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Aug 16, 2010 10:18 PM

Seattle so far... (with questions!)

Based in San Diego and spending a few days in Seattle before heading to Vancouver/Whistler. Lurked on the board for help and thought I'd recap. I have a few questions, too, which I'll add to the end of the post.

Location: Downtown at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, no car, spent Saturday night and Sunday morning with my friend on Mercer Island

Saturday- Dahlia Lounge, Downtown

Lemon~scallion dungeness crab cakes, green curried zucchini, Alvarez farms summer squash, shrimp paste, rau ram

The crab cakes were awesome and I loved that they were done with a South Asian twist. They were perfectly fried and chock-full of shredded crab. There was very little filler, which was nice. Veggies served with pungent toasted shrimp paste and fragrant with lemon grass. The crab cakes were served on a herb puree, which is where the rau ram (Vietnamese mint) came in. I would have liked to see it more heavily featured, but the puree tasted more like Thai basil. The entree was topped with Thai basil, regular mint, and cilantro. Rau ram is very, very delicate and wilts at the drop of a hat, so I can see why it wasn't used as a garnish.

Sunday- Greenwood Mandarin, Bellevue

Chinese breakfast was good... had a fan tuan (sticky rice roll filled with dried pork and pickled cabbage), you tiao (Chinese fried cruller), and cold sweet soy milk. Nothing spectacular, but Chinese breakfast always hits the spot. Mr. Geeky's pork chop rice was good, but the pork chop was heavily battered.

Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company, Mercer Island Farmers' Market

Delicious handmade ice cream bars dipped in chocolate. The guys who run the cart are awesome and the peanut butter ice cream was something I could have eaten a tank of. Especially since it was so bloody hot on Saturday.

Red Hook Brewery, Woodinville

Didn't eat there, but our tour guide was delightfully sassy and generous with samples. I've always liked Red Hook's ESB and the tasting didn't change that, but didn't add to it, either. Their Blonde was pretty good, but I didn't care for their Late Harvest or Copperhook. The Lost Hammer IPA was decent, but my palate's been conditioned (or destroyed, depending on how you look at it) by big crazy-hoppy San Diego beers, so it was kind of light.

Chateau Saint Michelle, Woodinville

Big winery, good wines (although I am, by no means, overly discerning when it comes to wine). The free tasting that comes with the tour is a brief sampling (chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, muscat canelli). Chardonnay and cab were pretty standard... good, but nothing super-special. The muscat canelli was interesting... a dessert wine that smelled sharply of fresh Italian basil but tasted like pears. Grounds were very lovely.

Serious Pie, Downtown

We ended up at Dahlia Lounge because we were trying to go to Serious Pie on Saturday night. Finally got a table and we were packed to a communal table like sardines, with the restaurant running at about 80 degrees. Yikes. Mr. Geeky and my friend enjoyed their pizzas (wild boar sausage and veggie special, respectively), but I felt like my guanciale/soft egg/arugula was a little unbalanced. The guanciale and egg were obscured by the heavily seasoned (but delicious) crust and the peppery arugula. Given another shot at Serious Pie, I'd order something different. Oh, and visit on a cooler day. Sweating profusely with strangers is a tad awkward. Random note: I understand the desire to not serve corn syrup/chemical-containing drinks, but a diet Coke would have been really, really nice with my meal and the sweltering resto.

Monday- Spice Orient, Downtown

Spending the day working remotely in the hotel room as Mr. Geeky was at a conference. Went to Spice Orient for takeout lunch. I ordered the lemongrass beef, which was drenched in a watery, but tasty, sauce. Everything in the dish, however, was cooked to rubber, so overall, I don't particularly recommend that dish. Really wish I'd walked a couple of more blocks to Pike Place Market for lunch. Service, however, was excellent.

Caffe Migliore, Downtown

The coffee was meh. I would like to find something better

Bainbridge Island BBQ, Bainbridge Island

Really great meal here. It was a private party for Mr. Geeky's conference, serving ribs, salmon, and all sorts of veggies and salad. The ribs were delicious and not too oversauced. Salmon was perfectly cooked. The cooked veggies had a little bit of an Indian influence, including an amazing cauliflower and braised red cabbage that was seasoned with cumin and a touch of tumeric. Dinner totally made up for the meh stuff I had during the day.


Tomorrow, I'm headed to Salumi for lunch and Green Leaf for dinner. I plan on hanging out at either Zeitgeist or Trabant to get some work done before meeting my friend at Salumi.

Does Salumi have any non-perishables that I can take back to the hotel? (Mr. Geeky loves cured meat and can't meet us, so I thought I'd bring back something he can try. Their sandwiches won't keep, so I was hoping for something he could have with crackers.)

Any recs for Salumi? Green Leaf? (will search the boards, too)

Any other coffee places near the Fairmont I should try?

Any places near the airport that are good and open late? (We return from Vancouver via bus and it drops us off at Sea-Tac around 8:30pm. Need to grab dinner before heading to the hotel for the night.)

Thanks, all! Will report on Salumi, et al., soon.

Pike Place Market
1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

Serious Pie
316 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101

309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

Dahlia Lounge
2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

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  1. Many thanks for your reviews. Re: coffee, Belle Epicurean is in the Fairmount Building and has a French & ice cream parlor style. I'm sure you've already seen it, but just in case...

    Pegasus Coffee is on 3rd and Seneca (two block walk) and small but in one of my favorite buildings in all of Seattle. Enjoy!

    2 Replies
    1. re: mcmullek

      Here I am trolling downtown for coffee and a decent cup is to be had in the hotel. Good to know! I'll check out Pegasus tomorrow morning.

      Best coffee I've had on this trip is from Trabant Coffee and Chai. Great Clover-brewed coffee.

      1. re: mcmullek

        Ended up running late before leaving for Vancouver, so I didn't have a chance to get coffee from either Belle or Pegasus. :( Next time, though!

      2. If you call ahead (24 hours is good), Salumi will slice ahead for you to pick up. Whole salamis travel well, of course, but you're on your own for slicing. Not far from Fairmont (and buses are free in the downtown RIDE FREE zone), Top Pot has good doughnuts and coffee.

        309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

        3 Replies
        1. re: mrnelso

          Just went to Salumi and it was amazing. They have a small selection of pre-sliced salamis in tubs, so I picked up their basic salami, mole, and finocchiona to snack on and for Mr. Geeky to try. I had a sandwich with their lomo (heart of prosciutto), gorgozola, and onions on their Giuseppe bread. Amazing... I think the place is totally worth the hype. I picked up a whole basic salami and a whole guanciale... they threw in Armandino's recipe for spaghetti alla carbonara, which I can't wait to try.

          309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

          1. re: geekyfoodie

            That Guanciale is killer. Get your saute pan nice and hot and be ready for a treat. When bits of Guanciale hit the pan, they liquefy immediately and their fragrance will start suggesting new ideas for what to cook in that (despite that you already have a plan - I'm just sayin' be ready for this).
            That was an inspired purchase. Please let us know when we can come over for Carbonara.

            >coffee: I've enjoyed working near to the Cherry Street store at 3d & Marion (this is a chain, I suppose, if 5 shops within downtown qualifies).

            1. re: mrnelso

              If you're willing to travel to San Diego, then c'mon over!

              On a random note, I noticed that the Canadians would have allowed it across the border, but the Americans might not have. Since I was hoping to take it home, I didn't want to risk losing it at the border and mailed it.

              The tubs of sliced salami have been fabulous. We picked up handmade crackers from Beecher's Handmade Cheese in Pike Place Market and they go perfectly together.

              Pike Place Market
              1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

        2. Downtown is hard for coffee because of the high rents--so many places downtown are chains. Cafe Umbria in Pioneer Square is good. I also like Zeitgeist. I've heard good things about Fonte and Stella but haven't tried them.

          You need to have the fresh rolls at Green Leaf--not the veggie ones, but the shrimp ones with the crunchy center. I like the crepe--is it the Bahn Xeo? I think that's what it's called. The coconut noodles on the app menu are good too, as are the vermicelli bowls. My friends love the duck soup.

          2 Replies
          1. re: christy319

            Love Zeitgeist... was having bags of beans shipped to me in San Diego for a while. Sitting in Trabant right now and really enjoying it. I'll definitely check out your recs tonight at Green Leaf. Thanks!

            1. re: christy319

              The duck soup (bun mang vit) was AMAZING. OMG... still dreaming 'bout it. Great broth, perfect noodles (they're a bit stingy with the noodles), and the duck is fabulous and served in a salad of green and red cabbage, Vietnamese herbs (perilla, mint, Vietnamese mint, Thai basil), and deep-fried scallions. Toss small portions of the salad into the soup and eat it all together. Awesome.

              We had the veggie fresh rolls and they were great, too. The egg rolls are tasty, but not the best I've tried. Not bad at all, though. Mr. Geeky loved his lemongrass chicken on rice.

            2. In the airport, Dish D'Lish is pretty good 'convenient' food, owned by Kathy Casey, and there is one on either side of security, so even w/ bust drop off you are fine.

              For sit down, there is a new restaruant not far from the ariport in a hotel; i think it is called CopperLeaf. Havent tried it, but it is getting good buzz.

              2 Replies
              1. re: bluedog67

                Copperleaf is about 5 minutes from SeaTac and is very good. There is an airport shuttle for the hotel it is in - but they would probably pick up for dining too. If you are heading into Sea Tac (which it does not sound like you are) then Anthony's is open late and is serviceable. But it is past security. If you are not going into the airport proper then I would highly recommend Copperleaf.

                1. re: bluedog67

                  Bluedog, Paqpin, thanks for the Copperleaf rec... will definitely have to check it out. Not going to Sea-Tac after the bus drops us off... it drops us off on Tuesday night, but our flight out is on Wednesday morning, so we have one night by the airport. We'll need breakfast at the airport, so will def. check out Dish D'Lish for breakfast basics, if they have any.

                2. I'd walk up the hill (or ride) and go to Stumptown coffee. My favorite. If you go to the one by Seattle U it's right around some other places that get good reviews here: Lark, Licorous (bar) and Cafe Presse.

                  Cafe Presse
                  1117 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: akq

                    I did go up the hill, but it wasn't for coffee. Went to Molly Moon's for ice cream. So very perfect after a few hot days... I had two scoops in a waffle cone. Two really enormous scoops (salted caramel and Vivace coffee) piled on a fresh cone. Great dessert after a fabulous dinner at Green Leaf.