June 2016

The Ultimate Seafood Guide

Best places to eat, shop for and experience the freshest Northwest catch

From this Issue

Clam chowder, particularly outside its native New England, can be easily overlooked—too thick, too chewy, too frequently relegated to a bread bowl. But done right, it is the stuff of legend.

Whip up this delicious drink at home

We could try to name our city’s best seafood restaurant.

But it’s an almost impossible task with so many solid seafood dishes served by so many restaurants in our city. These dishes are stand outs. Catch them when they’re in season.

With the opening of a few buzzed-about sushi restaurants in the past six months on top of our already stellar lineup, Seattle’s foodies are spending a lot of time talking about raw fish. And why not? We’re positioned ideally to enjoy imports such as tuna and mackerel, as well as locally fished salmon, spot prawns, geoduck and more.

Team Panko or Team Beer Batter? These fish and chips prove it’s all good

What makes a seafood restaurant memorable? It may be its proximity to the water, but even more important is the freshness of the fish and how it's prepared. We visited Seattle's finest fish-focused eateries to bring you our list of the top five all around.

Cracking open the Northwest’s manna from heaven

Best spots to slurp and sample your way through our regional bivalves

Few of our outstanding regional foods reflect a taste of place quite like oysters do.

You love eating at Seattle's sublime restaurants, but where should you head to pick up fresh seafood to cook at home?

Although the following markets certainly aren’t the only places in town to find quality fish, these are our very favorite places to buy seafood—from the store, from the farmers’ market stall and from the boat.

If Seattle had a fish mascot, it would be salmon. We catch it, grill it, cure it and love the fishers to the north who bring it to market. Even though Alaska is home to 95 percent of the country’s wild salmon, most of us still don’t know our coho from our king. Each of the five species of Pacific salmon are prized for different reasons, from color to oil content.

Seattle is a seafood town—but it’s not only because we’re surrounded by water.

Here’s a paradigm shift for you: What if “dad bod” became known as a good thing?

Cherdonna Shinatra, the “drag/dance bio-fem” creation of Seattle-based dancer, choreographer and performance artist Jody Kuehner, is one of a growing number of drag personas nationwide performed by women. Rather than striving for catty perfection, she aims instead for discombobulation.

These days, Rick Steves is looking a lot less like a happy traveler and a lot more like a road warrior.

In 2014, caterer and entertaining expert Heather Christo and her two young daughters were diagnosed with severe food allergies following years of unresolved health problems.

The Cocktail With a refreshing and slightly luxurious mingling of flavors, the What’s New Pussycat? cocktail is really a variation on the sour: that large and historic family of drinks usually containing a base spirit, lime or lemon and a sweetener.

Sweet-toothed Seattleites have no shortage of options when it comes to fulfilling a craving for ice cream. But the newest take on the dairy freeze is not about the Molly Moons, Full Tilts and Bluebirds in the city.

I love the concept behind Nirmal’s, a 6-month-old Indian restaurant near Occidental Square. Instead of the typical buffet with butter-bomb curries, you’ll find a rotating seasonal menu of regional Indian specialties using fish, pork, beef and other ingredients rarely seen in Indian restaurants.

With its gleaming white columns and a stately portico often seen decked in red, white and blue bunting, the “White House,” an almost 7,000-square-foot mansion perched atop North Capitol Hill, prompts more than a casual comparison to our nation’s “other” executive address. But the resident in chief of this house is the indefatigable Roger Nyhus.

I’m a kitchen-sink salad eater. None of this simple romaine-and-tomato-only business for me. Instead, I crave a big bowl with bright, beautiful vegetables and bits of crunchy surprises, topped with a fork-licking-good dressing. I recently found just that when I tried the Buddha bowl ($9.50) at Sweetgrass Food Co., a cheery café in the Denny Triangle area.

There are lots of reasons to like Bramling Cross, Ethan Stowell’s new 50-seat gastropub located within a few blocks of sister restaurants Ballard Pizza Company, Staple & Fancy and Marine Hardware (formerly Chippy’s).

Upon stepping into Ecologic Dentistry in Bonney Lake, the first thing you notice is the scent—or rather, the lack of that dentist office smell. Absent is the antiseptic aroma of root canal chemicals or the sticky-sweet smell of flavored fluoride treatments. Instead, you might sniff calming lavender essential oil.

This March, Seattle’s resurgent Intiman Theatre announced its 2016 festival lineup.

Seeing iconic landmarks and historical sites is part of the allure of travel, but often it's the little things—the hidden gems that don't appear in guidebooks or brochures—that make a trip unforgettable.

A half-century ago, in the Marlboro Man’s heyday, nearly half of American adults smoked. Far fewer light up today, but the 20 percent who do face steep odds when they try to quit: According to the American Cancer Society, only 4–7 percent of efforts to quit smoking succeed without medicines or other assistance. Now, there’s an app for that.

The rate of developing peanut allergy in Western nations has doubled in the past decade, but Seattle-funded research holds clues to prevention.

Johnathan Hillstrand was practically born with sea legs.

The Maple Valley resident says his earliest memory is that of being on a boat with his father at age 3. He followed in his dad’s footsteps, becoming a crab fisherman right after high school, but never expected his work would make him famous.

You know what they say: Washing your car is the surest way to bring on rain.

Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, named for the first incline encountered by 19th-century pioneers as they arrived on the east shores of Elliott Bay, will bear witness to another first this summer as residents begin moving into units at Luma condominiums: the first luxury condominium tower to be built in the area since 1982.

Get ready for takeoff with these private plane experiences for any budget

In arts and in fashion, Tariqa Waters is unapologetically herself

On a sunny summer weekend last year, I loaded my car with a tent, camping stove and border collie and hit the road, in hopes of finding a spot in a state campground near Deception Pass. As I drove, I was reminded of the trips with my family in our VW camper van in the ’70s. We would pick a direction and drive until we found a campsite—easily available anywhere in the state.

Sometime after 2020, Seattle will wake up to a spanking new waterfront. Assuming Bertha finishes her work, the Alaskan Way Viaduct is replaced with a new street-level boulevard, the new seawall is finished, and the James Corner–designed “waterfront for all” park is completed, it will signal a massive transformation of the place where Seattle meets the sea.

Our creative duos prove that odd couples can make the most interesting dinner companions


2 cups baby red potatoes, diced medium

4 slices nitrite-free bacon

½ cup Darigold butter

2 cups onions, diced medium

2 cups celery, diced medium

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, diced small

½ cup flour or ½ cup Duke’s Gluten-Free Flour Blend*

 2 tablespoons clam base

1 ½ cups clam juice

Unlike our compatriots in the eastern regions of the country, Northwesterners typically add no spice (beyond salt) to the pot when boiling crab for a feast. Having grown up here, of course I adhere to the practice, finding that the flavor of the crab itself is near perfection. Some crab lovers simply scoop up clean seawater, which is clearly quite salty, in which to cook the crab.

Both fresh and pickled ginger add distinct flavor to this mignonette. Look for the thinly sliced ginger (often pink, sometimes a natural buff color) commonly served with sushi. It may be sold with other Asian ingredients in a refrigerated case, or you may find small condiment-size containers near prepared sushi.

Makes about 1/2 cup, enough for about 4 dozen oysters on the half shell

Nut milks—especially almond milk—are having a moment. The creamy liquid is made by grinding nuts with water, resulting in a velvety milk-like beverage. Health-conscious eaters and plant-based diet devotees swear by the nutritional value of nut milks, adding almond milk, for example, to smoothies and swapping out the cream in coffee for Brazil nut milk.

To say the summer solstice is a big deal in Scandinavia is an understatement: In Sweden, for instance, the midsummer holiday comes second only to Christmas in terms of the scale of celebration. After a season of short, dark days, it’s little wonder those Nordic types break open the schnapps and toast the high point of summer.

For more than 40 years, the Seattle Independent Film Festival (SIFF) has introduced its patrons to up-and-coming talent and films not seen anywhere else in town.

Salted Pistachio Syrup

1 cup whole unshelled pistachios

1 cup simple syrup (1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water)

1 Tablespoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend well. Strain through cheesecloth to remove particles.

WHERE: Camano Island, a cozy enclave that’s a little less than 90 minutes northwest of Seattle via State Route 532.