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Visiting Seattle for Anniversary


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I sent an email to Ethan today at Union and he immediately responded asking me to give him a call. After asking for all the particulars (date, time, ect) he inquired about my wife's "dietary nuances". After a short discussion, I feel confident of making Union my choice for our anniversary dinner. Ethan was very engaging and seemed genuinely pleased to be asked to provide us with a special dinner for our special evening. I am very much looking forward to our visit in May! Thanks Ethan!!

Derek

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  • 1 month later...

We have now decided to come a day early and are looking at a 3rd place for dinner. It does not have to be fancy, just good. We love the menu at Volterra but know nothing of it. Any thoughts?

Also, need a place to grab a coffee and light dessert.. Does Seattle have any coffee shops :laugh::laugh: . Seriously, who pours a great espresso around where we are staying (Inn at el Gaucho)? No chains (starbucks, ect) please :wink: .

One last request. I would like to pick up a couple of bottles of good wine. Where should I go? Preferably within walking distance of el Gaucho, but can do a short drive if needed.

Derek

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For wine, I'd check out either Pike & Western Wine Shop (1934 Pike Place) or the Spanish Table (1427 Western Ave). Both are in or near Pike Place Market, which is walking distance from El Gaucho.

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One last request.  I would like to pick up a couple of bottles of good wine.  Where should I go?  Preferably within walking distance of el Gaucho, but can do a short drive if needed.

Seattle Cellars is just a block away from El Gaucho.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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If you can make it up to Capitol Hill for coffee, I'd highly recommend Vivace Roasteria on Denny and Broadway. Unfortunately, the high rents of Belltown and Downtown limit your non-chain coffee choices, and I'm not impressed by most of the indie places that are in those areas. Also, many downtown coffee places close early-they just serve the work crowd. I think Cafe Ladro, on Union between 1st and 2nd, is good but not stellar. Also unfortunately, most espresso places have only bad pastries, made elsewhere-if you want a great dessert, your best bet is at a good restaurant (e.g. at the bar).

Edited by kiliki (log)
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We have now decided to come a day early and are looking at a 3rd place for dinner. It does not have to be fancy, just good.  We love the menu at Volterra but know nothing of it.  Any thoughts?

I've read lots of good things about Lark and Crush. I had a great dinner at Veil a few weeks ago, and read a rave review about their food in this month's Seattle Magazine. Veil's foie gras torchon is second only to the one I had at French Laundry.

I've not had dinner at Mistral yet, but have had quite a few of their desserts, and they are amazing. It's not cheap, but I would suggest Mistral as well!

(ETA: If you are looking for a breakfast place, I know that Cafe Campagne does this egg dish with fries and foie gras and red wine sauce! My bf ate breakfast there once and Jacques Pepin was also there...so he bought a Jacques Pepin cookbook from next door and waited until Jacques was finished breakfast and got an autograph! :biggrin: )

Edited by Ling (log)
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Volterra is great, it is also in Ballard which is a wonderful area to explore and there happens to be a great wine shop, Portalis just 1 block from the restaurant! The whole street is full of interesting shops and restaurants.

Lark is a great choice too because it is very well priced and it's fun to share dishes with the one you love!

Boat Street, Le Pichet and Fork are all good choices in good price points too.

The other place I like to buy (and cellar) my wine is at Esquin which is a drive just south of the stadiums.

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Dinner on Sunday I'm thinking either Fork or Harvest Vine. My wife really wants to try the Wild Mushroom and Onion Brioche Pudding at Fork.

btw, I ate at Fork on Sat and it was great and this was still on the menu!

Edited by little ms foodie (log)
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We have now decided to come a day early and are looking at a 3rd place for dinner. It does not have to be fancy, just good.  We love the menu at Volterra but know nothing of it.  Any thoughts?

I've read lots of good things about Lark and Crush. I had a great dinner at Veil a few weeks ago, and read a rave review about their food in this month's Seattle Magazine. Veil's foie gras torchon is second only to the one I had at French Laundry.

I've not had dinner at Mistral yet, but have had quite a few of their desserts, and they are amazing. It's not cheap, but I would suggest Mistral as well!

(ETA: If you are looking for a breakfast place, I know that Cafe Campagne does this egg dish with fries and foie gras and red wine sauce! My bf ate breakfast there once and Jacques Pepin was also there...so he bought a Jacques Pepin cookbook from next door and waited until Jacques was finished breakfast and got an autograph! :biggrin: )

Again, I'd have to chime in with a nudge towards Mistral. It's walking distance from your hotel, and the chef there will tailor the menu to whatever you want. You won't find a better meal in the city! I can't stress enough how much I think this is the perfect place considering the limitations of your request!

Other otions within walking distance from your hotel (that haven't already been mentioned)

Marjorie: Not a seafood heavy menu. Many options for the wife. The best roast chicken in the city!

Marco's Supperclub: Directly across the street from your hotel. The fried sage leaves are amazing! Also not a seafood heavy menu.

Lamprea: 1 block away from your hotel. Many claim it to be the best food in the city. I find it very good but but just stopping short this side of exceptional. Service can be stuffy, but also very professional. Worth trying if you're serious about food. Same price point as a place like Mistral. I like Mistral much better :wink:

I don't drink coffee but many of my friends love to go to Cherry Street Coffee. Your hotel is right between 2 locations on 1st ave. (I don't think 2 locations constitutes a chain) they also enjoy Vivace in Cap Hill.

And yes, Cafe Campagne's oeufs en meurette is OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Poached eggs (make sure you ask for them runny, I've had them overdone before) on garlic croutons with red wine and foie gras reduction and a basket of fries to soak up every last drop of that wonderful sauce. mmmmmmm. It's right next door to the Sur La Table (which is where I bought the Jaques Pepin book)

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The other place I like to buy (and cellar) my wine is at Esquin which is a drive just south of the stadiums.

And if you're going to Esquin you have to go by The Wine Outlet while you're in the neighborhood.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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You can skip Volterra, in my book. If you want Italian food of that genre, I'd go for Cafe Lago.

Cafe Lago is also great but they have totally opposite feels and menus. Volterra is a bit more upscale and Lago is more casual/family friendly. I like the food at both but again feel the menus are totally different with things like the best pizza and casual home made pastas on Lago's menus and a little more elegant presentations like noodles with Duck sauce (which is very yum!) at Volterra.

And it just happens that the owners of both restaurants are also very nice!

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You can skip Volterra, in my book. If you want Italian food of that genre, I'd go for Cafe Lago.

I was not enthused about Volterra, sadly, it didn't live up to the promise of its menu. If higher end Italian is what your intersted in, I think Tulio or Il Terrazo Carmine might be closer substitutes than Cafe Lago.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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You can skip Volterra, in my book. If you want Italian food of that genre, I'd go for Cafe Lago.

I was not enthused about Volterra, sadly, it didn't live up to the promise of its menu. If higher end Italian is what your intersted in, I think Tulio or Il Terrazo Carmine might be closer substitutes than Cafe Lago.

In my opinion, the best Italian you're gonna find in Seattle (I'm assuming now that you're gonna be driving) is at La Spiga in Capital Hill, or La Medusa in Columbia City.

Walking distance from your Hotel is La Vita e Bella. Can be inconsistent, be have found it to be either very good, or above average on most occasions.

If you really want to take a drive, cross the Lake and get thee to Cafe Juanita in Kirkland. Hands down the best Italian in the Seattle area. Its Northern influenced. And Holly Smith really enjoys what she is doing over there. Probabley about the same distance as the drive to La Medusa.

My order of Preference:

1. Cafe Juanita

2. La Medusa

3. La Spiga

4. Volterra

5. Tulio

6. Cafe Lago

7. Le Vita e Bella

I've never liked Il Terrazzo Carmine (but that's just me.) And you probably will never find it anyway, even if you have the address, and a map, and a handheld GPS device! :biggrin:

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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I've gotta throw La Rustica in for the best Italian. I've haven't been to all of the places on hhlodesign's list, but I think La Rustica should probably be in there. It's in West Seattle, which would be a bit of a drive (but less so than Kirkland, and much prettier, too). It's family owned, and crazy delicious.

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Oh, if we're talking Italian now, I'll also recommend Osteria La Spiga. The owner is from Bologna and the food is of Emilia-Romagna. I ate there a month or so ago after not going for a while and it was so damn delicious. We had an antipasti of mortadella mousse with crostini, farro salad over arugula, and assorted cured meats and cheese, that was out of this world. And the tagliatelle with truffle oil knocks me out every time-the pastas are all homemade and fabulous. It's not expensive, it's not fine dining, but I think it has a great romantic vibe to it.

They are moving to Union and either 12th or 15th in September, to a big new space with a full bar, in case anyone doesn't know.

Edited by kiliki (log)
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Also, need a place to grab a coffee and light dessert..  Does Seattle have any coffee shops  :laugh:  :laugh: .  Seriously, who pours a great espresso around where we are staying (Inn at el Gaucho)?  No chains (starbucks, ect) please  :wink: .

Go have an espresso and a hot chocolate (chocolat chaud) at Le Pichet. OK, well that's not exactly "light" but it totally kicks ass. Always served, even if it's not on the menu.

Born Free, Now Expensive

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Off to Seattle this morning. We will be having dinner tonight at The Harvest Vine and dinner tomorrow at Union, where Ethan is creating a vegetarian tasting menu for my wife and I'm having whatever he decides to feed me!! Sunday dinner is still up in the air. I will report back next week (or earlier, as we have wi fi in our room).

Derek

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Off to Seattle this morning.  We will be having dinner tonight at The Harvest Vine and dinner tomorrow at Union, where Ethan is creating a vegetarian tasting menu for my wife and I'm having whatever he decides to feed me!! Sunday dinner is still up in the air.  I will report back next week (or earlier, as we have wi fi in our room).

Hi Derek,

My wife and a girlfriend are heading down tomorrow for some shopping and they are hoping to go to Fork at 7:30, so if you end up there and see two beaufiful ladies sitting and enjoying a fabulous dinner, be sure to say hello!

Cheers,

Eric

Edited by Edible Vancouver (log)
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Went to The Harvest Vine last night. Absolutely loved the spot; it was not at all what I expected. We managed to grab a couple of seats at the bar and stayed there for over 2 hours. will file a complete report early next week.

Tonight we are off to Union. Really looking forward to that one. We have also decided to go to Zoe tomorrow. No corkage Sundays!!

Derek

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Derek, I'm so glad you made it to Harvest Vine and Union. The bar at HV is one of the best seats in town. Those are two lovely places, and you made it to them both. I'm looking forward to hearing your reports.

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We just go back from Seattle yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, especially from the dining perspective. Here is a LARGE rundown of all we ate.

Friday

Upon arrival on Friday, I headed over to Seattle Cellars and picked up a bottle of Maryhill viogier from Washington State and a bottle of Matanzas Creek merlot from Sonoma. Drank the vigonier rather quickly before heading off to The Harvest Vine for dinner.

I’ll start off by saying that it was totally not what we were expecting. I thought that it would be a lot more fine dining. It was actually a very pleasant surprise. We got a couple of seats at the bar (great spot) and after much help,ordered a bottle of Tinto Pesquera. It was exactly what I wanted!

For the next 2+hours we ate our way through 7 tapas. Keeping in mind my wife’s difficult culinary concerns discussed at the beginning of this thread, they were;

Ensalada de Remolachas

thinly sliced red and yellow beets with garlic, sherry vinegar and lagrima olive oil

delicious…sopped the juices up with the yummy bread

Chorizo de Soria

Dry cured pork sausage

We both really liked this. Great sausage

Plato de Jamon Serrano

dry cured serrano ham

very good but a bit pricey

Chaminones al AjilloButton mushrooms sautéed with garlic and finished with fine sherry

heavy on the garlic but that’s never a bad thing with mushrooms!

Alcachofas Rellenas a la NavarraSpring artichoke stuffed with carmelized onion, Serrano ham and piquillo pepper

really good flavour

Esparragos BlancosPan roasted Washington white asparagus with béchamel and dried Serrano jham

This was my favourite dish!!

Vieiras con Lentejas

Pan seared sea scallops with Spanish lentils and Serrano ham

I had this one to myself. Although I enjoyed it, the scallops were a bit overdone to my liking

I would have loved to try a few more but there was nothing else that my wife would eat and we overdid the bread! There are at least another 10 dishes that I would love to try on our next visit. I did not realize how much Serrano ham we had until I typed this up.

The guys in the kitchen rocked! I bought them a couple of beers to enjoy! I loved this place and would definately go back. Thanks for the recommendation!

Saturday

Had breakfast in our room. It comes with the price of the room. Muffins and breakfast bread from Marcina Bakery and fresh fruit and coffee.

For lunch we searched out 3 sisters bakery at Pikes Market. I had a meatloaf sandwich and my wife had an egg salad sandwich. The meatloaf was great and it came with mustard, horseradish, mayo, cheddar, lettuce, onion, tomato and sprouts! Very yummy. Would definitely go back

Had a mocha at Cherry Street Café. I didn’t care for it but my wife liked it.

Dinner on Saturday night was at Union. Ethan was preparing a special menu for us for the reasons stated above (wife being picky). Here is a rundown of our 8 coarse dinner!!

1st. coarse

Colleen- Fourme D’ambert with wild watercress and hazelnuts

Great blue cheese…she really loved it

Derek – Dungeness crab salad with avocado and basil oil

Fantastic

2nd coarse

Colleen – English pea soup with cured tomatoes and fennel pollen

Derek – same soup but with seared sea scallop

Both soups were great! The soup was so fresh tasting

3rd coarse

Colleen – Asparagus salad with fried duck egg and reggiano

She did not eat the egg (ugh)

Derek – Grilled Branzino with cauliflower and ligurian olives

I believe it is also referred to as striped bass. If I am wrong, please correct me. It was delicious

4th Coarse

Colleen – Ricotto gnocchi with baby carrots and fava beans

There was no potato in this and I love gnocchi pan fried (yes, she gave me a bite!

Derek – Roasted Squab with grape marmalade and frisee

Loved this dish. The squab was perfectly cooked and the marmalade served warm.

5th Coarse

Colleen – Risotto of artichokes, mushrooms and leeks

She was getting full by now! I liked it but found the leeks a bit overpowering

Derek – Grilled striploin with hon shimeji mushrooms and shallot sauce

Perfectly cooked med-rare and the demi was sooo good!

6th coarse

Grapefruit sorbet with huckleberries

A great palat cleanser. From here on in we had the same thing, except that I also ate about half of hers

7th coarse

Pecorino Lucano with quince jam.

I did not enjoy the jam at first but really enjoyed it the more I ate.

8th (and last) coarse

Cognac Ice cream puff with chocolate sauce

Yummy!

For drinks we started off with a ½ bottle of Laurent Perrier Brut and for dinner we had a ½ bottle of Sancerre from Lucien Crochet. I also brought a bottle of ’96 Lynch Bages, which I had purchased in London during our honeymoon. The champagne and LB were great but I did not care for the sancerre. I wanted something light and crisp so It did pair well with my fish. I also had a glass of Andrew Hill gewürztraminer late harvest with dessert.

The room is very minimalist but nicely lit. Not much of a view on a cloudy, windy night. Our server Mark was very personable and attentive, if slightly informal, which we don’t really mind.

The portions were quite large. My fish and striploin were probably around 4-5ounces each. That works well for me and does offer better value but it was pretty hard getting up at the end of it all.

I would say that the only disappointment the entire night was the bread. I had heard previously from someone on this board how amazing the bread was, so being a lover of bread, I was very much looking forward to it. It was, in my opinion, just like any other bread I have had at much lesser restaurants.

Aside from that very minor quibble, I would highly recommend Union for a great dining experience.

Sunday

Breakfast again in our room

Lunch we ate at a Brewhouse called Gordon Bierch(?). The only reason we ate there was that we were going to a movie right next to it in Pacific Place.

Ordered a nice pilsner and a pulled pork sandwhich with slaw and a cheeseburger with garlic fries. The garlic stuck with us all day! Typical fare I would say.

We had 7pm reservations at Zoe Sunday night. It ws recommended on this board and also by the sales associate at Seattle cellars. As it was “no corkage Sundays”, I had previously picked up a bottle of 02 Geyerville from Ridge, one of my favourite Zins. I was unable to view their winr list previously but gambled that they did not have it on their list

You guessed it…they had it on their list. Right above that on the list was a wine from my absolute favourite zin producer, Turley! We ordered a bottle of the ’04 Old Vines, but not before I started off with a beer.

The bread served here was fantastic! Served with OO and balsamic.

For starters, Colleen had a Crimson pear salad with “salumi” culutello, almonds, reggiano and chestnut honey vinaigrette. I had a ravioli of scallops and foie gras. I’m sorry that I can not remember the sauce but both dishes were great.

I had a mid-coarse of a ½ order of Wild Boar Bolognese with arugula parpadelle and reggiano. One of the best pasta dishes I have ever had, and a great compliment to the Turley!

For main coarses, Colleen had a risotto of Asparagus and reggiano. Colleens risotto was delicious. I had the Lamb, which changes nightly On this night it was lamb shoulder served with shallot spinach and a yukon gold potato puree and pan jus. The lamb itself was good but the rest of the dish was great, the potato puree being the highlight.

For dessert I had a moscato d’asti and we shared a unexciting chocolate cake of some sort.

Our server Tom was great and we were well looked after. I would definitely go back!

I’d say we were 3/3 on our dinners. Each offered a completely different experience. The Harvest Vine a fun spot with great food, if a bit pricey. Union a great fine-dining experience and Zoe for something in between.

Thanks to all for all your help! We’ll be back (soon hopefully).

Derek

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