Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The second leg of our Pacific Northwest adventure started with a drive out to the coast. I got to put my toes in the Pacific for the first time ever! Then we had a tasty lunch at Baked Alaska in Astoria and crossed a very, very long bridge.

Here is a quick shot of a couple small plates we ordered at Purple Wine Bar, recommended to us by a friend and the closest place on our list to the hotel, hence it was our first dinner in Seattle. The wine was good. The food... was ok. I actually really liked my fennel/dill/chilled shrimp/citrus salad (bottom left) and plan to re-create it soon. The hummus was pretty dry, and the bisteeya was sort of flat tasting. The desserts, however, were phenomenal, and just the right size.

Ok, ok, here's my gratuitous Pike Place Market shot. We went, it was overwhelming, and Adam bought a really beautiful kaleidoscope. I enjoyed it in the morning the first time we went because there are lots of beautiful fruits and flowers on display, but we went back one afternoon for some reason and it was crazy crowded and therefore not quite as much fun to stroll through.

After exploring the Olympic Sculpture Park one morning, we were in the vicinity of Boat Street Cafe. I had heard about their amazing pickles, but sadly none were on the lunch menu that day. I had to make due with this asparagus, tomato and emmenthal sandwich. Picture me heaving an enormous sigh and putting the back of my hand to my forehead. HA. This sandwich was so awesome I didn't miss pickles. Once I figure out how to make ridiculously good rolls, I'm definitely making it for myself. So, so yummy.

Adam and I spent two whole afternoons at the Seattle Public Library. We LOVED it, and not just because we are big readers, but also because it's an inviting space where they didn't hassle us for playing cribbage. We were looking for a snack and found Post Alley Pizza just a few blocks from the library, a nice little hole-in-the-wall pizza place where they put hot dogs (!) and mustard (!!) on a specialty slice called the Coney Island. Clearly I am a fan.

A slightly more upscale meal we enjoyed was at Cafe Lago, which was 100% worth the bus ride. I've already told you how good the pomodori al forno was, but did I mention the martini sporco? Sporco is Italian for "dirty," so theoretically this is a dirty martini, right? But here's the thing! They infuse the gin with olives, so you can taste the "dirt" but it doesn't cloud up the drink. The rim is salted with olive-salt and black pepper, and the olive speared with a fragrant rosemary sprig. I can't think of a reason not to use rosemary in your next martini, it was a really delicious touch.

One of our favorite meals of the trip is a meal of which I have no photographic evidence. My camera battery had died, and I charged it briefly thinking I would want pictures, but I was enjoying myself too much to take the camera out of my purse! We had dinner one night at Shiro's Sushi, the oldest sushi restaurant in Seattle. Please, please promise me that if you go to Seattle you will go to Shiro's. It took us a LOT of poring over the menu to decide which direction to go, but in the end we went with one of their omakase options - essentially letting the chef decide what we would eat.

We had smoked cod. We had oysters with chili, and asparagus with peanut sauce. We had chawanmushi with unidentifiable beans and the world's tiniest mushrooms. Shiro prepares tuna using an "old school Japanese method" according to our waiter, soaked in sake and soy sauce, which gives it a curious sweetness. There was sashimi and broiled cod (so rich and savory!) and eggplant and miso soup with tiny local clams. The last course was sushi (fish over rice, not rolls), and we tried geoduck for the first time - it was dense and chewy and not my favorite thing on the plate, but I ate it. There was also a raw shrimp sushi on the plate, which the waiter informed us was "alive one minute ago and crawling around!" Hm. I had a tough time with raw shrimp, and please don't tell Shiro, but I cooked it myself, very briefly, in the miso soup that was also on the table. I regret this. I do not regret eating the shrimp heads the waiter brought out shortly afterward, calling them "just like Japanese chicken nugget!" and instructing us to spritz them with lemon and eat the whole thing, eyeballs, legs and all. By the time he brought out melon and grapes, we were stuffed to the gills (pun intended), but very happy.

The food we ate on this vacation was wonderful. Weird, classic, sweet, savory, rich, light, crunchy, chewy, cheap, expensive, and wonderful. I hope you've enjoyed my recaps, and I can't wait to get back to our regularly scheduled programming and start talking about what I've been making with our CSA shares!


  1. I love that you went to the library! PPl though Danny and I were so weird b/c we visited the NY public library on a short trip to NYC.

    PS. It was amazing.

  2. Really? The NYPL is totally amazing! I won't say I visit libraries every time I go on vacation, but my mom recommended the SPL (she used to be a libarian. Hi, Mom!) and it's new-ish with interesting architecture. Seems like a reasonable destination to me!

  3. You trip sounded fantastic-- particularly the sushi experience--- but I gotta say that the Coney Island slice is gonna give me nightmares. I hope it tasted loads better than it looks! :)

  4. Oh, ye of little faith! It was delicious. Haven't you ever put cheese on a hot dog?

  5. I'm going this summer for the first time, and there is sooooo much food I can't wait to experience!