Monday, May 17, 2010
Gluten-free Seattle ~
I had not been to Seattle in almost two years to visit with my dear Aunt who lives there. Time flies - so when she asked me to fly up for a weekend to spend time together and talk a little PR business, I jumped for joy and on a plane headed north. Though I've never lived in Seattle (at least not yet!) I have spent many wonderful weekends there during the past 10 years with my Aunt, as she was transitioning her life to that new location...so I've been blessed to share in her interesting and creative journey that for now, ends in the Emerald City.
I'm an ocean person, no question. I grew up in San Francisco and the Bay Area where I have spent most all of my life and I can honestly say that there's a true energy, calling, power, (insert your adjective here) that I connect with when it comes to being near an ocean. Therefore, Seattle calls to me in that moisture-filled, close to the water, artistic-creative, gluten-free kind of way that it, in it's entirety, offers to me. Did I mention the lush green foliage everywhere, as well? Sigh.....
When I'm in Seattle it's fun to observe how Celiac/gluten-free-friendly the city or area is, in general. They have always been a step ahead the Bay Area, no doubt when it comes to gluten-free knowledge and restaurant preparation...and far ahead most other cities and towns on the west coast, so it's exciting and interesting to eat out in Seattle. This last trip certainly lived up to that last statement...oh, and the views from almost any vantage point aren't bad, either!
When I'm with my Aunt the days fly by and we are always viewing beautiful art, sharing amazing conversation, sipping aromatic teas, and eating delicious food...it's what we do when we are together. Isn't that nice. So after she picked me at the new(ish) Light Rail station at Mt. Baker, it was off to brunch at Hi-Spot Cafe in at quaint and cozy little spot in her Madrona neighborhood that offers amazing...coffee...and a plate of gluten-free huevos rancheros that make your mouth water - delicious!
The next stop was dangerous...I mean it. Have you ever been to a Glassybaby shop? Enter one of their shops or web site at your own risk because I'm telling you, once you've seen these "babys" in person, watched the glass blowers in action behind the glassed garage doors and squinted your eyes in the direction of 20 illuminated Glassybaby's, all in varying shades of beauty, you are done for...just like I was. I'll take three please! And the names...they are pretty magical and well...go visit and see for yourself. They are wonderful and the story behind the warm glow is really special. So if you crave the glow of candles as I do, this is the place for you.
We also had to make our usual museum stop...so if you're a modern art fan, don't miss the Bellevue Arts Museum. There are some really amazing exhibits being shown right now...and I love their gift shop. Really great gifts and collectibles that won't break the bank. Very well done.
My taste bud's favorite part of my first day in Seattle was the much-anticipated dinner reservation at Tilth. I had heard about this restaurant for two years and was so excited to experience what it was all about...owned by Maria Hines, a James Beard Award winner for Best Chef of the Northwest, as well as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs of 2005.
Tilth's angle is featuring New American cuisine prepared with certified-organic or wild ingredients sourced from as many local farmers as they are able to support. Pretty great philosophy, right? Yeah, so ordering gluten-free wasn't really an issue at Tilth...wink. They rock.
Let's start with my aperitif...Dark & Stormy Goslings Rum, Fresh Lime Ginger Ale. They are like mixologists...quite the cocktail menu.
Starter plate - French Breakfast Radish Salad mache, hazelnut, red wine vinaigrette
Chilled Local Asparagus truffle dressing, chive blossom, asparagus peeling
Pan Seared Wild Alaskan Halibut artichoke barigoule, preserve lemon, fregola
Carrot Carnaroli Risotto thumbelina carrot, parmesan, stinging nettle
Seared Broccoli extra virgin olive oil, garlic, chili flake
Avocado Mousse candied ginger, cilantro syrup, lime...Amazing!
So, it's all gluten-free - hungry yet? It's a must-visit restaurant the next time you are in Seattle, or better yet, plan a weekend to Seattle just to eat at Tilth.
You would think that being hungry the next day wouldn't have been possible after a meal like that right? Think again...it was time to get back to my Basque roots so we headed to Harvest Vine Basque Restaurant. I really like this restaurant and it was the first Sunday they started serving brunch, so lucky us.
Tortilla Espanola is my favorite food - seriously. When I'm in the Basque Country I basically exist on this one food item! Harvest Vine's version was very authentic and delicious.
Okay, we non-wheat eaters can't have these little buns, but I just had to show them to you...not fair not fair!
Last stop that Celiacs and gluten-free eaters will not want to miss is a vegan, gluten-free, wheat-free bakery I've written about a while ago, the Flying Apron. They have a new cookbook now that I noticed on display in the bakery, but really my eyes were immediately drawn to the beautifully-prepared and numerous gluten-free baked goods. It's always a little overwhelming as a Celiac, to have that many choices for dessert, considering that it's such a treat and doesn't happen that often. So I stood at the counter for what seemed like an eternity to the bakery's employee I'm sure, as I debated just what to choose!
But we can eat this! Yummy PBJ cupcake...don't let the interesting name fool you.
Eating in Seattle for Celiacs is really gratifying and reassuring. You can enjoy so many different foods, prepared by many different chefs and be safe and healthy.
If you have a favorite Seattle eatery that you want to share, please send it over. I would love to collect the names of more great restaurants to share and learn about.
Eat well ~