Friday, July 18, 2008

Jul 18: Bite of Seattle

Today is the first day for the Bite of Seattle. The weather this morning was perfect-overcast but predicted to clear up by the afternoon.

The Bite of Seattle is an annual three-day food festival held at Seattle Center. The original purpose of The Bite was to provide a forum for local restaurants to present themselves to a larger audience by offering $2 bites of their specialty. However, last year, the $2 bite concept was eliminated which makes it difficult to sample the wares of many restaurants.

So far for us, S, K and myself, this has become a yearly tradition. The draw is the different types of foods and cuisines and the festive atmosphere with companies offering free samples, coupons and other comps. Who doesn't like free stuff?

A few things we've learned over the years is to go early to avoid the crowds, to find better parking and to enjoy cooler weather. The weather cooperated with us and we found free parking a few blocks from Seattle Center which was an extra bonus!

The calm before the storm... A view from atop Fisher Pavilion.

The first place we hit up is "The Alley". The Alley is where local fine dining restaurants offer a sample of their specialty. The proceeds raised will benefit Food Lifeline. Food Lifeline is a local hunger-relief organization.

This year, and the previous two years, The Alley is hosted by Tom Douglas.

Tom Douglas is the local celebrity chef who has a published cookbooks, multiple restaurants, a Saturday late afternoon AM radio food show and was a chef challenger on Iron Chef America where he won his battle against Iron Chef Morimoto. The secret ingredient was Wild Chinook Salmon.

All that work and he still has time to cook at the event.

The tasting menu for today.

Restaurant: The Palace Kitchen
Taste: Cherry Glazed Washington Chicken with Theo’s Cocoa Nibs

Restaurant: Szmania
Taste: Homemade Bratwurst with Mustard and a White Bean and Cabbage Salad

Restaurant: Seastar
Taste: Proscuitto Wrapped Diver Scallop with Heirloom Melon Relish and Honey Vinaigrette

Restaurant: Daily Grill
Taste: Hand-carved Steak Sandwich – 28 day aged Culotte Steak charbroiled and served with creamy horseradish sauce and spicy mustard

Restaurant: Portage Bay Café
Taste: Prawn-stuffed Halibut – All organic – halibut stuffed with prawns, spinach and sun dried tomatoes finished with a Dijon cream sauce

Restaurant: Al Boccalino
Taste: “Ancient” Roman Meatballs – Meatballs with red wine, honey, cumin, celery and fresh peas

Restaurant: Cupcake Royale
Taste: Cupcakes – Vanilla and chocolate baby cakes

The mini-cupcakes... I mean baby cakes. The display was beautiful, but I don't think the photo did it justice.

The meal from The Alley.

After The Alley, we walked around the festival and tried different free samples.

Unique way of pouring out samples with a backpack "keg".

The crowd is starting to build... This is Friday. Saturday and Sunday are usually packed to the point where you would see no lawn at all. People sitting on the lawn would become people trampled on the lawn... lol.

Two Seattle landmarks. The Space Needle and the International Fountain.

Pig on a rotisserie. Hmmm... make a mental note to come back.

After a few hours walking around Seattle Center, we hopped on the Monorail to downtown Seattle and caught a movie - Mama Mia! After the movie we were ready for supper.

Back at The Bite of Seattle...
Another traditional item I buy every year is pirosky - beef and cheese.
Pirosky is a Russian deep fried bread ball filled with ground beef and cheese. During the busy weekends, there are usually 3 or 4 grandma-types making rolling and forming the piroskys in the booth.

Crispy on the outside with a nice fluffy, soft bready interior.

Beefy and cheesy filling.... Yumm!

Other dishes we tried... (No photos since I still haven't gotten into the habit of taking pictures while eating)
Deep fried mac and cheese (Unknown, the booth was not clearly marked) - deep fried and tasty.
Blackened salmon burger (Ballard Brothers Seafood and Burgers) - a good blackened salmon sandwich
Roasted pork (Divine) - Can't go wrong with pork. The garlic sauce complemented the very well.
Salmon Cakes (Scotty's Northwest) - Good, but was more like a salmon patty.

Music is also a draw at The Bite. Local radio stations have stages where people camp out on the lawn and enjoy the music.

A Beatles tribute band.

The two surviving Beatles?

A fun day in Seattle.
Different view of the Space Needle

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