As always, my tasty adventures took me far and wide in 2016 through rugged, craggy hills of Colorado Springs to southern-infused Atlanta – and everything in-between. However, my first love will forever be the Pacific Northwest – thus were the majority of my favorite dishes in 2016. From Korean-fusion gems tucked within the decades-old crust of Pike Place Market to farm-to-table goodness on a lackluster intersection in Boise’s outskirts, I’ve done some mighty-fine eating!
State and Lemp / Boise, Idaho
A bit of a mix of farmer meets scientist, the genius behind Boise’s State and Lemp is undoubtedly their ability to pair locally-sourced ingredients with culinary creativity. My favorite course in their regularly-changing multi-coursed meal was the coffee oil-infused egg yolk accompanying a tender, juicy rabbit loin. Click here to read more about my Boise dining adventures.
Market Hall / 9th & Olive – Seattle
Market Hall‘s fried chicken sandwich appeared mundane on the menu, but was anything but! With avocado (no surprise a huge fave of mine), perfectly crispy-fried chicken thigh, thick slabs of bacon and a kick-ass chipotle aioli, this massive lunch entree could easily be lunch for two.
The Carlile Room / 9th & Pine – Seattle
The “Planty Breakfast” caught my eye immediately on the Carlile Room‘s Friday-Sunday brunch menu. Combining pecan-flax toast, avocado, poached eggs, delicata squash, beets, sprouts sounded, perhaps, like the healthiest thing I’d eat this year – and undoubtedly would’ve been had I not ordered a side of hollandaise sauce. As beautiful as it was delicious, Dezi’s breakfast concoction is a new obsession.
ORFEO / 4th & Lenora – Seattle
I’m unsure how ORFEO‘s chef Kevin Davis manages to fire octopus to a tender perfection on his charcoal Josper grill, but I’m certain I love it! Add a dreamy mediterranean-inspired charred lemon vinaigrette and fresh seasonal veggies, and it’s as swoon-worthy as they get.
Salish Lodge / Snoqualmie Falls – Washington
Maybe it was the view. Maybe it was because I took myself out to breakfast on my birthday. Maybe it’s because I adore eggs Benedict. Whatever it was, Salish Lodge has it goin’ on! Couple fresh Dungeness crab, heavenly hollandaise and views for miles and you’ll find a breakfast worth the drive to the Cascade foothills.
Fainting Goat Gelato / 45th & Wallingford – Seattle
“Mastic” caught my eye at Wallingford’s Fainting Goat Gelato. I knew the term from living in an artist’s household, but never considered it as a flavor. Just WOW! Made with goat’s milk, this piney, Aegean flavor is unique and delicious. Apparently it boasts medicinal uses in lowering cholesterol and (as an oil) has anti-bacterial properties as well. Either way, it’s definitely worth trekking north of the city for a taste.
Shuga’s / Colorado Springs – Colorado
Apple, brie and honey bruschetta might possibly be the simplest thing I’ve put in my mouth this year, but packed a punch of tangy, crisp apple, delicately pungent (yes, that’s a thing) brie and sweet, complex honey. Shuga’s, in Colorado Springs, has a half-dozen bruschetta types (most of which I tried) that were simple, elegant and delicious at the same time.
Chan / Pike Place Market – Seattle
Tucked somewhere between Pine and Stewart Streets in the Pike Place Market, Chan – Seattle’s only Korean gastropub – boasts a slow-roasted, beautifully-seasoned short rib that’ll make you a believer your first visit. Couple this gem with their masterful mixologist and you’ll never want to leave.
Blueacre Seafood / 7th & Olive – Seattle
It’s no shock I’m a lover of eggs Benedict. The ‘Eggs Michael’ at Blueacre’s made me a believer that sometimes a redeaux on a favorite is what’s in order. Blanketing fresh Dungeness crab, thinly-sliced local ham and an equisitely-poached egg in béarnaise (instead of hollandaise), make for a welcome brunch surprise.
Better Half / Atlanta, Georgia
Not your grandma’s flat-iron steak, Better Half‘s taken a spin far south of the border for a spicy salsa indio viejo (a Nicaraguan treat), with beautifully pickled chayote squash, sweet charred carrot and topped with a masa funnel cake – part of a never-ending lineup in their 9+ course tasting menu.
Eat well in 2017, friends. And if you know of a local gem you think I should try? You know where to find me!