Every year I come at the big April Best Restaurants issue from a different, hopefully fresh angle. This year, my inspiration was former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni's farewell piece, at the end of which he argues that there is value at every price level.
There's a lot to be said for an outsider's view of things. Frankly, there's just less baggage. He/she doesn't take sides, doesn't play favorites, doesn't have a history (good or bad), so the opinions are pure. Or purer. When it comes to, oh, I don't know, a food writer from another city's take on restaurants here in Seattle? I think it's refreshing to read what they see, how they taste things. It makes me challenge my own assumptions.
In the restaurant world the ever-humble chef Grant Achatz rubs elbows with Thomas Keller, Tony Bourdain, David Chang and Eric Ripert. Last week he was in town with his new book Life, On the Line and talking with 130 Seattle fans at Tom Douglas’ and Kim Ricketts’ soiree for him at The Palace Ballroom.
Must ToastLive Tunes at Conor ByrneDitch the green beer and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Seattle style with a drink live music at Ballard's Conor Byrne. Local vocalist Erin Mcmanee takes the stage from 3-7 p.m. and the alt-country tunes of Seattle boys, the Whisky Swillers from 9 p.m.-midnight. $10. 5140 Ballard Ave NW. conorbyrnepub.com.
Must Taste Free Molly Moon’s in Madrona & Queen Anne
Chef Grant Achatz (pronounced AK-etz) is a visionary, multi-award-winning chef/owner of Chicago’s Alinea, a foodie fave and an inspiration at age 36 who lost the ability to taste – and nearly his life – from tongue cancer several years ago. His health and incredibly-tuned sense of taste are back, thanks to a progressive treatment program at the University of Chicago. He worked the kitchen through the chemo and now he’s opening a second restaurant, Next, and a lounge, Aviary, in Chicago.
It seems that people and food come together in times of great tragedy. This week, Seattle restaurants have begun announcing various dinners and specials to help fundraise for Japan disaster relief. Here’s our roundup of local restaurants donating all or a portion of their proceeds to aid our neighbors to the East.
Blue C SushiAll six locations10% of profits to benefit the American Red Cross
In the fall, as we worked on our February celebration of nerds (see the Nerd Issue), it fell to me to interview Nathan Myhrvold, the man behind Modernist Cuisine, the 2,438 page, six volume tome that aims to be the first, last and every word in between on molecular gastronomy. Only, don't call it that I was warned.
In January, Seattle magazine contributor Naomi Ishisaka told the story of UW professor Henry Lai, a bionengineering scientist whose research has placed him at the center of a persistent global debate around the effect cellphones have on brain activity.
Parents: next time you bring your kids into Taco Time, get ready to blow their soda-loving minds. Coca-Cola has spent the last half-decade transforming the soda fountain into every child’s dream with their new Freestyle soda fountain–and select locally owned Taco Time locatoins are the only places in the Northwest where you can give it a whirl. For the soda fanatic, it’s the ultimate candy store of soft drinks, with 106—yes, 106!—soda flavors funneled into a single machine.
I’m just going to put out there: I don’t want to pretend this isn’t a tough Friday, many of us are deeply saddened and all hopes, prayers and thoughts are focused on our neighbors in Japan. We’re going to soldier on with Fashion Friday as usual, but if you’ll forgive me, I’m going to skip past the quirky, cheerful intro and dive right in. Okay?