Local food blogger Keren Brown has long had her finger on the pulse of the Seattle restaurant scene. In her new book, The Food Lovers' Guide to Seattle, she has encapsulated the Seattle food scene with a compact yet informative book. She includes foodie favorites like Le Pichet, Harvest Vine, and Nettletown, but also points readers to discoveries further afield, like Punjab Sweets in Kent and Frost Doughnuts in Mill Creek.
When I asked Brown what her favorite discoveries were when writing the book, she replied, "Discovering all the bakery options Seattle has to offer. I love the look of surprise when you go to a friend's house and bring a pastry from a different culture and let people taste something new to them." Some of her favorites are all the Japanese bakeries, the bakeries in the International District, like A Piece of Cake and Yummy House Bakery. And Delite, the Filipino bakery on Beacon Hill.
The book is divided into five chapters according to the geographic regions of the city: North, Central, South, West Seattle, and Downtown. Each chapter begins with some background and history of some of the neighborhoods in that region. Bakeries and chocolate shops can be found in the "Made Here" section of each chapter. Chapters are further organized by sections for Specialty Stores and Markets, Food Lovers' Faves, and Landmark Eateries.
In the introduction there is a roundup of food trucks, coffee shops, and roasters, and best bets for vegetarian diners. The Guide isn't just about restaurants--there's information about farmers markets and cooking schools, plus an index of purveyors in the appendix. There are also a handful of recipes from area chefs: a cocktail recipe from Kathy Casey, a recipe for chocolate ganache cakes from Maria Hines, and the best damn scone recipe I've ever used from Sugar Rush Baking Company (also known as Coffee to Tea with Sugar).
Guidebooks are notorious for being out-of-date before the ink is dry. To combat this, Keren will post updates to the book on her Frantic Foodie blog, and on the book's Facebook page. There is also a Kindle version of the book in the works.
When asked where someone who thinks they know the local food scene should go, Brown replied, "The Inn at Langley has fantastic food. Yes, it's not exactly in Seattle, but it's amazing to know that a short drive and hop on the ferry will take you to an incredible dinner where chef Matt Costello combines molecular gastronomy with hyper-local food. The serene atmosphere on Whidbey Island makes this a complete dining experience and getaway. If you don't want to stay the night, you can go on Sunday nights, where dinner starts early, at 6 p.m., so you can actually make the ferry home."
Join author Keren Brown for the launch party for The Food Lovers' Guide to Seattle on Monday, July 25 from 7-9 p.m. at the Shilshole Bay Beach Club. Tickets are $5 and benefit Farestart. Admisssion includes bites from several area restaurants; books will be available for purchase. More details and ticket sales at brownpapertickets.com.
Check back tomorrow for Part II of this week's cooking the books and a recipe from The Food Lovers' Guide to Seattle.