Here in Seattle we have a special relationship with the weather. Clearly there are days when the weather cannot make up its mind what it wants to do. There seem to be more words for different types of precipitation in common use in Seattle than in most other places.
Given how often it rains here, surprisingly few people own a raincoat. And we seem to have lots of restaurants to choose from whose names reflect different aspects of the weather. Here is a brief tour of some of our favorites.
Damn the Weather (116 First Ave. S., Seattle; 946-1283; www.damntheweather.com) is a gastropub in Pioneer Square, within easy walking distance of Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field. It has been growing in popularity and this was evident on a recent Monday evening when there was a 45-minute wait for either a table or a space at the bar at 6 p.m. We came back at 7:15 and it was still crowded, but we were seated immediately. We sat inside; however, there is also outdoor seating on First Avenue, if the weather is fine.
The focus at Damn the Weather is on craft cocktails, supported by a thoughtful menu of small plates and appetizers. We ordered an apple old fashioned, which was robust and full of flavor. There is also a short but interesting beer-and-wine list; one does not often get an opportunity to order Zywiec, a Polish lager that is more popular in Chicago.
To accompany the drinks, we ordered a cheese plate and a beef carpaccio. The carpaccio was garnished with "sea beans," which as it turns out is not a species of seaweed but rather salicornia, a succulent that grows on beaches. One might think that salty is salty, but this dish contrasted the raw-meat saltiness of the carpaccio with the completely different sea-infused saltiness of the sea beans. Very well done, DTW!
The cheese plate, however, was a disappointment. It contained three minute slices of cheese, with no crackers, chutneys, olives or any of the other usual accompaniments. Not a good value for $14 (we asked for crackers and were charged an additional $3).
Service was pleasant and efficient. Overall, this is an upscale and unique place to take a business colleague, client or date, especially for a pre-game drink and nosh. It will be appreciated all the more if your guest has an adventurous palate.
St. Clouds (1131 34th Ave., Seattle; 726-1522; www.stclouds.com) is an eatery in Madrona. The brunch is exceedingly popular. Patrons enjoy generous dishes of omelets, egg scrambles, pancakes and French toast, or Hazel's sour cream coffee cake. Served every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the brunch beckons would-be diners to wait outside for a table, rain or shine.
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