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The Whale Wins Seattle Review Wiaw

Hi loves! Alex and I are still on our whirlwind tour of the US (it seems), but having a wonderful time. The travel on Monday was a bit brutal, but as I said on Monday’s post–worth every cent. I had a recipe to post today, but I simply had to talk about the absolutely incredible meal that Alex, Aunt Peggy and I enjoyed on Monday. Plus, it is literally across the street from this place, so I knew that it had to be good:


Brooks Running HQ. I may not currently be wearing Brooks, but I will always love them.

Thank you as always to Jenn!

Thank you as always to Jenn!

Now, on to dinner!

The Whale Wins Seattle


One of chef Renee Ericksons four restaurants, The Whale Wins is a foodie paradise, and everything that Alex and I love about smaller, ingredient-driven, masters of detail restaurants. The decor is clean and modern, but extremely comfortable–you feel like you are in a sea town, but an airy and clean one at that. And I loved the lighting!


The kitchen is open to the restaurant, which is small and obviously beloved by all–we ate extremely early (due to the time change) and there were people dining even then, though few, and by the time we left the seats were packed. I loved the openness of everything, and the almost market-vibe. You could purchase many of the products, the wines, etc, and that made it feel like a general store! Upmarket and classy, but casual and welcoming. 


The food. The drinks. Perfection. Everything is house-made or brought from a particular bakery, and the attention to detail from the products themselves to the plating was truly admirable. And, as is the case in my favorite restaurants, the dishes spoke for themselves. No trying to hide anything–this was all about the food. So let’s dive in!


The Millionaire

Oh, my. This drink was dangerously good. Spiced, sweet but not too sweet… I don’t even know if I could describe it for you. I could have just had that and been totally and completely content, maybe for life.


Blood and Sand

Also excellent, but it had a tough act to follow. Even so, incredibly delicious. A bit less complex in its flavors than the Millionaire–a bit more straightforward. I almost wish we had ordered them in opposite order! Fantastic, but would perhaps have worked better as a build up to the the Millionaire rather than following it. 


House Pickles

I saw these on the menu and of course had to get them. Wow. Just wow. Perfectly balanced acid to sweet and a great selection of vegetables. Loved the carrots, turnips, beets, mushrooms, onion, and the raisins were an unexpected but perfect touch. This plate came in very handy with the addition of the….


Sea Wolf and Columbia City Bakery Bread and Butter

The larger of the breads (not sure which bakery) was omg out of this world. Perfectly rustic, airy, and incredible flavor. The butter was freshly made and just of purest essence. But the true way to go about it was to build a piece with some of the oil and vinegar from the pickle plate!


Fermin Jamon Serrano Ham and Butter

I love serrano ham, and this was impeccable. Some of the best Serrano Ham I’ve had, and I’m not sure why–perhaps that final drizzle of almost sweet olive oil, or the perfectly thin slices. I commandeered this plate, shall we say…


Parsnip, Apple, Jicama, Chervil, Cilantro, Nut Vinaigrette

This surprised me by how excellent it was. I can go either way with parsnips, but these were roasted to perfection and truly brought out the sweetness of the vegetable, rather than the bitterness that you can sometimes get. I loved that it also came with some peanuts–a lovely little salty crunch touch, with the freshness of the herbs and jicama and sweetness of the apple that was so different from the earthy sweetness of the parsnip. 


Cauliflower, Chickpeas, Caraway Aioli, Walnuts, Radish, Orange, Marjoram

Another fabulous dish, and one of Peggy’s favorites. I wasn’t quite as into it as the others, but that is like saying you prefer emeralds to sapphires! Just a bit rich for me, but I have to say that the dish was constructed beautifully–you built your bite with exactly what you wanted, and the freshness of the ingredients was immediately apparent. And I loved the unexpected orange zest, which elevated everything!


Matiz Sardines on Toast, Curried Tomato Paste, Shaved Fennel

If you have never had sardines before, start here, you will never think twice about them again, I promise. Served on think, hearty, rustic bread, with a generous (perhaps a little too generous) schmear of the paste (which was more of a lightly spiced tomato aioli and delicious!), the sardines were topped by shaved fennel (tossed in citrus) and parsley. Perfectly balanced, with the acid and crunch of the dressed fennel cutting through the richness of the other ingredients and anchored by the bread. I think that this plate surprised Alex the most!


Roast Beef, Broccoli Rabe, Chile Honey Aioli

I can understand that the Serrano ham might not have been the absolute best ham I’ve ever had, but I would wager this as in the top 2 roast beefs I’ve ever had. I was full-up by now, and I simply couldn’t stop! Plus, you know, gotta get your protein in 😉 Loved the spice of the aioli, and the broccoli rabe was good, and I know that the bitterness was meant to be a counterpoint to the rest, but it was kind of a nuissance, actually! Mostly because of being hard to cut, lol. But that roast beef is the stuff that dreams are made of. 


Eton Mess, Lemon Curd, Citrus, Meringue, Pistachio

I loved the simplicity of the selection of sweets. There was a butter roasted zucchini bread, roasted medjool dates, the Eton mess, and apple butter bread. We went with the “mess” because we had seen the meringues upon entering and it was just different than anything else. We were completely full at this point, of course, but that didn’t stop us. Perfect lemon curd, fresh whipped cream, the most succulent grapefruit, and those meringues. A beautiful mess, truly. 

After the bar food blitz of the day before, and then flying all day, and being on goodness knows what time zone, Alex and I were all of the “not going to overeat” mindset. Well, we did overeat, but it was such incredible food that we couldn’t pretend to feel badly about it! There is just something about filling up with the best ingredients, the best flavors, that prevents you from feeling “bad.” And I’ve no doubt that by the time that this post goes live, we will have done the same again!

What looks tasty to you?

Have you been to Seattle before?  We have a pretty full itinerary, but what should I be on the lookout for?

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  • Reply Heather @Fit n Cookies

    Oh my gosh, that looks phenomenal. I love that you already have found the amazing restaurants Seattle has to offer 😉 I mean, Brooks headquarters totally gives away that it’s awesome. Too bad it wasn’t IN the headquarters- THAT would’ve been awesome 😉
    Heather @Fit n Cookies recently posted…A Day In The Life 2/10/15My Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 6:23 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I don’t know if I could have eaten if that was the case. But the drool would have been the same haha

      February 13, 2015 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    oh I would be all over those pickled veggies too! I haven’t been to Seattle in years hope you are having a great time. btw went to an awesome CPY sculpt class yesterday. Killer!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…A Day At The Salamander Resort-Middleburg, VaMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 6:23 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      CPY sculpt is soooooo good! Glad that you enjoyed it!

      February 13, 2015 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    Wow that food looks really delicious!
    Lisa recently posted…WIAW 2015 #06 Parent’s Food GiftsMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 6:37 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You can’t even imagine!

      February 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm
  • Reply Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    That looks like an awesome restaurant! The food looks amazeballs. You guys have good taste 🙂 I have only been to Seattle once, and it was for a day. I wish I had gotten to see more!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…12 Characteristics of Long Distance RunnersMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 7:04 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Not enough time in one day to get all the food eaten lol

      February 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    I’ve never been to Seattle but would love to spend some more time on the west coast. Id really like to be able to run a race in Oregon at some point. Everything looks great…way more sophisticated than the food that I eat out:) Except for the bread and butter. I’m all over that.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…WIAW: Travel EatsMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 7:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Well, you know me, bread and butter is well, my bread and butter haha

      February 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm
  • Reply Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie

    Drooling over here. I’m going to Seattle in June, so will have to remember that one!
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…WIAW: What I Didn’t EatMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 7:13 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Couldn’t recommend it enough!

      February 13, 2015 at 1:09 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    Those are some gorgeous plates. The drink with the kick sounds good to me! haha.
    I’d be all over the cauliflower dish too.
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…5 Tips to Rock the Disney Princess Half MarathonMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 7:28 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Everyone is loving the cauliflower dish! Cauli is soooo good.

      February 13, 2015 at 1:09 pm
  • Reply Nicole@Thegirlwhoraneverywhere

    I want all the things in this post in my belly IMMEDIATELY. I havea thing for thin ham and prosciutto…. it’s SO ridiculously yummy!!! The millionaire looks like it has some sort of a cider/whiskey mix? If so, I could die and go to heaven in that glass!
    xo hope you’re having a BLAST!!

    February 11, 2015 at 7:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Prosciutto is maybe one of my favorite things of all time. And yes, yes it does. I DIED

      February 13, 2015 at 1:08 pm
  • Reply Pragati // Simple Medicine

    love, love, love Seattle! Enjoy your time there and tell the PNW I say HELLO!
    Pragati // Simple Medicine recently posted…Sweet Tart Sugar Lip ScrubMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 7:49 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Rainier said hi!

      February 13, 2015 at 1:08 pm
  • Reply

    I LOVE restaurants where you can see what’s happening in the kitchen!

    Where you able to see them prepare yours and others food? Gah! Just amazing food!

    Only problem with restaurants where the kitchen is open for us, is I seem to go deaf to anything Lynne is saying. Afterwards remembering nothing she’s said for the entire date, but managing to come home with a head full of culinary ideas………. ;-). recently posted…Spicy Chicken and Red Pepper SoupMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 8:17 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      hahaha I could see juuuust enough of the kitchen to be able to look over there but they were just hidden enough from my view that I could stay focused on the food. Nevermind the people.

      February 13, 2015 at 1:07 pm
  • Reply Toni @runninglovingliving

    Looks absolutely delicous! The serrano ham and roast beef dishes are my favorite, I would love to try either!!!! Thanks for sharing!
    Toni @runninglovingliving recently posted…Struggling with SADMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 8:22 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      OMG you have good taste, girl

      February 13, 2015 at 1:07 pm
  • Reply Suzy

    Ahh… too bad the weather hasn’t been nicer for you. I mean, grey and drab and rainy is pretty typical for over here but still–would have been nice to have a bit of sun. I’m assuming you went to Pike’s Place market? With the flying fish? And the first Starbucks to ever exist? We live 2 hours north of Seattle in the Great White North (we haven’t had snow yet this year… our dog sled team is getting rapidly out of shape!). Enjoy your stay!
    Suzy recently posted…Woozy Wednesday: 10% OffMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 8:27 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’ve heard that you all have been bare bones snow-wise. I was hoping that Alex would get hit in the face with a salmon. but alas.

      February 13, 2015 at 1:06 pm
  • Reply Beth @ Running with the Sunrise

    Wow, looks like you picked a good place for dinner! I’ve been to Seattle a couple of times and loved visiting each time. I’d imagine this is already on your itinerary, but be sure to go to Pike Place. It’s amazing! When I went it made me wish that I lived in Seattle.
    Beth @ Running with the Sunrise recently posted…How To Make Running Less BoringMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 8:53 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I demanded that we go to Pike Place. Alas, Alex did not get hit by a salmon.

      February 13, 2015 at 1:05 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Love reading about your trip. This restaurant looks incredible. You have me itching to get out of the city and eat at some fun places! Have a good time.

    February 11, 2015 at 8:54 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Do it! When are we going to have a date??

      February 13, 2015 at 1:05 pm
  • Reply Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles

    Oh wow, this all looks great and the atmosphere looks right up my alley! The cauliflower and chickpea dish is something I would definitely order! I haven’t been to Seattle but it is on my must see in the US list! Have so much fun!!

    February 11, 2015 at 9:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You must go–so much fun and such good food!

      February 13, 2015 at 1:05 pm
  • Reply Sarah @pickyrunner

    Looks like you’re having a fantastic time! I don’t run in Brooks but I’d STILL kill to see Brooks headquarters! I love checking out restaurants in new cities- I plan on doing that this weekend 🙂 HAVE SO MUCH FUNNNNN
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Day in the LifeMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 9:42 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know–but then I’d feel bad wearing my Newtons around. But I’d still go and show them all of my pics of me in brooks lol

      February 13, 2015 at 1:04 pm
  • Reply Betsy

    Wow looks amazing! I’ve never been to Seattle but would love to go some day!
    Betsy recently posted…Bonny Knits Review + Giveaway!My Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 10:53 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      We had such a great time! Definitely make the effort!

      February 13, 2015 at 1:03 pm
  • Reply Sam @ PancakeWarriors

    Why am I not eating this wonderful food too! I’ll take a to go plate please 🙂 Looks like you won’t be going hungry anytime soon – great review my dear!!

    February 11, 2015 at 11:30 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh, I don’t do hungry. I do hangry and that does no one any good lol

      February 13, 2015 at 1:03 pm
  • Reply Annmarie

    OH MY, everything looks AMAZING! I want some of that roast beef and broccoli rabe..YUM!
    Annmarie recently posted…Wild Workout Wednesday: Powerful in Pink Fitness EquipmentMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 11:59 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That roast beef was beyond beyond beyond.

      February 13, 2015 at 1:03 pm
  • Reply Erin @ Erin's Inside Job

    Man I always read these posts before I have eaten lunch. I dont think my salad is going to stack up, but Im definitely hungry for it now! I love all those courses. Maybe bring some home?
    Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job recently posted…WIAW: Monday EditionMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 12:31 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      We’ll just have to go out and get some goodness of our own!

      February 13, 2015 at 1:02 pm
  • Reply Jill

    I’ve never had sardines but I’ve been curious. I love seafood and salt! Your restaurant meals always look incredible. Why do I never eat at places like this?!?
    Jill recently posted…Self Care is not SelfishMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 2:43 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And they are so good for you! Try them–but I don’t like them too oily (like with everything). And this was all Peggy’s idea–I defer to her.

      February 13, 2015 at 1:02 pm
  • Reply meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles

    I have never been to Seattle but looks like you are having a delicious trip! I think there’s that famous donut shop there? Maybe? I think I saw it on Food Network lol.
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…Chocolate Chip Strawberry Baked DonutsMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 4:22 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I thought that was Portland? Voodoo?

      February 13, 2015 at 1:01 pm
  • Reply Earl-Leigh

    The House Pickles are almost too pretty to touch! With that being said, I’m sure the millionaire would’ve been my favorite part of the meal 😉
    Earl-Leigh recently posted…Healthy Almond & Oat Applesauce MuffinsMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 4:34 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      If only it came with an actual millionaire…

      February 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm
  • Reply Autumn

    If I ordered from the same menu, I would get” Millionaire, Pickles and the Califlower chick pea dish. Ive never been to Seattle…yet.
    Autumn recently posted…Food a many splendored thingMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 9:38 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Put this place on your list for certain!

      February 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm
  • Reply Lauren

    Well this looks all amazing. That Blood and Sand-yum! I toured the Brooks headquarters when I was out there in August for Hood to Coast! It’s an amazing, ecofriendly place!
    Lauren recently posted…Treat Yourself to DuClaw’s Naked Fish Chocolate Raspberry Stout this Valentine’s DayMy Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 10:03 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I remember when you did–I thought about you when I saw it. SOOO jealous….

      February 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm
  • Reply GiGi Eats

    THANK YOU… For… NOT inviting me. GEEE THANKS! lol
    GiGi Eats recently posted…You Deserve Applause!My Profile

    February 11, 2015 at 11:24 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      hahaha I didn’t even know that I was invited until the party started!

      February 13, 2015 at 12:59 pm
  • Reply Jenni @ Fitzala

    Eeeek! I totally didn’t know you were headed to SEATTLE! My hometown (kind of) I hope you have an amazing time and it doesn’t rain on you too much. They’ve been having wonderful weather lately.

    And the Whale Wins? Always wanted to go there but we just never made it out. Thanks for the review, I’ll have to make it there the next time I’m back!
    Jenni @ Fitzala recently posted…#whatslovely FOODMy Profile

    February 12, 2015 at 1:19 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      OMG Jenni you HAVE to go. And I was totally remiss in not remembering that you had the Seattle connection! I so associate you with SLO and Cali that I didn’t even remember, though I thought about you often, actually!

      February 13, 2015 at 12:59 pm
  • Reply Emily

    Roast beef looks yummy to me! :))) Maybe if I’m ever there, I’ll go. I don’t ever know how to behave at fancy restaurants though. O_o
    Emily recently posted…Recovering Running FitnessMy Profile

    February 13, 2015 at 11:39 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Sit in the corner 😉

      February 13, 2015 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Weekend Recap and Seattle Trip Part 1! - Suzlyfe

    […] The Whale Wins Seattle Review Wiaw […]

    February 16, 2015 at 5:25 am
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