on the road: seattle part 1

14 Sep

I love Minneapolis. It’s the best city to live in. Period.

If you are disagreeing with me, you clearly haven’t lived here in September when the weather is perfect and beautiful, so I will forgive you.

However, there are some periods during the summer months where the heat and humidity are absolutely stifling and horrid. I especially love those days where I choke on air. Lovely.

It’s during this time of year that a trip out west is the perfect getaway. Seattle has been on our list of cities to visit for quite some time. As we (and when I say we, I clearly mean Brette) checked out the MN Twins schedule for the year, we realized they were playing in Seattle over a weekend in August. Perfect. We now had a bigger reason to visit. We do love checking out other stadiums and I love to cheer on my boyfriend Joe Mauer.

So a few weeks back, we headed west to Seattle and to no surprise, we loved it. The weather was amazing. It was in the 60’s with a slight breeze pretty much every day. Perfect for jeans, a t-shirt, and a hoody. My favorite uniform.

We stayed at the DoubleTree Artic Club Hotel. It was about 30 feet from where the light rail dropped us off and a walkable distance to everything we wanted to get to. The building is super old and incredibly charming. Although our room was small, it had all the ammenities we needed.

We would recommend this hotel to others and we would happily stay there again. The mini french press is what sold us. :)

We didn’t have much of an agenda while we were there – we were looking for some relaxation, not an “on the go non-stop ” trip. There were  a few things we knew we wanted to do: spend some quality time at Pike’s Place Market, cheer on the Twins and check out SafeCo field, and of course, enjoy great Seattle food.

We succeeded.

I, of course, asked for restaurant recommendations from anyone that would listen to me. We limited ourselves a little because we didn’t rent a car. We went everywhere by foot. This was not only economical and environmentally friendly, but it also let us enjoy the food even more. We were walking it off, right?

We hit up both super casual places and a few nicer places. I think we got a good mix of what Seattle had to offer. We typically get to know a city through it’s food. I feel like I got to know Seattle very well and I like it a lot.

I’m going to share some of the nicer restaurants we went to in this post and in my next post I’ll share the more casual places and let you in on some of our other Seattle observations.

By nicer restaurants, I don’t necessarily mean fancy. They are just more the sit-down dinner types of places.

I’m listing them in order of when we ate there because that’s just how my brain works.

Matt’s in the Market

This place was recommended by a few different people and for good reason. It’s right on the corner of Pike and Pine in an old building on the top floor. It’s kind of hidden really. We had to ask a few people where to find it. We were there on a Wednesday night at about 7:30-8:00 and managed to get the last 2 seats at the bar.  The atmosphere was really nice with great view of the market. The wait staff was very friendly and the food was a big win.

I had the Heirloom Tomato Salad with Watermelon and Ricotta Salata followed by their Gazpacho with Crab and Olive Oil Toast. I really enjoyed both dishes. I typically like my gazpacho chunky and this one was completely smooth. I wasn’t sure I’d like that, but the olive oil toast on top for dipping sealed the deal.

Brette was making all sorts of noise about his meal – he couldn’t stop talking about it. He had the arugula salad with crab, citrus, avocado and pine nuts, which just might be the perfect combination. He followed that up with the Black Cod served over potatoes and a grilled corn relish. It was a major win – he was so happy with his meal.

We would both go back to Matt’s and recommend it to anyone. Although casual dress was completely appropriate, the food was a big fancier than we expected. It’s not super cheap, but not crazy either.

Serious Pie

So, in Seattle, Tom Douglas is the man. The man at awesome restaurants that is. He has quite a few in Seattle and we had the pleasure of dining at two of them. It turns out he knows what he’s doing.

The first one we hunted down was Serious Pie…pizza pie that is. This place is a definite hot spot. We got there at about 8:30 on a Thursday night waited nearly an hour to for a seat. (they do not take reservations) It was a lovely night, so we hung outside and enjoyed the glorious pizza fumes coming from inside.

The service was great and on top of it. Our waiter did a great job of checking in with us the perfect amount of times and kept us informed of when our pizzas would be ready.

My pizza had chanterelle mushrooms and truffle cheese. This happens to be Tyler Florence’s favorite pizza ever. I must say, Tyler knew what he was talking about – it was awesome! I did not let one bit go to waste (though I did give Brette a piece). The crust was my favorite part – it was soft and chewy but not soggy at all. The mushrooms were fantastic and the cheese was creamy and perfect.

Brette opted for the sweet fennel sausage and peppers version. He was also in pizza heaven. Brette loves the fennel sausage and this one did not disappoint.

We were fat and happy when we left. We were also grateful for the mile walk back to our hotel.

Wild Ginger

We read about this Asian hot spot on a few blogs and had heard good things. I love asian food so was excited to try it one afternoon for lunch.

Brette thought the atmosphere felt kind of like a hotel. I kind of dug it. Very kitschy and asian-y.

Our waiter was nice, but I swear he was 12 years old. He did a fine job on the service no matter what his age.

I had the Monk’s Curry – a vegetarian curry featuring eggplant, hard spiced tofu, sweet potato, peanuts and other fresh vegetables in a spicy exotic Thai curry sauce.

It sounded perfect and I LOVE eggplant so I was super amped. The taste was pretty good,but I have had much better curry dishes in Minneapolis.  The biggest flaw to this dish was that it was cold. Not super cold, but not quite room temperature either. That majorly bummed me out. I mean, how hard is that to serve hot?  On the up side, I had the option of brown rice instead of white which was a nice touch. I wish more asian restraunts would offer that.

Brette had the Seafood Thai Noodles – Fresh wide rice noodles that are wok-fried with scallops, prawns, squid and mussels in a light soy sauce with hints of basil and chili.

At Asian restaurants, Brette will always order a noodle dish. He loves all things noodle. He enjoyed these noodles, but didn’t necessarily think they were anything spectacular.

While our food was not necessarily bad, we would not rush back to this place and if we’re in Seattle again, it will not be on our list.

Dahlia Lounge

This is another one of Tom Douglas’s restaurants and was specifically recommended by a number of people. I made reservations well in advance for our last night in Seattle. It was the perfect way to end the trip.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I found it romantic and comfortable with a little bit of modern mixed in. It was packed, but we weren’t on top of the table next to us and we could have a conversation without having to talk with outside voices. (I’m not a fan of restaurants where my voice is scratchy by the end)

Our server was very nice and let us take our time. I never felt like I was being rushed (another pet peeve). He gave some tips on the menu and kept our glasses full.

The food was fantastic.

We split the Tuscan grilled bread salad with pesto, olives, mozzarella, and spicy coppacola. I loved that they offered to split it – so it came on two separate plates. Perfect. It was delicious. The grilled bread gave such great texture and it soaked up all the juices of the dressing so it had great flavor. We were both loved this dish.

For the entree, we did something we rarely do. We ordered the same entree. Gasp! We typically shy away from that but we both really wanted salmon. We’re in Seattle for pete’s sake! So we both got the Washington king salmon with sweet corn~potato chowder, mustard greens, and bing cherries. Mine was perfectly cooked and the potato chowder was my favorite part. Brette thought his might have been a tad overcooked, but still really liked it and gobbled it down.

Dessert might have been my favorite part.I had the Triple Coconut cream pie with white chocolate and toasted coconut. Oh my heavens was this delightful. It got very quiet at the table. All of my attention was focused on this pie.  I reluctantly let Brette have a bite so he could experience how lucious and amazing it was. He was a believer.

Brette indulged in the Chocolate Budino Tart. He was sold on the soft gooey center. It was very good, but I think my pie stole the show.:)

This photo is from the Dahlia Bakery web site. Mine didn’t last long enough to take a photo!

I think this pie is a good place to end for now. Please drool as appropriate.

I’ll be back later this week with more photos, restaurant reviews and adventures from our trip to Seattle.

In the meantime, have you been to any of these places? What’s your verdict?  (I realize I have about 1 Seattle reader – (Hi Kate!), but maybe some of you have visited?)


6 Responses to “on the road: seattle part 1”

  1. Carin September 14, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    You had triple coconut cream pie and you didn’t tell me?! Coconut baby, coconut!

    • jen September 15, 2010 at 7:46 am #

      I can’t believe I forgot to tell you! I did say to Brette that you would LOVE that pie. I then replayed the coconut donut incident. :)

  2. anne September 15, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    Hahaha, Pat and I have a sort of unspoken rule (well it’s his rule, not mine) that we don’t ever order the same dish at a restaurant. OhMaGawd, that coconut cream pie sounds DIVINE!

  3. Kate September 15, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    Hi Jen! Glad you thought the weather was perfect. I was reading a newspaper article about a month back that was talking about our low temps this summer. It specifically mentioned that even though we were all grousing, the tourists were loving it!

    Also glad the you enjoyed Dahlia Lounge. It’s one of our favorite “event” restaurants. Never had a bad meal there. I haven’t tried Matt’s at the Market but now I want to.

    Can’t wait to read Part Two!

  4. Healthy Coconut September 17, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    You had me at Triple Coconut cream pie, Oh my god. It was hard to scroll past that picture.

    Hi there, I just found your blog. Looks like you enjoyed your Seattle trip very much. I visited Seattle for the 1st time last October and we also went to Pike Place Market. Unfortunately we didn’t try any of the restaurants you listed. We did go on a food tour at the Pike Place and then also ate at the rotating restaurant on top of the Space Needle. I have a trip recap on my blog if your are interested in reading.

    Thanks for sharing about your trip. I want to visit Seattle again.


  1. on the road: seattle part 2 « She said. She said. - September 16, 2010

    […] 16 Sep Time for part 2 of our trip to Seattle. If you need to catch up on part 1, please go here. […]

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