Dining in Seattle, WA

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Description : ABOUT Icon Grill Seattle… view more

YAH Says : Icon Grill Seattle The… view more

Icon Grill Seattle

The price to pay for comfort food is often the sacrifice of atmosphere. Items like Mac 'n Cheese, Fried Chicken, Biscuits & Gravy, Meatloaf, and Tater Tots are often found at a greasy spoon that may or may not have a semi truck parking spot in the front. This departure from the stereotype is what makes Icon Grill refreshing. Its dim lit artisan influenced decor is so tastefully eclectic and expansive that you make assumptions about the menu upon an outside peek through its windows. That's the flip side of coin in itself. You assume that you're in for a pretentious menu based upon the atmosphere but instead patrons are treated to the best of both worlds. 

Icon Grill is a downtown Seattle institution that you will want to make a point of visiting for all three squares of the day. AM diners will want to order the Joe’s Scramble (house cured ground beef w/fresh spinach, onions & mushrooms in a scramble topped with Icon's famous molten cheese sauce) or the Chicken Fried Steak & Eggs (Tenderloin medallions dipped in Icon's famous seasoned flour and buttermilk, topped with creamy gravy and served w/brunch potatoes and eggs any style). Midday foodies flock to Icon Grill for the Hog Wild Mac n'Chz (macaroni and of course, Icon's famed molten cheese sauce w/BBQ pulled pork and caramelized sweet onions). Dinner diners will never look at their mom's home cooked staple the same ever again if they order the Molasses Glazed Meatloaf - a large individual loaf of house cured ground beef, wrapped in apple-wood smoked bacon, baked with a molasses glaze and served with a side of sweet corn cilantro mashed potatoes and blackstrap gravy. Sorry mom. After being so ridiculously satiated with your meal it would seem ludicrous to attempt to fit in dessert but you would do yourself a disservice by passing up the opportunity to try the Texas Funeral Fudge Cake - a seven layered secret recipe cake served with an ice cold bottle of milk. We hope you have a large dining party to chop it down together with.

When ordering your meal at Icon Grill do not neglect to ask about the wine pairing with your order. They have a tremendous wine list that ranges from exquisite Local Reds to California Whites to Sparkling Champagne. After diner wines go especially well with the experience, allowing you the opportunity to soak up the artwork on display at every turn, including blown glass dangling from above.

Icon delivers comfort food at its best, wrapped and served with class and a glass of Washington state premium. An icon indeed.

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Description : ABOUT Biscuit Bitch Seattle… view more

YAH Says : Biscuit Bitch Seattle Welcome… view more

Biscuit Bitch Seattle

Welcome to the only place in Seattle where you can utter the word "bitch" to the counter person without getting slapped. That is, if it's on the menu.

Foodie bloggers can't wait to post blurbs about Biscuit Bitch because of its name. It allows them to make statements like "this place is bitchin'" or "there are a lot of bitches here" without readers batting a cautionary eye. Yes indeed, Cafe Lieto was wise to buck the letters found on their own awning and instead go by the moniker of Biscuit Bitch. But does the line wrap around its entrance every weekend around brunch because of its clever name? Maybe in the beginning, but the comfort food keeps patrons coming back.

Sure it's fun to place an order for a Hot Mess Bitch or Smokin' Hot Seattle Bitch, but it's even more fun to devour them seconds after the kitchen calls your name to retrieve your meal. The Hot Mess Bitch, a mound of biscuit and gravy, eggs and garlic grits smothered in cheese, Louisiana hot links and jalapeños, will slap your tastebuds silly. The Smokin' Hot Seattle Bitch, concocted with a combination of biscuit and gravy and topped with Louisiana hot links, cream cheese, and grilled onions is so good it's offensive. Even the basics such as the Straight Up Bitch (pictured beside the Gritty Scrambled Cheesy Bitch) is enough to write your mamma about.

But it doesn't stop at the biscuit.

The specialty coffees at Biscuit Bitch are just as good and alone warrant a visit to this 1st avenue (or 3rd in Belltown) joint. The Mexican Mocha, a traditional cafe mocha with a not-so-traditional kick of hot pepper keeps your coffee warm even if taken down to Pike Place for an early AM stroll along the cool waterfront. In addition, be sure to check their chalkboard menu for specials such as the Almond Joy, a brew packed with almond, coconut, chocolate, and espresso - amazing.

Name aside, Biscuit Bitch is gimmick-free comfort food (and coffee) at its best.

Biscuit Bitch Seattle

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Description : ABOUT Top Pot Doughnuts… view more

YAH Says : Top Pot Doughnuts Top… view more

Top Pot Doughnuts

Top Pot Doughnuts takes the top spot for our selection of the best downtown Seattle doughnut shops. There are joints with a bigger selection, thus greater flavor options per square footage, but the entire vibe of Top Pot sets them apart from the other doughnut shops on the rise. Not that Top Pot doesn't have a great selection, they do, but they don't need to go beyond the space they have in their modest pastry case because every doughnut recipe within is bang on.

Doughnut shops can often be judged on their apple fritter alone (wannabe food bloggers take note) and thus a sample of Top Pot's apple tree offering proved to be telling of the rest of their cake and yeast based selections - it was excellent. Crisp and generously glazed on the outside and rich and chewy under the bite, the fritter delivered better than any other doughnut shop in the area. The following sample however, the old fashioned salted caramel glazed, didn't just pass a test, it set this doughnut shop above the rest - sweet, salty, creamy, chewy, and demands a subsequent half-dozen box order of its variety alone. The raspberry yeast, strawberry iced cake, and apple sauce doughnuts (pictured in box) all followed suit. Top Pot also makes specialty java magic on the espresso machine for those that need some bean with their sweet halo of cake & yeast.

As mentioned above, Top Pot's allure is about more than their doughnuts (as if that wasn't enough!). The expansive 5th avenue flagship location offers the perfect morning gathering place for both those arriving with a large party or for someone seeking solace to have a sweet bite, an espresso sip, and to open their iPad, laptop, or dare we say a book (take note of the floor to high ceiling library within). The staff is extremely friendly yet laid back and the morning patronage within is dotted by both locals starting their day and visitors coming by to verify that Top Pot indeed slings the best doughnuts in downtown Seattle.

Top Pot Doughnuts

Top Pot Doughnuts

Top Pot Doughnuts

Top Pot Doughnuts

Top Pot Doughnuts

*Top Pot Doughnuts images copyright YAHglobal.Com - Can be used with linked attribution only

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Description : ABOUT Monorail Espresso Monorail… view more

YAH Says : Monorail Espresso Anyone that… view more

Monorail Espresso

Anyone that reads our dining reviews here on our alternative travel guide knows that we pay a lot of attention to coffee shops. They collect travelers from all across the world and in cities like Seattle one step into a coffee shop catapults patrons into an international gathering place. So when we review a cafe we always factor in the vibe (decor, staff, customer base, seating, etc...) of the establishment as one of the primary benchmarks for receiving a recommendation. Thus, when we came upon Monorail Espresso, we were at a crossroads.

There is no bookshelf at Monorail Espresso, no plush seating to toil away on laptops and tablets, no mingling between scruffy travelers, and no cozy dim lighting - unless the sun is passing into the horizon of Puget Sound. Monorail Espresso is an outdoor sidewalk espresso bar built into the concrete wall of Pike Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. Because of this we struggled to name it the Best Coffee Shop in Downtown Seattle. But after three visits we had no other option but to do so.

We first had to come to terms with our penalizing an espresso establishment for not having four walls and a ceiling to be deemed worthy for a Best Coffee Shop list. The two sidewalk tables fronting the cubby hole where Pike Street people-watching entertains those lucky enough to nab a seat helped skirt that apprehension. Second we had to commend the one person staffed counter for keeping up with the line (another good indicator) that forms at Monorail Espresso. The old-country (Italian?) owner is a more than pleasant gentleman who is more than happy to make recommendations or entertain conversation during slower hours.

OK, so with "vibe" and "service" receiving check marks for excellence the next logical benchmark comes down to the coffee. When it comes to judging on lattes and mochas (our performance indicators) Monorail Espresso simply dominates downtown Seattle. If you're up for trying something new, it's highly recommended to mind the sandwich board that fronts Monorail Espresso and order the specialty beverage that's scribbled in chalk as the day's feature. You can't go wrong. If you happen upon this coffee "street bar" on a day where the Coconut Hazelnut Latte is on deck you can thank the espresso gods for blessing you on said day. Otherwise, feel free to request a combination of flavored syrups to create your favorite iced or hot beverage. Monorail Espresso also brings in a sweet selection of pastry for those craving a nibble and their own homemade chocolate chip cookie mounds are perfect for coffee cup dipping or devouring as is.

The Best Coffee Shop in Downtown Seattle isn't really a coffee shop, and that's fine by us.

Monorail Espresso Seattle

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Description : About (From Management)Not long… view more

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Description : ABOUT The First Starbucks… view more

YAH Says : First Starbucks Seattle Without… view more

First Starbucks Seattle

Without question Starbucks is an official institution in Seattle and the very first Starbucks, located at Pike Place Market, is one of the most popular attractions in Seattle. As the birthplace of coffee shop insanity in America this location is also often the first attraction that visitors in town go to, given that so few of us can start the day without a cup of java - two birds with one stone.

So what's different about this Starbucks? What can one expect upon a visit? Just three things. First, be prepared for a long wait as the line that congregates out front borders on ridiculous at times, especially considering that another Starbucks is located around the corner in either direction. Second, if in line be prepared to be included in the photo albums of dozens of Japanese tourists who stand and snap shots of every imaginable angle of this American icon. Lastly, in stark contrast to the green and white logo, awnings, and barista smocks that you're accustomed to, this Starbucks is accented in its original coffee bean brown (the reason for the multitude of photos taken). Otherwise, the experience is about the same as any visit to Starbucks. However, without question any true Starbucks regular will get a kick out of visiting the very first Starbucks on the planet and who can blame them? An American institution indeed.

First Starbucks Seattle

Note: Don't make the mistake that many do by thinking that the Starbucks located at Pike & 1st Avenue (below) is the original. This location is also coffee bean colored but was designed so in homage to the original around the corner. However the Pike & 1st location with its spacious interior and overall relaxed vibe is far superior to that of the "tourist attraction". Take your pictures and buy your souvenirs at the above and return for your morning/afternoon/evening coffee below.

Pike & 1st Starbucks

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Description : ABOUT Cupcake Royale Founded… view more

YAH Says : Cupcake Royale There are… view more

Cupcake Royale

There are all sorts of sugary goodies throughout downtown Seattle. A sweet tooth wants for not in Emerald City. But while there are indeed excellent cupcakes to be found in more than one location, Cupcake Royale is royalty among them all indeed.

The first indicator is the salivating line that can bend around the Pine Street entrance of Cupcake Royale, especially on a weekend or sunny weekday. While Cupcake Royale has seven Seatown area locations Pine Street is a favorite not just for convenience and lovely contemporary decor, but for their brilliant ice cream selection and espresso (as if rows of cupcakes weren't enough).

With a large variety of cupcakes including fresh seasonal transitions that hint at visits to the local farmer's market (summertime blueberry, autumn pumpkin, etc...) placing an order proves difficult (and partly responsible for the line-up!). If you had to sample just three (one would be impossible) we suggest the Salted Caramel, the Red Velvet, and the Coconut Bunny. We're afraid we lack for variety when we name our ice cream recommendations, the two of them mimicking aforementioned cupcake flavors. But when the Red Velvet scoop ingredients read "cream cheese, buttermilk ice cream w/chunks of Red Velvet cupcakes" you cannot argue with the selection. The second? Salted Caramel Cupcake Ice Cream results in the same irresistible lure. 

Pay your respects to Cupcake Royale on every visit to Seattle until you've sampled them all. It may even become your reason for coming to town in the first place - it's worth the Air Miles.

Cupcake Royale

Cupcake Royale

Cupcakes images courtesy of Cupcake Royale

Cupcake Royale exterior sign copyright YAHglobal.Com

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Description : ABOUT The Crab Pot… view more

YAH Says : The Crab Pot Restaurant… view more

The Crab Pot Restaurant & Bar Seattle

Competing for the attention of seafood  lovers along Alaskan Way, the pier dotted waterfront of downtown Seattle, is a challenge. Crab Pot has gained its notoriety by throwing their bait into the sea of visitors and local Seattlites alike and caught a strong loyal following. The bait that we speak of is Crab Pots famous seafood feasts and we cannot recommend a visit to this establishment without insisting that you and your party order from one of the four on the menu.

The Alaskan is Crab Pot specialty, swimming with King crab, dungeness crab, snow crab, shrimp in the shell, steamed clams, Pacific mussels, andouille sausage, corn on the cob & red potatoes - a beast of the feast that is a value at under $40 per person. For under $33, The Pacific Clambake is also a fine seafood dining deal with piles of steamed clams, oysters, Pacific mussels, dungeness crab, snow crab, shrimp in the shell, a salmon skewer, andouille sausage, corn on the cob & red potatoes. The Westport at under $26 is better for those watching their intake, serving up Dungeness crab, snow crab, shrimp in the shell, steamed clams & Pacific mussels, andouille sausage, corn on the cob & red potatoes. The final addition to the Feast menu is the under $16 Cove - Steamed clams, Pacific mussels, shrimp in the shell, andouille sausage, corn on the cob & red potatoes.

While the menu at Crab Pot indeed has every imaginable seafood order you could want from a pier-side Pacific Northwest eatery the Feasts are something to write postcard home about.

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Description : ABOUT Elliotts Oyster House… view more

YAH Says : Elliotts Oyster House Seattle… view more

Elliotts Oyster House Seattle

A destination point eatery and attraction at the same time, Elliot's Oyster House in Seattle is a gathering place for those that obsess over the namesake shucked delicacy while seeking fine yet fun seafood dining. In addition to being renowned for great seafood Elliott's boasts the best waterfront seating which offers an open view of docking boats, gliding seagulls, bustling boardwalks, and the expansive Puget Sound.

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Description : ABOUT Ivar's Fish Bar… view more

YAH Says : Ivar's Fish Bar Ivar's… view more

Ivar's Fish Bar

Ivar's Fish Bar is the fast food offering to the Ivar's Acres of Clams (IAC) next door. While IAC is a seafood staple in Seattle we recommend the Fish Bar for anyone looking for fresh, crispy, deep fried fish and fries while getting out and enjoying the waterfront. You can do no wrong with an order of the Jumbo Prawns w/White Clam Chowder or Halibut & Chips.

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