Food and Drink

Insider's Guide to the Best Restaurants in Pike Place Market

It always shocks us to hear that some think Pike Place Market is just flying fish and flower bouquets when it's so much more! Particularly a food mecca that has literally something for EVERYONE! We decided to put our favorites down in a blog for locals and tourists to reference when they are thinking about food and need a place to go. 

Breakfast

Seatown Seabar 

We've said it before and we will say it again - the hashbrowns at Seatown are crack nuggets. Their Dungeness Crab Benedict is delectable and their Fried Egg Sandwich takes it up a notch with the dahlia bakery english muffin that is so fluffy you'll want to die. And for the love of god, don't get any other side besides the hashbrowns. 

The Crumpet Shop

The Crumpet Shop

The Crumpet Shop isn't the spot you would give a second glance to if it was your first day at the market - but if you make the mistake of missing out on these british buns of joy it is going to haunt you for the rest of your life. Kristina loves the savory pesto, fresh tomato, and ricotta. Sarah obviously goes for the sweet with chocolate hazelnut and ricotta. Oh - and this place isn't a secret, so prepare for a line on the weekends! 

Storyville Coffee

Guess what? We like this place for their food, not their coffee - shocking we know. Storyville is tucked away on the upper level of the Corner Market building and they make some legit breakfast fare, including the Tillamook Breakfast Sandwich (the bun has sea salt on it) and the cinnamon roll that has sugar crystals that burst on your tongue as you eat it, 2,000 calories and all (just kidding - it isn't that many calories, but it tastes so good you'll feel that guilty).

Lunch

El Borracho

El Borracho

We've talked about El Borracho plenty before this post. Well, when something's good it deserves accolades, so stop hating. This spot has our favorite tacos and burritos, and when you throw in their chips and guac you have yourself a meal made in Mexican heaven! Check out our 8 Best Mexican Spots in Seattle for more on our obsession. 

DeLaurenti 

DeLaurenti

Italians are crazy amazing people. They learned how to put together things like carbs, cheese, and wine to create pure beauty in this world. DeLaurenti is an Italian market in The Market (yes, a market in the market - nuts!) that we love for many things, one of which is lunch. Head here to get a delicious Italian sandwich - the Arrosto and Grinder are our personal favorites. If you need a side, head over to the deli counter and grab some dolmas or a stuffed pepper to top it all off! 

Pike's Pit BBQ

Kristina is a Missouri native, so she has a little bit of a thing for BBQ. Pike's Pit offers a place to get a hit of that good stuff - pulled pork coated in a delicious, sweet/spicy bbq sauce. Like a true BBQ joint they offer giant portions, so we would recommend getting the "Mini-me" with your favorite meat and "Wickle it." :) 

Honest Biscuit

Honest Biscuit

They aren't lying when they say their biscuits are the best. Get it? Honest Biscuit aren't lying?! This spot got a new location in the new Waterfront Market Building, so you can enjoy your biscuit with great views of the Puget Sound! If you're hungry hungry we would recommend the Fried Chicken Butterhole Biscuit. If you're not that hungry or hate fried chicken (which is basically a sin) we could say the Pimento Cheese Biscuit is your best bet! 

Piroshky Piroshky

Piroshky Piroshky

Prepare to have your nose try to break off of your face to chase the scent of these pastries down the street. Once you get a whiff all the rest of our suggestions will be out the window. We love so many different types, the smoked salmon pate, the chicken, rice, and mushroom, the potato and cheese... the list continues - go grab the one that speaks to you! The only thing about Piroshky is, at least to us, it's an awkward amount of food. Do we get one, and still have room for more after, or do we get two and have to take a nap after because we are too full? Probably the nap...

Dinner

Steelhead Diner

Steelhead Diner

Steelhead is a market staple and for good reason. They have a unique spot that truly feels like a diner, but offers upscale food that embodies the pacific northwest to a T. Their view of Post Alley and Puget Sound make it a great place to spend a couple of hours eating. Start with the clam chowder and charred broccoli, move on to your favorite seafood, and then finish it all off with one of their many mouthwatering desserts! 

The Pink Door

The Pink Door

It's best in the summer, but if you want some amazing traditional Italian, most likely served with some live entertainment, then head to Pink Door any night of the year! If it's warm, make sure to wait for a table on the patio - it's worth it! Our favorites are the risotto and the lasagna, because...well that doesn't need an explanation - risotto and lasagna are the two best Italian inventions outside of pizza.

Place Pigalle 

Place Pigalle

It's going to cost you, but Place Pigalle offers one of the best dining experiences in The Market. Their quaint, french restaurant is perched on the edge of the back of The Market and their menu is stacked with amazing and rich food to swoon over. We love their mussels and french onion soup, all their entrees are seasonal, but they usually have an incredible salmon and lamb dish to knock your socks off.  

Sushi Kashiba 

Hot damn, Shiro's done it again. Sushi Kashiba is the second restaurant from famed sushi chef, Shiro Kashiba. Just go prepared to get the Omakase and drop like $200, they will put dish after dish in front of you that melts in your mouth and showcases flavors you didn't even know existed. It's an experience everyone should have before they die. Yes - we are that serious about this, we mentioned death.

Drinks

Jarr Bar

Jarr Bar

Head to Jarr Bar to get amazing cocktails. The El Cochino is our absolute favorite and goes perfectly with their food offerings. 

The Athenian

The Athenian

This is the best happy hour spot in The Market! Head to the back of the restaurant, grab a booth in the bar, and enjoy a cold, local beer in a frosty mug. The views don't hurt the experience either. 

Radiator Whiskey  

This is one of those dark bars where you go to sip whiskey and brood about life. Brooding isn't required though - head up to their spot to experience some great selections of whiskey and also you can eat a pig head if you want... so there is that. 

Alright folks - go forth and conquer! These are the best spots as of today, but the market is ever changing and evolving so we will be sure to report back with any new amazing, drop dead they make you feel so alive, spots to grab a meal in Pike Place Market! 

When the Perfect Gift is an Experience: The Herbfarm

 The Herbfarm Exterior: Courtesy of Willows Lodge

The Herbfarm Exterior: Courtesy of Willows Lodge

My husband and I have largely forgone gift-giving when it comes to physical things. Occasionally I still receive a beautiful bottle of wine, but I view wine as a moment captured in a bottle — an experience. What trumps the experience of a lovely wine, consumed at its pinnacle moment? Wine paired with food. So when I opened the mail this week to receive The Herbfarm’s 2018 Restaurant Schedule, I was reminded of just such a pairing that I had the honor of experiencing last Christmas season.

Located in the heart of Western Washington’s Woodinville Wine Country, The Herbfarm is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top destination restaurants. The restaurant's mantra: “No dish can be better than its ingredients, and the best ingredients are usually local” informs its ever-changing menus. By supporting local farmers, cheesemakers, wineries, and so on, they preserve local foods, traditions, and moments in every meal.

Much has been written about The Herbfarm as a restaurant (see Forbes, Frommer’s, and The New York Times for starters) so I’ll leave the reviews to the dining experts. As a somm, what intrigued and delighted me most was the pairing of local food and drink for each course.

What Grows Together Goes Together

 Menu and wine card. Photo by Amy Dickson

Menu and wine card. Photo by Amy Dickson

The Herbfarm’s menus, often not finalized until hours before each singular evening seating, are shaped to showcase and capture the essence of the season. The local food and wine come together in such a way as to elevate the sense of terroir: nine courses and five wines, all hand-selected to complement each other.  For example, my meal contained a course of Poulet Bleu, a blue-footed chicken with black trumpet mushrooms and an air-dried persimmon sweet and sour sauce. Paired with a 2013 A.D. Beckham Amphora Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, and I was in heaven.

In Perfect Harmony: Drink and Food

 Chef Chris Weber explaining the night’s meal: Courtesy of Trip Advisor

Chef Chris Weber explaining the night’s meal: Courtesy of Trip Advisor

On that note, the nine-course meal takes several hours and is perfectly matched to whatever you feel like quaffing:

Wine: Your five courses will come with pre-selected wines that will delight and dazzle. During my seating I enjoyed an Argyle Brut from Oregon (with mussels), Avennia’s Sauvignon Blanc from Yakima (wild winter sturgeon), Efeste’s Chardonnay (celery root with truffle), that lovely Pinot Noir (blue-footed chicken), and Kevin White’s Grenache-Mourvedre-Syrah blend (grilled Wagyu coulotte). Don’t want to stick to the script? Ask for the 150+ page wine list and I am sure you’ll find exactly the right vintage for your evening. Arrive early to your reservation and explore the onsite cellar where you can ask Sommelier Bruce Achtermann about the 26,000 bottles and more than 4,500 selections. A wine lover’s dream come true!

 Herbfarm Wine Cellar: Courtesy of The Daring Gourmet

Herbfarm Wine Cellar: Courtesy of The Daring Gourmet

Beer: Say beer is more your thing? No problem! Note your preference in your reservation and the staff will carefully curate your experience with local lagers and ales. Prefer imports? Flip to the end of the exhaustive wine list and you’ll find a lovely selection of European ales to please your palate.

Dessert: The Herbfarm has the dessert wine market cornered. From late-harvest Alsatian wines to rare Tokaji from Hungary, you have many options. Most delightful is The Herbfarm’s collection of Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes. Using an anaerobic system that allows extraction without removing the cork, I opted for a single ounce of the 100-point 2011 vintage. A whole bottle would have set me back $1650 — instead I tried one of the world’s most perfect (and rare) wines for $65. I’ll never forget the taste of that sweet nectar. There’s nothing like it.

Non-Alcoholic: Non-drinkers (and there was one in my party) are treated to a meal paired with custom shrubs, juices, and local mixes using fresh herbs and ingredients also found in the dishes. Dinner is followed by a selection of local coffees, teas, and herbal infusions.

Reservations Required

 The Herbfarm’s co-owner Carrie Van Dyck, right, and chef Chris Weber (to Van Dyck’s right) plate one of the evening’s nine courses. Courtesy of Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times

The Herbfarm’s co-owner Carrie Van Dyck, right, and chef Chris Weber (to Van Dyck’s right) plate one of the evening’s nine courses. Courtesy of Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times

The Herbfarm’s 2018 Dining Schedule is out now and reservations aren’t recommended, they’re required, often months or even years in advance. If you’re looking for a gift for the foodie in your life, the oenophile of your heart, or the person who is intent on collecting memories instead of “stuff,” try The Herbfarm. I’m already looking at next fall’s, A Mycologist’s Dream theme, to enjoy the best in foraged local mushrooms. I know there’s a Pinot Noir waiting in the wings to join in.

Salud!

Amy L. Dickson is a communications professional, freelance writer, and contributor to Rain or Shine Guides. She is a Level 1 sommelier and can be found Sundays at Portalis Wines in Ballard. Follow her at @amyldickson75

Seattle Brewery Tour: North Seattle

It's true that when you think of breweries north of Downtown Seattle your mind usually goes right to Ballard. Lucky for all of us they aren't the only neighborhood up there to have some kickass beer. Spread across the various smaller neighborhoods in North Seattle - think Ravenna and Greenwood - there are breweries working hard to hold their own against all the big ones in Ballard when it comes to quality of beer and atmosphere. Head out on an adventure to find some great hidden spots and enjoy some more of Seattle's great craft beer. 

Note: If you're planning a brewery crawl we want to mention they aren't all within walking distance. So, if you plan to go to all in one day, budget for Lyft rides! 

Ravenna Brewing Company  

Ravenna Brewing Company

Ravenna Brewing Company is nestled on a side street off of 55th Ave and has a small, charming set up. With colorful tiles decorating their taps and small tables scattered around their little tasting room, they offer a funky place to grab a pint. Their patio is great for summertime drinking, and it's also partially covered so even when those pesky rains come, you can enjoy your beer with some fresh air. They usually have some pretty cool beers on tap that aren't your average listings, like unique fruit flavors or barrel aged beers. 

And to elevate it a bit, they also have board games and card games to keep you entertained while you sip on their award-winning beer with friends and family, which we always love! They also win extra points for food trucks - usually they have some fine dining rolled up right outside for your enjoyment. Nosh is on Fridays - just sayin.

Our favorite beer: Jalapeño Kolsch

Lantern Brewing

Lantern Brewing

We would have never found this brewery if we weren't writing/researching for the blog - which is one of the reasons we love this job so much! Lantern Brewing is tucked away up on 95th Street, off Aurora Ave. The street definitely leaves something to be desired, it is near Aurora after all, but even though it isn't a traditionally beautiful spot, it actually ended up being our favorite on this list! Why? Well first and foremost they are incredibly friendly, but on top of that their beer is tasty, and they often have food trucks or local food vendors come and serve up tasty grub to have with your beer! 

They have a huge space and when it's warm they can throw open their large garage doors and you can sit outside and play cornhole. 

The other thing we liked about these guys was they took a step away from what you so often see at other breweries in Seattle - IPAs and Pale Ales - and have a diverse, but seriously Belgian inspired list of beers. Since they have such a good variety we recommend getting a flight of tasters to start! 

Our favorite beer: Joliefolie

Naked City Brewery and Taphouse

Naked City Brewing

Naked City is located in Greenwood and is probably the most established spot on this list. With a huge location, it's an easy place to bank on getting a seat during the busy months and they also have a bar and grill with decent enough food if you want a full-service type of place. They lovingly refer to themselves as Greenwood's Town Hall and often represent that well, with a healthy mix of all types of people (kids are allowed - families take note!). 

If you cycled through the 34 rotating house and guest taps then you'd feel 1. drunk and 2. thoroughly satisfied. With that much beer there is bound to be an option to please everyone and if you have non-beer drinkers in the your group (which would mean you hang out with the wrong sort) then they have cider and wine as well! 

We love the newest addition to their space - a huge mural done by local Seattle artist Henry. It depicts two walruses drinking beer and always makes us smile. And what really drives this spot home for us is that they also have a dine-in theater! Check out their events page for all sorts of fun entertainment from comedy shows to burlesque to football showings!

Our favorite beer: Orange Blossom Special IPA

Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery

Flying Bike Brewing Cooperative

Flying Bike is one of those places that you feel the love right when you walk in. Do you know those places? The people inside look friendly, the vibe is right, the air is sweet and the beer tastes good! It's probably something to do that it's a coop - which means it's member owned and supports community and collaboration down to the core! 

When you walk in make sure to take in all the fun and creative bicycle decorations, including the tap handles that are actually bike handles (verrrrryyyy clever Flying Bike!). Their huge mural and extensive assortment of board games make our hearts sing...and we haven't even gotten to the best part. 

Flying Bike Beer

They have crazy amazing beer! Their lavender IPA changed the way we thought about beer. One time, the bartender mixed two beers together for us and it was glorious. I mean.. have you ever had anyone do that before? We hadn't. These guys know their beer. And they also know how to have a good time. It's what breweries are supposed to be!

Our favorite brew: Bike Rye'd Saison

Floating Bridge Brewing

Floating Bridge Brewing

This family-run brewery located on the edge of University District near I-5 says their beers are free-spirited and imaginative and we can say that we have to agree. Their Tropical Pale Ale doesn't seem to follow any rules and their cherry sour was unique and delicious for Fall. They also have all the right things to make their space a great place to gather and enjoy company including a giant projector for watching football, shuffleboard, board games (including our favorites Settlers of Catan and Bananagrams), and giant windows to let in lots of natural light. 

The staff here is helpful and down-to-earth. If you are look for a non-pretentious spot to enjoy good beer this would be one of our favorites to recommend. They also have one of the biggest tasters we have seen in town. It's in the shape of a bridge and holds five large tasters. We would encourage you to get one of these and sample a variety of what they have to offer on their menu! 

Our favorite brew: Tropical Pale Ale

Hellbent Brewing Company

Hellbent Brewing IPA

Hellbent Brewing is the farthest north on this list, but totally worth the drive! They are right on Lake City Way and because they are a little bit outside of the hustle and bustle of the city they have a ...wait of it... parking lot for customers! First plus! They also have an extremely cool patio with heaters and TVs to watch sporting events year round and food trucks pulled up to grab some food any night of the week. Second plus! Inside they have a huge space complete with a bar, additional space upstairs with games and comfy couches and lots of TVs. Third plus! We should also mention they are dog friendly so you get to drink while petting all the fluffy buddies. Fourth plus! But wait..one more! They have great beer too. 

See totally worth the drive! 

Our favorite brew: Hellbent IPA or any of their seasonal IPAs

Alright - that's North Seattle for ya. By the time we post this five more breweries will have opened in Seattle, so we see you all soon with more recommendations! Also - let's all do ourselves a favor and keep an eye out for delicious pumpkin beers, besides pumpkin pie it's the best part of fall! 

Cheers! 

Burgundy in Our Backyard: A Weekend in the Willamette Valley

“Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet.”
-- Miles Raymond, Sideways, 2004

Pinot noir wine — you either love it or you just don’t. Because the grape requires such unique growing conditions and care, it isn’t a mainstay here in Washington State. But just 30 miles outside of Portland, OR, tucked into the rolling hills along Hwy 18, pinot noir is king. This is the Willamette Valley, a bucolic land of fields, trees, and gorgeous rows of cool-climate wine grapes. Here is Burgundy in our backyard. I simply love pinot noir.

The Willamette Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) is comprised of seven unique sub-AVAs, and with only 48 hours to explore, I certainly couldn’t visit them all. But if you’re out touring about for a wine weekend, here are a few great spots I can personally recommend.

Archery Summit.jpg

If you want to try wine tasting in a tasting room environment, head into the towns like McMinnville, Carlton, or Dundee for quick sips a short walk from your hotel or right off the road. Downtown McMinnville truly is the metropolis of the valley with several notable tasting rooms open nearly every day. We opted to stay there in the historic Hotel Oregon, a McMennamins property that’s close to everything. Rooms are small, often with common bathrooms, but the Rooftop Bar and resident ghosts makeup in charm what the hotel lacks in modern amenities.

Ponzi Wines Dundee.jpg

The Eyrie Vineyards tasting room is here, offering classic pinot noir from the library going as far back as 1985. Founded by David Lett (or Papa Pinot, as he’s known here), The Eyrie and Lett pioneered the pinot movement in the valley: both pinot noir and pinot gris do very well in this unique climate.

Ransom.JPG

Insider Tip: You feel like trying wine but your date wants a cocktail? Pop over to Ransom Wine & Spirits in McMinnville where you can have both! Flights of wine include (surprise) pinot noir, but also a charming dry gewurztraminer. For the spirit-forward traveller, you can try a flight of five liquors ranging from Old Tom Gin to Rye Whisky. There’s even a cocktail option.

If you’re like me, you like to try the wine where it grows. Just eight miles outside of McMinnville are the Dundee Hills, carpeted with vineyards, lavender fields, and views to rival Tuscany. Here are the heavy hitters in the world of pinot: Archery Summit Winery with its beautiful natural wine caves and sweeping vistas, De Ponte Cellars known for classic Burgundian-style winemaking, and Domaine Drouhin, a family affair bringing the best in sustainable French winemaking to its Oregon-grown pinot noir and chardonnay wines.

All three estates are near enough to visit in a single afternoon and the staff will treat you like kings and queens, but especially if you call ahead for a reservation. As you’re driving through the hills, look for the blue and white “tourist attraction” road signs that lead you to the various wineries dotting the hillsides.

Insider Tip: Looking for something outside of pinot? Try the Melon de Bourgogne by De Ponte Cellars. This white grape is rarely found outside the Loire Valley, France, but makes for a delicious and refreshing glass of candied lemon sunshine on a warm summer afternoon. Take it with you out to the porch and enjoy, likely in the company of the cellar’s resident calico cat, Missy.  

White Rose Pinot Glasses.jpg

On our final day in the valley, before our pinot palettes were completely exhausted, my husband and I found ourselves back in the Dundee Hills at White Rose Estate Winery & Vineyard. Open seven days a week (but again, reservations recommended), this winery offers a truly “pinot geeky” sensory experience: The tasting room has no windows. Off odors like perfumes and food are discouraged. You are prompted to wash your palate with club soda before you even begin tasting the wines. Tasting Room Manager Dago Guillen takes each guest on a journey through the terroir of the vineyards and deep into the flavors in every enormous glass. He knows these wines by heart (his brother is the winemaker) and will expose the secrets to how each vintage is produced. This spot is not to be missed.

Insider Tip: Looking for the perfect gift for the non-drinker in your life? Pop over to Red Ridge Farm, home to Oregon’s Olive Mill. The grounds alone are very pretty, but you can also taste several olive oils ranging from mild to peppery, as well as unique infused vinegars. Candles, soaps, and pretty terrarium plants are all available to purchase as well.

What I really love about pinot noir is that a perfectly balanced bottle can, and should, sit in a cellar for many years to come. When I do someday open them, these precious and pretty wines will provide several opportunities to revisit my Willamette weekend for years to come. Salud!

Amy L. Dickson is a communications professional, freelance writer, and contributor to Rain or Shine Guides. She’s currently training at the NW Wine Academy for her Level 1 sommelier certification. Follow her at @amyldickson75