Seattle is on my list of foodie destinations that I am dying to visit. On her recent trip there, my roommate Sarah was kind enough to document her meals and compile them into guest posts so that I, and all of you, might live vicariously through her. Enjoy!
This past November, I had the good fortune of visiting my dear friend Andrea, who was on a six-month assignment for work in Seattle. I traveled there with our mutual friend, Lauren. We are not only friends, but train together for triathlons, which may not be as serious or athletic as it sounds. Nevertheless, not only do we share a love for swimming, biking and running outdoors, but we all have healthy appetites and a love for delicious, good food.
As our guides for our “foodie tour” of Seattle, Andrea and her husband Matt did not disappoint. For those of you planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, I hope these are few highlights you can include in your visit. And for those of you readers who are stuck in drifts of New England snow, well, hopefully some of the dishes and foods I profile can inspire your own cooking or food choices.
Brunch, Day 1 – Dahlia Lounge
We decided that we would need to start our foodie adventure well-fueled, so we headed to Dahlia Lounge for an early brunch. Dahlia was one of three Tom Douglas restaurants we visited over the weekend. Tom Douglas, whose name I was unfamiliar with before landing in Seattle, is a giant not only in the Seattle food community, but is a nationally recognized and award-winning chef. I quickly found his food does not disappoint. For those of you movie buffs, Dahlia Lounge (at its former location) was the setting of one of Tom Hanks’ dates in the movie Sleepless in Seattle. The décor is largely the same in its new location, with its warm wood interior and paper fish in the window.
The four of us decided to order an “appetizer” of doughnuts, that were served to us with a side of vanilla mascarpone and seasonal jam. The doughnuts were immediately shaken in a white paper bag filled with cinnamon sugar by our waitress, and then served piping hot. The doughnuts had nice, crispy-fried texture on the outside and were light and fluffy on the inside. Paired with the vanilla mascarpone and jam (which was a local berry whose name has since escaped me), it was like a deconstructed jelly-and-cream doughnut. The mascarpone was whipped and only lightly sweet, which I appreciated. Upon reflection, we realized these were more like a dessert than an appetizer, but who doesn’t love “desserts first”? I would come back again just for a plate of doughnuts!
The Dahlia Lounge brunch menu featured a variety of delicious-sounding brunch options, many of them unique twists on the classics. For instance, the eggs benedict is served with smoked pork loin (instead of typical Canadian bacon) and a scallion hollandaise. The restaurant also featured its own take on congee (the rice porridge commonly eaten for breakfast in Asian communities) with crispy ham hocks, poached egg, green onion, chili-black bean sauce, Chinese donuts, and fish cakes. Matt opted for the chorizo satina potato hash, pictured below, which featured sweet onion, over easy eggs and was served with a pepperjack cheese sauce. By his report, the dish was delicious.
For my “main course” I opted without hesitation for the omelette of hardshell squash, Tuscan kale, Teleme cheese, and sage. I was in the mood for a fall-inspired meal, and thought the combination of squash and kale would be perfect for the season. We were all curious about what exactly was Teleme cheese, so we googled it on my phone and discovered it is a semi-soft American cheese with origins in Northern California. Teleme cheese is often referred to as “a poor man’s brie” and is similar in texture and flavor. It was delicious when creamy and melted in my omelette, and didn’t overpower the flavor of the vegetables, which were cooked to perfection. Accompanying my omelette was thick-crispy bacon, which I must admit was some of the best bacon I’d ever eaten. It’s so hard to find bacon that is both thick-cut and well-crisped. My least favorite part of the meal were the large brunch potatoes, which were nicely salted and crisp on the outside, but unfortunately, were a bit dry inside. I ate the outsides, and was pleasantly full, as the portions were generous!
Overall, Dahlia Lounge was a great place to start my first day in Seattle, and fill up before a day of wine-tasting. We arrived just before 10am, so it wasn’t crowded, the waitstaff was friendly and answered my questions (“What is congee?”), and the atmosphere was warm and cozy – a nice reprieve from our cloudy-cold Seattle morning.