A Return to Sitka & Spruce


The last time I wrote about Sitka & Spruce in Seattle, I praised the place but called the food “challenging.” That was in January. On this most recent trip to Seattle, we returned to Sitka and Spruce–this time for brunch–and the meal was so good, so beautiful, that “challenging” was suddenly the wrong word for it. I decided I needed to do a follow-up post and that’s the post you’re reading right now.

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The Oyster Bar (Bellingham, Washington)


For as long as I’ve been visiting Craig’s family in Bellingham, Washington, I’ve been hearing about the Oyster Bar. It’s where Craig went for his prom night dinner. It’s where Craig’s parents celebrated their most recent anniversary. It’s beautifully situated on Chuckanut Drive, the scenic route you take when getting off the I-5 from Seattle.

On this most recent trip, we decided to go there with our friends Mark and Diana. After the Fair, we changed into our fancy clothes, hopped into a car and parked precariously on a ledge. I’m pretty sure Diana thought I’d fall to my death off a cliff when I opened my car door. Maybe that was the plan all along!

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Sitka & Spruce


Should good restaurant food challenge you? Or should it comfort you by reflecting what you already like to eat?

Sitka and Spruce, a restaurant in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, is the first restaurant that I’ve visited in a long time that fully embraces the former strategy. The food, while very delicious, challenges you while you eat it. It makes you ask questions. It reveals your prejudices, your fears, your secret desires. And it does so in a beautiful environment.

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The Salvadorean Bakery, Delancey & A Glogg Party


There are three experiences I forgot to tell you about from my trip to the Pacific Northwest this year. The first experience happened on a morning in West Seattle (I’d written “East Seattle” and then Craig corrected me) with our friends David and Celia and their new baby, Johanna. Early in the morning, before my appointment with a chef at 9 AM, we all had breakfast at The Salvadorean Bakery.

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An American Brunch at The Old Town Cafe (Bellingham, WA)


Not long ago, my friend Diana had a friend visit from Italy and this friend–who went to college with Diana in the U.S. (Brown University, to be precise)–was incredibly eager to eat an American brunch again. “She was really excited about brunch,” Diana related to me later. “She says it’s one of the things she misses most about the U.S.”

A few days ago, while eating brunch at the Old Town Cafe in Bellingham, Washington, it occurred to me: if I were going to tell a non-American how to best experience American food culture, the meal I’d suggest (and this is a brand new revelation) is breakfast.

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Where To Eat In Seattle


Seattle is a city I never expected to know well. Geographically, it’s pretty much as far away as you can get in the continental U.S. from where I grew up in Boca Raton, Florida. My impressions of Seattle were entirely limited to that which I saw in movies (“Sleepless in Seattle,” “Singles”) and TV shows (“Frasier” being the obvious choice; though, interestingly, Craig says the view from Frasier’s apartment window is an impossible view.) If it weren’t for Craig, in fact, I’m not sure I’d have made my way to Seattle as early or as often as I have. Since knowing him, however, I’ve been to Seattle three times: once as a newbie (one year ago exactly), once as a drifter (Craig was shooting his movie this summer and I drifted my way around town while he did his work) and finally as a tag-along (this most recent trip was Craig’s annual Christmas visit). In the process, I’ve made some pretty wonderful food discoveries and though I’ve covered much ground in previous Seattle posts (see this search) here’s a guide to what I’d recommend to anyone visiting the city for the first time.

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Two Seattle Sandwiches (Consumed at Crave & The Baguette Box)


Here are two sandwiches to enjoy in Seattle. In both cases, I was stranded at a coffee shop in Capitol Hill (Victrola on the first day, Vivace on the second day) because Craig, who has meetings throughout the day, drops me off at these places so I can do my own work while he does his. I am doing that now. This is work–do you think I LIKE blogging for you people?

The sandwich you see above was ordered at Crave (recommended by Rena) which has its own website. The sandwich is a Crab Melt with “chilean crab, fontina cheese, chermoulah remoulade, mango red pepper salsa, on La Brea sourdough.” Now I was wary of mixing crab with cheese–seems irreverent to the crab, ya know?–but this came together quite magically. The crab stood up to the Fontina and the other components added necessary tang and zest to achieve maximum sandwich harmony. Add to that homemade chips and homemade pickles (the former very good, the latter shockingly bland–were they pickled in vinegar or WATER?) and Crave is a perfect spot for lunch.

The second sandwich was from The Baguette Box (recommended by Molly) which also has it own website. Can you guess which sandwich I had?


It sort of looks like a red onion and lettuce sandwich, doesn’t it? But no: buried beneath that mix of purple and green was a beautiful house-cured salmon gravlox. The Pacific Northwest is the place to be for salmon and this gravlox did its location justice. Plus the bread was fresh and crunchy and the toppings–while a bit overpowering (red onion breath alert)–were lovingly placed and dressed with just the right touch of salt and pepper. (You can even see the pepper in the picture).

So if you’re stranded on Capitol Hill–or even if you’re not–those are two very good sandwiches that you can enjoy in Seattle.

An Impromptu Food Blogger Meet-Up

Fate must be a fan of food blogs. It just so happens that my arrival in Seattle coincided with the arrival of David Lebovitz who you may recognize from the lyrics to a pretty brilliant song. The Seattle food blog militia got together and planned a dinner in my honor (David doesn’t have any honor) at Impromptu, a restaurant whose chef is Chef, betrothed to Shauna the Gluten Free Girl. Add to the mix Molly Orangette, Tara of Tea and Cookies and Lara of Cook and Eat and you have a fun table of people. Here’s the guest of dis-honor with Shauna:


The room is a beautiful space with lots of light pouring in (we met at 7) and it’s near the water so the location is terrifically scenic. We ordered a Washington State white wine for the table–a Sauvignon Blanc, I believe–and, according to the waitress, it tasted like melon. After much gabbing and nose-picking (check out David’s version) we ordered some tasty food.

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