Last week I visited my daughter, Sarah Ives, in Seattle and we worked on picking local places to eat. This is her first year as a graduate student at University of Washington so this is a preliminary list, limited to places that one of us has a connection. We will refine it over time as she will be there for a while. Sarah lives in the Wallingford area on a hill overlooking the city so the picks are weighted in her neighborhood. I will start there and move to the rest of the city.
The main street of Wallingford is 45th and it is lined with many restaurants, most are ethnic from a variety of countries. There are also two deco movie theaters from the 30s and an eclectic mix of non-chain stores including Rubato Records, 1713 N. 45th, where I found some good used CDs. One find was a Ben E. King recording of jazz songs, Shades of Blue. He is backed up by Milt Jackson and Fathead Newman. My daughter likes bakeries so there are several picks in this category. The Teahouse Kuan Yin at 1911 N. 45th is a good hot spot to blog in, as I posted in Blogging in Seattle last week. Off the main street are blocks of well kept Craftsman homes of many different colors where gardens receive a lot of attention.
The Jitterbug in Wallingford is great for breakfast. We had a wonderful one there sitting in the sunny window across from the two deco theaters on 45th. I had the Italian farmhouse rumble – eggs with chicken sausage, roasted red pepper, fresh basil, scallions & pecorino and potatoes on the side. Sarah had the very close to vegan vitties – a mass of vegetables sauteed with pincha cheese and placed beside two garlicky potato cakes. Both were great. We came back for dinner after the Red Sox won the World Series and it was too late to go elsewhere. Sarah wore her Red Sox jersey and had the ravioli with ricotta, mascarpone, and bel paese cheese baked with pumpkin squash. I had a flat iron steak that was rubbed in ginger and garlic topped with fire roasted tomato jam with a shaved green bean and wallawalla sweet onion salad on the side. Both were very good. The Jitterbug has been around a while and was formerly the Beeline Dinner. It is located at 2114 N. 45th (between Bagley and Meridian) 206-547-6313.
Julia’s, like the Jitterbug, is known for breakfast. I went over to the dark side and had Eggs Benedict, but with smoked salmon instead of ham. It came with a choice of fried potatoes or fruit and I naturally took the potatoes - excellent. Located next to it is the Wallingford Bakery with quality muffins and quiches. Julia’s is at 4401 Wallingford, North, just off 45th. 206-633-1175.
Irwin’s is another good bakery for muffins, tea, and coffee. We walked down on a sunny afternoon through streets of Craftsman style homes and eclectic, overgrown rock gardens. It is a less known neighborhood place in an old corner building with large windows. You can sit outside with a view down to Lake Union and the Seattle skyline beyond. Irwin’s is located at 2123 N. 40th at Bagley in Wallingford. 206-675-1484.
Boulangerie is a bakery on 45th whose smells of fresh bread, croissants, and brioche drew me in as I passed one afternoon. They looked as good as they smelled. It is located at 2200 N. 45th St. Wallingford, 206-634-3959.
The Essential Baking Company is in nearby Fremont and also has great muffins. It is located at 1550 North 34th Street 206-632-4100. There are two other locations.
Moving North from 45th in Wallingford, EVA provides New American food by Chef/Owner Amy McCray in a bistro setting within a craftsman style interior near Green Lake in a nice neighborhood on 56th. Salads are especially good and they have a wine bar. We went there after the Red Sox won game three. I had a chanterelle mushroom soup with cream and chanterelles floating in the soup. My main course was pan seared halibut with butternut squash gratin apple-quince chutney and fennel oil. Sarah had a grilled chicken breast with mashed potatoes placed on top of Riesling braised green cabbage with a thick layer of apple cider and mustard jus under it. Each was excellent. It is located at 2227 N. 56th (near Kirkwood Place) 206-633-3538.
Café Zoka is a good hot spot café by Green Lake on 56th in Wallingford. They have killer pumpkin pie and apple pie. There are places to sit outside that catch the afternoon sun on a quiet street near several good restaurants including EVA’s. A walk down to Green Lake is a good thing and there is a 3 mile trail around the lake. Café Zoka is located at 2200 North 56th St. 206-545-4277.
Ruby’s offers eclectic food near the UW campus. We had lunch and it exceeded expectations. I had the excellent Indonesian Lamb Bumbu with cardamom, anise, nutmeg, and cumin served over rice with sautéed onions, potatoes, and red peppers and garnished with fresh cilantro. The leftovers were lunch the next day. They also have omelettes “from around the world” and the bar is popular. It is located at 4241 University Way NE. 206-675-1770.
Café Allegro is an internet hot spot café on the edge of the UW campus. It has a nice place to sit outside and good coffee. Café Allegro is located at 4214 ½ University Way NE (206) 633-3030.
Moving downtown, Café Campagne provides fine French bistro stuff. I ate there in the summer of 1999 and Sarah did recently. It has an up-market cousin but people say this version is better. It is located at Pike Place Market, 1600 Post Alley (Between Post and Pine) 206-728-2233.
Matt’s in the Market was highly recommended by a number of people. On our first night we looked in and there was a private wine tasting but the small, narrow setting and long black and white tiled counter at the top of a market building invited a real visit so we returned our last night. The menu was electric American. I had a smoked catfish salad with pecans, apples and smoked chilies as a starter and Sarah had a green salad with roasted garlic, blue cheese and pumpkins seeds. For the entrée I had a pan roasted ling Cod with tomatoes, olives, fingerling potatoes in white wine and saffron – excellent. Sarah had a vegan dish with curried chick peas and butternut squash. We sat at the counter and watched them cook. Matt’s is located at Pike Place Market, 94 Pike Street (1st Ave.) 206 – 467-7909.
Place Pigalle is located right in the Public Market in a pleasant setting with views of both the market and the sound. It wraps around a corner with windows all around. Sarah and I ate here our first night based on several recommendations. The food, which was good, has a French influence but picks up on other themes, including Thai, so despite the name, it is not a traditional French place. We shared a mushroom and leek tart with Montrachet cheese custard and Port syrup which was really good. Sarah had the Duck with Plum Salad, pan roasted with cumin and a coriander jus and I had seafood in a red curry broth. The view and setting trumps the food but the food holds up its end. It is located at Pike Place Market, 81 Pike Street (1st Ave.) 206 – 624-1756.
One morning I ate a pleasant breakfast at the Sound View Café, also located in the Pike Market near Place Pigalle with a similar view. I had a very well prepared eggs, sausages, eggs, but with toasted foccacia. It was recommended by the people at the nearby upscale kitchen store, Sur la Table, 84 Pine Street 206-448-2244. You can watch the sound and the ferries and they cover the other meals at reasonable prices with selections like salmon with lemon cilantro butter, wild mushroom ravioli, and rosemary lemon chicken. It is located at 1501 Pike Place Seattle, 206-623-5700.
There is also the Elliot Bay Café within the very large bookstore of the same name in the older Pioneer Square area. The café is in the basement which was originally the first floor until the young city raised the streets, and ultimately the sidewalks, to put them higher than the tides. The café has good looking cookies and the walls are lined with $2 books. It is located at 101 South Main Street 206-682-6664.