Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Andrew Steinthal and Chris Stang from Immaculate Infatuation already crushed San Francisco, and this time they traverse the Great Northwest for fish a million ways, some wild boar, and, of course, lots of bourbon.


The city we were most looking forward to visiting on our tour was Seattle, not only because none of us had been before, but also because the Great Northwest is loaded with good things to eat. Needless to say, we were ready to dive in and see what Seattle had to offer. The first thing we noticed when we got off the plane? Damn it's cold. Good thing we're here to drink bourbon.


Click through the gallery above or check out individual restaurants via the links below:

The Walrus and the Carpenter | How To Cook A Wolf | Quinn's Pub | Canlis | Paseo

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

The Walrus and the Carpenter

As was usually the case on this trip, our first stop in Seattle was not the hotel, but a restaurant, The Walrus And The Carpenter. Tucked away in the back of an industrial building in the Ballard neighborhood, this cozy little establishment has an incredibly devoted following. People start lining up for a table before they open their doors at 4:00pm, and when we arrived at 3:45 there were already about fifteen people waiting to be let inside. Why were we so willing to wait in line with them? Because we f*cking love oysters, and The Walrus and The Carpenter is a West Coast oyster wonderland. We knew were going to like this place long before we even stepped inside, and we were most definitely not disappointed.

Every aspect of the The Walrus And The Carpenter speaks to us. From the awesome antler chandelier to the friendly and informed staff, there wasn't another restaurant we visited on this trip that was more our speed. All of our favorite West Coast oysters are on display here, as fresh as they can possibly be and ready to be consumed by the dozens in all shapes and sizes. And consume we did. We ate oysters on the half shell, fried oysters, baked oysters, and all manner of other delicious things from the sea. And we did it all with an awesome Winter Sour in front of us. Cocktail genius Anna Wallace was behind the bar making up some excellent seasonal inventions for us, and her sour (bourbon, egg whites, Peychaud's bitters, ginger syrup, St. Elizabeth's allspice) was the perfect way to keep our insides warm while we ate food from the chilly waters of Washington.

Oh, and by the way, it turns out that bivalves also taste a whole lot better when you're listening to a playlist that puts together the best tracks from New Order to Talking Heads to The Knife. We were bumping along during the entire meal. The Walrus And The Carpenter wins the award for best restaurant tunes on the Gizmodo Taste Experience.

Food Rundown
Oysters on the half shell

We can eat West Coast oysters all day, and that's exactly what we did here. Served on ice with a beautiful mignonette sauce and some shredded horseradish, we plowed through a nice variety of both small and large offerings from the Pacific Ocean. Some of our favorite varieties were Eagle Rock, Snow Creek, and Samish Sweet.

Fried oysters

This is about as good as a fried oyster gets. Sometimes these things have a terrible contrast between fried outside and cold oyster inside, but here it's all one harmonious hot and salty bite. Take advantage of that cilantro aioli on the side too.

Smoked trout

We ate a lot of smoked fish on this trip, but none were better than this dish. Beautifully smoked trout sits on a bed of lentil and walnut crème fraîche, and is then topped with a stack of pickled onions. Incredible.

Sea urchin custard

Sea Urchin isn't for everyone. It's got a strong flavor that's distinctive and delicious, sort of like licking the bottom of the ocean…in a good way. This custard matches that intense urchin flavor of the sea with some salmon roe and an apple cider gelée, and it's very interesting and delicious. Just know that one or two bites is most definitely all you'll need.

Celeriac salad

This was a really interesting and excellent salad. It's basically a big, beautiful pile of pine nuts, cream, celery heart, and pomegranate molasses. If it's still there when you are, order it.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Fresh off the plane, ready for oysters.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Badass baked oysters.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Prepping the perfect oyster takes time.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

For an oyster bar, The Walrus has a nice selection of brown liquor.

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Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

We need to take a trip to Discovery Bay.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Bourbon sour with egg whites.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Fried oyster hotness.

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Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Pickled onions make everything that much tastier, even smoked trout.

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Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

There's sea urchin custard underneath all that roe.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Big man, little spoon.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Believe it or not, we eat vegetables every once in a while. Exhibit A: This salad of celery heart, pine nuts and pomegranate molasses.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

How To Cook A Wolf

Our pre-trip preparation strategy of getting a solid bourbon buzz and then trolling Eater Seattle yielded some strong market research. One thing that became abundantly clear was that visiting an Ethan Stowell establishment while we were in town was a must. The guy is one of the most successful and nationally recognized restaurateurs in the Northwest, with five Seattle restaurants, each with a different concept. We picked How To Cook A Wolf solely due to the name.

How To Cook A Wolf is a cozy Italian restaurant in the Queen Ann neighborhood of Seattle. We loved the layout, which features rich wood panels from floor to ceiling, and a bar worthy of a proper meal. The service is very personal, and despite it being our first time in the place, we felt like regulars after 15 minutes. If we lived in this hood, we'd be in here almost daily. Not only is the food incredible, but it's a steal, too. The prices are all very fair, with everything listed at under $20. Unfortunately, they don't actually serve wolf on the menu. But they do serve simple, yet creative Italian fare that impressed the hell out of us, and they can make a mean drink too. We had a few solid cocktails with our food, including a very good Boulevardier. Now that we think about it, we saw (drank) a lot of those on this trip.

Food Rundown
Beet salad

Cubed beets, crispy Swiss chard, crunchy walnuts, and ricotta salata. This dish is good on the outset, but it gets even better as you eat and that salty ricotta salata mixes with the beet juice to create a sort of creamy, beety pink dressing.

Escolar crudo

Thickly cut slices of raw escolar are enhanced with grapefruit zest and chili. It's a simple dish, yet it's packed with tons of flavor.

Whole Branzino

The fish is cooked perfectly and stuffed full of breadcrumbs and lemon, giving it tons of flavor. It's a great dish to share, and an even better dish to take photos of.

Spaghetti

How To Cook A Wolf should actually be called How To Cook Spaghetti. How well an Italian restaurant does the simple stuff usually speaks volumes as to how good everything else will be. This basic spaghetti dish is incredible. Thick, home made noodles are tossed with anchovy, chili, and garlic. It's incredible. The rich saltiness from the anchovy really makes it.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Orange peel, bourbon's best friend.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Incredible crispy beet salad.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Wassup fishy?

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Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Gettin' down on that full Branzino.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Spaghetti perfection.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Quinn's Pub

Every city needs a good pub, and Seattle has a great one in Quinn's. Located in the trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood, Quinn's Pub is obviously a great place for a drink, what with their vast selection of spirits to choose from. But Quinn's specialty is beers, bourbons, and whiskey, and they have a creative menu of bar food to go along with what they offer in the drink department. That qualified it as an ideal destination for the Taste Experience.

We settled in at Quinn's on a cold Seattle evening and went directly for the things they do best, bourbon and heavy food. We got into some single barrel, neat, and chased that with an Old Fashioned. Both paired nicely with their signature Wild Boar Sloppy Joe and the fish and chips, which might be the best fish and chips we've had in this country. This place is perfect for a meal with some friends when it's really effing cold outside, and it's also a great pre-game destination if you're seeing a show across the street at Neumo's, one of Seattle's most famous music venues.

Food Rundown
Housemade pretzel

This is one hell of a homemade pretzel, and it needs to be on your table. You may even want your own, because sharing it sucks. You'll want this thing all to yourself.

Wild boar Sloppy Joe

This is one of the most popular things on the menu at Quinn's and rightfully so. It's a heaping pile of wild boar (a pig that would kill you if it had the chance) on a brioche bun with fried onion, sage, a grilled Fresno Pepper, and topped with a duck egg. Good luck doing anything productive after eating that. Might as well have another drink.

Fresh fish and chips

Like we said, this is one of the best fish and chips we've had. It's crispy and salty on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. A few dashes of malt vinegar on top and you are in business. Order it.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

We'll drink to that.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Check out Stang's new Macklemore style thrift store jean jacket purchase. Cheers.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Nine Year. Neat.

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Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

You know what goes nicely with bourbon? A homemade soft pretzel.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

That would be the aforementioned sloppy joe with an egg on top. Ridiculous.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Fish-n-chippers.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Canlis

So basically, we saved the best for last. Canlis is widely regarded as Seattle's best restaurant. It's an undeniable staple of the city's dining scene, and it's been so since they opened their doors back in 1950. A few years ago, we met Brian Canlis, grandson of the restaurant's founder and namesake Peter Canils, at a speaking event at South By Southwest in Austin. We shared a meal in Texas with Brian, and spent the better part of it listening to him talk about the challenges of keeping a 60-year-old restaurant fresh and relevant for a younger generation, while still staying consistent and true to the restaurant's legendary reputation. After that dinner we always had Canils high on the list of places we wanted to eat, not only to see what Brian and his team were doing, but also to get into some ridiculously good food. Thanks to Gizmodo, that opportunity finally arrived.

As you might expect, Canlis is a serious restaurant. Everyone in the place arrives decked out and ready for a special meal, and the restaurant itself is built perfectly for special meals. It's a modern, beautiful structure, with big glass windows and a view from the top of a hill overlooking the city of Seattle. Remember Cameron from Ferris Bueller's Day Off? Canlis sort of looks like his house, but instead of a classic Ferrari, there's world-class food inside.

Much to Brian and his family's credit, Canlis manages to be serious, but also still youthful and fun. It's not often that a restaurant can be both a 70- and a 30-year-old man's definition of an ideal night out, but that's what happens here. How? Well, to start, everyone on staff is incredibly professional and skilled, but also very light-hearted. You get the impression that the people that work at Canlis truly enjoy what they do, and that passes on to those who they serve. The food is exciting and interesting, but not too much so that it alienates people, and there is a great wine list that ranges from the most expensive stuff from the old world, to affordable selections from the West Coast. There really is something for everyone. Oh, and it doesn't hurt to have a piano player in the room that, instead of playing "Moon River," is playing Flo Rida. Seriously. And the best part is that the older crowd has no idea that the song they are nodding along to is not actually about whistling. Well, at least not to a tune.

For our meal at Canils, we went big with the chef's tasting. And that's what we'd recommend you do. But instead of pairing with wine, have the bartender make you some bourbon drinks to go along with what you're eating. We had a few excellent things to sip on while we ate, including our favorite, an old classic called the Fancy Whisky Drink with rye, Marachino, and lemon. Check the food rundown for a few of our favorites from a meal that was pretty much all favorites.

Food Rundown
Dungeness crab, with celery, apple and caviar

Good lord this was tasty, and damn is it pretty.

Yellowfin tuna on uni panna cotta with foie gras torchon

This was one of those dishes that's so elegant and luxurious, and yet want to eat it with a shovel. Quite possibly our favorite thing we had at Canlis.

Smoked sturgeon with maiatake mushroom and mushroom consomme

This piece of sturgeon is deliciousand smoky, but that mushroom broth is really the star of this dish. So much so that Stang picked up the bowl and drank it. Our apologies to the tables around us who had to witness that.

Crispy duck

Here's what she looks like before carving, and what she looks like on the plate. This is one incredible bird. The skin is so crispy and the meat inside is moist and perfect. Also, this with some bourbon = true happiness.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Dranks.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

A full rack of one-bite treats.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

OK, fine. We'll consider giving this awful-looking cocktail a taste.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Quick-Fire Challenge: make a bourbon cocktail with at least two kinds of fruit.

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Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Bottoms up on bougie cocktails.

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Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Yup. That looks drinkable.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Drinkin' with the duck.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Dungeness crab.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Anyone ever had a tuna and uni panna cotta with foie gras torchon before? Us either.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Smokin' sturgeon.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

That's a duck dressed up as a Christmas tree.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.

Come Along on a Bourbon-soaked Eating and Drinking Tour of Seattle, Wild Boar and Urchin Included

Duck post-carving. Damn, does she look good.

Bonus: Paseo

Since we're talking Seattle food, we'd be remiss not to bring up Paseo. This tiny hole-in-the-wall doesn't serve alcohol, but they do have the best damn roasted pork sandwich that exists on the entire planet. Since you can't drink on site, maybe bring one home and prepare to get dirty with a bourbon cocktail and some napkins. These sandwiches are an absolute mess.


Full? Never! Full? Never! More from Andrew and Chris's adventures is coming up. Dallas is next, where the beef is perfect and the dogies roam free. Until then, head to Immaculate Infatuation to check in with them.

Photo by Immaculate Infatuation.