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Need help narrowing down eats for upcoming weekend

n
nmrios Jun 8, 2011 09:16 PM

My sister and I will be in Seattle for one weekend in June. I am in charge of narrowing down the restaurant choices. I've read the board and been to all the websites of the restaurant below. I think they all look wonderful....and that's the problem. I can't narrow it down to 2 breakfast, 2 lunch and 2 dinners. If it helps, we are staying in hotel near Renton, but we will have a rental car. We do not mind driving for a great meal.

Breakfast/Brunch:

Portage Bay Cafe - this place is exactly what I am looking for, for breakfast
Tilikum Place Cafe
Tilth
Toulousse Petit

Lunch: Im open for other suggestions here.

Elliots - for oysters
Shiro's
Toulousse Petit - love all the choices

Dinner:

Staple & Fancy
Sitka and Spruce
Poppy - looks so good!
Toulousse Petit
Tilth
Cafe Shez
Herbfarm - Is this worth the $200?

Wait, maybe I didn't give enough info. We are food people. We also loooooove dessert. So a dinner place with great desserts would be a bonus. We love organic, fresh...but Seattle seems to be full of those thankfully. Thanks.

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Shiro's
2401 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA

The Herbfarm
14590 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072

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

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  1. r
    roolala RE: nmrios Jun 9, 2011 03:45 AM

    Great choices! :)

    I personally love Tillikum for breakfast and for the price, breakfast happy hour at Toulouse Petit can't be beat (I love their veal shallot pan sauce!). I prefer Toulouse's brunch over their dinners, which seem overpriced IMO.

    Shiro's is dinner only, so maybe consider swapping Sitka & Spruce, which does lunch also. Or hit up Paseo for some cuban sandwiches (not open Sunday).

    You mentioned you'd be here on a weekend...otherwise I'd suggest doing happy hour at Elliott's (M-F) for super cheap oysters! For dinner you can't go wrong with Staple and Fancy, Sitka and Spruce, or Quinn's for some great gastropub food. However, Poppy is a unique experience, and also very good-with dessert! Chez Shea is well executed but not inspired, and their desserts are the same. Haven't been to Herbfarm or Tilth, but hope you have a great weekend in Seattle!

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    Sitka & Spruce
    2238 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102

    Shiro's
    2401 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA

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

    The Herbfarm
    14590 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072

    Toulouse Petit
    601 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98119

    3 Replies
    1. re: roolala
      c
      christy319 RE: roolala Jun 9, 2011 09:40 AM

      I also recommend going to Elliott's at 3 for oysters--it's such a good deal.

      I'd pick Poppy. I love the thalis. I rarely get dessert at any other restaurants--even desserts at top notch places tend to bore me--but I love Poppy's dessert thali.

      A big NO to the Herbfarm. I've heard nothing but horror stories since Jerry Traunfeld left.

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      The Herbfarm
      14590 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072

      1. re: christy319
        t
        tsquare RE: christy319 Jun 9, 2011 12:34 PM

        I'm sticking up for the Herbfarm again.

        They really do have some of the most amazing things going on food wise - foraged, local, creative foods - going as far as making their own salt, vinegars, infusions...that price included wine pairings, but requires 4 hours (or more) of your time. Ron was tweeting $50 off for Sunday dinner (last week and this) if you mentioned a tweet he posted - limited to first 14 people to reserve. I'd jump on it, but am not able to do justice to that many courses these days, and am not able to participate in events that last more than 2 or 3 hours tops. But my dinner there, post Jerry, was excellent and I think they have only gotten more creative of late.

        I'm ready for another trip to Poppy, and this is a good season for that restaurant (well, for any that incorporate fresh finds.)

        I was not impressed with Toulouse Petit. Just off. But I would try it again, given it is in my home town.

        I've gone to Lark after dinner, for a nice dessert - not too fancy, the place quiets down. But I like the savory food there as well. Dinner only.

        Mistral Kitchen might also be a good option, with intriguing desserts. I forget that they are open for brunch as well.

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        The Herbfarm
        14590 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072

        Toulouse Petit
        601 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98119

        1. re: christy319
          babette feasts RE: christy319 Jun 9, 2011 05:47 PM

          Went to Herbfarm in February. It was good but not great. I felt like you had to be really into the whole experience for it to be worthwhile. A lot of the more interesting ingredients were used too subtly for me - probably an approach meant to not offend the less adventurous.

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          The Herbfarm
          14590 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072

      2. p
        PaqpIn RE: nmrios Jun 9, 2011 05:51 PM

        Since you are in Renton I highly recommend Copperleaf. It is not too far a drive, has a wonderful setting inside and great food.
        http://www.cedarbrooklodge.com/copper...

        You might also consider Phoenecia
        http://www.phoeneciawestseattle.com/H... as it has a nice setting and some good local foods. Herbfarm is good if that is what you want, but you might do just as well if not better at Poppy. But if you are looking for that kind of experience and you like the theme that will be in effect when you are here it is worth considering.

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        The Herbfarm
        14590 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072

        Copperleaf Restaurant
        18525 36th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98188

        1. n
          nmrios RE: nmrios Jun 11, 2011 10:09 AM

          Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. Here is my basic plan;

          Saturday

          Tilikum Place Cafe
          Pikes Place Market
          Space Needle
          Elliots
          Melrose Market- Capitol Hill
          Bar Ferd'nand - either before or after dinner at..
          Sitka & Spruce

          Does that sound like a full day? too much? Am I missing any thing that I must do or see while in these areas?

          Sunday

          Portage Bay Cafe
          Discovery Park - looks like a nice place to walk off breakfast
          Ballard Farmer's Market
          Poppy
          ZigZag - for late cocktails

          I wanted to go to Paseos for a cuban sandwich, but they are closed on Sundays. Any other good places to eat lunch on Sunday in Ballard? or is the Farmer's Market full of great places to pick at? As before, is there anything I must do or see when in these neighborhoods that I am missing? I think its obvious that food is going to be the center of our visit to Seattle.

          Thanks again for any help.

          -----
          Sitka & Spruce
          2238 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102

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

          Space Needle
          203 6th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

          10 Replies
          1. re: nmrios
            h
            heychrisa RE: nmrios Jun 11, 2011 11:56 AM

            if youare going to the Ballard Market, have brunch at Bastile

            1. re: heychrisa
              n
              nmrios RE: heychrisa Jun 11, 2011 09:07 PM

              Bastile looks great and they do brunch until 3 pm which is perfect for a late lunch. Thanks.

            2. re: nmrios
              f
              firecracker RE: nmrios Jun 11, 2011 04:42 PM

              Murray Stenson has left Zig Zag recently so you might be disappointed to not find him there anymore. He's apparently heading to Michael Mina's new RN74

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              Zig Zag Cafe
              1501 Western Ave Ste 202, Seattle, WA 98101

              1. re: firecracker
                n
                nmrios RE: firecracker Jun 11, 2011 09:15 PM

                I had heard so many rave reviews about ZigZag, too. What do you think about SunLiquor on Summit Ave. ? Do you have any other rec's for the Capitol Hill area? Will be eating dinner at Poppy.

                1. re: nmrios
                  r
                  roolala RE: nmrios Jun 11, 2011 11:57 PM

                  For Capitol Hill, Tavern Law's upstairs or perhaps Liberty :)

                2. re: firecracker
                  t
                  tsquare RE: firecracker Jun 13, 2011 07:15 PM

                  Murray will not be at RN74, at least for the first three months. We shall see what's up after that.

                3. re: nmrios
                  t
                  taiphun RE: nmrios Jun 27, 2011 09:24 AM

                  Just thought I'd bump this up - we're driving in from the North (think Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) and staying at the Four Points in Bellevue.

                  For this restaurant list, would it be best to drive in and find parking for them, or cab/train/bus?

                  Gotta research the transit system next..

                  Thanks!

                  1. re: taiphun
                    b
                    Brunhilde RE: taiphun Jun 27, 2011 01:38 PM

                    The restaurants on this list are all across the lake from Bellevue, which is on the east side of Lake Washington. I couldn't find the Four Points with a cursory Google map search, but if it's near the Bellevue transit center, Sound Transit has several express busses to downtown, where there's a "ride-free" area and it's also pretty walkable (disclaimer: I walk and bus everywhere, so "walking distance" to me deviates largely from a lot of people's definition of the term). A cab downtown will probably run you $30-ish, depending on traffic (they charge not only by the mile, but by the minute that you're in the car).

                    1. re: Brunhilde
                      t
                      taiphun RE: Brunhilde Jun 27, 2011 03:01 PM

                      Thanks Brunhilde. Very helpful. Sorry I meant to say Sheraton Bellevue at 100 112th Avenue.

                      From the maps the transit centre you're referring to looks to be on the opposite side of Bellevue City Hall, so it should be doable. The 550 seems to be what we're after.. is the walk towards Shiro's and Umi safe?

                      I'll bring comfortable shoes as well. :D

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                      Shiro's
                      2401 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA

                      1. re: taiphun
                        b
                        Brunhilde RE: taiphun Jun 28, 2011 09:09 AM

                        They're both in the Belltown neighborhood, which I've never felt unsafe walking around solo in that area (or really anywhere in Seattle), but I'm sure they'll be a few dissenting voices from other posters.

                        There also are several parking garages in the neighborhood if you're going to have a car, and if you're going to hit up the Ballard choices (Staple and Fancy, Walrus and the Carpenter), the bus will take a considerable amount of time.

                4. n
                  nmrios RE: nmrios Jun 12, 2011 08:52 PM

                  Tavern Law looks perfect. Reservations are set for dinner for both nights. Thanks for everyone's help. I will report back soon.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: nmrios
                    p
                    pusherman RE: nmrios Jun 13, 2011 06:25 AM

                    Your plan looks great, one heads up- despite all being in Capitol HIll, Poppy is not really within walking distance of Tavern Law or Liberty, and on a Saturday night parking around Tavern Law will be challenging unless you're ready to pay dearly; Liberty will be (slightly) easier. You might want to think about a cab, or else a nice bar near Poppy (which I can't think of, but maybe someone else here has an idea).

                    1. re: pusherman
                      d
                      dagrassroots RE: pusherman Jun 13, 2011 06:34 AM

                      Just a twenty minute walk.

                      1. re: dagrassroots
                        c
                        christy319 RE: dagrassroots Jun 13, 2011 09:14 PM

                        And an interesting walk, at that. I'd do it. Your itinerary sounds great!

                        1. re: christy319
                          d
                          dagrassroots RE: christy319 Jun 14, 2011 01:06 AM

                          After the dessert thali (a must order) at poppy a good walk is needed.

                          Side note: I know poppy has got mixed reviews over the years but i want to profess how awesome that restaurant is.

                  2. m
                    mrnelso RE: nmrios Jun 28, 2011 09:40 PM

                    Herbfarm is totally it, if your like a whole lot of kitch with a good bit of some pretty good food.
                    For me, nope. I'll get even better food at half the price and a tenth the distance, here on this board.
                    I will say, though, that it left a memory, if not a desire to return.

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                    The Herbfarm
                    14590 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mrnelso
                      n
                      nmrios RE: mrnelso Jun 29, 2011 10:26 AM

                      Had a wonderful time in Seattle and had to report back!

                      Tilikum Place Cafe- Loved this quaint little cafe. Service was friendly and attentive. I had the dutch baby pancake with rapini and pancetta served in a small cast iron skillet. It was light, fluffy, but still delightfully custardy on the inside. It was very good. My sister had the eggs benedict with cornbread and chorizo. Though not my cup of tea, she enjoyed it. Portions were perfect.

                      Parked for $10 on 3rd and Wall (weekends only) and spent the rest of day touring around.

                      Pikes Place Market- Loved this market, tons of fresh flowers, seafood, and produce. Also enjoyed the shops just outside like Le Panier (fabulous croissants: buttery and tender, and macarons) and Beecher Cheese (good macaroni and cheese).

                      Space Needle - $18 to basically go up, and down on an elevator. But had to do it.

                      Elliots- Shared a dozen oysters. They were deliciously fresh.

                      Melrose Market- Capitol Hill I really enjoyed this market. We stopped off at Calf and Kid and talked for good amount of time to the two employees behind the counter. They were extremely friendly, allowing us to taste some wonderful cheeses. We picked up small bits of comte (my favorite), cheddar, goats cheese, and water buffalo cheese and headed on over to Bar Ferd'nand where we ordered some sparkling wine and olives and ate our cheese while we waited for our meal at Sitka and Spruce.

                      Sitka & Spruce- Ok, here is where the magic ended for us. This was the restaurant that my sister and I were most looking forward to and we just didn't get it. First, it is a lovely restaurant. I love the open kitchen concept that you see in many restaurants in Seattle. But when I went to check in my party, I stood at the door for 8 minutes before I was even acknowledged. Now, if you haven't been there before, it is small. I mean like 12 tables small. A female server literally passed 5 or 6 times, making direct eye contact with me several times and never said anything. Finally, at around the 8th minute mark she passed me and said "Be right with you" and then proceeded to clear one of her tables. Maybe its just me, but I thought this was unacceptable. I feel a customer waiting at the door is more important than an empty table. At the 10 minutes mark another server finally came over and checked us in.
                      Second, the concept of this restaurant is "family style" dining. But we found it very hard to "share" any of the dishes they prepared for us. Even the large size plates often contained only one piece of any given element. It was uncomfortable trying to divy up everything. Thirdly, the female server (who had passed me up earlier) was very attentive, I have to say, once we were seated.
                      Finally, we ordered the salmon with pickled rhubarb. Very little salmon overpowered by the very strong presence of too much pickled rhubarb. Ordered asparagus salad with carrots, dill, cilantro. I liked this dish. It was bright and herbaceous. Ordered the bread with sea salt. Yes, you have to pay for the bread. But the bread was great. Crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside. Then we ordered the fried crab with tahini, dill, and cilantro. This dish just didn't work for me. The tahini was flavorless and made the outer crust on the crab mushy. We also ordered the sea scallops and octopus dish. The scallops were cooked perfectly, but the octopus was charred and tough. The plate was also dry and this dish really needed a sauce. We ordered a few things that escape my memory (not a good sign) and finished with a shared dessert, a gateau with fresh berries. Bleh! The food was fresh, herbal, and for the most part, properly prepared. But all the dishes were missing something for us. It was just ok, all and all. My sister thought that maybe they were having staffing issues.

                      Portage Bay Cafe- I liked this restaurant. I would have liked it more if we had made a reservation. We waited over an hour to be seated. But the food arrived very quickly. I ordered the lemon curd french toast. I thought the french toast was great. The lemon curd was tart and tasty. But all together, not so great. I also didn't like that they put a scoop of dry, ricotta on top of it all. I think it would be a better dish if they mixed the lemon curd into some blended ricotta and stuffed the french toast, and then served it with some raspberry preserves and fresh raspberries. But I digress. I would definitely go back. I would just order something different.

                      Discovery Park - This park is amazingly beautiful. It had a great mix of paved and off-road trails, and great views. Would definitely take my family.

                      Ballard Farmer's Market- Im still seething with jealously over this market. Raw cow and goats milk, pastured beef, pork and chicken. Not too many crafts. Mostly farmers. Loved it. Also, loved Ballard, in general a charming neighborhood.

                      We loved Ballard so much that we decided to go to Staple & Fancy for dinner. Had the chef's menu and it was fabulous. The first course consisted of 4-5 small plates, mostly centered around seafood. Soft boiled eggs with fresh anchovy served with an anchovy aioli. Crostini with duck pate drizzled with aged balsamic. White fish served with a bright, avocado puree with lime juice. Whole sardines, lightly breaded and fried served on top of a flavorful red pepper aioli. I know Im missing something here. But everything was delicious and perfectly prepared.
                      For the second course, we had housemade raviolis filled with english pea puree. Very tasty and perfectly al dente.
                      The third course was a pork tenderloin with a reduced sauce. Perfectly cooked, slightly pink in the center and very flavorful.
                      We finished with a vanilla bean cheesecake with rhubarb compote. We loved this restaurant! The service was great and it just has a great casual feel to it. Really enjoyed it.

                      Poppy- Had the 7 item vegetarian thali. Loved the risotto and naan. The dessert was the real show stealer here. One of the best dessert plates Ive had...ever. We ordered the thali for two. Lavender shortbread (tasted salty with just a hint of lavender. Perfect) Housemade NutterButter squares. Texture was lovely. Housemade chocolate salted caramel. This was the best caramel I have ever had. The textures was delicate and smooth, not chewy at all. Also loved the passion fruit gelee?/candy? Bursting with flavor, perfectly smooth texture. Also, the coconut lime sorbet was wonderful. My sister and I thought it was a little too sweet, but that didn't stop me from finishing it and trying to figure out how I was going to make it at home. Finally, the date cake with pecans, banana ice cream and butterscotch sauce. LOVE in a bowl.

                      Cafe Campagne- just ok. Ordered the quiche, and a bowl of housemade granola.

                      Loved Seattle. Some of the nicest, friendliest people Ive ever met. Would love to bring the whole family back next time and get into the mountains, hiking, etc...

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                      Cafe Campagne
                      1600 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101

                      Sitka & Spruce
                      2238 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102

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

                      Space Needle
                      203 6th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                      1. re: nmrios
                        l
                        Lauren RE: nmrios Jun 30, 2011 10:42 AM

                        Thank you for the write up. I'm sorry you had a bad time at Sitka and Spruce, but glad you liked Staple & Fancy. It's consistently one of my favorite places in Seattle.

                        1. re: nmrios
                          c
                          christy319 RE: nmrios Jul 3, 2011 08:35 PM

                          Thanks for reporting back! I am totally with you on Sitka and Spruce. I just don't understand the love for that place. I'm so glad you liked Poppy. I too am wowed by their desserts.

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