Plan to arrive in Seattle hungry. The Emerald City is one of the most thrilling places to assuage an appetite. It's a city bursting with flavor: taste and smell local delicacies at famed Pike Place Market; pop into the myriad wine tasting salons that confetti downtown, showcasing wines from hundreds of Washington wineries; and sample coffee in a seemingly infinite number of coffeehouses as you try to decide who really boasts the best brews and beans.
Delve in for a tasting menu of Seattle?s finest flavors, from the best places to brunch downtown to secret spots off the tourist trail.
Morning - Downtown
Since you?ll probably be starting your days off downtown, try our top two brunch spots, Tulio (1100 Fifth Ave; 206-624-5500; $16-32) and Sazerac (Hotel Monaco, 1101 Fourth Ave; 206-624-7755; $12-27). Tulio, where Northern Italian delights deck the menu, offers a stylish brunch menu featuring rustic grilled bread with eggs, mushrooms, and hollandaise and lunch items including a crisp lemon-dressed chicken, mountain gorgonzola, and greens. Friendly, super-efficient staff members are ready with a coffee refill before you?ve even put down your cup.
Flavors at the bold Sazerac are feisty and the color scheme is full of fall rusts, burgundies, browns, and oranges. The New Orleans eatery has an exuberant menu, full of flamboyant Crescent City touches, and a tempting weekend Bloody Mary bar. Try the Eggs in Hell, where eggs over easy and an indulgent dollop of sour cream lounge atop red beans and home fries. Tuck in under dramatic lights constructed into sheaves of fused glass sheets.
Sazerac (see above) offers some killer cocktails, which seems right when it?s named after one. Make sure to sample their deservedly award-winning concoctions, some of which star ingredients such as lemon sorbet and tarragon.
Afternoon - Fremont
A visit to Paseo (4225 Fremont Ave; 206-545-7440; $5-10) will have you booking flights back to Seattle. Located a few blocks up from Sunday?s fun Fremont Market, it's a good stop if you?re touring the quirky stores, cafes, and public art -- from a retired rocket to a 16-foot bronze sculpture of Lenin to a vast troll lurking under the Fremont Bridge -- dotted round this funky neighborhood. This bright, airy takeaway is not much more than a hole in the wall, but the tiny interior fills as soon as it opens, with in-the-know locals lining up for cheap and delicious plates of midnight pork, Cuban po?boys, and sumptuous garlic prawns.
Saunter down to the canal and wander along till you reach Canal Street Caf? (102 N.W. Canal St; 206-632-1733), a perfect caffeine spot with excellent coffee and a spacious wooden deck outside with a generous supply of plug sockets and wireless, if you need to map out your next food stop.
Evening - Ballard
A thrilling array of rum drinks, irresistible happy hours, and the best Puerto Rican food this side of New York make La Isla (2320 Market St; 206-789-0516; $6-20) an absolute must. What started as a stall in Fremont Market has grown into an incredible restaurant, kept a closely guarded secret by locals.
To get in touch with Ballard?s Scandinavian heritage, stop by the Copper Gate (6301 24th Ave. N.W.; 206-706-3292) bar and savor Nordic-inspired cocktails, starring unusual flavors, such as lingonberry, caraway, licorice, rhubarb, cherry, and fennel.
A Taste of Denver
A Taste of Toronto
A Taste of Montr?al
A Taste of Vancouver
A Taste of Asheville
A Taste of Phoenix
A Taste of Portland, Oregon
Taste: Most Memorable Meals by Famous Gay and Lesbian Chefs