Tag Archives: Seattle Restaurants

Seattle and the Wind Storm

A few months ago, the people of Seattle were getting concerned about the “Really Big One”, an earthquake that would wipe out everything west of Interstate 5. It had been an article in the New Yorker magazine. I tried to focus my daughter’s attention on the fact that most of the problem, if you survived the quake and tsunami, would be the loss of power and roadways; it would take days to restore each of those.

I made a quick trip to Seattle to help daughter Mindy celebrate her birthday. And while I was there- on her birthday no less, the wind blew and took the power out. It went out at about noon on Saturday and didn’t come back on until about 10 PM. After a couple hours in the dark, we went out driving and checked out the terrific wind damage. In one case, we were driving and actually saw a tree come down just a few hundred yards away. Of course, the traffic lights were all out, and many lanes of traffic were blocked by fallen trees, so driving wasn’t a lot of fun either. Going into Seattle later that afternoon, there had been a tree fallen onto the freeway and what was 4 lanes of traffic was reduced to a single lane while they cleaned up that tree.

Last Saturday was a small introduction to how the problems of a quick hitting natural disaster would play out. Once you lose power, you not only are in the dark, but you lose the traffic semiphores, street lamps, and gas pumps. And as a result traffic backs up at major intersections for miles.

I guess we were lucky that the power came on Saturday night; at the train station Monday morning I was hearing people say that their power hadn’t come on until that morning, like 2 AM Monday. Of course, the Comcast cable had also gone out and it hadn’t come back on when I left. (I left early Monday because Mindy had been summoned for Jury duty and had to report at 8 AM Monday).

Even though our weekend will be memorable for the power outage, we were still able to do our foodie thing and visit both some old favorites as well as some new places. Old favorites include Fat Hen for breakfast, and Molly Moon for the ice cream sundaes.

The new places we tried included Bluebird ice cream, where I would say you should try the snickerdoodle ice cream. This little parlor is listed among the 15 best ice cream places in the Seattle area. Actually there are a couple Bluebird parlors in the list, just as there are multiple Molly Moon parlors in the list. We visited the Bluebird that is on Greenwood at 74th.

Mindy likes to explore the various offerings of some chefs such as Tom Douglas and Ethan Stowell. So we visited Cantina Lena and Seatown in the Tom Douglas group, and Goldfinch Tavern in Ethan Stowell’s group. I think I said it more than once that with good restaurants, it is not the food directly that is good, but it is the way the food is seasoned that makes it so good. In all three of these restaurants, that was certainly the case. These restaurants probably are all considered downtown in location. Cantina Lena is on 5th Avenue under the monorail. Seatown is just off Pike and the Pike Market place, and Goldfinch Tavern is in the 4 Seasons hotel.

Finally, we had breakfast one morning at the Bakery Nouveau up on Capitol Hill. They advertise French café fare on the park. There is a second site over is West Seattle. All I can say is that you never knew so many ways to create a quiche or a croissant. I had a Spinach and Feta croissant, and then a Smoked Salmon croissant. I just looked at their web site to see if I could also name what Mindy had, but I didn’t find the names of her croissants. One was with scrambled eggs and bacon. I am certain that we will be returning for additional samplings of their fare.

Even though I made it a short trip so as to interfere neither with Mindy’s work or her call for Jury duty, we still had a good time doing our foodie bit. I also took her a dozen of her favorite Morning Buns, and tastes of several other cake products on which I had been experimenting and perfecting (see Ding Dongs, Black and White Irish Cream cupcakes, and Guinness Gingerbread cupcakes). And I also took her a birthday cake- the Italian Cream Cake– which she says is her favorite.

I’m sorry that I didn’t take photos at the new group of restaurants; I know Mindy did, and I think she places them on Instagram, but being a few generations older, I have no idea how one accesses them. In fact, this dinosaur doesn’t even have a “smart phone” yet so I can only give you Mindy’s link on Instagram.
“https://instagram.com/mindycrary/”

Christmas in Seattle

Once again, I went to Seattle for Christmas. There were some secondary reasons for the trip; Mindy wanted to see first hand how to make Morning Buns. But, as usual, we visited some of our favorite restaurants, and tried a few new ones.

We decided that I should take Amtrak again into Edmonds which is north of Seattle. There is only one train that goes north of Seattle; it leaves Portland about 2:45 PM and finally gets to Edmonds after 7 PM. It continues on to Vancouver, B.C. then returns the next morning on its way back to Portland. The first time I went by train, the return trip was somewhat delayed; the train had a “flat tire” the Amtrak people told us and was running a couple hours late coming back from Vancouver. I don’t really know what a runnable flat tire on a train is, but it did slow us down substantially and vibrate pretty badly. They put us on a different train in Seattle for the rest of the trip.

So again, going up to Edmonds was no problem, but when it came to coming back, there was a problem. There had been a mud slide north of Edmonds and they had routed the train onto a track that did not go through Edmonds. So they bussed us down to Seattle where we met up with the train.

Before I got to Shoreline, Mindy had made some Pecan Pie Bars. This is one of her favorite cookies, but I haven’t made it yet, and it is not in this blog. I will have to do something about that. I had brought a dozen Morning Buns to start us since they take a couple days to make the way I suggest in the recipe. Before I packed, I checked with Mindy to see how well her kitchen was stocked with what we would need for making the Morning Buns. Then I packed all the items that Mindy didn’t have, like the rolling pin, and a Polder timer/thermometer.

I promised Mindy that I would take her some more Kookie Brittle; I think that is one of her favorite cookies. I also took some Snickerdoodles and some Toll House cookies.

So going, I had my suitcase, and then I had a backpack with a pan of Morning Buns, a lot of Kookie Brittle, Snickerdoodles and Toll House cookies, a rolling pin, and a couple muffin pans. (Boy, we were ready to get snowed in and still eat well!)

I supervised Mindy making a second dozen Morning Buns so that she could do it by herself in the future. Of course, she will need to buy a rolling pin and muffin pans, and maybe some other ingredients that I have forgotten were in my backpack.

On Christmas Day, we made some cheese spread snacks- those are already published. We made Paté and Deviled Ham Cheese Logs.

The restaurant bit is an interesting exercise, and I have to say that Mindy does an excellent job of making our eating plan. The problem is that restaurants like to close on holidays, and some even close on the eve of the holiday. As a result, Mindy has to google each possibility to find out what its schedule is going to be. One time before she started doing the checking, we were surprised when the restaurant we were planning to visit was closed for the whole of Labor Day week. We had to make a last minute adjustment.

We are starting to believe that there are only a couple good breakfast places that we visit each time I go to Seattle. One is Fat Hen, and the other is Serious Biscuit. We both had a new treat here; baked eggs. They are cooked in a small casserole with a ham and cheese topping; very good, and they are still served with biscuits, but on the side.

We did find a couple new breakfast places that we felt were good, and deserve a revisit next time. They are Skillet Diner in Ballard, and Le Reve on Queen Anne hill. We both had a Brioche Breakfast Sandwich at this place.

Our supper places also contain some old revisited places, and some new. In the catagory of revisited places would be Cactus and Elliott Bay Public House and Brewery. And the new places include the BluWater Bistro near Green Lake, and the Metropolitan Grill in downtown Seattle. Mindy took me to the latter for my birthday dinner; it is very upscale, and I doubt that we will be visiting it again.

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable parts of my visit was discovering Green Lake park. That park has a walking/running path completely around it- they claim 2.8 miles, and it is level ground compared to anything I walk or run in Beaverton. We walked it 4 times while I was there for a week, and it just begged me to kick my heals up and run. You can’t possible image what level ground means to someone who walks/runs in the south part of Beaverton!

I hope my reporting on eating facilities in the Seattle area will help you find a enjoyable meal if you should be in the area. Now that we are repeating places, it should give you an idea of some very good places to try.

Holidays in Seattle

I spent the week of Christmas in Seattle with daughter Mindy. We had two focuses for my time there; as always, being foodies and trying a few new restaurants, and then Mindy wanted to learn what I had learned about decorating cut-out cookies.

Mindy decor 002

To prepare for the decorating activities, I took everything we would possibly need. I took a card table so that we could set up a work area and didn’t have a conflict with the dining table. I took a premixed pot of white Royal Icing, and all the gel paste colors I had. I took the stencils, the piping bags, and the piping tips. Everything including about 3 dozen cutout cookies for her to decorate. I even took a crate with the stand mixer, and all the stuff to make more Royal Icing, or even to make more cutout cookies. I was prepared for any eventuality.

Mindy wanted to decorate snowflake cookies in white and blue. And after doing the 8 snowflake cutouts I had brought, she was satisfied. I admit that she is the artist between us. She sees the possibilities for something that is less mechanical than I see.

Along with all the resources for decorating cookies, I also took her third of the holiday baking of cookies and candies that I had done. The other two thirds were distributed to daughter Jenn and extended family daughter Kris. I had 13 different recipes I had made and each of the thirds contained at least a dozen pieces of each recipe. Some recipes made more that 3 dozen pieces and so there was quite a bit of rich holiday cookies and candies in the box. I need to add all those recipes to the blog, and that will happen over the next few weeks.

We had started our foodie eating out plans before I left for Seattle. Mindy wanted a good hamburger and french fries, and a good steak. I wanted to go to another Tom Douglas restaurant. Mindy wanted to drive up north, close to Bellingham to see an area that she had not seen before. And, we wanted to revisit some of the restaurants that we had discovered in August when I was last there.

While Mindy and I are Foodies, and love to test new restaurants, the foodie in us really is a family thing. Jenn is probably a better foodie than either Mindy or I. Mindy and I want good food of a type with which we are already acquainted. Jenn wants to explore and find new foods. She was the one who took us to the different Middle Eastern restaurants, and introduced us to the food of India. This all started when the girls were young; each girl got to pick the restaurant they wanted us to go to for their birthday.

So this vacation, we revisited Portage Bay, Serious Biscuit and Fat Hen for breakfast. We also decided to get a dozen Top Pot doughnuts for Christmas morning. We were already discovering that many of the places were closed by Christmas Eve and were changing our plans on the fly. We actually went to Portage Bay twice; our first choice for Christmas Eve breakfast was closed and we went down the road to Portage Bay. Now here is what we learned: if you want an Egg Benedict dish, go to Fat Hen! Portage Bay is a good breakfast, but Fat Hen has much better with the Eggs Benedict. And of course, Serious Biscuit is an entirely different type of breakfast. Serious Biscuit shares space with Serious Pie at the Westlake location (cross street Harrison); they are open for breakfast, and Serious Pie takes over for later in the day. This has confused several people with whom I have talked because Serious Pie is also a small shop down on Virginia between 3rd and 4th. The Serious Biscuit shop is in the South Lake Union neighborhood.

For suppers, we were trying all new places; we also brought in Chinese for Christmas day. Christmas Eve was a pub visit to get the hamburger and fries; we went to Elliot Bay Brewing Company in the Lake City area. We then wandered downtown looking at the Christmas decorations and ended up at Molly Moon in the Queen Anne area- our original spot.

In August, we had tried to go to a Mexican Food place in Ballard with the name La Carta De Oaxaca, but it had been closed for the Labor Day weekend. It was open the day after Christmas and we went there. It opens at 5 PM, and we got there at about 5 minutes before 5 and there was a line waiting to get in. A good sign. And we can understand why. Its food is excellent and I can highly recommend it although it certainly got crowded fast when we were there. So either get there at opening time, or plan to wait a little for a table.

After supper, we walked a little to settle our food, but then had dessert just two doors down from the restaurant at a shop called Hot Cakes. They make those little cakes with the hot chocolate insides– we use to call them Lava Cakes. Very good, and a wonderful end to a perfect meal.

For Friday supper, I had chosen to go to Tom Douglas’s Lola restaurant. This restaurant has a Grecian theme to the menu. We started with kebabs as an appetizer; then for our main course we had the northwest seafood extravaganza and the spanakopita. We were full, and decided to skip dessert.

On Saturday, we took the trip north to see an area just south of Bellingham. There are a couple small communities named Bow and Edison. The post office seems to be Bow, so all the addresses are there, but Edison is interesting in its own right. It is the gateway to Samish Island, which seems more like a peninsula than an island. It is a getaway area with lots of access to the ocean. After driving around Samish Island we went back to Edison and ate at the Old Edison Inn; it was an excellent meal, and the Inn reminded us of years ago when we would visit the Flying Wing ranch in Willamina and on Saturday go into town and how Herb and Jay knew everyone and everyone stopped to say hello. The Inn seemed like the town meeting place.

Finally, on Sunday evening we got Mindy’s good steak- actually excellent steak. The University district mall has been expanding, and there is a place called Joey’s Kitchen to which we went. Since the Seahawks were playing, there were a lot of football fans watching the game on TV at the restaurant. After we ate, we walked around the mall for a few minutes, and then stopped at the newest of the Molly Moon parlors. This one measures up to the one in the Queen Anne district except that it is more crowded; the mall makes it easier for people to just stop by.

So that was my Seattle vacation; we found several new places to eat, and I think all of them are worth visiting again. I hope if you are going to be in the Seattle area, you will think about these restaurants as some of the possibilities about where to eat. And let me know if I have rated them too high in your opinion.

Errol

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
Starbucks

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.

Phinney
TopPot

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.

Matador

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.

matador01
matador02

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.

jamberry

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