Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eating and Drinking...Mostly Drinking...In the Emerald City

So my good friend Lauren E. is an aspiring chef/food writer/blogger/what have you. And luckily for me she is also afflicted with the travel bug. She was recently on a trip to Seattle and came back with some tasty details of her culinary journey. So may I introduce the lovely Lauren E. (Like what you see? Read more about her epicurean adventures here.)

When I first met my friends who grew up in Seattle, they talked about it like you might describe a long lost love. No city is as amazing, beautiful, intelligent, desired, as this city. Flawless, one might say. I didn’t believe it. In fact, I even promised them I’d hate it just to spite them. I ate my words. And then I ate everything in sight.

Seattle is a foodie’s dream. Locally grown, locally prepared, locally admired. They are proud of their food sources, their culinary stars, and their seafood (mention how much you like Atlantic salmon and you can expect to get the stink eye), and there are restaurants around every single corner. I was only in town for four days but I had one thing on my mind: eating. Below, some highlights.

Serious Pie Truth be told… this is what our leftovers looked like. I was so ravenous by the time we sat down in Tom Douglas’s dark little pizza shop, I inhaled those suckers. Serious Pie does a Happy Hour from 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday where each of their famous little pies is only $5. Madeline and I ordered four between the two of us and we managed to save a few pieces to take home.

On the menu: Yukon gold, rosemary, olive oil 

Guanciale, soft egg, dandelion greens
 Roasted chanterelles, truffle cheese

Penn cove clams, house pancetta, lemon thyme

Verdict: DELICIOUS. This place was on my radar because the truffle cheese pizza was featured on an episode of Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” but truth be told, the guanciale, egg, and dandelion greens blew everything else out of the water. The crust was delicate and salty, the perfect vehicle for the smooth egg, spicy greens, and shaved parmesan cheese on top (I think it was parmesan… whatever it was, it was like little slivers of heaven). This place is a perfect lunch spot, and if you’re fortunate enough to make it to happy hour, you can sample it all.

Dahlia Bakery Another spot I neglected to photograph on site. So help me God, you walk into this tiny shop, also owned by Serious Pie’s Tom Douglas, and the smell of donuts takes up every inch of available brain space.

On the menu: Cinnamon sugar donuts with vanilla mascarpone and apple butter dip
Coconut cream pie bites

Verdict: HOLY HELL. I’m a donut snob. “Is this the best donut you’ve ever had?” Madeline asked. “It’s the best yeast donut I’ve ever had,” I answered. What a tool.

Honestly, though. Crackly on the outside, sweet, doughy perfection on the inside. One word of warning: you have to eat these immediately. Not only are they better hot, good luck making it home with these suckers in the car. The coconut cream pie bites were tasty, but the donuts take the cake. Pun intended.

Red Hook Brewery As much as I love a good meal, I also love a good adult beverage. And no, Dad, I am not an alcoholic. Red Hook gives a $1 tour which is essentially listening to the history of the company while sampling their delicious brews. Five tiny beers for a dollar? Yes, please.

On the menu: Mud Slinger Spring Ale

Slim Chance (Red Hook’s light beer)
Long Hammer IPA (my personal favorite)

Black Hook Porter
Red Hook ESB Original Ale

Verdict: SICK. Not only do I love this beer (all five incantations), the food at the brewery’s restaurant was delicious. Because every minute of every day was filled with eating, my party opted to snack on appetizers instead of gorging on full meals but the burgers that sailed by almost made me forget that I had just eaten a full brunch. We got a plate of the nachos and a bowl of the clams sauteed in butter and red and green peppers. Thank God I had a good food base in my stomach before hitting the tour. Maybe I was buzzin’ by the time the tour was over. Maybe.

Bottom line: I gained six pounds between when I landed in Seattle on Thursday and when I departed on Sunday. In my book? Success.

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