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Seattle Agenda for late October - Any obvious ommissions?

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albatruffles Sep 22, 2011 02:22 PM

My girlfriend and I are going to Seattle for the 1st time in late October. I understand that everybody will have their own opinion, but I'd like to know if we missed any must visits or if we are going to tourist traps with bad food. Let me know what stands out to you as must drops or must keeps...Thanks!!

(We need to drop one dinner, it's going to be Spinasse, Canlis or Quinn's - We're not dropping the fist two)
Dinner
Walrus and the Carpenter
Willow's Inn
Cascina Spinasse
Canlis
Quinn's (a few dishes looked really good)

Lunch/Brunch
Serious Pie
Pike Place Market (Chowder, Seatown for crab, Fish Fry, Piroshky Piroshky and a few other bites)
Salumi
Corson Building (Brunch)

Snacks
Paseo
Top Pot
Elliott's Oyster House

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Canlis Restaurant
2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Piroshky Piroshky
1908 Pike Pl, Seattle, Seattle, WA 98121

Pike Place Market
1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

Spinasse
Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

Serious Pie
316 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101

Elliott's Oyster House
1201 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101

Salumi
309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

Cascina Spinasse
1531 14th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

The Corson Building
5609 Corson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108

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  1. Tom Armitage RE: albatruffles Sep 22, 2011 05:40 PM

    As you undoubtedly know from my “top 5” lists you requested on another thread, the one place I definitely wouldn’t drop is Spinasse. Canlis and Quinn’s are at opposite ends of the dining spectrum. Canlis is a Seattle classic, but somewhat formal, refined, and very expensive. Quinn’s is a gastropub – informal, casual, noisy, and much less expensive. So it largely boils down to what kind of dining experience you prefer between the two. For lunch, if were me, I’d substitute Revel for Serious Pie. Tom Douglas’s take on pizza is perfectly fine, but between pizza and the much more creative, interesting food at Revel, I’d opt for Revel. But you’ve obviously done your homework and put together a very good agenda. Well done!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Tom Armitage
      a
      albatruffles RE: Tom Armitage Sep 22, 2011 11:49 PM

      I want a dining experience that I'll remember for years to come. I want to look at our pictures and say, "Remember the meal we had at ______ . It was so good." With that said, I'd probably lean towards Canlis. We looked at Revel tonight and it looks great. We went to Momofuku in NYC and it reminds us a lot of that. So my only hang up would be I'd like something unique to Seattle. We really crave pizza and that mushroom pie is going to be hard to pass up.

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      Canlis Restaurant
      2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

      1. re: albatruffles
        m
        mrnelso RE: albatruffles Sep 23, 2011 12:09 AM

        You want memories? Stellar Pizza in Georgetown. The Classic is a classic and all the rest is memory. Dude...

    2. t
      tsquare RE: albatruffles Sep 22, 2011 06:33 PM

      Willow's Inn is a very long day trip away - and reservations are probably a must, though at least you are headed there after the summer season. 2 hours plus a very short ferry ride from Seattle. There used to be a short time (a week or two) in the fall when the ferry would be off service, but I haven't heard about that this year. And watch for Salumi's hours and vacation closures as well.

      I might trade a bakery for Top Pot, but I prefer pastry to donuts. And Paseo's sandwiches are very big to be thought of as a snack.

      -----
      Salumi
      309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

      10 Replies
      1. re: tsquare
        Tom Armitage RE: tsquare Sep 22, 2011 08:01 PM

        Good point on Top Pot, tsquare. I would definitely substitute Cafe Besalu for Top Pot. Cafe Besalu, in my opinion, which is widely held by others, has perhaps the best croissant in the United States, and is equal to the best I've had in Paris. You wouldn't want to miss this opportunity. Top Pot donuts are okay if you like donuts, but the croissants at Cafe Besalu are in a totally different league.

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        Cafe Besalu
        5909 24th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

        1. re: Tom Armitage
          p
          PAO RE: Tom Armitage Sep 22, 2011 11:06 PM

          Cafe Besalu is great. So are Honore and Fuji Bakery. Belle Epicurean is a pretty good bakery too. I like Top Pot, but they are doughnuts after all.

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          Cafe Besalu
          5909 24th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

          Belle Epicurean
          1206 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

          Fuji Bakery
          526 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104

          1. re: Tom Armitage
            a
            albatruffles RE: Tom Armitage Sep 22, 2011 11:57 PM

            I still want to go to Top Pot, if it's good enough to break into, we'll at least have to try a maple bar and move on. I'm pretty sure I just had the best croissant in the US at Tartine in SF, so we may add Cafe Bresula to compare. Especially if you think it's better than the ones at the Paris Casino and Hotel.

            Honore and Fuji have a few pics that stand out, I'll run these by my girlfriend. Thanks for the recs.

            1. re: albatruffles
              Tom Armitage RE: albatruffles Sep 23, 2011 01:11 PM

              Albatruffles, I think you’ll be interested in this piece by the former and much-missed food critic for the Seattle Weekly, Jonathan Kauffman, “10 Things I’ll Miss Most About Seattle, No. 1: The Besalu Croissant”: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/voraci...
              Kauffman moved to San Francisco, where he now writes for the San Francisco Weekly. As Kauffman points out, we Seattleites are in the happy position of being awash in great bakeries. Regarding Tartine vs. Besalu croissants, in the comments section of his blog, Kauffman says, “Tartine overbakes its croissants.” However, I’ve read other comparisons of the Besalu and Tartine croissants that prefer the darker, crunchier exterior of the Tartine croissant, even though the French newspaper, Le Figaro, describes the ideal crust as “golden brown and a beautiful blonde color.” After you’ve tried the Besalu croissant, you’ll have to weigh in with your own comparison.

              There are a series of very informative Chowhound posts on croissants by my friend and neighbor, Randy B, whose knowledge of pastry and chocolate is world class, and who is also a very skilled pastry cook himself. In his survey of croissants in New York, Randy concluded, “None would be in a top category in Paris or compare with Café Besalu in Seattle.” In another post, Randy says, “Straight off, let me say that after comparing plain croissants in over a hundred highly regarded bakeries in Paris, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, I consider Café Besalu the best in Seattle and among the best anywhere.” http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781005 If you’re interested in one of Randy’s posts about croissants, see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/762135 , where he shared his discovery of Fuji Bakery (another possible stop for you?) and also shared the French view of what constitutes good and bad croissants. By the way, when I referred to croissants in Paris, I meant Paris, France, where Pierre Hermé sets the standard that other Parisian bakeries aspire to, not the Paris Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.

              1. re: Tom Armitage
                p
                potato or yam RE: Tom Armitage Sep 23, 2011 01:57 PM

                Absolutely do not miss Cafe Besalu. I eat and enjoy Tartine's croissants in SF pretty frequently but was blown away by the croissant at Besalu. It was hands down the best croissant I've ever had.

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                Cafe Besalu
                5909 24th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

                1. re: Tom Armitage
                  a
                  albatruffles RE: Tom Armitage Sep 26, 2011 10:07 AM

                  Tom,

                  Just joking about Paris. I read Kaufman's comments about Tartine. I can see that and that's actually what I liked about Tartine's. Fairly crisp on the outside (or overcooked) and so soft on the inside. I loved that contrast. I'll post my two cents after I get back. I'll just post which one I liked better and why. le Figaro's checklist is a bit much for me. Thanks again for all your Seattle insight.

                  1. re: albatruffles
                    Tom Armitage RE: albatruffles Sep 26, 2011 02:31 PM

                    You’ve received lots of great advice from Seattle Chowhounds, and are clearly going to hit many of our best spots. Please post about your experiences and opinions after your trip – not just about Besalu vs. Tartine, but about all your experiences. By the way, my wife and I spent our honeymoon many years ago in Italy in October – significantly including a long, lovely stay in Alba. So you know what we gorged out on!

              2. re: Tom Armitage
                m
                mrnelso RE: Tom Armitage Sep 23, 2011 12:12 AM

                This is apples vs oranges. Top Pot is the toppest in the doughnuht domain, but that is a world apart from the reigning Besalu. Both the best of their own worlds.

                1. re: mrnelso
                  a
                  albatruffles RE: mrnelso Sep 23, 2011 12:14 AM

                  We'll do both...

                  1. re: albatruffles
                    m
                    mrnelso RE: albatruffles Sep 23, 2011 02:03 PM

                    a great plan.
                    The major dimension of difference here is weight.
                    The Top Pot rich heavy style makes for the most decadent glazed Old Fashioned ever, but be ready for what feels like 2000 calories a pop and a rich quarter pound doughnut.
                    Besalu is more about light, or at least as light as you can go with butter pasty.
                    Have a croissant with quince jelly one bright morning, go for a walk to the Locks, and come back for a quiche at lunch (ask them to hold one til you get back, or they'll be gone.

                    > A little neighborhood gem, full of light and warmth is Irwin's Bakery, in Wallingford at 2123 N. 40th St (40th and Bagley). Their blueberry muffin is like no other, in a rich, moist, and wonderful way. The major downside is not being able to eat anything else right away. Here's an idea: take 6 people and share coffee and pastry around one of the great tables; and Marionbery pie, oh my.
                    You'll see drowsy locals streaming in from the neighborhood for coffee and UW students having wi-fi with lunch of good soup, pot-pie, quiche, pizza, and other splendid baked goods. The crusts their pies are as high and finely caramelized as the bakers art can produce (they rarely last long).
                    You'll feel the love pouring out of the open kitchen. Then you can taste it, too
                    Have fun and let us know what you find on your visit.Welcome.

            2. a
              akq RE: albatruffles Sep 22, 2011 09:55 PM

              Maybe you could change W&C to a snack rather than dinner to keep all the others? W&C has good cocktails, oysters and small plates, but the menu isn't that long. I went last weekend and really enjoyed the oysters, steak tartare and brandade. The food seems more snack-y than dinner-y to me.

              I'd also probably skip serious pie, and maybe do Paseo for lunch due to portion size. Most people just get the pork sandwich (get it!) but I also really like the smokin' thighs and the spicy tomato sauce scallops or shrimp. The black beans are also quite nice.

              I agree with others about dropping top pot and subbing a bakery.

              1 Reply
              1. re: akq
                a
                albatruffles RE: akq Sep 23, 2011 12:03 AM

                W&C looks like the exact type of place we are looking for in Seattle. We are going at 4PM, right when it opens and plan to order most of the seafood dishes. Not sure we can fit in a full dinner afterwards. We were planning to squeeze in a late night snack that night.

                The pork sandwich is the one we're getting, looking forward to it.

              2. babette feasts RE: albatruffles Sep 23, 2011 04:45 PM

                FYI, late October will be Restaurant Week, which you should consider when making your plans. A huge number of restaurants run a 3 course, $28 menu Sunday through Thursday for the weeks beginning the 16th and 23rd. On one hand, it can be a great time to try the higher end places (Canlis) at bargain prices, on the other, those places get swamped (often leading to some level of simplification of the food just so they can keep up) and you may have a better experience paying full price on Friday or Saturday. For someplace like Quinn's, where you can already eat well for $28, it is less of an issue.

                http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/seat...

                1. gingershelley RE: albatruffles Sep 24, 2011 11:39 AM

                  Get your Salumi and take it on the road with you on the day you head to Willows in; it can be great to stop somewhere on the way there up Chuckanut drive and eat your sandwich en route:)

                  I would drop Quinns' for a dinner, or make it your 'late night snack' the day you go to W&C at 4:oopm. Quinn's serves late, and there is great nightlife and street action in Quinn's neighborhood that would be fun for an evening stroll as well. Get the Foi and the bonemarrow here!

                  Canlis is wonderful if you really are prepared for the prices... the tasting menu is usually glorious, and the service wonderful. You would remember it for years. Let them know that is your expectation, and they will rise to fulfill such great wishes, in my experience.

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                  Canlis Restaurant
                  2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                  Salumi
                  309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: gingershelley
                    a
                    albatruffles RE: gingershelley Sep 26, 2011 10:29 AM

                    Good idea on Salumi for the drive up to Vancouver. Willow's will be on the way back from Vancouver.

                    We'll take your advice and do a late snack at Quinn's after W&C. That way we can still fit in Canlis and Spinasse in for dinner on other nights.

                    -----
                    Canlis Restaurant
                    2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                    Spinasse
                    Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

                    Salumi
                    309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                    1. re: albatruffles
                      p
                      PAO RE: albatruffles Sep 26, 2011 11:37 AM

                      Yes, I would not drop Spinasse.

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                      Spinasse
                      Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

                      1. re: albatruffles
                        m
                        mrnelso RE: albatruffles Sep 26, 2011 10:38 PM

                        Get more salumi than you first intend. The aroma will call out to you all day. Don't mess around, get a good assortment. For me, it starts with Finocchiona and Soppressata, but the more subtle ones are quite fine.

                    2. p
                      PeteSeattle RE: albatruffles Sep 25, 2011 01:58 PM

                      Prioshky Piroshky is convenient, but it's not that good. The trouble is that Russians and Ukrainians don't eat in local Russian and Ukrainian restaurants. They get that food at home, from Mom, and her food is good.

                      When out in public, they want to show how "worldly" they are by eating other cuisines.

                      If you want that kind of Russian food, go to the deli inside of DK Market in Renton, where they have a Russian deli that serves Russians and Ukrainians and they have meat pastries that are coming straight out of the oven. (They don't speak much English, however) Their food is wonderful.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: PeteSeattle
                        a
                        albatruffles RE: PeteSeattle Sep 26, 2011 10:09 AM

                        Not surprised about your Piroshky comment. We'll probably try one to be tourists unless they look that bad in person.

                        1. re: albatruffles
                          a
                          albatruffles RE: albatruffles Oct 31, 2011 01:49 PM

                          Just got back from our Pacific Northwest Trip and wanted to provide some feedback and say thanks for all your comments. I'll try to post some pictures in time once I'm rested.

                          I'll limit it to the Seattle portion of the trip. The food stops included (in order of preference): Willow's Inn (Lummi Island)
                          The Walrus and the Carpenter
                          Salumi
                          Café Besula
                          Sitka & Spruce
                          Cascina Spinasse
                          Top Pot
                          Elliott's Oyster House
                          Seatown Seabar
                          Serious Pie
                          Quinn's
                          Paseo
                          Piroshky Piroshky
                          Canlis
                          Pike Place Chowder
                          Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

                          Willow's Inn was a great experience. I don't think the food is on par with any three star restaurants in the US, but he's only 25 and it was just a great getaway for a day. A must for anybody in the area. We got the cheapest room there (Rose Room $129) and there is such a charm to the place.

                          The seafood dishes at Walrus really delivered and is a must for any foodie.

                          Salumi's porcheta sandwich and meatballs were near perfect. Only waited in line for 20 minutes. And there was no wait once we finished eating.

                          And on to Besula. I found the croissants at Tartine (SF) more to my liking. But it was irrelevant, it's a great croissant and the plum tart was probably the best pastry either of us have ever tried. From the glaze, the dough, to the plums, it was just perfect.

                          Highlights at Sitka were the scone, smoked black cod and the feta cheese

                          Did a tasting at Spinasse and enjoyed the pastas, the tajarin was worth the wait.

                          Can't believe you guys put down Top Pot. I loved the dough on the lemon filled.

                          Elloitt's is a perfect place to sample the areas oysters. We tried 24 on our visit.

                          Some of my disappointments were Serious Pie (it's just a pizza, over hyped), Paseo (ordered the Cuban and thought it was dry, came with a pound of mayo, that's not a sandwich), Canlis (food was dated and boring and ill prepared). Did the touristy thing with Chowder and Beecher's (there was no meat in the chowders and Beecher's was ok)

                          -----
                          Canlis Restaurant
                          2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                          Piroshky Piroshky
                          1908 Pike Pl, Seattle, Seattle, WA 98121

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

                          Spinasse
                          Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

                          Serious Pie
                          316 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101

                          Elliott's Oyster House
                          1201 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101

                          Pike Place Chowder
                          600 Pine St Ste 404, Seattle, WA 98101

                          Salumi
                          309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                          Cascina Spinasse
                          1531 14th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

                           
                           
                           
                           
                          1. re: albatruffles
                            babette feasts RE: albatruffles Oct 31, 2011 03:29 PM

                            Thanks for your report.

                            1. re: albatruffles
                              uhockey RE: albatruffles Dec 21, 2011 04:19 PM

                              Useful post - thanks. Heading up in a week and have reserved many similar places.

                              While I realize this is an older thread, what precisely did you feel was "Dated" about Canlis? I only ask because the chef comes quite highly regarded out of a not-so-dated kitchen at Michelin 3* EMP.

                              Also doing Spinasse, Spur, Willow's Inn, and Herbfarm for dinners plus bites at Walrus and Carpenter, Bar del Corso, and Serious Pie.

                              http://endoedibles.com

                              1. re: uhockey
                                d
                                dagrassroots RE: uhockey Dec 21, 2011 07:47 PM

                                Ome of the menu items are 40 year classics. If you order the tasting menu you will get emp style food.

                                1. re: uhockey
                                  b
                                  Bax RE: uhockey Dec 21, 2011 10:37 PM

                                  uhockey -- after reading your reviews on the Phoenix board, I look forward to your reports on your Seattle trip!

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