12.14.2012 by Andrea
’tis the season to be jolly. As per the norm, I’m counting down the days to Festivus. I’ve been zipping back and forth to NY quite a bit recently, and have not sought out any of their Christmas fanfare, so my first tree lighting of the season will be taking place this weekend. To muster up some holiday zest, I decided to compile a list of goodies that are high on my radar of favorite nosh spots that may or may not have made the cut to be mentioned in other breezy posts and didn’t have enough meat to warrant a separate write up.
In no particular order, from Seattle, Portland, Bellingham, and LA some grazing notes.
Nothing warms the heart and soul quite like a bowl of soup. Admittedly I consume multiple varietals of this belly warming, tummy filling goodness throughout the year, and particularly enjoy it when the weather gets chilly. I missed this delicious tailgate creation when I was in Charleston for THE wedding and have drooled every time I have looked at this picture. Of all the game days [UW vs. OSU] it rained and poured at our pseudo-Husky home away from home [CenturyLink] this year, I can’t imagine a better stick to your bones bowl of spicy deliciousness.
Salt and Straw. First of all, to be brutally honest, I didn’t think that an ice cream shop could live up to the hype. I polled friends and family, doubted their reviews, saw more pictures and descriptions of wildly outrageous combinations and then two days prior to the Portland Marathon convinced a friend it would be a perfect pick me up before he had his big race.
Everything that I had heard from people was that it was simply amazing, and I have a tough sweet tooth to impress. Blew me out of the water. Rarely do I think that every flavor sounds delicious, but it was hard to narrow it down to 4 tasters, including the fact that I only got to choose 2 flavors since I was splitting it with my Portlandia pal BA. Pear & Blue Cheese, Strawberry & Balsamic … the flavors go on, and on and on. Every spoonful was like an elixir.
Artisanal ice cream, you proved me wrong. Somewhere deep in the recesses of everything I found I do like savoring a few blissful bites or two.
One of my favorite things about Portland and Seattle is when the two cities merge. McMenamin’s restaurants have always been a personal mainstay favorite in Portland. One of the things that helped my transition to Seattle was heading to Dad Watson’s [now closed], or McMenamin’s on Queen Anne, sitting and having a pint of beer, and feeling as if I was transported back to Portland. Not only do they have great tator tots, their beer is wonderful as well.
Speaking of beer, I just stumbled upon what I think might be my favorite Fall seasonal. Elliott Bay Brewing Co. combined their Stout and Pumpkin Ale for a smooth slide down your throat perfectly paired combo. It warranted several growlers worth of purchasing. I did a small tasting there while having lunch with some gal pals. Don’t know how I missed this jewel the past 7 years in Seattle. Monday’s at their West Seattle location growlers are half off, a steal!
Our fair neighbor to the north, Bellingham has always held cherished memories for me. I grew up visiting my grandparents up there, eating Cracker Jacks, and learning how to have a proper tea with Grandma. Surprising her when I am in town for business, combined with getting to meetup with one of my favorite chums is a double treat!
On work outings we stay at the beautiful Hotel Bellwether. My Grams friend arranged for a luncheon at Anthony’s Hearthfire which sits right in the heart of the Bellingham marina. I had grown up eating at the Bayside Cafe and was sad to hear they recently closed their doors.
I was up in ‘ham prior to my half marathon and so it was important to carb up and catch up with my friend JK. Boundary Bay Brewing Co. was a triple play, great food, double IPA’s and a Husky football viewing venue.
The laid back atmosphere combined with prowling through bins of music make Easy Street Records and their Cafe a beacon beckoning generations to come together and enjoy a genuine Seattle dining and music experience.
My friend B, T, and C got to sit in the side “cave” in La Rustica. I felt like I was transported back to the Old Country, and think that this might be my favorite hide and seek-esque nook in all of West Seattle. The wine was divine and the food was amazing. When you park your car and smells of garlic greet you before you’ve opened the door I think you can imagine along with me that it’s already bound to be a winner.
If it isn’t apparent that I really, really, really like beer then you haven’t been following this blog very closely. Had to give a shout out to Local 360 and Brave Horse Tavern for always housing and rotating terrific selections.
I was down in LA for a quick trip and my friend M said she would pick me up prior to going to the airport and we would run through In ‘n Out. I worked out early, planned on going all out and stuffing my face with everything that looked delicious on the menu and then she stopped me dead in my tracks. Buttery garlic rolls that are made every 10 minutes and served straight from a platter by waiters roaming the dining room. Then a single word, unlimited. I apologize to whomever was seated next to me on the airplane because try as I may with Binaca, brushing me teeth and chewing gum, I am sure that I smelled like a garlic clove. Well worth it.
C & O Trattoria, not much can supplant an In ‘n’ Out Burger run. But you have a customer for life. Bottomless garlic rolls, and serve your own Chianti charmed the socks right off of me.
At the end of the day, all the joints I mentioned are fantastic but nothing truly beats eating with family and friends. Whether over a Thanksgiving meal or at Red Robin with my niece, I believe in eating. The communal aspect, experiences, laughter, follies, sharing and memories carved out through dining with one another can never be replicated.
Thanks for joining me on this journey down eating lane. Until the next bite, cheers.