Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Seattle Spots in Good Company

Somehow I have made it into December without simmering a pot of cloves, anise, citrus peels, and bay leaves down into a sweet syrup and adding a few bottles of red wine to the pot until the liquid is steaming and aromatic, and there is mulled wine for all. It's such a lovely drink to gather around when in the kitchen on a cold evening, and everyone wants a hot mug to hold and a gentle warmth in their bellies. To me, it is the color and the smell of autumn and the Christmas season, and after writing these sentences, I'm quite ready to close my computer and go find myself some wine and spices.


Before I completely open the subject of holiday cookies, puddings, and pies, though, my mind is still on a few memorable restaurant experiences shared with a friend just a month ago.

Seattle is just far enough away to feel like a treat, and any sort of trip down there merits a good meal, but being in the big city and having a friend visiting from out of town, it can become quite hard to select just one (or two) good restaurants to dine at. We managed to eat at four different places in the course of two meals, and I think we were quite wisely restrained in this selection.

We hit our favorite spots, discovered one new one on our way back down to Seattle at the end of her visit, and garnered a lovely collection of photographs and memories our palates will remember for years to come.

First up: An early lunch at 11:30am at Oddfellow's Cafe. I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich with Manchego and a Tomato Onion Jam, and Lauren got the biscuit with scrambled eggs, Gruyere, and ham. Oh yes, and a bottle of Rachel's Ginger Beer to share.

manchego and tomato-onion jam grilled cheese sandwich

more oddfellows loveliness.

oddfellows' lovely sights.

Pre-dinner: This was actually unplanned, but while poking our heads into The Walrus and the Carpenter (just to let Lauren have a peek), we inquired on how long of a wait for two, mostly out of curiosity. When we found out there wasn't one, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to share some cozy space along the wall with a group of men slurping down oysters and tall glasses of beer. We ordered bread and butter, three oysters each, and a fruity but not-too-sweet cocktail to share (the Avenue West, I believe).

cocktail and bread + butter at The Walrus

oyster trio

At The Walrus and the Carpenter!

Aperitif: Wanting to save plenty of room for the dinner our mouths were already watering for next door, we put our names in at Delancey and then pulled ourselves up to the bar at Essex for Lauren to have her first experience in the whale-wallpaper bar sipping its exquisite cocktails. I had The Flaneur, which had Campari in it and was available on tap, and Lauren had their Autumn Sweater. Both very repeatable (as is the 70th Street Sour, as I know from my last visit, but you simply cannot go wrong with anything created by Essex's bartenders.)

The Flaneur + Autumn Sweater. so delicious.

Essex details

Dinner: By the time dinner came, I was working with incredibly low light in their dining room, so I set aside my camera, and we simply sighed and savored every bite of the white pie we shared (and had topped with roasted delicata squash).

After getting in a lot of walking and a good hike in the following days, we were ready for a few more Seattle treats on the way back to SeaTac airport.

Thanks to Sara and Hugh's recommendation on their blog, The Sprouted Kitchen, we stopped at Revel in Fremont for lunch. My albacore tuna rice bowl with fennel kim chi was utterly satisfying, and I intend to drag my next willing companion there as soon as possible.

Tuna and fennel kimchi rice bowl at Revel

And since we hadn't squeezed in Molly Moon's yet, we simply had to make an ice cream stop for Salted Caramel before saying our farewells.

Salted Caramel ice cream at Molly Moon's in Wallingford.

It's times like these that I am so grateful for the means to have these sweet occasions, for my tastebuds and the senses of sight and smell, and for the friends who so greatly enjoy good food, too.