Let's Eat road trip: Tastes from Vancouver and Portlandon August 16, 2012 @ 11:43 am (Updated: 10:50 am - 10/10/12 )
Let's Eat host Terry Jaymes headed north. Co-host and Seattle Times restaurant critic Providence Cicero went south. Here are a few of their favorite restaurant discoveries in these two nearby cities.
Cicero says it's a warehouse-like building in the Pearl District.
"It feels like a boathouse and it's been renovated with repurposed dock wood and old canvas sails on the back of the chairs."
She says the seafood was great and they custom-cut ice for a really impressive drink presentation.
"The ice was this column as high as the glass. It was really amazing. It had absinthe in it and celery juice, lemon lime, it was delicious, absolutely wonderful."
Cicero says the centerpiece of the restaurant is a giant Argentine Grill.
"Greg Denton, the chef and owner, and his sous chef stand in front of it sweating mightily," says Cicero. "This thing is spewing sparks and it's red, and it's got these pulleys and levers, and grill racks go up and down, and they're cooking all kinds of meats on there."
The thing that most impressed her though, was the taste.
"A simple skirt steak comes to the table tasting like the most amazing piece of meat you've ever had."
"Aviary is a restaurant that would be totally at home here on Capitol Hill," says Cicero, describing the street it's on, Alberta St. as a cool, funky place.
She says the meals too were filled with a fabulous variety of flavors.
"There was a fried chicken skin salad that had pickled watermelon rind and fresh watermelon and bitter greens and baba ganoush."
Lardo is a former food cart that is now stationary, says Cicero. Of all the tastes there, she seemed most impressed with the Lardo Fries.
"They cook the fries in lardo and then they use the pork scraps and hot pickled peppers and a little bit of Parmesan to finish them," says Cicero. "You eat them on a piece of paper on a picnic table in front of the place. It was fabulous."
"It's got 10 different meats to choose from. Ten different cheeses to choose from. And 10 different types of things to go with it, whether it's mustard or honey or fig spreads," says Jaymes.
The items are small plates, and despite his and his party's best intentions, he says they ended up having a huge meal.
"They were pairing it with wine. We just left it up to them and they just killed it," says Jaymes. "It was really good."
The Indian eatery has been popular in Vancouver for years.
"There is a wait there like you wouldn't believe," says Jaymes, who says despite the crowd, he thoroughly enjoyed his meal.
He says he was also excited to find that they are opening up a sister restaurant in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood.
Jaymes says this restaurant alone is worth the drive to Vancouver.
"It was unbelievable," says Jaymes. "I had the best ever steak Diane in the entire world."
He says his whole party loved their meals and it qualifies as one of the best places he's ever eaten.
"They were on, from the people that you met at the door, from the bartender, to the guy selecting the wine," says Jaymes.
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