Right, so, we ate a lot while we were in Seattle. Having a kitchen at the cottage allowed us to get breakfast supplies for quick morning meals (bagels for JG; cherries and yogurt for me), but we still ate every other meal out at restaurants. We even went for before- or after-dinner drinks some days, so it was a very extravagant vacation for us. By the end of the week, I felt like my heart was beating a bit faster than it should, and I really wanted a pair of stretchy pants for the flight home. It was no coincidence that JG and I both went for a run on Monday.
For my food research, I asked Seattle blogger friends for their recommendations and did a search on Serious Eats for Seattle-specific posts. I compiled the many, many suggestions into a master list, mapped all of them, and separated them by neighborhood so I could connect them with the appropriate activities for the day. The final itinerary listed 1-3 options each for lunch and dinner every day, and I noted the type of cuisine and the recommendation source, where applicable. When it was helpful, I also denoted hours of operation, whether we should make reservations and how to do that, and parking details. The last page of the itinerary was a list of food spots in Capitol Hill, the neighborhood where we stayed. This “directory” allowed us to be a lot more flexible on the first and last days, and we were able to be intentional about hitting all of the types of cuisine we wanted. My method was rather time-consuming, but ultimately, I was really fluent in our food choices, so I felt confident in making decisions while we were there.
And, I am proud to say that we did not have even one mediocre meal.
I don’t think you can really go too far wrong in Seattle because there is such a culture of fresh, local food. You don’t have to do much to it to make it sing, and JG and I really reaped the benefit of that culture. Here is a list of the places where we ate, arranged by meal and then ordered chronologically, with the exception of the food trucks in Portland. I’ve written a little blurb about each place, but those with italics are my very favorites.
- Le Panier: As mentioned earlier, I had the best croissant ever at this bakery in Pike Place Market. It was insanely busy on a Friday afternoon, but arriving right when they opened on Saturday (7am! Dedication!) was lovely and calm.
- Daily Dozen Doughnuts: This place makes miniature doughnuts, which are obviously so cute. You get them right out of the fryer, so the bag is still warm in your hands. Daily Dozen is right next to the fish-throwing place at Pike Place Market, so you can look like you are snacking when you are really hoping to get a picture of a fish in flight. Not that I did that.
- Top Pot Doughnuts: Top Pot calls their doughnuts “hand-forged,” and while I don’t really get that, I did love their shop. It was a short, nice walk from our cottage, and the walls are lined with books in square cubbies. This was probably my favorite doughnut place of the 3 (!) we tried.
- Voodoo Doughnut: More doughnuts! This place in Portland is legend, so we waited in line for a bit to share an enormous Oreo doughnut. It’s kind of a stunt place, but I think it’s worth a stop.
- Pike Brewing Company: This large brewery/pub is in the Pike Place Market area, and they have pretty typical pub food and beer samplers. The most interesting part of the restaurant is the “museum wall,” where we learned about the patron saints of hops and brewing.
- Delicatus: After our Underground Tour, we were starving, and we were about to go to this Mediterranean tapas-type place, but I wasn’t feeling strongly about it (like other than being ravenous), so I wandered down the block a bit until I saw a guy at a counter slicing cured meat. HELLO. We looked at the chalkboard menu of interesting sandwiches and took a seat. It was so, so good. This place sticks out especially in my mind because 1) I didn’t research it beforehand OR look it up on Yelp before we pulled the trigger, and 2) they made their own delicious pickles.
- Steelhead Diner: This place was on the list because Mario Batali is a fan. The reviews were sort of spotty, but we went anyway, and I liked everything we had. The decor is cool, and it’s nice to be sort of above Pike Place Market, but it’s kind of spendy.
- Lunchbox Laboratory: This quirky burger joint came highly recommended by lots of internet sources, including Jen. I loved the weird decor, “experiment” specials, and that my drink came in a beaker. My duck/pork (“dork”) burger was amazing.
- Skillet: Sizzle recommended this Capitol Hill diner with good cause; she likes them so much that they are catering her wedding! Well, lucky invitees to Sizzle’s wedding, you are in for a treat. My veggie burger and JG’s fried chicken sandwich were very, very tasty. I loved their wall of skillets!
- Poquitos: Another recommendation from Sizzle! We had our first Seattle dinner at this awesome Mexican place in Capitol Hill, where we had the best waiter of all time. The guy brought us chips and 4 salsas/sauces on the house and gave us great recommendations on what to order.
- Anthony’s Bell Street Diner: Leah, a new blog friend, recommended this great seafood place. It was worth it for the great view of the water alone, but the food was so very good, too.
- Delancey: Can I wax poetic any more about Delancey? Yes, yes, I can, but I will spare you. People, go! Find some friends, make a reservation, order whatever pizza is on special, and love it!
- Wild Ginger: And, another recommendation from Jen! We really liked the Asian food at Wild Ginger, and the service and decor were wonderful. It seems like it would be a fancy-schmance place, but we were fine in jeans.
- Por Que No Taqueria: When Dawn and I were going back and forth about the plan for our Portland visit, she described Por Que No thus: “I LOVE POR QUE NO.” Well. Dawn does not use caps lock lightly, so I knew we must go. And, yes, it was amazing.
- I Love Sushi: On the website for our rental cottage, the owner listed a few local recommendations, and this was one of them. We took a short walk to Lake Union, sat right by the water, and ordered way too much sushi. It was excellent. Afterward, we wandered around the pier and ogled at the list prices of the yachts.
- Quinn’s: Yet another recommendation from Sizzle! After our dinner at Poquitos, we went across the street for drinks, and and JG fulfilled a longtime beer dream by drinking Russian River’s Pliny the Elder on tap. Don’t ask me; I have no idea, either.
- The Bookstore: Between our excursion to Alki Beach and our dinner reservation at Anthony’s, JG and I trolled the streets looking for a bar where we could just pull up a stool and sit. No crowds, no hostess, nothing like that. We happened upon this bar that was also a bookstore, so of course, I loved it. The bar staff was really sharp, and we had the happy surprise of congratulating a newlywed couple after their wedding at the adjoining hotel.
- Sun Liquor Lounge: Sun Liquor is a local distillery that produces their own spirits, and the lounge is a great spot. It’s right in Capitol Hill, and it’s dimly lit and sort of seedy-feeling, but in a good way. I had my first Pimm’s cup there, and the very awesome bartender divined that JG wanted a gin gimlet. As it turns out, he did!
- Cascade Brewing Barrel House: This Portland brewery was the highlight of JG’s trip because they are the home of sour beers, which are aged in wine barrels or over fruit to produce an acidic or sour aftertaste. Some of them were way too aggressive for me, but JG had a great time tasting as many as he could. We even got to watch them tap a new cask, and it sprayed beer foam all over Jed’s stroller. Jed was spared from the carnage, though, as was my Precious Camera.