Filed under: Art and Design, Food, My favorite things, Restaurants, Seattle
It’s hard to believe that as much as I’ve shared snapshots of pieces of meals at my very favorite restaurant(s) that I’ve never actually dedicated one piece to explain my deep and resounding love for the beautiful spaces and food that come from Matt Dillon’s Sitka and Spruce, The Corson Building, Bar Sajor, and now The London Plane, which is the first installment of a bigger collaboration between Matt and Katherine Anderson of Marigold & Mint. It’s a beautiful spot, the kind you head to for a laid back meal with a good book and a glass or three of wine. Then you end up leaving with a new cookbook, fresh flowers, and two bottles of bubbly.
It seems that not a day goes by that we’re not asked for our favorite Seattle restaurants; me down at the restaurant with mostly tourists and business travelers, and Andrew because of his work and because his taste and eye for food is remarkable. We have the same answers time and time again, but now people have started to qualify the question with “ok, but besides a Matt Dillon restaurant.” The problem is that his spaces take up our top five and there’s no getting around it.
In this perverse time of misguided food worship and foodie culture there are only a small number of places that serve artful food. (I had my worst meal of the year last week at one of the city’s biggest restaurant empires. No surprise there, but the hype around it was ridiculous.) I can’t see food as a trend, or as “fashionable,” I see the culture of food as the story of an ingredient, the elegance of a thoughtful composition, an experience in flavor and taste.
Fundamentally Matt’s food is everything I enjoy about the culture of food: simple and classic, yet concepts that are complex and artful. Experiencing food through his lens and connection with the Pacific Northwest (and its seasons), and now this gorgeous new space with Katherine, is truly one of my favorite pieces of Seattle. (And, oh, the things I would do for one of those chairs.)
The London Plane | 322 Occidental Ave. S | Seattle, WA 98104 | 206.624.1374
(Right across from Bar Sajor)
There’s a slight autumn-like crispness in the mornings lately and it has me all wound up for the cooler weather ahead. The days are still very much summery, but with chanterelle mushrooms popping up at the farmer’s markets fall really is right around the corner. (And yes, I base my seasons on available veg.) Thinking of the cooler days had me peeking around for transitional coats, and of course, Shopbop came to the rescue with this lovely array of candy colors. I’ve been daydreaming of bopping around in this fuschia guy for a while.
I’ve always enjoyed the inspired styling in their lookbooks and I’m really liking how they worked with these two coats from above. I love the shades of blue and turquoise with the cobalt (and the pop of red with the shoes), and the unexpected leather and loafer style with the fuschia. Once the beauty of fall has long gone these are the coats that will make winter bearable, don’t you think?
I remember the first time I had these peppers at a little restaurant in Marin. I loved them so much I ordered a second round and didn’t share with anyone else at the table. I don’t know why but at the time it seemed so complex that I’d never be able to duplicate at home, I mean, where would one even find shishito peppers in the first place? Granted, it will require a trip to the farmer’s market, but even with that task these peppers are worth the errand and so easy to prepare.
Shishito peppers are a Japanese variety of pepper and only about one in ten are hot. They’re mostly fragrant with barely a hint of sweetness. We get ours from the Japanese farmer of Mair Farm-Taki at the University Farmer’s Market.
How to prepare:
Heat a large pan at medium-high heat. Once hot add a small amount of olive oil and tilt to coat the pan. Add the peppers in a single layer and shake the pan to toss and coat with the olive oil. Continue to toss and remove when the skins are blistered, this should only take a minute or two. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with sea salt. I used a coarse black Japanese sea salt but Maldon flakes would also be great for seasoning and texture. Eat as a snack or get creative and add to a salad.
Note: I like the peppers nice and charred but after having them in a beautiful melon salad at Sitka and Spruce yesterday we realized we could cook them even less. I’ll be experimenting with our next batch this weekend, but really there’s not too much you can do to wrong.
I found a great new honey to add to our collection and this one’s really cool. The Urban Bee Co. is a Seattle-based group that cultivates healthy environments for bees and collects honey from small neighborhood apiaries, urban farms, and some backyard hives too. This guy I got is from my ‘hood, right down the way on the Alleycat Acres farm on MLK and Columbia where they have hops, chickens, harvest parties, and workshops. Each hive is free from chemicals, antibiotics, high fructose corn syrup, and plastic. The honey is harvested in small batches, never heated or filtered, bottled by hand, and delivered by bike. Hyper-local!
There are also great resources available through Urban Bee Co. and their partnership with my other neighbor Stone Soup Gardens. One of the most exciting offerings is help to set up a permaculture bee garden (wish we knew about this before we did all the research on our own). Helping our bees and building community. Great stuff. Makes my heart swell with happiness.
I’m not complaining outright but I am pretty damn hot and sticky. Since there’s just no way I’m braving the mobs of Seattleites flocking to whatever shorefront they can find; I have decided, instead, to hide out in my skivvies (hence the little bralette) and douse myself with my very favorite Evian atomizer. If you haven’t experienced the super-fine mist from one of these I can assure you that it alone is worth the price. More than that though your skin will be happy and you will be nice and cool.
Another staple for us has been Hibiscus iced tea: nice and tangy and cooling but also hydrating and a powerful antioxidant. Very good for cleaning the blood and liver, so in a way it’s like turning the sauna-like weather into a spa experience. (Add a little honey for some sweetness.) And finally, we’ve decided to skip the crappy emergency fan and go for a super-sturdy vintage refurb. There’s a bunch on Etsy, but there’s also some vintage-inspired newbies like the guy above.
Here’s hoping you’re staying nice and cool, especially to all my friends braving triple digit temperatures. (Stay hydrated!)
After two years the lease at my little apartment is finally up, and of course, I waited a bit too long to start moving and cleaning. I got my butt kicked by the move last week, but still managed to find the time to get a little nostalgic. My small studio at The Marlborough in Seattle’s First Hill Neighborhood was my very favorite home to date (aside from my new home with Andrew!), and it held so many special meanings as it was my home when I returned from San Francisco and was my safe haven during the craziness of restaurant opening and adjusting to a new life.
After living in SF I knew I had to live somewhere with history and charm, and while there are many places in Seattle that would qualify, it’s also disappointing to see so many new, bland, and cheap apartments popping up all over the city. The Marlborough was originally built in 1928, but was just reopening after an extensive remodel/restoration, and even though it was the first apartment I saw (except for an awful condo in Beacon Hill that smelled like cats had lived and died there), I instantly knew it was so very me.
There was the large living room and bedroom…
…a cozy little kitchen and dining nook…
…original glass doornobs and crown moulding…
…the separate DRESSING ROOM with french doors (in addition to a walk-in closet!)…
(there was no way I was turning it into an office)
…and killer subway and honeycomb tiles in the bathroom.
Once well-loved by me, this sweet little home is available now. If, by chance, you’re on the hunt for a bachelorette pad you may want to check it out.
The Marlborough | 122o Boren Avenue | Seattle, WA 98101 | 206.682.8800
[image via VintageSeattle.org]
Sitka & Spruce Quince and Taragon | Bar Sajor Quince and Sour Blackberry | Rain Shadow Celery
My bubbly fascination is in hyperdrive and it’s not for that from a wine bottle. Surprise, surprise but lately I’ve found myself craving the house soda’s at Sitka & Spruce and Bar Sajor. The perfect amount of sweet syrupy goodness + the most glorious flavors. They always seemed kind of a secret at Sitka since somehow that is the quintessential glasses-of-wine-with-lunch-spot but they are there, and the flavors change often. Think Lemon Verbena, Quince, or Elderberry.
At the new Bar Sajor they are front and center on the menu, so if you find yourself there you must try the cucumber whey or the sour blackberry. There’s also the drinking vinegars and those are epic. There was a beet one that looked beautiful. Ah, but don’t worry. After your soda you can have a glass of wine or cider. That’s usually how I roll.
Also, if you hop across the street to the new Rain Shadow Meats 2 they have the best sandwiches and salads for lunch, but they also have a killer celery soda. A take on the traditional Jewish deli staple this one was so good with my mortadella sammie and potato salad yesterday.
I’m actually encouraging you to skip the sparkling wine and try one of these concoctions on your next date. Then tell me about it later so we can gush.