Last Minute Weekend Visit
Hi, My husband is in the Seattle area for several months on a consulting assignment. While I knew I'd be visiting from Boston at some point, I didn't realize it would be this weekend! So my plans to thoroughly research food options are thrown out the window and I'm asking my fellow Chowhounds for guidance.
General thoughts -- Want to keep it low-key (think jeans/khakis) rather than big events. Want to enjoy local fare, particularly seafood and wines. Open to all types of food except sushi (he loves it, I don't). Particularly love authentic Chinese cuisine. Looking for things we can't easily get on the East Coast (like authentic Chinese cuisine and Pacific shellfish). Total food budget for weekend is about $400.
Here's the schedule --
Friday -- Arrive late afternoon. Husband's hotel is in Redmond. Due to the ridiculously early hour I'll be getting up in Boston, we'd like to keep dinner relatively casual and nearby. Maybe Din Tai Fung or Black Bottle Postern in Bellevue? Any killer Chinese or small plates places nearby to consider?
Saturday -- Take mid-morning ferry to Bainbridge Island (have to go to Churchmouse Yarns). Will spend a couple of hours on island. Lunch on the island ideas? Hitchcock doesn't seem to serve lunch at this time of year. Looking for an inventive meal with a couple of glasses of wine. If there's a view, all the better. Take ferry back to Seattle late afternoon and hit a couple of places in downtown Seattle for oysters. (Found a lot of good ideas for oysters in other recent threads!) Follow this with a bit of poking around the downtown area. Then an early dinner (7ish). Keep in mind that we'll be in casually dressed but would like this to be the signature meal of the weekend. Local seafood and wine with a fun vibe is ideal. We will have a car so location is less important than quality.
Sunday -- Not sure about this day's events yet. We would like to explore any mid-century modern furniture stores and other antiques shops but don't know yet if there is a cluster of such shops in any particular area. So we are thinking about a late morning brunch, followed by hitting shops and a bit of exploring. Then some mid-afternoon oysters and wine. We'd also like to find a great prepared food/charcuterie type place to pick up a few things. I have another ridiculously early flight on Monday morning (getting up at 3:30) so we'll do a picnic dinner in the hotel room Sunday evening with our finds.
Any guidance you can suggest is much appreciated!
In Redmond is Spicy Talk, some of the best Sichuan food in the city, for Friday night. Hitchcock on Bainbridge doesn't serve lunch, but their new deli will be open serving their housemade charcuterie in sandwich form.
Dressing casual will not prevent you from eating anywhere, not to worry.
Welcome from Boston. Dress won't be a problem anywhere, Seattle is much more casual than the East Coast.
re- East Side Chinese -- people like Spicy Talk & Bamboo Garden, but I'm not sure the Chinese here is much better than what you can get in Boston. Din Tai Fung is fun and kind of a phenomenon, be aware it gets very busy and on a Friday you'll probably wait for a table. I haven't been to Black Bottle in Bellevue, but I like the Belltown version, so would probably be a good choice for small plates.
re- Sunday -- Seattle doesn't have a ton of mid-century modern places I'm aware of -- a couple that might prove useful, though, would be Area 51 on Capitol HIll (Pine/Bellevue), which is a short walk to Melrose Market, home to an oyster bar and wine bar (Bar Ferdinand). Would also be a good place to go for prepared food. Another choice would be Space Oddity in Ballard -- close to Walrus and Carpenter for oysters.
+1 for a visit to Area 51 (tho some of their mid-century items are new, or non-brand 'home-made" or looks-like-it-is-mid-century stuff), but worth a stop. All that because -
You should REALLY go to Melrose Market! An outpost of Taylor Shellfish, one of the premier purveyor's of oysters to most resto's in the area is there, with a custom tank system and delivery daily from their oyster farms on the coast. They will shuck for you, and have wine by the glass.
Next door, at Rainshadow meats, they have some house-crafted charcuterie, and wonderful artisanal meats worth taking a look at, and across the space (kind of a modern culinary emporium space, with multiple vendor counters), is calf & kid cheese shop, with Bar Ferdinand next door for wine and small plates.
For your Sunday Charcuterie, if you didn't/couldn't get stuff at Rainshadow & Calf & Kid, then I second Metropolitan Market, but go to the one in the Admiral District in West Seattle, as you can stop and check out the fabulous view back to the city at the little park on the way up the hill, just before you get to the Met. Market.
If you go in the morning, you might also want to include a stop at Bakery Nouveau, one of the best in the city - known for their twice baked almond croissants (I swear by the plain, and my Parisienne BF by the pain au chocolate). This is in the 'junction' neighborhood of West Seattle, about 7 minutes away from the Metropolitan Market.
Let us know how the visit goes!
There is excellent Szechuan on the Eastside. I like Bamboo Garden best, and they do a terrific Szechuan (dungeness) crab. I also like Spicy Talk but haven't had crab there. Definitely be prepared to wait at DTF.
Check out the menus for Anchovies and Olives or Walrus and the Carpenter (this is always packed and no reservations, though) for your Saturday dinner. You'll be fine in jeans.
I'll only comment of Friday night, and leave the rest to others. But I'd gp with Facing East (Taiwanese). It's not as mainstream as the other regional Chinese, and you might not even find it in Boston. Search for it on CH for more information/menu recommendations.
For seafood try the squid appetizer and basil clams. The fried yearling oysters are good too, but they are fried.
Redbird, I strongly suggest Din Tai Fung for Friday even with the line/wait. For Sunday brunch/lunch, check out Long's Provincial in Seattle. They offer some Chowhound cuisine you won't find in Boston. For prepared food/charcuterie, Metropolitan Market has some excellent offerings including charcuterie from Salumi--a Seattle gem. Met Market also has a great wine and bread selection to go with your picnic dinner. (DeLaurentie's in Pike Place Market is another option.)
Redbird, after re-reading your post, perhaps you should concentrate at least part of your Sunday time at the Pike Place Market; if you have not been - it is one of the best preserved Farmer's Market's in the country! And I think, the tourist crowds from the holidays will have finaly thinned out.
I reccomend breakfast at Lowell's; in the heart of the main market, for the second-floor view and the oyster or crab omlettes. You can wander the stalls, go to DeLaurenti's for all kinds of cheeses and charcuterie, try the Beecher's cheese samples at that stand. Maybe a Piroshky or such.
World Spice down the Hillclimb stairs is well worth a visit, as is The Spanish Table and it's sister French counterpart all in the same block on Western there at the bottom of the Market.
South of PPM, on Western Ave, there is a concentration of furniture stores, but most are more contemporary, tho I think a couple of antique places. You can Bing it and check out.
Uhockey has new reviews of the market from just a week or so ago on here...
Thanks to all for the suggestions thus far. We just got back from Spicy Talk for Friday evening dinner. Fried house special pot stickers --- very very good, whole fish Szechwan (a daily special) -- very good, dry cooked green beans -- very good, soft tofu with black mushrooms -- meh. Picked this restaurant due to proximity to hotel and exhaustion (husband worked extremely long hours all week, my plane left Boston at 6 am).
Still haven't made final decisions about the rest of the weekend. Couldn't get into Anchovies and Olives or Sitka & Spruce at a convenient time but will call tomorrow to check for any cancellations. Have made a reservation at Matt's in the Market (based on the rec of a friend) as a fall back. Thanks in particular for the market suggestions. God, I wish I lived here. I've always loved Seattle and there was the most glorious sunset tonight through the broken clouds. I'm ready to exchange east coast for west coast!