Ah, Seattle. Pioneer Square, the Space Needle, and most importantly... the exploding epicenter for the best of Pan-Pacific food. I could not love this city more. The incredible local biodiversity, access to the ocean, eclectic people and the art scene all contribute to a thriving food culture.
Our first stop for the weekend was one that I've never been to before, as I typically avoid the straight-up tourist scene whenever possible. This one, though... I can see the appeal. The Crab Pot is a classic. They have a quick service front, full-service restaurant in the back, and a seafood counter where you can grab something to go.
We opted for outdoor seating, as the weather was completely spectacular. It was nothing short of charming with the Seattle Great Wheel peeking through in the background, and right on the waterfront.
Due to the fact that this was our very first stop for food, I was dying for some fresh oysters and a good Bloody Mary. The oysters, though delicious, were riddled with bits of shell, so I had to be really careful so as not to ruin my experience. Somewhat disappointing, but the drink was spicy and a good pairing with the fresh, briny oysters.
When in Seattle, as an Inlander you need to take advantage of the amazing seafood here. I'm about to do just that in the tackiest, most hilariously fun way I can imagine. I mean, it's a full-on bib and hammer experience.
Then, they literally pour your dinner out on the table. You can choose from a selection of crab, mussels, clams, fish, shrimp and potatoes and corn. It. Is. Delicious. Order small and ask for just one at a time. It gets cold quick, and the magic is gone once the temperature on that mountain of goodness drops.
Close up, it's a thing of beauty.
Each one of us was blown away by our order. We won't be able to eat normally for the rest of the day.
The snow crab was impeccable and my very favorite, but it was really hard to get into. If you bring a date, make sure it's not a first date. That could get awkward quickly.
We chose to walk off our meal and enjoy the waterfront. The weather was perfect, and the people watching was prime. We went down to the market and checked out the gum wall until we were ready for a cocktail.
For me, there is one spot that stands out for its fabulous ambiance, great drinks and wonderful small bites in Seattle. Formerly Art, the now Goldfinch Tavern at the Four Seasons is reasonably priced and full of great options for any budget. Their drinks are second to none. I, personally, love a great specialty cocktail that isn't too sweet and has complexity that wine alone can't offer, so I often ask for the house specialty. I was not disappointed with their American Goldfinch.
Their wine list doesn't suck, either. Lots of great choices by the glass, both local and imported.
One of the great things here is their cheese board. After our overly-indulgent lunch, we opted to share this in lieu of a heavy meal. We needed to save ourselves for the market in the morning!
The next day, we sauntered down to Pike's Place Market to get some wonderful treats to eat as we wandered, and to bring back home. I'm not one for the huge crowds, but the pure density of great food and wine here is unlike anything in the US except maybe Fisherman's Wharf in San Fransisco. My first stop at the market is always my favorite bakery - Le Panier. They are home to excellent desserts, great coffee and wonderful bread.
My kids always request macarons in every flavor. It is something they consistently look forward to when I arrive home from a trip. Perfectly crispy outside, chewy inside and delicate flavors. What's not to love?
Their eclairs are best eaten right away. Pistachio is my personal favorite.
This place is always very busy, but the line moves fast. Don't be intimidated by seeing it go out the door. It'll take about 15 minutes to get to order from there.
Next, I had to stop by my favorite fish markets. Many places will ship so that you don't have to try to get these treasures home. Definitely picked up a sack 'o' Alaskan King Crab. Indulgent and the perfect treat when it arrives home.
This particular stall had some great shrimp cocktail cups to go, so I snagged one to eat in Post Alley where there are some cute little tables that are fair game. I love wandering and trying little bites. To me, that's the ultimate in culinary travel.
Of course, you can't go to the market and not grab a big, beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers. They get some real stunners from growers all around the world here.
Another delightful Post Alley stop was The Tasting Room. I stumbled upon this place by accident while looking for The Pink Door, and it was a great way to get to know some Washington wines that I was yet unfamiliar with. I left happily with a bottle of Rosé for our cellar.
Cheers! Day drinking at its finest. Next door, there was an incredibly raucous crowd for a birthday party, and it was the best entertainment on the otherwise quiet avenue.
Of course, I couldn't go to Seattle without trying to catch one of my favorite friends for an evening out - Greg Kauwe of NomNerd notoriety/fame/legend. The walk to one of his favorite spots - Good Bar - was nothing short of picturesque this time of year. This dude lives a foodie's fairy tale, but it's his actual life.
Not only does he have a piercingly sharp wit, but he really knows his stuff when if comes to the local food scene. He is an avid food tourist who has a reservation for Noma 1.0 in the spring just before they close foreer, and I'm totally not, ok, I'm *cripplingly* jealous.
This dude - such a great host!
At Good Bar, of course the staff knows him by name. They immediately offered us (ok, offered him and then begrudgingly gave me a glass, too) a brand new small batch whiskey from Copperworks, which was actually quite good. A little hot for my taste, but a nice smokiness and smooth on the finish.
Our last stop for the evening was the legendary Pink Door. Back in Post Alley, the nondescript entrance was relatively tough to find, but once we did, we were blown away. We were there for the cabaret show, and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. Service was sketchy at best, but the food was worth the trouble. Fresh Pappardelle alá Bolognese made me swoon. It had the best shaved Pecorino Romano that has that delightful, almost crispy texture and beautifully aged. The noodles were perfectly al-dente and the sauce was the envy of any devoted Nonna.
The show itself was a lesson in grace and subtlety. Kidding! It was a take-no-prisoners, slap-ya-mama, in-your-face burlesque show with a witty edge. We cracked up from beginning to end.
The next morning, we had time for one last stop. I opted for the Tom Douglas phenom, Serious Pie on Pike Street. It was every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped.
My husband, being the pizza snob that he is, was drooling with every photo I sent. I opted for the soft eggs pizza and yukon gold potato pizzas to share with our group. The pizza oven they use made for a perfectly crispy and airy crust with a great chewy center. The wood fire gave it that distinctive smoky edge. Heaven.
I blessedly didn't have a single food flop on this trip. I'm already looking forward to my next jaunt over the mountains so that I can discover some new Seattle eats.