Seattle Food Tours
Food driven walking tour
As an attendee to the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle this fall I was offered a seat on the Belltown progressive dinner walk by Seattle Food Tours. I have enjoyed other food tours, so I quickly jumped at the chance to explore another neighborhood in Seattle while tasting appetizers to dessert in just a couple of hours; a perfect escape. Joining me were other bloggers from the conference.
We met in the hotel lobby. “Is our meet up walking distance from the hotel?” she asked. Sure I said while mapping the walk from the Westin to Local 360. Less than a half mile. Short that is if you don’t take the wrong direction down 5th and then up 1st the long-ass way around due to paying too little attention to original directions, not listening to your gut to get quick compass orientation from the hotel concierge, or simply studying the route before heading out the door. No problem, I said while inputting the address into phone navigation.
Let’s just say you learn a lot about a person, just walking and talking — even more so when the path includes wrong turns. As it happened, my fellow blogger Jill Warren Lucas, of Eating My Words was more than a good sport. Networking and friendships are extra special benefits of attending IFBC, food people are the nicest kind.
We finally reached our meet up stop and thankfully the group saved us our seats and our oysters instead of gobbling up that deliciousness in the extra 20 minutes it took us to arrive. And that my readers, was divine restraint on their parts. Better late than never I say.
Leslie Law; our vivacious, funny, and knowledgeable guide quickly brought us into the group’s fold. Couples celebrating a traditional night out away from the kids, a birthday date night, a fellow foodie from Scandinavia with a hunger for the Seattle food scene and fellow bloggers. Each one of us looking forward to our adventure; the tastes, the stories and warm evening walk in Belltown. Leslie regaled us with the storied histories of the remains of the “Hollywood of the Pacific Northwest,” where major films studies created theaters and distribution centers during the silent era until the late eighties when the last standout closed down. From speakeasies and ghosts we traveled the streets where stars had stepped. Our route took us from Local 360, to Rob Roy Cocktails, then a stop at Shiro Sushi before heading to Branzino for pasta and Black Bottle for dessert. Each stop brought the group closer together and the notion of a moveable feast fit perfectly. By the end, this congenial and affable party stayed together for a dinner trek to the Queen Ann neighborhood to experience How to Cook Like a Wolf, an Ethan Stowell restaurant — just because it sounded like a good idea amongst friends.
Oysters and marinated beet salad with Chevre started our feast off perfectly. The communal table facing the open window brought light and cheer.
Rob Roy Cocktails
Hip, cool, and groovy are all the right words to describe the interior of Rob Roy and the cocktail called Jet Pilot launched us in sublime revilry. No pilot’s license required for this libation.
As we lingered one friend came from the darkened hallway in the back, beckoning us excitedly, “You have got to see this!!!!!” Maybe because it was early afternoon, still daylight hours and just a few patrons in the joint besides us we followed him into the men’s restroom, just like that. “I’ll cover you,” he giggled as he held the door open. And with that he ushered us in to see the graffiti wall with cocktail recipes and lemon slices in the urinals. That’s the moment when you know the group has gelled comfortably (to say the least.)
Jet Pilot, Classic Tiki Cocktail from Anu Apte, Owner/Bartender at Rob Roy.
- 1 oz Jamaican Rum
- 0.75 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum
- 0.75 oz Lemon Hart 151
- 0.5 oz Lime Juice
- 0.5 oz Grapefruit Juice
- 0.5 oz Cinnamon Syrup
- 0.5 oz Falernum
- Dash Angostura Bitters
- 6 drops Pernod
Before we knew it we had to leave for our next stop: Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant, one of the most written about sushi experiences in Seattle. Our duo tasting of albacore and smelt sushi did not disappoint. While we were there only briefly before moving on to our next stop, the freshness and buttery consistency of the tender smelt created a perfect bite that will be remembered for a long time. Restaurant founder Shiro Kashiba is no longer at the helm, having sold his interests to partners and it is rumored that he may be opening a new place in the future.
From sushi to pasta we traveled to a local’s local restaurant Branzino. Our Chef manned the ovens in the open kitchen at the back of the ten seater bar while we communed comfortably in the large table in the front sipping on a glass of 2012 Vandori Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio. Our Bolognese was lush and rustically pleasing; layering of complex, warm flavors, richly beefy and and perfectly al dente pasta, echoing the dark warm atmosphere that surrounded us. Are you getting full yet? Dessert is next!
Black Bottle Gastrotavern
“Gastrotavern” is play on the 2012 Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary entry “gastropub,” a term introduced in the 1990’s UK as pubs were determined to improve their local food scenes. This is a casual place for the over 21 crowd which boasts, “more flavor than flash,” true to form, delivered a creamy chocolate dessert to our group in the back room. With phone batteries draining over the excessive photo taking and navigation, I have no image to share with you. Rest assured, all the key words apply; decadent, creamy, dark, a well blended combination of light texture and complex flavor. Being made with dark chocolate, I just put this dessert in the healthy category of anti-oxidants and other nutrient rich benefits…. right.
To me, to deem a food tour a true success really boils down to these essential elements; key partnerships with artful and engaged food providers who offer exemplary service and delectable products paired a charming host/guide who is a talented facilitator, transforming strangers into friends in a few hours. Seattle Food Tours delivers on all counts.
- International Food Bloggers Conference
- Seattle Food Tours
- Local 360
- Rob Roy Cocktails
- Shiro Sushi
- Branzino Restaurant
- Black Bottle
Disclosure: I was a guest of Seattle Food Tours as an attendee of the International Food Bloggers Conference along with other bloggers. My comments are my own and no further compensation has been provided. This post is also one of three as required for the Blogger rate for IFBC 2014.
P.S. Sometimes if you look you can find Groupon or other coupons for tour discounts. That makes it the most perfect date!
Wow, thanks for ‘taking us along with you.’ Love the photos, especially the cool, fresh light of the sushi; the warm, oaken invitation of the Jet Pilot; and the apropos ‘date shot.’ OK, the ‘chef at work’, ‘window lit table setting’, ‘succulent oyster’ and ‘late-night pasta’ were standouts as well.
So we connected on that crazy long walk! I agree it was one of the best food tours I’ve experienced. Seattle Foods Tours is top notch.
Proof positive, walking and talking makes for deeper relationships!