Sunday, May 8, 2011

Little Black Book : Seattle Restaurants

I promised to tell you about a few restaurants not to miss in Seattle and I don't make promises I cannot keep, so my Sunday morning this week was spent being lazy in bed with my laptop and a cup of tea, waiting for photos to upload. Glorious. I have worked in restaurants for twelve years now so when I travel, I tend to make eating an important part of my excursions and have found that Seattle is a wonderful place for foodies to visit because you can try fabulous dishes and great wines without spending much money at all. I must warn you, we tried way too many restaurants and ate waaaaay too much food so please don't judge me, I am not usually this much of a glutton. Ok maybe I am a little, but that was excessive, even for me.

Last week we packed our bags and our little dog into our little mini and left for Seattle.

We stayed at the Hotel Andra, which I recommend, if only for the location. I also happen to find it quite comfortable and have not heard of better value in Seattle yet. Our first destination was the amazing oyster bar The Walrus and The Carpenter.

It is located in Ballard, a little further away from the downtown district but well worth the short taxi ride across the bridge. When you walk down Ballard street, which is a lovely stroll in itself, you will reach a point when you think the end of the street is near and nothing else would be of any interest past your location. Keep walking. The Walrus and The Carpenter is two blocks further, in a surprisingly charming industrial building.

The thing about this restaurant is that is is not merely an oyster bar. EVERYTHING is great, unique and I think that it is of very good value. (Also, don't miss happy hour from 4pm to 6pm, Sundays through Thursday.) The room is cozy and it feels like an oyster shack, but an upscale one, with zinc countertops and industrial lighting. Super cute. You kind of feel like you are on vacation instantly, which is never a bad thing.

There were oysters of course, kumamotos, kusshis, olympias and sweetwaters...

...roasted almonds with espelette pepper and sea salt...

...and black radish salads ....

...unbelievable seared merjool dates with olive oil and sea salt...

...and of course there were delicious cocktails...oooh the cocktails! I am usually a wine drinker and generally stay away from hard liquor, but this place is dangerous. It makes me want to have a whole room full of booze in my house (not a shelf, a room!) and make myself a cocktail or two everyday before dinner, you know, while I vacuum and wash dishes or something...

The menu can be seen here, though it changes regularly, and you can also take a look at the restaurant itself, their photo gallery is nice. It is such a sweet space! For the decorator in you, take a look at Remodelista's post which features photos and explanations of the renovations. Thank you for a lovely afternoon, dear Walrus and Carpenter.

Our next stop was Delancey's, a small neighbourhood pizza restaurant owned by Brandon Petit and Molly Winzenberg, the author of my favourite food blog, Orangette (if you like to cook and bake and haven't looked at her blog yet, shame on you. That is all I have to say.) Simple and tasty are key words to describe Delancey's. No fuss, no pretension, no flashy decor, just delicious wood-fire goodness. I understand that when it comes to pizza, expectations are different and people's preferences vary quite a bit. Delancey's has the thinnest, chewiest of all pizzas and I love it. I have been known to travel for good pizza and when the craving comes every so often, I want to head to Delancey's. My favourite is the margherita but my three dining mates seemed to think that the bacon and onion won the competition.

I apologize for the terrible photos. The lighting was quite low and my poor little camera was having a hard time with it. I cannot wait to get a better camera. I could just 'borrow' photos from the restaurant website, but where's the fun in that? Anyway, awful lighting and all, doesn't that pizza look amazing? It is.

After Delancey's, just because we needed more drinks, we stopped at Zigzag for a nightcap. An impressive list of liquor and cocktails made that desire for a room full of booze return. This place if for those who can appreciate a ten-page selection of tequilas and gins and recognize a good bartender by his incredible knowledge and generous pours. Looking forward to returning there for sure.

I woke up surprisingly refreshed and inexplicably hungry the next day so we hit Macrina Bakery for breakfast.

It's a busy place so expect line-ups and maybe even a little chaos but trust me, it's worth it if delicious scones, cakes and quiches are your thing. Their selection is big and you might even be somewhat overwhelmed if you haven't had your first coffee of the morning and are expected to choose amongst dozens of pastries. Just point at the closest one, it won't matter which one your finger lands on, it will be good. I brought back their cookbook as a souvenir so you will hear more about this bakery shortly. Recommendations and recipes to follow!

Then there's Pike Place Market...

After that, we had more pizza. As I write this, I'm feeling a touch embarrassed by how much food we ended up ingesting. I insist on pointing out that we are starved for decent pizza here in Vancouver and that is the reason why I go crazy on it when I find myself in a city that knows how to bake proper dough. (yes, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.) In retrospect, if you're going to try many different restaurants in two days, my advice is not to fill yourself up with too much dough. It takes up precious space in your stomach. That was a rookie mistake, I should know better... but how could I resist Serious Pie? Look at that!

Serious Pie is actually located across the street from the Hotel Andra and also conveniently, Tom Douglas also owns the bakery next door so desserts are pretty amazing, especially the cannoli.

I saved the best for last. Welcome to Spinasse. Northern Italy food, Northern Italy wines. It does not get better than this.

The little nest of pasta above is the sage butter tajarin...oooh yeah. WARNING: DO NOT SKIP THIS DISH.

Next time we go, I will be trying The Boat Street Cafe and Sitka and Spruce came highly recommended. I also really want to go to a baseball game, Canadians simply do not get into it as much. I think I need a little time to recover from this though. I realize that this post makes me sound like a tour guide, as if I work for Rick Steve or Lonely Planet, and for that I am sorry! Hopefully you got the itch to go try these restaurants next time you find yourself in Seattle though... I'm sure that we missed some great places so feel free to give me recommendations!


  1. Good god, with your pizzas! It's 10 : 41 and your pregnant old friend is now starving for one! Thanks, I Know what we're cooking tonight. By any chance, do you have a NY gastronomic post ? I know I'll go to Momofuku, but still open to suggestions

  2. I haven't been to NYC in over two years and the city changes all the time, but I have a handful of favourite restaurants that I never miss, I will make sure to send you the names in the next day or two before you go. I won't have any pictures though! hihi!


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