Never did I expect to play host in Seattle as my home. Truthfully, I never envisioned myself even visiting Seattle much less living here long enough for others to visit and for me to be the Seattle veteran. B and I don’t get a lot of visitors. In fact, only his brother and sister-in-law and my parents have come to Seattle exclusively to visit us. On a few different occasions, though, old and new friends have made the trip to the Pacific Northwest for other reasons and we’ve had the opportunity to show them a little bit of what we love about Seattle. It usually involves food.
One of the first times we had the chance to do this was a few months ago when a friend I’ve known since middle school came to visit a woman he is dating who lived in the city. We spent hours at The Local Vine at their Belltown location eating, drinking and mostly laughing… laughing a lot. The overwhelming feeling of being in the place I call home now with people who have known me much longer than Seattle is comforting in a very rare and tangible way. While I’ve been in Seattle for almost five years and there are a few people here who I can now claim to have known for quite awhile, when people from home visit, it’s an entirely different feeling.
Tonight I had a chance to spend some time with BT, a friend from Albuquerque. BT and I actually don’t know each other super well. Her best friend has been a dear friend of mine for about ten years now. When I found out she was coming to Seattle on a short weekend trip, though, I was very happy to have the chance to see her. This weekend, N (a colleague of B’s based in Denver) and his girlfriend, C, were also in town. We spent a quick happy hour with them Friday night and were very happy to have them join us for dinner and drinks Saturday.
I made a late dinner reservation at Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie for the five of us. We’ve had brunch at Seatown three times now and always really enjoyed it. Each time, we promise ourselves we’ll return for dinner soon, but we just hadn’t made it yet. Seatown is in the heart of the Pike Place Market and we hardly ever visit in the evening. There just isn’t much going on. BT had suggested seafood, though, and I never turn down seafood. Seatown sounded like a great place with local flair to share a meal with our out of town guests.
B and I ordered a charcuterie plate for the table. I was a little surprised it didn’t arrive with any serving utensils. That proved a bit awkward for a table of five who don’t know each other all that well. I also don’t think I’ve ever been served a charcuterie plate without anything to put the meat on. Normally there is at least a small bit of crostini or other bread. It was a little strange… but very tasty.
I had a terrible time deciding on dinner with too many great options. There were several entree options that sounded like great choices and quite a few compelling combinations of small plates and appetizers as well. Everyone else seemed to have as much trouble as I did deciding. I changed my mind no fewer than four times by the time we actually ordered. I finally settled on the sweet potato soup with chevre toast and honeycrisp apple along with the “julia child’s” dungeness crab and Best Foods mayo. I kind of love that they name the brand of mayonnaise.
The bowl of soup was huge. It was full of flavor and extremely rich. At some point, though, I started to feel as if, no matter how much I ate, the bowl was still full. BT also had the soup. I felt a bit better when I saw that her bowl also appeared to be self-replenishing. The crab was incredible… and incredibly rich. That was the overarching theme of our meal.
B made the predictable choice in the porchetta with creamy polenta, pepper relish and greens.
I can’t help but wonder if or when he’ll get sick of eating pork. Maybe he won’t. The food trend of pork on every menu may fade before he loses a taste for it. This porchetta certainly didn’t help him on the path to eating less pork. The polenta and greens were also wonderful.
And now, something I don’t normally do… talk about the food people other than B and I ate. I just don’t like to intrude into others’ meals with my camera. I fear I might run out of people other than B to eat with if I constantly jammed my camera into our friends’ plates. C enthusiastically offered up her verjus steamed Coho salmon with bacon lentils and roasted cauliflower, though, so I didn’t feel so bad. BT also willingly presented her Smoked Seafood combo with blini, cream cheese, duck~fried capers and a taste each of smoked Idaho trout, Quinault river sturgeon, Alaskan true cod, Coho salmon and Alaskan king salmon lox.
Everyone seemed to really enjoy their meals. BT’s entree was particularly decadent. Despite all the richness in our food, we all managed to save room for dessert. B and I shared a Seatown cream cake, vanilla custard with Theo’s chocolate mocha ganache and hazlenut crunch. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what arrived at the table was something closely resembling a Whoopie pie. Delicious and a nice small size after our decadent dinner. B and I ate the leftover ganache straight out of the tiny pitcher. A tour of the Theo Chocolate factory is one stop on my long list of things to do before we leave Seattle, but after a couple spoonfuls of that ganache, Theo may have moved up on my list.
From Seatown, we ventured out into the Market in search of a late night cocktail. Lately the ghost stories I learned on my summer Pike Place Market Ghost Tour have become dinner entertainment when we share a meal with friends in the Market. After sharing the history of the Kell’s space as a mortuary, we tried to go there, but the cover charge and very high noise level coming from inside deterred us. It’s official. We’re old. Besides, there are nicer places for an after dinner cocktail. We didn’t stray far from our ghost story theme, though. Instead, we walked farther down Post Alley and stopped in at the Alibi Room. C was a real trooper in her heels down the rough cobblestone streets of the alley. Alibi Room is quickly becoming one of our favorite after dinner drinks spots and comes complete with their own ghost story of Frank, the elderly gentleman ghost who is said to introduce himself to patrons outside the restrooms. No one in our party made Frank’s acquaintance in the restrooms, but we suspect he may have been the gentleman checking IDs at the door.
So often the best nights are the most unexpected. B and I hosted an unexpected group and had a really wonderful night. We were all amazed at how late it was by the time we parted ways downtown. I never imagined we would be in Seattle long enough to be anything even resembling locals, but being the insiders who know where to spend a great night in Seattle certainly has its advantages.