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seattle: 4 days, 17 eateries, and 2 pounds later.

So last year you might recall (well the 3 of you who kindly stopped by the blog then – hi mom, dad and sweet mother in law!), Andrew and I ate our way through Vancouver and I shared about our eating adventures here.  This year we explored the foodie paradise that is Seattle.  A few days before leaving I started a list of eateries I wanted to check out,and quickly had 70 places on the list (I know, right?)…having found recommendations on blogs I follow, magazines like Bon Appetit and Food and Wine, and local publications like Seattle Weekly.

Well obviously a frugal foodie can’t hit up 70 places in 4 days so we narrowed the list down a bit, first starting with all restaurants listed as being kid-friendly.  Don’t judge:  we love us some kids, but with a precious 4 days on vacation without our adorable rugrats, sharing a loud restaurant with God’s precious children wasn’t high on my list of priorities.

So without further ado…here are a few of the 17 eateries we checked out!  And you’re probably wondering what a trip like this set us back…well it wouldn’t bea  frugal foodie post without sharing our budget and how we did it, so read on and find out:This is quintessential Seattle, from a park in the nearby (and adorable) Queen Anne neighborhood.  I’ve decided if ever I’m forced at gunpoint to move to Seattle (and that’s what it would take to get me to move out of Southern California), I’d head straight to Queen Anne.

Our first stop was brunch at Revel, urban-style Korean and French comfort food served unpretentiously by chefs I’m sure would qualify in an instant for Iron Chef.  From the huge butcher block bar, you can watch them do their magic in the open kitchen.

I discovered Revel in Bon Appetit magazine, and we agreed it was one of the best meals we ate in Seattle.  Brunch included korean short ribs with eggs and arugula, served over rice and a dutch baby with sauteed apples and topped with smoked mozzarella.  Heaven.

Dinner in Queen Anne at How to Cook a Wolf, an Ethan Stowell restaurant serving small plates inspired by whatever happens to be at the local market.  We ordered their tuna carpaccio with melon, a gnocchi with squash and baby basil and…

A roasted beet salad with toasted hazelnuts, cherries and a homemade mascarpone/ricotta that inspired me to recreate it as soon as I was within reasonable driving distance from our own farmers market.

Onto RN74 where we sat at the bar for Happy Hour, order a couple drinks (including a beer that came with a cozy and a shot – who knew?), and these ahi tuna poppers served on lemon cream.  It was amazing, but of course that’s not surprising since the restaurant is one of famous chef Michael Mina’s.

But here’s our secret:  HAPPY HOUR!  We’ll hit up a happy hour at a swanky, pricey restaurant for an appetizer and a drink, then head to another restaurant for a light dinner.  For more on my tips on eating out head here for 9 ways to save when dining out.

Northwest chef Tom Douglas (who is not only a favorite of mine but has authored and signed one of my most treasured cookbooks) has built quite an empire of amazing restaurants in Seattle.  One of his new hot spots is Brave Horse Tavern, where we met friends for a pitcher of beer and some bar grub.  We didn’t get to the shuffleboard or darts, but we did order this homemade soft pretzel with bacon peanut butter (yes you read that right) and…

…a burger with caramelized onions and blue cheese.  I’ll have you know Andrew and I shared this, thank you very much.  We also shared a pitcher of beer.  Because sharing is caring (and half the calories) 🙂

Another favorite and absolute must if you’re visiting Seattle and looking for great seafood is The Walrus and the Carpenter.  With only 10 or so tables + a bar, head early for happy hour and the freshest oysters you’ve ever had.  This restaurant is a rising star thanks especially to a great writeup in Bon Appetit.

In addition to hand-schucked oysters (I was informed chewing is better than swallowing whole, which makes so much sense), we tried their fried oysters.  Not too bready, these oysters had the perfect amount of light cornmeal batter and were served with a cilantro aioli.

If you’re up for driving to Ballard or Fremont (about 15-20 minutes outside the city) for the best Cuban sandwich in the Northwest, head to Paseo.  Now you might think their Ballard location is a firework stand (it’s pink, there’s no sign on the wall, cash only, and it’s always packed), but rest assured you’re in the right place.

Here you’ll have the most amazing, goopiest pork or chicken sandwich you’ve ever had.  Their sandwiches are served on fresh baguettes and slathered with seasoned aioli, pickled jalapenos, cilantro, romaine and huge caramelized onions.

Quintessential Seattle – the best latte you’ve ever had is at local favorite Espresso Vivace.  Coffee is truly an art here.

Of course a visit to Seattle wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Pike Place Market, a foodie’s paradise and home to hundreds of fresh produce, fish and flowers stands.  There are also quite a few gourmet food markets, a cheese factory, overpriced souvenir shops, and many great restaurants.

Seattle is beautiful, charming, delicious and dreamy (like my husband Andrew).  If it weren’t for all that rain I might just consider changing residency…

A few others that made the tour (but not the blog):

Dahlia Bakery

Lola for Happy Hour

Serious Pie

Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream

Lecosho

Guanaco’s Tacos Pupuseria

Volunteer Park Cafe

Top Pot Doughnuts

Carta de Oaxaca

Portage Bay Cafe

And our budget for activities (kayaking, biking, hiking, movies…we’re not big touristy type people) was $125 a day.  That seems pretty good to me but what do you think?  What’s your vacation budget like and any tips to share?

Head on over to Facebook to see more pics, including the eye candy that was the Pike Place Market.

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9 Comments Post a comment
  1. You did well! You made it to some of my favorite places, and I’m impressed by the number of restaurants you managed to pack in! 🙂

    July 29, 2012
  2. Nice job! Glad you had a good trip up here…who knows maybe we crossed paths and didn’t know it because you certainly were at many of our go-to places!

    July 29, 2012
    • You’re from Seattle?! What are some of your favorites??

      July 29, 2012
      • Yes 🙂 Aside from many of your choices here are a few…for ice cream: Bluebird, for Italian: La Spiga, sandwiches: Delicatus, for frugal japanese/other asian we love our neighborhood spot (happy hour), Jae’s Bistro & Sushi…I could go on and on!

        July 30, 2012
  3. Are those sweet potato fries? Those are absolutely delicious. I could eat those with every meal!

    I’ve always wanted to travel and experience many restaurants. I hope you both enjoyed the trip!

    July 30, 2012
    • Oh you bet those are sweet potato fries. Perfect bar grub!

      July 30, 2012
  4. I’m impressed you only gained 2 pounds! A soft pretzel with bacon butter? Oh my…

    July 30, 2012
    • I know…it was so weird I couldn’t resist.

      July 30, 2012
  5. Elizabeth #

    So cute!!! I LOVED this entry.

    August 1, 2012

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