Let’s Talk Food: A foodie in Seattle

  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Copper River Sockeye salmon from Elliot’s Oyster House.

  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Clams in garlic sauce from Galliano’s Cucina.

  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON King crab salad from Elliot’s Oyster House.

  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Eggplant Parmesan from Galliano’s Cucina.

  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON This column’s author poses with a dish of King of North oysters from Elliot’s Oyster House.

What do you do when you have a day in Seattle before flying to Vancouver to take a cruise to Alaska?

You enjoy what Seattle has to offer — salmon and other wonderful seafood.

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That’s what you do!

As it is the end of summer and still very busy with tourists, I would not advise going to popular places such as Pike Place Market unless you have never been there before to watch salmon being tossed around. It was wall-to-wall people, and interestingly, with a lot of Chinese tourists. I noticed at the airport that there are direct flights to and from cities in China to Seattle.

There were lines to all the restaurants, and even if you went across the street there were lines at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. The view behind the glass windows of the cheesemaking kitchen, with the paddles constantly stirring the cheese that were in large stainless steel vats, was mesmerizing and made you want to go in and try the fresh cheeses.

In 2003, Kurt Beecher Dammeier opened his first Beecher’s Handmade Cheese at Pike Place Market. He fulfilled an ambition to make great cheese free of harmful additives and preservatives. Today, Beecher’s has a second location in the Flatiron District of New York. There were lines out onto the sidewalk as a lot of families with little children stood in line to partake in the “world’s best” mac and cheese or the grilled cheese with jack cheese and the shop’s flagship cheese. I know if I had our grandson, Quentin, we would have to stand in line, too.

So committed to pure foods, the Beecher family has The Beecher’s Foundation, and 1% of all sales goes to the foundation to educate and inspire people to eat real food.

But the lines were too long so we walked down to the piers along the water and stopped at Pier 56 and Elliot’s Oyster House. When we walked in, we saw an oyster bar with someone shucking fresh oysters for an order and we knew we made the right decision. The waiter recommended King of the North oysters from Hood Canal in Washington state. He said they were sweet and delicate, and he was right as we could have eaten a dozen more! Want seafood?

For starters, besides the wonderful, fresh oysters, Elliot’s has shrimp, calamari, Dungeness crab leg cocktail, smoked salmon fritters, crab cakes or steamed mussels. White clam chowder or spicy crab and corn chowder were the choices for soup. Shellfish salad of greens, poached prawns and scallops was a salad choice, and pan-fried Pacific oysters, Dutch Harbor red king crab legs, Bering Sea bairdi crab, crispy Pacific rockfish, Alaskan True cod and chips or Copper River sockeye salmon were the entree choices.

Being in the Northwest, I had to have the Copper River Sockeye salmon, alder planked with house rub and grilled vegetables with a smoked tomato beurre blanc. The dark red salmon was as good as I expected, flavorful and so delicious!

Jim had the king crab salad — three butter lettuce cups with red king crab, citrus, fennel and pickled cucumber.

We ordered the King Estate Pinot Gris, which was steely with a nice, fruity finish and went very well with the sweet King of the North oysters, Copper River salmon and crab.

The season of the 2019 Copper River in Cordova, Alaska, started in May, with a great start. The king salmon count was up from past years, with hopes to see 55,000 king salmon and 1.5 million sockeye returning to Copper River this year. To celebrate the first catch, Alaska Airlines hosted a red carpet event at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with about 18,000 pounds of fresh salmon that went to Seattle and beyond, including places such as Pike Place Market and restaurants such as Elliott’s Oyster House.

With global warming and the warming waters, there is a predicted reduction in salmon catch, so it is good to hear Copper River is having a good year.

I had my sights on Ivar’s Acres of Clams Restaurant at Pier 52, but Elliot’s Oyster House was a good choice. There is a free shuttle you can hop on and off that takes you to the waterfront area.

For dinner, we did not want to venture out too far so we found Galliano’s Cucina at the Seatac airport area.

Apparently their takeout pizzas are very popular, as we watched people come in to pick up their pizza orders. The pizza selections included:

• Bianca: artichoke hearts, tomatoes, garlic, onion, mushroom, alfredo sauce.

• Tomato and Basil: fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, tomato sauce.

• BBQ Chicken: grilled chicken, red, green onions, BBQ sauce, mozzarella, cream sauce.

• Naples Giardino: fresh mozzarella, tomato, onion, mushroom, pepper, Italian herbs, finished with fresh basil, olive oil and parmesan.

• The Mario: Pomodor sauce, Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, fried basil, fresh parmesan.

• Spicy Italian: pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, caramelized onions, oregano, garlic, pepperoncini, peppers, tomato sauce, mozzarella.

• Veggie: fresh grape tomatoes, onions, olives, bell peppers, fresh mushrooms, whole milk mozzarella, tomato sauce.

• Supreme: pepperoni, Italian sausage, fresh mushrooms, bell peppers, mozzarella, olives, caramelized onions.

• Pepperoni and Sausage: pepperoni, Italian sausage, whole milk mozzarella, tomato sauce.

• Pepperoni Classic: a blanket of pepperoni over whole milk mozzarella, tomato sauce, spices.

Some of the pizzas sounded so delicious, but we opted for steamed mussels with garlic and spices.

We watched one waitress take care of the takeout pizza orders, as well as the table service and wondered why, on a Friday night, she did not get more help. But the food came out on a timely basis. We ordered an assortment of appetizers — eggplant parmesan, fried calamari, clams in garlic sauce and a caprese salad. We ordered too much food, as the portions were larger than we expected. The MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir from Sonoma was smooth and fruity, however with a short finish, but went well with the food we ordered.

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The next morning, we took a flight to Vancouver to board our next adventure — a cruise to inland passage Alaska.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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