You Cannot Escape Avocado Toast, But Maybe You Don't Want To
I was recently in LA, where nearly every restaurant you eat at offers avocado toast. "Oh, LA," I thought, "You and your silly avocado toast obsession. We Seattleites are not so foolish as to pay $6 for a half an avocado, some sea salt, and a piece of bread."
I am, of course, thinking very wishfully. Seattleites gobble it right up, and now they've got a new place to get it. Cherry Street Coffee House has opened up a full-on public house. The family that owns the Cherry Street empire is Iranian, and the Cherry Street Public House will offer plenty of Middle Eastern delights: beef & lamb, chicken, or vegetarian Khoreshes (Persian stew); gyros; and falafel.
Their All-American, on-trend avocado toast features frisee (a leafy endive) and fried shallots, and looks objectively amazing. I can't lie, I might even get off my high horse and go pay $6 for it.
Olive Tree Sprouts Up in Fallow Ground
Speaking of gyro and falafel, there's a new challenger for the challenging space next to Smith on 15th, reports CHS Blog. Sur 16, its most recent tenant, will be replaced by Olive Tree, a new outpost of a successful Kent-area Mediterranean joint.
Brothers-in-law Zana Abdulaziz and Ranj Rebwar, who opened the original Olive Tree in the middle of a recession in Kent and built it into a successful 95-seat restaurant, are confident they can tackle Capitol Hill despite the dismal history of that particular spot. Like the little cubby behind Joe Bar in the Loveless Building, this Smith-adjacent space has traditionally spelled death for restaurants. Interesting that both of these culinary Bermuda triangles are next to consistently successful Capitol Hill mainstays.
Adbulaziz and Rebwar's food must be good enough, and their decision to scrap the full bar and offer a menu of wine-based cocktails is similarly intriguing. Best of luck, boys.
It's That Time Again: Dine Around Seattle
Yes, everyone's favorite cheap prix fixe extravaganza is back. Everyone's, that is, except the people serving it up. As a very wise food writer used to write every year, "Tip well, these things are hell for servers."
That said, they're wonderful for anyone who wants to try some amazing, fancy food that they otherwise wouldn't get the chance to, as the price—$22-$44 for three courses, or $18 at lunch—is insanely accessible. Indeed, the price of the prix fixe has only gone up a mere $3 over the past two years. Dine Around Seattle has always been a loss leader, but when you consider how much costs have increased in that time period, it's crazy cheap. Dine Around has also partnered with OOLA Distillery to offer optional drink pairings as well.
Sen Noodle Bar Comes to Ballard, Paseo Opens in Capitol Hill
Ballard has a new noodle bar, courtesy of the folks who brought us Pestle Rock, one of Seattle's best places for Thai. Tan Vinh gave it the Seattle Times short-form review treatment, and concluded that:
"Naysayers and expats will snicker that this comfort food costs less than $10 on any street corner in Asia. Those trolls also don’t pay the high rent in Ballard.
And Paseo Caribbean Food, which has been threatening to open a Capitol Hill location since last fall, finally stages a soft opening today at the old Pike Street Fish Fry location, with the official opening to occur next week. Bonus: a new (not found on menus at the other locations) steak sandwich.
Sazerac Gets Remixed
Sazerac, the Hotel Monaco's long-standing pseudo-Cajun restaurant, is no more. It will be "reconcepted" sometime towards the end of March into Outlier, your typical modern Seattle place featuring "thoughtful and seasonally driven fare" like duck Bolognese, crab-stuffed pasta, and black chili roasted chicken. The press release also promises a "Foie-ffle," described as a "seared fois gras and Beligan waffle dish served with huckleberrries, pickled Fresno chili, and brown butter powder." Whether it's an abomination or the next opulent Instagram trend is anybody's guess.
A Couple of South End Sensations
The wildly popular 85°C Bakery Café is officially open in Southcenter, reports Eater, and the long lines have already formed. Over in Tacoma, Rhein Haus, Seattle's German mega-pub/bocce court, opened a second location. Some details via the Tacoma Weekly.
At Long Last, a South Seattle Brewery Guide
As a waiter, you wear many hats. One hat I did not enjoy wearing, when employed at Schooner Exact Brewing Co., was personal brewery tour planner. SoDo, Georgetown, and South Seattle in general are all blessed with many wonderful breweries, and I certainly don't begrudge people for wanting to visit them all. It's just hard to provide people with detailed directions when there's hot food on the pass and you just got triple sat.
Thankfully, 14 of those breweries have banded together to form the South Seattle Brewery Coalition, and, most importantly, provide you with a detailed map to all of them. And you should really go to all of them.
Renee Erickson and Warner Lew's Pacific Herring Wins the Oscar of Canned Fish
Deck Hand's Daughter, a lovely pantry staple of canned herring at Renee Erickson's Sea Creatures restaurants that's named in honor of supplier/herring evangelist Warner Lew's actual progeny, won a Good Food Award. Maybe calling it the Oscar of Canned Fish is a stretch, but the Good Food Awards are pretty cool. They celebrate food that is "delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to communities and cultural traditions."
I'm most excited about Renee and Warner's win, because I did a whole feature on the woefully underutilized Pacific herring fishery and am thrilled to see it getting its due. Washington had an impressive showing in all the Good Food categories. Hometown heroes include Reuben's Brews, Olympia Coffee Roasters, Theo Chocolates, and Pike Brewing (nominated, ironically, for mustard).