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LA Hound Coming on Short Notice -- Help!

  • a213b Sep 30, 2011 08:55 PM

Hi there,

So my wife and I will be coming in next weekend (Fr - Mo) and are looking for some of the more interesting and better food options Seattle has to offer. I know, I know ... this is where you chime in and ask if I've searched at all, and the answer is "yes!"

Here's what I've gleaned thus far, and in no real particular order:

Cascina Spinasse
Revel/Joule
Cafe Juanita
Nell's
Book Bindery
The Corson Building
Sitka and Spruce
Walrus & Carpenter
Quinn's
Canlis
Cafe Besalu
Top Pot
Serious Pie
Salumi
Fuji Bakery
Paseo
Staple & Fancy

CLEARLY that's far too broad for what will end up being 3 (possibly 4) dinners, 3 breakfasts, and 4 lunches ... and that is if we eat every meal!

So I am looking for some help/guidance in winnowing down the list, as well as potential suggestions on things I should possibly add. And to help you, here is a bit about us.

We live in LA, and thus are privy to all sorts of interesting and outstanding regional/ethnic dishes. We are from Louisiana, and visit annually. We've lived in NYC, and try to make it back once or twice a year for a couple months total (though we have not been back in over a year). Lastly, we've been in Vancouver for the past couple months.

I just want some really good food; we've had fun here in Vancouver, and have had some solid/good meals, but have yet really to be blown away. So please, just great food. We don't have a budget (though I don't feel I could handle numerous "stuffy" meals), we will have a car as we are driving down, and as it is our first time in your city I am sure we'll be getting around to a lot of the usual touristy things. Also, we are staying downtown, near the Seattle Art Museum.

"Any specifics", you ask? Why yes!

Coffee: We have found a couple places here in Vancouver that we love, but I mean, come on, it's freaking Seattle, right? Ground Zero for coffee in the US. I'm sure these recommendations are intensely personal, so I'm curious to see what shakes out of the CH tree.

Bakeries/Sweets: I have a sweet tooth; in fact, an entire mouth full. I already have Besalu down as a MUST, and Top Pot for doughnuts, but where else?

Mushrooms: My wife loves them, though I can take them or leave them. That being said, from what I've read I gather you are coming into wild mushroom season, so I would quite like for her to have the option of a mind-blowing dish. So if you've any thoughts, I am all ears.

A bit more about us. We've been around a time or two, eaten at some of the best restaurants in the world, street stands around the world blah blah blah blah blah.

Who gives a crap!

Not you. Not me.

I am not crazy hung up in whether something is authentic, and while I love refinement, technique, and poetry on a plate, sometimes I just want to bite into a great, juicy burger, you know? I don't like it when the staff have their noses up to the ceiling (or up other places), but I love when people are cool and passionate about what they are doing.

I guess the point is, like everyone else on CH, we just want good food. Thanks so much for your help.

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  1. I've only lived in Seattle for a couple of months, but I moved from the Bay Area, have high standards for food, and also have eaten in a lot of places around the world, including NYC. So far, I've had some good meals in Seattle, but I suspect that you won't find anything that will blow you away. In particular, I think you'll want to venture out of downtown. In fact, of the places you've listed, only Serious Pie is downtown, and it's the one I definitely skip. I was raised on NYC pizza and ate some excellent pizza in SF/Oakland/Berkeley--Serious Pie does not measure up in any way. I thought the crust was particularly mediocre, and the ambiance was very touristy.

    Here are my experiences with some of the other places you've listed:
    Spinasse: Excellent pasta and antipasto. Definitely one of the best I've been to so far.

    Quinn's: I haven't had the burger, but if you want something casual and fun where a burger could fit the bill, this is a good choice. Actually, the food exceeds what you would expect when you see the place--much more finesse--so you can go beyond a burger. the menu is defintely meaty,
    though.

    Walrus and the Carpenter: Fun, excellent oysters, some other interesting bites. Two things to note: Most of the menu consists of dishes to be eaten cold, and you'll probably have a long wait for a table (no reservations).

    Coffee: Go to Victrola. It's the best I've found so far for espresso drinks (I'm not fond of the drip coffee), and someone who worked for Blue Bottle Coffee in SF (still my measure of good coffee) had recommended it to me. She was right.

    Sitka and Spruce: Excellent ingredients, simple but enjoyable preparations. An interesting spot, although it won't blow you away.

    Revel/Joule: I've been to both and liked both. Revel is definitely more fun. A few dishes ended up sounding better on paper than on the plate.

    Salumi: I'd gone as a tourist several years ago, and I went back recently. Still good but not as much fun or unusual as I remembered. Expect a line, although they seem efficient.

    One place that I ate downtown and enjoyed was Lecosho. The atmosphere was generic, but the food exceeded my expectations. I also think Poppy, with its Northwest dishes/ingredients served thali style and creative drinks, would fit the category of a place passionate about what it's doing. Poppy isn't popular on this board, but that may be because some people seem to think they're doing Indian food (something really lacking in Seattle). The last time I was there, they had salmon with chanterelles, so that may fulfill your wife's desire for mushrooms.

    -----
    Spinasse
    Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

    Serious Pie
    316 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101

    Salumi
    309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

    1 Reply
    1. re: amydeastbay

      I'd agree with most of these recommendations and observations, though I run a bit higher on Sitka and Spruce, and Corson Building (which is the prix fixe "family-style" relative of S&S. I also like Crush (sort of similar price point and arguably close in style to Book Bindery). My go-to for coffee is my local spot, Empire.

      -----
      Book Bindery
      198 Nickerson Street, Seattle, WA 98109

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

    2. Just to prevent an unpleasant surprise...Salumi is only open for lunches and only Tuesday - Friday. If that's definitely going to be on your list, then there's your Friday lunch decided.

      Like a213b said, lines tend to be long, although not as long if you go late (say, 3 pm--they close at 3:30 or 4 pm). Opinions are divided here on that--some people say that's a bad idea because then tend to run out of things--but never having been there, you probably don't have a favorite must-have item, and I know I can ALWAYS find something good that's still available!

      1 Reply
      1. re: MsMaryMc

        On that note, Paseo is only open Tu-Sat, so if you plan on enjoying one of their big, delicious, messy sandwiches, you'll have to go on Saturday (if you go to Salumi, which if you do I love the oxtail if they have it, on Friday). I recommend the seared scallop sandwich, it's my favorite, but I'm not a huge pork fan, so their most popular sandwiches don't resonate with me as much.

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

      2. I'd skip Top Pot. It's good, but good doughnuts are good doughnuts, and there must be good doughnuts somewhere in LA. Cafe Besalu is excellent as is Honore bakery, also in Ballard, but more in a residential area. Honore is at 1413 NW 70th St. I really like Fuji Bakery, but it will be different--worth a try, for you, I suspect. I especially like the part-Japanese, part French stuff, but that may be just me. Or go up to Tango for dessert and order the El Diablo (intense chocolate covered with chile powder sitting on meringue drizzled with caramel and toasted almonds).

        I second Spinasse. The pasta is superb. They may have a wild mushroom pasta, and if so, your wife will be in heaven--call ahead and find out, because their online menu may not be up to date. I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh morel pasta I had when were there. The rabbit meatballs were the best meatballs of any kind I have ever had. You can order a tasting menu of the appetizers and still have room left for the remainder of the meal.

        I'm also a big fan of Cafe Juanita, where excellent food meets excellent service.

        We just ate at Lecosho for the first time and had a fine meal. I think I reviewed it elsewhere on this board and it is walking distance from your hotel. I've eaten at Poppy 3 or 4 times, but am not as enthusiastic about it as others, even though I am definitely NOT under the illusion that they're serving Indian food. It's just that the small plates are of very variable quality.

        -----
        Cafe Juanita
        Kirkland, WA, Kirkland, WA

        Spinasse
        Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

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

        Fuji Bakery
        526 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104

        4 Replies
        1. re: PAO

          Yeah, I don't understand why people make such a big deal about Top Pot. They're just doughnuts. I guess they're a step up from supermarket doughnuts, maybe, but I have found nothing remarkable about them. Just sweet. Eh. On the other hand, the plain croissants from Besalu TOTALLY live up to the hype. They are indeed wonderful.

          The sweets I've had that I find worth touting are cupcakes from Yellow Leaf down in Belltown. Specifically the Pancakes'n'Bacon flavor. YUM. They do tend to be very sweet (I normally eat no more than 1/2 a cupcake at a time), but sounds like that might be to your liking.

          1. re: Bax

            In my opinion, Top Pot is the most over-rated eating establishment in Seattle. I paid $4.50 for a chocolate raised with coconut and a pumpkin old fashioned this past weekend. Both mediocre at best. I've tried others and none have impressed. Mighty O is much better IMO. Stan's in Westwod destroys Top Pot.

            1. re: tykapfh

              Thanks for that comparison; I feel like Stan's is a bit overrated myself, so if TP fails in that comparison I am completely willing to skip it.

          2. re: PAO

            We went to Tango just last night and ordered El Diablo for the first time. The menu description is: Bittersweet cube of sinfully rich dark chocolate graced with cayenne, spicy almonds, cocoa nibs and burnt meringue finished with a tequila caramel sauce.

            We were underwhelmed. The base was not burnt meringue. It was warm marshmallow goop.

            On the plus side, the chocolate cube was very large, a sort of ganache, and tasted good. We sat in the bar and got nice service.

          3. I know it won't make your list - especially if only one of you like mushrooms, but it's that time at the Herbfarm. October 7 - October 23 only. Mostly Friday thru Sunday (plus one Thursday). $195 per person, with wine, plus tax and service.
            http://twitpic.com/6tli90

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

            1. I've lived here for about 2 years now from NYC and in the restaurant business and would have to say not much of a wow factor here. Very dissapointing overall but I will say there are some solid selections on your list.
              I would suggest
              Spinasse
              Revel/Joule
              Book Bindery
              Paseo
              I would totally skip all Tom Douglas and Ethan Stowell restaurants. Mediocrity with good press for some reason sums them up.
              Canlis is great
              Also check out Poppy, alittle different and solid preparations.

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

              Spinasse
              Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

              Book Bindery
              198 Nickerson Street, Seattle, WA 98109

              2 Replies
              1. re: NYPORK

                Somebody besides me is not a huge Tom Douglas fan!

                1. re: PAO

                  I would not recommend Tom Douglas to the OP, but I do recommend everytime my mom's friends pass through town for an Alaskan cruise. it is consistent, good food. not great, not new or inventive, but for a certain audience, perfect.

              2. Thanks for the thoughts and recs.

                I'm a little sad to hear less than great enthusiasm, but appreciate the unvarnished truth. Out of curiosity, which are the TD/ES restaurants that I should avoid?

                3 Replies
                1. re: a213b

                  Funny, a Seattle reviewer who lived in NYC before Seattle is back in NYC on business and wrote a 3 part column on why New Yorkers think they have it better than they do and why Seattle needs to get over its inferiority complex. I'm not sure she is comparing apples to apples, but I don't think she is fabricating her experience either. Of course, as she is a writer for Seattle Magazine, all things Seattle are good.
                  http://www.seattlemag.com/blogs/resta...

                  You can follow the links to part 1 and 2.

                  1. re: tsquare

                    I would agree. There is obviously much better fine dining in NYC (we just can't seem to sustain any really high end dining experiences) and we will never have the variety, but I think that we have some damn good food here!

                    I would add Spur to your list of possibilities.

                    1. re: bluedog67

                      Good suggestion. I ate at Spur just last week. There's some creativity in the techniques, and the menu changes frequently. The food is flavorful and fresh. I particularly liked the tomato and melon salad and the pork cheeks. I'm usually not a fan of pork belly because it tastes too fatty to me, but Spur's sliders were good.

                2. So after reviewing some menus, here are my thoughts thus far. Please, please, please feel free to chime in with your thoughts as well.

                  I think Canlis and Book Bindery are out. I'm sure they are both good, but the pictures make the food look a little too precious for my liking at the moment. I am open to being swayed, but at the moment I am so over the whole production/theater of the dining room. But ... as I said, I am open to hearing some counterpoints. Spur also seems like it might fit into this category, or no?

                  Paseo we will pass on given the proximity of great Caribbean/Central American food to us when we head back to LA. And Salumi won't work given our days/time-frame. You've also talked me out of Serious Pie.

                  Spinasse I think we will definitely do; I love great pasta, and that seems like an almost universal "can't miss".

                  Revel looks quite tasty, and the Corson Building looks like it would be fun on a Saturday night. Lecosho is right near by, and since we are driving in this might be a great option for Friday evening, given I am not sure when we will be getting in to town. And both Quinns and W&C seem like hearty food for a cold evening.

                  I'm a bit ambivalent about Staple & Fancy's menu; doesn't particularly excite me, but maybe it translates better to the plate?

                  I also meant to ask ... what are some great brunches in the city for Sunday?

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: a213b

                    W & C is delicious, but "hearty" was NOT a word that came to mind while dining there. Mostly small plates, and a lot of raw and/or cold dishes...tho' maybe that will change with the cooler weather? You are right about Quinn's being hearty, tho'.

                    Not having had Caribbean/Central American in L.A. I'm not sure if you should skip Paseo or not; all I know is they make a damn fine sandwich that it'd be a pity to miss. Still, it sounds like you've got lots of other good eating to do, so it may not really matter.

                    1. re: a213b

                      Portage bay is very popular for brunch - long waits and somewhat of a scene - but can be worth it for the berry bar. Tilth serves up an excellent brunch, i like that it does not feel quite so heavy, and the restaurant is known for its farm-to-table ethic. It is in the wallingford neighborhood (as is Joule) and being in Wallingford is also a great excuse to go to Molly Moon's ice cream or Fainting Goat gelato afterwards, both within walking distance and among the best purveyors of frozen treats in the city.

                      1. re: a213b

                        Spur is far more eclectic than Quinns, but not as "precious" as BB, Canlis or Mistral,(i do love BB, but your assessment is accurate, so maybe not what you seek). Spur is one of my favorite place for cocktails, and their small plates are wonderful, but not overthought.

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

                        1. re: a213b

                          Spur partners have a new place half a block away that may fit your bill for brunch or dinner (or lunch.) Coterier Room http://www.thecoterieroom.com/

                          I like Spring Hill in West Seattle for a different brunch. And there is a Farmer's Market within walking distance, year round. A bit of a walk.

                          -----
                          Spring Hill Restaurant & Bar
                          4437 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

                          1. re: tsquare

                            Spring Hill is less than 2 blocks from the WS farmer's market.

                            -----
                            Spring Hill Restaurant & Bar
                            4437 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

                            1. re: jlbwendt

                              Memory fails me. I figured it wasn't far, but I tend to remember in the opposite direction (as in, telling people it is a short walk and it turns out to be more than a mile.)

                              1. re: tsquare

                                Better to be pleasantly surprised, right? :-)

                            2. re: tsquare

                              W Seattle Farmer's Market is on Sundays, and definintely within a couple blocks walk of Spring Hill - which, incidently, changed up their menu recently; less stuffy than before. As for sweets, if you're going to be in this West Seattle Junction area then you definintely have to check out Bakery Nouveau.

                              -----
                              Spring Hill Restaurant & Bar
                              4437 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

                              Bakery Nouveau
                              4737 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

                          2. Quick report on Day 1:

                            For dinner we walked in at Sitka and Spruce.

                            First impressions, I really dig the space. I love the open Kitchen, and everyone working there is so very nice.

                            Here's the catch. None of the food wowed us. To be fair, we didn't try myriad of their offerings. Also, even when looking online the menu didn't blow either of us away, but given the raves we felt we had to try it.

                            Given our uncertainty, we decided to "order small", that way we could order more if we loved it, or cut our losses if we didn't. So we started with two apps, the Anatolian Flatbread, and the Salt Pork with Bolete.

                            Both were solid, prepared and presented well. Flavors were fine, though the Salt Pork did have a green that was quite bitter, so if you didn't eat a perfectly composed bite every time, you certainly ran the risk of getting overwhelmed by it.

                            Continuing the theme of prudence, we opted to order one main to be shared between us. All three looked good, but based on discussions with the staff, we ordered the coal roasted chicken.
                            I should have gone with my general rule, "Don't order chicken". As with the apps, it was solid, but unspectacular. However, there certainly was a good bit of it -- it was half a chicken! I can't imagine someone eating all of that after having a starter, but that's just me.

                            Here's the thing; this sounds overly negative, but I don't mean it to be. Everything was prepared well, flavors were solid, ambiance was great, and the staff were all super nice. But the food, for us, just didn't click. It lacked that certain magic that makes me open my eyes wide and say, I "Whoa!" I certainly would never discourage someone from going here. Besides, we only tried three items on the menu, and it may very well have been an off evening.

                            I dunno, I probably should have tempered my expectations a bit, that's all.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: a213b

                              You are not alone in this assessment. From the start, some have had this experience. But others clearly love the place. I'm not sure where the discrepancy lies.

                              1. re: a213b

                                I'm totally with you. I was totally underwhelmed when I've dined there - at both the old and the new locations.

                              2. Day 1 Cont.:

                                After Sitka, we headed over to Spur for some after dinner drinks and dessert. It's a nice space, and we enjoyed sitting at the bar.

                                We decided to order one savory course first, and then one sweet. At the recommendations of both the bartender and the women sitting next to us (who were obviously somewhat regulars), we opted for the Pork Belly Sliders and a couple of cocktails.

                                I thought these sliders were quite tasty; I love pork belly, and everything about these was working, from the peach marmalade to the bun. I understand these are usually on the menu, and I can see why. Frankly, when I read/heard "slider" I sighed internally and thought, "here we go again." And while they weren't the best thing I've ever eaten by any stretch, they were soul-satisfying and better than any of the three dishes we'd had earlier.

                                However, the standout of the evening, and one of the better desserts I've had in quite some time, was the Corn and Blueberry. This was just fantastic, and I love when these flavors are paired together.

                                A sweet-corn semifreddo, topped with whole milk ice cream, blueberries, liquid nitrogen housemade cornflakes, a crumbled/dehydrated something (I think he said butter), and with a touch of blueberry jam, this really knocked my socks off.

                                I'm usually a little wary when I hear so many techniques getting mention (especially those found in more avant garde cooking), but hot dang if I didn't just love this. Light and refreshing, beautiful flavors and wonderful textures ... as I said, one of the best desserts I've had in awhile -- especially as I feel many times pastry is the crippling weak link in many an otherwise fantastic restaurant. I could've easily eaten another, and have half a mind to return tonight for another.

                                I really liked Spur; obviously we hardly explored the menu, so certainly take my enthusiasm with a tiny grain of salt. But based on our experience, I'd definitely both return, and recommend it to others.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: a213b

                                  They also own The Coterie Room a few doors east (at 2nd) and Tavern Law up on Capitol Hill.
                                  Yay for knocking off socks!

                                  1. re: a213b

                                    Aaaah, I love Spur! Their avocado wrapped crudo topped with caviar is one of my favorite things. I'm pretty fond of their lamb tartare, also.

                                  2. Day 2:

                                    Started off by heading to Victrola for coffee and a paper. This was our favorite of the three places we ended up trying (Vita and Vivace being the other two, and all in Cap Hill), by a good measure. We had Lattes and Mochas at all of them as a comparison, just FYI. Anyway, this was some REALLY good stuff, and I like the space. Chill Baristas, too.

                                    We then headed over to Besalu where we just had to try the famed croissant. We also got a slice of Goat Cheese and Leek quiche. The croissant is as advertised -- superlative, and there's nothing I can say that hasn't been said before. Is it the absolute best I've ever had? I'm not sure about that, but it was damn tasty, that's for sure. Fresh out of the oven, too, so it was nice and warm.

                                    The quiche was quite a letdown. There was hardly any tang from the goat cheese at all; the crust was nice, which I would expect from a place like this, but we didn't even finish the slice it was so bland.

                                    After checking out the locks, we decided to scoot over to Paseo and split their famed sandwich. Ummm ... hunh? This is supposedly one of the best sandwiches in the country? It was just OK for me, though my wife enjoyed her half more than mine. The pork was fine, the bread was fine, the sauce was alright ... but the whole certainly did not exceed the sum of its parts. I mean, even if I lived in the area, I doubt I'd be stopping by again. I didn't even finish my half; I didn't want to waste the calories on something that wasn't doing it for me. C'est la vie ...

                                    After some other touristy things, we swung by Yellow Leaf and Top Pot on the way back to our hotel. I ended up getting a vanilla cupcake and the Pancakes and Bacon one, and after a glance at the Top Pot display, decided not to get anything there. As you all said, it looks like average donuts.

                                    The Pancakes and Bacon cupcake was nice, though as someone else mentioned I only ate half. Good maple flavor, moist cake ... my only issue is I am not a fan of the whipped buttercream frosting. The Vanilla, which I use to judge all cupcakes, was less than average. Not much vanilla punch to it, the frosting was bland, and the sprinkles added nothing.

                                    For dinner, we ended up at Quinn's. I have to say, I really, REALLY loved this place. Sometimes you just want some grub, you know? And this place serves it up with a nice bit of spin. Great beer selection, and our server (whose name escapes me at the moment) was awesome.

                                    We ended up getting the Pretzel & Welsh rarebit (yum!), the Pork Belly with Butternut squash risotto (Double Yum!), the Sloppy Joe (like a boar bolognese on a brioche bun with crispy sage and a pepper that just had to be cut up and eaten with it -- FANTASTIC!), and the Fish & Chips, which were just spectacular ... like a funnel cake wrapped piece of fish. The chips were great as well.

                                    I really, really loved this place, and am jealous you have it. It's probably a good thing there's not one right around the corner from me, because I'd be HUGE!

                                    We bailed on dessert, and instead went back to Spur -- I told you I might! I, again, had the Corn & Blueberry, and my wife ended up with the Chocolate Torte.

                                    It's finally hit me why I love the C&B dessert so much; it's like the world's most perfect bowl of cereal! Like refined stoner food. This is just so great, and I forgot to add earlier that it also has little blueberry meringue chips that are basically like the marshmallows you would get in a cereal (e.g. Lucky Charms). I still stand by this being one of the better bites I've had in quite some time.

                                    The Chocolate torte was thick, dense, rich and chocolatey. It was accompanied by PB Ice Cream and a Huckleberry (I think?) sorbet. Yum! Who doesn't love PBJs! Throw in some chocolate, and I'm sold.

                                    Drinks were great as well, and I'm really, REALLY becoming a fan of Spur.

                                    We definitely started and ended the day on some highs, with a couple of misses/lows mixed in between, but all in all, a great day.

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: a213b

                                      These are great write ups, thanks for reporting back.

                                      Which sandwich did you get at Paseo?

                                      1. re: Lauren

                                        The Roast Pork (second on the menu, IIRC, and the one that says "Most Popular"). It wasn't terrible, or even bad, just average. Maybe it was an off day?

                                        1. re: a213b

                                          The Roast Pork, IMO, is not one of their better sandwiches. If you go again, I highly recommend the Pork Loin or Prawn sandwich.

                                          1. re: LemonyRoux

                                            I think roast pork is the best. It may not be your thing.

                                            1. re: dagrassroots

                                              My fav is the chicken thigh and I'm not a big fan of the Roast pork, but that said, I will say that I kind of feel like Paseo is more hype than substance. The bread they use is too tough for the meats they use, the romaine is a poor lettuce choice and they probably use too much mayo/aioli...

                                              1. re: GreenYoshi

                                                It's funny, those are all things I like about their sandwiches.

                                                1. re: dagrassroots

                                                  Me too. I do like the prawn sandwich but I love the wet, salty, spicy, sloppiness of the roast pork.

                                                  1. re: Lauren

                                                    I think at this point the amount of hype surrounding the Paseo sandwich is nearly impossible to live up to. After all, it is a sandwich, and it costs $7--how can this change one's life?

                                                    That being said, I have had multiple people visit SEA and eat there and then start clamoring to go back on their next visit. I do like the Cuban Roast (roast pork) the best, but I also agree the bread choice is not ideal (too hard, causing other ingredients to slip out). All in all, if it's one sandwich for lunch in Seattle to impress a visitor, I go with the Salumi porchetta over the Cuban Roast.

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

                                                    1. re: equinoise

                                                      I love the porchetta but I think I put the meatball over that.

                                                      1. re: dagrassroots

                                                        It may be available only in warm weather, but the prosciutto, goat cheese, and fig confit sandwich at Salumi is the best sandwich evar, though the Meatball is also good (and if pork cheeks are up, do that). At Paseo, get dinners and take them someplace less dinnish to re-plate. In a less raucous environment, with plenty of plates and bowls, this becomes a better meal.

                                      2. re: a213b

                                        Excellent reviews.

                                        Heading to your neck of the woods (LA) in November and Seattle in late December.

                                        http://endoedibles.com

                                      3. Sorry for the delay in finishing this up; here's my final few notes on the last of the places we visited.

                                        Day 3:

                                        Having thoroughly enjoyed our time at Spur the previous two nights, we thought we ought to try out their sister restaurant's brunch, The Coterie Room, after we had our coffee fix at Vita (cool spot, but I prefer Victrola).

                                        We ordered the Corned Duck Hash and the Fried Chicken Sandwich. The Corned Duck was really delightful, with a perfectly poached egg and amazing carrots providing the extra "oomph" to really make the dish shine.

                                        The Fried Chicky sandwich was solid, if only remarkable for how salty it was. I feel here we might be a bit unfair, as my wife and I both grew up in the South where fried chicken is part religion, part heritage. Also, given the place had not been open that long at the point we went, improvements might have been made since.

                                        For a snack we had the recommended poppyseed/raisin roll at Piroshky Piroshky. Perhaps it was because I really had my doubts, but this thing was really scrumptious! I don't love either poppyseeds or raisins, so I was very pleasantly surprised. It's not earth-shattering, but I felt a certain "when in Rome" need to try this shop, and would certainly stop in again (so long as the wait was not obscene).

                                        For dinner we hit up Spinasse -- I was in a bit of a foul mood through no fault of the restaurant, so I'll keep my comments very restrained. We had the Tajarin w/Butter & Sage, the Polpette, and two other pasta specials.

                                        I left scratching my head as to why this place is so raved about, but my wife assures me it was better than I recall, and that I was just in too much of a huff actually to enjoy it.

                                        The next time we are in town I plan on returning, as I've long ago learned to trust my better half's judgment, so I am sure the place is quite tasty.

                                        Afterwards we hit Spur AGAIN. Yes, I know, but good god almighty did I fall (and fall hard) for that corn & blueberry dessert. Holy lord!

                                        1. Day 4:

                                          Just a half-day before we headed back to Vancouer, I went and picked up my Mother-in-Law from the airport before we all headed to Revel.

                                          This place is RAD! It reminds me a little of Momofuku Ssam in NYC. We ate everything family style, and had the Corned Lamb salad, the Pork Belly pancakes, the Cauliflower dumplings, the Short Rib bibimbap, the Carrot Creme Brulee, and the Chocolate Bread Pudding.

                                          This place was fantastic. Really, really enjoyable, and I would absolutely run back again. Yum!

                                          All in all, we had a great time in your city; I dig the food scene, despite a few less-than-hits, and am eager to return.