Celebrating a Birthday in Seattle

This week I journeyed to Seattle to help daughter Mindy celebrate her birthday. We went to Cactus Restaurant for her birthday dinner; this is a local chain of Mexican food restaurants in the mid-price range to which we seem to always return. We have actually visited 3 of the chain, and have found them very consistent and enjoyable. After supper, we went to my favorite spot for a dessert- Molly Moon– and had a scrumptious ice cream sundae made with chocolate and salted caramel ice creams.

Molly Moon

Mindy had heard a rumor about Molly Moon having a bacon ice cream, and so we got talking to the counter person and learned that the stores have a little independence and a monthly Sundae contest to see who can come up with the most interesting item. The bacon ice cream had been one of the other stores. It turns out Molly Moon too, is a chain, and there are about 5 stores in the Seattle area.

Fat Hen 1

The second day –my first full day in Seattle, we went to a small restaurant for brunch called The Fat Hen in the Ballard area. We both ordered types of eggs benedict; mine were on Smoked Salmon and Mindy’s were on Chanterelle Mushrooms. We both felt the eggs were poached perfectly. We also had latte coffee, and liked the way they were made – they seemed rich and smooth with a nice milk foam.

Fat Hen 2

We were both feeling slowed down a bit, and decided to bring in food for supper. Mindy has found a BBQ place that has really good food to go- Rainin’ Ribs. So we went over there and brought back a side of baby back ribs with 5 sides; Mindy’s favorite sides are fried pickles and hush puppies, and I chose cole slaw and sweet potato fries, and then we got corn bread for the fifth side.

While eating our ribs, we decided that for the rest of my stay, we would go to restaurants that were located close to the other Molly Moon stores, so that each night after eating, we could visit that local Molly Moon and have dessert. That first night, we had gone to the store on Queen Anne hill.

Serious Pie 1

Day three of my stay, we went to breakfast at Serious Biscuit; this is one of many Tom Douglas restaurants in Seattle. We were seated up stairs near the back, and discovered we could look down on a “production” kitchen. The host said that all the bread and pastry used in the Tom Douglas restaurants was made in this production kitchen. We enjoyed watching the making of pie shells, biscuits, puff pastry, and fillings like fresh peaches being peeled and measured out by weight into separate containers.

Serious Pie 2
Quinn 1

That evening we went to the Capitol Hill area for supper and dessert. The restaurant was Quinn’s Pub. We each started with a glass of beer while we waited for our food. We ordered 5 “small plates” to share. One of the dishes was Sautéed Swiss Chard and Farro; neither one of us knew what Farro was so we felt we had to try it. It is a grain, and seems a lot like an Arborio rice. The Molly Moon for that night was less than two blocks away.

Quinn 2

On day four, we did breakfast at a Starbucks. Mindy was good and had the oatmeal with her skinny latte grande, while I had a morning roll with a white chocolate mocha vente. For supper, we went to Phinney Market Pub and Eatery which is just outside the Seattle Zoo. I had the fettuccine (Walnut Basil Pesto Fettuccini) while Mindy had the Steak Ceasar. Dessert was at the Wallingford Molly Moon. Mindy said this was the original store. It was also a nice mild evening and the sidewalk was crowded with families enjoying a cone or a sundae; many of the families were three generations.


Our fifth day breakfast was at a Top Pot doughnut shop; they currently have 5 café/stores in the Seattle area, but their donuts are sold in other retail stores through-out the Seattle area. We first became familiar with their donuts when they were supplying the Starbucks stores with donuts; since then, Starbucks have started making their own donuts which in my opinion, do not quite measure up to the variety and taste of the Top Pot donuts. As you can see from the photo, we had a selection of donuts with our lattes. I had the stack of three, which are a chocolate frosted old fashion, a glazed chocolate old fashion, and a chocolate sandcastle. The stack of two includes a raised glazed and a cinnamon & sugar old fashion.


Our supper plans got changed a couple times. This was the Labor Day Monday, and the websites of restaurants don’t seem to get updated to tell you that they are not going to be open. We had planned to go to a Mexican restaurant called La Carta De Oaxaca, but when we got there, it was closed for the holiday. We walked about a half block and ended up at The Matador – another Mexican restaurant in the Ballard area. The food was good, but we felt the atmosphere was a little on the noisy side. After supper, we were suppose to go to the Ballard Molly Moon for ice cream. That store is really just part of the counter space for a hamburger joint so we cancelled those plans and instead drove over to the Madrone Molly Moon store.


The store is also a minimal store; its counter is in a window on the sidewalk, and the “scoopista” (a term Mindy created) just has room to turn around. She was very pleasant, and got Mindy to try the Jamberry sundae; that turned out to be good – Mindy felt she should have been having them all along instead of just the Molly Favorite sundae that I order. Although the store has no customer space, just a block north of the store is a park in which you can sit to enjoy your ice cream.


That is the story of how a couple foodies spent a few days celebrating a birthday and finding a lot of interesting and good places to eat in the Seattle area. I hope that if you find yourself in Seattle and looking for a different restaurant that won’t completely empty your wallet, that you might find some ideas in our story.

Cheers, Errol

One thought on “Celebrating a Birthday in Seattle

  1. Lynda Taylor

    I loved reading this. I definitely want to try Serious Biscuit when I get back to Seattle sometime. Tom Douglas also has Serious Pie which is a great pizza restaurant. But mostly, I really enjoy your recipes, Errol! So much fun to read, and I need to get busy trying some. Sounds like you had a really fun trip.


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