Name: Dick’s Drive-In
Location: Seattle, WA (Five, soon to be six, locations throughout the city)
Type: Burger joint
Meal: Two burgers, fries, and a milkshake
Seattle is easily associated with new. It is home to Microsoft, Amazon, and Cray Supercomputers. It’s coffee culture is now America’s coffee culture. Grunge and most of its most memorable acts all came out of Seattle and its food scene has long been ahead of the local/sustainable curve. With so much of Seattle that screams cutting edge it was a pleasant surprise to find that is does old quite well.
Dick’s Drive-In is a classic burger joint out of Hollywood casting central. A simple menu done well, a prominent yellow, orange, and white color scheme that screams the 1970s, and more than 50 years of success all contribute to a great experience.
The burgers were good; cheap and light enough that ordering more than one is not out of the question. The Dick’s Deluxe is two patties, cheese, lettuce, mayo, and chopped pickles. Their fries are all cut in-house and are similar enough to traditional fast food fries to be comforting but imperfect enough to be special. Tartar sauce seems to be the preferred condiment for the fries which is interesting because there is no fish on the menu. Milkshakes are made to order and as a fast food milkshake should be, are a bit thinner than what say, Silver Diner serves.
All told, grabbing lunch at the Dick’s window and heading back to your car to enjoy the food and people watch is a great meal. Seattle is many things and Dick’s Drive-In proves that the city always has been.
Lots more pictures after the jump.
Name: LOT No.3
Meal: Manhattans, Bacon, Onion Dip, Salami Sandwich
Every once and a while you stumble across a place that just clicks with you: it serves the right food, it makes drinks the right way, or looks the way a good place should. LOT No.3 in Bellevue met all three of those conditions. I found myself in Bellevue, home to a wide range of restaurants, looking at websites, trying to figure out where to go for dinner (and possibly grab the end of happy hour). My search came to an end the moment I saw bacon as a menu item at LOT No.3.
Apparently the place is pretty new (14-15 weeks) and designed with a quite appropriate focus on spirits. Any place the includes a section of specialized Manhattans clearly knows that they’re doing. I started with a traditional Manhattan, not too sweet, not too dry, just right. Tyler, the bartender, makes most his own garnishes including a scratch made mix of cherries. At his recommendation I followed that up with two of the appetizers specials, sweet onion dip with chips and bacon. BACON. They serve a plate of bacon, regular and candied. The chips and dip were also good, smooth and creamy but not too thick and heavy. The bar menu was exactly what a good bar menu should be: interesting, salty, and a just filling enough to make you want to order dinner.
Happy hour finished off with a different Manhattan, this one made with root beer bitters. Different yet great.
LOT No.3 is nice enough to include one of Seattle’s great ingredients on their menu, Salumi Salami. A Salumi sandwich on crusty bread with a local beer ended the meal. This was a meal that I was immediately impressed with and looking back it still holds up. I cannot speak highly enough of my experience at LOT No.3; it was great. This is a restaurant worth going pretty far out of your way for. Great food, only surpassed by great service.
Bacon, slab and candied.
More pictures after the jump. Continue reading
Name: Northshore Hawaiian BBQ
Location: Seattle, WA
Meal: Mochiko Chicken, Rice, and Macaroni Salad
Seattle much like Hawaii is a mixture of various cultures and cuisine (many of them Asian). In driving around Seattle for lunch I spotted Northshore. I had been curious about Hawaiian BBQ, having seen a few TV spots on it. My plan was to order Hawaiian BBQ of some sort but upon sitting down I saw a dish headed to another table and ordered it on the spot. Chicken Mochiko soon was delivered hot and fresh to my table.
Big chunks of chicken thighs breaded in rice flour fresh out of the fryer tossed with a mixture of soy, ginger, garlic, and sugar is Chicken Mochiko (mochiko is rice flour). The plate comes served with two scoops of white rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. The rice makes sense for a Pan-Asian dish, the macaroni does not make sense but it certainly does work. The creamy soft texture of the macaroni salad balances the savory crunch of the chicken.
I don’t see myself getting to Hawaii anytime soon but I am quite happy I’ve had my small taste of the islands. I’m sure the BBQ would have been just a great like many other items on the menu. Every once in a while you need to go with your gut, put down the menu, look around, and order what you see.
Hawaiian Lunch Plate
More photos after the jump.
Name: Gourmet Teriyaki
Location: Mercer Island, WA (Seattle)
Meal: Teriyaki Chicken, White Rice, and a Salad
Type: Teriyaki Shop
Teriyaki is the silent champion of Seattle. Philadelphia is aggressive about cheesesteaks, Chicago the hot dogs, and New York never stops talking about their pizza (rightfully so). When you bring up teriyaki to a transplanted Seattle native you seem to be reminding them how prominent the food is and which store is their favorite. In the Seattle area there are hundreds of tiny mom and pop stores that sell just about only teriyaki; you’ll be lucky to find a dozen items on the menu.
*Note: The rice came with the smiley face on it because Seattle is awesome.
Name: Salumi Artisan Cured Meats
Location: Seattle, WA
Meal: Salami, Mozzarella, and Sweet Pepper Sandwich and Porchetta Sandwich
Seattle is home to a number of great restaurants and meals but you wouldn’t assume that would include world-class charcuterie. The mythos behind the restaurant is that it is run by Mario Batali’s father who, after retiring from Boeing, wanted to learn the art so he traveled to Italy and trained with a master. He returned and opened up shop; a master in his right now. There is no debating that Salumi is now on the short list of Seattle foodie attractions. I had heard stories of the lunch lines (entire store hours 11am-4pm) so I walked over from my hotel and arrived a half hour before they opened their doors and was already third in line. By the time the doors would open, 25-30 people would be queued up to pay their respects to the pig. Continue reading
Top Pot Doughnuts
Name: Top Pot Doughnuts
Location: Seattle, WA
Meal: Doughnuts and a mocha
Type: Baked Goods
Many are quick to stereotype Seattle into a city of coffeehouses. Anyone who has visited can tell you there is much more to Seattle than a good cup of coffee. Those same people will also tell there are many great coffeehouses in Seattle; loyalties run deep. Top Pot Doughnuts is probably known more for their great doughnuts than their coffee but they complimented the other well. They’re a perfect companion to reading; they don’t require much attention.
New England Clam Chowder and Dungeness Crab Roll
Name: Pike Place Chowder
Meal: Dungeness Crab Roll, New England Chowder, and a Pepsi
Type: Casual Seafood
Pike Place Chowder probably isn’t the best meal in Seattle, it is however one of the best seafood meals I’ve ever had (don’t tell my mom, she’s from Maryland). Located in the historic Pike Place Market, Pike Place Chowder serves food that has consistently beaten out well known restaurants from New England. If a market store from Seattle can travel across country and still win you know they make a good chowder. One interesting side effect of eating chowder in Seattle is that everyone simply orders chowder, no one tries out a Boston accent to order “chowda”.