Monday, November 17, 2008

The Best Thing You Ate All Year

I don't think it's letting the cat too far out of the bag to tell you that our April Seattle Magazine issue is our Best Restaurants issue. The thing that might surprise you is that I'm already knee-socks deep in the planning (and EATING) that goes into that issue.

We actually started talking about the issue in September, and so far I've been to handfuls of older restaurants to check out which ones are worth including in the issue. We always cover new restaurants, and since those are so fresh in my mind, that part's usually a cinch.

The tricky part comes in choosing the best restaurants that aren't new. Many of Seattle's best restaurants are 5, 10, 15+ years old, but a girl can only eat out so often. Yep, even a "food editor" has geographic and gastronomic limitations. I'm not saying I have foods I won't eat; I'm game, so that's never really been an issue for me. The real issue comes in having the time to eat everything I want to eat, in neighborhoods that might be 45+ minutes from my home while still, you know, working and keeping clean clothes on my kid's back. In the course of a year I eat in an embarrassing number of great (and not-even-close-to-great) restaurants, but by the time the Best Restaurants issue comes around again, my knowledge is already 6 months, 9 months, a year old or older. So you see the problem here.

So here's where you all come in: Tell me the ONE single best thing you tasted all year. It doesn't have to be fancy. In fact, most of the time the tastes that linger for me aren't fancy at all.

the awesome fig tart at Columbia City Bakery...the best thing YOU ate all year?

There's a Calvin Trillin quote that I've always liked. He wrote that, whenever he'd ask strangers in a strange city for restaurant recommendations, he'd always say something like, "Don't give me the name of the rotating-continental-restaurant-in-the-sky, tell me the first place you'd eat when you just got home from war." THAT's what I'm looking for. The one dish you crave constantly.
Please leave your ideas in the comments. And thanks.


Morisseau said...

the mac & cheese at Cafe Venus.

Anonymous said...

Cuban Roast Sandwich from Paseo.

Chatham Strait Sablefish in Sake Kasu from Ray's Boathouse/cafe.

Lasagna (or Butternut Squash Ravioli) from Cafe Lago.

Seven Flavors Beef from Wild Ginger.

Anonymous said...

Just about anything from Senor Moose in Ballard.

Andy said...

Eggs Benedict at Glo's

BBQ Humbow from Mee Sum

Meg said...

it's not just one, and starch figures heavily (which is probably partly due to the weather)...

Fruit danishes at Cafe Besalu. I'm partial to the nectarine during the summer.

Pasta con le sarde and/or grandma's greens at La Medusa (and yes, I could make both at home, but... they're both so good there).

Geraldine's counter french toast. I have only ever had better french toast in one place.

Monsoon's crispy drunken chicken (also available on a sandwich at Baguette Box).

Ali Scheff said...

When I was pregnant, I was craving the Cafe Lago lasagna so badly that I couldn't get it out of my mind.
Meg--That pasta con le sarde at La Medusa is a favorite of mine, too, and I think they were the first in Seattle to do a really dry pasta "sauce." I've always loved my meals there.

matt wright said...

Eating out:
Anything from Harvest Vine, Crush, Lark.

Eating in:
Butter from Seabreeze farms, and the pork shoulder from there too. Walleye from Mutual Fish, simply pan seared.

With my toddler:
Dinners at Cafe Lago, Boom Noodle, Flo's (Bellevue, close to work)

Dana said...

Lamb with cumin flavor at Chaing's on Lake City Way. (Not to be confused with the chain restaurant.) Hands down the most outstanding thing I have tasted this year, and I can't smell toasted cumin anymore without thinking of this dish and suffering an immediate craving.

Like now. Craving initiated.

Second best thing...... Can't think of anything but that lamb right now.

Oh, and their crispy scallops covered in "salt and pepper" preparation that you dig out of a basket of fried chilles. Or their thick, soft yet a little chewy hand cut noodles.

Oh the torture.

Ali Scheff said...

Matt Wright---have you been over to Vashon to La Boucherie yet? We went on a whym for the opening and got to taste that incredible butter piled on a piece of wonderful bread.
Dana--you stumped me with the cumin lamb! and I'm a lamb fiend, so I'll go try that asap.

matt wright said...

Ali - yep, I was there about two months ago now - I blogged it in fact at:

I enjoyed the food there. The meats were great. The execution of some of the "sides" were hit and miss for me. They had one pasta dish where they used fresh pasta they made themselves.. they should have used dried. With the meat sauce they had on it is was pretty slimy. But yeah, I liked the food there - honest, down to earth. It wish they would open one in Seattle.

But yeah, the butter is awesome. Bob's do their bread - a little local old guy in Vashon. I love the stuff.

kvz said...

here are a couple things... 1. txori has some the squid cooked in its own ink - sublime! 2. brisket with salsa verde and horseradish at cache is to die for. lastly, the bread pudding at sweet and savory in mt. baker neighby is awesome! not to take away from other stating paseo or obvious salumi knockouts.

Ashley said...

Cafe Flora - pretty much anything there. I love their sweet potato fries. I also love their Pumpkikn Gruyere Pizza.

I love Sunbreak Cafe in Kent for breakfast food. Their banana bread is amazing.

Crystal said...

Foie gras from Mistral Restaurant - Belltown Seattle

Bone-in ribeye steak from Blue Flame Grill- Port Angeles, WA

and last but not least...the El Diablo cake from Tango Restaurant-

Anonymous said...

Pear and Blue Cheese soup from the Stumbling Goat Bistro. My husband went back twice that week for a bowl of it and I thought he was going to cry when they took it off the menu.