Based in San Diego and spending a few days in Seattle before heading to Vancouver/Whistler. Lurked on the board for help and thought I'd recap. I have a few questions, too, which I'll add to the end of the post.
Location: Downtown at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, no car, spent Saturday night and Sunday morning with my friend on Mercer Island
Saturday- Dahlia Lounge, Downtown
Lemon~scallion dungeness crab cakes, green curried zucchini, Alvarez farms summer squash, shrimp paste, rau ram
The crab cakes were awesome and I loved that they were done with a South Asian twist. They were perfectly fried and chock-full of shredded crab. There was very little filler, which was nice. Veggies served with pungent toasted shrimp paste and fragrant with lemon grass. The crab cakes were served on a herb puree, which is where the rau ram (Vietnamese mint) came in. I would have liked to see it more heavily featured, but the puree tasted more like Thai basil. The entree was topped with Thai basil, regular mint, and cilantro. Rau ram is very, very delicate and wilts at the drop of a hat, so I can see why it wasn't used as a garnish.
Sunday- Greenwood Mandarin, Bellevue
Chinese breakfast was good... had a fan tuan (sticky rice roll filled with dried pork and pickled cabbage), you tiao (Chinese fried cruller), and cold sweet soy milk. Nothing spectacular, but Chinese breakfast always hits the spot. Mr. Geeky's pork chop rice was good, but the pork chop was heavily battered.
Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company, Mercer Island Farmers' Market
Delicious handmade ice cream bars dipped in chocolate. The guys who run the cart are awesome and the peanut butter ice cream was something I could have eaten a tank of. Especially since it was so bloody hot on Saturday.
Red Hook Brewery, Woodinville
Didn't eat there, but our tour guide was delightfully sassy and generous with samples. I've always liked Red Hook's ESB and the tasting didn't change that, but didn't add to it, either. Their Blonde was pretty good, but I didn't care for their Late Harvest or Copperhook. The Lost Hammer IPA was decent, but my palate's been conditioned (or destroyed, depending on how you look at it) by big crazy-hoppy San Diego beers, so it was kind of light.
Chateau Saint Michelle, Woodinville
Big winery, good wines (although I am, by no means, overly discerning when it comes to wine). The free tasting that comes with the tour is a brief sampling (chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, muscat canelli). Chardonnay and cab were pretty standard... good, but nothing super-special. The muscat canelli was interesting... a dessert wine that smelled sharply of fresh Italian basil but tasted like pears. Grounds were very lovely.
Serious Pie, Downtown
We ended up at Dahlia Lounge because we were trying to go to Serious Pie on Saturday night. Finally got a table and we were packed to a communal table like sardines, with the restaurant running at about 80 degrees. Yikes. Mr. Geeky and my friend enjoyed their pizzas (wild boar sausage and veggie special, respectively), but I felt like my guanciale/soft egg/arugula was a little unbalanced. The guanciale and egg were obscured by the heavily seasoned (but delicious) crust and the peppery arugula. Given another shot at Serious Pie, I'd order something different. Oh, and visit on a cooler day. Sweating profusely with strangers is a tad awkward. Random note: I understand the desire to not serve corn syrup/chemical-containing drinks, but a diet Coke would have been really, really nice with my meal and the sweltering resto.
Monday- Spice Orient, Downtown
Spending the day working remotely in the hotel room as Mr. Geeky was at a conference. Went to Spice Orient for takeout lunch. I ordered the lemongrass beef, which was drenched in a watery, but tasty, sauce. Everything in the dish, however, was cooked to rubber, so overall, I don't particularly recommend that dish. Really wish I'd walked a couple of more blocks to Pike Place Market for lunch. Service, however, was excellent.
Caffe Migliore, Downtown
The coffee was meh. I would like to find something better
Bainbridge Island BBQ, Bainbridge Island
Really great meal here. It was a private party for Mr. Geeky's conference, serving ribs, salmon, and all sorts of veggies and salad. The ribs were delicious and not too oversauced. Salmon was perfectly cooked. The cooked veggies had a little bit of an Indian influence, including an amazing cauliflower and braised red cabbage that was seasoned with cumin and a touch of tumeric. Dinner totally made up for the meh stuff I had during the day.
Tomorrow, I'm headed to Salumi for lunch and Green Leaf for dinner. I plan on hanging out at either Zeitgeist or Trabant to get some work done before meeting my friend at Salumi.
Does Salumi have any non-perishables that I can take back to the hotel? (Mr. Geeky loves cured meat and can't meet us, so I thought I'd bring back something he can try. Their sandwiches won't keep, so I was hoping for something he could have with crackers.)
Any recs for Salumi? Green Leaf? (will search the boards, too)
Any other coffee places near the Fairmont I should try?
Any places near the airport that are good and open late? (We return from Vancouver via bus and it drops us off at Sea-Tac around 8:30pm. Need to grab dinner before heading to the hotel for the night.)
Thanks, all! Will report on Salumi, et al., soon.
Pike Place Market
1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101
316 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101
309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121