Oh, Seattle. When it comes to chow and cocktails, you’re so amazingly talented. And thankfully you’ve managed to wrangle all of your deliciousness into one convenient location for the Seattle Wine & Food Experience. On Sunday, February 24th, the culinary curious will descend upon the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall to sample sips and bites from dozens of area breweries, distilleries, restaurants and wineries.
While I strongly recommend that you take the time to taste as much as possible at the food and wine event, if you have time to spare, be sure to visit the following 10 spots for a more in-depth experience.
French Laundry alum Lisa Nakamura can do no culinary wrong at her Orcas Island destination restaurant, Allium. Start with her saffron clam chowder, made from local clams and Phocas Farm saffron grown on the Olympic Peninsula. Next, prepare yourself for an ethereal experience with Nakamura’s perfectly pillowy gnocchi. The view from her Eastsound restaurant cannot be beat.
Chateau Ste. Michelle
For a taste of local Washington wine, head 30 minutes east to Woodinville for Chateau Ste. Michelle. General tours are complimentary; premium tasting experiences are available for a fee. Meander the 105-acre wooded property while sipping single vineyard and limited release wines.
Brunch and bloody marys at Local 360 always brings me weekend joy. Dishes such as the rabbit scrapple sandwich and fried chicken and waffles show off local and sustainable ingredients. Service is always low-key and personable — exactly what you want on a lazy weekend morning. Hangover optional.
Sourced from local ingredients such as Skagit Valley cream and Pacifique Absinthe, Jonboy Caramels is one of my favorite go-to sweets. The Fleur de Sel flavor is divine, but for something truly unique, try the Absinthe with Black Salt. Find these bite-sized bits of bliss at Whole Foods Market or PCC Natural Markets.
The Hunt Club
Housed in a 1909 hotel, The Hunt Club oozes historic charm. Dark walls and a dim décor add to its warm, old school ambiance. Order the prime rib (if available) and a lemon basil Collins.
Purple Café and Wine Bar
Sip your way through an impressive wine list of Washington State wines and beyond at Purple Café and Wine Bar. The spiral wine tower may (visually) take center stage, but give some attention to its thoughtfully curated wine list and small bites menu. The cheese and wine pairings are especially memorable.
Macrina Bakery & Café
When I first moved to Seattle, I had a bit of a Macrina Bakery & Café habit, making regular stops for delicate pastries such as plum rolls and morning buns. I’ve since scaled back on my sweet tooth, but I’m still a slave to their artisanal breads.
Stray from downtown to this Eastlake neighborhood gem. Sister restaurant to Seattle institution, Serafina, Cicchetti is a delightful stop for Mediterranean small plates or a nightcap. Think salt cod fritters with agrodolce pepper relish and chermoula-marinated octopus. On warmer nights, cocktails can be enjoyed in the courtyard.
The Pike Brewing Company
If you find yourself near Pike Place Market, stop in The Pike Brewing Company for a pint. Try the Naughty Nellie or Kilt Lifter for a taste of Pacific Northwest brewing at its best.
Get to know our local spirits scene when you swing by Sound Spirits. Sample the Ebb+Flow Gin, Vodka or for something uniquely Seattle, Sound Spirits Aquavit. The Scandinavian spirit holds special significance in Seattle; the Ballard neighborhood used to be the center of Washington’s Scandinavian population.
Photos Courtesy of Jenn Ireland, Cicchetti, Allium, Sorrento Hotel and Kevin Cruff