The Astronomer and I had a most satisfying brunch at Local 360 during our trip to Seattle. We dined here on a whim while walking through Belltown and left thoroughly content with our impromptu choice. Everything from the food to the service to the ambiance was just our speed.
The rustically appointed restaurant was lightly packed on a Sunday. We were seated quickly at a table fit for four and presented with the restaurant’s “Daytime” menu, which is served daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Local 360″ refers to the restaurant’s commitment to sourcing most of its raw ingredients from within 360 miles of Seattle. There are certain items like lemons, limes, and coffee that do not grow in the area anytime of the year, so those are sourced from the closest place possible.
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Whenever The Astronomer travels out of town for physics conferences, I usually stay home and revel in our quieter-than-usual apartment. However, this past August I packed my bags and came along for the ride to Seattle. In between powwowing about the latest developments in the field of plasma, we wined and dined on amazing Pacific Northwest cuisine.
For our first lunch in the city together, we stumbled upon Steelhead Diner near Pike’s Place Market. The restaurant is set atop a hill with terrific views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic mountains.
A collaborative effort between Chef Kevin Davis and his wife Terresa, the restaurant’s focus is contemporary diner fare inspired by the seasons and scenery.
Every meal at Steelhead begins with a basket of crusty bread accompanied by a slab of butter drizzled with olive oil and herbs.
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The Astronomer and I had no intention of dining at Pea Soup Andersen’s during our stay in the Central Coast. However, the spectacle of a restaurant seemed to beckon us in from the moment we arrived with its cheesy cartoons and garish color scheme. Not to mention that our hotel was located directly next door, which meant that there was really no escaping the allure of a big bowl of pea soup. On our final morning in town, we finally gave in to Pea Soup Andersen’s undeniable mystique and grabbed a table for two.
The restaurant, which Anton and Juliette Andersen opened in 1924, is something of an institution in these here parts. The clientele is comprised mostly of tourists looking for a diversion while traveling from Southern California to points further north, and vice versa. The Pea Soup Andersen empire includes the signature restaurant, a Danish bakery, a gift shop, and an inn where we stayed.
The dining room has held up well considering how long this place as been around. The vibe is a cross between a down-home diner and a medieval castle. Service is efficient, but mostly indifferent.
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Before making the long drive home to Los Angeles, The Astronomer and I made one final stop at The Fremont Diner in Sonoma for lunch. The restaurant has been garnering significant buzz ever since it opened in 2009, but it didn’t come across my radar until my friend Lien enthusiastically recommended it. She promised me that Chef Chad Harris’ brand of gussied-up down-home cuisine would rub me in all sorts of right ways.
Situated on a lonely stretch of Highway 121, the two-year-old diner captures the feel of a weathered roadside diner down South. Rusted truck parked out front? Check. Chickens roaming around the building? Check. Grease wafting heavily in the air? Check. If it weren’t for the lush rolling hills and acres of carefully planted grapes, I would’ve sworn we were back in sweet home Alabama.
After placing and paying for our order at the front counter, The Astronomer and I grabbed a table inside. There were a dozen inviting picnic tables set-up out front, but the essence of manure in the air discouraged us from outdoor dining.
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