When I first got it into my head that I wanted to travel somewhere over the holiday season, Seattle did not immediately come to mind. I was thinking more of an extended weekend trip to Central America – Costa Rica or Ecuador, perhaps. But astronomical airfare brought me back to reality and in the end, I chose Seattle. I’d been to Seattle twice before, but with friends now living there, I thought a new visit was due. Plus, I’d heard the food was good. I was intent on trying out at least a couple of Tom Douglas’ reputed restaurants.
I stayed at Hotel Andra, a centrally-located boutique hotel that through complete coincidence, housed one of Douglas’ restaurants and was across the street from two more. The first thing I did after checking in was to meet with my local friends, who guided me on a walk around downtown as we searched for lunch. It was New Year’s Day, so almost everything was closed. We circled back to our hotel and ate at Lola, Douglas’ Mediterranean and North African-inspired restaurant.
I had the squid kebabs with with crushed chili and chermoula, served with garlic smashed potatoes, griddled pita and tzatziki (which tasted reminiscently like maast-o-mooseer to me).
It was delicious. It’s hard to pull off tender squid, but Lola did, and the smoky flavor from the grilling really added to the spices. The tzatziki was the star of the accompaniments: really garlicy, thick, and slightly tart. Oh, Lola, you must have known I’m Iranian.
By the time we finished lunch, it was almost four in afternoon, so we spent the rest of the day (and night) playing video games.
Seattle could wait. There was Rock Band to be played.