a progressive dinner

Matt's in the Market

We had tickets to a rock concert on Friday night in Seattle, so we took advantage of the location to do a sort of pub crawl around the Pike Place Market beforehand. We had intended to start out at Elliott’s Oyster House for happy hour, for a real touristy sort of experience, but the place was jammed with people. Instead, we wandered up the hill climb to Le Pichet, our favorite French cafe.

Le Pichet

They had plenty of room, so we got a demi-pichet of Cotes de Gascogne white wine and a dish of very stinky olives, along with a sweet crunchy baguette. It was a perfect way to settle into the evening.

Le Pichet

Le Pichet

By the time we’d worked our way through the bread and olives, it was 5 o’clock, so we went back down through the market to give Zig Zag Cafe a try. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the cocktails here, and have been meaning to try it out for ages.

Zig Zag Cafe

Zig Zag Cafe

It was a cool place – very subtle location under the stairs below the market, really great bar list with good happy hour prices. Jon got a whiskey sour, which seemed pleasant, but I took a stab at the house cocktail list and tried one called “Lucien Gaudin” with gin, Cointreau, Campari and dry vermouth, with a lemon twist. I might have preferred a dirty martini on the whole, but it was still a successful experiment: with each sip, the first flavors were primarily sweet and citrusy, gradually shifting to bitter as the Campari crossed the tongue and went down the throat, leaving a purely bitter trail. Then you take another sip to get the sweet back. Rather addictive, really.

Zig Zag Cafe

To support the cocktails, we ordered a plate of squid. It was sauteed with a sort of puttanesca sauce, very sharp and spicy. Not bad, but not thrilling. The slices of bread that came with were very bland, not particularly worth eating. We decided not to stay there for more food; in any case, the place was filling up fast and getting loud. I don’t think I’ve seen that many twentysomethings in one place in years.

Matt's in the Market

For our last stop, we went with a tried-and-true indulgence: Matt’s in the Market. They sat us at the chef’s bar, always our favorite seat in the house, and for some reason treated us like returning royalty. I sometimes wonder if one of us looks like some famous food critic or something. Anyway, we got great service. And, of course, great food.

Matt's in the Market

Because we’d already had a few bites to eat, we just split a salad and an entree. The salad was the same one we were given a free taste of last time we were here: shaved fennel, soft lettuce and chopped-up buttery green olives. So, so good.

Matt's in the Market

The entree was a new one on the menu: pasta rolled around pulled rabbit meat, doused with fresh tomato sauce and, most enticingly, topped with a dollop of whipped mascarpone cheese and herbs. Oh, my. I wouldn’t recommend getting this all to yourself, but to share it was divine.

Matt's in the Market

Jon was still a little hungry, so he ordered the bread pudding with caramel sauce and ice cream, with a glass of a really cool-tasting dessert wine. I had a French press of coffee all to myself and was happy (although I did snitch a taste of bread pudding).

Matt's in the Market

Then we went to see the Raconteurs!

Raconteurs

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