How well can a person get to know a city in one week? Let me answer by saying this: Seattle is one of the sunniest places I've ever been; I doubt folks living there even know what a cloud looks like. And the reuben sandwich I ate at the shop pictured above? Best sandwich in Seattle! Or at least as good as the other two I tried elsewhere. So what I'm saying is...
Let's not pretend the following photo-essay of Seattle foods is anything more than a summation of some places that I found to be very worthwhile and that you might too if ever traipsing through the Emerald City -- although it should be noted that many of the restaurants I visited came via spot-on recommendations from Seattle Weekly's James Beard winning food critic Hanna Raskin, who apparently has quite a bit of expertise on these matters.
One personal recommendation that I can offer with confidence is to rent a bicycle at Play It Again Sports. It's the best way to get around this compact city -- or to put it in foodie terms, you'll be able to stop and go at many more eateries than if sightseeing by car. If the hills prove too steep for your, um, foodie-type legs, you can pop the bike onto the front of a bus and ride it to the top (the bus is free during weekdays).
Let's start eating:
Market House Corned Beef has been making delicious corned beef since 1948; over the past decade they started making sandwiches. This is half of an amazing reuben ($8.95 for the whole sandwich, which comes with a side of horseradish, potato salad, pickle, and chocolate chip cookie):
Salumi has people lining out the door. No doubt one draw is that the owner and principal salumist is Mario Batali's father, Armandino Batali, and the Batali family is on premise putting out the food. But a name only gets you so far -- the cured charcuterie and sandwiches here are fantastic:
Veal meatball sandwich:
Behind the Salumi line:
Seattle's Copper River salmon season started last week:
Oysters oysters everywhere, each one seemingly juicier than the next. Try nabbing some at Taylor Shellfish Melrose Market:
Lots of smoked salmon going down in this town:
Smoked salmon on a stick, one of many treats found in Pike Place Market:
Dungeness crab is big in Seattle. So is chef Tom Douglas and his many restaurants; Mr. Douglas just received a James Beard Award for the nation's Outstanding Restaurateur. Below is a delectable dungeness crab BLT, and below that a porchetta sandwich with garlic aioli, both consumed at Douglas' Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie:
While salmon is just coming into season, halibut is in peak season and therefore was the main fish served by most of the restaurants we visited:
Piroshky Piroshky, a Russian bakery at Pike Market, makes, um, great piroshky. Even Helsinki-hater Bourdain has visited this shop, but that's no reason not to come here:
I didn't try one of Dick's burgers at this retro-burger stand, but I liked the sign and the concept of five-cent onions:
I hear there are all sorts of food trucks in Seattle, but all I kept seeing were taco trucks. Which is fine by me. Taco Gol's trio of pollo, pastor, and lengua were great:
Mike's Noodle House is the best of the Chinese restaurants I sampled in the International District:
Happy hour is huge in Seattle -- even coffee shops and bookstores offer discount deals during this time of day. There may or may not be finer bars in Seattle (see opening paragraph), but Lava Lounge was our favorite watering hole. Great spot for sipping local microbrews and absorbing the local Belltown scene:
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Tomorrow we'll take a look at some of the more upscale spots (at least relative to Lava Lounge).