There is a trend happening in the food and restaurant world, and it goes hand in hand with doing things more sustainably, and using fresh, local ingredients. This trend is toward doing a few things – just a few things – very, very well.
I like this trend.
I don’t want to spend 45 minutes trying to figure out a menu and decide what to eat, only to find that whatever I have chosen is mediocre.
I love seeing a menu with just a few, well thought-out choices made with quality ingredients — including some vegetarian choices.
After my recent visit to Seattle, I’m happy to report that this was most certainly the case.
So here are some highlights from the visit:
Serious Pie: Most of my stops on the trip were at Tom Douglas establishments – not that I planned things that way; he just has a lot of restaurants in Seattle, and they’re good ones. You don’t get the James Beard Award for Best Restaurateur for nothing. Serious Pie does pizza: lovely, thin-crust pizza with simple yet interesting toppings. I went for the Arugula, Feta and Spring Onion pizza because it was one of two veggie options.
Serious Biscuit: This is the morning-time incarnation of Serious Pie. It features really, really awesome biscuits topped with all sorts of delectable things. I had to mix and match a bit to get something vegetarian, but was met with an upbeat “Absolutely” when I asked to make changes. I ended up with Fried Green Tomato, Apple Mustard, Beecher’s Flagship Cheese, and Fried Egg. Just thinking about it makes me want to weep.
Brave Horse Tavern: The thing with Tom Douglas restaurants is that you’re never more than a stone’s throw from one, especially in South Lake Union. We ended up at the Brave Horse to watch a soccer game and returned later because we HAD to try the pretzels. Two freshly baked soft pretzels with pimento cheese, sour cream and crispy onion, and peanut butter and bacon dipping sauces. The PB was all Carla, who is vegetarian “lite” when we travel.
Lola: I didn’t even know this was Tom Douglas until moments ago. Seriously, he’s hard to avoid. Now, Lola was a little tough for a vegetarian. Carla and I split an (ahem) overpriced plate of eggs, toast, potatoes and sausage. I think the sausage may have been the star — all Carla again. But we also shared some lovely house-made donuts shaken with sugar and served with vanilla mascarpone and strawberry jam. Super awesome.
Cure: This a new-ish little place on Capital Hill. As the name implies, they serve cured meats and cheeses with breads and some fun complements ranging from olives to anchovies to spicy pepper jelly. I loved Cure. Aside from the fact that it is owned by my friends Eric and Amy, the restaurant is small and friendly with simple, clean, modern design, lots of windows and a patio. The menu is interesting without being overwhelming, and while I can’t speak for the meat, the cheeses I tried were YUM. I have to say, though, that it was the Manhattan that really got me here. It was the best one I’ve had, hands down.
Portage Bay Café: Seriously? The Portage Bay Café might just make me move back to Seattle for their Oven Baked French Toast: homemade bread soaked overnight in a ginger and blackberry custard; baked, sliced, and griddled; then served with vanilla crème anglaise. Plus it includes a trip to the toppings bar for fresh fruit, syrup, whipped cream, and nuts. Need I say more? We’re already plotting an attempt to duplicate this at home.
For more on my visit to Seattle, go to Composing Kitchen.