I am recently back from a 10 day cooling off period in the lovely Pacific Northwest. As you may guess, I didn't eat a single taco during my trip, but I did have some fantastic meals.
Le Pichet - Seattle
'The Pitcher' is a delightful little French restaurant near 1st and Virginia on the edge of Belltown. The wife and I have always enjoyed this place, and our visit this year was especially excellent.
I'm always really pleased when a meal starts with a truly excellent salad, and Le Pichet delivers in spades with their ultra simple and super fantastic 'Salade Verte'. It's just a green salad with a house-made mustard and hazelnut vinaigrette and some chopped hazelnuts, but it is truly one of my favorite things to eat in the world.
Our next course was a plate of air cured country ham. It's very thinly sliced, and similar to jamon anejo or prosciutto. It's a lovely and simple followup to the awesome salad.
I had a fish entree, which was excellent as well. I strongly suggest a trip to Le Pichet the next time you're in the Jet City.
E-San - Portland
After several more or less disappointing thai meals in Seattle, I had almost given up on NW Thai when our good friends took us to E-San in Portland. While every request for 'spicy' in the Seattle joints I'd visited resulted in a dish with no fire at all, my meal at E-San lit me up like a Christmas tree. Awesome.
photo from piroshkybakery.com
Piroshky Piroshky- Seattle
Located in the Pike Street Market, Piroshky Piroshky is a tiny Russian bakery that specializes in.... wait for it... piroshky. From their website:
Piroshky originates from the Russian word “pir” which means feast. It is a hand held meal in the form of a “festive” pie with a variety of fillings. It is made all over Russia and almost always accompanies dinners and celebrations.Basically it's a cornucopia of sweet and savory stuffed pastries that are fundamentally necessary to a happy and complete life. We usually try to make it to the market to have savory potato or beef piroshky for breakfast. LOVE IT.
Andina - Portland
Andina is a gorgeous, fairly upscale restaurant in downtown Portland that serves Peruvian food. I'd never had Peruvian before, and I was more than impressed with the experience.
To begin with, I had a delightful cocktail called a Pisco Sour, which I learned is the national drink of Peru. It's made with brandy, lime juice and egg whites, and was really nice.
The highlight of the meal for me was the opening round of tapas we had before our entrees. We got 5 or 6 tiny plates of food, each one a small treasure. My favorite was the Yucca Rellana, which was fried yucca stuffed with cheese and topped with a different kind of cheese. Yum.
Andina is a must try if you want a nice dinner in Portland.
Dahlia Lounge - Seattle
The Dahlia is a famous Seattle restaurant with a well deserved reputation for making the most of the bounty of fresh seafood available in the area.
By far the highlight of the meal was the "little tastes from the seabar" sampler. Five little plates of outrageously fresh fish and crab, each prepared very differently with a pacific rim flair.
The green salad was also fantastic, with a simple lemon dressing and sea salt.
I had crab cakes for my entree, which were lovely, though not earth shattering. My gorgeous wife had the steak, which was really good, but not exactly up my alley. It had a glaze on it, and I am a man who likes my steaks touched by nothing but salt, pepper and flames.
Even if you only make it in for a cocktail and the 'little tastes from the seabar', you should absolutely visit this place a.s.a.p.
Seattle and Portland - 5 stars for August weather - 4 stars for food (no tacos or bbq!) - Cornbiter Deluxe