Seattle: So Many Bites, So Little Time

For the fourth summer in a row, I vacationed in Seattle, one of the best places on earth to be in August.

Locals were complaining that there hasn't much of the reputedly glorious summer to speak of, but last week's weather was simply stellar, with abundant sunshine.

Lucky doesn't even come close to describing our sleeping arrangements; while I bunked at my friend Leslie's houseboat on Lake Union, Mister Mighty Appetite crashed at his pal Nymo's apartment on the beach in West Seattle. What more could we ask for?

As indicated in last week's blog space, there's much love and appreciation for Seattle's cornucopia of local drinks and eats -- from beer to berries and back again (and many thanks for all your suggestions).

My only complaint about Seattle is that there's never enough time to do everything on the wish list. I was hoping to check out the Seattle Art Museum in its snazzy new downtown home that includes TASTE restaurant, which is getting great reviews, and the museum's nearby sculpture park. I did make it over to my beloved Elliott Bay books, but alas, missed the cured meat stylings of Armandino Batali and his daughter Gina at Salumi.

Instead of Pike Place Market, I strolled through Ballard farmers' market that first Sunday, a funky mix of local produce, crepes and groovy boutiques dotting the street (Leslie and I asked a vendor to safeguard our case of peaches while we shopped for shoes).

I finally did have a drink at the famed Ray's Boathouse, a fun tourist-y spot where you can sit out on the deck, wrap yourself in an orange blanket and take in the grand water view of the Puget Sound. On this short visit, though, I had little time for Seattle's restaurant scene, and the two dining experiences worth mentioning took place outside of the city.

After a long day of canning in the Olympic Peninsula town of Port Angeles, Wash. (details later this week), Leslie, Kate and I supped at Bella Italia, a cozy, homegrown spot serving up well-executed Italian fare (including a respectable linguine and clams definitely not out of the can) and an enormous selection of wine. We had a terrific bottle of sangiovese from Washington state's Walla Walla Vintners.

A few days later, Mister MA and I drove inland about 45 minutes and spent the night at Salish Lodge and Spa, which sits right on the famed Snoqualmie Falls, which rivals Niagara in height and drop. After soaking ourselves into prunes in the therapeutic baths, we prettied ourselves up for dinner in the lodge's namesake restaurant, which prides itself on a local and seasonal menu with classic French touches.

The food was positively exquisite. I started things off with "salmon bacon," a small piece of maple-cured salmon that had been seared and crispy, served with fava beans and little teensy tomatoes. Lovely. My main was a lamb tenderloin, a new experience for me, which offered all the plusses of succulent tenderloin but none of the lamby gameyness I tend to avoid. What a treat.

Although impressively attentive, the service was a bit stiff and over the top; when it was time for coffee, a cart was wheeled to the table with six silver bowls, each one containing a different kind of sugar to sweeten our brew.

Thanks to the sommelier, another fine Washington wine discovery was made, this time a blend called T3 from the folks at Townshend Cellars.

Tomorrow, I'll share notes on a delightful pie auction, plus Seattle's newest chocolatier. But I must leave you and get ready for today's What's Cooking chat, live at noon.

By Kim ODonnel |  September 4, 2007; 11:47 AM ET Travel
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I was at Salish for a wedding last month. Did you use your pillow menu? I got back from the reception late and forgot. I regret not getting the lavender pillow!

We also had a fab 4 course breakfast there. Unbelieveable! It was awesome (I'm still fulL!)

Posted by: md | September 4, 2007 3:57 PM

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