TABLEHOPPING You never know who you’re going to meet next, but when you’re at a dinner at Scribe Winery in Sonoma (www.scribewinery.com), you can bet that it’ll be someone interesting. Back in the early summer, I was one lucky lady to be seated next to chef Kylen McCarthy and the delightful Eva Soroken. The talented duo is behind Pioneer Square Pantry (www.pioneersquarepantry.com), an artisanally minded partnership based in Seattle and Tokyo that is like a virtual shop, crafty collective, and traveling culinary road show.
They do pop-up dinners in Japan and beyond: Kylen’s eclectic dishes feature many of PSQP’s homemade pickles and mustards as well as other Pantry partners’ goods, while Eva has an amazing eye for sourcing everything from exquisite pottery to creating totes, tablecloths, aprons, and more in the most gorgeous indigo blue. They also make some crazy-good granola (I dig the San Juan Island salt they use in it). Kylen and Eva have the lifestyle thing down, let me tell you.
They invited me on a weekend August trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit Seattle and Lummi Island — and show me their world. Seriously, where do I sign? While I’ll be doing a recap of the overall trip on tablehopper.com, here are some Seattle highlights. Hit them up when you head up north.
Bakery Nouveau: If you worship at the Holy Church of Buttery Pastry and Scrumptious Bread, you better make a pilgrimage to this West Seattle house of temptation. The croque monsieur I brought on my plane ride home was one for the books. www.bakerynouveau.com
Canon: My Seattle-based cousin and I thoroughly enjoyed our time, and quality cocktails, at this award-winning bar with an utterly jaw-dropping selection of spirits. Just wow. www.canonseattle.com
The Harvest Vine: Kylen used to work here, and helped me book a big table for my family dinner. We feasted on a parade of Basque plates, and relaxed (and basked, ha ha) in the rustic atmosphere. Jamón in the casa. www.harvestvine.com
Rain Shadow Meats: This local butcher supplies meats for some PSQP events, and recently opened a counter in Pioneer Square, where we tucked into some tasty sandwiches, including the Zuni — yes, a shout-out to SF — with roasted pork shoulder, and juicy corned beef on rye. www.rainshadowmeats.com
Sitka and Spruce: This spot is always at the top of any food-obsessed traveler’s Seattle list. We enjoyed a Sunday night supper at the chef’s table, with clean flavors, Northwest ingredients (natch), and fab wines. Monday nights are reportedly a can’t-miss for the all-Mexican menu, featuring a killer suadero and al pastor. www.sitkaandspruce.com
Stumptown Coffee Roasters: We managed to hit both locations at least a few times, whether we were grabbing a cappuccino in the morning or picking up beans for Chemex o’clock in the afternoon. www.stumptowncoffee.com
Hotel Monaco–Seattle: I dug the mod-swank style of my room here — it were recently remodeled — and the downtown location was handy. And you can borrow in-house Public bikes for tooling around. www.monaco-seattle.com
FIVE MORE SPOTS KYLEN AND EVA RECOMMEND
Bar Sajor: Seattle chef Matt Dillon’s country farm food-meets-Scandinavian aesthetic. Fermentation bar, raw bar, rotisserie, wood-fired bread oven. The space is beautifully designed. Opt for a simple dish inspired by Moro of strained yogurt with many herbs, some naturally risen sourdough, and something from the rotisserie-stove like black cod cooked in buttermilk with nettles and black trumpets. www.barsajor.com
Capitol Cider: A recently opened addition to the saturated hipster neighborhood of Capitol Hill with an impressive selection of ciders on tap. Whether you like light, honeysuckle ciders with soft green tannins or overly sour imported ciders from Normandy, they are more than willing to pour several tastes. Capitol also has a late-night happy hour with a small curated food menu and a fantastic game room in the basement. We recommend quince cider and fries as a palate warmer. www.seattleciderbar.com
Essex: Husband and wife Brandon Pettit and Molly Wisenberg opened this craft cocktail establishment adjacent to their neighborhood pizza parlor. Staying true to the tradition that unfolds behind the bar, Essex hosts an array of housemade liqueurs and cordials and showcases them in a classy, slightly sophisticated presentation that even Seattle can handle. The place is small and often is used as an overflow for the pizza restaurant, so it fills quickly, but they are friendly to industry folks and only offer small plates to enjoy. We had a fantastic white Negroni that complemented a plate of shaved ham. www.essexbarseattle.com
Mamnoon Restaurant: Another recent addition to Capitol Hill, following a trend of presenting inspiring foods from the Middle East, Mamnoon offers Lebanese street foods from a takeout window throughout the day and turns into a dimly lit, industrial-modern restaurant at night. Go with friends and feast on meze spiked with spices and laden with olive oils and garnished with fresh baked flatbreads. Have a glass of arak on the rocks and share one or two larger plates and a simple dessert like tahini cookies and coffee. www.mamnoonrestaurant.com
Cafe Besalu: A destination bakery in Ballard where long lines out a small storefront are worth the wait. Buttery pastries, silky quiches, and sugar-kissed cookies are among a few delicacies that decorate the glass cases with varying hues of golden brown. It ranks among the best with locals. Anything composed of laminated dough is worth trying at Cafe Besalu! www.cafebesalu.com