Three top performers in last year's Snackdown restart their tournament journeys, with Wallingford and Fremont teaming up to challenge Ballard for culinary supremacy. Don't forget to file your vote by tonight at 11:59 p.m.
*See Also Seattle Weekly's Snackdown Returns
Jay Friedman thinks eaters can't do better than Wallingford and Fremont.
Semifinalists in last year's Great Neighborhood Snackdown, Wallingford and Fremont combine forces to be a culinary powerhouse.
Most of Wallingford's food scene is on 45th, with eateries for the budget-minded and the bigger spenders. Here you'll find burgers, fries, and shakes at Dick's, plus tortas, tacos, and other Mexican treats at Rancho Bravo--one of the older taco trucks in Seattle. Sutra serves some of the tastiest vegetarian dishes in the city.
And for fine organic fare, check out Tilth, where Chef Maria Hines won a James Beard Award as Best Chef of the Northwest in 2009. Away from 45th at Art of the Table, Dustin Ronspies prepares food that's fun and creative. Meanwhile, Cantinetta is a high quality Italian restaurant that every neighborhood craves for one of its corners.
Transitioning between the neighborhoods is Joule, appropriately named for the spark and energy of its food, and moving from 45th in Wallingford to Fremont (sharing a building with Renee Erickson's The Whale Wins) where it joins sister restaurant Revel. Together, Iron Chef contestants Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi are making some of the boldest Asian and world-influenced food in Seattle.
Fremont is at once sandwich central (Paseo, Dot's, and Uneeda, and more), a bit of a Thai town (several restaurants), and a European getaway with 35th Street Bistro. For dessert, enjoy coffee at Lighthouse Roasters or Milstead & Co., and sweets at Theo Chocolate or Pie. If you like yours a la mode, it's back to Wallingford for Molly Moon's or Fainting Goat Gelato. If you're not faint of heart, stop by the Erotic Bakery to grab your choice of penis and vulva cupcakes. How many neighborhoods can provide the makings of a happy ending after fulfilling your culinary dreams?
And Chelsea Lin says the food's best in Ballard.
Everyone's got an opinion on where to eat and drink in Ballard, from Frank Bruni at the New York Times to the drunken fisherman leaning against the Henry mural on the side of the Sloop. Though the historically seafaring 'hood was past known for its prominent Norwegian heritage--a night swilling aquavit like a Viking at Copper Gate is still a rite of passage for newbies--it's quickly passing even hipster haven Capitol Hill as the place to see and be seen in Seattle.
Spend a Friday evening trying to score a plate of local oysters at Walrus and the Carpenter, a seat at Staple & Fancy, or a glass of housemade Fernet at Essex and you'll be among the who's who of Seattle's gourmands and cocktail nerds. One mustn't wait hours and spend a week's pay just to enjoy Ballard, though--Besalu's perfect croissants, the complex flavor of La Carta de Oaxaca's mole negro, Mike's legendary chili fries, or a boozy shake from Hot Cakes is as worthy of the hike north of the ship canal as any of the places you'll find the Top Chef judges dining. From dive bars to fine dining, family-friendly eateries to singles scenes, Ballard is the best--just don't try the barbecue.