As another year has wrapped-up, I find myself reminiscent – flipping through photos where each elicits reflections of the flavors of my life. As you know, I periodically reflect back on these bites in year-end posts vividly describing a few of my favorites. This year is no different (although it’s taken me longer to provide my wrap-up), and thus I give you a few suggestions of the bites that’ve taken my breath away:
Steelhead Diner’s Smoked Salmon Hash
Sweet peppers, hot-smoked salmon and roasted root veggies come together in a smoky, earth bowl in the heart of Pike Place Market. Perfect over-easy eggs are just the topping for this luscious lunchtime favorite at Steelhead Diner.
Soi’s Naam Khao Tod
Nestled on the corner of East Union and 10th Avenue on Capitol sits Soi. Nothing special from the outside, but anything but inside, Soi’s Nam Khao Todd bursts with fresh, spicy flavors. Toasted peanuts, toasted rice and house-soured pork are the stars of this show, with expected flavors of lime, ginger and fish sauce. If this doesn’t bring your tastebuds alive, nothing will!
Cafe Campagne’s Cassoulet … Put an Egg on It!
Fall doesn’t truly begin for me until chef Daisley Gordon and his Cafe Campagne team roll out their cassoulet. Little can improve this quintessential French dish, but a beautifully poached egg is always welcome on mine. Gordon’s cassoulet bears unique texture with multiple sizes of white beans, and gains immense flavor from Uli‘s sausage and his own beautiful confit duck.
Salt & Straw’s Pear and Blue Cheese Ice Cream
Salt & Straw literally hooked me the moment I saw the words on their menu board. My tastebuds embraced the flavors before they passed my lips. With a sweet/savory mix of local Oregon bartlett pears and Rogue Creamery’s Crate Lake Blue Cheese, this may forever be my go-to decadence.
Eggs Benedict at Rider
You really didn’t think any best-of list of mine could go without an eggs benedict, did you? Rider Seattle’s Chef David Nichols puts a healthy spin on this brunchtime tradition with a lighter-than-air hollandaise and braised greens. A hearty helping of local Dungeness crab puts it right on the top of my quintessential-Seattle list!
Little Bird PDX’s Steak Tartare
Portland Le Pigeon has a little sister and she’s amazing! Little Bird Bistro‘s menu offers a lovely twist to traditional French fare – proof positive in their delicate lamb tartare. With a balanced twang of whole grain mustard, a subtle touch of chervil and a firm little quail yolk, this simple-yet-satisfying starter could easily be a meal.
Dan Dan Noodles from Dough Zone
I’m typically not a fan of chain restaurants, but Dough Zone has made me a believer. Along with their signature xlb dumplings, their dan dan noodles absolutely stand out. They tongue-tingling/numbing Szechuan peppers are a standard, but the umami they derive from this dish surpasses what I expect from a restaurant tucked in a strip-mall.
Oysters at Hama Hama
Not much beats freshly shucked oysters on a PNW beach, thus Hama Hama Oyster Company‘s trove of oysters – amid a midden of shells – is not only one of the best experiences a person can have in this state, but it’s also one of the freshest! Couple that with an ice-cold beer, briney liquor and a cool breeze blowing in from the salt water, and you’ll find yourself like me: Dreaming of your text trip to this motherlode of bivalves.
2017 was a wonky year for me in general, with the exception of the many dining opportunities I availed myself to. What’s your don’t miss for 2018 you’d like me to try next?