To ease the dissapointment of not being able to dine at Willows Inn on Lummi Island during this trip to Seattle, I treated myself to happy hour and two dinners on Saturday night. Not to sound like a complete lush, but nothing makes everything all better quite like a few rounds of cocktails!
We started off the evening at Bathtub Gin, a speakeasy hidden in a downtown alley that came highly recommended to us by our server at The Corson Building. After taking full advantage of their half-off special, we moved on to Essex in Ballard for more adult beverages and a bite to eat.
Brandon Pettit, the chef and owner of pizzeria Delancey next door, opened Essex with his wife and business partner, Molly Wizenberg of Orangette, last summer.
“The Delancey Street and Essex Street subway stops in New York share a station, so Essex seemed a fitting name for the restaurant sharing a façade with Delancey,” according to Ms. Orangette.
We arrived at the bar before the sun had fully set, so seating was relatively easy. We pulled up two seats at the counter and proceeded to order our “first” round. While my darling Astronomer stuck with the beers on tap, I was in a cocktailing mood.
My salted margarita ($10), sparkling and on tap, was comprised of reposado and a combination of orange, grapefruit, and lime juices. Tequila-based cocktails always treat me right.
To pair with our beverages, we ordered a slew of small plates. Here at Essex, as much care goes into the cooking as goes into the cocktails. The first dish to arrive was the beer-boiled soft pretzels served with house-made mustard ($6). Toasty, chewy, and just a touch salty, the pretzels really hit the mark.
We also shared a plate of roasted carrots brushed with maple syrup and paired with house-made ricotta ($7). Yes, yes, and yes.
The wood-fired chicken wings glazed with tamarind, chili, and lime ($9) were wonderfully charred and sticky. Chicken wings are the quintessential bar food, and this slightly done-up rendition did right by tradition (and my stomach).
Round “two” brought a bespoke lemony somethin’ fueled by mezcal.
Our final bar bite was a warm and luscious sticky toffee pudding ($8) served in a pool of bourbon-laced butterscotch with fresh whipped cream.
Eating, drinking, and reveling with The Astronomer at Essex, I didn’t think once about the local lichen I was missing out on.
1421 NW 70th Street
Seattle, WA 98117
One year ago: Vietnamese Coffee Crack Pie
Two years ago: Pistachio Chai Muffins
Three years ago: Taverna El Glop – Barcelona
Four years ago: Auntie Em’s Red Velvet Cupcakes
Five years ago: Lunch Lady
Six years ago: Wok & Roll – Minneapolis