Recommended by Alice’s friend Rei and conveniently located next door to the University Inn where we crashed for the duration of our stay in Seattle, Portage Bay Cafe was a “must visit” locale near UW. The line was already out the door by 10:30am on the day after Christmas, even though it was a Monday. The wait was about an hour long according to the hostess and we just about ready to leave when the hostess told us we could stake out a counter spot. Being from LA and highly familiar with restaurant lines, we did not hesitate taking the only two remaining counter spots next to the door and condiments table that nobody seemed to want.
The service was a little slow as the kitchen and waitstaff were overwhelmed by the post-Christmas rush. I sadly played it safe with Phil’s Breakfast. The bread and eggs were standard but the potatoes and molasses cured ham added more flavor to an American breakfast. The ham was sweet and had a nice smokey flavor yet a little chewy for me to finish. Potatoes were nicely seasoned with a heavy portion to get you ready for the day!
As we glanced over the menu, it was difficult not to notice the large variety of French toast dishes available. Alice ended up choosing the crowd-pleasing Oven Baked French Toast.
The Oven Baked French Toast very closely resembled a sweet, cinnamon-y bread pudding. It comes topped with a creme anglaise so no syrup was needed. The French toast comes with a “free pass” to visit the Topping Bar, essentially some large bowls filled with macerated or canned fruits sitting on a counter. Alice decided to forgo the canned peaches and selected the four berries instead – strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
Very filling portions, reasonable prices, and extremely convenient especially if you’re a UW student, Portage Bay Cafe is a must visit. Best advice we can give is to not nitpick with seating availabilities, stake out a counter seat and save yourself at least half an hour.
Check out Portage Bay Cafe: www.portagebaycafe.com
4130 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Easily an hour long wait for brunch on the weekends (or holiday weekdays).
See their Yelp reviews here.
Now here’s an opportunity to try something out of the ordinary. How often does one get to try a slew of caviar varieties ranging from classic sturgeon caviar and similar-to-beluga osetra caviars without breaking the bank? Reasonably priced at $10 / person, you could try 10 varieties, ranging from the $5 / oz of Chum Salmon Caviar to the Osetra Israel Caviar at $135 / oz. Add a glass of a delicious French champagne (or in our case, a Cremant) for an additional $10 / person.
Note: We’re not caviar connoisseurs, so please excuse any poor articulations of caviar flavors and textures.
A very familiar taste for us as it’s often used in sushi. Pops, nice and salty.
Similar to the salmon caviar but more buttery.
Similar in texture to but slightly milder than tobiko (cod roe) used in sushi.
Salty as the salmon caviar and buttery as the trout caviar, but these pearls are smaller and have less pop.
Siberian Sturgeon (no photo)
Noticeably different flavor from the more familiar-tasting ones we started with. This was where it started getting very good.
Salty/briny and buttery.
Saltier and nuttier than its Idahoan counterpart.
This one had the most complexity thus far. It had a peculiar fruity and nutty flavor.
A more buttery, subtle version of the Israeli Osetra. This turned out to be our favorite of all of them.
The most complex, most expensive caviar the Seattle Caviar Company has to offer. Next best thing to Beluga caviar.
The Seattle Caviar Company is conveniently located just off Eastlake Avenue. Brittany, our caviar guide, was very friendly and knowledgeable. This visit definitely made our day and we highly recommend making caviar tasting a part of your next trip to Seattle!
Check out Seattle Caviar Company: www.caviar.com (Amazing domain name, right?!)
2922 Eastlake Ave E
(between Allison St & Hamlin St)
Seattle, WA 98102
$10 per person tastings, and a $10 flute of French champagne if desired.
See their Yelp reviews here.