Sourdough mac and cheese at Von’s 1000Spirits
In 2017, I photographed 238 different restaurants, 150 of which were in Seattle. The rest? From all over the world. From Northern Africa to Buenos Aires, I had the esteemed pleasure of getting to capture food and booze in over 200 unique spots, almost all of which are small, locally owned restaurants, coffee shops, bars and tasting rooms (read: not chains). I should clarify what I mean by photograph – by photograph I mean that I went into a venue with my DSLR camera and took professional grade photos of food that was served to me. I do not mean 238 different restaurants hired me to come in and do a photo shoot for them (I wish y’all). Since well over half the restaurants on this list are in Seattle, this top 26 list is obviously going to be Seattle heavy. Here are the most delicious and memorable things I ate in 2017:
Phat Ass Pork Chop
Where: Le Petit Cochon in Seattle, WA
Holy shit y’all – I found the pork chop of my dreams at Le Petit Cochon this year. I discovered Le Petit Cochon in early 2017 and if you follow me anywhere on social or read my blog, you know it is one of my very favorite restaurants in Seattle. Their farm-to-table, nose-to-tale approach and commitment to local farmers is genuine and impressive. While I’ve truly never had a dish here I didn’t love, the Phat Ass Pork Chop is especially stellar.
Asian Fish Tacos
Where: Joey’s Kitchen in Maui, HI
I can say without the slightest hesitation that these were the best fish tacos of my life (a bold but true statement). They are committed to serving good, local, food here and it shows; Joey and team have been killing it since they opened three years ago. These guys are open seven days a week and make the perfect lunch stop when you’re shopping at Whalers Village.
Sous Vide Lamb seared in a Cast Iron Pan with a Miso Veil, Carrots Three Ways & Pea Tendrils
Where: Nomad PDX in Portland, OR
It’s been eight months since I ate this and I can still remember every bit of how perfect it was. That miso veil, y’all – it was like a delicious, savory, light fondant. Lamb was cooked to perfection; another homerun by Chef Ryan Fox and team Nomad. Dining here is an experience and if you haven’t been to Nomad PDX, I recommend you put it on the very top of your dining wish list. The menu changes daily and intricate multi course dinners with optional wine pairings are offered as well as a la carte dining in the bar.
Spicy Prawn Tom Kha Soup
Where: Quality Athletics in Seattle, WA
I am a little obsessed with this dish right now. It is so perfect for these cold, wet Seattle days we are having. Chiles, mushrooms, bok choy, coconut and lime are a stellar combination and I love the heat the chiles bring. I could eat a bucket of this soup. Pro Tip: Quality Athletics is your go to place to pre-game before a Seahawks game.
Fried Chicken with Potato, Swiss Chard, Leek, Soy
Where: Adana in Seattle, WA
These little fried chicken wings made this southern girl VERY happy, y’all. Skin was perfect and the chicken was moist. I absolutely adored it over Chef Shota’s mashed potatoes.
Bife de lomo
Where: Parrilla Peña in Buenos Aires, Argentina
It’s consistently ranked as one of the top parrillas (steakhouses) in Buenos Aires for a reason. This is the best steak I’ve ever had and I do not say that lightly. You just couldn’t beat the beef in Argentina. Meat lovers – GO! And don’t forget to pair that beautiful steak with a nice local Malbec. Good Malbec and red meat is surprisingly cheap in Buenos Aires.
The Pavo Diablo
Where: Delicatus in Seattle, WA
Well, I’m obsessed with this sandwich people. It’s actually sad how little of the rest of the menu I have tried because I just have to have this every time I’m here (which is often). Hickory smoked turkey, sliced avocado, spinach, cilantro, havarti, spicy chipotle aioli, roasted poblano peppers on sourdough bread = sandwich perfection.
Where: Goldfinch Tavern in Seattle, WA
Truly this is what dessert dreams are made of. Pastry Chef Gigi Ramirez is bringing it here y’all; her desserts are all outstanding and the regular menu is bomb too. Sunday Brunch at Goldfinch Tavern is an experience you’ll also want to put on your list.
Lemon Chicken Tagine
Where: Anywhere in Marrakech!
Tagine became my obsession when I was in Morocco for a week in September. I had it several times and it was always amazing. Tagine is a Maghrebi dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. There are dozens of different types: lamb, chicken, beef, vegetable and more but I was addicted to the lemon chicken, drool.
Where: Matt’s in the Market in Seattle, WA
I’m a little obsessed with this half dozen assortment of deviled eggs they serve at Matt’s. First off, Matt’s in the Market is just one of the most amazing restaurants in Seattle. It’s like, I took my mom here on her birthday for dinner good. Having said that, this is a place that I usually go for lunch these days and I always have the deviled eggs. It is such a treat to see what accompaniments the chef is pairing them with that day.
Mary’s Free-Range Chicken
Where: Rafn’s in Salem, OR
A signature dish at Rafn’s, Mary’s Free Range Chicken blew me away with it’s simplicity yet depth of flavor. A gently poached chicken breast in a Marsala-cream sauce with button mushrooms are served with some of the fluffiest, creamiest mashed potatoes I have ever consumed.
Where: Pintxo in Seattle, WA
Pintxo has been one of my very favorite restaurants in Seattle since a colleague brought me here in 2014 and the grilled octopus has been a staple on the menu since the beginning. Pintxo is Seattle’s signature Spanish tapas restaurant and after spending a week in Spain this year, I can say without a doubt that these guys know what they’re doing. The culinary team here is incredibly passionate and dedicated and their love of Spanish food is palpable on the plates they put out. This fresh Spanish octopus is marinated in Iberia broth, grilled and served with scallion aioli and toast.
The Painted Hills Burger
Where: Lecosho in Seattle, WA
This is truly a masterpiece between two pieces of bread. There is nothing better than this burger at midnight with a glass of red wine. Painted Hills beef, arugula, spicy aioli, and Beecher’s flagship cheddar on a Macrina Bakery ciabatta bun make up this burger. Do yourself a favor and add bacon. This delicious beast of a burger is only offered on the lunch and late night menu.
Crab Avocado Ravioli
Where: Tickets Bar in Barcelona, Spain
Well renowned as one of the greatest tapas bars in the world, Tickets in Barcelona was where my food dreams became a reality. 16 courses of deliciousness and this one was my favorite. Y’all probably know by now that I have a serious avocado obsession, pair that with crab in this creation and I couldn’t have been happier. This was the best meal I had in 2017 and my favorite dining experience I’ve had. (I do not say that lightly.)
Nashville Hot Chicken
Where: Sisters and Brothers in Seattle, WA
Damn y’all. This is not my mama’s fried chicken. Don’t get me wrong, my mom makes the absolute best fried chicken in the world (and you can read how she does it in the blog I wrote about it) but it doesn’t have any heat to it. (It’s not supposed to). This Nashville Hot Chicken though – oh my. You can get it Naked (lil’ bit hot), Mild (Seattle Hot), Hot (Nashville Hot) or Insane. I got mine Hot and it was not too much for me. It may be time to go back and try the Insane. Bomb collard greens and mac and cheese here too.
Where: La Churrería El Moro in Mexico City
Crunchy, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside; there’s really nothing like a good, fresh, still-warm churro. I was on a mission to find all the most delicious things in the Mexico City in August and the churros from La Churrería El Moro made my list. This is a must when in Mexico City. And, oh, those dipping sauces…
Homemade Sourdough Mac & Cheese
Where: Von’s 1000Spirits in Seattle, WA
Oh Von’s – my home away from home. Most people don’t realize the only reason I ever started working with them in the first place is because I was spending so much time eating and drinking there when I first moved here from Alabama four years ago. I’ve been obsessed with their mac and cheese since they put it on the menu and this year apparently word got out; Southern Living named Von’s mac and cheese the best in Washington State a couple months ago (and we know southern folks know good mac and cheese).
The 98118 Sandwich
Where: Super Six in Seattle, WA
Brunch at Super Six is stupid good and this is my personal favorite on that menu. Named for the zip code in which Super Six resides, the 98118 is a breakfast sandwich created for its community. The 98118 is made up of seared SPAM, tangy slaw, harissa aioli, pickled jalapenos, a sunny-up egg and served with your choice of red potatoes or breakfast fried rice. This bomb sammie is available on the brunch menu, offered Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 2:30pm.
Manchego cheese + Iberico ham cones
Where: La Boqueria Market, Barcelona, Spain
Visit the amazing farmer’s and food market in the Gothic neighborhood of Barcelona. La Boqueria Market is a magical place for food lovers where fresh fish, cheeses, juices, meats and more abound from local shops, artisans and farmers. There are literally dozens of little meat shops selling an assortment of meats and cheeses in the market where you can buy these handheld cones of awesomeness. They feature a range of different types of charcuterie in the cones but my favorite was, by far, the Iberico ham cones.
Where: LoPriore Bros. Pasta Bar in Seattle, WA
I’ve shared this before on my blog and social media and it has gotten very mixed reviews. Some people think its the most amazing thing ever thought up food wise, and some people think it is an absolute abomination. I agree with the former – this spaghetti sandwich is f*cking delicious and you can find it at their quaint little sandwich shop in Pike Place Market.
The Stephanie Forrer Burger
Where: Stacks Burgers in Federal Way, WA
I mean, of course I love this burger – I got to pick exactly what’s on it. And rather than just make it a ridiculous monstrosity and cramming a bunch of things on it, I went classic and added things I loved. A four ounce beef patty, american cheese, avocado spread, bacon, tomato, green leaf lettuce, sweet onion and a fried egg is my idea of burger heaven. This was their special back in March so it’s not on the menu any more but I bet they would make it for you if you asked 😉
Where: Los Hernandez in Union Gap, Washington
Who knew that a little tamale shop in Union Gap, Washington had such a cult following? People literally drive hundreds of miles for these things. I had the pleasure of visiting this delicious establishment in April and got to meet founder, Felipe Hernandez who told me the amazing story of how he started the business over 25 ago going door to door selling the tamales his sister made out of a cooler.
Roasted Duck Egg Noodle Soup
Where: Hu Ky Mi Gia in Seattle, WA
This Chinese noodle house is bringing it y’all (and I spent a month in China last year). I’d been drooling over this place for months before I finally made it in and it did not disappoint. You’ll find them in the International District of Seattle (where else?) and they offer killer egg noddle soups and fried butter chicken wings.
Where: Lark in Seattle, WA
All the breads are made in house at Lark and that includes this hella bomb chocolate bobka. This is life changing good, y’all. I love brunching at Lark and the bread is always the highlight for me.
Where: Los Chori in Beunoes Aires
Choripán translates to a grilled chorizo sandwich and Los Chori boasts some of the best in the city! This is the Classic Pork and it consisted of tomato, potato, arugula, oregano and, of course, chorizo. Swoon.
Dungeness Mac and Cheese
Where: The DEPOT in Seaview Beach, WA
This Dungeness mac and cheese is so decadent and delicious; you can just taste how fresh the crab is. Local wild Dungeness crab and cavatappi noodles simmered in garlic, cream, wine and lemon juice blended with three cheeses (mozzarella, parmesan and provolone) are topped with toasted bread crumbs in this bowl of creamy, crabby goodness.