ginger and salt

date nights with dad: spinasse.

cascina spinasse on capitol hill.As I’ve said before, I like hanging out with my parents. And hanging out usually entails eating some sort of meal.  My mom is always game when kale or farro are involved, but when I’m craving a rich bowl of pasta? I’m calling dad.  He and I have shared a couple of especially lovely dinners at Spinasse this past year – the kind that leave you dreaming about the meal for weeks to follow.

Here is my Holy Trinity of dishes in Seattle: oysters at Walrus and the Carpenter, roast chicken at Le Pichet, and tajarin pasta at Spinasse.  My co-workers love to tease me about my love of food and one morning in the kitchen at work, one of our VP’s opened a to-go box and in front of a group said, “Quick Taylor, name where this pasta is from!” I didn’t even have to pause; it was too easy. (And everyone seemed to get quite a kick out of my pasta identification skills.) The tajarin pasta from Spinasse, fluffy and delicate and perfect, is unmistakable. What I haven’t figured out, however, is how he managed to have any leftovers.

tajarin fine hand cut egg pasta with butter and sage.{Behold, the tajarin with butter and sage.}

a perfect snack of pate and anchovies and butter on toast.{A perfect snack of pate and anchovies and butter on toast.}

the north side of the dining room.

beautiful arrangements everywhere.

cipollini onions stuffed with rabbit sausage, drizzled with honey sauce.

{Cipollini onions stuffed with rabbit sausage and drizzled with honey sauce.}

Spinasse is such a special place. There is no question that it is one of my favorite restaurants, not only in Seattle, but in general.  It has undergone some changes over the years (it used to be a room with a few small communal tables), but it is still as reliable and delicious as ever.

If you’re dining by yourself or with one other person, you’ll want to snag a coveted spot at the bar, as has been our recent tradition. The ambiance is cozy and more importantly, you’ll be in prime position to ogle the pasta maker and his insane skills. Seriously, the precision and methodology is mesmerizing. (I have been caught staring more than once as evidenced by the picture below.) The thin, ribbon-like tajarin (pronounced tie-ah-reen) with butter and sage is my all-time favorite pasta (ever?), but you should also try whatever other pasta they are cooking up at the moment because you can’t go wrong. Another option? Go double or nothing and get the tajarin with ragu, too.

photo 3

{Hi. I love you.}

shaved kolrhabi and watermelon radishes with prosciutto di parma and asian pears.

{Shaved kohlrabi and watermelon radishes with Prosciutto di Parma and Asian pears.}

carrot salad with celery and marinated rabbit and marinated cauliflower salad with ricotta, pinenuts, and fennel.

{Carrot salad with celery and marinated rabbit and marinated cauliflower salad with ricotta, pinenuts, and fennel.}

ravioli with sweetbreads and braised pigs' trotter.

{Ravioli with sweetbreads and braised pigs’ trotter.}

pork shoulder braised in milk with turnips and turnip greens.

{Pork shoulder braised in milk with turnips and turnip greens. No knife necessary.}

It’s always fun to order the Antipasto Misto Della Casa so you can try a little bit of each of the beautiful antipasti dishes. Some of the other wonderful things I have eaten this year include the cippolini onions stuffed with rabbit sausage (no talking when you’re eating these, you need to focus on how good they are), a beautiful black cod, and a luscious milk-braised pork shoulder that reminded me of one my mom used to make.  The desserts are always lovely and inventive, too.

lemon custard with ricotta and acqua di cedro soaked ladyfingers.

{Lemon custard with ricotta and Acqua di Cedro soaked ladyfingers.}

photo 1

{Midway through our conquest.}

photo 5

{Hard not to order a coffee and linger at the bar.}

The best part about Spinasse is that it makes any night feel like an occasion.  Not in a stuffy, pretentious way, but in a way that you feel like someone’s invited you into their beautiful Italian home and taken great care of you.  Whether you’re celebrating a wedding anniversary or you’re like me and my dad, just looking to turn a Monday into a celebration, a dinner at Spinasse will stay with you for a long time.  In the best way possible.

Spinasse, 1351 14th Ave, Seattle, WA, (206) 251.7673,, Open Wednesday through Monday for dinner, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Reservations recommended




    It always makes my day when amidst all the emails from Pottery Barn and Amazon there is a Ginger and Salt post. You made me giggle, and you made me hungry – a wonderful morning combo! xoxox L

  2. Connor Mitrovich

    T- you make me want to go sit at the bar and ogle as they spin pasta! And way to ace the impromptu pasta identification quiz. #whosthefoodiestofthemall

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