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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