Seattle: Day One

As the end of my first year of marriage to N. approached, we decided that instead of gifts, our anniversary treats to ourselves (and each other) would be brief trips to see or do something fantastic.  Our first wedding anniversary, we saw Eddie Izzard live in Portland.  It was fantastic.  Then we went to the zoo.  Our second year, we saw Macbeth in Ashland, then went to Crater Lake.  Again, fantastic.  This year, we outdid ourselves a bit and spent a few days in Seattle (again, ending the trip with the zoo… I have a weak spot for zoos…).

I write this here because we took this opportunity not only to see the sights, but to taste them.  Seattle has a bit of a reputation for being a foodie haunt, and we decided if we were treating ourselves to the voyage, we might as well… well… eat well… during it.  I sent out a call for suggestions and my friend S. responded with an impressive list of possibilities, so what I’ll present to you here are our highlights of Seattle in food.

After lunch on the road (smoked mozzarella sandwich at the McMenamin’s in Centralia, which unexpectedly came free because our server forgot to put in our order and consequently comped our whole lunch), we set foot in Seattle in mid-afternoon with plenty of time to sightsee a bit before dinner.  We planned our evening at the top of the Space Needle, and ended up deciding on Oddfellows Café and Bar.  The space was great: open and airy with lots of exposed wood ceiling beams, and one old, mellow brick wall.   It’s close to the campus of Seattle Central Community College, and we could feel the youthful vibe of the place in the décor and the demeanor of our fellow diners.  Our server had probably finished up classes an hour or two before serving us dinner.

And what a dinner!  We started off with drinks, since it had been a long drive.  N. had a local porter, and I had pear cider.

The menu was simple and clean, and though at first I was a bit disappointed by the small number of entrée choices, it only took me the first two lines on the menu to decide what I was having and to guess (accurately) what N. would order.

I had the rotolo, a beautiful rolled pasta, like conchiglioni mated with lasagna, lovingly topped with a blanket of this beautiful tangy, sweet, slightly acidic tomato sauce.  The pasta itself was stuffed, rolled, sliced and flipped on its side to expose its creamy filling to the eye.  It was filled with a mixture of spinach and ricotta cheese, with a light herbiness I haven’t figured out yet.  Oregano, maybe, and perhaps chives.  Though we had agreed upon ordering, I was almost unwilling to hand my plate across the table to share. 

But it’s good to share.  Really, really good.  N. ordered the roasted chicken with summer vegetables, and when it came, almost half a chicken, I knew how good this would be.  With N. a white meat man and me a dark meat fan, he would take a nibble of the thigh, consume the breast, and gladly pass along the rich leg to me.  The chicken was very simply roasted, hot and juicy with crisp brown skin and perfect saltiness.  Really a sexy lady all around.  The meat was tender and rich, and as our knives took turns plunging into the flesh, little rivulets of fat trickled across the plate into the vegetables on the other side, which became the unexpected superstars of the dinner experience.

“Summer vegetables,” in this case, meant a mélange of green beans and thick medallions of green and yellow zucchini.  They were crisp tender and lovingly coated in lemony buttery perfection.  Crunchy, citrusy, peppery, and with the addition of the chicken fat mixing in, perfectly indulgent too.

We passed on dessert this evening, but only because we didn’t want to overdo it on the first night…

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