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Psycho Food Fest, Part 2

A year ago I was visiting friends in Seattle, and we managed to eat at seven different places in a day (Some of the places: Paseo, La Porta de la Oaxaca(sp?), Ocho, Senor Moose, Serious Pie, Versaci, a diner and a bakery in Ballard that I can't remember). I'll be returning with my wife and a good friend this weekend, and I'm hoping for a "psycho food fest, part 2."

Here are some questions and comments:

1. As I live in Hawai'i, I'm really not keen on eating Asian food--unless you think there is something really phenomenal (read: way better than anything I can get on O'ahu);

2. Restaurants that serve food I can't get in Hawai'i--or food that is not so great in Hawaii (e.g. Mexican) gets more points. In addition to great Mexican food, I'd love to try great Spanish/South American, African, or Southern food. Of course, I don't want to limit myself to these cuisines;

3. Yea or Nay on the following:

Sitka and Spruce
Walrus and Carpenter

4. Question regarding Salumi. Some people complain about the thickness of the bread, plus the skimpy portions of meat. I am concerned about this because it's the type of criticism I have of some sandwich places. Apologists of Salumi, let's hear from you on this.

5. We're arriving around midnight, and may be hungry. Any great late night meals that would could get fairly quickly that you recommend?

6. Any other "must eat" places you didn't mention.

I look forward to reading your comments! Mahalo, in advance.

2325 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107

Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

Serious Pie
316 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101

Senor Moose Cafe
5242 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

Andaluca Restaurant
407 Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98101

309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

Andaluca Restaurant
4th Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98101

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  1. Yea on Spinasse (actually, triple yeas on Spinasse), Salumi, and Tilth. The cocktails are the big draw at Sambar, where Jay Kuehner demonstrates why he is in the forefront of the craft cocktail movement in Seattle. There is also a limited menu of lite bites. But when it comes to cocktails, there’s little dispute that Murray Stenson of Zig Zag Café is king of the hill. Andaluca is okay, but if you’re going for Spanish food, I think either Olivar or Havest Vine is better. I haven’t yet been to Walrus and Carpenter, but under the direction of Renee Erickson (Boat Street Café), my guess is that it’s very good. I also haven’t been to re:public, but the reports of others are very favorable. And I haven’t yet been to the new Sitka and Spruce on Capitol Hill.

    I don’t have any complaints about the bread at Salumi or the skimpiness of the meat, although the issue often doesn’t arise for me, since I frequently get the hot meat sampler.

    1. I second Harvest Vine for great Spanish food; The Kingfish Cafe for Southern (their biscuits are sculptures). La Carta Oaxaca for authentic Mexican (don't miss the lamb). Quinn's for great frog's legs. Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle is worth seeking out for amazing French pastries and breads. Il Terrazo Carmine for venison ravioli.

      Harvest Vine
      2701 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

      Bakery Nouveau
      4737 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

      1. Sitka and Spruce - yes. Walrus and Carpenter - yes, yes. Spinasse - do not miss it! Salumi - without a doubt! Mario Batali's dad owns this place and the meats are simply delicious. Just tell them you want thinly sliced bread. You should be okay.

        If you're a fresh oyster fan, don't miss The Brooklyn or Elliott's this time of year. The Kumomoto's are absolutely yummy. Chez Shea is always good as is Maximillians at the Market., Il Bistro, Place Pigalle, Restaurant Zoe and other spots. Report back on what you guys do and where you go!

        Restaurant Zoe
        2137 Second Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

        Chez Shea
        94 Pike St. Suite 34, Seattle, WA 98101

        Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

        Place Pigalle Restaurant
        , Seattle, WA 98101

        Il Bistro
        93A Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98101

        309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

        1. First report.

          We went to Honore and Besalu on the first morning. (I'll post my response in the thread on Honore Bakery)

          Here are other places we tried on the first day:

          Lunchbox Laboratory

          Things I liked: tater tots; the variety of shakes (e.g. boston cream, nutella--the special was a blueberry custard, which I really liked); the nine different types of salts you can get on fries or tater tots (and presumably the onion rings). We ordered the bacon salt, which we liked; the bun

          Things I didn't like: too much bacon which drowned out the flavor of the patty. I'd have to go back to try the burger with less bacon or without bacon completely to judge the burger accurately.


          I like my ice cream really creamy and rich. We got the meyer-lemon flavor, and my guess is that the Parfait is going for something different, which at least conceptually I like. They seem to want to focus on the natural flavor of the ice cream (in this case the meyer lemon), while making the cream and sugar more subtle. (I think this is a kind of ice cream that Japanese nationals would really love.)

          Sichuanese Cuisine

          Look, I know I said I didn't want to eat Asian foods, but by the end of the day I was craving something Asian. Plus, I thought it would be wise to balance out the eating. (I was in the New Orleans French Quarter for ten days, and just got sick of eating French/deep fried cooking almost exclusively. The next curry rice dish I ate LAX was one of the best I've ever had!)

          This place won an award for best fried chicken, which I thought was OK and even a little too salty. In addition to the chicken we got, the szechuan green beans, beef noodle, dumplings (can't remember which ones), mabo tofu and some savory fish dish. (Sorry, I can't remember all the names.) The food wad good, but not something you'd tell visitors to try. Certainly, this is the kind of food I can get back home in Hawai'i. Still, it hit the spot.

          Afterward we picked up some cakes at Kingfish Cafe. We got the following: pineapple upside down cake, red velvet and strawberry shortcake. The density and flavor of the red velvet was good, although I would have liked it a little more moist. I thought the frosting was a bit too sweet. Still, it was satisfying. The strawberry short cake and pineapple cake were both good. I must say that I really liked their frosting that you had to add to each cake. What they seem to do is add a bit of maple syrup to the frosting, and I really enjoyed that twist (or at least it's a twist to me).

          We tried to get into Spinasse, but couldn't. We do have reservations for tomorrow, so hopefully, we'll be able to go there.

          Thanks for all your recommendations. I'll write about the food I ate today (and the following days) later.

          Lunchbox Laboratory
          1253 Thomas Street, Seattle, WA 98109

          Honore Artisan Bakery
          1413 NW 70th St, Seattle, WA

          Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

          Sichuanese Cuisine Restaurant
          1048 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104

          3 Replies
          1. re: Jazzaloha

            Thanks for the report. Keep them coming.

            1. re: Jazzaloha

              the "frosting" for topping the Kingfish Cafe cakes is whipped cream, fyi.

              1. re: asha

                Correction: the whipped cream seemed to be laced with maple syrup. On the other hand, at least one of the cakes also came with a frosting (the red velvet--which was a bit disappointing).

            2. Day 1 addendum:

              I forgot to mention that before we went to Lunchbox Laboratory, we stopped at El Camion. We got the mulita (with....carne asada?) and two tacos (the beef cheeks and lengua--based on lavaca's recommendation in another thread). I preferred the cheeks (can't remember the Spanish name) as it was more flavorful and juicier. I liked the mulita best though, and I loved the chipotle sauce they offered as a condiment.

              Day 2

              We skipped breakfast as everyone was still stuffed from the night before.

              At lunch we went to Schultzy's in the Ave, as it was a favorite place I used to like to go to. (I prefer the original hole-in-the-wall location. I just took a bit of the schultzy, as I wasn't really too hungry.) Later, we stopped off at Bratz, a German "fast food" place near the Ave. I got a brat (white), and I thought it was just OK.

              There was a open market across the street, and we tried some pastries from Prague Bakery. (I liked the cherry danish.)

              About an hour later we went to Paseo. We ordered the #1, #2, #8 (pork, ham and cheese) and the sandwich with prawns. I went here last year, and I was a little disappointed. I loved it this time, especially the #1 and #8 (which, I didn't get the last time). I really preferred these sandwiches to the Salumi's porcheta(sp?).

              After this we tried to go to Skillet, but they had to shut down early because of a complaint from neighbors. I was disappointed because my Seattle friend said it was one of the best burgers he has eaten.

              For dinner, I attended a wedding reception at a "farmhouse" a little north of Ballard (sorry, I can't remember the name). The food was good, but I don't think others would be interested in what we had.

              Day 3

              We didn't eat breakfast because we were going to a buffet at Salty's. I won't talk much about the food, but I want to say that I loved the apple dumplings were really good. Loved them.

              The highlight of the day (and maybe the whole trip) was dinner at Spinasse. A big mahalo to all of you that strongly recommended this place. It was totally worth going to. I'll try to write more about this place later, as I'm running out of time.

              Lunchbox Laboratory
              1253 Thomas Street, Seattle, WA 98109

              Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

              309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

              3 Replies
              1. re: Jazzaloha

                Thanks for the continued update, Jazz. As Tom mentions - keep it coming!

                1. re: Jazzaloha

                  Wow, you got lucky - the cabeza at El Camion is really good, but they don't seem to have it very often (even though it's printed on the menu). Was there a big sign saying something to the effect of "hay cabeza hoy" on the trailer?

                  1. re: lavaca

                    I don't recall seeing a sign advertising the cabeza. It was good. (Btw, I did try going to Estacion near the airport, but they were closed. La Carta de Oaxaca was closed, too--although i've been there before.)

                2. Day 3 con't: Spinasse

                  Here's what we got:

                  The waiter brought over crostini with a rabbit pate and balsamic vinegar (the sweet kind). Yum.

                  The sampler anti-pasta menu (in which you can try all the anti-pasta items for $30).
                  There were three types of meat with this: prosciutto with melon; pork with a tuna mayo; and salami and some peppers. The remaining three anti-pasta were beats; zucchini/eggplant; chickory salad. The beats were incredible, maybe the best thing that i ate that night. The zucchini was almost as good. The pork with tuna mayo was disappointing and everything else was just OK.

                  Next came the pasta dishes. We ordered the tagiatelle with chanterelles and a type of paparadelle in sage butter sauce. The waiter brought us the paparadelle type pasta with ragu by accident and later brought what we ordered. The pastas were really good, especially the chanterelles. I'm not a vegetarian, but I would have been really happy eating the chanterelles/pasta with the beats and zucchini.

                  One last thing about the pasta. I understand that the chef really cares about the pasta here, and it was really good. One of the interesting things is that it wasn't really thick enough to be chewy--something I like. Instead, they were thinly sliced, which created a very pleasant, almost sensual (that's going a little overboard) texture. The sauces were also subtle and not over-powering or too oily; you could tell they put great care into their cooking.

                  Next came a pork dish which tasted like a pot roast. Good, but not perhaps not great.

                  Finally, we finished the meal off with fresh tomatoes.

                  One of the better meals I've eaten in a long time, and probably ranks among the all-time bests for me.

                  Later, we walked down to Molly Moon's and got the following: salted caramel (inedible after a few bites); strawberry balsamic (decent) and Sam's Sundae, which was a chocolate ice cream with olive oil infused with something from Earl Grey tea and sea salt. This was just OK.

                  I failed to mention that we also went to a gelato place in Ballard called, D'Ambrosio (sp?). I haven't eaten gelato from a lot of places, but this was the best I've ever had. (I did go to Gelatiamo last year, which my friends really love, and i preferred D'Ambrosio.) We got the biscotti, panna cotta and hazel nut. (I went back later and tried some other flavors, but I liked the ones I mentioned the best.)

                  Day 4

                  Portage Bay for breakfast. Liked it. I liked the corned beef hash and strawberry cheesecake french toast (not as sweet as it sounds).

                  I basically skipped lunch and we had appetizers at Bastille. We wanted to hit La Carta, Walrus and Carpenter and a Greek place (the name escapes me), but they were all closed. We ended up going to an Italian place called...I can't remember, but it was on the corner of 32nd and 65th. The pizza was a bit soggy, but not inedible.

                  For dessert, we at a bunch of cupcakes from Trophy. I'm not a cupcake fan as I think they're overpriced. These were very good, though.

                  Day 5

                  Before leaving Seattle, we picked up a Krinkle at Larson's. I really liked this, although I think it's a bit too sweet. To me, Larson's krinkle is something visitors should try as it is good and it's part of a Seattle institution (from what I understand).

                  Anyway, thanks again for all your help. We had a great time. Now, I have to lose about ten pounds!

                  Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

                  1400 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

                  Portage Bay Cafe
                  4130 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105