pacific northwest :: pt. 1 :: seattle
Whitney and I spent a few days eating our way through Seattle and Vancouver earlier this spring.
The first night, we had dinner at Dahlia Lounge. I started with a raw tasting plate with three small dishes on it: ahi tuna with ponzu, lemon peel and radish; dungeness crab with cucumbers, rice cakes and avocado; and kona kampachi with grapes, olives and tarragon. Whitney’s first course was a slice of St. Andre triple cream Brie served with fennel seeds, lavender honey, and pizzelles. For such a big slice of rich and creamy cheese, it disappeared really quickly!
Dahlia Lounge is known for their crab cakes, which were great but not really that unique. Whitney’s entree, on the other hand, was a outstanding. He had Coho salmon with cranberries, hedgehog mushrooms and Bluebird Farms farro (which we were introduced to in a recent Foodzie box – yum!).
We had a hard time making dessert decisions but I finally ordered the cinnamon sugar doughnuts (which were cutely delivered by the waiter in a brown paper bag that he was shaking to coat the piping hot doughnuts) and Whitney ordered the creme caramel with a rice krispie. We switched dishes as soon as they reached the table and I was practically liking the sauce off of the plate when they finally came to clear it away!
We got up the next morning and took a walking food tour of the Pike Place Market. We had a blast tasting our way through all of the vendors. Scroll down to see what we ate:
Of course, being Seattle, there was a downpour when we left the market. We raced back to the hotel with our jackets pulled up over our heads and spent the afternoon reading. Maybe even more than the eating we do while traveling, I love vacations for all of the guilt-free reading I get to do. No homework, laundry or other tasks hanging over my head while I enjoy a book!
I was able to tear myself away from The Hunger Games long enough for dinner that evening. My Mom and Dad had been in Seattle recently and recommended we eat at Purple Cafe & Wine Bar. From the moment I walked in, I knew I would enjoy it. The atmosphere was great, with tall ceilings and a unique wine ‘cellar’ that spiraled upwards in the middle of the restaurant.
We split a bunch of small plates and everything we had was wonderful. We started with a cheese plate with a paired flight of wine. We’d both had Barely Buzzed (espresso and lavender rubbed cow’s milk) before but the other two were new discoveries. I hope we can find them here in Houston. One was cracked black pepper cow’s milk & cream (Fromager D’Affinois Pepper) and the other was a rosemary-infused goat’s milk (Tumalo Farms Remembrance).
The cheese plate was followed by a beef carpaccio served with a really spicy mustard. We also had a wild mushroom bruschetta that I have unsuccessfully tried to recreate at home. It was meaty and earthy-tasting and absolutely delicious. However, the star of the evening was duck confit served over black lentils. Whitney and I were fighting over the last morsels of it!
Our dessert was a maple bread pudding with blackberries and orange rind. It was the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
Isn’t the wall below pretty? Look at the door in the bottom left corner to get an idea of how big this mural is. We passed it on the way to Salumi and I had to stop and get a shot.
The next day we grabbed lunch at Salumi before heading to Vancouver. I’ve read about Salumi for years and always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to eat there if we visited Seattle. All of the articles warned that the line is often out of the door and that there are only about 10 seats in the place. We felt like we won the lottery when we arrived around 11 am to find only 4-5 people in line and two empty seats in the front!
I had a muffaletta with spicy salami. The olive mix was really unusual (more like a paste) but it was a perfect compliment to the spicy meat. Whitney, upon hearing that they only make the balsamic brisket four times per year, stopped looking at the menu. The middle of the ciabatta roll had been scooped out and then filled with the brisket and a sautéed red pepper, onion and mushroom mix. It was messy and delicious!
Then it was off to Vancouver! Stay tuned for a recap of the best fish I have ever had in my life…