Seattle part 1: Restaurants
I’ve only been to Seattle three times (excluding this time) since 2010. Since then, I have developed a bit of routine for when I arrive in Seattle. I always like to arrive early in the morning so that I can have that day to explore and eat. This time was no different. I woke up at 5 am and went to the train statation in Vancouver. A lot of people choose to take a greyhound to Seattle. I would recommend Amtrak. Yes, you have to wake up early, and its a 4 hour and 25 minute ride, but, you get a good view, and you can move about in the train; which is great if you can’t stay still (the reason why I hate flying…in economy at least). Whenever I go to Seattle, I’ll check in to the Moore Hotel, drop off my things in my room, and then head to Pike Place, specifically, Matt’s in the Market.
Back in 2010, I went to Seattle with my parents to visit family friends. I decided to do some research on where to eat, and that led me to the pork belly confit banh mi at Matt’s. But Simon, why would you spend 16 bucks on sandwich you can get for 3 bucks? It’s just a really good sandwich, that’s why. Sometimes, it’s just worth it, despite its lack of financial logic. But sometimes, something goes wrong. In this case, the sandwich simply did not live up to the standard set by my previous vists to Matt’s
I arrived early, before the lunch rush, and grabbed a seat at the bar. Rob, the lunch bar manager looked at me and pointed to the chalkboard to his left, which displayed the day’s special and soup. It was porchetta. After struggling to decide (I’m very indecisive), I ordered the banh mi with a chicken tortilla soup. I expected amazement from this sandwich, but what I got was far from it. It wasn’t the sandwich I remembered. It was too greasy (I know pork belly is fatty, but, there was a pool of dripping fat on the plate that I didn’t have the last times). It also needed more carrot and daikon pickles, as well as cilantro. Basically, the sandwich lacked balance of flavours.
I left Matt’s feeling dissapointed, and went to Il Corvo, hoping they wouldn’t do the same, but hope was a little bitch that decided not to show up that day. Il Corvo used to be located inside a Gelato shop behind Pike Place Market; an area that was hard to find back in the day. However, earlier this year they moved to Pioneer Square on Jameson st. between 2nd and 3rd Ave. It was a small space decorated with old pasta equiptment on the walls and a chalkboard menu. I ordered a Gigli (no, not the J.Lo movie) with bolognese. Once you place your order, you grab your cutlery, water, then find a seat and wait. Once your food is ready, they’ll bring it out, calling your name. It’s a little bit of Marco Polo game to get your food to your table.
Misfortune struck twice as I was left dissapointed yet again (this is how girls must feel when they have bad sex). I found the noodle to be flavourless, and the ragu to be nothing special. I never thought I would say this, but, the bolognese at CinCin is far better than the one at Il Corvo. That said, if you’re visiting Seattle, go to Il Corvo. It’s worth the try.
The next morning, at the recommendation of a friend, I went to Macrina Bakery. I love bread. So when I hear about a bakery that I should go to, I will make it a mission to go. Bakers, like cooks, chefs, and servers, are in the business of making people happy. When you bite into something amazingly delicious, you smile, or you feel happy, right? If not, you need some help, dude. In the “food porn” episode iniof No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain said that “chefs…are in the pleasure business.” It’s true. So while waiting in line, I saw a ham and cheese brioche. I knew right away I had to try it. Sometimes, when I started work at 8 am, I would stop by Thierry and get a ham and cheese croissant. I also picked up a pecan banana coffeecake.
My first bite of the brioche was the greatest moment of that day. Ham, cheese, and brioche. It was simple, brilliant, and just damn tasty. The coffeecake was nice too, but, i found the outside crust to be unenjoyable as I kept eating it.
Happy Hour is huge in Seattle. Everyone does it. The hotel receptionist said that Happy hour started in Belltown in Seattle, and was One place I always go to for happy hour is Serious Pie by Tom Douglas. I don’t go for the drinks, but I do go for the $6 small pizzas. The Serious pie on Virginia street was closed for a private event (hate it when that happens…unless I’m working the event) so I walked to the westlake location. After a good 20-30 minutes of unnecessary walking, I found Serious Pie and grabbed a seat.
I ordered a happy hour sized mushroom pizza. It’s not mind blowingly amazing, and I feel like it needs some acid, maybe, but it was still a good piza, and for the price, it’s great value.
I started with a very generous portion of pork rinds and buttlermilk fondue. They didn’t taste like pork at all. You know those Korean fried onion ring chips you can get at Superstore or H-Mart? Tasted like that. It didn’t taste bad, it just didn’t taste like a pork rind. The dill was a very nice touch on the rinds though. The real star however, was the buttlermilk fondue. I want that at a chip and dip party.
I also saw a poutine on the menu. I thought, “why not. Let’s see how they do it.” Let me just start by saying that it’s a frakking giant portion. It’s like a meal for two. I’ve learned through this trip that bad fries piss me off. They weren’t crispy (yes, its drenched in sauce, but even the parts that weren’t soaked weren’t crispy), and they tasted like they had been in the fryer for too long. The part of that poutine was the Beecher’s fried cheese curds. They should just serve those cheese curds with the butter fondue. Either that or Beecher’s Cheese should just get a deep fryer and make even more cash. All in all, It was mostly misses, but, there were some hits too. Til next time, Seattle