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Miami 'hound in Seattle - first time in ~8 years

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We've been to Seattle a couple times previously but most visits were nearly a decade ago. I've made an effort to update my antiquated list, including doing some homework here - this thread started by a fellow Floridian was particularly helpful ->
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/889589

We will likely have about 4-5 days in Seattle in August, and what we like to find is places that are using local ingredients and flavors in new and creative ways. Having said that, really great examples of just about any style - new, old, local, exotic - are always welcome

On prior visits we've enjoyed Tom Douglas' places (Dahlia Lounge, Lola, Etta's), Chez Shea (now closed), Top Pot Doughnuts, and exploring Pike Place Market and the vendors in the market and on the street alongside the market. But there's clearly a lot new since my last visit.

My current list, in rough order of interest:
- Canlis
- Bar Sajor
- Sitka & Spruce (would likely do one or the other w Bar Sajor
)- The Walrus & the Carpenter
- Tsukushinbo (strong recommendation from a friend who visits often)
- How to Cook a Wolf
- Book Bindery
- Ma'Ono
- Tilth
- Toulouse Petit
- Serious Biscuit
- Salumi (lunch)
- Lark
-Mistral Kitchen

Would welcome thoughts on additions to or subtractions from that list, and reordering of preferences.

Also:
- good breakfast / lunch options
- day-trip excursions with good food destinations (we will be heading to Willows Inn on Lummi Island after Seattle and suggestions for anything along the way are very welcome).

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  1. Will you have a car? Several of the places you listed will be much easier to access with one.

    I'd rather go to Marination Ma Kai than Ma'Ono pretty much any day. Both with Hawaiian influence, both make fine cocktails, but Ma Kai trades upscale slickness for much lower prices and an unbeatable setting on the water. Bonus: you can get there by water taxi from downtown, avoiding the drive to West Seattle (it's directly adjacent to the west seattle water taxi dock.)

    Serious Biscuit is an expensive breakfast sandwich. That said, they used to have an tuesday special that was housemade ricotta with cucumber on a biscuit that I used to eat every week when I worked in that neighborhood.

    I'd make room for Quinn's, an outstanding gastropub that wasn't around 8 years ago, over one of Toulouse Petit, Lark, or Mistral Kitchen, as I think it's better than any of them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: terrier

      Yes we will have a car so are not geographically restricted.

      1. re: Frodnesor

        If you do go to Ma'Ono, make sure to order a bird in advance to ensure you get one. It is the reason to go there.

        If you like Thai food, I HIGHLY recommend Little Uncle.

        And I recently went to Willows Inn and it is a fantastic experience - enjoy!! Here is a discussion I started about it.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/910535

    2. Hey, Frodnesor! Good to see you on here.

      I still have my old thread bookmarked, and I'm thrilled about returning to Seattle in a few weeks. I can tell you that my wife and I loved Toulouse Petit, the 5 Point Cafe, and most places we tried in Pike Place Market. Have fun on your trip!

      1. Be sure to make a reservation at Tsukushinbo. Very difficuolt nowadays to get in without one.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PAO

          Really? Weird. On Ramen day, or any day?

          1. re: equinoise

            IME, it's best to have a reservation if you are going for dinner. I don't think they take reservations for lunch (including Ramen day).

        2. I definitely support the Walrus & Carpenter and Serious Biscuit choices (I like the bacon/fried green tomato biscuit best). For breakfast I also recommend Skillet on Capitol Hill.

          1. Love Love Love - the Walrus & the Carpenter, also same owners not quite as charming but can be a little easier to get into is The Whale Wins.

            Take a Ferry out to Bainbridge and try out Hitchcock (its walkable from the ferry if you dont want to take your car). Recommend dinner there, lunch is deli counter (and also good too though).

            Cant beat Paseo's for a delicious, garlicky, messy sandwich (I prefer the one in Ballard its less crowded - and you can take your sandwich to the beach or the Locks to enjoy)

            If you are heading through Bellingham on the way to Lummi - Boundary Bay has a pretty decent menu (its a brewery). Their beer is great! Their IPA is our favorite "local" IPA.

            1. Some really good advice here, thanks folks. Plans have been juggled some and as a result we now have only 2 nights in Seattle - so the culling process has become even more difficult.

              Right now our dinner plans are Canlis and Bar Sajor. Going w Bar Sajor over Sitka & Spruce mostly b/c it seems to have a more expansive menu, and more options are generally better when traveling with the kids.

              I'm very torn about not getting to Walrus & Carpenter, but the no reservations policy combined with an out of the way location make it a difficult commitment. Hoping instead to go to The Whale Wins for lunch along with a visit to Chittenden Locks.

              So we might have one late lunch still open (Marination Ma Kai? Salumi?), and a breakfast or two (Top Pot? Serious Biscuit? Skillet?).

              Have I misplayed my hand?

              And one other thing: we'll be spending a few days at Willows Inn, have a kitchen and will likely be cooking in the first night - any good advice on where to pick up victuals for cooking on the way to Lummi Island (heading in north from Vancouver) - I'm guessing either in Bellingham or Ferndale?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Frodnesor

                You are in for a true treat at Willows! If you're coming up from Seattle, detour through Bow-Edison and stop at Breadfarm for sick-sick-sick bread (cash only) and Slough Food next door for charcuterie, wine, etc. Tweets and the Old Edison are really great lunch spots, as is Boundary Bay Brewery in Bellingham, and then the Bellingham Co-op is just around the corner. Enjoy!

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  Stop by the Lummi Gateway Center fish market for First-Nation reef-net caught fish (like what you will be eating at Blaine's place@Willows), and other wild-caught very fresh fish at reasonable prices.

                  Also great fish & chips, chowder, house-smoked salmon, etc.

                  This is just North of Bellingham in Ferndale.

                  http://lummigatewaycenter.com/contact...
                  Enjoy!

                2. I think your list looks great so far :)

                  1. I'm visiting as well in a few weeks, but only for 3 full days early in the week.

                    I'm thinking Walrus on Monday and Bar Sajor on Tues. Wed I'm meeting some old coworkers who moved out to Seattle at Metropolitan Grill for drinks/HH.

                    Then Paseo for a lunch? Any opinions on Seastar for another lunch? Seems much cheaper than dinner as well. If so, any particular dish recs?

                    I'm visiting from NYC so I would prefer spots that embrace the more regional cuisine. I'm hesitant to do sushi/Japanese as well.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: deepfry7

                      Paseo is a good lunch, for sure (but I'd try to work it in with another activity in the north end if possible). I'd pass on Seastar, esp. given your shorter time frame. If you want a seafood-heavy menu, go with Blueacre instead.

                      From the recent Yelp reviews (to be taken with grain of salt, of course) it looks as though Bar Sajor is still trying to dial in service issues. You could do Sitka and Spruce (another Dillon place) instead, and for a lunch if you want. In Pioneer square, Little Uncle (thai) is also an excellent lunch option; or slide up to the ID/Little Saigon for Viet at Huong Binh, Green Leaf or Tamarind Tree.

                      I know that NYC has a lot of many (most?) cuisines, especially Italian. However, for a dinner I'd give a hard look to Spinasse as an example of regional cuisine, even though they are Italiante, they tend to be very local/seasonal in orientation and they crush it on execution.

                      1. re: equinoise

                        Thanks for the feedback, equinoise!

                        Spinasse is definitely on my list. Just didn't think it was "regional" enough. But I will highly consider it.

                        1. re: equinoise

                          We did Bar Sajor for one of our 2 Seattle dinners and I didn't think service was notably deficient. Our server was helpful, provided good guidance against ordering too much, and though the dishes were served in the increasingly common "We'll call them small plates or shared plates so we don't have to actually course out a meal and instead just send stuff out as it's ready" mode, that is in fact the style of the place and it all worked out fine.

                          If I wanted to gripe, it would have been nice to get a heads up when we ordered a small plate of oil-cured smelts that they would also be making an appearance on the "Grand Aioli" platter we ordered. But that would just be finding things to pick at.

                          Beautiful place and nice clean, simple (not remotely a criticism - to the contrary) food. Glad we went.