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Pike Place Market, Union, Ivar's, Dahlia Lounge


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#1 Wilfrid1

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 06:42 PM

Rather than grow a thread for every place we ate, let me give you tastings from one day of shameless pink piggery under a clear late summer sun in this very attractive city.

Stayed at the Inn on the Market, a few yards from Pike Street market, which was expensive but delivered: a two floor suite with market and sea views, knowledgeable concierges, a limo pick-up at the airport (not complimentary) and all-round very good service. My Beloved managed to eat two breakfasts one morning (one purportedly ordered for the Munchkin - I was saving myself). Okay, I might have tasted the eggs and bacon. If anyone doesn't know Pike Street market, it's vastly larger than you think at first glance. The narrow, covered strip of stalls which runs a couple of blocks parallel to the waterfront conceals extra floors, passages, galleries and cubby-holes. You could spend two days here, not least to sample the food: there are clothes, craft and souvenir vendors too. There is truly nothing like it in New York, and that's apart from the popular fish throwing and the big bronze pig (which Munchkin had to be hauled away from). Buskers and orators and local loons complete the scene.

You can graze through the market on free samples - I especially enjoyed comparing five or six spoonfuls of pepper jellies (Mike's? Mickey's?) - but we paused for a mid-morning snack at one of the open lunch counters. Hot clam chowder - the white (Boston) style - full of flavor and dangerously hot potato pieces. Across the street, Beecher's is a store making home-made cheese products, but also - and more promisingly - stocking a range of regional artisan cheeses. I picked up some Sally Jackson wrapped in Chestnut leaves, a well-aged Wynoochie blue, and some local Tomme, and nibbled some less interesting Jack of non-natural flavor.

Exercising before lunch, we walked all two blocks to Union restaurant where - thanks to Leslie - we took a bite with a range of grandees from this (and other :D :D ) food sites. Great to see you all. Union is a sleek, modern boite on a busy street corner, and given the prices I was amazed it was so quiet on a weekday lunch hour. Three courses prix fixe for $20, if I remember rightly, with choices for each course. I made no notes, but recall expertly seared chunks of lamb tongue in salad - snappy and salty on the surface, soft within; enjoyable blue snapper and even better crispy sea bass entrees; and juicy beef from a neighbor's plate. The kithcen happily prepared some simple pasta for the toddler. The desserts looked fine too, but I stuck with cheese. It would have been interesting to see what the kitchen could do with their dinner tasting menu, if we'd had time.

Trundled downhill, fortunately, to the water front, and messed around with amusement arcades and the Old Curiosity Shop, until slumber overtook the junior member of the party. This afforded a chance for a snack. We ended up in a Seattle "landmark" - Ivar's, Acres of Clams! A big, rambling unpretentious seafood joint with water views. I was sceptical of the menu, but fortunately we wanted only oysters and beer, and both were available.

Cutting matters short, we prepared for an early dinner. The Dahlia Lounge has actually moved since I was last in the city. It's a colorful, bustling bistro, appearing to cater for a local business crowd in the early evening. It was the least knockout of the Seattle restaurants we tried. If it's not too crushing, I'd say it was a good example of a breed you might find in any regional North American city: the above average bar and grill, with some modern (in this case, Asian) accents to a fairly safe menu. Perhaps that's unfair on one visit? The plates were certainly stacked high. I started with several big chunks of chilled crab meat, served in individual little pots, topped with a light clam sauce, and festooned with breadsticks. My Beloved hit the foie gras trail as usual; okay, but slightly overcooked to my taste. The entrees were so large and contained so many components, that we tended to hand around mouthfuls, and it all got a bit mixed up. I know my Beloved got about half a duck, well-roasted and tender, with a stack of spicy rice. I had a chunk of quite acceptable lamb loin, served with some disappointingly doughy and cheesey potato croquettes. The Munchkin sampled a slightly more unusual dish: risotto of vegetables, first cooked, then used to sandwich slices of more vegetables (mainly squash), and cheese, the whole thing then toasted. It was actually quite nice in a comfortable sort of way.

I don't know how we tackled dessert, but we did. Ice cream for the ladies, and freshly cooked donuts for me, shaken with sugar at the table in a brown paper bag. I liked the pot of strawberry jam which accompanied them, but I confess I saved half the portion for next day's breakfast. There were enough to feed the table.

Groaning, we repaired to a small area of park land at the far end of the market, and relished the site of young people singing with guitars, taking drugs and complaining about the government, under a lovely night sky. I regretted skipping the recommended Le Pichet, but did manage some quality time with a pint of Pilsner before retiring.

I like this place.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#2 Rail Paul

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 07:46 PM

Seattle seems to encourage street musicians. On my recent trip, they were everywhere.

Nice place, nice vibe. Fresh food, great fish, astonishing produce.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#3 Abbylovi

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 07:51 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
It is better to have beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.

#4 tighe

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 12:11 AM

...we took a bite with a range of grandees from this (and other  :o  :D ) food sites...

I'm assuming that grandees isn't in reference to our girth? :D

Glad you enjoyed your visit and lunch at Union was truly a pleasure.

In general I think I agree with your assesment of Dahlia which is probably why I rarely go. I will say that they are capable of producing some stunning individual dishes, but its often hard to know which menu items those will be.
It may have been Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline
But on the Che Guevara highway filling up with gasoline
Fidel Castro's brother spies a rich lady who's crying
Over luxury's dissapointment
So he walks over and he's trying
To sympathize with her, but thinks that he should warn her
That the Thirld World is just around the corner

#5 Leslie

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 04:13 PM

One tiny correction...it's Pike Place Market. :D

This was a fun lunch, and great getting to know Wilfrid and his family.

I agree with you about the crispy sea bass I had, and I highly recommend it if it's on the menu next time. It was a fairly good sized portion, prepared with yummy crispy skin on the outside, lovely and light but unctuous flavor inside, perfectly seasoned, too.

My cucumber soup arrived as a bowl of sliced smoked haddock topped with creme fraiche. I was about to ask.. but where is my cucumber soup? (you can tell I don't get out for fine dining often enough)... when the waiter appeared with a gravy boat type serving dish and proceeded to pour a cool fresh green cucumber soup circling my smoked haddock. Lovely presentation. Taken in together, was a delicious contrast in flavors, although the haddock a bit stringy or hard to cut, however the bites of cucumber soup alone wasn't overly impressive to me and I would order a different first course next time.

My Vanilla Panna Cotta w/poached peaches, lightly circled w/mint oil for dessert was terrific. Chef Ethan Stowell gives the recipe for it here. Union's Poached Peaches with Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

There was a small lapse in service at the end, when desserts were delivered to some at the table before all guests had even had a chance to order their dessert, so service isn't perfect by any means, but in the end it meant we got to visit with Wilf and family and each other even longer so in this special case we're not complaining!

For $20, this 3 course lunch is a great deal (it basically amounts to getting a dessert for free).

#6 Wilfrid1

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 04:14 PM

Delightful to have met up with you. I am trying to spare the actual Grandee his blushes. :D

If the Admins want to correct Pike St to Pike Pl, please go ahead - I don't think there's room for the whole word in the title field.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#7 Leslie

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 04:25 PM

Delightful to have met up with you.  I am trying to spare the actual Grandee his blushes.  :D

If the Admins want to correct Pike St to Pike Pl, please go ahead - I don't think there's room for the whole word in the title field.


I think one of my favorite moments from the whole lunch was getting a hug from your adorable 'munchkin' ... I wish you lived closer so I could get another hug from her! She is absolutely precious, and a prettier girl you could not find, a gorgeous blend of her attractive parents.

#8 Wilfrid1

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 04:26 PM

This is the kind of post we need to see more of.

Thanks. She'll be heading over on the next plane. Send her back for Christmas. :D
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#9 Leslie

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 04:29 PM

This is the kind of post we need to see more of.

Thanks.  She'll be heading over on the next plane.  Send her back for Christmas.  :D

I wish!! We'd be happy to baby sit anytime, and for free! :D

#10 Wilfrid1

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 04:33 PM

Could you possibly move to New York? :D
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#11 tighe

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 04:52 PM

This is the kind of post we need to see more of.

Thanks.  She'll be heading over on the next plane.  Send her back for Christmas.   :o

I wish!! We'd be happy to baby sit anytime, and for free! :D

I assume this offer stands for all OA members with small children? :D
It may have been Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline
But on the Che Guevara highway filling up with gasoline
Fidel Castro's brother spies a rich lady who's crying
Over luxury's dissapointment
So he walks over and he's trying
To sympathize with her, but thinks that he should warn her
That the Thirld World is just around the corner

#12 Wilfrid1

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 05:33 PM

I think you mean MF? :D
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#13 tighe

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 05:49 PM

I think you mean MF? :D

:beet red face:

Duoh! This is what happens when there's too many of these sites!
It may have been Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline
But on the Che Guevara highway filling up with gasoline
Fidel Castro's brother spies a rich lady who's crying
Over luxury's dissapointment
So he walks over and he's trying
To sympathize with her, but thinks that he should warn her
That the Thirld World is just around the corner

#14 g.johnson

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 05:58 PM

I think you mean MF?  :D

:beet red face:

Duoh! This is what happens when there's too many of these sites!

Not for us anti-semites.
The Obnoxious Glyn Johnson

#15 Leslie

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 07:23 PM

This is the kind of post we need to see more of.

Thanks.  She'll be heading over on the next plane.  Send her back for Christmas.   :D

I wish!! We'd be happy to baby sit anytime, and for free! :D

I assume this offer stands for all OA members with small children? :D

absolutely! I love children, and don't have any of my own, so kid time is fun time for me. ie.. I have references, too, I volunteered a year as a helper in my neighborhood kindergarten class, however teacher wasn't happy that sometimes the kids would interupt the class to come up and give me a hug. (kids are so great at that age) :o .