My Week with Mark – The Beginning

Mark is visiting for the week from Burlingame, California (south of San Francisco). As his friend and tour guide, I’m trying to show him the fair city of Seattle. Though aside from a history tour of Pike Place Market, our main haunts seem to be restaurants and bars. How does that happen? Oh, we did manage to pass out under the welcomed sun for about 15 minutes today on benches in Volunteer Park. Mmmmm… Vitamin D, I heart you. 

First stops Friday were the DeLuxe Bar & Grill and Jai Thai, which really aren’t worth mentioning aside from that it was Happy Hour. No spectacular flavors or wow moments to announce, just cheap eats/drinks, though the bartender at J.T. is kinda cool. 

Saturday morning, we headed to ye olde lair Charlie’s Bar and Grill for breakfast. Even though the biscuits were too soft, the gravy was decent (more, please) and the bacon was crisp. I scarfed it down like I hadn’t eaten in days and sucked down a fairly watery so-called double Bloody Mary sans funky pickled veggies. Sorry Charlie’s, your Mary’s are no match for King’s Hardware‘s. 

After a somewhat informative history tour of Pike Place Market (must try the haunted one next), we stopped by for a pint at Kell’s. Each time I see Steve at Paddy Reilly’s in NYC, he asks if I’ve been to Kell’s. Did it for you Steve. All for you. 

There is a continuous stream of new eateries and drinkeries to try in this town, so our next stop was The Sexton in Ballard. A lovely spot with spicy hushpuppies, fried Brussels sprouts and Granny Smith scalloped potatoes in addition to refreshing libations, entertaining bitters and informative and pleasant staff. A definite go-back-to. 

I’d already tried Macleod’s Scottish Pub a week or so ago when Caleb Klauder’s band was playing at Conor Byrne, but had to make another stop. Now the name of the drink I had escapes me, but the previous one, Inverness Mule, was much better. So get that one. Other aspects I appreciate are the map of Scotland on the ceiling, the service and that they have a nice selection of scotches, Hudson Baby Bourbon and Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka on their shelf. A long time coming. Hopefully Macleod’s will sell more than savory pies, nuts and crisps at some point though. I tried the Haggis-Black Pepper crisps, but mieh. Good with drinks, but don’t expect it to taste like sheep parts. 

Ending the Ballard night with a sip at Hazlewood is the norm for me (when not at the Smoke Shop), or at least when I lived in the hood. Only seems fitting to continue the tradition. Always a lovely experience for both the drinks and the staff. 

Sunday brought upon a fairly calm afternoon. I was VERY excited to test Rachel Khoo‘s Croque Madame Muffins, though I soon realized I didn’t have a normal muffin tin. I have several baby ones, but not the regular size. What’s wrong with me?! Ramekins worked instead bringing a deliciously calorie-imbibed brunch treat bubbling with béchamel and cheese. Thanks, Rachel! I’m waiting for her cookbook in the mail via London (Merci, Don!!!! xoxo), and can’t wait to try out some of her other goodies. 

After passing out on the floor for an hour or so while staring through the window to the trees and conjugating French verbs, we gathered our marbles for a visit from Roniq. To curb her hunger pangs, I fixed an omelette and tomato salad. Then we all sat around and drank wine… and then more wine with smoked oysters; crackers; goat cheese w/Nana’s fig preserves, walnuts and chipotle; and a couple of sheep cheeses (bleu and parmesan). 

Today has been fairly lightweight. Coffee and sweet treats at Bauhaus. A perusal through Elliot Bay Book Company. A slice and a beer at Mario’s. Hanging in the park. And now, a dinner outing for Mark and Roniq while I catch up on tasks, a bath and some sleep. 

What will the rest of the week bring? Dinner at Marjorie. Possible drinks and nibbles at Madison Park Conservatory. Hopeful dinner at Bitterroot before heading to the Tractor Tavern for Rebirth Brass Band with friends. Good times. 

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