Melrose Market: Sitka & Spruce and Why We Heart Seattle

melrose market

Seattle holds a dear place in our hearts. It’s where I spent 5 wonderful years of work after graduation and where Kim and I first met.  We recently took a trip back and wanted to post a snapshot of a great experience in this beautiful pacific northwest city.  It’s only been several years since I left Seattle for Los Angeles, and while many of our favorite spots such as strolling on the beaches of Alki to marveling at the dazzling array farm fresh flowers at Pike’s Market never change, a new favorite destination in the heart of Capital Hill has sprung up earlier this year: Melrose Market.

Unlike the touristy and trinket heavy Pike’s Market, Melrose Market is a food lovers delight. While it doesn’t have the fresh produce of a true farmers market, it’s also without it’s hustle and bustle. It’s not like Granville Island Market or Reading Terminal Market in terms of number of vendors, but with that comes a more intimate experience. Housed in two historic Automotive buildings from the 1919 and 1925, the market has been restored with beautiful high wood beam ceiling and exposed brick walls. It’s the new home to some of Seattle best locally sourced food purveyors.

melrose market

Upon entering we were greeted by the refrigerated displays of house made sausages, pates, and various charcuteries of Rain Shadow Meats and immediately knew our plan of attack: Rustic duck rillettte from Rain Shadow Meats, fresh baguette and house made cheese from The Calf and Kid, and wine from French style Bar Ferd’nand.

sitka spruce

This whetted our appetites for what is a gem of a restaurant anchoring the Melrose Market, Sitka & Spruce. Hipster casual and easily the most intimate restaurant dining experience we’ve been, Sitka & Spruce is a locally sourced (often from the purveyors in the market) restaurant specializing in Northwest cuisine own by chef Matt Dillion.

sitka spruce

With limited seating, we think the best seat in the house is the large 12 seat butcher block communal table which is a direct extension of the kitchen prep table.  Sitting side by side and closest to the kitchen, we sacrificed a bit of intimacy and instead, shared it with the chefs preparing our meal. 

sitka spruce

No chef’s whites. No Hell’s Kitchen-esk yelling. Sitting between you and your meal are just the fresh ingredients ready to be combined, cooked, and plated right before your eyes. It’s a much more complete sensory gastronomic experience hearing your food sizzle in the pan to your plate instead of just seeing the very end result. It almost feels like you’re at a friend’s house hanging out in the kitchen as they’ve volunteered to cook for you.

sitka spruce

Our first course was a salad of rye berries and beets with tahini and sheeps milk feta. Rustic and hearty, this was a satisfying starter. 
sitka spruce

Smoked Washington sardines with creme fraiche, potato, & pickled shallot came next. The play of slightly sour and nutty creme fraiche with the salty and smokey sardines was as wonderful to taste as it was to behold.

sitka spruce

Our final dish was a lamb kofte with flageolet, tomato, and aioli.  Moist lamb and meaty flogeolet beans along with a thick slice of ripe tomato and tomato sauce was wonderful to eat as well as soak up with house bread. We both thoroughly enjoyed this dish the most.

Too stuffed and satisfied to even consider dessert, we bid the market goodbye, but as we were leaving the nice folks at Marigold & Mint, an organic farm and flower shop, gave us parting gifts of unsold sunflowers as they were closing for the day.

kerry park

We left with our unexpected but pleasant gifts and drove to another popular hang out of mine, Kerry Park on top of Queen Anne Hill  to watch the sunset cast it’s light on the picturesque Seattle skyline. However on this day, the colors of setting sun were no where to be seen, hidden behind thick shroud like clouds. Very typical Seattle–but we still love you anyway.

pikes market

We ended the evening with some coffee at Pike’s market. With the departure of the vendors, farmers, and crowds there are still plenty of wonderful sights to behold.  A beautiful sight to end a wonderful day in Seattle.

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14 Responses to “Melrose Market: Sitka & Spruce and Why We Heart Seattle”

  1. 1

    Ju (The Little Teochew) — October 16, 2010 @ 10:58 am

    You have captured the heart and soul of Seattle through your lens. I so enjoyed looking at every one of them, I actually scrolled back up for a second glance before leaving my comment. BEAUTIFUL photography!

  2. 2

    Fresh Local and Best — October 16, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

    What a romantic getaway! I adore the muted pictures in this post, especially the black and white one of the dining room, it's very Seattle! I also like sitting as close to the kitchen or prep area as possible, you learn so much about the restaurant!

  3. 3

    the actor's diet — October 17, 2010 @ 2:08 am

    i've always wanted to go to seattle!!! gorgeous pix.

  4. 4

    James — October 18, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

    Love the pictures. I really need to get my act together and take a trip to Seattle!

  5. 5

    Gastronomer — October 18, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

    Hong, your photos knocked my socks off. So beautiful!!

  6. 6

    Ravenous Couple — October 18, 2010 @ 6:45 pm

    Thank you all for your comments, we had such a wonderful time in the Northwest. Must visit again soon.

  7. 7

    Interested? — October 20, 2010 @ 6:53 am

    Love your photographs! They look like they are professionally shot! May I ask you what camera/lense and lighting that you used? They came out beautifully!

  8. 8

    Ravenous Couple — October 20, 2010 @ 7:43 am

    @intrested: Thanks! we use canon xsi with a 28-75mm 2.8 tamron. it was natural light, however, the tonal changes and desaturated look was edited in photoshop.

  9. 9

    Ivy Chang — October 20, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

    So yummy!! I love your blog. Thanks for this discovery

  10. 10

    Kitchen M — October 20, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

    What a cool place! I've never been to Seattle but it sounds like a foodie heaven! I'd love to visit there one day.

  11. 11

    triplescoopdesserts — October 20, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

    Great story that goes with some really great photos. I love the editing to give it that nostalgic feel.

  12. 12

    Tiny Urban Kitchen — November 11, 2010 @ 5:01 am

    LOVE the picture of the two of you on top of the hill. Did you use a tripod? I miss Seattle.

  13. 13

    Kung Food Panda — December 30, 2010 @ 6:59 am

    Great pics! I loved Seattle as well, especially Kerry Park. I bet you've been there at night. The scenery was amazing!

  14. 14

    Jess — June 9, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

    Hi, guys! Have been a fan and fellow foodie for a few months now and I have to say that this was very close to home for me, well… it is home for me as I live in Seattle! I cannot believe that I live here but have yet to visit the places you’ve mentioned in your post, besides Pike Place Market where my family sells flowers, Kerry Park close to a friends place, or Pill Hill (Capital Hill) where I go to school. Must visit soon – on to do list!

    Keep cooking and bringing your wonderful food-ventures and recipes to us, I enjoy them and I’ve been trying them out, though with much “trial and error”, but still edible, haha.

    Come back and visit soon!

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