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Posts Tagged ‘Capitol Hill’

Cafe Pettirosso

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Please let me talk about a dining establishment that I positively adore: Pike and 11th’s Cafe Pettirosso.

It’s a new obsession, and I don’t even know how to pronounce its name. I keep calling it “PettirAhhhsso” but my jerk coworker Neil was making fun of me for this other day like Hermione effin’ Granger — “it’s PettirOhhhsso…”

Pettirosso’s menu isn’t extensive, but has 4 or 5 really solid vegan meal options, as well as the bestest raspberry bars on the planet. It’s not just a “we can go there because they have one decent thing I can eat” kind of omni-co-dining place (*cough* 22 *cough*) — it’s the type of joint you hit up with a vegan pal.

And, it’s open 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday, meaning you don’t have to wait for hipster waitstaff to work off their PBR hangovers if you want to eat before 11 a.m. on the weekend (like everywhere else on Capitol Hill).

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I love the industrial yet romantic decor — Pettirosso is hip enough for a date night or casual enough for brunch with buds, and you totally won’t be judged if you go in for a solo mimosa (which I haven’t ever done or anything. Nope, of course not).

But let’s talk about the food.

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Coconut tofu scramble. Pettirosso’s take on this breakfast classic is fairly original, served in a light coconut sauce. A recent dining companion and I tried to figure out what the green things were (“I think they’re something exotic, like lemongrass!”) before confirming that they are just fancy-sliced scallions. Tricksy, Cafe Pettirosso. The roasted potatoes and peppers didn’t knock my socks off, but roasted root vegetables in any form are delicious and I like that you get both toast and a fruit cup.

Good, but not my favorite item on the menu. That distinction goes to…

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Shawn’s Mac and Cheese! I heard a rumor that these are the same folks who run Bang Bang Cafe (Looks like they’re at least involved with it), and Pettirosso’s mac and cheese is similar to theirs in its spicy, creamy, oily deliciousness. Seriously, best vegan mac on the Hill — that’s right. I went there. Object all you want, Plum lovers — it’s my blog and I say what I want.

Another option that keeps me coming back is the…

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Tofu Breakfast Bagel! You wouldn’t think that fried tofu, cabbage slaw and a peanutty sauce would be the perfect bagel toppings, but they are. They just are. The savory sauce soaks into the bagel, the tofu makes it feel like a legit upscale breakfast sandwich, and pickled cabbage is just good on anything.

Did I mention there’s a bar too?

So, yes. Cafe Pettirosso. A hidden gem. Go eat there and revel in the deliciousness.

Brunch at The Redwood

The Redwood has been good to me for as long as I’ve lived in Seattle.

There are 5 things that set it above other Capitol Hill bars:

  1. Happy hour until 8
  2. Pac Man table
  3. Free peanuts
  4. Dogs allowed
  5. Vegan-friendly Sunday brunch

Yes, vegan brunch — the greatest of meals made even greater. The Redwood has probably 7 or 8 items on their brunch menu, plus a couple of additional specials each Sunday, but all of them — I repeat: all of them — can be made vegan.

And this isn’t just “hold the cheese” vegan — they substitute Follow your Heart for cheddar and Tofutti cream cheese for regular. Ask for soymilk for your coffee and you’ll get a shotglass full.

tofus rancheros with homefries and veggie sausage

My favorite dishes are the tofus rancheros (see above) and the chicken-fried veggie steak served with (optional) biscuits and gravy (not pictured) — you’ll be full for a week if you get the biscuit, but c’mon —  soooo good. Most options come with crispy homefries and your choice of protein. One of these days, I’m finally going to order the stuffed French toast — I tend to be more of a savory bruncher, but it sounds fantastic.

Despite the vegan-friendliness of the menu, taxidermy hangs on the walls and one of the bathrooms is wallpapered in diagrams of where to shoot small fuzzy creatures for maximum kill potential. So, kind of a dichotomy. Having spent formative periods of my life in Maine and Michigan, the presence of taxidermy doesn’t bother me that much, though I certainly do not support the practice and understand how it might offend other vegans. So, take this into account.

Some sort of tofu scramble

The Redwood is your typical Capitol Hill young person (okay, I’ll say it: hipster) hangout, meaning that service is spotty. For example, on my first trip, we got there right when they opened at 11 a.m. and had to wait 15 minutes for the chef to arrive — the waitress was very sweet, though not really all that apologetic.

It’s a great place to just sit and drinking beer at any hour, though I can’t safely recommend the Redwood for non-brunch meals — I only ordered their sort of squishy and tasteless veggie meatloaf sliders once, and the spicy fries are just regular fries with spicy, dairy-containing sauce (and when I asked for the sauce without dairy, they were very huffy about it) — but brunch is awesome. I’ve never had an unfriendly server at brunch. Or a bad meal.

Go at 11 or 11:30 a.m. — it won’t be crowded. Get a mimosa (or a pitcher of mimosa!), order some food, enjoy the music (I’ll say this about Capitol Hill young people bars: they do tend to play good music), and watch whatever game is playing on the big projected screen.

The Redwood
514 E Howell St
Seattle, WA 98102

(206) 329-1952

Hours:
Mon-Sat 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Sun 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.


Wedgewood II Vegetarian Thai

Fish sauce sneaks into Thai food like a cat crawls into an open underwear drawer and hides, so that you shut it, then think he’s escaped, and you break into tears of bitter despair because he’s your little furry baby and he wouldn’t make it for a second on the mean streets of Capitol Hill, with the cars and the drunks and the crazy hipster kids. He’s too cute and sheltered for a life outdoors!!

Then you hear that fish sauce scratching and you know that it’s actually been there all along, laying low.

Wouldn’t it be nice to dine lavishly on a coconutty curry without worry of anything fishy swimming next to your tofu?

This is why I love Wedgewood II Vegetarian Thai on Broadway (between Harrison & Republican): no fish sauce. One of the many reasons I love Wedgewood II, actually.

The ambiance is cozy and modern, with wood paneling and orange plexiglass adding warmth and color — it’s one of those interiors that really makes one regret having not become an architect.

[Then one remembers all of the crappy CAD drawings that one looked at in a previous life, and is content to just eat in this splendor rather than making a career of it.]

Service is prompt and efficient. The staff doesn’t try to push anything on you (no “who’s ready for dessert?”) but you may need to ask for drinks, chopsticks (vs. forks) or anything else other than just food when you order. Everyone who works there is polite and cordial, if not overly friendly.

It’s not strictly vegan — there are some dishes with egg — but the assortment of purely plant-based stir-fries, noodle dishes and curries with fresh or fried tofu or faux meat gives plenty of options.

I particularly like the size of Wedgewood II’s fried tofu cubes: they’re small, about 3/4″ to 1″ cubed (maybe? Lack of spacial reasoning: another reason I am not an architect). This allows for a greater fried surface area to soft interior ratio than most restaurants offer, and everyone knows that the greater the proportion of fried to non-fried, the tastier the result.

David and I usually get a curry and a stir-fry. On our most recent visit, we ordered the Yellow Curry (because it had potatoes and cabbage — mmmm….) and the garlic stir-fry: fried tofu, carrots and broccoli bathed in a light and very salty sauce. This saltiness was congruent with other visits, while the silky, flavorful yellow curry sauce complimented the fried tofu, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes and onions within.

Only complaint: neither dish was spicy enough.

As with most places that serve non Euro-American fare, the waiter or waitress will ask you how spicy you want your food, on a scale of 1-5. If you want a spicy curry, ask for a 6.

A 4-level spice at other Southeast Asian establishments usually leaves my mouth burning and nose dripping, but my forehead barely perspired at Wedgewood II. Again, consistent with other visits.

Wedgewood II always has open tables whenever we’ve been in, and is definitely a reasonably-priced dinner option (≈$9/dish, though rice is extra). Since Jup Jup Jup closed (R.I.P.), it’s become my favorite Thai spot on Broadway.

Maybe give them a try next time?

Annapurna Cafe: Capitol Hill’s best-kept secret

Annapurna Cafe, a Indian, Tibetan and Nepalese restaurant located in the basement below Peet’s coffee at the corner of Broadway and E. Denny Way, is perhaps my favorite restaurant in Seattle.

The atmosphere is cozy and a little dim, though tastefully decorated and inviting. The wait staff is friendly and attentive, promptly refilling water glasses, clearing dishes and bringing the check– it’s a level of courtesy you don’t see often see in Capitol Hill dining establishments.

Though by no means a strictly vegan restaurant (making it a fantastic place to dine with stubborn omnivores), the variety of vegan entrees, appetizers and breads never fails to tempt my taste buds. Best yet, everything vegan is denoted on the menu as such, taking out the guesswork.

My go-to dishes, after many samplings, are the palak tofu (spinach and fried tofu) and the Himalayan curry, a spicy, savory sauce with peas, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, carrots and tofu. Both are oh-so flavorful, without the heavy, oily sauces of many Indian restaurants– ideal for soaking up with roti and basmati or brown rice.

David remarked on our most recent visit that he likes how big the chunks of fried tofu in the veggie dishes are– they make him feel like he is “ripping into meat.” I don’t really think of it this way, but I do like the contrast between the chewy exterior and the soft middle.

Annapurna’s cocktail menu is also quite solid. Whoever mans the bar whips up specialty drinks with generous amounts of house-infused saffron vodka– quite strong. They also have a nice assortment of fruity martinis (as in, made with fruit).

Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

image by trimba via Creative Commons.
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