Eating, drinking & strolling around Capitol Hill

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Michael Rogers, center of top photo, leads dinner tours on Capitol Hill.

Everyone knows that Seattle's a wonderful food town. The Market, Belltown, Capitol Hill, Ballard, Fremont, even West Seattle, are all packed with interesting, innovative restaurants. Several companies have sprung up to guide visitors (and a few locals) on "progressive dinners" that stop in at some of the more popular spots: White Mustache, Savor Seattle, and Seattle Food Tours all offer tours that nosh. We accepted an invitation from Michael Rogers to join him as his guest for an evening on Capitol Hill. Disclosure: the tour normally costs $69.

First stop: Bar Cotto, where we're welcomed with sliced meats and Parmigiano. A basket of warm torta fritta begs to accompany the prosciutto and mortadella. Slightly sparklnig Lambrusco is a perfect match. Two observations: the fizzy part is great; it washes away the fattiness of the cured meats. Second, damn you, Oscar Meyer, for trivializing one of Italy's great contributions to gastronomy. mortadella, which, because it originated in Bologna, is now forever degraded in American eyes as "Baloney."

Salad at Artusi.JPGSecond stop: Artusi, where Adam Fortuna operates the "slushy" cocktail machine and brings out a delightful salad of octopus, apricots, arugula and almonds. Wasn't crazy about the cocktail, but the salad knocked my socks off.

Third stop is downhill, at Momiji. Rainbow roll. Have you ever wondered (as have I) if all that money spent on decor is worth it? At Momiji, it's worth it, it's worth it. Beginning to fill up.

Fourth stop: The Tin Table. A gin cocktail (a Corpse Reviver, thankfully), then roast chicken with root vegetables.

Walking slower now as we return to 12th Avenue for the final stop: D'Ambrosio Gelateria. Scoops of nocciolo and caffè. Haven't eaten this much in weeks.

Michael Rogers, a native of Louisiana, is the entrepreneur behind this tour (and similar tours of the Pike Place Market and Belltown). His success, and the popularity of his colleagues' tours as well, is due to an awareness that restaurants and bars play an important part in tourism, that visitors are increasingly drawn to a destination by its reputation as a "good food" town, but that it's easy for newbies and strangers to be overwhelmed (or disappointed) if they try the do-it-yourself approach.

Rogers brings an informal, boyish enthusiasm to his treks; he calls the Capitol Hill tour a "social." He's picked some quality spots; by the end of the evening, you've made new friends, learned a good bit of local history, and enjoyed fine food and drink. Can't ask for more.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on September 18, 2013 4:30 PM.

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