12 Hours of Eating in Seattle

Where to eat, drink, and be merry right now in Portland’s big sister city.

By Benjamin Tepler February 5, 2014

We know—Portland’s got better coffee, an unrivaled food cart culture, and no sales tax. So why travel all the way to Seattle for food and drink?

We brought an open mind and a serious appetite to the Emerald City, and discovered chefs, baristas, and mixologists building an epicurean destination of their own—one worthy of Portland’s brave gastronaut daytrippers.

Gas up the car, throw on your Seahawks colors, and get ready to eat!

Post-Travel Pick-Me-Up: Analog Coffee
235 Summit Ave E, 206-687-7443

Whether you arrived by plane, train, or automobile, you’re going to need a little boost to get going. Luckily, Analog Coffee, a former Capitol Hill pop-up, serves good local Herkimer Coffee inside quaint, Scandinavian quarters to a soundtrack from their impressive vinyl collection.

Don’t Miss:

  • The eye-popping stack of comic books and magazines scattered on the front table
  • A macchiato made with locally milked Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy.

Lunch: The Whale Wins
3506 Stone Way N, 206-632-9425

You’ve probably heard of Renee Erickson’s The Walrus and The Carpenter, which made waves (and formed lines) back in 2011 for its beautiful oyster bar and local, briny selection. Erickson’s second spot, The Whale Wins, (Bon Appetit’s # 9 Best New Restaurants in America 2013) is built around a big, marble, wood-fired oven (sound familiar?), and Southern European/North African flavors. Best of all, there are no lines at lunch.

Don’t Miss:

  • Matiz Sardines on Toast ($10): an open face sandwich slathered with curried tomato mayonnaise, and topped with bright shaved fennel
  • Hama Hama Roasted Clams ($14): juicy, petite Washington bivalves, cooked in a dill cream/brown butter sauce, and flecked with salty bits of Serrano ham.

Happy Hour: Percy & Co.
5233 Ballard Ave NW, 206-420-3750

This big, beautiful, neighborhood cocktail bar focuses on house made fruit purees, spirit infusions and herbal add-ons. That means you can get your Balmed Julep (star anise, allspice, and mint-infused bourbon mixed with soda) shaken with one free tincture, like “libido, brainpower, or immunity,” to counteract the damage to your liver. Gimmicky? Absolutely.

Don’t Miss:

  • The back room: a bright greenhouse filled with verdant plant life, a full glass ceiling, and dark brick that opens up in the summertime when Percy & Co’s fruity, fizzy drinks are needed most.

Dinner: Mamnoon
1508 Melrose Ave, 206-906-9606

If you eat only one meal on your trip to Seattle, make sure it’s at Mamnoon, a Syrian/ Middle Eastern restaurant in the Melrose foodie triangle on Capitol Hill, and our sister publication Seattle Met’s 2013 Restaurant of the Year. Mamnoon, run by two Syrian-born, former Microsoft execs and cheffed by Garrett Melkonian (an acolyte of the famed Tom Douglas), has no contemporary in Portland. Between its sensational, bright Mid-East ingredients, fresh-baked man’ouche flatbread, and stellar cocktails, Mamnoon may be worth the 6-hour (round)trip on its own.

Don’t Miss:

  • The cocktails, in particular the “No. 1” ($9) (High West Oat Whiskey, Araku Coffee Liquor, cardamom bitters) and “No. 5,” ($11) a blend of Johnny Drum Bourbon, fig paste and walnut liquor.
  • Muhammara ($12), a cumin-spiced mezze of ground walnuts, pepper, and pomegranate molasses, scooped into freshly baked man’ouche.
  • Burghul wheat salad ($12) with bitter chicories, sweet bites of dried apricot, and tangy candied oranges
  • Samkeh harra ($38): a thick, meltingly tender filet of Chilean sea bass on a bed of cabbage, pepper paste, and pine nuts, meant to be mixed together.

After-Dinner Drinks: Canon
928 12th Ave, 206-552-9755

Canon, a whiskey and bitters emporium, isn’t new (it opened over three years ago on Capitol Hill) but it continues to be one of the country’s top cocktail bars, and the perfect spot for an after-dinner drink. Manned by two of the biggest names in the bar business, Murray Stenson and Jamie Boudreau, Canon’s endless rows of ryes and bourbons would give our own Multnomah Whiskey Library a run for its money. Add to that gleaming pressed-tin ceilings, pre-prohibition era antiques, and housemade bitters, and you’ve got one of Seattle’s most coveted watering holes.   

Don’t Miss:

  • The cocktails: aged (like the Oaxacan Scaffa, with mezcal, punt e mes, and maraschino, matured for 9 months in a bourbon cask), carbonated (Corpse Reviver with Blue gin, cocchi Americano, triple sec, absinthe, and lemon…carbonated), large format (fishbowls, essentially), and sweet, like the Truffle Old Fashioned (cognac, tonka bean syrup, Burgundy & Washington black truffle.)
  • Canon’s $1,100 Vintage Brandy Crusta, built with J. G. Monnet cognac from 1875, Cointreau from 1930, and maraschino from 1960. 
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