If you like fried pork rinds, you have to try the tapioca puff chips ($6) at Brimmer & Heeltap, the Ballard bistro known for its inventive, Korean-inspired fare.

What defines a romantic restaurant? Candlelight and tablecloths? Cheesy. Soft music? Yawn.

With picture windows overlooking Virginia Street and clean, crisp, modern lines, Shaker + Spear, the newly opened restaurant in the new Palladian Hotel, serves chef Walter Pisano’s take on seafood.

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After securing funding on Restaurant Startup, a CNBC reality show, chefs Garrett Doherty and Shane Robinson were able to create a permanent home for their 2-year-old pop-up concept, Kraken Congee, in early spring.

They’ve stacked the decks at this Carillon Point newcomer, which opened last December.

Sometimes, it’s easy to fall into “other city” envy. What’s not to like about Portland’s utopian indie scene, Vancouver’s dim sum and Japanese food, Chicago’s thrilling modern cooking, New York’s delis, bagels—everything?

Every August, our guest room fills up with friends from out of state betting on seeing the Seattle I swear exists: the one that doesn’t require an umbrella.