If you travel to eat, there’s more to Seattle than flying fish. Wander away from the Pike Place Market and Tom Douglas restaurants and dig a little deeper, because the Emerald City’s eats have never been better. Here’s a prime baker’s dozen to set you on the right course.
1. Waffles in your PJs
Ace Hotel; 2423 1st Ave.; (206) 448-4721
In the early morning hours, a deep, bakery aroma wafts through the 28 rooms at the hip, affordable Ace Hotel, where guests stumble downstairs for coffee from Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters and hot Belgian waffles that come standard with the stay. Ideally situated near some of the city’s best eateries and bars, the folks behind the front desk — ask for Ed — have the latest scoop on the food and spirits scene.
2. Egg bialy with bacon
Macrina Bakery; 2408 1st Ave.; (206) 448-4032; see website for two other locations
At Macrina Bakery, Leslie Mackie, a four-time nominee for the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Pastry Chef award, serves a killer breakfast. Pair a rich, expertly made Americano with her egg sandwich: two fried eggs, thick bacon, creamy goat cheese, roasted tomatoes, Dijon mustard and fresh basil sandwiched in a toasted, house-made onion bialy. Hello, sunshine.
3. Cured meats sampler plate Salumi Artisan Cured Meats; 309 3rd Ave. South; (206) 223-0817
The porchetta gets a lot of love at Salumi Artisan Cured Meats, but go for the cured meats sampler plate with cheese and olives to taste a perfect snapshot of co-founder Armandino Batali’s (yep, that Batali’s father) best work. If you’re lucky, it might include fragrant citrus and cardamom agrumi, mole salami, the house’s signature salami with ginger and smoky hot sopressata served with a thick slab of tongue-tingling Provolone Picante and house-cured olives.
4. Cuban Roast and black beans
Paseo; 4225 Fremont Ave. N; (206) 545-7440 or 6226 Seaview Ave. NW; (206) 789-3100
Don’t worry, the line moves fast at Paseo, home of the exquisitely messy Cuban Roast, a crusty sandwich piled with silky, slow-roasted pork shoulder, buttery grilled onions and jalapenos. (The grilled onions are so popular that you can order them in a sandwich by themselves.) Fill any square inch of leftover room with a bowl of gently sweet, soupy black beans.
5. Olympic Sculpture Park
2901 Western Ave.; (206) 654-3100
Sculptor Richard Serra didn’t likely have bacon in mind when he created his wavy, rust-red “Wake, 2004,” a mammoth, five-piece weathering steel sculpture at the Olympic Sculpture Park, but you’d be hard pressed not to imagine everybody’s favorite breakfast meat when you lay eyes on it. This Seattle Art Museum offshoot will play host to its first farmers market this summer, running mid-July through early September. With the casual TASTE Cafe sharing the grounds, good art is synonymous with a full belly.
6. Smoked salt caramels
Fran’s Chocolates; 1325 1st Ave.; (206) 682-0168; see website for two other locations
Pick up a three-piece box of Fran’s Chocolates’ irresistible chocolate-covered caramels, sprinkled with sea salt smoked on Welsh oak; or splurge on a box of 70, if it’s payday. Available topped with gray salt, too, they’re reportedly the president and first lady Obama’s favorite chocolates (milk chocolate with smoked salt preferred by the former, dark chocolate with gray salt by the latter).
7. Peter Miller Architectural & Design Books
1930 1st Ave.; (206) 441-4114
For curious cooks who worship the union of food and good design, Peter Miller Books is a must. On its shelves, a small, lovingly-curated collection of cookbook treasures such as “Pork & Sons,” by Stephane Reynaud, and the Ferran Adria tome “Food for Thought: Thought for Food,” edited by Richard Hamilton and Vicente Todoli, sits nearby boldly designed kitchen odds-and-ends like espresso makers and flatware.
8. Oyster Power Hour
Anchovies & Olives; 1550 15th Ave.; (206) 838-8080
Ethan Stowell deserves kudos for a new take on happy hour at his newest restaurant, Anchovies & Olives: the Oyster Power Hour (5 p.m. to 6 p.m. nightly, 10 p.m. to close Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. to close Friday and Saturday). Wash down $1 oysters like Chelsea Gems and Stellar Bays with $2 Peronis and $5 glasses of Prosecco.
9. High Plains Drifter
Bathtub Gin & Co.; 2205 2nd Ave.; (206)728-6069
Don’t go looking for Bathtub Gin & Co. if you’re already three sheets to the wind; you’ll get lost. Head through this speakeasy’s unmarked door and belly up to the six-seat bar upstairs to order the High Plains Drifter, a delicately spicy-sweet cocktail made with peppered reposado tequila, sherry vinegar, creme de cassis, Cointreau and citrus, served up.
10. Pickle plate
Boat Street Cafe; 3131 Western Ave.; (206) 632-4602
Going far beyond kosher or dill, Boat Street Cafe, tucked into a picturesque footprint at the bottom of Queen Anne hill, serves its pickle plate at dinner. This time of year, the selection of pickled fruits and vegetables includes turnips, ferns, carrots, cauliflower, onions and rhubarb. If you can only stop by for lunch, pick up jars of pickled figs, raisins and prunes to take home instead.
11. Black cod collar miso
Maneki; 304 6th Ave. South; (206) 622-2631
After one bite of the sweet, glazed black cod collar miso at Maneki, Seattle’s 106-year-old sushi institution, you’ll never order the rest of the fish. Getting to the meaty bits means using your fingers, and sliding the smooth bones through your teeth to pull off the velvety flesh tucked in around them. If only cod had bigger necks.
12. Thundering Hooves Farm’s beef
Restaurant Zoe; 2137 2nd Ave.; (206) 256-2060
Grass-fed, pasture-finished beef from Walla Walla Valley’s Thundering Hooves Farm is served in many of Seattle’s best restaurants. Restaurant Zoe snatches up the farm’s entire inventory of beef tongue and short ribs and treats it royally. Order sliced beef tongue served on black lentils with sour cherry mustard compote and spring onions, or the falls-to-pieces short rib that’s often a nightly special. Considering the farm only slaughters 12 or so cows a week, Zoe’s customers are a lucky bunch.
13. The Lusty Lady
1315 1st Ave.; (206) 622-2120
Indulge your other appetite at Seattle’s legendary female-owned peep show, on view since the 1970s, where the lore can be oddly food-related, from rumors of a customer who once paid a performer to peel oranges in its “private pleasures” booth to the beloved puns that run daily on its pink marquee: “Happy Spanksgiving,” and “No Dressing on Our Birds.” The hotspot closes its doors forever on June 13, hence the recent marquee announcement: “Hurry in. We’re clothing!” It’s only a block or two from Pike Place Market, so you can say you were already in the neighborhood.
Photos from top:
Fran’s smoked salt and gray salt caramels. Credit: courtesy of Fran’s Chocolates
Cured meats sampler plate at Salumi. Credit: Liz Pearson
Boat Street Cafe. Credit: Liz Pearson