HOBNOB takes on the vibrant foodie scene Seattle for 3 days in September. What a joy—this city offers top notch dining without the pretext and the crowds! We dabbled in the old and new, and were not disappointed in our findings.
You can get a lot done in three days, it seems. Especially when you have focus! Check out the foodie tour Hobnob made and thoroughly enjoyed.
Mr West: Located steps away from where we stayed, Mr West was our first stop for nourishment in Seattle after a long flight. Its offerings certainly hit the spot with healthy fare to get us back on track.
We opted for avocado toast, which arrived in ample supply, injected with an array of Indian spices (we noticed this to be a trend throughout the trip). We also ordered a tidy, egg & bacon sandwich on croissant for extra energy.
Mr West was low-key, kind of place where locals lingered and tapped on laptops in the serene 50s-style space. Craft beers, teas, coffee, and low alcohol cocktails are available. (see HOBNOB’s Seattle Drinks story) There was also great reading material on hand, which provided information for our next stop: the cannabis store. mrwestcafebar.com
Mamnoon: For dinner, we hiked up to Capital Hill for some upscale Lebanese/Syrian cuisine, served in cheeky pop decor. A whimsical art installation hung from the ceiling, consisting of bald chickens mimicking clouds. (That’s a first.) Evidently, the space was a former auto body shop, and before that an Edsel manufacturer, and maintains some steel elements in the structure of its soaring ceilings.
The cauliflower appetizer was a huge hit, and prompted our cauliflower obsession of the weekend. The dish here was fried and had a lovely, goopy yogurt sauce topping and was quite filling.
Beef patties, an excellently sourced local lettuce salad, and warm pita bread completed the appetizer round. We split a duck leg confit as our main dish, which had a little kick, and was truly satisfying, since temperatures were dropping. mamnoonrestaurant.com
Sitka & Spruce: A late breakfast took us back to Capital Hill, right across the street from Mamnoon. Sitka & Spruce is located at the back of a foodie market. By now we are getting used to having extra ceiling height and being served in a vast industrial setting, this time with a soft daylight streaming in, and an open kitchen with fireplace.
At around 11, we were the first customers, and were greeted with a hearty and unusual menu. To share, we started with the baguette which included a gorgeous smear of fresh butter with flaky salt, making all other butters since seem ordinary.
Our dishes: the tart of the day with Béchamel and side salad, a decadent, intensely flavored chanterelle on toast with egg yolk (I had this, absolutely fantastic!), and a corned lamb served with Indian-spiced polenta and hot shishito peppers topped with a poached egg. Now with bellies full, we went on to sightsee at Seattle’s wonderful parks and museums (see our tour of Scenic Seattle). sitkaandspruce.com
Seatown: Being in the Northwest, it would be a crime not to order oysters. For our afternoon late lunch, we got one of each variety. The faves: Stellar Bay and Sun Hollow, which both had succulent flesh, with mildly sweet overtones.
This is a good place for a quick bite at the beginning of Pike Market, and part of Chef Tom Douglas’ restaurant empire, and seems to be one of those places that never shuts down between meals. We also had the Crab BLT Sandwich and Salmon Burger. Very friendly service too. tomdouglas.com
Vestal: Just opened in late summer 2016, this spot graces the “Amazon” neighborhood, slightly off the beaten track. Totally worth the journey, we were treated to one of the most unusual menus I have ever seen for our Saturday night dinner.
What a treat tasting for the first time a number of ingredients: sunflower petals, pluots, yeast butter, and salmon skin “chicharrones”. The plating was abstract and artsy. Everything we ordered was excellent, but there were a few standouts:
—First, the Shaved Greens arrived resembling a bird’s nest which covered a mound of cultured ricotta. The greens were as light as air, and matched nicely with the cheese.
—The cauliflower dish (our second order of the trip) was roasted and topped with salty cured duck and nuts.
—Livieto e Pepe, a spaghetti in a luscious sauce paired with our salmon entree (seen in the photo at the top of this post).
—Baby potatoes topped in caviar arrived also as a work of art.
—Dessert, well we usually don’t order dessert, but this one was totally worth the extra calories! The Caramelized White Chocolate Cake had a savory/sweet thing goin’ on, and was rich, like a dulce de leche.
This restaurant is part of the Huxley Wallace Collective, who seem to have quite a few foodie spots. vestalseattle.com
Spinasse: For our final dinner Sunday night, my friend who lives in Seattle suggested Spinasse, as he is a regular there. Lace curtained windows surrounded a homey decor, that felt like family. We did indulge here, with our wine choice (a few bottles of the 2012 Barbaresco) as well as the food offerings.
For the appetizers, every item that we ordered were standouts. Halibut Bruschetta reminded me of the toasts at ABC Kitchen in NYC, so fresh and flavorful. We dipped our bread in the Poached Egg Fonduta, and cleansed our palates with a biting Chicory Salad—made with local lettuce.
Next came the pastas, which were available in half portions. We did have the award-winning Egg Pasta with butter and sage, and a meat extravaganza, Agnolotti with veal, pork, and beef. Pure heaven on both counts.
For the entrees, we had to get the side of Roasted Cauliflower to compare with our other offerings of the weekend, and were not disappointed. The boys ordered the Rabbit Meatballs, which came as an oversized trio. I had the Roasted Pork Tenderloin with braised fennel and roasted garlic condimento, delicata squash and buttered chestnuts. All in all, this was a fine way to end the trip. spinasse.com
Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room: Though we did not eat here, I thought it was worth mentioning. The space featured an enormous copper coffee roaster among items for sale. Designer mugs and bicycles.