seattle: my kind of town
13 August 2011 4 Comments
Fearless readers, postings have been slow around A Fine Kettle of Ish lately, I know. For me, summer in San Diego means beautiful weather and all the delights therein: gardening, grilling, late night picnics, cold beer on sunny patios (heck, cold beer on dark patios). In short, “so much to eat, so little time to blog.”
One of the things holding my attention lately was a trip north to Seattle. Home to a city of food and drink enthusiasts, i’s a fantastic destination for anyone passionate about craft beer, local food, and painstakingly researched cocktails. If you haven’t been to Seattle, or haven’t been lately, now’s the time to plan a trip: summer in Seattle offers an occasional respite from the rain and clouds, and non-stop flights from San Diego can be found for around $200.
My whirlwind trip covered all the food and cocktails I could squeeze into three days – here are a few highlights and lowlights:
1. Dinner at the outstanding Quinn’s Pub on Seattle’s Capitol Hill for wild boar sloppy joes, cod fritters, seared Painted Hills steak, and local beer. If you are lucky enough to go when they have they’re offering their AMAZING beef tongue cheesesteak sandwich special, order it. In fact, order two and send me one.
2. Lunch at On The Fly, a little hidden gem of a lunch counter in South Lake Union from the folks that behind Flying Fish. I picked up a sleeve of pastry chef Jessica Campbell’s tremendous rosemary shortbread cookies and an orzo salad so good I’m still thinking about it.
3. Afternoon cocktails at Local 360 in Belltown. They emphasize sustainability, with an impressive menu of locally sourced food and drink. The concept is admirable, but their martinis, sadly, were not. Pass.
4. Happy hour at Taberna del Alabardero for $5 tapas. The Belltown Taberna del Alabardero is a branch of the home restaurant in Madrid, and they know their way around some tapas. If you’ve ever sat in a crowded plaza elbow-to-elbow with madrileños enjoying olives, jamón, and wine, this place will bring back memories. In addition to our tortilla de patata (egg and potato pancake), large pitcher of sangria ($15 during happy hour), and gambas al ajill (spicy, garlicky shrimp), the server brought over more than generous amounts of free olives and bread.
4. Cocktails at Rob Roy, where we were fortunate enough to have the awesome Jamie Boudreau behind the bar. Rob Roy has long dispatched with the DJs and had a relaxed, low-key feel that afternoon, allowing the focus to be on their craft cocktails emphasizing traditional ingredients and house-made syrups and bitters.
Jamie was reasonably patient with my questions and made me an exceptional Singapore Sling, bright with gin and lemon (if you can’t make it to Rob Roy, Jason Wilson’s take on the Singapore Sling is also quite good). I was also unreasonably taken with their metal stirrer/straws – WHY doesn’t anyone in San Diego use these??
5. Lunch at Maximus Minimus, the mobile pig truck. Owned by the same folks as Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Maximus Minimus brings lemonade, tea, Beecher’s mac & cheese, pozole, and pulled pork sammies around town, optionally topped with slaw or Beecher’s cheese.
6. Happy hour at the Legendary Zig Zag Cafe. A frequent Tales of the Cocktail award winner, Zig Zag offers a solid $5 happy hour cocktail list weekdays from 5-7. I ordered a Hot Charlotte (gin, cucumber, Tabasco – recipe here), which was generously included in happy hour pricing and well liked by my fellow drinkers. I found the McCoy to be more to my taste, with Irish whiskey, Tuaca, dry sherry, and peach bitters. In all, highly recommended.
7. …and too many other snacks and drinks to list them all! Bánh mì and Beard Papa cream puffs from the Uwajimaya food court! Sourdough bread and Earl Grey cookies from Three Girls Bakery! Geeking out over spirits and Boulard calvados with the bartender at Sullivans! The endless, endless steaming cups of coffee…oh Seattle, I’ll be back!
At a Glance: Seattle
Quinn’s Pub – Capitol Hill/1001 East Pike St, 206-325-7711
On The Fly – South Lake Union/950 Thomas St, 206-724-0577
Taberna del Alabardero – Belltown/2328 1st Ave, 206-448-8884
Rob Roy – Belltown/2332 2nd Ave, 206-956-8423
Maximus Minimus – Various but regularly downtown/check site for full list
Three Sisters Bakery – Pike Place/1514 Pike Pl, Ste 1, 206-622-1045
The Zig Zag Cafe – Pike Place/1501 Western Ave, 206-625-1146
Uwajimaya – International District/600 5th Ave S, 206-624-6248