• Posted by Califia Suntree on June 12th, 2013, 5:11 AM

    Up until this past weekend, my sole culinary experience of Seattle came in the form of an overnight on my book tour, during which I ate only Serious Pie pizza. This time around, I had an excellent guide (high school friend Lauren, definitely in-the-know) and two whole days to fill with carbohydrates. I cleansed the I-5 from my system on the rooftop patio at Terra Plata with a grown-up grapefruit-fennel soda alongside blistered shisito peppers and aioli. It was all feeling very un-Portland and sophisticated, until a bored and completely shitfaced host decided to join us, Bogart my friend’s water glass, and tell us he had hepatitis. Keep Seattle Weird, dude!

    Dinnertime and we were off to Korean comfort-food spot Revel in Fremont where it was impossible to decide which was more delicious: the short rib dumplings with savory reddish skins and vinegary shallots, or the dungeness noodle bowl with creme fraiche and red curry. Everyone wins! We lined up with the masses Sunday morning at Portage Bay Cafe for the chance to pile buckwheat pancakes (me) and vegan rice porridge (Lauren) with the almost comically decadent offerings of their toppings buffet. The head-sized heap of whipped cream and bottomless bowls of berries had a distinctly Marie Antoinette vibe…

    From our decadent breakfast, we traipsed over to the Theo Chocolate factory, where for $6 you get a tour of their bean-to-bar facilities and oh-so-many samples! The factory wasn’t operational, it being Sunday, but the pipes full of chocolate leading every which way, the barrels upon barrels of roasted beans, and the overwhelming wallop of eau de cocoa allowed my imagination to fill in the missing Oompa-Loompas. After a screening of the mescaline-fueled cringe-comedy Crystal Fairy at the Seattle Film Festival, I had finally digested my pancakes, so it was time for…more pancakes! Of the scallion variety this time around, at Szechuan Noodle Bowl in the International District. Aside from the tender, flaky, almost croissant-like scallion pancake, we had a pile of steamed dumplings stuffed with fresh, bright-tasting greens that I want to eat every day, forever. Alas!

    On my way out of town, we stopped at chef-favorite (and Bon Appetit best-baguette-winner) Columbia City Bakery, where Lauren was GM until recently. We said hellos to some of the brilliant bakers and I sat down with an ethereal ginger scone and a nice pile of bread–walnut levain and a fennel-seeded baguette–for the road.

    Other highlights: A bottle of Rachel’s Ginger Beer–holy moly!–and a stop at Bauhaus Coffee where I learned that a “half-soy, half-milk latte” is a thing.

    Til next time Seattle! I’ll up my cardio before my next visit…

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