Category Archives: Dining

My Dining Wishlist

My girl Radhi used to have a list like this on her refrigerator. Next to her growing list of projects to do, she had a list of places she’d like to eat. That’s just one of the reasons why I love her. In fact, a love of food is what all my best friends and I have in common. It’s how we bonded and nowadays, it’s usually over a good meal or beverage that we reconnect.

So it’s in thinking of good friends and what we love the most that I start my list and hopefully begin to happily cross them off!

What am I missing? What other eateries should I add to my list?

Honoré: Follow Your Nose

Kristine and I were supposed to meet for a run, but we went to Honoré instead. Poor me. We pushed her son Jasper in his stroller to the bakery to go see daddy. And I walked beside them like Pepé Le Pew (just a coincidence that he happens to be French), following my nose to the scent of butter and fresh pastries, which you can smell from blocks away. The addition of Honoré to the neighborhood, the lovely little French pastry shop next door to the equally delightful Delancey, must have increased peoples’ property values – what could be better than stepping out into your yard on a sunny day and taking in the sweet smell of croissants in the air?

I know some of you may be thinking that this glowing review is a bit biased. I am good friends with the owners, after all. I was around when the bakery was more of a wholesale operation. Before it was open to the public with a line outside the door.

I was there when Kristine was helping out behind the counter as a barista during her summer off as a school teacher. When decorations were just beginning to grace the walls. I’ve been standing behind the glass cabinet debating between the onion and Gruyère or the seasonal fruit croissant selection since the beginning.

I mean it when I say that everything I’ve ever eaten there has been amazingly flavorful and delicious and it’s been so exciting to watch this unique local business grow. They’re proud of the neighborhood it’s a part of and it shows. Local goods like honey from the Ballard Bee Company and Deluxe Foods jam don the shelves there. Even the counters were made from reclaimed wood from the lanes of the old Ballard Sunset Bowl.

So, I may be the lucky one that gets to trade fresh eggs for pastries (if my chickens ever start laying again like they used to!), but you can enjoy this little piece of France too. Stand in the line that will inevitably be streaming out the door because what lies ahead is most definitely worth the wait. And you can thank me later.

Honoré Artisan Bakery
1413 NW 70th St
Seattle, WA 98127
(206) 706-4035

Open Wednesday through Friday from 7am to 4pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 4pm

Melrose Market is the Coolest!

A few months before my bff Radhi and her two girlfriends came to visit, she sent me this:

In a dolled up envelop was an article from the May issue of Food and Wine, raving about Capital Hill’s Melrose Market. Radhi’s adorable commentary was peppered throughout the article in her familiar handwriting.

Melrose Market had been on my wish list for quite some time, but for some reason, I just never made it over there even though it’s so close. Upon receiving this delightful correspondence, I purposely avoided it until she got here, so I could enjoy it for the first time like a visitor as well. And I’m so glad I did! It was one of the best staycation outings of the whole trip. And lucky me, I live close enough to return!

The market is a localtarian’s paradise with a variety of speciality shops and restaurants all committed to offering fresh, seasonal and local products. In the article, Sara Dickerman described it best when she wrote,

The vendors at Melrose Market are connected by such symbiotic relationships. Marigold and Mint’s herbs, for instance, flavor cocktails at Dillon’s (chef and owner of Sitka & Spruce) Bar Ferd’nand and lamb sausages made by butcher-turned-chef-turned butcher Russell Flint at Rain Shadow Meats. Rain Shadow’s sausages sometimes appear on the menu at Sitka & Spruce. So does the artisanal cheese sold at the Calf and Kid.

And seriously, never have I ever wanted to go to a restaurant so bad than after I actually saw Sitka & Spruce. It was so open and lovely, like eating in a big farm kitchen with the chef cooking right next to you. Now I want to go there more than ever. Hello! Best date spot ever! A girl can hope, right?

But, wait! It gets better! Now, Sitka & Spruce has a pantry too, which they use in meals prepared at the restaurant and to sell to the public. On their website they explain,

The Pantry at S&S is a functioning element of our kitchen that is in use daily to create the dishes that we serve.   And we are now expanding it out into the public’s reach, where you may draw on it to inform and enhance your kitchen and cooking at home.

To inform and enhance my kitchen and cooking? Yes, please! And thank you!

Of course, we had to check out the flower shop, Marigold and Mint, and not just because of the adorable sandwich board sign outside, listing what special in-season flowers were available that day.

No, this shop has been on my radar and wish list since I met owner, Katherine, at her table at the Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair in the fall. Yes, I’ve waited that long to finally make my way over there. And it was even cuter in person than I imagined.

In addition to beautiful bouquets, Marigold and Mint also sells fresh herbs, local produce, and other crafty wares. I heart the store’s line drawing tote bag!

Nestled upstairs in a loft space in the building is the only shop in the market that doesn’t sell edibles, Butter Home. It does offer, however, the most adorable, funky food and farm-related housewares you could ever want. I showed much restraint, but I pretty much could have bought everything in the store, especially the ceramic berry baskets I’ve been pining over.

 Needless to say, I was totally impressed by my visit to Melrose and was so proud that that kind of ingenuity and connectedness was being so prominently displayed and embraced in my city.


And it was made even better by being able to experience the newness of it all with my very best friend by my side. And we really did have the best time rambling all over Seattle. Can you tell?

*Thanks, Miss Jackie Fine, for taking so many awesome photos when I was too busy gawking. 🙂

Marjorie

I’m a “to do” list kind of girl and the chalkboard on the side of my fridge helps keep me on track. As much as I love food, I guess it’s not surprising that I occasionally jot down restaurants I hear about that I want to try. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just as important as remembering to call the arborist or plant kale! And really, if I hadn’t written Marjorie on my chalkboard, my friend Nicole probably never would have seen it and mentioned that she also really wanted to try it. So, we made a date to celebrate our birthdays, which are about two weeks apart, in the lovely little bistro in Capital Hill called Marjorie.

It was a snippet in Sunset mentioning Marjorie’s efforts to use local ingredients that motivated me to add it to the chalkboard. According to their website,

Marjorie pays homage to owner, Donna Moodie’s mother. Following Marjorie around the kitchen, Donna quickly gained respect for “cooking from scratch” with high quality ingredients. The kitchen at Marjorie uses the highest quality of ingredients, supporting local farmers and artisans whenever possible, reflecting the values that Marjorie instilled in her daughter’s youth.

It’s a pretty small space, but the decor is warm and inviting. I took one look at the fantastically colored chairs and was sold – one of those places I’d describe as very “me.”

It really was lovely from start to finish and not just because we were in a giddy birthday haze. We started off with a little celebratory Prosecco and some complimentary sweet and savory crostinis with duck prosciutto, shavings of queso manchego, and some kind of delicious grape jam.

Thanks to our very accommodating server, we shared a half order of the plantain chips, which was plenty to keep us satisfied.

I got the special – braised lamb goodness. I couldn’t even begin to explain the dish the way she sold it to me when she told us about the specials, but I heard the words, “slow braise,” “falling apart,” “baked again with a light pastry,” and I knew there really wasn’t any reason to look at the menu. Apparently the expression on my face and the overall joyful reaction I had after my first bite was hard to miss because the people sitting next to us started to laugh and joke, “I’ll have what she’s having.” I couldn’t help but start to blush. It was that good.

Nicole chose the halibut, which probably would have been my choice had I not been lured by the mouth-watering description of braised meat. The bed of carrots and peas it rested on looked lovely and vibrant, not to mention sweet and delicious. Our server came over to clear our plates and said, “Wow, looks like you enjoyed this.” Nicole looked at her and said, “No kidding! I ate the parsley!” Yes, even the garnish was delicious.


We would have been perfectly satisfied had we stopped there, but we indulged in the caramel brioche bread pudding and there are not words to describe how much we loved that dessert. It was decadent, creamy deliciousness, with a fun twisty birthday candle to boot!

Marjorie’s owner, Donna, was present, checking in and chatting with guests. She was super friendly, even humoring us by taking several pictures of us outside. Really, the entire experience was lovely. I might have to take Nicole’s advice and leave Marjorie written on my chalkboard as a reminder to go there again. Although I really don’t think I’ll need the chalkboard to remind me.