Friday, June 25, 2010

Seattle Eats, part 1

Lola seattleImage by conjunction3 via Flickr

We just got back from an anniversary trip to Seattle. Because the kids were elsewhere we had the unusually delightful pleasure of being able to eat whatever we wanted. If you've been cooking for picky kids for over a decade then you understand just how remarkable this is.

We decided that, given our relatively limited funds for this adventure, we'd rather spend less on fancy lodgings and more on good food and that was a brilliant decision! We stayed in a little studio apartment in an old building right downtown. I was a little hesitant to rent it sight unseen but when Google maps showed its location to be directly across the street from the Dahlia Bakery, out came my debit card and a reservation was made!

What I didn't realize until we arrived was that our budget studio was located right in the middle of chef Tom Douglas' Seattle dining empire. We stayed two doors down from Lola, across the street from The Dahlia Lounge, around the corner from Serious Pie and a block away from Palace Kitchen. We'd planned to have a fancy dinner at one of these well-reviewed restaurants but when we arrived in Seattle, ravenous after a 3+ hour train ride and with time to kill before we could check in to our rental apartment, we decided it was a perfect time to try Lola.

This was probably the best of many good meals on this trip. It may have been due to our hunger after the long train ride or the playing hooky feeling of ditching the kids and skipping town or maybe just plain fantastic food--whatever, this was a meal to remember. Lola's menu is Greek inspired but features fine local ingredients. We started with freshly baked pita served with skordalia, a delicious potato garlic spread. I had amazing grilled salmon kebabs served with more pita, a lovely, tangy tzatziki and amazing "smashed" potatoes which were like no potato I'd ever eaten: golden and crunchy outside with creamy insides. Unbelievable. We were unnecessarily tempted by dessert and probably and ended up overstuffed and not nearly as delighted as we'd been by the meal itself but overall it was fantastic.

We spent the afternoon and evening wandering and, remarkably, ended up hungry again after hiking up to Capitol Hill hours later. There are plenty of restaurants along Broadway but none really caught our eye until we came to Galerias Gourmet Mexican Restaurant. A quick scan of their menu showed that this is definitely not your average burrito bomb Mexican place but a place that had a variety of interesting looking, unusual dishes. We stepped inside to some truly fabulous, over the top decor: bright colors everywhere, huge paintings of intense Biblically inspired scenes, and the tallest fake flower arrangement I've ever seen. We were seated in the shadow of the awe-inspiring monster bouquet but quickly forgot it once our food came. The trio of salsas which came as a starter was delicious. Each was distinctive, well balanced, and clearly made with care. The giant, tasty margarita was quite good and a definite bargain. My entree was poblano chiles stuffed with cheese and grilled veggies and wrapped in a light, buttery pastry which was an vast improvement over the usual soggy, eggy batter found clinging to chiles rellenos.

I thought I'd be able to write a quick post on our Seattle food adventures but I'm realizing this is way too much for one post...I'll break it up into manageable portions--stay tuned!
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