For some, the pretrial phase of discovery may not be the most appetizing part of a litigator's life. This month, we summer associates staged a coup and took over this column, offering a tastier take on discovery for the taste buds. Check out some of Seattle's hidden gems for those requests for a night out.
Wake up those taste buds with a personalized cocktail at Needle and Thread (1406 12th Ave., Seattle; 325-0133; tavernlaw.com). If you're feeling indecisive, coy or, dare we say, seductive, make a reservation at this tucked-away speakeasy. To reach the location, you enter through Capitol Hill's Tavern Law where you will see an iron-cast door with a dial telephone to its side. You pick up, state the name of your reservation and proceed up a dark stairwell that opens into a bar plucked out of the 1920s. The walls are velvet, no two pieces of furniture are alike, and the room drips with mystery.
Once you've been seated, the slick-dressed server will likely ask you what your preferred spirit is, so be prepared. The server's questioning continues, eliciting answers about your day, whether you like citrus or floral, or whether you're feeling adventurous. Our first drink was an eclectic mix of vodka, absinthe, grenadine and about six other ingredients difficult to recount. It didn't suit our palate, but we decided to order the second drink by the pitcher. It was smooth with a bite of citrus and tangy - perfection.
Experimentation and an open mind are a must. Intimacy is supreme at this Seattle spot, so take note when out with large groups.
Hop across town for another discovery, albeit not as hidden. Bastille Cafe & Bar (5307 Ballard Ave. NW; 453-5014; bastilleseattle.com) is an elegant French restaurant near the heart of Ballard. As the neighborhood continues to grow with an influx of young professionals in the area, Bastille pays homage to its classic roots.
The cafe offers a full dining room with wooden booths and rustic beams across the ceiling. Go and discover the "back bar" tucked behind the main entrance to the building, where a beautiful chandelier offers mood lighting for a pre- or post-dinner drink. An enclosed sunroom is available as a nice reception area for those larger parties.
We sat in the well-spaced dining room in a spacious booth. Mirrors lined the walls of our seating area and were at times distracting. But once we were seated, our energetic and informed server put us at ease. She emphasized the restaurant's focus on local and fresh, and made note of the rooftop garden that supplies many of the vegetables that we were soon going to enjoy.
Her recommendations for drinks were thoroughly appreciated. The improved whiskey cocktail was a summer bourbon drink lighter than expected. And when we requested a cocktail with a smokier flavor at the end of dinner, her second delivery did not disappoint.
Seared salmon on top of snow peas and a light creamy aioli was a heavenly start to dinner. The crunch of the skin added great texture as you took a bite of the wild salmon that melted in your mouth. An order of the half chicken sitting on a tasty mix of arugula, picholine olive and spiced crème fraîche was a savory dish well received.
The local fish of the day, which also was salmon, came out with impeccable timing as the center was perfectly rare. The potatoes joining the fish were well seasoned and crisp. Frites accompanied the main course meals along with two complementary sauces of sweet aioli and tangy mustard. The ample supply of fresh-baked bread and slightly salted, creamy butter filled our stomachs heartily.
Lastly, the Bastille burger, although well dressed with some pickled onion and greens, left more burger meat to be desired. Ordering the burger rarer also would have provided a bigger punch of flavor. As orders and orders of the Taylor Shellfish mussels flew to other patrons, our table shared some regret in not requesting a taste of those seafood bowls full of carrot-and-ginger broth. So, don't make our mistake.
Bastille's friendly service and a nourishing meal at a reasonable price for a French sit-down restaurant will definitely bring us back to discover more.
A few doors down is Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery (5427 Ballard Ave. NW; 420-3431; getyourhotcakes.com), a relatively recent phenomenon to grace Ballard. But certainly, much of Seattle already has discovered this dessert joint as evidenced by the line that poured out onto the sidewalk. The smell of the goodies reached our nostrils a block down.
Hot Cakes offers an alternative, or really a blend of, the sweets of ice cream, cupcakes and gelato around town. Once you've made it to the front, we would suggest the molten cake for anyone looking to overdose on an individual serving of chocolate heaven. For others looking for a slightly less chocolatey option, we would recommend the chocolate chip cookie. Both plates come with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, which is guaranteed to refresh your taste buds. The hotcakes fit tightly into a small Mason jar that is plated on a beautiful wooden board. A drizzle of some caramel or fudge accents the very attractive dessert.
Each option at Hot Cakes is rich with flavor, from the more adult drinks of whiskey-infused milkshakes to the vegan option dark chocolate hotcake. Choices are galore at this Ballard establishment, but be prepared for a long wait and limited seating.
Cheers as you go out and discover these Seattle gems.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact 2014 Seattle summer associates Cecilia Jeong at 206-407-1579 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Derrick De Vera at 206-407-1558 or email@example.com; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx. Follow us on Twitter @schwabedinesout.