Eat, drink and be merry: Phinney, Ravenna, Ballard
Welcome to another installment in my occasional series on interesting neighborhoods to check out, and my recommendations on where to sample the local food and drink.
Plan your tour of Phinney for a Thursday night so that you can start at Picnic’s (pictured above) weekly wine tasting. For a mere $8 you’ll get the chance to sample some terrific wine as well as a selection of the meats, cheeses and other nibbles straight from the pantry of this fantastic eat in/take out neighborhood spot.
Continue on to Oliver’s Twist for a Parish Boy (cognac, St. Germain, fernet-branca and lemon bitters ) and small plates like the Mt. Townsend Seastack cheese, bacon compote, brioche crouton and orange marmalade.
Take a u-turn from the upscale and march down the block to El Chupacabra. Go for the kitschy “Mexican baroque” décor (as I’ve heard it described) and stay for margaritas in tall tumblers and several rounds of pool.
Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parlor is the sort of place where you want to settle in and stay for a while, and I encourage you to do just that. Maybe it’s the small scale of the bar, all of the warm wood or the excellent service, but I can’t think of a better place to start your night.
I feel a little like I’m cheating as Frank’s and Pair are owned by the same couple, but it’s such a great combination that I couldn’t resist. Pair is a sweet little neighborhood restaurant that happens to have fantastic food like the smoked pork belly with a farro and spring onion salad, wilted chard and ginger-mustard gastrique. I mean, come on!
For dessert check out Peaks Frozen Custard, working hard to teach Seattleites the joys of this Midwest staple.
Start your evening with drinks in the bar at Volterra, with a White Peach Thyme Bellini or maybe the Nocciola Manhattan if you’re feeling a little sturdier.
Just up the street from Volterra is La Carta de Oaxaca, with to-die-for black chile mole and my favorite, molotes (potatoes and beef sausage wrapped in fried homemade tortillas with guacamole, hot sauce and Oaxaqueno cheese). No matter that the line is always out the door; just order up a margarita and settle in for the wait.
Another small plate option, though likely to be just as busy, is Ocho. Come here for fantastic Spanish tapas like seared sea scallops with an English pea purée, Serrano ham and lemon vinaigrette, and stay for a very well-poured San Miguel (gin, St. Germain and rhubarb bitters). Can you tell? I love the St. Germain.
If you’re still standing after all of this good food and drink, make your way to King’s Hardware and play a few games of skee ball while you ponder the use of taxidermy as décor.
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