By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com February 06 2013 7:00 AM ET
Now that Washington State has joined the marriage equality club, you may soon find an invitation to a Seattle wedding in your mailbox. If so, lucky you; it’s the perfect excuse to visit the Emerald City and eat your way through one of the country’s most established culinary scenes.
The current season of Bravo’s Top Chef, set in Seattle, is whetting viewers’ appetites with the city’s legendary seafood. And there’s no place for ceviche, salmon, and scallops like Pike Place Market (85 Pike St., PikePlaceMarket.org), where the smell of dead fish is somehow charming. While most tourists simply gawk at beefy guys flinging 75-pound mackerel, there’s also plenty of authentic eats to enjoy. Over 100 food stalls populate the market, but make sure to sample what Seattle magazine calls the “best chowder in town” at the Market Grill (206-682-2654), and don’t miss the legendary mac and cheese at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (BeechersHandmade-Cheese.com), where you can watch the fromage being born.
Starbucks is a Seattle institution, and the LGBT-friendly chain’s first store, opened in 1971, is still operating at Pike Place Market. But if you’re craving a different coffee experience in Seattle, visit Caffè Fiore (CaffeFiore.com). The oldest organic coffee bar in Seattle now has four locations throughout the city, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer crowned it the city’s top all-around coffee shop.
Asian influences dominate West Coast cuisine, so don’t miss an opportunity to sample Seattle’s ample offerings. For light fare that can’t be found easily in other parts of the country, go for Vietnamese, specifically Tamarind Tree (TamarindTreeRestaurant.com), located in the city’s Little Saigon neighborhood. Seattle Weekly named Tamarind the city’s best Vietnamese restaurant and recommends the fresh lotus-root salad with prawns. Even with fancy cocktails, the check won’t bust your budget.
But a vacation deserves one splurge, and Rover’s (TheChefInTheHat.com/Rovers) is worth busting out the credit card for. With a menu the restaurant describes as “the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest refined by a French accent,” you know you’re in for a Seattle treat. Even when the weather outside is ugly, the black cod at Rover’s is simply beautiful.