Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Soccer Teams

Last weekend was yet another trip down south of the 49th, this time to meet up with some old friends, do a little shopping and to take in the MLS Cup championship game at Qwest field.

The two teams competing for the MLS Cup this year, the L.A. Galaxy and Real Salt Lake come at the beautiful game from different angles. The Galaxy are all about “star power” with the likes of Landon Donovan and David Beckham giving their squad lots of notoriety. RLS on the other hand hails from the second smallest market in the MLS and relies of a more grinding type of game.

This comparison can also be made of the two of the establishments we dined/drank at in Seattle.

On the one side we have Tavern Law. One of the new “speak-easy” style of bar in the city, Tavern Law features a small tapas style menu, and a huge cocktail menu. The main room is somewhat small but very cozy. On the right side of the room (facing the bar) you’ll notice a large bank-vault door, and beside that on the wall, a phone.

This is where it pays to have friends in the know. If you phone ahead (like, perhaps a week) you can book yourself a spot in the private room. Beyond the vault door and up some narrow wooden stairs you will emerge into a room that looks like it was plucked from the prohibition era. There is a hush in the place, and a lot of happy people.

At the bar you are informed there is no cocktail menu. Instead, you tell the bartender your preferences, be they brand of liquor, flavours or even colours. Moments later you are presented with a cocktail custom-mixed for you. It’s great idea, and takes the cocktail culture to the next step. Instead of the chef creating a tasting menu, it’s the bartender.

On the other end of the food spectrum, we find The Swinery on Main. Unsophisticated, out in the open, and completely unpretentious, The Swinery is a take-out window operated by the owners of The Swinery Butcher in West Seattle. These folk are my kind of people, curing their own bacon, sausage and serving it up good and messy.

They open at 7am for breakfast, offering up breakfast burritos and biscuits along with something called a “Breakfast Waffle Dog.” That will have to wait for next time … we were still recovering from the game the day before! “Linner” (lunch+dinner) continues until 7pm.

We caught them right at the switchover (around 10) and decided on the daily special of home-made sausage with peppers and spinach on a bun, cassoulet, and home cut fries cooked in beef fat. Unlike Salumi, The Swinery branches out beyond the charcuterie genre, offering more cooked foods. Not better, just different. The only odd thing about the menu at The Swinery was their vegetarian options. I mean, really … it’s a butcher shop! Risotto is just taking up valuable menu space!

We made our way down to the UPS Gardens at 2nd and Main, pulled up a chair and dug in to a very rich and satisfying meal. Nothing really cuts the cold autumn weather in Seattle like a hot bowl of cassoulet! Too bad we didn’t find this place before the MLS Cup game at Qwest. Once the winds pick up on the Seattle waterfront, Xbox Field could be renamed Icebox Field.

And Real Salt Lake won by the way. Can’t wait until our turn in 2011!


  1. Glad you had a nice time in Seattle! Did you like your sandwich from The Swinery? If you have time next time, let us know and we'll meet your for cocktails somewhere! Lauren

  2. Okay, you know what's funny Lauren? We saw you with some friends at Le Pichet on Saturday morning. You left before we could catch you (and to be honest, we couldn't remember your name!).

    The Swinery was really good. Bun was a little soft on the sandwhich, but the fillings were very tasty. The cassoulet was one of the best I've had.


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