The Best Things We Ate (and Drank) in 2015

We Seattle mag print and digital staffers like to eat and drink. Here's what we liked best
| Posted
 
 

The last time I polled our Seattle mag staffers to find out what one dish, one morsel, one bev or brew from the past year they liked best was in 2013. Ah, what a year.

Rachel Hart chose the bratwurst with kim chee potato salad at Schooner Exact; our former food editor Ali Scheff chose...well she chose a lot of things, including fresh garbanzo beans in clarified butter at Mamnoon. I opted for an off-the-menu Sour Patch Kid martini at Six Arms on Capitol Hill.

That was then.

This is now: What did we like in 2015 that knocked our proverbial socks off? In what is shaping up to be a bi-yearly poll—depending on whether or not I remember to do it—we editors and contributors again sauntered down our collective food and drink memory lanes to give high praise to the best things we ate and drank in 2015. Without further ado.

Rachel Hart, editorial director: The Kouign Amann from La Reve Bakery & Cafe in Queen Anne (1805 Queen Anne Ave. N, Ste. 100; 206.623.7383). I have eaten enough of these all over town to consider myself an expert of these glorious treats, and La Reve's appears to be some sort of double stacked pastry, like a croissant on top of a croissant. It was truly the most amazing baked good I have ever had. Yeasty, chewy, shattery crispy (but not in the way where half of it cascades down your shirt) and that sweet/salty balance that a proper KA should have. I might have screamed a little that day from the office kitchen, not sure.

Jessica Yadegaran, food and drink editor: Duck fat hush puppies ($15) at The Carlile Room in Downtown. In August, T-Doug's newest restaurant, The Carlile Room, served this starter that I'll never ever forget. The combination of crunchy cornmeal and silky, savory duck fat mousse was enough to elicit moans, but topping it with sweet blueberry conserves and tangy tomatillo pickles put me over the edge. It's still on the menu but for winter they're doing it with quince jam--and they're doing it right.

Lauren Mang, digital editor: My friend and I stumbled into Stateside, chef Eric Johnson's Vietnamese restaurant on Capitol Hill, one night and were immediately swept away. First, there's that wallpaper (a delightful palm-frond pattern lines the back wall) and the cozy lighting. Then, there's this dish: fresh morels and English peas braised in Shaoxing rice wine and tossed with hollandaise. Incredible. Chef Johnson told me the seasonal dish (and not currently on the menu) "was riff on a classic French dish that uses Vin Jaune wine from Jura, which shares some flavor characteristics with Shaoxing." I'd eat 50 of these in a single sitting. And since I love to drink, I must also give a beverage shout out: My go-to, post-work cocktail love belongs to the Revolver at chef Thierry Rautureau's Loulay. It's a mix of Bulleit rye whiskey, Tia Maria and Scrappy’s orange bitters. Divine.

Heath Loshbaugh, digital marketing and ad-ops manager: One of the best meals that I had this year happened in Columbia City at Island Soul Restaurant. I’ve been a few times and I always get the tostones! They're hands down some of the best I’ve had in Seattle. In fact the last time I ate there we had to get two orders. And I top this all off with the ox tail stew. There is a ton of flavor in the sauce; and the meat just falls right off of the bone. The coconut muffins are delicious and are not to be missed at brunch. I have not left this restaurant anything less than satisfied.

Sheila Bacon Cain, contributing editor: Every summer I look forward to sauteed pea vines, whether on the menu at one of my favorite restaurants (like Dahlia Lounge) or made myself at home. Fresh pea vines can be hard to find in grocery stores, but Frank's Quality Produce at Pike Place Market always seems to carry them. I start by sauteeing a couple cloves of minced garlic in some olive oil, then tossing in a big pile of rinsed pea vines. Let them wilt down, add a little fresh ground pepper and sea salt and they're done. I could easily eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They're one more reason I look forward to the summer months.

Jake Uitti, seattlemag.com contributing writer: Trying to pin down the best thing I ate in 2015 seems like a virtual impossibility. I eat a lot. I also like to cook at home, from the fancy (I see you, Smitten Kitchen) to the not so fancy (boxed noodles with powdered cheese). Going out to dinner with friends, sitting around a table sharing entrees and appetizers, drinking good beer or wine or cocktails, is probably my favorite thing on Earth. So, I have a lot to say about this prompt my editor handed me.

  • Third Place: Cheap Chinese food. Christmas is coming up and I know where I’ll be for lunch: Seven Stars Pepper in the International District.
  • Second Place: Revel is probably my favorite place for a dinner party. All the food is exquisitely cooked, the service is friendly and steady, the drinks are fabulous and it’s a great place to sit outside and eat. Revel also has the best dumplings on Earth. Its short rib dumplings are so rich and flavorful and the skins are the perfect consistency and justohmygodIwantthemnow. Revel’s Dungeness crab noodle dish is also a plate you’ll want to order twice per sitting.
  • First Place: Spinasse. Oh, Spinasse, how you make the loveliest noodles this poor soul’s tongue has ever tasted. I like to make noodles on my own, too. On Christmas Eve, I often bust out the pasta maker, knead some dough and roll out some ravioli, spaghetti or tortellini. I’m no novice. So a noodle dish would have to be otherworldly to beat out Revel. And that's just what Spinasse’s tajarin pasta with simple butter and sage is. Thank you, food gods! 

Lauren Mang, digital editor: My friend and I stumbled into Stateside, chef Eric Johnson's Vietnamese restaurant on Capitol Hill, one night and were immediately swept away. First, there's that wallpaper (a delightful palm-frond pattern lines the back wall) and the cozy lighting. Then, there's this dish: fresh morels and English peas braised in Shaoxing rice wine and tossed with hollandaise. Incredible. Chef Johnson told me the seasonal dish (and not currently on the menu) "was riff on a classic French dish that uses Vin Jaune wine from Jura, which shares some flavor characteristics with Shaoxing." I'd eat 50 of these in a single sitting. And since I love to drink, I must also give a beverage shout out: My go-to, post-work cocktail love belongs to the Revolver at chef Thierry Rautureau's Loulay. It's a mix of Bulleit rye whiskey, Tia Maria and Scrappy’s orange bitters. Divine.

Heath Loshbaugh, digital marketing and ad-ops manager: One of the best meals that I had this year happened in Columbia City at Island Soul Restaurant. I’ve been a few times and I always get the tostones! They're hands down some of the best I’ve had in Seattle. In fact the last time I ate there we had to get two orders. And I top this all off with the ox tail stew. There is a ton of flavor in the sauce; and the meat just falls right off of the bone. The coconut muffins are delicious and are not to be missed at brunch. I have not left this restaurant anything less than satisfied.

Sheila Bacon Cain, contributing editor: Every summer I look forward to sauteed pea vines, whether on the menu at one of my favorite restaurants (like Dahlia Lounge) or made myself at home. Fresh pea vines can be hard to find in grocery stores, but Frank's Quality Produce at Pike Place Market always seems to carry them. I start by sauteeing a couple cloves of minced garlic in some olive oil, then tossing in a big pile of rinsed pea vines. Let them wilt down, add a little fresh ground pepper and sea salt and they're done. I could easily eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They're one more reason I look forward to the summer months.

Jake Uitti, seattlemag.com contributing writer: Trying to pin down the best thing I ate in 2015 seems like a virtual impossibility. I eat a lot. I also like to cook at home, from the fancy (I see you, Smitten Kitchen) to the not so fancy (boxed noodles with powdered cheese). Going out to dinner with friends, sitting around a table sharing entrees and appetizers, drinking good beer or wine or cocktails, is probably my favorite thing on Earth. So, I have a lot to say about this prompt my editor handed me.

  • Third Place: Cheap Chinese food. Christmas is coming up and I know where I’ll be for lunch: Seven Stars Pepper in the International District.
  • Second Place: Revel is probably my favorite place for a dinner party. All the food is exquisitely cooked, the service is friendly and steady, the drinks are fabulous and it’s a great place to sit outside and eat. Revel also has the best dumplings on Earth. Its short rib dumplings are so rich and flavorful and the skins are the perfect consistency and justohmygodIwantthemnow. Revel’s Dungeness crab noodle dish is also a plate you’ll want to order twice per sitting.
  • First Place: Spinasse. Oh, Spinasse, how you make the loveliest noodles this poor soul’s tongue has ever tasted. I like to make noodles on my own, too. On Christmas Eve, I often bust out the pasta maker, knead some dough and roll out some ravioli, spaghetti or tortellini. I’m no novice. So a noodle dish would have to be otherworldly to beat out Revel. And that's just what Spinasse’s tajarin pasta with simple butter and sage is. Thank you, food gods!