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Vancouver Hound's first real trip to Seattle -- help an elf out?

I've been to Seattle before, but not for years and not to eat and drink (except for our Lao food drivebys on the way to Portland of late -- Savatdee love!). I've scratched the surface and wanted to get some feedback before I go too far down the road.

We'll be staying near the Seattle Public Library on Spring (kinda wishing I'd known about Ballard when I booked...) so pretty central I guess. And we will have a car, lots of US change for parking metres and a willingness to drive for good eats and beverages.

Arriving on a Friday at the end of June, in town till the following Wednesday.

I'm most keen to nab reservations for dinner, as I am fairly comfortable "winging it" for breakfast, lunch, snacks and happy hours -- I'll have a solid list to choose from for sure but don't feel a strong urge to book ahead for anything but dinner. Here's what I've got/am thinking so far for the evening meal:

Friday: reservations made at La Medusa (hello, caciocavalo)
Saturday/Sunday: hoping for Lark and Book Bindery, once we are at one month out from the dates I want and I can try for reservations
Monday: reservations made at Canlis
Tuesday: reservations made at Westward

Are these too similar/boring/just plain wrong? I scoured the board back a year before making any decisions, and I take your opinions seriously, wise Sea Hounds :-).

Key in keeping the SO/auxiliary tummy happy is fine coffee. I haven't really seen much on the board about it so please, bring me your recommendations.

Let's leave it at that for now (I'll be back like a bad penny to pick your brains about happy hour, lunches, cocktails and beer once I've done more pruning of my 17-page list). Thanks in advance for any thoughts on the current topics and any others you may wish to share with this wayward Canadian in the meantime. Hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day!

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  1. Ballard is not far. Ten or fifteen minutes by car? Or less?
    Not easy to get a parking meter. Early is good but then it's catch as catch can. Consider public transit, buses, underground bus tunnel, light rail.

    1. Take the light rail to Columbia City for La Medusa. Still a short walk but should be nice in June. There's other cool stuff to see in Columbia City too. Definitely get some bread and/or pastries at Columbia City Bakery. Nearly any restaurant worth a damn will use Columbia City bread, so I imagine you'll get to try that a few times at least, it's great stuff.
      I like Book Bindery but you may find the dishes similar to Canlis, kinda modern, not a ton of ingredients on the plate, but all extraordinary quality. If you're looking for something different but in the same price range I'd look at Spinasse. Never had a bad dish there, it's rare to even have a dish where you don't say "wow". Get a reservation early though, Spinasse fills up fast.

      11 Replies
      1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

        Also worth noting that parking is not an ordeal in Columbia City thanks to the big dollar an hour lot up the street from Geraldines Counter (noteworthy for it's French toast and other breakfasts, a fine burger, and plenty of comfort foods).

        1. re: Booklegger451

          Will reconsider Spinasse, though for some reason I haven't been feeling like Italian much lately. (There's a funny mismatch on their current menu that I spotted even with my bad Italian -- I wonder which dish they're actually offering). I think I got the La Medusa recco from one of your posts, EFGM.

          Totally not set on a particular range of either budget or food. My dinner choices are skewing higher end and Eurocentric but that was not really by design. Contemplating doing Tamarind Tree one night as a friend recommended the banh xeo there, and I loves me a good banh xeo.

          Also wondering if Rainier BBQ and Restaurant is worthy. I saw it on some old Bourdain ep and liked the "home cooking" aspect. Both TT and RBBQ have bo 7 mon which I have been craving. I expect either of these would work for lunch as well?

          1. re: grayelf

            Tamarind tree is a good choice. Generally easy to park in their huge lot. They also serve surprisingly good cocktails. It's a fun place to go with 4+ people and just get a ton of food and drinks. The restaurant is actually a nice space too, and the servers know what they are doing generally.

            I used to get banh mi at Rainier BBQ a lot, never been inside the actual restaurant though. I've switched to buying nearly all my banh mi, Vietnamese bread, pastries and goodies at Q Bakery which is a 90 second stroll from Rainier BBQ (just past the Starbucks on the right, in the big complex with all sorts of cool Asian stores/restaurants). Maybe somebody else can chime in on the actual Rainier BBQ restaurant.

            1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

              Hmm, maybe a lunch stop, for banh mi comparos; thanks for the tip on Q Bakery. Are they making their own rolls, do you know?

              I wonder if either have my favourite, nem nuong (#7 on this great list which also includes nem chua or sour pork, something I love but have never seen in a banh mi http://battleofthebanhmi.com/fillings...


              I went ahead and snagged a reso at Tamarind Tree for Saturday night, woot! I've never had cocktails and Vietnamese food together and am very much looking forward to that.

              1. re: grayelf

                Oh they definitely have pork meatball sandwiches. The meatballs are so moist it blows my mind. No but seriously, how do they do it? At first I thought it was odd they don't put mayo on them but when I bit into it I immediately understood. Also, so you aren't surprised, they kinda "spread," the giant meatball(s) out on to the bread making it more like a paste instead of looking like a meatball sub.
                They also make all their own rolls as it is mainly a bakery. They volume these guys do is straight insane. I've been over 30 times and rarely ever have I not seen them bringing out fresh bread at some point during my visit. Even 40 minutes before they close at 7 pm the baker is wheeling out warm fresh bread, super nice to get fresh bread at that time. Honestly Q Bakery is probably my favorite place to grab quick snacks or sandwich rolls (only $.30 each). I love stopping for snacks then taking them to Seward Park to eat while I walk around the park.
                They have a hot case with things like egg rolls, grilled pork, pork meatballs (gigantic), fried chicken, pork pate pastries. They also have a big pastry case with donuts and other sweet stuff though I don't think all the pastries are house made. They have a bunch of awesome candy, snacks, cold and hot food etc.
                I'm also *embarrassed smile* addicted to bubble tea thanks to Q Bakery, theirs is not only the cheapest, but also the best I've had (that is when they're not out of tapioca, which seems to be about 75% of the time). The stuff is really sweet though, but I figure since I don't drink soda it's probably aight to indulge in the occasional (maybe it is good they rarely have tapioca pearls) bubble tea.

                The only sandwich I haven't been crazy about is the shredded pork skin one. Mostly because I didn't know what "shredded pork skin," meant in this context, and I figured it had to be crispy since its skin.....Boy was I surprised, not bad, but I probably wouldn't get it again, it was kinda boring really.

                +1 on cocktails in ethnic restaurants. I always feel like I'm really livin' the life when I'm sitting there drinking mojitos and feasting on great Vietnamese food.

                Also, since you mentioned you like Lao food, have you ever been to Viengthong? Great Seattle place serving Thain and Lao food. Was just there the other day with a friend. We ordered 5-6 dishes, felt like Bourdain with such a magnificent spread. The food was all top notch. I'm not even too knowledgeable about Lao food (or eastern cuisines in general) but this place is so satisfying. Might be worth checking out if you don't already know about it. Very inexpensive place, but they do serve beer. Looks like they're open for lunch too.

                1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                  We have been to Vienthong once, outstanding jerky! It and Savatdee seem to be the standouts for Lao in the area.

                  I kind of like "pork skin meat" but maybe only because of the name :-). BTW nem nuong isn't a meatball or spreadable so we must be speaking of something different. But I'm sold on Q and will deffo check it out. Interesting that they do bubble tea -- that is not really a Vietnamese thing in Vancouver but I do rather like it. I usually order it half sweet myself, or make it at home.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Now I obviously need to try out Savatdee, actually never been. Funny you mention the jerky. I had never had it until a few days ago, my friend said it was the best thing he had and he wants more. I'm gonna try to make some in my dehydrator to give to him.
                    Ahh, the meatball one is the #7 on your list, but the nem nuong is #9, my bad, should have figured that out.
                    It is kinda odd that all the Vietnamese places around here do bubble tea. I actually got Q Bakery for dinner lastnight since I was feeling lazy and my girlfriend wanted it. Tried a bubble tea with "jelly," pretty awesome if you like the texture of denser jello cubes in the bottom, which I do. I wish I could order it in a half size though. Guess I can try to do half sugar next time. I'm generally a salt > sweet person, but I like bubble tea mostly because of the jelly or tapioca.

                    I'd go earlier if you can. Anytime before 1-2 on the weekends is when they have the cases filled and all the good stuff.

                    1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                      On our way to Portland a week or so ago we stopped for the third time at Savatdee and had Sai Keungnai (item #10 I think). There are several versions of this on the menu. It was very good and not overly offally. Also tasty is the quail. We have had less luck when we ventured into their Thai offerings, which tend to be too sweet for my taste.

                      I love "coconut" jelly (tastes more like lychee to me) and mango stars in bubble tea. I always choose a jasmine tea base. Sorry about the incorrect number reference on the banh mi fillings, no wonder you were confoozled!

                2. re: grayelf

                  monsoon and green leaf also make excellent vietnamese.

          2. re: EatFoodGetMoney

            I think we may have hit La Medusa when the B team was on: looong wait between apps and mains (server noted and apologized), arancini underdone, caciocavalo overdone. And alas it was deafening in there, which I don't recall reading about anywhere so came as a bit of a surprise.

            1. re: grayelf

              Wow that's a real shame, I was confident in recommending it after eating there 5-6 times and only having great experiences. I haven't ever noticed it super loud and I tend to really dislike places you can't have a conversation at. Must have been an off day.

          3. Hi greyelf! Fellow Vancouverite here; you helped us out on some Portland recommendations a short while back, so I'm happy to pass on our Seattle recommendations (though granted we've only tried a very small sampling of the city).

            Book Bindery was one of our nicest meals; granted nothing stood out as truly 'amazing', but everything was 'extremely good', and we've probably not had nicer service at any other restaurant anywhere (YMMV, of course). Can't compare to Canlis, as we didn't go. I can endorse Spinasse though -- excellent meal there too, and a cool room (we wish we had asked to sit at the bar facing the kitchen when we went).

            Le Pichet is our go-to for a simple breakfast (great baked goods and a really nice simple egg, ham, and cheese dish). Very good coffee too.

            Other noteworthy dinners from our experience were Sitka & Spruce (noteworthy good), and Mistral Kitchen (noteworthy bad). We met some relatives for a dinner at Tom Douglas's Cuoco, which I thought was 'pretty good' overall, though my wife still raves about their goat cheese gnocchi.

            The "Tatstrami" sandwich at Tat's Deli was amazing.

            Definitely reserve a tour at Theo Chocolates.

            Non-food related: the Seattle Underground Tour was a lot of fun.

            Sorry I can't specifically address most of your questions, but hopefully this is still somewhat useful!


            13 Replies
            1. re: ghague

              Thanks, Geoff, great feedback. I've only asked a few of my myriad questions so all appreciated. Did not realize Le Pichet does breaky so that is helpful indeed. We try to keep our first meal simplish to save belly space for lunch, snacks, happy hour, first dinner and second dinner :-). Pretty sure I was a hobbit in a former life.

              1. re: grayelf

                Okay, for a change of pace, can we talk beer? I know it's everywhere but here's what I've shortlisted so far -- I need to figure out which are breweries and which are pubs/beer bars, plus which ones have worthy grub and which are pretzels only:

                In Ballard: Hilliard’s, Hale's (Troll Porter! casks!) and Stoup (more porter!), Reuben's Brews, NW Peaks, Peddler, Noble Fir, Urban Family Public House, Populuxe, Maritime Pacific seem like good bets and are all walking distance from one another I think.

                Chuck's Hop Shop in the Central District (50 taps, big bottle shop), Pike Brewing, Geaux Brewing in Bellevue, Black Raven, Dray, Six Gill, Brouwers, Collins Pub, and the Bravehorse (Tom Douglas) have all been mentioned. Pine Box, The Masonry, Elysian Bar maybe? Rooftop in Queen Anne sounds intriguing.

                A SoDo beer tour was mentioned: Georgetown, Two Beers, Schooner Exact, Epic, Seapine, Emerald City and maybe Pyramid.

                Any standouts/duds? Other ideas? I am not a big beer drinker (I prefer radlers and other fruit "beers" and love a good cider) but the SO is, hence the porter love.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Ok, so I've gone and sorted your list into 4 categories based on brewery vs. pub and food options. I've put an asterisks on ones with what I consider worthy food. (Note that some also have food trucks that pop in on weekends)

                    Breweries with mininal or no food:
                    Hilliards, Stoup, Reuben's, NW Peaks, Peddler, Populuxe, Geaux, Black Raven, Georgetown, Two Beers, Seapine, Emerald City, Rooftop

                    Breweries with food:
                    Hales, Urban Family, Maritime Pacific/Jolly Roger*(Onion Rings), Pike, Schooner, Epic* (short hours for food), Pyramid

                    Brewpubs with food (Beer restaurants):
                    Bravehorse*, Noble Fir (limited), Sixgill, Brouwers*, Collins Pub, Pinebox, Masonry*, Elysian

                    Brewpubs with no food (tap rooms):
                    Chuck's, Dray

                    I could add Naked City (Beer-centric restaurant that brews their own stuff) and Super Deli Mart (the original Chuck's, but fewer taps, more rare beer) as interesting ones as well.

                    1. re: GreenYoshi

                      Schooner was fun, kinda upscale pubby, had a tasting tray of all 8 available beers with the raspberry sour and the hopvine being the standouts. Epic had a great plum sour but the porcini porter was weak and the menu seemed to be trying a bit too hard.

                    2. re: grayelf

                      And since I took a couple minutes to categorize your list, I hope you'll indulge me with my favorite breweries of the moment (completely subjective and one man's opinion):

                      (Strictly based on beer, no particular order) Peddlers, NW Peaks, Geaux, Black Raven, Reubens

                      3 others based on taproom atmosphere, uniqueness and food:
                      1. 2 Beers/Seattle Cider
                      2. Lowercase/Burdick (The beers themselves are ok, but fun to have two of the smallest Nano breweries in the city sharing a wall)
                      3. Outlander (in a small house in Fremont, always cooking up small batches of fun stuff)

                      1. re: GreenYoshi

                        Two Beers was disappointing beer wise but had a great cider from Seattle Cider, a wild ferment. Minimus Maximus was there but not ready on Friday at 4 pm, no other food trucks save a sausage cart.

                  2. re: ghague

                    le pichet is even better for dinner than lunch, and the quiche is outstanding if you can snag a slice (they usually sell out by noon).

                    1. re: ghague

                      Book Bindery is closing for good on June 28th. If you feel strongly about going there, you might try and get reservations as you can always to to the other places on another trip.

                      1. re: Lauren

                        Thanks for the info, Lauren -- I made a reso by phone yesterday (wait for it) to dine there on June 28! And I've signed up for the Seattle Met Noshpit newsletter too, so double thanks.

                        1. re: grayelf

                          Oh good! I'm thinking I need to get in there myself. I've always like Book Bindery.

                          1. re: Lauren

                            Ya I may have to get in there once more before they close as well.

                            1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                              Book Bindery was decent but not outstanding, with too many sweet/gastriquey sauces for me and $9 per scallop seems a bit excessive to cheapo me. Lovely setting (we were in the atrium) and very nice service though. Will be interesting to see what the new incarnation brings.

                    2. drip city coffee in belltown and caffe d'arte by the market make excellent coffee.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chartreauxx

                        GY, thanks so much for doing that! And I'm tickled you added your faves.

                        Brunhilde, mille grazie for the cider reccs and chart, for the additional Viet options, le pichet intel, and coffee ideas. I've since found a fairly recent thread that I'm going to pore over (ooooh, bad pun) to see what else is out there coffee-wise.

                      2. Here are my recommendations for fine coffee. Keep in mind that I like to taste the fruit in my coffee, so I look for exceptional light roasts, of which Seattle has many options. (All the shops listed here are on a similar level to the style and quality found at, for example, Revolver, Elysian Coffee, 49th Parallel, and JJ Bean in Vancouver.)

                        My top picks:

                        * Slate (http://www.slatecoffee.com): Fantastic tiny shop offering a variety of beans that they roast. If you are interested in learning about coffee, this is a great place to visit. The setup is focused on exploring coffee, and they will gladly explain aspects of growing, varietals, roasting, and brewing. They are usually pulling several single origin shots as well as offering pour-overs of many different beans. Open until at least 4pm. (Ballard).

                        * Milstead & Co. (http://www.milsteadandco.com): Notable as one of the few shops in town that features coffee from many different roasters, including Heart and Coava from Portland, Bows & Arrows from Victoria, Wrecking Ball, Intelligensia, and Stumptown. In addition to espresso based drinks, they brew individual cups using an Aeropress. Open until 6pm. As ghague suggests, pair a visit with a tour of Theo's Chocolate factory (or at least their store where you can taste different samples). (Fremont).

                        * Neptune (http://neptunecoffee.com): Great coffee, featuring Velton and Kuma (local roasters) and George Howell Coffee. Serves both espresso and pour over brewed to order. Open until 9pm. (Greenwood).

                        Other exceptional shops:

                        * Espresso Vivace (http://espressovivace.com): Serves only espresso based drinks with doppio ristretto shots -- double "restricted" shots containing a high proportion of oils and sugars. The style of shot here is somewhat unique and make for an intense flavour experience. They feature two blends, one designed for straight shots and the other designed for use with milk. We often visit for a night cap after dinner at Poppy. Open until 11pm. (Capitol Hill).

                        * Stumptown (http://stumptowncoffee.com): Major pacific NW roaster based in Portland but with a roastery at their 15th ave. location. I highly recommend attending one of their free daily 3pm cuppings (the coffee equivalent of wine tasting) where you will get a chance to try several single origin roasts. Unfortunately, they do not offer very many options as pour-over, so I would recommend attending the cupping over just randomly attending the cafe. (Capitol Hill).

                        * Trabant (http://trabantcoffee.com): One of the few shops in town to still use a Clover, serving Kuma and QED coffees (local). The Clover (since purchased by Starbucks) brews exceptionally clear tasting coffee, sometimes almost like tea, providing a very unique coffee experience. Unfortunately, most of Starbucks roasts are too dark to let through the interesting flavours enhanced by the Clover. (University District and Pioneer Square).

                        * Toast (http://toastballard.com): Formerly Aster Coffee Lounge. They also have a Clover. If you are there during the day, stop by Cafe Besalu (http://www.cafebesalu.com) for some fabulous croissants, but stick to Toast for coffee. (Ballard).

                        * Tuogo (http://www.tougocoffee.com): Brews a variety of coffees, including PT's Coffee. (Capitol Hill).

                        * Analog Coffee (http://analogcoffee.com): Small cafe that brews fabulous pour-overs of Herkimer coffee. They offer more brewed-to-order options than at Herkimer's shops, so I would recommend visiting here if convenient. (Capitol Hill).

                        * Morsel/Sound Coffee: (https://www.facebook.com/morselseattle) Serves Velton and Vashon Coffee Company roasters (local) alongside fabulous freshly made biscuits (and gravy, cheese, jam, etc.). Only open until 3pm. (University District).

                        Other good shops:

                        For one reason or another, I have not been as excited with these shops as I have with those mentioned above, but they are all solid, and capable of brewing very good coffee:

                        * Cafe Ladro (http://www.caffeladro.com): (Freemont, Queen Anne, Downtown, Capital Hill).

                        * Anchored Ship Coffee Bar: One of the only places I know of in town that serves Counter Culture coffee. (Ballard).

                        * Herkimer (http://www.herkimercoffee.com): Local roaster. (Phinny Ridge and University District).

                        * Porchlight Cafe (http://porchlightcoffee.com): Small cafe serving Herkimer Coffee. (Capitol Hill).

                        * Seattle Coffee Works (http://www.seattlecoffeeworks.com): One of the few shops in town to brew coffee with the siphon/vacuum pot method. (Downtown near the Pike Place Market).

                        * Victrola (http://www.victrolacoffee.com): Local roaster and coffee shop that holds cuppings on Wednsdays at 11am at their Pike St. location. (Capitol Hill).

                        * Canlis (http://canlis.com/drink/coffee/): If you go here, don't overlook the coffee. They have made a serious investment in brewing high quality coffee - something usually missing at even top quality restaurants. (Queen Ann).

                        For further opinions, see the following site which provides "scores" for local baristas from competition level judges: http://tehcoffee.com

                        Apologies to any great shops I have forgotten or missed: I am sure that others will chime in.

                        As far as food goes, I highly recommend at least one of Matt Dillon's restaurants -- The Corson Building if it fits your schedule, Bar Sajor, or Sitka and Spruce. These provide an exceptional Seattle dining experience featuring local ingredients.

                        33 Replies
                        1. re: mforbes

                          Thanks +++, mforbes for the time and detail! The SO roasts City Plus to Full City, just before/beginning of 2nd crack at home so I'm thinking your reccos will be very germane. I did read online that Canlis has a good coffee program but appreciate the reminder. We've pretty much given up on coffee in restos otherwise :-(. So far I have reviewed this thread
                          that has some good stuff later on, and looked at an old article from Sprudge here http://sprudge.com/sprudge-guides-sea... which has a fair bit of overlap with your list. It looks like we have a lot of exploring to do on the coffee front. I prefer a pourover, he loves his cappuccinos and macchiatos so we'll prolly target places that offer both.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            More quests: we have TERRIBLE Mexican in Vancouver, at least for my taste. Anywhere you'd suggest for antojitos tradicionales? Senor Moose was mentioned in one of our local rags and looks like it has potential.

                            Doughnuts: Top Pot? Dahlia?

                            Laws in BC prohibit cooking to order for the most part, so burgers, especially happy hour available ones, are sought: Uneeda, Quinn's (Painted Hills beef), Two Bell's tavern burger, King's Hardware

                            Biscuits: Serious Biscuit aka Dahlia Workshop, Biscuit Bitch (southern friend gave them the thumbs up)

                            Sandwiches: Salumi (big lines, go early, porchetta), Paseo's (lines, eat in Fremont Peak Park, also one in Ballard, cash only, get the Caribbean roast, Paseo press, shrimp), Rain Shadow Meats (some locations don't have sandos), Delicatus, La Bodega (Dominican sandos!), Market Grill, Matt's in the Market (I love catfish in sandwiches), Q Bakery Saigon Deli in the ID for a banh mi-off, Marination Station (spicy pork torta, at shop only, on Macrina baguette so not really a torta ;-)), Baguette Box's drunken chicken baguette (though I'm not sure about the "sweet tangy sauce" as I'm not a sweet-and-sour fan), Tatstrami at Tat's (SO is a pastrami aficionado having grown up in Winnipeg, I know nothing)

                            Bakeries: Le Fournil, Crumble and Flake, Le Panier (feuilletés as I'm always looking for savoury pastries in the morning)

                            Fish tacos, ideally Baja Calif Sur style: Fish Basket

                            Please let me know if you have any thoughts on any of these, yea or nay, or what I've missed, many I'm sure. And of course always happy to hear feedback on older posts upthread for any latecomers to my little party :-).

                            Happy hours will be for another post as that list is already looooong :-)

                            1. re: grayelf

                              Seattle doesn't really have great Mexican but there are 3 places I go to that I really enjoy.

                              Huarachitos (Their mole negro is insanely good)
                              Carta De Oaxaca (Unique Oaxacan dishes, and some typical fare)
                              Fonda La Catrina (more typical mexican food but done right, using good ingredients and more care than most places, plus they have a small outside patio)

                              I've been to both Huarachitos and Fonda La Catrina in the past week, had great meals at both places. Carta de Oaxaca is unique, Oaxacan food is not your typical Mexican food so if you want something that's otherwise hard to find, I suggest Carta De Oaxaca.

                              I'll also throw Columbia City Bakery into your mix. I buy 90% of my bread there and it has spoiled me badly. I also like it in the morning because they always have delicious savory stuff on the menu. My favorite pastry in Seattle is their pistachio snail. Crumble and Flake is awesome but get there early. Same with Columbia City Bakery, the savory stuff tends to go first. The only bakery that doesn't seem to fun out of things is Bakery Nouveau, great place in West Seattle.

                              For a little West Seattle adventure I like to go to Bakery Nouveau, then The Swinery, then PCC near the Swinery. I stock up on pastries, cured meats, cheeses, drinks etc. Then head down to this secret park called Jack Block Park which is on Alki. You will notice absolutely no Parking on Alki, yet head to the park and there will be literally dozens of spaces. It has a truly epic view of the Seattle skyline across the water, nice grassy areas, and an observation deck. I don't understand why this park is never crowded when Alki is a complete zoo. I just call it "the secret park". I highly recommend checking it out, it is a great spot for pictures and hanging out for an hour or so on a sunny day. It's by Marination Mai Kai, so you could easily get Marination (their fish and chips are pretty good, among other things) and bring it to the park.

                              Baguette box is kinda over rated (I prefer the owners restaurant: Monsoon, which actually has the drunken chicken plate, which bore the sandwich of the same name). It's good, but there are better places. I used to work near a baguette box downtown so I ate there somewhat often. In any case it is right by Melrose Market so there's tons of options around there. Also, if you want a fried chicken sandwich try the one at Woodys, next to Melrose Market, wicked good under the radar chicken sandwich.

                              I love Uneeda but it can be somewhat inconsistent. For what it's worth I think the best thing on the menu (and possibly the best burger in Seattle, excluding restaurant burgers) is the classic burger, with cheese, and upgrade the beef to their premium option (from standard Painted Hills). Hell, that burger will hold its own against most restaurant burgers too. They have some cool special burgers/sandwiches too that I order occasionally but they can be pretty wild. I think their onion rings are kinda greasy though, I generally opt for sweet potato fries. Palace Kitchen, and Spur also have phenomenal burgers. I can't comment on other burgers, I don't tend to order burgers in restaurants too often. 2 Bells and Quinns are two that I really want to try though.

                              I'm planning a trip up to Vancouver later this summer. Already have a ton of research but I'll have to run it by you before I head up there Grayelf. You're definitely really going to enjoy your trip down here, you have tons of good intel.

                              1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                Thanks, EatFood, for your three Mexi-spots. I do enjoy Oaxacan food and it's hard to get a good version of it. Columbia City deffo on the list, along with Bakery Nouveau. C&F's lines are legendary, I think, so we may not have the stamina, plus their best (only?) stuff seems to be sweet.

                                I am putting your West Seattle shuffle holus bolus into my itin! Woody's sounds like a much better sub for Baguette Box as well.

                                Uneeda, Spur and Palace Kitchen burgers noted.

                                I am at your service re Van reccos!

                              2. re: grayelf

                                A couple of comments and additions to your list.

                                Mexican: We have been very happy with Señor Moose, and Carta De Oaxaca. We also like La Conasupo Market in Greenwood: It is not a restaurant, but a bunch of tables inside the back of the store, and they have a somewhat limited selection (mostly quesadillas), but the food is very tasty. (Check the hours first though).

                                Biscuits: I have not tried the places you mention, but can strongly recommend Morsel in the University District - seating is limited though.

                                Bakeries: Cafe Besalu for croissants. Also, if you go early to The Whale Wins for brunch, you can sometimes get very nice croissants there.

                                1. re: mforbes

                                  Not to get too far off on a tangent, my wife and I did an informal croissant taste-off this weekend after suffering through a really disappointing one at Milstead & Co, our favorite coffee place.

                                  We went to both Besalu and to Honore Bakery (both in Ballard) and got one each of their plain croissant, and their pain au chocolat. We brought them home and ate them within 30 minutes, so they were approximately equally fresh.

                                  While it wasn't a proper blind test, we gave a slight edge to Honore, who lean toward the more "brunette" school of baking (e.g. darker) with a better balance to their dough. Both were excellent and the margin was not large.

                                  On the pain au chocolat, we definitely preferred the chocolat in the Honore croissant to that used by Besalu. Besalu used a much larger amount but it didn't seem to "balance" the pastry as well.

                                  Both of these bakeries are producing what must be some of the best baked goods in Seattle, if not the other major metropolitan areas in the US where I've eaten, so there is no bad choice with either of them...

                                  1. re: mforbes

                                    And thanks again to you, mforbes! We have been to La Conasupo, though alas not on Sunday when they do the lamb barbacoa.

                                    We'll prolly just grab a biscuit to share so seating shouldn't be a problem at Morsel (great name and thanks for repeating this intel from your great coffee post upthread).

                                    Croissants in Vancouver are generally sad so cheers for those reccos. Thanks to RichinMV for the warning about the croissants at Milstead, a coffee spot we will likely be hitting. The SO enjoys a good pain au chocolat as well :-).

                                  2. re: grayelf

                                    Mexican: In addition to those already mentioned, I like the D.F. fare at El Quetzal, the al pastor tacos at Los Chilangos (truck), the tlayudas and barbacoa at El Cabrito (truck), and the tortas from Barriga Llena (truck and shop).

                                    Re: burgers*, understand (as you likely do) that the Quinn's burger and Uneeda are fairly different despite common origins/owners. Quinn's is rare-as-you-like while Uneeda tends to be pretty well-done burger stand style. Both are good. I'm not a fan of the tough sourdough roll they use at 2 bells (which could lead me down a tangential rant re: the Seattle/W. Coast tendency to use excessively hard and crusty breads in sandwich construction).

                                    You've really nailed the sandwich slate. I tend to throw the pambazo from El Quetzal into that sort of discussion, but that may be a pet project on my part.

                                    Bakeries: if in S. end check out Columbia City bakery.

                                    I don't know of a really good Baja-style fish taco here.

                                    *Your comment about BC burgers intrigues me since I just recently enjoyed a very good, definitely not overdone burger at a winery in the Okanagan Valley, BC. What stole the show, however, was its use of a country-style ham in the mix.

                                    1. re: equinoise

                                      It is possible to get a less cooked burger but the hoops the restos have to jump through are ridiculous so it's rare (pardon the pun). There's only one place in Vancouver that I know of that is doing one at the moment.

                                      Appreciate the roll warning for Two Bells -- off the list. Also I'm afraid Uneeda hits the chopping block. I can get well done well done at home :-).

                                      1. re: grayelf

                                        Uneedas problem is consistency. I've had everything from medium rare to well (mostly near medium) there. The good burgers I've had there we're truly incredible, the rest were somewhat disappointing. Probably not a bad idea to take it off the list, you'll already be at Paseos and Tats which are on the same block anyway and can satisfy similar cravings.

                                        Bax is right about Mexican food here in general. It's not as good as stuff in CA, or CO (or lots of states down that way) but it is probably still worth checking out as it will likely be better than what you can get in Vancouver, and it's easy to just grab some quickly as a pre-dinner snack. A lot of the portions at Fonda La Catrina, and Carta de Oaxaca aren't too big.

                                        I've had great, and bad meals at Poppy, the most recent was thoroughly subpar.

                                        1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                          I asked Uneeda for medium-rare last month and it was definitely well-done. Sigh. The berry lemonade was really good though.

                                        2. re: grayelf

                                          Despite the bread, Two Bells is a very enjoyable burger.

                                          Skillet's burger with bacon jam is also really good, IF you can get them to cook it to your desired temperature. I seem to remember that Local 360 does a good burger too, but I haven't been there in ages so don't know if it's still good....

                                          1. re: Bax

                                            i didn't care for local 360's burger. some weird sauce, very messy, not much beef flavor. i have sometimes had good luck with lunchbox laboratory. quinn's is good too.

                                            1. re: chartreauxx

                                              I couldn't get Lunchbox Laboratory to do anything other than well - they use thin patties - hard to do those mid rare.

                                              1. re: FoodDee

                                                i agree that LL is more about toppings than the burger, but hey.

                                      2. re: grayelf

                                        We're not a great donut town. Top Pot is fine, but there are so many great bakery-bakeries here that I wouldn't bother with a donut.

                                        1. re: grayelf

                                          Wow! So how many meals will you be scheduling beforehand? This is sounding like an epic foodie trip... I hope you will be doing plenty of walking in between meals. I just did foodie trips in both NYC and SF and can totally relate.

                                          The Sandwiches list is solid although Baguette Box was just meh. Have never been to Marination Station and so I can't really chime in on that one, but everything else is yummy. One more notable sandwich to add is the Wild Boar Sloppy Joe at Quinn's.

                                          As for burgers, also consider La Bête on Capitol Hill. I've done all four of the burgers you listed; Two Bells was a bit bland; King's Hardware does an "Afterschool Special" (with bacon and peanut butter) which I recall had a flavorful patty but the pb just set the whole thing over the top.

                                          1. re: grayelf

                                            I never found Mexican food in Seattle to be satisfying, but having grown up in TX and living in AZ for 18 years my standards were pretty high, and I'll admit that I didn't do an exhaustive search in the 2 years I was in Seattle. But...don't get your hopes up for outstanding Mexican food.

                                            Doughnuts: The ones at Dahlia are made to order, which helps a lot. Warm, fresh, and not overwhelmingly sweet. Top Pot is fine, but they're really just doughnuts. Nothing particularly notable or outstanding if you ask me.

                                            Biscuits: The one time I tried Biscuit Bitch the biscuits were fine but not particularly fresh. I'm a fan of Serious Biscuit, tho' -- I'll admit I've never eaten just a plain biscuit, but I'm very partial to the bacon/fried green tomato biscuit sandwich. SO GOOD.

                                            Sandwiches: PASEO PASEO PASEO! The #2 (Caribbean roast). I dream of them. Baguette Box is just ok; I didn't find the Drunken chicken to be notable, but maybe it's better eaten on premises instead of take-out?

                                            Bakeries: Besalu has the best plain croissant, in my opinion. Some days are better than others; they're always good, but on good days they're OUTSTANDING. The smoked paprika and cheddar croissants at Crumble and Flake are also really, really good.

                                            Things I always recommend: Walrus & Carpenter (extremely fresh, quality ingredients; simple preparations allow those ingredients to shine), Rachel's Ginger Beer (SO SO SO GOOD. Best consumed at the RBG shop at Pike Market or in cocktails at Montana or Nacho Borracho on Capitol Hill, but available at other shops/restaurants around town).

                                            1. re: Bax

                                              You all are just top drawer with all this intel, thanks muchly.

                                              I was thinking I'd find more doughnut reccs than I did so maybe we'll just stick to Dahlia, possibly share one at Top Pot just 'cuz.

                                              Adding Bete. Deep sixing Baguette Box. Serious Biscuit in the mix (gawd, enuf with the puns) -- want FGT and bacon on one! Managing Mexpectations. Sadly hate smoked anything except bacon so no C&F savoury croissant for me. Also neither of us are big ginger fans though I may bring some back for a gingerfiend friend if it comes bottled.

                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                Serious Biscuit is good, I like the fried green tomato sammy, but FWIW I like the actual biscuits from Morsel way better. Serious can be pretty tough.

                                                Never had a bad sandwich from Paseo but the seared scallop sandwich is tops for me (they ask you how spicy you want it and I always say 5/5, but this is not at all spicy for me. They just add pickled jalapenos, which are tasty, but not spicy).

                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                  I don't remember the smoked paprika croissant being all that overtly smoky, but it's been a while since I've had one so I could be wrong. And yeah, if you're not a ginger fan then RGB is not for you. It does come bottled, though, so your friend might appreciate it. Their website has info on where to buy.

                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                    If nobody's mentioned this, the coconut cream pie is what you go to Dahlia for.

                                                    1. re: sweetpotater

                                                      More great tips, which I'm noting carefully even if I don't respond directly, so thanks +++.

                                                      I just saw this list of happy hours on Eater (Ba Bar, Mistral Kitchen and The Saint appeal) and it reminded me that I haven't pestered y'all for cocktail suggestions. I usually go for one at happy hour while the SO prefers a beer so if you have places that offer both good mixed drinks and beer selection (plus good snacks, natch), that'd be just swell :-).

                                                      1. re: grayelf

                                                        I love The Saint (but then I'm partial to tequila) but haven't been since they got a new chef.

                                                        I've enjoyed happy hour at Poppy -- the $5 mini-thali is small but usually interesting/tasty, eggplant fries are really good, and they have interesting cocktails (don't know about beer). I also love happy hour at Le Zinc -- cheap, delicious, plentiful mussels, frites with bone marrow aioli, good cocktails (again, don't know about beer other than that they have it).

                                                        1. re: Bax

                                                          My husband and I went to The Saint last night and the food from the new chef is fantastic. The suadero (braised beef belly) tacos were outstanding.

                                                          Hubby also liked the drinks, but he's not an expert on tequila.

                                                    2. re: grayelf

                                                      If La Bête has the Burgundy Snails on special -- you must get those! We're talking some serious "the earth moved, the angels wept" type of stuff. This isn't the garlic herb-butter treatment... it's a more of a red wine stew. Oh so good.

                                                  2. re: grayelf

                                                    Add Irwin's Bakery at 40th/Bagley & 65th/Latona. Oh that apple pie with coffee. For starters...

                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                      If you are interested in a great burger, try the one at Roux. My burger club went recently and loved it.

                                                  3. re: mforbes

                                                    Great summary. I wasn't even aware of half of the places you've listed. Going to add this thread to my "go try these" list.

                                                    1. re: mforbes

                                                      I just have to say I'm delighted to see at least one quality coffee shop/café that stays open after dinner. Very hard to find in the cities I dine in most (Vancouver, Toronto, Portland, San Francisco).

                                                      1. re: mforbes

                                                        Thanks for the steer to Slate, mforbes, it was impeccable in every way: rock star parking, great music, super-engaged and knowledgeable staff, lovely interior, interesting offerings (they are doing a ridiculously good cold brew, a new thing, get it now!), total package.

                                                        Toast was not so good, alas, bad barista wrecked the SO's capp and my cold brew was not salutary, with none of the smoothness I look for -- also tasted coffee grounds-y so I doctored with cream and sugar, which I don't do. We only drank half of each.

                                                        The pastries we snagged from Besalu after a not too bad wait were worth every moment. Really top notch plain croissant for the SO, whereas I indulged in both the ham and swiss pastry and the sour cherry gallette. The former was delicious and generous in the filling, whereas the latter was dare I say it, transcendently light and flaky, with that little crunch you get from this type of pastry done well. I'd line up again!

                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                          That's a shame about Toast. When were you there? (Last time I was in, their barista was from Slate, so I would have expected it to be up to snuff.)

                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                            I'm surprised no one has mentioned Fuji Bakery for croissants. While I am a major Besalu fan, Fuji is to me the closest second. They're open on days Besalu is closed (Mon-Tue) and are close to downtown. I've never seen a line more than a couple of people long.

                                                            Fuji is at 6th and S. King St, on the corner across from the original Uwajimaya.They are also in Bellevue.

                                                            Note: My comparison is based on plain croissants only, and to what would be top (rarely found) croissants in Paris.

                                                        2. I was in Seattle a few weeks ago and was blown away by Poppy (http://poppyseattle.com/menu/todays-t...). The food was creative and delicious, and I really enjoyed the drinks (exceptional juices unlike anything I'd tried before). I highly recommend!

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: dori_pm

                                                            Cool, I've always wondered why non-Indian restos haven't stolen the thali idea. That risotto sounds outstanding.

                                                            My Seattle food list is now 20 pages long (mostly from you lovelies on CH but some from Thrillist and Eater) and I know there is much more to add. Not to mention much work to be done to put it in geographic order. Such a nice problem to have!

                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                              Poppy would be a good one to consider if you want to save one of your dinner slots for something not Eurocentric. An "antidote" dinner, if you will. You mentioned Savatdee... which I've never tried, but they're on my radar. Two more ethnic places I love are Viengthong (in the same vein as Savatdee) and Cafe Munir (Lebanese).

                                                              1. re: gumption

                                                                Nice! We did go to VT once (mentioned upthread) and especially enjoyed the jerky.

                                                                1. re: gumption

                                                                  Oooh Cafe Munir is great! Thanks for reminding me, I haven't been back in a while.

                                                              1. re: FoodDee

                                                                Intriguing link, thanks. I know the burger hunt is fraught, what with having to choose between the high-end, "fancy" offerings and the more traditional ones, but the first time I had a burger cooked to order was a revelation and I've made the quest part of my gastrotouristic endeavours ever since.

                                                                FWIW, I lean toward fancy but plain (quality meat without any additions, good cheddar, perfect bacon, more traditional condiments, you get my drift). And for the record, my current favourite burg is at Mission Bowling Club in San Francisco. Maybe I'll find a new champeen in Seattle!

                                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                                  Hey - another fellow Vancouverite chiming in for some reason.

                                                                  We were in Seattle for a quickie a few weeks ago and ate many delicious and amazing things as always. Most noteworthy though - and I know that you said you weren't feeling Italian lately - but seriously. The tasting menu at Altura was fantastic! It's very modern and interesting. I loves me some Spinasse but I thought with its approach, it might be a good replacement for Book Bindery (interested to see what they come up with next - I loved BB).

                                                                  1. re: NoMoreSnuggles

                                                                    The Altura offerings do look worthy, NMS, and I appreciate the suggestion. I guess it's not so much that I'm not feeling Italian as that we already have one Italian-adjacent dinner at La Medusa.

                                                                    Any other high points you'd care to mention? Specific snacks or dishes always welcome! (I take it Von Trapp's would be a pass for you?)

                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                      For sure. Lots of things that have already been mentioned above. I would +1 Columbia City breads (the bread situation in Vancouver depresses me to no end), everything at Crumble & Flake but especially the brownies, Paseo Caribbean roast, and the made-to-order doughnuts from Dahlia (if Seattle has a doughnut shop as good as Portland's Blue Star, I am not aware of it and will be upset that no one told me about it). The biscuits at Serious Biscuit are good but not unreal, though there's no better/equivalent at home so it's worth a go for brunch.

                                                                      As for individual dishes, I would single out the calamares from Harvest Vine, the kalbi at Joule, anything seafood at Canlis, the meatball or porchetta sandwich (or the gnocchi if you go on a Tuesday) at Salumi, and everything at Il Corvo. Don't make the same mistake we made last time we "weren't that hungry" and only order 2 of the 3 options - never again!

                                                                      Also, if you are going to Ballard, try a cone from Parfait.

                                                                      As for Altura, I get it. I brought it up because it was the first really memorable meal I've had this year and it's not standard Italian fare well executed; it's really creative food with strong Italian roots. There were things like a salad of raw thinly sliced porcini with salmon roe and bone marrow tuile. So it stood out.

                                                                      1. re: NoMoreSnuggles

                                                                        I went to Il Corvo for lunch today, got the squid ink gigli which was amazing (had tons of anchovies). Then got 3 kinds of meat at Salumi, and went to Columbia City Bakery for a baguette to eat with the salumi. So sad I missed the oxtail yesterday at Salumi...
                                                                        I need to get into La Medusa soon, they always blow my mind during the summer. I credit them with my love of garlic scapes.
                                                                        Altura is great but will be a very different meal than La Medusa. I wish La Medusa had a tasting menu, I'd totally drop Altura type coin there if they offered a big tasting menu.

                                                                        1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                          La Medusa does a special farmers market dinner on Wednesday evenings while the CC farmers market is running (June-Oct). It is especially noteworthy as all the locally farmed goodies start coming into season.

                                                                          1. re: Booklegger451

                                                                            I got that once and was less than impressed. Could have been the night I went though. I found the portions substantially smaller, the dishes were far less interesting too. The value was adequate but it's gotta be hard for a restaurant like Medusa to do 3 courses for $30 and have them be the same quality as the rest of the menu. I bet they're losing $ on that (in terms of opportunity cost).

                                                                            1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                              Not surprised. Lloyd Martin here on Queen Anne has done the market dinner also and the time we went it wasn't so hot.

                                                                        2. re: NoMoreSnuggles

                                                                          I don't particularly think of Altura as Italian the way La Medusa is Italian.

                                                                          1. re: NoMoreSnuggles

                                                                            We took the pro tip and ordered ahead by phone from Paseo Fremont. The Caribbean roast sando was ready at precisely 12:50 as I sailed smugly by the oceans of folks waiting in line and they even cut it in half for us. The meat was a bit dry and the onions bland when they weren't underdone, but I liked the taste of the pork and the hit of cilantro and jalapeno.

                                                                          2. re: grayelf

                                                                            La Medusa is a good choice -- low-key and unassuming but definitely a standout. Altura definitely merits a slot during your next Seattle visit.

                                                                            What did you choose for your high-end dinner? Is it still Canlis? If so, give them a call sometime beforehand and place a request for a window table. They don't finalize seating arrangements until just before dinner service but they do consider all requests.

                                                                            Skip Von Trapp's. The food is forgettable and it's often a zoo in there.

                                                                        3. re: grayelf

                                                                          Re: burgers
                                                                          Uneeda is inconsistent as other posters mention. My favorite burgers in the city are the Jak's burger, or Nordstrom Grill burger (really quite extraordinary, imo). Quinn's burger is quite good, but it's not the best thing on the menu, so I rarely order it (try the bone marrow, wild boar sloppy joe, or any fish - had an excellent halibut there on Monday, etc.). When I studied at the UW, I'd get the burger from Shultzy's on the Ave - they grind their own meat and it's quite good.

                                                                          I am not a fan of Skillet, and while the Two Bells burger is good, no fries is a deal killer for me.

                                                                          1. re: akq

                                                                            You guys are killing me (in a good way)! How'm I gonna fit in half these awesome reccos? Answer: more trips to Seattle.

                                                                            NMS, I feel your pain on the generally dreadful bread sitch at home, may have to bring some back from Columbia. Thanks for the brownie recc at C&F. I was targeting the cream puffs but will expand my goals :-). And for expressly mentioning the seafood at Canlis. It gets so much air time but I somehow hadn't got a sense of whether they did sea creatures extra well.

                                                                            Will order everything for sure at Il Corvo if we're lucky enough to get there in time. Sounds a bit like Burrasco in Portland, so I'm very keen to try.

                                                                            I keep hearing/reading that La Medusa is Sicilian but I'm not really getting that from the menu and they call themselves "Mediterranean" on the website. Still gonna try it, but just wonderin'...

                                                                            Hadn't caught wind of Jak's or Nordstrom Grill yet, added! No fries is a total deal killer, unless you are a Mission Bowling Club burger :-)

                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                              I guess it really is more Mediterranean (though Sicily is considered in the Mediterranean right?), the it's kind of a unique place either way. I think the menu has evolved a lot in the past 2 years, though some things have certainly stayed.

                                                                              If you want some good bread try stopping at the Co-Op in Bellingham for some Breadfarm bread. Haven't had it since I moved to Seattle but I remember that it was really great bread, one of the biggest things I miss about Bellingham.

                                                                              1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                                I'm really after the cheese dish at La Medusa, to be honest, though I'm sure it will all be great.

                                                                                Thanks for the B'ham bread tip, EFGM, will check it out.

                                                                                Gumption, I've been wondering if I should call to attempt a window seat at Canlis, so your note is timely. I can't remember if I asked for one when I made the reso on OT, but I have to call anyway to give them a new cell number so worth a shot.

                                                                                Too funny that Nordstrom Grill is part of Nordstrom's!

                                                                              2. re: grayelf

                                                                                Nordstrom Grill is in the basement men's section of downtown Nordstrom and serves surprisingly excellent food. My favs are the burger, the roast veg salad and their halibut. I used to work in the office tower across the street and it was one of my favorite sit-down lunch places in that area.

                                                                                Jak's is a steak restaurant and has locations in Laurelhurst (by UW), West Seattle and Issaquah. I usually dine at Laurelhurst and it's a good value, good service and good food, but no rezzies.

                                                                              3. re: akq

                                                                                Do you get the happy hour burger at Jak's or the standard one?

                                                                                I never felt Jak's was even a good burger but it turns out I'd just gotten the happy hour burger before. Going a second time and getting the real burger off the regular menu was a significant upgrade.

                                                                                1. re: GreenYoshi

                                                                                  I've had both and I thought they were the same, except I think they charge you more for the extras (cheese, bacon) on the HH burger...that said, looking back, I didn't enjoy the one at HH as much as ones I've had at dinner. Not sure why.

                                                                          2. Down to the short strokes on my itin as we're on our way to Seattle this Friday, woot!

                                                                            Anyone care to comment on which of the Rainshadows is favoured? Also any preference between the Paseo in Ballard and the one in Fremont?

                                                                            27 Replies
                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                              The only Rain Shadow to get sandwiches at is the one in Pioneer square, the one in Melrose Market doesn't serve any food, as it is a lot smaller.

                                                                              Paseo Ballard will likely have shorter lines. Probably worth calling your sandwich(es) in so you don't wait in a potentially 40+ min line. Ballard Paseos also has a lot more seating, but it's still not a lot of seating. The sandwiches are best eaten immediately, if driving somewhere with them, try to make it short.

                                                                              1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                                Thanks, especially for the warning re lineups at Paseo. I knew about Salumi's waits but didn't realize Paseo's were also epic. Will try to call ahead or substitute for something less popular :-).

                                                                                Another conundrum. La Carta de Oaxaca on Ballard sounds like a food cart but seems to be a bricks and mortar (website not helping). Is it sit down or no?

                                                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                                                  It's a full brick and mortar. Very popular place also, but I've never had to wait too long. There are all sorts of bars and stuff nearby you can grab a drink or some snacks at while you wait. Once we went over to Ballard Annex and had some oysters and snacks while we waited like 25 minutes for Carta Oaxaca to have a table for us.

                                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                                    La Carta also serves lunch which I found less of a wait and has 2 sister restaurants Mezcalaria Oaxaca in Queen Anne and Capitol Hill. Don't know how they compare.

                                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                                      I guess it could be timing but I have never had much of a line at paseos secondary location. I am always pleased with the pork shoulder sandwich but it is not always consistent. For example sometimes I wish I ordered extra pickled jalapenos, other times not. But not to be missed even if you eat on picnic tables outside.

                                                                                      1. re: divadmas

                                                                                        I've never waited long at the Ballard location either. I like to grab my Seared Scallop sandwich and head to Golden Gardens for a messy feast on the beach!

                                                                                        1. re: divadmas

                                                                                          Don't get to Paseo Ballard too late because on rare occasions, when it's sunny out and the Ballard beaches are hoppin', they do sometimes run out of the most popular sandwiches part way into dinner service.

                                                                                        2. re: grayelf

                                                                                          La carta is the Spanish word for "the menu", and has nothing to do with being a cart--it's very much a full restaurant.

                                                                                          1. re: dagoose

                                                                                            Thanks all -- I'm actually looking only at lunches/snacks/happy hours now as I locked down my dinner reservations a while back.

                                                                                            Il Corvo, Paseo and La Carta de Oaxaca are three definites for luncheon. Need 2 to 3 more solid options.

                                                                                            Struggling a bit on happy hours for some reason. There are lots but none are jumping out as offering tasty food, great beers and good cocktails all in one spot. Considering the food truck option at Two Beers/Seattle Cider on Fri or Sat afty as that would work re my cider jones.

                                                                                            Also still looking for "that" burger. Closest I've come so far is the description of the Smith's burger in this article from last year: http://www.seattlemet.com/eat-and-dri... Love the simplicity (and the potato bun, and the possibility of craft cocktails). Should I try it?

                                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                                              For HH, look at Ch'an for something different. Also, actually liked the HH and bar menu at Aragona better than the dinner menu. Cocktails are good at both but not sure about the beer since I don't drink it.

                                                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                Elysian bar for good beer/amazing cocktails. Maybe try the newly opened Damn the Weather in Pioneer Square? The Octopus Bar is different/fun and a really neat space, with some local beers on tap and good house cocktails.

                                                                                                Also I've had good cocktails at Smith, but never tried their burger. I usually just get something to nibble on, like the radishes with salt & butter.

                                                                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                  Smiths' burgers are solid-to-very good (well, at least they were a couple of years ago when I lived nearby), depending on the visit. Cocktails there are pretty good too. I wouldn't put them as a BEST in either category, but I never left Smith's disappointed (it does get pretty bustling depending on the day/time so be prepared for that).

                                                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                    Smith's is good but it is not "that" burger. As I mentioned above, my burger club ranks the burger at Roux #1. Palace Kitchen comes in at #2 and Red Cow at #3. Although the fries at Red Cow are the best in Seattle right now.

                                                                                                    1. re: Lauren

                                                                                                      Thanks for the added intel, y'all, I'll be combing through it tonight. I added another lunch option for Sat or Sun when I came across this: http://babarseattle.com/food/banh-coun/ Banh cuon is one of the SO's fave things in the world and we've been craving it since our top spot closed in Vancouver. Excited to try a version made with higher quality accoutrements.

                                                                                                      Rainshadow PSQ and Tat's also making the short list. We may end up going heavier on the sandwiches than I planned but so be it!

                                                                                                      1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                        I love the Ba Bar and in fact just had lunch there today. Recommended, but it's not the most comfortable spot - tables are a little close together and the seats are a bit hard for my taste.

                                                                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                          Heavy on the sandwiches is a pretty good plan, at this moment in culinary time, in Seattle. We seem to be in a sandwich renaissance.

                                                                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                            Were you able to track down the banh cuon? Curious as to how it turned out.

                                                                                                            1. re: gumption

                                                                                                              Missed this question earlier, gumption. Banh cuon at Ba Bar quite worthy, though the onions are cut too big for my taste. The noodles are gossamer thin. And the SO discovered kombucha on tap here and is now a convert. Agree the benches are a bit hard and the tables a bit tight but nice in the daytime. Too bad they have a different menu at happy hour that isn't available at lunch or we would have tried the frites, the chicken wings or the skewers. Instead we got an okayish cucumber salad and a cronut (!).

                                                                                                              Working on a fuller trip report...

                                                                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                This thread has been a pleasure to read. Thanks for keeping us all engaged.

                                                                                                        2. re: grayelf

                                                                                                          Hi, grayelf:

                                                                                                          You might find Le Zinc's burger and HH to be to your liking. http://www.le-zn.com/

                                                                                                          They have been doing mussel Wednesdays for awhile, when mussels are FREE as long as you buy *something* (including drinks, bread, really anything). Other days of the week, mussels are $8 during HH (4-6) and $18 other times.

                                                                                                          Another good HH is Il Bistro's.


                                                                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                            FREE mussels at Le Zinc on Wednesdays?! Hope that's still going on when I visit in August -- mussels at Le Zinc were already a planned stop and if I can get 'em for free, even better!

                                                                                                            1. re: Bax

                                                                                                              Hi, Bax:

                                                                                                              I called today to verify they're still doing Mussel Wednesdays. The free moules are the classic Mariniere prep, not the ones done Homard or in Madiera cream.

                                                                                                              Another of the hidden great things about Le Zinc is the reserved-space parking garage attached to the building--no small feat on Capitol Hill.

                                                                                                              Parris Broderick, the Md', is fantastic, and definitely not hidden.


                                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                I need to get in there for that. The parking garage is a big factor for me. I hate dickin' around on the hill trying to find a spot.

                                                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                  Thanks for the info, Kaleo! I usually get the Mariniere anyway, so that definitely works for me.

                                                                                                            2. re: grayelf

                                                                                                              Your happy criteria that demands "tasty food, great beers and good cocktails all in one spot" reminds me of the old business cliche that with the trinity of low price, speed, and quality, it is possible to have any two, but never all three.

                                                                                                              On Capitol Hill, Quinn's does not (I think) do a happy hour per se, but they do have a great bar menu with a lot of small plates at all hours, with a very strong list of Northwest beers and a good Bourbon list. Tavern Law has a deep bar, good cocktails, and very high end bar food. Within a block of TL you'll also find high French bistro style bites and winr & drinks at Cafe Presse, and a boistrous bar scene with very decent (Mexican themed) food and cocktails at Barrio.

                                                                                                              Agree with Kaleo that Il Bistro at the Pike Place Market is a very cozy place to burrow in at happy hour, and you are near other great spots in the Market and nearby (like the Spanish-themed Aragona) if you feel like a little spontaneous hopping. Hopping is good, for at least one night on what might otherwise be a rigidly planned itinerary.

                                                                                                              The people at Rob Roy in Belltown understand the art of the cocktail, and watching them shave the correct bar ice is a lot of fun.

                                                                                                              If you are willing to have more than one experience, that lean in the direction of cocktails, beer, food, you will have a more successful set of experiences than trying to cover all three under the same roof, at least IMO. Enjoy, grayelf, and please give us a good trip report afterwards!

                                                                                                              1. re: Gizmo56

                                                                                                                I should have been clearer: we're fine creating our own happy hour a la Quinn's if it get us the elusive holy trinity. And it is hard to do, I know!

                                                                                                                Today's mini-report: Tire fandango followed by rotten traffic on Mercer (gah) and wrong addy (my fault) for Analog. Nerves were soothed by standout java and France vs Nigeria. Second favourite coffee place so far after Slate. Macarina scones were decent too.

                                                                                                                Rock star parking at Il Corvo and about a 15 min wait. Pastas were cooked well but sauces disappointing. Fave was the bolognese.

                                                                                                                MOHAID and tour of the being-restored Lightship worked up a thirst for Pine Box. We sat with the co-owners and chatted about the beer and coffee scene in Seattle whilst enjoying several fine hops-based beverages, including a Hale's cask ale. Another great pretzel here. The most relaxing beer bar we've tried so far. The SO wandered up to check out the Stumbling Monk while I perused the fare in the Melrose Marketplace, then we met up for oysters (him) and freshly killed spot prawn (me). Damn those things are mean, but tasty :-). He had 8 oysters (2 each of 4 kinds) and was surprised how much each one differed from the next, even between the pairs.

                                                                                                                Canlis was tonight and it was a worthy experience. Not our usual style of dining but enjoyable and impressive. Pretty low on the pretention scale though most deffo 1%-centred. I'll write more later but suffice to say that a Wagyu beef New York strip is a thing of (mid-) rare beauty ;-). And so to bed.

                                                                                                              2. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                Smith's turned out to be a great choice for a burger -- just what I like, good lettuce, ripe tomato, melty cheddar and mid rare beefy goodness. I thought I'd miss the condiments (the bun comes dry) but I did not as the patty was juicy without dribbling everywhere.

                                                                                                                The potato bun from Columbia City Bakery was very tasty (we've now had their bread products at several different places and have been extremely impressed) if a tad harder/chewier than I'm used to with potato buns.

                                                                                                                I kind of impressed myself today by remembering that Smith's offers shisitos when the SO requested same. They were well prepared but maybe a little pricey -- we missed HH pricing because of an extended tour of your excellent zoo. Scotch egg here is also worthy. It was fun to be in on a bit of the offshoot of the new Pride Day celebration they had on the Saturday! Now to avoid getting caught up in the parade traffic tomorrow as we are right on the route...

                                                                                                      2. This thread needs a sticky.
                                                                                                        Hope your trip is going well grayelf.

                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: EatFoodGetMoney


                                                                                                          I decided to toss in a few tidbits as I go along and have a few moments with the wifi behaving so you can see for yourself. I'll do my usual longwinded ramble with pix when I get back home.

                                                                                                          Any really good lunch options around Capitol Hill on a Sunday? The places I've staked out are all closed tomorrow for lunch, oops.

                                                                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                            I like Mamnoon, I haven't eaten a lot of weekend lunches on Capitol Hill though to be honest.

                                                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                              On 12th, Cafe Presse, BaBar, Manhattan, and Barrio are all open for lunch or brunch on Sunday.

                                                                                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                  Also could try Harvest Vine for brunch, or Monsoon for brunch/lunch. I like them both, Harvest Vine is my favorite Seattle brunch.

                                                                                                                  1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                                                                    Morsel was phenomenal, great capp too. O's vegan fritter,cold brew and kombucha at Victrola all aces. Still cogitating re lunch. Are food trucks at Fremont mkt worthy?

                                                                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                      I have only been to the Fremont market once and it was so underwhelming I left almost immediately. Unless it has changed a lot, it's not worth it. I like the West Seattle farmers market, but it closes at 2 today.

                                                                                                                      1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                        love falafel salam~! best falafel i've had in seattle :)

                                                                                                                2. G-elf, thanks for keeping the board updated on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: firecracker

                                                                                                                    Well it's all been at least good, no frog kissing yet! Just haven't been wowed by many items/places, perhaps understandable in such a short trip.

                                                                                                                    Coffee and baking have been the standouts so far (Seattle is kicking Portland, OR's butt on the coffee per the SO). Beer/beer experiences have been weaker. Brouwer's was okay but a weird room and kind of unfriendly service -- first place we've encountered that won't do tastes on taps. Sixgill was friendly but the food wasn't great and the room trying a bit too hard.

                                                                                                                    Lunch at Tamarind Tree was good but not stellar. The banh xeo was bland, partly because of the unbalanced nuoc cham which is in some ways the star of this comfort foody dish. The SO's broken rice special was much better with his favourite egg pie and flavourful pork that wasn't tough.

                                                                                                                    Lark last night was impressive. Great service, lovely room (though what's up with the hospital curtains in the middle of it?), reasonable prices for quality plates. You do have to mix and match a bit though as some of the plates are really sides. Sadly we discovered a Robertson screw stuck in one of our tires last night so guess what we're doing this am? Gots to find a good coffee place on the way to lower Queen Anne from downtown...

                                                                                                                    Fun fact: neither of us had tried kombucha prior to this trip. The SO is a full-on convert, having enjoyed the draft versions at both Ba Bar and Victrola. We also heard from a fellow that there is kombucha beer so may have to give that a whirl.

                                                                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                      One more coffee shop recommendation between downtown and Queen Anne:

                                                                                                                      * Street Bean Espresso (http://streetbeanespresso.org): I have not tried it yet, but had two recommendations yesterday from very reliable sources that it is fantastic. They are apparently serving Verve coffee (San Fran.) and Heart (Portland).

                                                                                                                      1. re: mforbes

                                                                                                                        With so many fine roasters in Washington, I'm not sure why you'd seek out a coffee house serving out of state coffee.

                                                                                                                        I'd also suggest the Molten Chocolate Cakery at 5427 Ballard Ave NW (pretty close to Cafe Besalu). They are the only place in Seattle where you can get national award winning Blue Star coffee. It's roasted in the small town of Twisp, WA, by Dan Donohue. Dan is a legend in both coffee roasting and cacao (chocolate making) circles.

                                                                                                                        1. re: RandyB

                                                                                                                          So tomorrow I'm getting the SO to drop me at Toulouse Petite while he gets the tire replaced (they had to special order it, sigh) where I'll try their breakfast happy hour. That should set me up for a while. We'll swing by Fuji Bakery or Le Panier and get him a pastry and a coffee from Seattle Coffee Works to keep him going while he's stuck in Goodyear hell, poor fellow. Then maybe a toddle around Volunteer Park/Conservatory, or the Asian Museum to see the Japanese Art Deco exhibit.

                                                                                                                          I understand there is a fairly key soccer game at 1 pm so we may have to find a spot to watch that for Himself. I know it's been asked and answered on other threads but where would you go at lunchtime on a Tuesday to catch an important World Cup game with good beer and decent snacks? Naked City. perhaps?

                                                                                                                          The Beveridge Place, Beer Junction, Maritime, Reuben's and Machine House all came up today as worthy. Would any of these work for the futbol?

                                                                                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                            Beveridge place is a huge futbol bar! Great beer selection, as well. Every bartender I know is pulling an early shift today, so I don't think there will be a shortage of places to watch.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Brunhilde

                                                                                                                              We didn't make it to Beveridge but caught most of the first half in Spanish at Senor Moose (great place) and then the rest wandering around Ballard -- it was indeed on EVERYWHERE! Sorry the USA didn't make it further but a valiant effort.

                                                                                                                              We kissed our first frogs today with pretty awful food at Naked City -- beer and cider was good though. Had to bail on Westward as the place was just too hot. Ended up at Green Leaf which was just okay. I think maybe we are spoiled for Vietnamese at home.

                                                                                                                        2. re: mforbes

                                                                                                                          they used to be amazing. last time i went there it was absolutely horrible. a great cause, though.