Best time to visit in spring
Posted 17 February 2002 - 09:43 AM
The trip itself was inspired by the last Gourmet editorial about all these berries and mushrooms, and other incredible
edibles. Please, can you help me with time and must-visit places.
And what about Herbfarm?
Posted 17 February 2002 - 10:08 AM
I haven't done the Herbfarm (waiting for someone else to pick up the tab), but by all accounts it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience like the French Laundry. Not that the food is the same, but you're not going to find a similar place anywhere else. I've met chef Jerry Traunfeld a number of times and eaten some of his cooking at trade shows, and he clearly deserves his hype. Reserve as far in advance as you can.
As far as places to go to pick berries and gather mushrooms, I'm not the expert. I know Blue Heron and her husband have done some mushroom hunting. Any ideas, BH? Helena, give us an idea of what you like to eat, or some of your favorite restaurants elsewhere, and we'll be glad to recommend some restaurants in Seattle, Portland, and nearby.
Posted 17 February 2002 - 11:35 AM
The other mushrooms like Chantrelles and Boletus are found in fall.
Summer is berry season.
To see when various local berries are in season, here is a link: WA state farmer's markets When the site comes up, clink on 'links', then click on 'Puget Sound Fresh', then 'what's fresh now' for the calendar. Our neighbor's go up in the Cascade mountains every summer and pick wild huckleberries, and then bring us home made huckleberry jam, yum!
If you get out our way, I also recommed a side trip to Eastern WA, which is a totally different experience than Seattle. It's dry and desert-like, and home of some wonderful Washington State wineries: Washington State Wineries and also wonderful produce stands with some of the freshest peaches and apricots you can imagine. Any chance you can come in summer?
Posted 17 February 2002 - 02:32 PM
Cookbook Specialist and Consultant
Posted 17 February 2002 - 10:33 PM
If you are in the Seattle area anytime from about Apr.5-21, I also highly recommend a side visit to Skagit Valley (60 miles north of Seattle) for the Tulip Festival. That area rivals Holland for the production of tulips and daffodils (the daffodils come 2-3 weeks or so before the tulips). It's absolutely beautiful when in full bloom Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
I've never eaten at the Herb Farm. I've read both good things and bad things about them.
Posted 18 February 2002 - 05:51 PM
but now i'm even more confused. Should we come for morels/tulips in spring or for berries in summer? Do you have any time that there are still morels, but some berries start to appear?
I agree that Herfarm is too expensive, let the book be my consolation, but what about Dahlia Lounge? Is it wothwhile?
Posted 22 February 2002 - 07:06 PM
This is our first year in the Seattle Mycological Society, but I've heard morels are extremely difficult to find, even for veteran mushroom pickers. I've never gone wild berry picking, except for blackberries (which come in August). Blackberries grow wild everywhere on almost every street corner it seems. People have to cut them back as they would take over the whole yard. Our next door neighbors grow raspberries, but mostly we just buy them & other berries at the farmer's market or grocery store. There are many local farms where one can U-pick, and that is also fun. Or one can head up to the Cascade mountains and pick berries while hiking. Maybe someone who has picked wild berries can help you out more than I.
I haven't had the pleasure of dining at Dahlia, but I've been to Etta's, one of Tom Douglas' other restaurants and like it. Here is a link to an earlier discussion of recommended restaurants to take visitors to in Seattle (and Dahlia was listed by papachef): Favorite place to take visitors in Seattle
I hope you have a great trip. Let us know when your plans are firmed up.
Posted 22 February 2002 - 10:18 PM
Dahlia and Etta's are both great choices. I prefer the menu at Etta's, although Etta's can be packed with tourists if that's a concern. If you're looking for a place that concentrates on Northwest ingredients, try Cascadia; I haven't been there, but I know Steve Klc thinks highly of the chef.
Tom Douglas restaurants: http://www.tomdouglas.com/
I wish I could tell you more about foraging, but I'm out of the loop. Seems like there must be someone among my ecology program buddies at school who knows all about it--I'll ask around.
Posted 23 February 2002 - 10:05 AM
That Gourmet piece was actually about Portland, not Seattle (neener, neener, neener to our neighbor to the north). Both places offer much the same seasonal foods, altho’ Seattle is more cosmopolitan, but the Seattle-ites advice will pretty much translate to Portland.
The Portland Farmers Market opens in April, and it’s the best place to get local produce and wild mushrooms. Depending on the weather, morels should start to appear in late May or early June. I agree with the other posters that the fall mushrooms are better, and they actually start to show up in mid-summer (July rain will cause boletus to pop in the mountains).
Local strawberries are also a May-June crop, and raspberries start in June-July. Blueberries are typically available up to mid-August or so.
There are several incredibly good restaurants here and a lot of others that are better than most. Guliano Bugialli called Genoa “the best Italian restaurant in the US.” (full disclosure: Genoa buys Don Alfonso olive oil from me)
You can also spend a day or two in the wine country south of Portland (and for about $800 there’s the 3-day International Pinot Noir Festival, but they hold a lottery to see who gets tickets).
Both places are great food towns, and most of us can agree that we eat better here than almost anywhere else inthe country. But no matter what time of year you come, bring your umbrella.
Posted 27 February 2002 - 10:48 AM
Portland has better pizza (I'd take Escape from NY over anything I've had in Seattle), to start with, and its fine dining establishments seem to have more local spirit and be less influenced by thirdhand whispers of east-coast trends than the Belltown set. ÊWe have nothing like Castagna, Genoa, or Cafe Des Amis here, as far as I know (but I'd be delighted if someone proved me wrong). ÊI hate to dis the Emerald city, and I'm not moving back to Portland anytime soon, but if you gave me a weekend free eating pass, I'd spend it in the Rose City every time.
Then again, Portland has nothing like Osteria La Spiga, Herbfarm, or Etta's, so maybe I'm just playing grass-is-greener.
Posted 10 March 2002 - 06:49 PM
Portland, though, has a location on SE Hawthorne, one in NE by Lloyd Center, and another store on SW Multnomah. And they have all the goodies: jammers, cinnamon rolls, scones, cheese rolls, Fresh Herb Bread, rosemary rolls...
We can get Grand Central bread at the QFC on our street, but they only carry the basic loaves, none of these treats. I've been meaning to write a letter to GCB and ask when they'll open a store on Capitol Hill (preferably), in Ballard, Wallingford, or some other pleasant neighborhood.
They used to have a small store in Bellevue, not far from Bellevue Square, but it closed down.
Posted 10 March 2002 - 07:36 PM
For anyone intersted in architecture, as a side note only, Mrs. Bassetti, the founder of Grand Central Bakery, is the wife of well respected architect Frank Bassetti, founder of Bassetti Architects located in Seattle, Wa. I met him once, he's a pleasant fellow! These are their numerous projects (which include Gateway Tower, Seattle City Hall, Redmond Library: Bassetti Architects
Posted 11 March 2002 - 12:46 PM
My daily GC item is the inappropriately named panini, which came from an old Italian recipe called pane di treno. This train bread is a yeast dough roll with raisins and fennel seeds, and I altered my bike route to work after the NE store opened so I could stop by and pick one up every morning.
We are quite spoiled here in Portland when it comes to bread. Besides Grand Central, we have the Pearl Bakery and newcomer Ken's Artisan Bakery, both making slow-proofed and incredibly good bread.
Posted 12 March 2002 - 10:12 AM
I don't have my notes handy but all sorts of surprises along the way - a couple of microbreweries back when they were a rarity, a lodge on, I think, Crescent Lake, the Native American Indian Reservation at the tip of the penninsula, all manner of great home cooking and wonderful pies, oysters and more oysters, a Mexican restaurant where I saw a 3 year old bite into his first chili pepper and react accordingly and in total honesty (he bawled for at least 15 minutes), and once in Northern California, a town overun by Marin county bikers in their designer leathers with matching hip pouches.
Have a great trip. I'm hoping on repeating mine this year or next.
Posted 12 March 2002 - 10:28 AM