The Visiting Gourmand

In a food-obsessed city, we take pride in our local gems. That's why when nationally renowned critics come to town, the city is abuzz with who went where and what they thought. Here is a rundown of the latest foodie celebs to come to town, where they ate and what they said about it.

Updated: July 20, 2009

Expert Rated

Lampreia Restaurant

2400 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

On his blog, Mark Bittman proclaimed ?Lampreia is one of my favorite restaurants in the world,? when detailing his latest visit to Seattle. Scott Carsberg's meticulously fancy food is at times over the top, but always delicious. Bittman reported on what he enjoyed: ?The highlights: brandade (salt cod mousse) with pickle and squid ink tuile; smoked egg; geoduck sashimi with honeycrisp apple; squid ribbons with ink pasta; Scott's famous orange confit.?

Spur Gastropub

113 Blanchard St, Seattle, WA 98121

The entire city seemingly shut down with the impending visit by gourmet queen Ruth Reichl in late May. Rumors of where she would eat flooded the food blogs and Twitter streams. Fittingly, Reichl alerted the masses via Twitter that she visited Spur the night before her speaking engagement, tweeting ?wishing I were still sipping great bourbon drink[s] at Spur.? Chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough were ecstatic, having put up a picture of Reichl in their kitchen months before, with the hope she would stop in.


1411 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Ruth Reichl announced to the crowd at Words & Wine that she was going to be dining at Tilth that evening, leaving her handlers to worry about potential hordes of people descending upon the little Wallingford restaurant. Chef Maria Hines was alerted in time, and churned out her always-amazing food. Gushed Reichl, ?Tilth was great; especially loved the bacon flan with a little cake of greens (awful alone; awesome together) and the mini duck burgers.?

Odd Fellows Cafe

1525 10th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Linda Derschang's latest hipster outpost attracted New York Times columnist Mark Bittman on his last visit to town, in January 2009. Calling it ?a funky, swell-looking new restaurant,? Bittman ordered every vegetable dish from the previous night's menu, and reported satisfaction with most all of them, particularly the ?fabulous grain (barley? farro?) salad with winter squash and chickpeas.? The grain: farro.

Cafe Presse

1117 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Tony Bourdain and Mario Batali sold out the Paramount Theatre this past June, then after-partied at Cafe Presse with Mario's parents, Seattle legends Carol and Armandino Batali, purveyors of Salumi. Bourdain and Batali held court on Presse's tiny patio, accompanied by Matthew Dillon of the Corson Building. Bourdain responded graciously to passing fans and even signed a few autographs.