Seattle Met's food team remembers the favorite dishes we ate—in service of the magazine, or just because we were hungry and in the mood for some rocking gumbo. Here, our fondest food memories of 2017.
Big Max Burger at Eden Hill
I am a sucker for upgraded takes on classic fast food, and Maximillian Petty's off-menu burger packs that nostalgic, flavor-packed, napkin-slaying experience that the McDonald's Big Mac promised in the TV ads of my youth, but never actually delivered. Just thinking about it makes me start humming that old jingle—"two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun." —Allecia Vermillion
Gumbo at Honor Bar
Over in Bremerton—a ferry ride away where all your neighbors are buying houses—there’s a lovely watering hole in Manette with perfectly dirty martinis and ice cold Hama Hama oysters. Honor Bar is proof that the naval town isn’t all taverns and sports bars. One chilly evening I came in a bit hungrier than I thought, so I ordered a bowl of gumbo. It was one of the best gumbos I’ve ever had. Big tender prawns, thick ovals of andouille sausage, rich dark gravy, and enough spicy heat to warm this martini-guzzling interloper. —Rosin Saez
Pimento Cheese at JuneBaby
To the surprise of nobody, Edouardo Jordan's take on pimento cheese is one of the best things I ate this year. Literally I bit into that first helping (spread on a housemade saltine-style soda cracker) back in July and thought, "yup, when I write one of those end-of-year blog posts, this will be on it." This version uses pickled peppers, which sharpens the flavor a bit; this was the opening salvo in one of many excellent meals I had at JuneBaby. —AV
Rice Bowl at B-Side
The rice bowl inside this Analog Coffee sibling spot on Capitol Hill checks all of the boxes. After one bite I wanted to get down on one knee and pop the question. And Jake Vorono is the chef administering this holy union of puffed wild rice and amaranth, char-roasted turnips and broccoli, a pile of pickled vegetables, with a perfectly runny soft-boiled egg and a tahini and chickpea-miso dressing on top. Best consumed with friends after a non-stop giration session with Kate Wallich at Dance Church. —RS
Zucchini at Manolin
Confession: I interviewed Renee Erickson for a story about chef's favorite dishes that aren't on their own menus. She lamented that she couldn't sing the praises of Manolin's zucchini dish, since the story would come out in winter. Without that mention, I'm not sure I would have ordered a dish described as "zucchini with dill pickle, basil, pecorino, and almonds." Because...what is that, even? Well, it's this host of punchy flavors and textures on what amounts to a high-end cheffy version of zoodles. It's unlike anything else I've had, and you've got to respect a chef who is confident enough to do incredible things with zucchini noodles. —AV
Dessert at Girin
This Pioneer Square ssam bar’s still got it. I took my family here to celebrate a graduation. After a parade of shareable platters from the chef’s tasting menu came this barley tea custard made with yuzu and drizzled with honey. It was just about the most delicate dessert to ever follow three different kinds of grilled steak and a spicy onslaught of kimchi. —RS
Foie Gras Tofu at Kamonegi
It's this unassuming, wan-colored little square, an appetizer on the menu at Mutsuko Soma's new restaurant. But holy hell, the flavor it packs. It's foie gras at its best, teetering between savory and gamey, with this crazy-luxe texture. It also puts you on notice that Soma came to play—the rest of her menu is just as bold. —AV
Porchetta Sandwich at Dot’s Butcher and Deli
It was a big year for sandwich sorcery. A few sandwich shops landed on Bon Appetit’s Best Restaurants list, including Ballard’s own Mean Sandwich and New Orleans’s Turkey and Wolf, which nabbed the top honor. But this year I found magic in Miles James’s porchetta sandwich: bright, pickled cabbage, an herby aioli, plus juicy, tender folds of sliced pork. I can’t find much fault in a Miles James crafted sando consumed at the countertop of his bygone (RIP) butcher shop and deli counter inside Pike Place Market. (Except that I’ll have to get a porchetta fix elsewhere. Hitchcock Deli has a heavenly one as well.) —RS
Allecia: Special shout-out to the tajarin at Spinasse, artic char tartare at L'Oursin, everything on Opus Co.'s feast menu, Lakehouse's pork chop, those chocolate chip cookies with bits of candy cane that Hello, Robin baked for the holidays, and anything Mark Fuller puts inside a Hawaiian bun. The $1 hash brown patty at Home Remedy is totally a run-of-the-mill frozen patty like the ones at McDonald's (see also: my love of the Big Max) but the kitchen seasons it up nicely, and it has fueled me through many a deadline. Also, I rolled my eyes at the whole "Look, I was a chef for Stevie Wonder" tagline at Chop't, but damn those salads are good.
Rosin: Other dishes that I totally wished asked me to prom this year include the mujadara at Anar, the crackly fried chicken (in any form) at Bok a Bok, soupe de pecheur at Marmite, fish sauce caesar salad at Navy Strength (making this classic salad fishier is genius), any magic that's produced at Art of the Table 2.0—asparagus, Neah Bay salmon, foie gras, and edible flowers are all treated with near-equal reverence—and then there's the Hood Famous Bakeshop ube cheesecake ice cream churned into a frozen dessert love song by Central District Ice Cream Company. Oh! And I could write a thousand words about the time the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs brought chef-legends Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan to the Hot Stove Society, but instead I'll just say this: duck leg adobo with coconut sap vinegar, coconut milk, and tumeric.