When Sarah and I arrived in Seattle for our May trip, we finally got to the hotel around 9 pm. We hadn’t had dinner. We checked in quickly, dumped our luggage in our rooms and headed out in search of a bite to eat. The first thing we learned about Seattle? It’s hard to find a restaurant open at 9 pm on a Sunday night. The city all but rolls up the sidewalks after dark. Something we East Coasters weren’t used to.
Our driver had suggested a few restaurants within walking distance of our hotel, and after we found the third one closed, we ended up back at our hotel, taking our last choice, Lola. A Tom Douglas restaurant, Lola is inside Hotel Andra and let me tell you now … it should never be your last choice.
We took a seat at the bar, ordered our obligatory Diet Cokes and looked over the Greek-inspired menu. Everything looked amazing. One of my favorite things about eating with a fellow foodie is that we order a variety of things and share. Simply the best way to sample the most amount of food for the least amount of money. And hanging out with a fellow foodie (and I know how much Sarah hates that word, so forgive me) who also totes a camera everywhere? I feel way less obvious once the Nikon comes out.
We ended up ordering two different kabobs off the dinner menu. One with Haloumi cheese, figs and a balsamic glaze, and the other had assorted mushrooms and roasted garlic. I have tried figs on two occasions and haven’t grown to like them. All that stopped that night. Something about the combination of the Haloumi cheese (the first time both of us had had it) with the reduced balsamic vinegar, and the sweetness of the fig spelled nirvana.
We also ordered the anchovy cauliflower spread. I will be the first to say that I hate anchovies. The Ex Husband and my dad both love them. No thank you. But I don’t mind them one bit once they’re cooked (or in a caesar salad). Once the anchovies are heated, they melt into nothingness and just leave a wonderful salty flavor behind. Hello Salt, my name is Cate. That anchovy cauliflower spread? To die for. I don’t think we licked the bowl, but we came awfully close (and we also left that night with two recipes). The spread came with the most fabulous warm pillowy soft pitas you’ve ever tasted. Divine.
On our second (and last) day in Seattle, we had opted to take the red-eye home so we could build in seven hours of sightseeing before catching our flight back. Once we packed up our stuff and stowed everything with the front desk, we decided to stop in at Lola’s for “just a Diet Coke” before heading out. We reflected on our trip, went through a bunch of our pictures and scribbled notes, and then caught sight of the lunch menu.
Maybe a bite to eat wouldn’t be so bad. Forget the fact that we had just had lunch with the Starbucks crew an hour or so earlier.
Again, we opted to split the food and ordered the garlic falafel gyro with salad. This time we mostly did that because we knew we were going to spend our afternoon eating our way across Seattle. And believe me, we did. Once I get my act together caught up, there are at least another three or four more posts coming on various Seattle eats.
The waitress, who was this side of awesome, delivered our food, already split onto two plates for us.
The falafel was crisp and crumbly and lightly garlicky and simply perfect. The salad? Refreshing. Light. And full of local ingredients.
The waitress asked if we wanted dessert. Our ears perked up.
We couldn’t decide between the Loukoumathes or the housemade fried doughnuts. We told the waitress to surprise us, and she served up the doughnuts minutes later. Sugary bites of sinful goodness. Excellent choice. No guilt at all because we spent the next five hours walking off every calorie we ingested. The doughnuts were served alongside a vanilla mascarpone and a rhubarb jelly. Even featured on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate (in its fried edition, Giada De Laurentiis raved about these donuts), it was heaven on a plate.
Both times that we visited Lola, the service was outstanding. The bartender and the waitress took the time to chat with us, tell us about the restaurant, the area, the people and left us wishing we called it home. The restaurant has a keen eye on using local ingredients, even going so far as to have their own farm and vineyard. Love that.
If you are ever in the area, Lola is worth the visit. And not last choice.
2000 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121