The first part of our trip found us in the area above Olympic National Park including some quality time with the quaint seaside Port Townsend, but our food exploration really kicked into high gear after we took the ferry back to Seattle.
I’m going to break this up into a couple of longer in depth sections and then some shorter comments on a lot of the other places we visited. Don’t want to overload too much with Seattle stuff!
We arrived back on Wednesday and headed directly to Salumi which is located very close to the departure point of the Bainbridge ferry and was high on our list to try. The menu from the Batali family (yes, that one) is focused on house cured meats and also features some mouth watering hot sandwiches. We had to narrow it down to two things to split so we went with the famous hot porchetta sandwich and a platter of cured meats, olives and fresh made mozzarella. The crusty guiseppe pocket bread was overflowing with fall apart tender, salty and well spiced pork butt along with cooked peppers and onions in quantities that were perfect for splitting between two people. Pretty fantastic sandwich and the cured meats topped off a tasty lunch. I didn’t take any notes on the cured meats since we had 7 or different versions without any indication of what was what, but they made for a great leftover sandwich and I’d be happy to have them again.
For dinner Wednesday evening we got a ride with some friends up north of the city to Ballard for a meal at Delancey, one of the pizza hotspots around the area. We started with some well executed drinks at their companion bar next door and then got situated in the front corner of the restaurant near the wood fired oven. Our salad had plenty of acid and the nuts and sheep’s milk feta worked well to balance out the sharpness. We ordered a margherita and a crimini pie modified with the addition of La Quercia prosciutto to split for our main course. The crust was cooked well to provide a pleasant crunch and chew with the minor issue of a couple of spots that went past charred and headed directly to the burned stage. My other issue with the crust is that the developed flavor I love didn’t seem to be there on that occasion. Just a bit on the bland side for my taste but the toppings made up for it. Light and sweet tomato sauce, fresh mozz and basil on top of the margherita were similar to the neopolitan style I love and the crimini mushrooms, thyme and olive oil made for an earthy affair that wasn’t over the top.
The subtleties of the La Quercia prosciutto were lost in the shuffle of the other flavors but the saltiness and slight musty flavor were a good match for the rest of the pie. The chocolate chip cookie we had for desert was every bit as good as we hoped it would be with melty chocolate and good flakes of salt on top to accent the richness. Not one of my favorite pizzerias, but an enjoyable food experience despite our cramped quarters and a good opportunity to catch up with people we don’t get to see often.
Seattle Speed Round
The famous Pike Place Market was a short 10 minute walk from our hotel so we ended up in that area a bunch of times to survey the scene, snack and grab a few meals. Our favorite snacks were the both the sweet and savory Russian style hand pies from Piroshky Piroshky and the crumpets topped with marmalade and almond butter and a savory egg version from The Crumpet Shop.
The plain crumpets also made for good carrying around snacks while walking around the city which was appreciated on our longer jaunts.
One of my favorite shops around the market was Rachel’s Ginger Beer which served their version of ginger beer on tap in around a dozen flavors all based off of their lemon and fresh ginger based original. The classic version was almost my ideal drink with a pleasant lemon front and a just barely hot ginger finish without any of the bitterness that can come with other ginger drinks. Only lightly sweet and balanced perfectly, I wish we had this back in Rochester as it is one of the best craft sodas I’ve had. We also had the mango version served with vegan coconut ice cream which tempered the hotness of the drink and added a great roasted, creamy taste. If you haven’t tried real coconut ice cream, it is a good substitute for the non-dairy inclined.
We ate at both Matt’s in the Market (lunch) and Radiator Whiskey (dinner), the newer companion bar/restaurant to Matt’s located directly across the hall. Matt’s has been one of the signature restaurants in the Pike Market since 1996 and we enjoyed the well cooked lamb burger topped with goat cheese and bacon and comforting pork and kale soup for lunch. The side salad of chickpeas, mint and celery was a bit divisive at our table and under salted, but I liked the concept.
We got in for dinner at Radiator without a reservation on a Saturday night and ordered mostly off their happy hour food menu. The smoked pork “debris” sandwich was sloppy, covered with sauce and cheese and smoky throughout including the smoked cheddar cheese. Our gravy covered tater tots and the house made chiccarones coated in a BBQ chip like seasoning hit the spot in an upscaled junk food kind of way and we walked back to our hotel feeling satisfied.
Biscuit Bitch (great name!) located just outside the market proper inside of Caffe Lieto served up some pretty dynamite flaky and buttery biscuits topped with peppery sausage gravy and crispy bacon (Cheesy Pork ‘n Bitch) on one of our dishes and, used as the bread in a Bitchwich breakfast sandwich, it was dense enough to not completely fall apart. Definitely top notch comfort food on a cold, rainy day.
We ate at the Serious Pie (a Tom Douglas restaurant) location near the new Amazon campus for lunch one day and split a couple of pizzas. Both were a bit too coated with cornmeal and were heavily finished with oil to the point of having a dark finish to just about every bite of the crust. The soft egg, proscuitto and arugula was better topped than the red sauce, buffalo mozzarella and basil which had too many dried herbs sprinkled on top and was overly salty. I can’t say that we were particularly impressed by the pizzas at Serious Pie, but I can’t say if it was just an off day with the cooking or if it was what they do on a daily basis.
On our last day, we took a walk to the International District and cobbled together a breakfast from both Top Pot Doughnuts and Saigon Deli. The apple fritter, salted caramel cake and maple bar doughnuts were pretty fantastic (although a little pricy) and our mixed ham banh mi at Saigon was pitch perfect from the crispy/chewy baguette to the pickled veggies and the meat/pâté. I know doughnuts and banh mi isn’t exactly a classic combination, but, when you’re trying to sample as much as you can in a city, sometimes you needs to be on the creative side!
This ends Part 2 of my recap of our Seattle trip. I’ll get back to the Rochester area for a bit and then fire out Part 3 which will close out with our coffee explorations and the two fancier meals we had out including an eye opening sushi experience.