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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:

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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

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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!

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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. 

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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!

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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.

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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. 

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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….

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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!

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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…

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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. 

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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!

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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!

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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. 

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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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