Best of 2008: Food
Category: Eat + Drink Articles
This year, Seattle gave us plenty of excitement in the culinary scene. From burgers built with scientific precision to a Georgetown restaurant that channels the Italian countryside, read about the latest and greatest in local food.
Hottest Table in Town
(Capitol Hill, 622 Broadway Ave. E; 206.324.1108)
Chef Jerry Traunfeld’s breathlessly awaited solo debut brought the traditional Indian “thali” dining concept—where many elements are served to each diner all at once—to Capitol Hill in September. The food isn’t Indian, though; it’s a bright, eye-opening mix of local, organic, seasonally inspired tastes served in an invigorating, airy retro-industrial space that pops with orange accents. But Traunfeld hasn’t left his beloved herbs behind—sorrel, fennel pollen and curry leaves all dot the menu. Apparently you can take the chef out of The Herbfarm, but you can’t take The Herbfarm out of the chef.
Best Place to Build Your Own Burger
(Ballard, 7302 1/2 15th Ave. NW; 206.706.3092)
The tightly quartered, eccentric Lunchbox Laboratory allows burger enthusiasts and control freaks to make the call: Pick your meat (beef, prime rib, buffalo, “dork”—duck and pork—or falafel), toppings (such as bacon or mushrooms), cheese (including Gorgonzola, Swiss, feta and cheddar) and select from a list of sauces a mile long (including balsamic hoisin, jalapeño ranch and basil aioli). And you still get to pick a side, like gooey mac ’n’ cheese, tasty tots or sweet potato fries.
Best Locally Made Licorice
Chateau D’Lanz Swiss Licorice
(Arlington, 28418 Third Ave. NE; 360.939.2326)
These delicious thumb-print-size licorice drops, created by Howard Lanz—a Swiss chemist cum Arlington-ite—using licorice root along with other natural ingredients, are worth seeking out for their pure, strong licorice flavor. Chewy-licorice lovers should note: These candies are best sucked rather than chewed.
Best tortilla Chips
La Carta de Oaxaca
(Ballard, 5431 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.782.8722)
Made from the house-made tortillas and freshly fried to order, La Carta’s chips not only do justice to the restaurant’s delicious array of fresh salsas (available from a salsa bar) and just-smashed guacamole, they nearly outshine it.
Yummiest Nonalcoholic Drink That Looks Like a Real Grownup Cocktail
The CleaR Conscience at BalMar
(Ballard, 5449 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.297.0500)
Drinking for two? Or back on the wagon? Or just not in the mood? The virgin counterpart to BalMar’s popular Guilty Conscience cocktail, this drink is a great alternative to yet another glass of Pellegrino with lime. Made of muddled fresh cucumber and orange, with ginger simple syrup, and topped with fresh lime juice and ginger ale, it’s absolutely addictive.
Best Edible Escape Within the City Limits
The Corson Building
(Georgetown, 5609 Corson Ave. S; 206.762.3330)
Chef Matt Dillon (of Sitka & Spruce renown) brought the spirit of the Italian countryside to a century-old stone house in Georgetown when he opened The Corson Building in June. A few times a week, he puts forth bountiful and experimental seasonal feasts that draw curious f