The Unhappy Hour
One of the great things about our temporary relocation is the opportunity to try new restaurants. When E's folks were in town, we ate out for every meal, both in the greater Seattle area and in Whistler.
We still have plans to hit up Salumi, Mario Battali's dad's deli, one of these days, but that will likely need to wait for a weekend so we can make a full Seattle day of it.
Due to the economic downturn, many of the fancy restaurants in the Seattle area have taken to having happy hour menus with small plates in the restaurant's theme and lower priced drinks. Since we live within walking distance of downtown Bellevue, we can walk to many of these options in less than 5 minutes. Additionally, some of the restaurants have taken to offering the happy hour menu again, after the traditional dinner hour. This results in the interesting side effect that the happy hour menu is available from 3 - midnight in many of these restaurants with only a short break from 6:30 to 9 or so.
So, we've taken to eating only during happy hour (or avoiding the "unhappy hour" as I like to call it) at some of our favorite restaurants like Seastar (a walk to an early dinner of half-priced oysters, deviled eggs, and raw fish?), Daniel's Broiler (early or late deliciousness with a view of Seattle from the 21st floor), and John Howie Steak (Did someone say *fried* gnochi?).
There are several more options we're looking forward to trying like Pearl and Monsoon.
Unfortunately, my favorite local restaurant, Din Tai Fung does not have happy hour, nor do they take reservations. So we go there at odd hours to avoid the 1.5 hour wait as well. E's favorite restaurant, Sushimaru is so reasonably priced that every seat along the conveyor belts are full with a wait on the benches along the wall during workday lunch and dinner hours.
In short, the traditional eating hours are not a good time to be eating at restaurants in the Seattle area. But if you're flexible on time, you can get quite a great deal.