Seattle Soaring: Bitter Root

Going to Seattle after the NFC Championship Debacle.

12th Man. Sherman. A hangover still lingers from the 49ers losing.


Not the best scenario to return to Seattle after an 18 month absence. I was really looking forward to this business trip 4 days before. Oh well, go Peyton!

This is a land in which I am so comfortable. I did quite a few projects here. Enjoyed the fact that Grunge started here. The echoes of Pearl Jam…”I seem to recognize your face” are here (my FAVORITE band)….I can hear “Pennyroyal Tea” playing and Mother Love Bone singing “Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorn” in the background. Or remembering my happier times of my career up here: Space Needle rides, company events, Shorty’s, catching fish at the Pike Market, Dorito’s spilled everywhere with Stella’s in a hotel room, cab rides for beer because Seattle, too, has weird laws, going to the original Starbucks just because, taking ferries, exploring Capitol Hill, going to The Crocodile for the first time. Shelly and Jason at the Purple Wine Cafe of the big booth restaurants that make you feel like a midget…or falling in love every Summer when the nights are so long you forget what time it really is….I can go on and on about this place. Except, I have an issue with three seasons here but there is one season for which I am filled with nostalgia for:Summer. In the great words of Eddie Vedder….”Hearts and thoughts they fade away” and this always remind me of my two favorite friends…CDietz and JBernhardt.

I digress. Up to Emerald City I went and met a dreary cold day as I landed. Typical. I stopped off at Vivace for a non-alcoholic fuel option so I may warm up and have a splendid latte in Capitol Hill. Warm, velvety and delightful! Honestly, there is nothing to compare to when talking about Latte’s. Warm. Happy. Now, off to my meetings for the day.

I end up the day at what was coined as the Best Bloody Mary in Seattle in Ballard, WA. A part of the city in which I have never been before. It’s on the outskirts of the Needle heading away from Lake Union. This is an area of transition. Very industrial, harbor shipping etc. Then you get to this kind of secret, hipster area that meets an upcoming borough. I dig it at first blush.

I walk in to this place, that is at first blush,  I thought was a boutique on the outside as it is deceiving when you look at it. You walk in and there are simple tables like you have stepped into an upscale BBQ joint.  You can smell the BBQ smoker billowing throughout and gaze upon happy faces huddled inside. I keep walking straight back through this rectangular place and I find the bar area which seems like it is sloped downward by 45 degrees. Welcome to Bitter Root.

I had found this establishment on “The Stranger” which is a local metro paper and it intrigued me. It was crowned as one of the best Bloody Mary’s in Seattle. I saddled up in a very stainless steel laden bar area. Good tunes playing. Especially pleased at the southern flare of music and happier when I hear Ray LaMontagne playing. A smile creeps across my face and I know I am in good hands.

I let the barkeep know I read about their infamous Bloody Mary and order one up. He smiled and asserted it was.

This place is a gastropub meets BBQ with a gourmet Bloody Mary. According to the review the Bloody Mary  is a “pureed house-smoked tomatoes mixed 50-50 with tomato juice, fresh lime juice, Worcestershire, grated horseradish, celery and kosher salt, black pepper, crushed-up dried thyme, Spanish paprika, and Tabasco. Add a six-hour-smoked-salt rim, then pickled okra, radish, cauliflower, jalapeño,” Add in a new treat that I have never had before. A candied piece of bacon that is cured or cooked in maple syrup. Oh-em-gee. WOW! It was more than a delight. It was epic. Simple components that compliment each other. The pickled garnishes are a great addition to this Mary. But……holy sh***balls…way over priced. WOW! That hurt the ol’ pocketbook. What are you thinking Grant and Hannah Carter? Is the markup on the bacon? $11 for a Bloody? WTF! This isn’t Vegas. It’s Ballard, my friends. Dial it down.  When that bill came it actually spoiled the experience. Maybe that is why it is called Bitter Root. It leaves a bitter taste. This really took away from what I wanted to walk away with in this search for a great Bloody Mary. Great Mary, bad price tag.