I debated how to continue writing about this trip, chronological or categorical. I decided to do both. First would be the food then the places, because food is my fuel.
V and I met up with his colleague K, who was based in Portland. It was only during lunch at Lola when we found out he had to travel about 3 hours to meet up with us. Workaholic person that K was, he lugged around his laptop in his backpack since he wanted to work on the train. Never one to waste opportunity, I suppose.
We let K choose the restaurant since he required gluten-free food. Lola was attached to Hotel Andra in the Belltown neighborhood and was next door to another restaurant, Assagio Ristorante. According to their website, “Lola features the classic produce of the Pacific Northwest mingled with cooking styles of Greece; the menu offers modern Mediterranean and North African riffs on local ingredients such as Anderson Valley lamb, Penn Cove shellfish and wild King salmon.”
We arrived at 12.30 pm, at the height of the lunch hour on a weekday and had to wait for 20 minutes at the hotel lobby. 20 minutes later, our table was ready. The dining area was bright and sunny owing to the high ceiling and and glass windows.
I was mindful that we had a dinner reservation at Elliot’s Oyster House so I chose the salmon kebab. I noticed that most menus in the US, the word is “kabob”. I still smile at the different spelling in different countries of this word. In Australia, it’s kebab, here in the US and even in Canada, it’s kabob. According to google, kabob is mostly a North American spelling due to the transliteration of Arabic sounds.
It didn’t look much but the salad and pita bread were delicious. The goat cheese had the slightly sour taste that I liked. The vegetables were much fresher than the ones I tasted in other restaurants in the East Coast.
The best part about this restaurant is the 20% service charge already included in the meal. Hallelujah! Tipping had always been somewhat of a tricky thing for me to navigate. I’d rather pay a set service charge instead of leaving it up to me to determine how much to give. And no, the service was not mediocre. The staff had the right amount of friendliness and professional demeanor, no sickening fawning to get tips.
At Elliot’s Oyster House, I observed the service slipping towards the end. The dining area was huge, encompassing a whole basketball court. One staff seemed to be in charge of about 5 to 10 tables or so, though there were others who brought water, removed the dirty dishes, and delivered other dishes, desserts or drinks. We had to ask another staff for the dessert menu and to remove the dirty dishes as they’d been left on the table for a while.
We had to try the oysters, 2 different ones. Aside from the oysters, I wanted to try their crab cakes and their Dungeness crab leg cocktail. The portions were generous. I had never seen so much crab leg meat on a cocktail before. To be fair, I’ve only tried lobster cocktails but the ones I tried in Maine and Massachusetts were tiny, 3 pieces and they were it.
I could not fault the flavor as they were not drenched in salt. The spices were generous but still subtle that they did not overwhelm the palate. V was still full from lunch so he opted for a salad.
For dessert, we had the cheesecake since we were full.
Around 3 in the morning, I was woken up with the most painful back ache and stomach ache. I felt cold sweat all over my body. V had to lift me up to bring me to the bathroom as I couldn’t stand by the 3rd visit. I was dizzy and disoriented. I was shivering by the time I was done. I was so grateful for V’s body heat as it helped me get back to sleep.
Not sure what caused it. V postulated it might be too much food or alcohol poisoning. Never heard of alcohol poisoning and since I only had one glass of red wine, I discounted it but it intrigue me enough to google.
The Mayo clinic gave this explanation:
Alcohol in the form of ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is found in alcoholic beverages, mouthwash, cooking extracts, some medications and certain household products. Ethyl alcohol poisoning generally results from drinking too many alcoholic beverages, especially in a short period of time.
Other forms of alcohol — including isopropyl alcohol (found in rubbing alcohol, lotions and some cleaning products) and methanol or ethylene glycol (a common ingredient in antifreeze, paints and solvents) — can cause other types of toxic poisoning that require emergency treatment.
Alcohol poisoning signs and symptoms include:
- Slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
- Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
- Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Passing out (unconsciousness) and can’t be awakened
How much is too much?
Unlike food, which can take hours to digest, alcohol is absorbed quickly by your body — long before most other nutrients. And it takes a lot more time for your body to get rid of the alcohol you’ve consumed. Most alcohol is processed (metabolized) by your liver.
The more you drink, especially in a short period of time, the greater your risk of alcohol poisoning.
One drink is defined as:
- 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of regular beer (about 5 percent alcohol)
- 8 to 9 ounces (237 to 266 milliliters) of malt liquor (about 7 percent alcohol)
- 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine (about 12 percent alcohol)
- 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 80-proof hard liquor (about 40 percent alcohol)
Mixed drinks may contain more than one serving of alcohol and take even longer to metabolize.
I was more worried that I had another bout of gastro that I’ve experienced in Lisbon (horrible experience!). V bought me a banana and fruit mix from Starbucks before he left for the conference. I ate the banana and drank half a bottle of water mixed with the oral rehydration powder from Lisbon. Always be prepared is my mantra. By lunch time, I was better, which was just in time since I had a dinner appointment.
You would’ve thought I’d swear off food the entire day but I’ve only had a banana and chocolate chip cookie the entire day. No way was I going to cancel on dinner.
Dinner was at Sky City Restaurant at the Space Needle. The menu was displayed on the electronic board at the lobby shop so my friends and I already decided on what to get. I’ve had my fill of salmon so I opted for different dishes. Glutton that I was, I saw one dish that made my heart go pitter-patter: bone marrows. I ordered crab cakes with it (again) and twice baked potato
The bone marrow wasn’t as gooey as I was used to and was too salty for my taste but it was tasty and so were the potato and crab cakes. The restaurant provided a 360-degree view of Seattle as it’s a rotating restaurant. We were fortunate enough to see the sun set as we ate. Dining at the Sky City restaurant also includes a free access to the Observation Deck but we opted to spend the after-dinner occasion at our hotel’s rooftop.
The staff were fantastic, provided options, and even topped up one of our drinks. I’m not going to lie: some people may find the food and experience pricey.
The next day found us groggy and heavy-headed after overindulging on a bottle of Italian Moscato (Yes. Yes. I can hear your laughter. What can I say? We’re lightweights.). Bleary-eyed, we nibbled on pastries from Starbucks for breakfast (gasp. The horror!) before hailing an uber to go hunting for Bruce Lee’s grave. Our hilarious uber driver was kind enough to suggest to wait for us at the cemetery since it was raining and there were no covered mausoleums in sight. After a few minutes of wandering, a couple of guys directed us to the nondescript tombstones where we had a macabre photo pictorial. Even our uber driver decided to have his photo taken and another couple took our place after we left. Getting out of the cemetery was involved driving around in circle. We had to ask another driver to tell us how to get out…with the exit just a few meters away. The other driver’s expression said it all.
As we gave our uber driver our next destination (brunch because we were hungry), he suggested another place. He waxed poetic about how great the food was. A quick google search revealed a high-star rating and an opening time of 11 am. Perfect. We changed course and went with his suggestion. We happily waved goodbye to our uber driver, walked under the rain and arrived at the restaurant, only to find it closed. The note on the door said low foot traffic necessitated the changing of the hours. Gah!
By this time, I was in desperate need of the bathroom. A large cup of tea, windy day and cold temperature is bad for the bladder. That was the only time I was glad that Starbucks was inside a grocery store since Starbucks equates bathroom.
Another uber ride and we arrived at Paseo Caribbean Restaurant. They have 3 locations in Seattle but I decided on their Sodo (South of the Dome) location as it claimed to have more tables. Th restaurant was more of a fast food type. Menu was written on a chalkboard above the cashier. People order at the cashier, select their drink from the vending machine across the cashier, pay for the order, and wait for the order to be called out.
I’ve never had Caribbean food. If that was a representation, I’d gladly eat more of it. They had sandwich and plate options. All 3 of us opted for the sandwich options. One sandwich could be shared between 2 people. I ordered a Paseo Greens salad to go with it. The chicken sandwich was good though I had to scrape off all the caramelized onions. The baguette-type bread was too heavy for me though so I opted not to finish it. The salad would have been delicious with the bits of ripe mango and pecan nuts if not for the over-dressing, the
Romaine lettuce wilted under the weight.
Another walk around town, a bit of a rest, and we had our last dinner together. Matt’s in the Market is on the 2nd floor of a building right in front of Pike’s Market. It had a rustic feel with the floor boards but a bit tight in space. We managed to get a window seat and treated ourselves to another view of the water. Service was a bit abrupt with our server though the other staff were perfectly amiable. I had the duck liver for starter and the lamb for the main. A bit of an annoyance, the website menus in some of the restaurants don’t match the menus in the restaurant. I was looking forward to the lamb osso bucco but they didn’t have it and substituted it with lamb loin. The duck liver reminded me of the one V and I indulged in when we were in Paris. Ah, memories.
That’s it for the food.
Next entry would be all about the places in Seattle we visited.