The International Food Blogger Conference is just a week away, and I wanted to share a few of my favorite places to eat in Seattle with everyone coming from out of town. I am a proud Seattleite, and I love showing off my city to visitors!
W HOTEL VICINITY
- One of my favorite places in Seattle to get waffles is just a block away from the site of the conference, the W Hotel. Sweet Iron Waffles makes Liege-style Belgium waffles, which are crispy with caramelized sugar on the outside and buttery and pillowy soft on the inside. The plain traditional waffles are good enough on their own, and a number of sweet and savory options, and a daily special waffle are available as well.
- Belle Epicurean is also just steps away from the W Hotel and is a great place to get a quick and tasty French-style breakfast or lunch.
- It’s not a restaurant, but the downtown Seattle Public Library is a must-visit destination. Go to the top floor for a breathtaking view of the stunning glass, concrete steel structure designed by renowned architects Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Ramus. Pore over the library’s historic menu collection, find unique Seattle souvenirs in the library’s gift shop, and savor locally-made confections at Chocolati Café.
PIKE PLACE MARKET
- It’s a given that food bloggers will want to visit Pike Place Market, and it’s a great place to explore on your own. I do recommend stopping by Oriental Mart, which serves some of the best Filipino food in Seattle. Try the salmon collar sinigang (tamarind soup) or dinuguan (pork blood stew). And definitely check out some of the newest additions to Pike Place, including Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Storyville Coffee and Ellenos Yogurt.
Enjoy traditional ginger beer or more exotic flavors like blood orange at Rachel’s Ginger Beer. You can also get an ice cream float, milkshake, cocktail or the best of all worlds—a boozy milkshake!
In a city of stellar coffee houses, Storyville Coffee has everything it needs to be a contender—a gorgeous space, delectable pastries and fresh roasted beans. It’s not officially open yet, but you can “request a passport” to get a sneak peek.
People across Seattle are proclaiming that Ellenos Yogurt serves the best Greek yogurt ever, and I have to agree. I swooned over the yogurt with lemon curd and can’t wait to get back to taste passion fruit and marionberry.
Slowly but surely, Seattle has become a food truck city. An assortment of trucks can be found in downtown Seattle on any given day, and Thursdays and Fridays are some of the best days for mobile food fans. My recommendations are Off the Rez for frybread tacos, Hallava Falafel for well, falafel, pulled pork at Maximus Minimus, and the bacon jam burger at the food truck that started it all—Skillet. Go to seattlefoodtruck.com to find more food trucks by day and neighborhood.
- Pioneer Square is Settle’s oldest—and some may argue, grittiest—neighborhood. (It’s the site of the original Skid Row and has a large homeless population.) But business owners and residents are working hard to revitalize the historic district and make it a dining destination. In the last year, James Beard Award winner Matt Dillon opened two lovely restaurants in Pioneer Square that serve deceptively simple, inventive food—Bar Sajor and London Plane.
- Another newcomer to Pioneer Square is Rain Shadow Meats, a full-service butcher shop that also serves fantastic salads, meat and cheese plates, and hearty sandwiches.
- Speaking of sandwiches, if you’re a true aficionado, you’ll want to visit two other Pioneer Square gems—Bakeman’s and Delicatus. I’ve written about my love of Bakeman’s before and extolled its many virtues on television. It’s an old-school cafeteria with homestyle sandwiches, surprising specials and gigantic pieces of pie. Delicatus has a lengthy sandwich menu ranging from a classic Reuben to a pulled lamb shank sandwich. You can also enjoy dinner, weekend brunch, and house-made wine at Delicatus.
- Two of my other favorite Pioneer Square restaurants are dramatically different next-door neighbors. Il Corvo features handmade pasta, and Hole in the Wall BBQ has excellent brisket and pulled pork.
- An entirely different kind of barbecue can be found at Kau Kau (pronounced “cow cow”). In business for over 30 years, this Seattle institution serves up the city’s best Chinese barbecue. It specializes in barbecue pork and roasted duck.
- It may have started out as a Japanese grocery store, but Uwajimaya now reflects the international character of the Seattle neighborhood that it anchors. It carries a wide range of Asian groceries, meat, seafood and produce. Its gift department carries beautiful Japanese tableware. Kinokuniya Bookstore, Japan’s largest bookstore chain specializing in Asian language books, is located adjacent to the store.
- My three favorite Vietnamese restaurants are in the ID. While they all have excellent food, their ambiance varies dramatically. Huong Bin is a very casual place, where many people just order take out. Green Leaf is nicer, and the most upscale is Tamarind Tree.
- My final pick for Chinatown/International District isn’t an Asian restaurant. World Pizza serves vegetarian, thin-crust pizza. I could eat their roasted potato, garlic, rosemary and Gorgonzola pizza every day.
- I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss where to eat in my own neighborhood of Beacon Hill. It’s further from downtown where the IFBC is happening but definitely worth the short bus or taxi ride.
- Staying true to my Filipino roots, I’ll start first with Delite Bakery and Inay’s Asian Pacific Cuisine. As I’ve mentioned before, Delite Bakery has the biggest and best chocolate croissants. This isn’t some delicate pain au chocolat. At Delite, they like to make everything big, fluffy and sugary—whether it’s doughnuts, cupcakes or traditional Filipino desserts. Many Filipino desserts are vegan-friendly because they are made with coconut milk.
- Filipino breakfast is one of my favorite things, and Inay’s serves it all day. Called tapsilog, it includes garlic fried rice, a fried egg and fish or meat. The name of the silog depends on the protein. For example, a bacsilog has bacon and a daingsilog comes with daing (milkfish).
- Service can be maddeningly slow at Travelers Thali House, but the delicate vegetarian Indian food is worth the wait.
- Patience is also rewarded at Bar del Corso. The popular bar and restaurant doesn’t take reservations, and the wait for a table can be lengthy. Stick it out for the excellent fried risotto balls, grilled octopus, other Italian small plates and wood-fired pizza. Be sure to save room the polenta cake with seasonal fruit topping for dessert.
- If you happen to be driving and are hungry while filling up at the Shell gas station on 15th Avenue, try the fried catfish in the hot case. Trust me on this.
SEATTLE-STYLE HOT DOG
- Anyone game for gas station catfish would probably be up for a Seattle-style hot dog. This is a grilled Polish sausage served on a bun slathered with cream cheese with grilled onions. Monster Dogs is my preferred hot dog vendor and has 7 locations in the city.
Looking forward to seeing my fellow food bloggers at IFBC!