In my last post I talked about all the things we saw and did while in Seattle. And so, without further ado, here's where we ate.
Where to Eat
Local 360 -- We had brunch here on our first full Saturday in Seattle, and it was easily one of my favorite meals on our trip. Local 360 has a neat restaurant concept: They only get ingredients from within 360 miles of Seattle. It could have been this freshness, but it was also likely the Southern-inspired cuisine, that made our meal there so delicious. I can highly recommend my Hangtown Fry, which consisted of an open-face bacon and caramelized onion omelette topped with Creole spiced oysters and a celery root remoulade. Matt also had some pretty legit Fried Chicken and Waffles with a maple-pepper jelly and a freshly baked Cherry Bread with Bourbon Butter, which was a special for the day. If you go, don't miss out on their Sangria and Mimosa Pitchers at brunch!
Biscuit Bitch -- I have two words to describe Biscuit Bitch: hot mess. We got our meals to go from their Belltown location, and after tasting my Gritty Scrambled Cheesy Bitch with biscuits, gravy, cheese, scrambled eggs, and garlic grits, I can see why the line was so long. It was hard to tell where one food began and the other ended in the container, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Their food would be perfect for a hangover, though I found my meal to be excellent even without it.
Seattle Cider -- Even though we had to take a taxi to get out to Seattle Cider in the Industrial District, the ride was worth it for the chance to try their hard cider. I do like cider, but I'd never had so many different kinds of cider until I tried their tasting tray with the Olympic Honey Cider, Citrus Cider, Blackberry Raspberry Wild, and Gin Botanical Cider. While I had fun trying each one, I'm afraid I'm a bit of a traditionalist and preferred the honey cider. If you're not a cider lover, they had plenty of beer on tap and by the bottle, including a rather tasty Pumpkin Spice Ale. I'm just sad Leo couldn't have been with us as I saw a few dogs there hanging out while their owners played pool or darts.
Patxi's Pizza -- Patxi's delivery service took a while from Ballard, but it was worth it for the deep dish-style pizza. Of course the classic Margherita was delicious, and I also liked the Special that we had with spinach and olives. I thought it was a bit odd at first that the sauce was layered on top of the toppings, however, I really liked the layer of cheese beneath it. Who wouldn't?
Kukai Ramen -- Jet-lagged and sleep-deprived, we stumbled down to this ramen shop on our first night in Seattle. There are just four locations on the West Coast; the rest are all in Japan. The authenticity definitely showed, too, as I could easily have imagined us back on our vacation in Tokyo. My Tsukemen dipping noodles in their rich broth were just what I needed after our long flight, and I savored my Geso Karaage (deep-fried squid tentacles) after months of Stuttgart's relative lack of seafood (the city is pretty far from the ocean, after all). I should also note that the service was excellent: charismatic, attentive, and everything I've come to expect from American waitstaff.
Katsu Burger -- Whoever had the idea of putting tonkatsu on a burger was brilliant! We had a great time at this Japanese-themed burger joint out in Georgetown where we each ordered a different burger and shared. I got to try the Tokyo Classic with a breaded and fried beef patty, Japanese mayo, and tonkatsu sauce; the Ninja Deluxe with a breaded and fried pork cutlet, cheddar cheese, bacon, Japanese mayo, and tonkatsu sauce; the Godzilla Attack with a breaded and fried beef patty, pepper jack cheese, 12 spice blend, jalapeños, spicy mayo, and tonkatsu sauce; and the Wabi Wasabi with a breaded and fried beef patty, pepper jack cheese, wasabi mayo, and tonkatsu sauce. As a side, we also tried the curry fries. To wash it all down, we drank Japanese bottled tea and a Pumpkin and Black Sesame Milkshake. It was just too bad that we weren't able to make it back for seconds.
Skycity Restaurant -- I hear all the tourists eat here, but how many times can you say that you've dined in a rotating restaurant? I felt like I was in Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, a 2012 novel about a young Seattle girl, her agoraphobic mother, and their planned trip to Antarctica. In one scene in the novel, the characters eat at this restaurant, despite the tourists (I won't give away any more than that in case you decide to pick it up). And though I'll be the first to say that the food was slightly overpriced, the presentation was stunning, and it's the view that you pay for, anyway. We dined on Roasted Marrow Bones with lamb bacon and sourdough bread, King Salmon with fingerling potatoes, huckleberries, and chanterelles, and Prime Rib (one of the specials) with Duck Fat Fries. And since we didn't know when we'd ever be back in a rotating restaurant, we splurged on dessert and went for the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bread Pudding with salted caramel and crème anglaise. Even though the food sounds fancy, the dress code was not: you're free to wear whatever you like in the laid back atmosphere (within reason, of course).
Tip: Although dinner was somewhat expensive, you do get a ride to the observation deck included in your ticket (much like dining at the Jules Verne in Paris), which, in my mind, makes the dinner seem more reasonably priced. If you're still not convinced, try going for lunch instead to save a buck.
Top Pot Doughnuts -- I do miss local donut shops, and Top Pot is easily one of the best I've been to. (My favorite is still probably Spudnuts in Charlottesville, VA.) They had everything from cake donuts to old-fashioned donuts, though my favorite was their special Glazed Pumpkin Old-fashioned. I washed it down with one of the best Pumpkin Spice Lattes that I've had in my life (sorry, Starbucks). If you go, plan on taking a dozen to go because one will never be enough.
Holy Mountain Brewery -- Though it might look like you're walking into a warehouse in the middle of nowhere, I promise Holy Mountain Brewery out near Queen Anne is worth it. I tried their tasty Kiln & Cone Pale Ale, which is so good thanks to the large number of hops with which they brew it, that they only sell it in the tap room. My brother-in-law had the right idea: He brought a growler and filled up on their Black Beer while we were there. I can only hope that Stuttgart's local craft brewers will aspire to the likes of Holy Mountain. Plus, can I just say that their logo looks like the Deathly Hallows?
The Walrus and the Carpenter -- This was probably my favorite meal in Seattle. Not only is the restaurant named after a Lewis Carroll poem, but their oyster bar is stunning. We got really lucky and only had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. (They don't take reservations, and I've heard that wait times can be upwards of 90 minutes.) We ordered a selection of oysters, of course, and I had fun trying each one down the line, from less to more salty, including the Penn Cove, Judd Cove, Hama Hama, Samish, Chef Creek, Stellar Bay, Treasure Cove, Sea Cow, Baywater Sweet, and Dabob Bay. We also dined on several of their small plates, including the French Onion Soup, Beet Salad, Fried Oysters, Octopus, and Potted Crab. The sliced octopus was particularly interesting as I've never eaten it that way before. Somehow, we also managed to fit dessert here, too. While I really liked my Pumpkin Cheesecake, I can't stress enough how much you must try the Roasted Medjool Dates. I've never had them prepared like this before with salt and oil; they were simply divine.
Serious Pie & Biscuit -- Of course, we had to go to one of Tom Douglas's restaurants. This location in the South Lake Union neighborhood is actually the second one, serving both the original pizzas of the Pike Street location plus biscuits. I really enjoyed the crispy thin crust and fresh ingredients in my Lamb Sausage, Delicata Squash, Newaukum Valley Mustard Greens, and Grana Padano Pizza. Matt, on the other hand, opted for the Fennel Sausage Biscuit. Both were excellent. I also got to try my first double IPA, the Heathen Alphadesiac IIPA from Vancouver. At 8.9%, it was a stronger, hoppier cousin to the standard IPA (though very filling and probably not something that I could drink with every meal),
Tip: The South Lake Union Serious Pie & Biscuit is the only one that serves biscuits. It also tends not to have quite such a long line as the restaurant's first location, so go here to get the same great food but without the wait.
Salumi -- One thing I really miss in Germany are American-style sandwiches. Salumi made them particularly well, though I was told that the sandwich shop was a secondary business. The real business is their cured meats, and the sandwich shop was just an afterthought. No matter what the case, I'm glad they decided to sell their meats sliced on bread. I really enjoyed my Muffaletta, while Matt opted for a simpler Salami and Mozzarella Sandwich with onions and peppers. As much as a I love German Wurst, the Italians sure know how to make some delicious salami.
Saké Nomi -- One of our last stops on our trip was to this delightful saké bar in the historic Pioneer Square. The shop is owned by a man named Johnnie and his Japanese wife. Apparently he goes back to Japan every year to hand-select bottles of saké for his shop, as well as to make tasting samplers and share his wisdom and love of saké with his customers. Matt and I each went for the three-glass sampler so that we got to try all six on the menu, including the Narutotai "Naruto's Sea Bream", the Shichida Junmai, the Kuroushi "Black Bull", the Tsukinowa Yoinotsuki "Midnight Moon", the Akashimizu Kimoto, and the Kikusui no Karakuchi. I honestly don't know that much about saké, so it was pretty neat to taste each kind and find the differences in smoothness and sweetness between them.
Tsukushinbo -- You won't find a a website for Tsukushinbo. In fact, you won't even find a sign in front of the restaurant. Nevertheless, this nondescript Japanese sushi restaurant makes some amazing sushi. (It was recommended to us by Johnnie, the owner of Saké Nomi, who knows the chefs.) To start, I tried the Geoduck, a kind of clam native to the West Coast, and (my favorite) Tempura-fried Soft Shell Crab. Then I had one of the sushi tasting menus with a Tuna Roll, Tuna Nigiri, Salmon Nigiri, Yellowtail Nigiri, Flounder Nigiri, Shrimp Nigiri, Clam Nigiri, Salmon Roe Nigiri, Eel Nigiri, and Scallop Nigiri. The fish was incredibly fresh, which I would expect coming from a sea-side city, and something that can be hard to find in Stuttgart, Germany. This was exactly the kind of meal I needed before returning to the delicious, but largely seafood-less cuisine of Southern Germany.
As you can see, we had some really delicious meals in Seattle. Eating there reminded me of how much I miss seafood in my diet, how innovative American cuisine can be, and how I would probably weigh about ten pounds more if I lived there. There really is something special about the fusion of American cuisine, and I like this recent focus on local since it reflects what I love about German cuisine.
All that said, we barely scratched Seattle's culinary surface. I would have liked to have tried a couple of bars that I read about, namely Bathtub Gin and ZigZag, as well as Tom Douglas's other restaurants, including Seatown and Dhalia Lounge. Matt also raved about the salted caramel ice cream (salted caramel seems to be a big deal in Seattle) at Full Tilt that he had on his trip last year. And, of course, there were other tours and museums to have visited, including the Seattle Art Museum.
Perhaps it's good, though, that I've left so much undone, because it means they'll be plenty more to see (and eat) when I return. And since I now have family living there, I know I'll be back again soon.