese, figs, holiday grapes, Pirochi Pirochi. I brought the food back to room to eat while I watched the football game. I decided to cancel Rover’s reservation and just wing it for the rest of the day. I think I was still overwhelmed by the fabulous experience at Lampreia and Union the night before.
I walked towards Pioneer Square and stopped at Elliott Bay Book Company. Had the Pear Parsnip Soup with Pumpkin Bourbon Bread at their Café. Very yummy on a drizzley day. Around five I followed Tom’s tip and stopped at Taste for a fig infused bourbon manhatten. Nice bartender, great cocktail, and he gave up the recipe. Then he directed me to zig zag for another cocktail – that’s a cute place with excellent bartender who chatted with me a few moments on my likes and dislikes (beverages, of course) and just constructed a beautiful cocktail. Go, put yourself in E’s hands – I don’t think he can disappoint.
I am now wiped. Went back to room, packed, ordered room service at Hotel1000. It was pleasant surprise – a lovely roasted beet salad and shepard’s pie with creamed corn and pork cheeks. Quite tasty for a hotel.
Monday: Back to Minneapolis via Denver. Long day of travel, but worth it for the sale price of $60 RT. Ate at Anthony’s in Seatac and Timberville in Denver. Anthony’s was ok – Dungeness crab cocktail and clam chowder. Timber had a nice filet, but they served it with had plastic utensils, canned mushrooms, bagged mixed vege’s, and apathetic service. Both reconfirmed my impressions that airport food is to be avoided at all costs.
I had a fabulous time in Seattle! I loved the hotel, the restaurants, Pike’s Market, the ferries, the bookstores, walking along the harbor front. I did not mind the rain, as I came prepared. I will be back! Thanks, one more time, for all of your thoughts and suggestions as I was planning the trip. I missed out on Salumi, Uli sausages, Rover’s, Serious Pie, and I’m sure other numerous other places, but I am not fretting as I know I will return!
Thanks for the wonderful, detailed description of your adventures in Seattle. Of course, as you know, you just scrached the surface. Do you remember the cocktail that you had at Zig Zag? I assume from the "E" that your bartender was Erik Hakkinen, not Murray Stenson. Murray is king of the hill when it comes to Seattle bartenders, but Erik is also formidable. You can't get a bad cocktail at Zig Zag. Hurry back.
Zig Zag Cafe
1501 Western Ave Ste 202, Seattle, WA 98101
re: Tom Armitage
It was my pleasure!
I don't remember the the cocktail from Zig Zag. it was Basil Hayden's bourbon, simple syrup, a dash of bitters and some liqueur that was dry and tasted a bit like campari. He told me the name but i forgot.
Zig Zag Cafe
1501 Western Ave Ste 202, Seattle, WA 98101