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Vancouver Hound's first real trip to Seattle -- help an elf out?

Hi greyelf! Fellow Vancouverite here; you helped us out on some Portland recommendations a short while back, so I'm happy to pass on our Seattle recommendations (though granted we've only tried a very small sampling of the city).

Book Bindery was one of our nicest meals; granted nothing stood out as truly 'amazing', but everything was 'extremely good', and we've probably not had nicer service at any other restaurant anywhere (YMMV, of course). Can't compare to Canlis, as we didn't go. I can endorse Spinasse though -- excellent meal there too, and a cool room (we wish we had asked to sit at the bar facing the kitchen when we went).

Le Pichet is our go-to for a simple breakfast (great baked goods and a really nice simple egg, ham, and cheese dish). Very good coffee too.

Other noteworthy dinners from our experience were Sitka & Spruce (noteworthy good), and Mistral Kitchen (noteworthy bad). We met some relatives for a dinner at Tom Douglas's Cuoco, which I thought was 'pretty good' overall, though my wife still raves about their goat cheese gnocchi.

The "Tatstrami" sandwich at Tat's Deli was amazing.

Definitely reserve a tour at Theo Chocolates.

Non-food related: the Seattle Underground Tour was a lot of fun.

Sorry I can't specifically address most of your questions, but hopefully this is still somewhat useful!

~Geoff

May 27, 2014
ghague in Greater Seattle

Better than Peartree?

Peartree is one my favourite local restaurants, but if there's one fault we notice is that dishes are sometimes over-salted.

May 12, 2014
ghague in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Three nights in Portland, mid-March 2014

Thanks cobpdx -- good to hear that our planning seems to be, so far, on the mark.

Have now read about the Portland Farmers Market at PSU; we'll definitely be checking that out on Saturday morning. What should we do for breakfast in that area? Speaking of breakfast, Broder sounds interesting, so we'll hopefully make a trip out that way.

We're looking to make some dinner reservations pretty quick (particularly for Little Bird), so we're wondering the best day to slot in dinner at Pok Pok. Which would likely be less busy at Pok Pok, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?

Feb 26, 2014
ghague in Metro Portland

Three nights in Portland, mid-March 2014

Hi all! My wife and I are heading down to Portland (from Vancouver BC) for three nights, arriving Friday March 14th and leaving Monday March 17th. We're staying at the Governor Hotel downtown.

We were able to see a small bit of the city a couple of years ago when we were there for a family wedding, but we're now looking forward to being able to spend some good time there.

Wondering if you might have some thoughts or suggestions on the following points:

It would seem right now that our only "must do" is a dinner at Pok Pok. We love Thai food in general, but we've not had much experience with any kind of 'elevated' version of this cuisine. Given our arrival on a Friday and their no-reservation policy, is there a best day over the weekend that we should go to minimize our wait? Once inside, sounds like their fish sauce chicken wings are pretty amazing; anything else that's a must-order?

For one of our other meals, we're leaning towards Little Bird, as it seems to be getting universal praise around here, and we enjoy a good French bistro.

That leaves one more dinner to plan... looking for some suggestions here. We've got Thai and French already; what else is burning up Portland these days? We'll eat anything, and particularly enjoy quirky or unique experiences. For background, some of my all-time favourite meals have been tasting menus such as the Willows Inn (WA), WD-50 (NY), Cinc Sentits (Barcelona), or Le Chateaubriand (Paris)... however we also had a really disappointing (and overly-expensive) one at Mistral Kitchen in Seattle. In Seattle we've had a fantastic meals at the Book Bindery, Sitka and Spruce, and Cascina Spinasse. Perhaps there's something along these lines in Portland? Only caveat is that my wife is pregnant, so we're not going to do raw shellfish, and we'll skip anyplace that's largely known for their cocktails.

Aside from dinners, we'd like to hit up a few food carts (mostly for lunch). When we were last in Portland, we had a couple of fantastic pizzas at Pyro Pizza. What else must we try? Are most of the PDX food cards open for lunch on weekends?

Looks like our hotel is a couple of blocks away from Blue Star donuts -- I'm sure we'll make a couple of trips there! I know this has probably been discussed to death, but I'll ask again anyway: is it worth trying to brave a lineup at Voodoo Donuts, or are we good (or better?) with Blue Star?

Finally, another likely stop will be Pine State Biscuits. Some good friends are huge "Diners Drive-Ins & Dives", and they raved about their visit here after seeing them featured on a DDD episode. We love sharing food experiences with our friends, so we want to go there too (and the concept of 'chicken and biscuits' is pretty foreign to us, meaning it's not particularly common here, so we're excited to give it a try).

So that's a bunch of random stuff that we're thinking about. Any thoughts from you ever-helpful people?

Thanks!

~Geoff

Feb 25, 2014
ghague in Metro Portland

A Night Before Christmas, in Seattle...

Hi all,

Thanks for reminding me about Matt's -- it had actually slipped my mind, but seems like a pretty good choice (especially as something of a Seattle institution). RN74 looks really nice, too.

Makes sense that the downtown retail core would probably be the "Christmas-y" area.

Is the Olympic Sculpture Park worth a visit this time of year? (How about the waterfront and Ferris wheel?)

Dec 03, 2013
ghague in Greater Seattle

A Night Before Christmas, in Seattle...

Hi all,

My wife and I have something of a near-Christmas tradition where we'll head downtown (Vancouver, BC) and spend a night at a nice hotel, do some window-shopping, take in some good food, and just enjoy the city's Christmas ambiance.

This year, we'd like to do the same in Seattle. So, we're heading to Seattle for the night of December 19th (a Thursday), staying at Hotel Andra, which is about four blocks away from Pike Place Market. We have a car, though with our limited time in the city we'd rather not venture too far away.

We've only recently begun spending any time in Seattle (we've made a couple of trips down your way in the last two years), and we very much enjoy it. We're looking forward to hopefully enjoying some Seattle Christmas ambiance this year!

To that end, we're wondering where we might best be able to accomplish that. Our itinerary at this point is pretty open -- we intend to arrive in time for lunch on Thursday, and we'll leave well after lunch on Friday. So, we've got two lunches, a breakfast, and a dinner. Our only certainty is that we'd like to spend a couple of hours at Pike Place.

Is the market generally done up nicely for Christmas? What about Pioneer Square (which we only very briefly passed through once on a previous trip). Anywhere else that's particularly "Christmas-y"? How's the waterfront area (and Ferris wheel), which we've never visited?

Of course, among all this, we'll be looking for some good eats, too. While nothing's planned yet, we've thought about going to Le Pichet for their small but delicious breakfast then hopping over for our so-far-favourite-Seattle-snack, a lemon-ricotta crumpet at the Crumpet Shop. Other than that -- not sure yet. Previous trips have involved good experiences at Cuoco, The Book Bindery, Sitka and Spruce, Spinasse, and Serious Pie, so we'll probably want to go someplace new, at least for dinner (a lunch at Serious Pie might be nice though -- it's so close to our hotel, too).

We're adventurous eaters, and enjoy pretty much all sorts of cuisines (though oysters aren't really our favourite, so we'd probably not bother with Walrus and Carpenter). Thierry Rautureau's new restaurant Loulay is supposed to open this week, so that might be nice (we enjoyed watching him on Top Chef Masters). We're up for a splurge dinner, and I enjoy a good tasting menu... so maybe Canlis? (Though I'm not totally keen on bringing a separate set of clothes to accommodate their dress code.)

I'll leave it at that for now, and look forward to some suggestions. I'll also continue to do some of my research and will respond later with further ideas.

Cheers!

~Geoff

Dec 02, 2013
ghague in Greater Seattle

Willows Inn on Lummi Island - Extreme NW Regionalism

Hi ksyoung -- hmm, good question. I don't think I could really rank my other favourites, except for number 1, which I'm pretty sure I'd say was Le Chateaubriand in Paris.

Others up there would be the Willows Inn, WD-50 in New York, and Cinc Sentits in Barcelona.

Next tier down, I suppose, would probably be Book Bindery, Sitka & Spruce, and Cascina Spinasse in Seattle, The Ledbury and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London, Le Bernardin in New York, and L'Atalier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas.

I notice my "top four" were all large tasting-menu experiences -- guess that's what I'm really drawn to in a great meal!

~Geoff

Sep 18, 2013
ghague in Pacific Northwest

Willows Inn on Lummi Island - Extreme NW Regionalism

My wife and I stayed and ate at the Willows Inn last weekend -- not much to add, other than the meal was probably in the top three we've ever had.

We asked about the breakfast situation: turns out they no longer do breakfasts at the Willows itself; instead, you're provided with a voucher for a breakfast entre and drink at the Beach House Café (owned by the Willows Inn).

The reason for the change was that breakfast service would tend to go until 11:00am or so, but the dinner staff would usually need to start prepping at around 10:00am. It was too cumbersome to work both sets of staff in the same (relatively small) kitchen for that overlapping hour.

Sep 03, 2013
ghague in Pacific Northwest

Big family trip to Lahaina, Maui

Just want to highlight one of my original questions: buying fresh seafood. Where would you recommend we go for that sort of thing in Lahaina? Any "right-off-the-boat" options?

Mar 25, 2013
ghague in Hawaii

Big family trip to Lahaina, Maui

Thanks 65roller.

Slight change of plans regarding the luau -- turns out my in-laws are going to pass on it (having seen more than a few luaus already), and they'll look after our little guy. So, the remaining six of us are still going to attend. As pricey and 'tourist-y' as it might be, we're looking forward to it, and will definitely have a good time. My wife figured it's probably like taking a gondola in Venice -- super expensive and tourist-y, but you gotta do it :-)

Koiso Sushi might be edging its way up towards must-visit status... that would be a wife-and-me only kind of thing, so no worries about trying to get nine people in there at once.

Hula Grill's Barefoot Bar looks cool -- maybe just the sort of place that all 9 of us would enjoy together?

We had originally written-off Mama's as too far away, but playing around with Google Maps I see that it's not much farther (about 50 minutes) than places we had considered in Kihei and Wailea (40-45 minutes).

Mar 25, 2013
ghague in Hawaii

Big family trip to Lahaina, Maui

Thanks Beach Chick -- helpful.

Understood regarding the food at luaus -- however, that's why we decided on the Feast at Lele, rather than our initial choice (the Old Lahaina Luau). Seemed to me that the food at Feast was fairly positively received here... but maybe not so much in your opinion?

Costco will be our first stop after landing in Maui.

Mama's Fish House is definitely appealing, but with us staying in Lahaina and having our little guy with us, we've crossed it off our list as too far of a trek. Same goes for the General Store.

Luckily for us we save and budget well for our vacations, meaning we're definitely going on a Molokini snorkel tour, even if we also attend a luau :-)

Mar 22, 2013
ghague in Hawaii

Big family trip to Lahaina, Maui

Thanks Mimi -- yes, definitely have to manage expectations when you're going to an "as seen on TV" kind of restaurant! Regardless, maybe Star Noodle might be more of a when-we've-all-split-up kind of thing. Still, maybe we'll call ahead one day and see if they can reserve a large table for us.

Good to know about Cool Cat -- thanks.

Mar 22, 2013
ghague in Hawaii

Big family trip to Lahaina, Maui

Thanks honu2,

It does seem really nice how close our resort is to a couple of the places we'd like to visit.

From what I've seen, Pacific'O and I'O are essentially on the same property. Is it possible to succinctly describe the difference between the two? Is one more of a 'splurge' than the other?

Regarding the Feast at Lele, we are still discussing whether we'll all attend, or whether one or more of the grandparents will stay behind with our little guy. He's really good when he's out, however, so we wouldn't be too concerned with having him with us -- unless, that is, the show would tend to run past 9:00pm, in which case that's definitely past his bedtime and we don't want to do that.

Mar 22, 2013
ghague in Hawaii

Big family trip to Lahaina, Maui

Hi all! So I've been browsing this board for several weeks now, and after absorbing various restaurant names and recommendations, I’m starting to think about setting up an itinerary for our trip. To that end, I’m hoping to solicit a few recommendations more specific to our circumstances.

We’re staying in Lahaina at the Lahaina Shores Beach Resort from April 25th to May 5th (10 nights). We have a fairly large group going: my wife and I, our 10-month-old son, both sets of our parents, and my sister-in-law and her boyfriend (that’s 8 adults and one child).

The only food-related things we’ve nailed down for sure include all of us attending The Feast at Lele luau, probably Kihei Caffe for breakfast or brunch, and at least one trip to Star Noodle (we’re Top Chef fans!). My dad’s also pretty set on going to Cool Cat Café for their apparently-excellent burger.

Here’s where we’re hoping for some advice on:

- Is it likely that Star Noodle would be able to accommodate all 9 of us at once? How about Cool Cat Café? I get the impression that these are slightly smaller and busier establishments.

- Can you recommend a couple of good not-too-expensive (say, less than $50 per person) that would be able to handle all 9 of us? In/near Lahaina would be nice, but we’d consider elsewhere too.

- How late does the Feast at Lele run to? (An important consideration for us considering bedtime for our little guy. Would we even be permitted to bring him with us?)

- In addition to various meals out, we’ll have access to kitchens and barbeques at our condo. We’d like to cook up some fresh local seafood – is it likely we’d be able to get anything “right off the boat” from the nearby harbour, or should we stick to the local markets/stores?

- Great thing about having both sets of our little guy’s grandparents around is that my wife and I still get a few opportunities to bugger off and do our own thing! With that in mind, we want to do at least two really nice meals alone together. Price is no object. We’d like to focus on Hawaiian cuisine as much as possible (love seafood!). Sushi would be okay, but we live in Vancouver BC and have some pretty excellent sushi at home, so it’s not a priority. We enjoy tasting menus, but again not a priority. A few places that have come up as possibilities would be Merriman’s, Pacific’O, I’O, Amasia, or Lahaina Grill. What would you recommend?

- Speaking of sushi, we do love sushi :-) Anywhere in Lahaina you’d recommend?

- My wife and I would also like to do a nice-ish dinner my sister-in-law and her boyfriend. Any recommendations? They’re not particularly adventurous, but might give a few new things a try while on vacation. Something again in the $50/$60 per person range? (This is a similar question as above, but a smaller place would obviously work alright with just the 4 of us instead of all 9.)

Hmm, so that's probably lots for now -- might have more questions later.

Thanks so much!

~Geoff

Mar 20, 2013
ghague in Hawaii

Weds thru Fri dinner, solo diner

I had a great solo dinner at Sitka and Spruce recently (quail and pork belly... delicious!).

Mar 28, 2012
ghague in Greater Seattle

Long Weekend i Vancouver--Looking To Try Something New (New to Us, that is)

My wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed a couple of Omakase meals at Miku over the last year or so, especially while seated at the sushi bar.

http://mikurestaurant.com/

Jan 06, 2012
ghague in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Dried chile peppers in Vancouver and Tri-cities

Try "Latino Deli" in Port Coquitlam, at the southwest corner of Lougheed Highway and Shaughnessy Street. I know they have dried ancho chilis, though I'm not sure about the others.
http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/156319...

Dec 10, 2011
ghague in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Bionaturae whole-wheat pasta in the Vancouver area?

Hi everyone! Just wondering if anyone's seen this stuff available in the Greater Vancouver / Lower Mainland area (I'm in Port Coquitlam)? Apparently as far as whole-wheat pasta goes, it comes pretty highly recommended. Here's a slightly-old write-up from Cook's Illustrated:

http://w02.webdecisions.com/atnk/anal...

(hopefully the link will work for a while; normally these articles are for paid subscribers only

)

Thanks!

Nov 25, 2011
ghague in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)