F+F Recommends: Seattle's Melrose Market.
Photo credit: Fog + Foundry
Perched on the edge of Capital Hill where Pine begins its steep pitch toward the Sound is Seattle's artisinal temple to local food - Melrose Market.
Nestled inside a triangular block and fashioned by adjoining two former automotive buildings originally constructed in 1919 and 1926, Melrose Market is a modern workshop of taste. Its raw interior space of exposed brick, concrete and soaring ceilings capped with wooden beams is a moody canvas for the businesses operating within.
Anchored by Sitka & Spruce and its seasonally driven Northwest cuisine, the market carves out space for like-minded shops. Bar Ferd'nand serves up refined cocktails, wine and small nibbling plates from oysters to sardines to their house made pickles. The Calf and Kid wedges an unthinkable variety of artisanal cheeses into their tiny market stall. The focal centerpiece of the market is Rain Shadow Meats' massive display case of local and custom cured meats.
During a recent visit to Melrose Market it was Taylor Shellfish Farms that stole the show. The Taylor family has been raising shellfish for more than a century and with their experience comes serious credibility. A banner hanging in their store lists their Seattle customers and nearly every great restaurant in town is represented.
Photo credit: Flickr user Jamesonf
The culinary trend of advocating local, seasonal cuisine has established roots in Seattle, and acolytes of this food movement acknowledge that it's best represented by high quality products prepared simply, to allow the ingredients to speak for themselves. It's in this arena that Taylor Shellfish shines.
Their large selection of oysters are served on ice with lemons and a simple mignonette sauce. The geoduck chowder is a revelation. But the true standout was the whole Dungeness crab. Anyone who's had to endure the indignity of having a plastic bib strapped on by a waiter will appreciate Taylor Shellfish's approach - the steamed crab is served chilled and freshly cracked by a member of their expert staff, revealing a bounty unthinkable to the amateur cracker.
There is a 100% chance that my next visit to Seattle will begin with me driving directly from the airport to Taylor Shellfish Farms. If you're after a uniquely Seattle approach to local cuisine, I recommend that you do the same.
Photo credit: MelroseMarketSeattle.com