Best & Worst of 2013: What's In and What's Out in Seattle Food

Allison Austin Scheff  |   December 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Oyster bars: In or out?

IN
Tap Cocktails

Tasty, punchy and made fresh daily, the cocktails created at some of our favorite bars, including Montana, Radiator Whiskey and The Bait Shop, make grabbing a drink simple, quick and easy.

OUT

Cask Wines

While several restaurants have poured wines (by Proletariat Wine Company and Wilridge Winery, for example) from a cask, small barrel or keg—we’ve seen it at Luc, Coastal Kitchen and Skillet Counter at the Armory—the trend didn’t gather as much steam as we expected.

IN
Bees

When the neighbors stop by to ask about bee allergies, you know the backyard bee movement has taken hold. So, too, the artisan honey movement; you can find local honey at farmers’ markets all around town. Check out: Bee Works, Anna’s Honey, Ballard Bee Company and Brookfield Farms Bees and Honey.

OUT

Chickens

Cock-a-doodle-phew! The neighbors got rid of that noisy rooster—whoops, I guess they weren’t all hens. Backyard barnyards haven’t gone away, but stories of hipsters deserting their flocks and puzzlement over what to do with a chicken who quits a’layin’ seem to have slowed the trend a bit. The proof is in the diminishing supply of eggs deposited on our doorsteps.

IN
Ice Cream

With daring new flavors—and new outposts—from favorite ice creameries such as Lick Pure Cream, Full Tilt, Molly Moon’s, Bluebird and Parfait, it’s safe to say this trend won’t melt away soon.

OUT

Cupcakes

They’re still delicious, and we still love them, but the cupcake trend has peaked. We think. Probably. OK, who knows? Cupcakes are surprisingly tenacious.

IN
Charcuterie

It used to be that only your Italian great-grandmother or your uncle who hunted his own meat was doing it. Now, though, it seems like every menu brags of house-made sausage/pâté/rillettes/prosciutto/salami/bresaola. And we are loving it.

OUT

Pork Belly

When bacon jumped the shark back in 2011, chefs cleverly tricked people into eating it in slab form. Hence: pork belly. Yes, it is fatty and delectable, tender and incredible. It’s also becoming a bit of a yawner. Time for a break.

IN
Oysters

They’re sustainably farmed, good for the environment (they filter the water as they grow) and impossibly delicious. Oyster bars have popped up all over town, at Ballard’s Walrus and the Carpenter, Capitol Hill’s Coastal Kitchen and Taylor Shellfish, and at Little Gull Grocery, the oyster bar at North Lake Union's Westward.

OUT
Poutine

Any Canuck will tell you, Seattle never quite got poutine right anyway. Now, just a few years after it began, it seems our love affair with the gut-filling concoction—fries topped with cheese curds and ladled with gravy—has ended. But we’ll always have the extra padding on our thighs to remember it by.

IN
Bocadillos

Hello, fine Spanish cheese and ham on a crusty baguette. Why, yes, we do enjoy our sandwiches even more when they’re neatly wrapped in paper.

OUT
Paninis

Why take the joy out of our carbs by squishing them down so hard? Sorry, panini, you and your friends, pesto and roasted red pepper, leave us cold.


IN

Whiskey Bars

Radiator Whiskey in Pike Place Market (left) joined Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium and Ma‘ono Fried Chicken & Whisky as proof that brown liquor is in. (Photo by Andrea Coan)

OUT
Speakeasies

We’ll happily keep the craft cocktails, but we’re happier to lose the hidden, unmarked doorways and the intimidation factor of those phone-access back bars.

IN
Kimchi

Fermented cabbage equals yum. Wait, we’re not kidding! The Korean side dish is healthy, spicy and acts as a palate cleanser. We love the varieties we’ve tasted at Revel, the Korean Tofu House, Marination Ma Kai, and the jarred varieties from Firefly Kitchens at the Ballard Farmers’ Market.

OUT
Pickles

We love snacking on properly pickled veggies and fruits—especially strawberries—but too many restaurants are hopping on the bandwagon without the know-how, serving raw, hard veggies that have taken too short of a bath in vinegar. It’s palate-shocking and unsatisfying.

IN

Juicing

We’re revving our engines with the vivid nectar of kale, beets, ginger and apples. And boy, does it keep us regular!

OUT
Pour-overs

This precious brewing method turned quick coffee pit stops into half-hour ordeals. All this for coffee as weak as tea?

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