Here’s Where I’m Taking My Parents to Eat When They Come Visit Seattle
By Seattle Mag August 4, 2014
My folks are coming to Seattle for a visit in a couple of weeks and I’m already making a list of where I want to take them—specifically, newer spots they haven’t been since the last time they were here almost a year ago.
The parents have been coming to visit me in Seattle for more than 20 years, so this isn’t their first rodeo, letting me drag them around to different food and booze parlors. I think they actually enjoy it. A few years ago they moved from Olympia to a somewhat remote part of Arizona, where really great food is not always easy to come by.
My mom and dad have very different tastes in cuisine. While I would categorize my mom as an adventurous eater, my dad is more of a “steak and potatoes” kind of guy, who cherishes good service above all else. It’s one of the reasons we always hit up the bar at Canlis. My dad loves to be spoiled by the attentive staff; my mom and I just like to drink their great wines by the glass and flirt with piano man Walt Wagner. My dad also isn’t a huge fan of hole-in-the-walls. Regardless of quality, he loves himself a good ambience, as does mom. Unless it’s an ice cream shop, they want a place they can linger for a bit. I’m the same way, actually.
I should mention that I have moved neighborhoods since my parents last visited. I was in West Seattle for nearly 17 years before moving to Ballard briefly last October. As of April, I live on Capitol Hill.
So now, here I am today. Coming up with a list. New places. Good places. Fresh. Service. View. They’ll be here for 6 nights. That’s the longest they’ve ever stayed. It will make it easy to fit in a bunch of great spots. This is what I have so far:
I’ve included a few “Welcome to my new neighborhood” points of reference, like The Saint, which recently upped their taco game. Plus, dad can inhale margaritas like nobody I’ve ever met and here they’re only $5 during happy hour. Corretto is right across the street from me, and I consider it the epitome of a neighborhood trattoria. Plus, with the recent addition of former Vessel owner Jim Romdall, I know we’ll get great drinks and stellar service. The Wandering Goose, up the hill from me, will make for a great morning walk destination. My dad is a huge biscuits and gravy fan. My mom will probably order the Hangtown Fry. She still laments over the HTF they took off the menu at Steelhead Diner way back when—when Kevin Davis was still cooking. It was literally one of the best omelettes she’s ever eaten. Speaking of great omelettes, Voula’s Offshore Cafe has a Greek omelette that I absolutely adore. And it’s the type of quick-and-easy (cheap) diner my parents usually enjoy.
London Plane is a must for lunch. Big, fresh salads in a beautiful greenhouse-like setting. I’m strongly considering hitting up Miller’s Guild for a weekend brunch. I love their lunch and brunch menu more than I do their dinner.
Also on my brunch heatmap: RockCreek. I just ate there yesterday. The wild mushroom tartine was superb and hit the spot on a Sunday morning, but it’s always the root veggie hash I regret not ordering when I go. Joule’s brunch is also one of my favorites. $17 buys you unlimited trips to the buffet plus one item off the regular menu. It’s a screaming deal! More importantly, my dad can get his familiar chicken and waffle or shrimp and grits, while my mom can dive into more interesting flavors. If La Bete decides to stay open longer than their predicted August 14th (god, I hope they do!) I will certainly take my folks there for brunch. It’s a few blocks from my house and sitting at that bar and watching the stunning food come out on the line is some of the most enjoyable morning entertainment in Seattle. But then, I’m easy to please. Most of the time. Usually when I have a mimosa in front of me.
Lunch is a no-brainer. Whale Wins. It’s a quick hop down from the hill and one of my favorite afternoon hangouts. The fresh ingredients that make up every nook and cranny of that menu will have my folks longing for the days when they lived in Washington and had access to the killer produce that’s abundant here. Plus, you can’t beat the affordable wines on the Whale’s lunch menu and the feeling that you’re never rushed.
Dinner is where it gets tough, as I’m already planning to be stuffed all day. With that said, I wouldn’t mind returning to Joule or Whale Wins for a nice dinner, or How to Cook a Wolf or Red Cow (the folks are big fans of Ethan’s) or Pizzeria Gabbiano (Mike Easton did a little soft, soft, soft opening over the weekend). Brimmer & Heeltap wasn’t open last time mom and dad came to visit me in Ballard. The menu is inspired enough for mom, but still approachable for dad. Maybe we’ll just go old school, pick a great patio and have ourselves a few small bites and drinks at Maximilien, AQUA, Ponti or Ray’s.
What am I missing? Where would you take out of towners? I should probably start making reservations.