Seattle in February

6 Mar

Last month I was fortunate enough to spend a wonderful weekend in Seattle with two of my very good friends and my lovely sister. We said au revoir to Canada and drove down with the goal of eating the city of Seattle out of food within 24 hours. I’d like to think that we made a pretty good dent!

I don’t like comparing Vancouver to other places because that really isn’t fair (ha ha!) but, in my opinion, the food is generally of a higher standard in Vancouver and I think a lot of it comes down to the quality of the ingredients. This opinion is based on my two recent trips so it is likely that I could be swayed with a few more visits but, for now, I stand by my opinion. And for the record, I have made an effort, on both times, to find places that are recommended to me or that I’ve seen highly rated on foodie sites or blogs but so far, I have yet to strike the elusive gold.

On my November trip I did enjoy Serious Pie and Victrola Café. The pizza was addictive at Serious Pie and the coffee was robust at Victrola Café so I was pretty happy to find those two. But on the other hand, I was quite underwhelmed by Café Campagne and Wild Ginger. Even though neither of these were terrible, I am surprised to find that they came as highly recommended as they did.

On my recent trip in February, I came across two really good finds that I want to share. The first was Dahlia Bakery, a bakery in downtown Seattle that is part of the Tom Douglas chain of restaurants. When we first walked in I thought I’d been led astray again. It is a teeny tiny space that has a display cabinet on one side, and baskets of breads that lined the wall behind the register, but that was about it. There isn’t even room inside for seating. And perhaps we got there too late for the showy baked treats but I was kinda thinking to myself “Is this it?” Thankfully, this Greedy Guts ordered anyway and I walked out with a coconut macaroon and a peanut butter cookie.

I was powerless to resist the smells of peanut butter that were coming from my bag and, with the first bite, my socks were knocked off. My first thought was to get back to the bakery as soon as I could to pillage the rest of the cookies. But, alas, I am a lady and so I stayed, paused, in the moment with my cookie. The cookie was so perfect that I didn’t even think to get a picture of it so I’ll have to walk you through the visual…think of two moist peanut butter cookies sandwiched together with a creamy peanut butter filling. Ohhhh, yeah!

Often peanut butter cookies are too dry for my liking but these cookies were extremely soft and slightly moist (if anyone has this recipe, please forward it to me!). I went back the next day to buy some more. The coconut macaroon was also really good. I believe it was made with egg whites so it was light and almost fluffy but still with a slight crunch. Obviously, I recommend a visit to Dahlia Bakery.

The second place that I will definitely be spending some time at on my next visit is Fonté Café and Wine Bar. Just to be clear, I didn’t eat there so I can’t recommend the food but the coffee was exceptional. No doubt this is because they are an actual roaster and they supply coffee to many restaurants around the US. We stopped in for a quick coffee and I instantly regretted not eating there. The brunch that was being served looked much better than what we had at Etta’s. If you are looking for a good jolt of caffeine then pop into Fonté. It’s also conveniently located across from the Art Gallery and next to the Four Seasons.

Some of the places that I was underwhelmed with on my most recent trip were The Pink Door, Purple, and Etta’s. Thankfully, they almost all have redeeming features. I didn’t like the food very much at Purple, however, with a 90 page drinks menu, don’t go for the food – go for the booze. The space is dark and sexy but it is too cavernous to have any real personality. Wine lovers will love the variety and there are cheese plates and tapas to pair with your drinks. My suggestion would be to have pre-dinner drinks and nibbles at Purple but have your main meal elsewhere.

If you are searching for something that Vancouver doesn’t have try The Pink Door for a spot of food that comes with a side of entertainment. Every night, whilst eating their Italian-American cuisine (i.e. not at all authentic!), diners are entertained by a rotating schedule of entertainers that perform skills such as trapeze, cabaret, tarot, opera, and magic. There is also burlesque on Saturday nights. The Pink Door attracts a lot of people so ensure that you book in advance and note that evenings is when the place comes alive. From my experience, don’t expect much from the food but, regardless, sit back and enjoy the show.

As for Etta’s, I was really disappointed with their brunch. Sure, I ordered bacon and eggs (so I’m aware that there isn’t too much that they can do to make it special) but the over-sized plate of mediocre food that I got was incredibly disappointing. I would have preferred less food with better quality. Even the coffee was terrible (and cold). Unfortunately, I didn’t see much appeal so I am still looking for a good brunch place for the next time I’m in Seattle. I am thinking that I will have to give Fonte’s food a try as it looked much better than what we got from Etta’s.

I suppose finding two good food places out of five isn’t too bad but I am looking for more. Do you have any Seattle dining suggestions that you could give me? How ’bout that peanut butter cookie recipe?!?

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5 Responses to “Seattle in February”

  1. Jill January 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    I would suggest two things for your next trip to Seattle. 1. Venture past the 5-block radius of your hotel. 2. Do a little bit of research (it’s not so hard, look online at the weekly, eater, or the stranger for example).

    None of the places you visited would rate on the radar of any savvy Seattle diner, they are either passe, tourist-traps, and/or just plain awful. Downtown Seattle doesn’t really have a great restaurant scene; rising rents downtown as well the economic downturn have contributed to the end of decent downtown dining (with a couple of exeptions). Here’s a hint for you: look at where the industry people go, that’s where you’ll find the most interesting food and highly respected chefs–these are not the restaurants owned by corporations (Purple) or those that have chefs that are known for their name rather than their restaurants (e.g.,Tom Douglas).

    Next time look into any of the following and I can guarentee you won’t be disappointed:
    Sitka & Spruce
    The Corson Building
    The Harvest Vine
    The Walrus & Carpenter
    Boat Street Cafe
    Spinasse
    La Carta de Oaxaca
    Bar del Corso
    Delancy
    Besalu
    Spring Hill
    Cafe Presse
    Salumi
    Staple & Fancy
    Green Leaf
    Elemental
    Revel
    Poppy
    La Medusa
    Tilikum Place Cafe

    • greedyguts January 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

      Thanks so much for the recommendations, Jill. I will definitely give some of these a try next time I’m in the area. I figured that downtown was probably “the traps” but without transport it can be hard to get out of the downtown core, especially when you are only there for a day or two. You don’t happen to have a list of recommendations like this for San Fran, by any chance? 🙂

    • Pamela Dhillon October 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      The best steak I’ve ever had consistently….bar none…. The Metropolitan Grill in Seattle. its old school, but fantastic! Ballard has alot of cool foodie type restaurants too.

      • Pamela Dhillon October 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

        Oh, and in the Queen Anne hood — 5 Spot for Sunday brunch! Good greasy everything! Very popular…similar to Sophie’s in Vancouver but bigger and better.

      • greedyguts October 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

        Thanks Pamela. I might be in Seattle again soon, so I’ll try and check some of these recommendations out.

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