Solo in Seattle - Plus Sun/Mon Dining
Next week I'm heading to town for work. I get in early on Sunday afternoon and am in a conference Monday and Tuesday leaving Wednesday and staying downtown. Any suggestions on where to eat? Good spots for dining alone? Good spots for early a.m. coffee/breakfast, walkable lunch from convention center, spots for dinner? I eat pretty much anything - live in VA and have never been to Washington so just want to try some great stuff while I'm in town! Thanks.
eat some things you don't see a lot in the East.
Just cruising the Market (Pike Place Market) is a mondo grazing experience. Grilled Salmon and Halibut at the Market Grill, Jack's Cioppino across the street, sausage at Uli's across the aisle, a delightful little salad and profiteroles at Delaurenti's, Vietnamese beef salad at Cafe Saigon, Borek and Talash at Turkish Delight, and I am just starting... Unlike mall food-courts no chain stores are allowed (Starbuck's is grandfathered in), so the product represents the owner, and it shows, all day long.
At the market, you'll see lot's of Dungeness crab. This is a whole nother thing from blue crab. Eat this as straight as possible (go to Uwajimaya or Pike Place market, buy a crab (it's cooked - at Jack's they used to cook it right there in the pot - do they still?), peel apart and eat succulent meat. Some dunk hot crab (reheated works, or room temp) in melted butter and/or lemon juice, some prefer cold with a spritely mayo dip. In any case, it is way to easy to overwhelm the delicate, sweet flavor. When you get the right bite, though, a little bell goes off and you know you've been to the pacific coast.
Get coffee and a doughnut at Top Pot doughnuts. Macrina bakery is near, too, as are the Tom Douglas restaurants, though his empire is creeping across the regrade and headed for Capitol Hill. All are in the A-OK league. Dahlia Lounge the swankiest, Palace Kitchen workmanlike and something for everybody, Lola has a Mediterranean bent and famous breakfast, Etta's does fish, Serious pie pizza happy hour is a must, and Bambino's is top drawer at any hour.
The days of cheap fried Goeduck (gooeyduck) at Uwajimaya are gone, but you can still see one, at least, in the markets.
If a fellah wanted to take home a salmon, most local shops can box it for you. Wild Salmon, at Fisherman's Terminal, is a fine idea, and you can wander around the docks among the fishing boats and go a mile further to see the migrating Salmon in the fish-ladder viewing room at the Locks. Do not be fooled by Red Mill. Better can be had on Ballard Avenue or further out Shilshole to Paseo. My friend, you need more time. Don't miss Dot's or the other Paseo if you're in Fremont.
Sunday/Monday dinner can be a challenge, as many places are either closed or have a special menu - like taco mondays at Sitka & Spruce and La Bete. Not that there is anything wrong with tacos, just frustrating if you want the regular menu on an off night. Restaurant Zoe is very good for a nicer Sun/Mon dinner.
I would also recomend the Steelhead dinner in the PPM, for dinner (or just small plates) on Sun/Mon as they have excellent seasonal NW fare, and the menu changes daily. If they have local Halibut, Tuna, Salmon or crab dishes, all would be excellent.
Another local place I love is on Capitol Hill; Quinn's Pub. An interesting well-sourced Gastropub menu, with things like local smoked squash soup, Foie gras on the menu. Bison, etc. Nice selction of local brew on tap as well, and a hip vibe. The neighborhood this is in would be a shame for you to miss on your visit... basically, look up Pike/Pine neighborhood, and what you have is a walkable corridor from DT proper all the way up 15 or so blocks of shops, coffee places, resto's, bars, nightclubs, etc. Most are hip, interesting, and have fun food and or drinks...
If you do oysters, start this walk at the Melrose Market block, and get oysters shucked for you at Taylor Shellfish, then at least walk through Melrose Market to check out the cheese, meat counter, wine bar, etc. then you could kill a few hours getting up to Quinn's there is so much to check out, drink, and hang around on the way up the hill....