Thursday, October 4, 2012

Where We Ate in Seattle

This post is long overdue and is all about the second leg of our big trip this summer. After DFJ and I had an amazing trip at the Olympic Peninsula National Park (Part 1 and Part 2), we made our way to Seattle on a Sunday.

It was a rushed trip to get there and it seemed like fate was telling us not to go. When we were leaving the Olympic Peninsula area, we got stuck on some freeway because there was a big accident. A biker got hit by a car and I only hope that he survived the accident. After the traffic jam, we sat and waited for the ferry to Seattle for a very long time. Normally, I wouldn’t have worried but I wanted to go to Delancey so bad. They are only open from Wednesdays to Sundays and since we wanted to leave for home on Wednesday afternoon, there really was no other day to go there but that night.

Right after we got off the ferry, we called Delancey and asked them what time they close. Turns out, it was their third year anniversary and opening night of Essex (their bar). Sooo… they were closing late that night! I thanked my lucky stars! We got there smelling stinky, looking dirty, and ragged from days of camping and hiking. The hostess gave us a friendly greeting and told us that the wait time was 30 minutes. Just enough time to drive to our bed and breakfast nearby, take showers and head back to the restaurant. Whew! We both looked markedly better that the hostess made a remark and told me I looked really nice. LOL!  

Delancey’s interior is very hip: pretty basic with a family-style charm that is both modern and rustic. Everything in their small pizza selection looked promising and we settled for the Sausage Pizza (tomato sauce, mozzarella, Grana, and delicious housemade sausage) and Romana Pizza (tomato sauce, garlic, anchovies, kalamata olives, chile oil, and oregano). The topping combinations on both pizzas were very good. However, the crust didn’t impress me very much… I have had better wood-fired pizza before at Ethos (a local place in my town) and their crust is definitely better than Delancey’s. If I am in Seattle again, I would still go back to Delancey. The thing with wood-fired pizza is that they can either be good or great (never bad). Maybe ours just happened to be good and not great that night because the fire wasn’t going right. Who knows? I would definitely be up for going there again though. On another note, since they were celebrating Delancey’s third birthday that night, we got some free cake and that was pretty darn good cake!

The best part about the whole experience though was getting to meet Molly Wizenberg. She is a real person! I got the chance to shake her hand, gush about how much I love her book and recipes, told her about the email I sent her to which I got an automatic reply (I don’t know why I mentioned that to her, I totally understand how busy we all get) and to which she had a very gracious reply. Anyway, she was very pregnant (BTW, she just had her baby), adorable, nice, friendly, and totally real! Such an inspiration especially with all the things she has accomplished at such a young age.

Aside from Delancey, here are the other restaurants we visited and my thoughts on them:

Jade Garden (located at the International District) – an authentic Chinese dim-sum restaurant with fantastic and super affordable food! Expect some wait time, especially during dining hours, because the food is good and the restaurant gets busy. However, once you get a table, the food comes so fast it gets there before your bottom is seated on your chair. The food here is excellent! Everything we ordered was delicious: sweet pork buns, beef shumai, shrimp shumai, shrimp wrapped in a soft white roll, and spring rolls (this one was just ok). All this with some rice and tea for a grand total of $18.50. Can’t get any cheaper than that!


Top Pot Doughnuts (Queene Anne) – there are 5 Top Pot cafés in Seattle and the one on Queen Anne is very cute. I love the location and this particular branch’s bright and cozy atmosphere. The idea of donuts and coffee together is awesomely old school, just the way it should be! DFJ and I just had enough time to enjoy a late afternoon cup of coffee and donuts with our books and I wish the moment could have lasted longer. They were almost closing when we got there. The donuts were good and so was the coffee. It is definitely a fun place to hang out mid-day if you need some quiet time. Move to my neighborhood please?  


Ten Mercer – we happened upon this resto-bar as we were walking along Mercer Street. It is located in a hoppin’ place closer to the water. This restaurant has a lot of seating with very unique décor that is a cross between country and modern. There are wooden chairs everywhere, a wrap-around bar, and a really awesome liquor shelf, accessible only by an impressive rolling ladder. We just had drinks and I liked my Pimm’s Cup (cucumber lemon with ginger ale). This is a good place to chill for happy hour and people watch (if you’re weird like me).


How to Cook a Wolf – DFJ and I got sick of the crowd in downtown Seattle, so we went over to my favorite Seattle neighborhood, Queen Anne, to find a place to eat. There were so many choices and we had a hard time deciding until we walked by How to Cook a Wolf. The interior was very hip in a casual meets fancy kinda way: low lights, a brick bar, wooden planks on the wools, and open windows (during the summer). It is pretty small so the tables were snug, which makes the place seem cozy. The restaurant was full when we were there, the vibe was positive, and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

They have a small menu that changes quite often since they serve lots of fresh stuff and ingredients that are in season. My kind of restaurant! We ordered chicken liver mousse with strawberry and honey crostini. That was very impressive. The combination of salty liver fat turned into cream on a buttered crostini with sweet strawberries drenched in honey was heaven. We also got the corn ravioli, which was good. Everything in it was fresh, the pasta, corn, tomatoes, and drizzles of basil-infused olive oil. It was simple and delicious.

As great as I think this restaurant is, I have mixed feelings about it. The ambience is great and they have delicious food, but it is pretty spendy. I love to cook so I know how much food ingredients cost and with simple ingredients thrown together, prices shouldn’t be too high. Such a turn off! DFJ was not too impressed with the ravioli and he thought the restaurant was a bit pretentious… I don’t agree with his feelings toward the ravioli, but he’s right about the pompousness of How to Cook a Wolf.

Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream – this Seattle born ice cream shop serves good quality and wholesome ice cream. We ordered the flavors that were in season: strawberry balsamic, honey lavender, roasted apricot, and raspberry lemon-thyme. Everything tasted fresh but I have to say that I was a little disappointed. Their ice cream was good but not as great as what everyone else in Seattle (that we talked to) makes it out to be. Nothing too special other than the quality ingredients.


Saigon Deli – a hole in the wall Vietnamese restaurant at the University District. We ordered some Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi) on crusty baguettes and rice wraps to go so we could have a picnic at Green Lake Park. DFJ and I both loved the tasty, huge banh mis and delicious rice wraps with some awesome spicy-peanut sauce. If you’re in the area and looking for something quick, simple, delicious, and cheap, go get some Vietnamese sandwiches at Saigon Deli.

Ras Dashen – this is a very nice Ethiopian restaurant on Cherry Street. I liked the large open space and the bright and sunny interior. The authentic decorations everywhere in the restaurant, from the tablecloths to the wall paintings, added a cheerful touch to the place. The food was really good too! DFJ and I both loved the veggie combo. I can’t tell you exactly what was all in there but everything served on the injera in that huge plate was a delightful surprise. They have good injera too, soft with just the right amount of sourness. The lamb shifinfin was not too great though, but don’t take my word for it since I am not a big fan of lamb. When you have taken a look at the menu and are in doubt, get the veggie combo, you will absolutely love it and you will eat every single thing on the platter!


Cupcake Royale – another Seattle born dessert bar. They have branches all-over Seattle but we went to the one on Capitol Hill because we wanted to check out the interesting, mostly young crowd, who love to dress in funky-out-of-this-world outfits! Cupcake Royale has coffee shots, ice cream, and of course, cupcakes! Everything is made fresh daily from organic and locally sourced ingredients. Awesome, right?

Their cupcakes are amazing, made with only the finest ingredients and lots of love. Rich and moist cupcakes with a perfect touch of sweetness. To me, the best part about the cupcakes is the 70:30 cupcake/frosting ratio. There’s nothing more I hate than too much frosting on a cupcake and there’s nothing worse than terrible and cheap frosting. Cupcake Royale sure knows how to make cupcakes and frosting, they do it right!

Their ice cream is also to-die for. Seriously! So many Seattlelites recommended Molly Moon but the Cupcake Royale ice cream is waaaaaaaaaaay better. Creamier, more flavorful, a tad sweeter, and just wonderful! Get your cupcake and ice cream fix there and while you’re at it, some coffee on the side. It’s worth every penny!


Red Mill Burgers – this is a good burger place close to the Ballard Locks. DFJ and I had a nice lunch there with my friend, Betsy, and her daughter, Emily. Thank you Betsy and Emily for the lovely time! Don’t forget to check out the water level changes at Hiram Chittenden locks when sailboats and huge cargo boats that pass through. And of course, have fun watching salmon swim through the fish ladders as they pass between fresh and salt water. It is pretty amazing!     

Whew, I know that was another long post. So, here’s the gist. DFJ and I enjoyed our dining experiences in each of these places, but there are three that are absolutely worth checking. I highly recommend you to treat yourselves to these places:

Delancey – an urban foodie, wood-fired pizza place in Ballard. Keep your eye out for Molly (the owner), she’s cool and she has an awesome book!

Jade Garden – delicious dim-sum restaurant in Chinatown. The wait might be long, but the food comes fast once you’re seated. Trust me, you will want to come back to this restaurant over and over and over. Super cheap and super awesome food!

Cupcake Royale – amazing cupcakes and delicious homemade ice cream. One bite of their cupcake and ice cream will tell you how much care these guys put in their products. Definitely a place to stop by!

 Enjoy your stay in Seattle!


  1. I'm definitely going to have to remember these restaurants for the next time I'm in Seattle!

  2. Wow, I think I most definitely need to go to Seattle sometime! What great reviews, it's like you found the best places there. Now I don't need to research where to go, thanks ;)

  3. I can see you had a great time in Seattle Margarita! And the food looks really appetizing!


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