“Forks in the Road”: Sated in Seattle

By design, my travels often include some wonderful culinary adventures. Here’s a sampling of what my tastebuds enjoyed during a recent trip to Seattle – it’s wonder I didn’t gain 45 pounds!

Nobody does oysters quite like Elliott's

Sure, there are other places to go for oysters in Seattle, but why bother. Elliott’s Oyster House has “Oyster House” in its name for a reason. There’s always a broad selection of the bivalves to choose from, and the staff knows their way around all of them.

Doing the Macrina (Bakery)
When you discover your rented condo is a mere four floors above a bakery, you know it’s going to be a good trip. The first morning I indulged in Macrina’s Morning Roll (“A swirl of yeasted croissant dough sweetened with vanilla sugar and baked to a golden brown”), which proved a very worthy calorie splurge. The rest of the trip’s mornings started with a Macrina baguette, cheeses, Washington fruit jams, crisp Washington apples, coffee, and a fabulous view of Puget Sound out the condo window.

Up in (Six) Arms

No beers this time -- had a breakfast salad
No beers this time — had a breakfast salad

The McMenamin’s umbrella boasts “… an eclectic mix of pubs, historic hotels, movie theaters, concert venues, spas, events and just pure fun …” The Six Arms pub on Pike Street was no exception. Enjoyed some tasty spicy Bloody Marys (will try their IPAs next time) and the intriguing décor – sort of steampunk meets India.

Elysian Fields Forever
Had planned to go to another outpost of Elysian Brewing, but ended up stopping in at the original, which opened on Capitol Hill in 1996. With ?? of their IPAs on tap, couldn’t decide on just one, so opted for a sampler. All were good!

Best Deal in Seattle?

Best deal in Seattle?
Best deal in Seattle?

Located right in front of Pike Place Market smack dab in the middle of tourist land, I’d always dismissed El Borracho (The Drunk) as just another tourist trap. However, I am weak when it comes to happy hour pricing, so gave it a try. What a surprise! Two on-the-rocks margaritas and 3 street tacos for $11.39 AND about ten housemade salsas to boot.

End of An Era

A Seattle icon going the way of the bulldozer
A Seattle icon going the way of the bulldozer

After trying El Borracho, it seemed fitting to go for one at Mama’s Mexican Kitchen in Belltown. When it opened in 1974, it was the ONLY place for Mexican in the greater Seattle area, and some would argue all of the Pacific Northwest. Sadly, the property has been sold and will be soon demolished for a new mixed-use development. (Margies were good, btw, but I did like the chips and salsas better at EB.)

The Heart & Flying Fish Soul of Seattle

Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market

Of course, no trip to Seattle would be complete without a trip to the famous Pike Place Market. Even though I’ve been there many times, I’ve still got to go drool at all the cheese and charcuterie at DeLaurenti’s, avoid being hit by a salmon being tossed about by the mongers at Pike Place Fish, and ogle all the fresh produce and flowers. This trip I was smart enough not to buy anything that didn’t meet TSA security rules. Last trip I bought a jar of spicy fruit jam that I spent more time than I care to admit putting into three four-ounce squeeze bottles so I could bring it home.
As much a part of Seattle as Pike place is, I was very surprised to discover it was almost razed. Can you imagine the city without it?
“When the maze of aging buildings was slated for demolition in the 1960s, architect Victor Steinbrueck rallied Seattle to “Save the Market.” Voters approved a 17-acre historic district on November 2, 1971, and the City of Seattle later established the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority to rehabilitate and manage the Market’s core buildings.”

RRRRRRRR First Stop in Ballard
Yes, there is all the obligatory pirate decor at Maritime Brewing’s Jolly Roger Taproom, but also a good IPA and mahi-mahi sliderrrrs.

Brisket Bloody?

Celery? We don't need no stinkin' celery!
Celery? We don’t need no stinkin’ celery!

It ain’t every day you find a Bloody Mary served with a slice of brisket, but that’s how they do it at Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen in Ballard.

The Other Seattle

Organic beers!
Organic beers!

Decided to check out West Seattle, which is also south of the city around the sound. Interesting bus ride over, with views of alllllll the shipping industry infrastructure. First stop was at Elliott Bay Brewing, where I was pleasantly surprised to discover that all their beers are organic. Had a delightful IPA, of course.

The Swinery's fries -- the new gold standard
The Swinery’s fries — the new gold standard
The Swinery's French Fry menu
The Swinery’s French Fry menu

Next stop on the walk towards the ferry pier was at a butchery called The Swinery. This place has redefined French fries for me – hand cut, fried in rendered pork fat, drizzled with garlic and chives. Go ahead … take a moment …

Featured in the NYTimes, Marination Ma Kai boasts one of the best possible views of Seattle from its outdoor patio, and it did not disappoint. Add in a full bar with sangria and Bloody Marys, yummy food (miso ginger chicken tacos and kalbi beef tacos), and a beautiful sunny day – bingo!

View from Marination Ma Kai's patio in West Seattle
View from Marination Ma Kai’s patio in West Seattle

Bathroom With a View

View from the 76th floor women's bathroom at the Columbia Tower Club.
View from the 76th floor women’s bathroom at the Columbia Tower Club.

Have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to watching the Niners-Seahawks game with the Seattle wing of my family, but … two of them are members at the Columbia Tower Club in downtown Seattle. If you have to watch a boring rout, there are far worse places to endure it than on the 75th floor of said club. Membership DOES have its privileges, so thanks for the invite! On the 76th floor, by the way, is the swanky women’s bathroom, where every stall has its own window looking out over Mount Rainer.

Just Because …
Passed a Top Pot Doughnut store on the way to the ferry over to Bainbridge Island, so why not pop in for a maple old-fashioned?

Well-Traveled Diner
Featured on “Diners, Drive-in, and Dives,” the Madison Diner was originally built in 1948 and located in Pennsylvania. In 1996, it was dismantled, brought to Bainbridge Island, and reassembled with all its vintage charm intact. I opted for the housemade corned beef hash and from-scratch biscuits, and ate way more of it than I should of, but it was soooo good.

Always Room for Wine!

Lovely Merlot from a friend's winery
Lovely Merlot from a friend’s winery

Got to sample the fruits of a friend’s labor – wonderfully balanced, fruit-forward wines at Eagle Harbor Wine Company. Brought home a bottle of Founders’ Merlot (nice soft cherry, round mouthfeel, mellow tannins) to enjoy with the Puget Sound sunset view from the condo.

Elysian Fields IPA on the ferry back to Seattle -- such a civilized way to travel!
Elysian Fields IPA on the ferry back to Seattle — such a civilized way to travel!

Happy Hour in The ‘Hood
Well, what’s not to like about a place with 60 beers on tap?! Also really enjoyed a lovely salad with cream sherry dressing and a steak sandwich with blue cheese and arugula at Bell & Whete.

Topped It All Off with A Classic
Pictures couldn’t have done this place justice. 13 Coins is OLD SCHOOL! Dark wood paneling, high banquette seating, regulars who seemed a little miffed that we were seated in their usual Saturday spot – all the perfect touches. In addition to all the expected items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the spraaaaawling 24-hour menu included such classic dishes as eggs Florentine, crab Louis, a Monte Cristo sandwich, steak Sinatra, calf’s liver and onions, Hangtown Fry, beef stroganoff, sole almandine …  (Did I mention this is a 24-hour menu?) I was encouraged to get the eggs Benedict, which was a perfect way farewell taste of Seattle.

(Well, technically the obligatory Bloody Mary at SeaTac was the farewell taste, but who’s counting?)

— By Katy Budge




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