I have mixed feelings about bars and restaurants where the drinks can be unequivocally categorized as strong. The drinks at Navy Strength (sister bar to No Anchor) definitely fall into that category. While I certainly appreciate getting a great value, Four glasses of champagne? No problem. Calm, cool collected. Three Navy Strength cocktails and you’ll likely find me under the table. It’s taken me a couple of visits to figure out my rhythm here, but after a few visits, I think I finally have it down. Two drinks max and I have my favorite.
No Anchor does a better job naming this post with their tagline than anything I could come up with on my own. “Weird beer. Rad food.” That about sums it up. Chris and Anu Apte Elford who brought us famed Seattle Belltown cocktail den, Rob Roy, have created something totally different and equally awesome in No Anchor.
B and I aren’t exactly spontaneous people. It’s not that we don’t enjoy the occasional adventure. It’s just that we find a great deal of comfort in routines that we enjoy, in looking forward to going to the places and having the experiences that we know will make us feel good. Last month, we had a pizza craving and decided to head up the hill to Via Tribunali. They have four locations, but ours is on Upper Queen Anne. We’ve been going there for years, but our visits are generally sporadic. I wouldn’t have called it a favorite so much as a place we really enjoy when we go there. Our visit in January was a little bit different, though.
It’s my favorite day of the year. It’s the beginning of the three month period during which I can claim to be a year younger than B. Tonight we celebrated B’s birthday with a tasting menu at Eden Hill on Queen Anne Hill. That wasn’t the original plan. We were headed for Lloydmartin without reservations since we always prefer to sit at the bar when that’s an option. They were closed for a private event, though, so we headed off down Queen Anne Ave. N to see where it would take us. I’d wanted to visit Eden Hill for quite a while. Every time I suggested it, though, B would look at their online menu and generally respond with “Meh” or some similarly underwhelming reaction. That’s B speak for “too many vegetables on the menu.” We were getting hungry, though, and needed to make a decision. Eden Hill had open bar seats. He relented and man was he glad he did.
Eden Hill’s specialty is their tasting menu. They don’t tell you anything about it except to expect to be there for at least two hours and that you will get something totally different from what’s on the menu. We don’t always jump into a tasting menu the first time we visit a restaurant, but since it was a special occasion, we went it.
I’m not going to recount everything we ate because I think most of the fun of a tasting menu is not knowing what will come out next. I know their menu varies greatly (the dish above is mackerel) as Chef Maximillian Petty is staunchly committed to fresh, local ingredients, but all the same, I would hate to ruin someone else’s experience. What I will tell you is how much we loved it. Eden Hill is a tiny 24 seat space that is lovely and welcoming. It somehow manages to feel bright even under dreary Seattle skies and subdued lighting. The team is friendly and knowledgeable. I will also tell you that, whatever else you do, have the Foie Gras Cake Batter for dessert. And as another bonus, they are one of those rare gems that takes reservations for their bar. I highly recommend that you do that as I’m fairly certain we just got lucky that we were able to walk in, even on a Wednesday night. I’m so glad we did. A very happy birthday to B.
We all have that one friend who makes you feel like you’re 17 again. No matter how much time passes, you sit down across from them and never miss a beat. For me, that friend is the lovely BG. We’ve been friends for roughly 22 years and while there have been long gaps in our interactions, it takes us all of 30 seconds to pick up where we left off. Though she now lives in Rhode Island, the last couple of years her work has brought her to Seattle and we’ve had the chance to spend time together. This year’s visit took us to Oddfellows Café & Bar.
The word of the day is bittersweet. B is leaving Microsoft for a new Amazon adventure. Today was his last day. It was also the last day of our shared commute, the last day of impromptu happy hours on the way home, the last day of so many things that have defined our lives together over eight of our nine years together. I’m excited for and proud of him… and jealous of his new quick walk to work, but it will be a major adjustment. Where our Thursday night dinners are concerned, I can’t begin to guess what will happen to those. We rely fairly heavily on the fact that we are already in the car together to spur us out of our Belltown/Queen Anne comfort zone and into other parts of the city. We’ll make it work, but I admit, I’m as apprehensive about this aspect of the change as anything else.
We celebrated (and mourned) this milestone tonight at Wakefield. I can’t actually remember why I haven’t written about Wakefield before since it’s become one of our go-to neighborhood spots. And because I was a little distracted, I didn’t take any photos after our drinks arrived, but it’s not difficult to tell you why we keep coming back.
The food at Wakefield is not life changing, but it is very, very good and consistent. Whether you’re after bar snacks (I highly recommend the Chicken Tikka Wings or the Pulled Pork Sliders) or a full meal (just say Fried Chicken sandwich), you won’t go wrong. On this visit, I had the Flat Iron steak. It’s a staple on the menu with a variety of accompaniments. B is a sucker for the Fried Chicken sandwich and would be hard pressed to order anything else.
What really makes us love Wakefield, though, is the people. Alexis and Ziggy, two of the owners, are there pretty much every night. I can only think of a couple of visits when we haven’t seen them. They obviously love what they do and are always hard at work making sure their guests are having a great time. They’re also just really kind, fun people to talk to. Another highlight of the team is Brian, one of their bartenders. He seems a bit young to be a cocktail genius, but he most definitely is. He’s uncommonly talented at his craft and another interesting person to chat with on their slower evenings.
So while I am definitely hesitant and a little bit worried about what the future will hold, I feel good knowing that even if we end up sticking a bit closer to home for our evenings out than we have in the past few years, we’ll have our walkable favorites where we know we’ll receive a warm welcome and have a great meal.
Two years. That’s how long it’s been since I did the thing I swore I wouldn’t do with this blog. I let it rot in space. Of course, I have a whole host of reasons why… work, lack of time, too much travel. Travel really did play a part. For a while, we went from trip to trip and it felt more like a travel blog. That was never the point. Even more than that, though, I just got a little bored. Feeling bored almost felt like a betrayal.
There have still been Thursday night dinners, some more memorable than others, but all in good company. About six months ago, I started taking food photos again. I’ve started five or six posts and scrapped them all. No matter how good the meal, all felt flat, bland, and contrived (my writing, not the food). Last week, though, on our way home, we stopped at the Old Sage for happy hour. Just a few minutes after sitting down at the bar, I realized what was wrong with the other posts. Over the last two years, I’d forgotten that the food, no matter how amazing, is just one small piece of the experience. I knew it, but I’d forgotten what it felt like.