Seasonal Dining Scenes & At-home Delights to Brighten the Season

Courtesy Brimmer & Heeltap

We’re turning toward comforting eats more than ever to bring us joy, and we especially love supporting local chefs and restaurants. We’ve enjoyed recent collaborations like one this fall between Uneeda Burger and Kiona Vineyards, and we’re impressed by restaurants opening in new spaces in the midst of a pandemic (El Gaucho Seattle is settling into its new, historic Belltown home).

We’re also excited about eateries that have adapted for the colder, darker season ahead. Here are some of our latest discoveries. (*Note: If lockdown restrictions go into effect, please consider supporting these local businesses by ordering takeout and buying gift cards for future use!)

Photo by Corinne Whiting

One of our favorite finds is the new raclette dinner offering at Brimmer & Heeltap, a hygge-filled neighborhood spot on the edge of Ballard with a magical side garden. The raclette menu begins with a warm turmeric-ginger tea, followed by a smorgasbord of deliciousness; think cured meats, pickled goodies, fruit, cubed cheese to be cooked over the small stove (a memorable hands-on activity in itself!), delightful cooked potatoes and some of the tastiest buttered bread on planet Earth. A special beverage menu is available, too, to complement your dinner.

The meal costs $40/person, and advanced payment is required. Even though the upper patio has lovely heaters, the space is open-air, so be sure to bundle up for as cozy an evening as possible!

Hotel Sorrento image by © Egan Kolb

(*Update: The hotel and restaurant will close as of 11/30 and reopen in the spring.) There’s a new outdoor dining venue at the charming, 111-year-old Hotel SorrentoStella, which features a coastal Italian menu and dazzling cocktail program. Under a large, European-feeling tent called “The Star Garden,” cozy up next to a heater and enjoy seasonal fondue service and tableside DIY s’mores.

Or, choose standout dishes from the menu like the Caesar salad, bruschetta, linguine alle vongole, braised lamb shank and seared branzino (with sautéed kale, radicchio, cannellini beans, fingerling potatoes and saffron tomato broth) — all accompanied by a maple old fashioned or glass of Washington wine. This space offers the perfect ambiance in which to celebrate the holidays, or simply the fact that we’ve nearly made it through 2020, with a couple of your nearest and dearest.

Courtesy STELLA

Looking for a mini-getaway with a delicious meal thrown in to sweeten the deal? Use a weekend brunch at Eques as an excuse to plan a staycation at Hyatt Regency Bellevue, a delightful place to unwind in a way that also feels responsible and safe. (The hotel has impressive COVID-prevention protocol that includes rooms sitting empty for 48 hours between guests, mandatory mask-wearing in all public spaces and a spacious fitness center that requires a timed appointment to enter.)

If you’re like us, you may choose to pick up your tasty, seasonal Eques brunch and enjoy it from the comfort of your elevated room. While gazing out at Lake Washington, the twinkling Seattle skyline and the mountain peaks in the backdrop, dive into ideal weekend dishes like the cedar-plank salmon Benedict, the Breakfast B.L.A.T, poached eggs on toast or the French toast on thick-cut Macrina brioche.

Courtesy Eques

Or, if you’re preferring to eat at home, test out new sauces, seasonings and other accompaniments ranging from Mesa de Vida recipe starter and cooking sauces to Firefly Kitchens‘ amazing array of fermented foods (perfect for wraps, salads, etc.).

Courtesy Maple Craft Foods

Maple Craft Foods sells real maple syrup offerings — with no artificial or processed ingredients like cane or corn syrup — that can enhance meals from your pancake breakfast to salmon dinner. Real maple syrup contains 65-plus disease-fighting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and has 2/3 less sucrose than sugar. An even better reason to support this New England-based company? This season Maple Craft Foods is addressing the issue of food insecurity by donating pancake breakfast meal kits to food banks with every $50 purchase received in November and December.

Courtesy Maple Craft Foods

Looking for some healthy snacks-on-the-go for local hikes and road trips? We’re partial to these goodies by Kate’s Real Food (tagline: “Real Food. Real Energy”) Kate created these tasty energy bars and bites that would fit her busy lifestyle and also feature organic ingredients, and we have to admit we’re hooked.

If you’re on the hunt for a special dessert to share at home or send to loved ones this season, consider supporting local company Mora Ice Cream. Husband and wife team Jerry Perez and Ana Orselli started handcrafting ice cream on Bainbridge Island in 2004. These days they continue to make small-batch ice cream daily, using their artisanal process and creating seasonal flavors including: Double Dulce De Leche, Peppermint Bark, Espresso Mocha, Cheesecake Delight, Chocolate Moreo and Warming Cardamom. They also have delicious non-dairy options such as Frutti di Bosco Sorbet (a blend of blackberry, red raspberry and strawberry fruit).

For holiday giving, customers can select a minimum of four pint-size containers packed with mix-and-match selections of ice cream and sorbets. Pricing: 4-pack for $70, a 6-pack for $80 or 8-pack for $90, each of which includes the cost of shipping. More than 40 flavors are available online to order now, and special holiday flavors are available starting Nov. 20. All pints are cold-packed with dry ice in eco-friendly coolers. ‘Tis the season!

Courtesy Mora Ice Cream