Last Saturday we snuck away and had a really fun day. We went to Seattle and started out by enjoying some art at the Seattle Art Museum. That membership was the best purchase we made last year! It is so fun to go in and see the exhibit I want to see, and then visit a couple of my favorite paintings (I do so love the American school; thank you Helen Bedtelyon, my high school Art History teacher!)and then we can leave quickly and feel like it was a free trip. Plus we get a discount in the restaurant, and this restaurant is what you need to know about.

The executive chef Craig Hetherington has turned this once average museum diner into a dining destination for everyone who loves a wonderful dining experience. He respects the food and the experience and obviously hires others who do as well. The service is excellent and the food is fabulous! We had a light lunch and were strongly tempted to go back for dinner later, but we stuck to our general plan and while I am glad we did, I am looking forward to our next trip to the aptly named Taste restaurant.

I had the “grilled st. jude albacore: smashed olives & parsley, grapefruit salt, smoked paprika “caviar”, organic greens”. The waitress asked how I would like the albacore; ‘seared’ was my answer. It was cooked perfectly, the grapefruit salt adding the perfect tang to each bite. It was laid on the smashed olives and parsley, which were so good with it that I ate them all! The smoked paprika ‘caviar’ was (I think) Israeli cous cous (this is a bigger cous cous than you have seen: each grain is the size of a small pearl, or bb) and it was my least favorite thing on the plate, but nonetheless very enjoyable. The organic greens were NOT your average assorted greens! This little salad was so good with a simple vinaigrette and it balanced the tuna perfectly.

Mark had “hot italian sausage & herb pizza: skagit river ranch hot Italian sausage, spiny arugula, cheese curds” and he definitely wanted more. It was the simple, thin style pizza that we tend to love, with not-too-many toppings but just enough to fill each bite with flavor. The sausage was fantastic! We of course shared our meals, but he had his favorite and I had mine, so it worked out. They were small, reasonably priced portions, and we even had a little dessert, which is extremely unusual, especially at lunch. Mark had a pear crostada (I don’t remember the actual name of it) and the pastry crust was so light and flaky, it was really nicely done. He loved it. I had earl grey sorbet (seriously!) over salted caramel. It was just a touch of caramel and it was so good on the sorbet that it made the dish. There were chunks of something chocolaty in there, chewy though not too rich. They were a textural match that added a nice element to the dish. The bergemot sorbet was so very good (Mark doesn’t think tea and ice cream are a good match) it really surprised me! I would definitely have that again.

Taste’s menu was well thought out, seasonal, and simply prepared delicious food. Whether you are a museum fan or not, this place is a destination all by itself, and you can subscribe to their blog to keep up on current events, such as wine dinners and promotions.

After that we went over to Benaroya to see the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra with the senior crowd (2 pm Saturday shows are mainly kids and older folks, and I think a much livelier group than the evening shows) and we tapped our toes and swayed along with Duke Ellington and Mahalia Jackson, among others. They were great! We headed over to the Pike Brewing Company where we could figure out what else we wanted to do. The owners of Pike are Charles and RoseAnn Finkel, and they are also members of the Chef’s Collaborative. We had a Kilt Lifter (scotch ale) and a barley wine and we enjoyed them both. They are very unique drinks! The place is always packed and with their focus on local, fresh food to go with their hand crafted beer, you can’t go wrong here.

We ambled through the market (Eyeing the New York style deli that everyone keeps raving about…I want to go there but we weren’t that hungry yet so I just gazed longingly) passing by all the wonderful stalls and stores as we walked. We hiked up to second and kept heading north toTxori. This is a Basque style tapas bar, owned by Joseba Jimenez de Jimenez, who also owns Harvest Vine restaurant. I have wanted to get to Txori (pronounced ‘tchshoree’) since it opened and now we finally did. The menu consists of small bites, or plates, for a few dollars each, and a few larger, more shareable plates for a few more dollars. It would be more fun to go with a larger group of people and get more of the larger plates, but did ok. We had a little squid soaked in squid ink and it was fun to eat! Everything we had was full of great flavor and nicely prepared. We had a bit of Spanish wine to go with it and decided to knock one more place off of my ‘want to try’ list.

We hoofed it back about 10 blocks and ended up at the Triple Door since it was close to where we parked. This lounge is attached to a music stage and is just below the famous Wild Ginger. In fact I believe they are related and may share a kitchen. Mark and I sat on a sofa that faced a huge saltwater fish tank and we enjoyed a show of our own! We tried a couple of appetizers thoroughly enjoyed them; I think going to a show here would be really fun. The Otak Otak was a mild white fish in a red curry (like Thai) all wrapped up in banana leaves and cooked. It was a great appetizer and we really liked each thing we had. If you are catching a show at Benaroya, or headed to the Triple Door itself, you can grab a bite or a full dinner and not have to wait like you probably will at the Wild Ginger. (Can I just say that I remember when the Ginger was a tiny hole-in-the-wall and now it is definitely not. Still said to have great food, but I miss the old hole in the wall.)

So we had a day of art, music, food and lots of walking, which was much easier for me this weekend than it was last. Hooray! And we still got home by 9, which is good for me because I have a hard time getting off of my early-to-rise schedule. I am already smiling at the thought of my next trip in. I have tickets with Kat to see Itzak Perlman next month; maybe I can make another day of it!

Where do you love to go when you go to Seattle? Food or otherwise, tell us your favorite spots!