Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends
quick bites seattle
Pike Place Market, www.pikeplacemarket.org. It’s crowded, touristy, and sometimes annoyingly gimmicky, but there’s still good food to be found; some of the more famous restaurants in Seattle are located in this market. Gorgeous produce stalls, live entertainment about every twenty feet, and craftspeople of more types than you knew existed. A mob scene on weekends, but still a lot of fun. First Avenue and Pike Street.
Simply Seattle Chocolate Box, sschocolatebox.com. Looking to relax after the Pike Place Market crowds? Searching for good chocolate to bring home as a souvenir? Hankering for coffee or hot chocolate? You’ve found the place. Rest assured this is not your grandparents’ candy store; products from some first-rate chocolatiers are offered here. Fiori Chocolatiers (make sure you try the Gianduja Bar), Poco Dolce, Chocolove, and Lillie Belle Farms are just a few of the names you’ll find. Chocolate tours of Seattle and gelato from Seattle institution Gelatiamo, too. Next door, and billed as “the newest addition to the family” is 106 Pine, a sophisticated-looking little wine bar with the motto “Fresh Finds—Local Wines”. 108 Pine Street, 206-443-3900.
Gelatiamo, http://gelatiamo.com. There’s always discussion about who makes the best gelato in a city. In Seattle, Gelatiamo has my vote. I’ve eaten gelato in Italy that wasn’t anywhere near this good. Sixteen flavors of gelato and sorbetto are available at any given time, and these rotate depending partly upon the season. The Hazelnut is sublime---creamy and dense, with a magnificently nutty flavor. Gelato cakes are made here, as well as regular cakes, cookies, and pastries. 1400 3rd Avenue (corner of Union Street), 206-467-9563.
DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine, www.delaurenti.com. Is this the most beautiful cheese display in Seattle? I’m not sure about that, but it’s worth traveling a long distance to see. Every cheese I saw looked to be in pristine condition, and that’s no mean feat when so many varieties share the spotlight (over 100 different types are carried year-round). This isn’t a big place, but it’s crammed with a great range of edibles, both imported and local. I was pleased to see products from Portland chocolatier Xocolatl de David on the shelves. A deli and a café are part of the attraction here; events (such as wine tastings) are frequent. 1435 First Avenue (corner of Pike), 206-622-0141.
Yellow Leaf Cupcake Company, theyellowleafcupcake.com. So many cupcakes, so little time. These beautifully-decorated treats differ from many others by being fresh, moist, genuinely flavorful, and not too sweet. While their full roster contains over 100 flavors, not everything is baked every day. Don’t pass up the Sweet and Salty Chocolate Bacon, Blood Orange, Ultimate Chocolate, or Pancakes n’Bacon varieties! A charming, small shop that offers coffee, too (hey, it’s Seattle; they have to have coffee). 2209 4th Avenue (Belltown), 206-441-4240.
Top Pot Doughnuts, www.toppotdoughnuts.com. I timed my arrival for 9:20 on a weekday morning, sure that I’d have bypassed their morning rush. Maybe I had, but the line to buy doughnuts was still impressive, though it moved quickly. At this writing, this business has seven locations in and near Seattle, and it’s no wonder once you taste their products. They make a very fine Bavarian Crème Bismark but may be most famous for their Maple Bar. The Downtown location is at 2124 5th Avenue, 206-728-1966.
Loki Fish Company, www.lokifish.com. If you adore really good smoked fish, Loki’s smoked sockeye salmon will rock your world. Good smoke presence (but not too much), a little salty (again, not excessively), and a flaky, firm-textured, deep pink, almost sweet fish. Fantastic! This is sustainably-harvested wild salmon, the real deal. Everything from cold-smoked lox to salmon jerky to canned salmon is offered. Loki sells at a handful of Farmers’ Markets, some stores and co-ops, the Fishermen’s Terminal in Seattle, and, best of all, online! See the website for complete information.
JonBoy Caramels, www.jonboycaramels.com. Jonathan Sue and Jason Alm make their caramels with organic sugar, organic butter, organic brown rice syrup (no corn syrup!), and cream from a local farm. The result? Superior confections that can hold their own with any of the more well-known artisan brands you’ve tried. Fleur de Sel, Molasses Ginger (my fave!), and the astonishing Absinthe with Black Salt flavors are sold at a number of Seattle-area stores, several local Farmers’ Markets, and (hurray!) online (note that there’s currently a 5-box minimum for online sales).
Pasteria Lucchese, no website, but you can find them on Facebook. Samuele and Sara Lucchese sell handmade pasta, sauces, and desserts from their base of operations in Ballard, a Seattle suburb. The couple appears to sell to the public only at area Farmers’ Markets in summer, though they do sell year-round at the Ballard Farmer’s Market on Sundays. Their Lamb Plin (similar to ravioli) are sold frozen but really do cook up in the four minutes noted on the packaging, and they’re as good as any pasta I’ve had anywhere. The pasta itself is properly al dente when cooked, and there’s plenty of truly meaty filling that’s expertly blended with just a few other ingredients. I didn’t try the sauces or desserts, but the Lavender Rice Pudding is very popular. Absolutely worth seeking out. 206-388-8722.
Homewood Suites Seattle Convention Center, www.homewoodsuitesseattle.com. If you’re going to explore Seattle, you need a retreat at the end of the day. This Homewood Suites is comfortable, not outrageously expensive by downtown standards, and well-situated. It’s also about a block and a half away from the well-reputed Victrola Café and Roastery (310 East Pike Street), a well-reputed coffee house. 1011 Pike Street, 206-682-8282.