As may be evidenced in my other posts, I am a total fan of Molly Wizenberg, Seattle-based writer of Orangette. In the days leading up to our trip, I listened voraciously (if it’s possible to listen voraciously?) to her podcast with Matthew Amster-Burton, Spilled Milk. I roped Jay into playing a few episodes with me and memorizing any references to Seattle they made. Thanks to our embarrassingly dedicated listenership, we were able to follow up on some totally excellent food recommendations during our trip.
In one episode, aptly titled “A Day of Perfect Meals,” Molly revealed that she would visit Little Uncle in Seattle for an ideal lunch. The deal was sealed once she mentioned khao gai mun, a Thai rendition of Jay’s other love, Hainanese chicken rice. Indeed, the dish was perfect: poached chicken, garlic and chicken fat rice, winter melon broth, and ginger-soy sauce. A side of fish sauce and bird chilies knocked this one out of the park.
Delicious, but second fiddle to the khao gai mun, was this wild boar curry. I was pleasantly surprised by its light, broth-like quality.
It should also be mentioned that Little Uncle’s Pioneer Square location has one of the most invitingly-designed spaces I’d ever been in. A discreet stairwell on street-level leads you down into a well-lit, underground restaurant. The interior’s textural mix of tinny metal, bright colors and warm wood emulated authentic south east Asian style.
Of course, there was no way that we were going to leave Seattle without trying Molly’s labor of love: Delancey, a pizzeria in the Ballard neighborhood. Molly opened the restaurant with her partner, Brandon Pettit, a pizzaiolo and culinary expert in his own right. Celebrated owners aside, Delancey’s been getting incredible reviews, and with good reason.
Because two pizzas seemed too much, we ordered the charcuterie plate and one pizza. Big mistake. The charcuterie plate was nothing to write home about (and, in retrospect, was more costly than some of the pies on offer). I would’ve much preferred to use our dollars and stomach space on a second pizza… because our single sausage selection with padron peppers was delicious. It was light, it was crispy, it was charred — it hit all the right Neapolitan-style buttons. While Delancey’s pizza may not totally beat out San Francisco’s slices (which isn’t a knock on it, considering our city is fucking obsessed with pizza), it was great and we wanted more.
In the interest of fairness, we also went with a tip from Matthew Amster-Burton and visited Anchovies & Olives, a seafood restaurant by beloved Seattle chef Ethan Stowell. It was a last-minute affair, but how glad we are that we got to try it. Although the place had great reviews, we came in with no expectations — and sometimes I think it’s that lack of expectations that really gives a restaurant the room to wow you.
We chose one plate from every section of the menu, starting off with a crudo (daurade with pine nuts) and an appetizer (summer bean salad with dungeness crab and grapefruit). The seafood was delightfully fresh. I was especially enamored by the salad.
For our entree, we shared two incredible dishes: linguine with uni butter, and branzino grilled whole and filleted tableside. I’d been a bit hesitant to order the carb-heavy linguine, but I shouldn’t have been; those buttery, tangy, delicious bites were worth every single goddamn calorie. Jay rated this dish a perfect 10. The branzino was also flaky and tender, wonderful even without the accompanying olives and despite its bones. Suffice to say, this may have been our favorite meal of the entire trip.
Note: You may notice Jay’s hand hovering near the edge of these photos. He may not understand my commitment to taking photos of my meals — but he sure will help me achieve somewhat adequate lighting, even if it means holding a candle awkwardly by a plate of food. What a man!
Little Uncle (multiple locations)
1509 E Madison St
Seattle, WA 98122
1415 NW 70th St
Seattle, WA 98117
Anchovies & Olives
1550 15th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122