Coastal Carbs

This year, most of my travels have unintentionally followed the Pacific, and almost all of them were first-time visits.

I don’t plan where I go according to a specific theme (loved ones — loved ones is the theme), but you’d think my stomach does based on this blog post.

I started off in Portland this January and flew to Berkeley in March. (Total Berkeley visits: 3)

The summer held the most gorgeous sunsets in Punta Mita in Nayarit, MX (lol this is not a pasta town), and in San Diego, a mainstay for my family. My family road-tripped to Yosemite, to stay with friends who moved last year to Mariposa, then hit Lake Tahoe, and Berkeley again.

Most recently, my parents and I visited my cousin in Seattle! She’s a jewelry designer and has made the state of Washington her home for the past four years.

I can think of music and smells and the way the sun said goodnight to describe each of these places… but I’d rather share with you “Coastal Carbs” - the best hand-made bowls of pasta and noodles I’ve had up and down the West Coast.

(From left to right)

Pasta Casalinga — SEATTLE (Pike Place Market)
This place is owned and operated by a couple: one with roots in the PNW and one in Torino. I’m a bad food journalist. I don’t remember the name of this dish. But there’s about 4 things on the rotating menu, each named for where the ingredients come from. You can’t go wrong.

Grassa PDX — PORTLAND (West End)
Ok this was what I was most excited for in traveling with friends to Portland…and it delivered. Cold and gray outside, I was primed for the warm comfort of this fresh cacio e pepe. I think I wrote in my Darling City Guide that if I went back I would order the Sunday ragu. Play pasta musical chairs with your plates if you go with friends. …Just remember to rotate before you finish off someone else’s!

Pasta Casalinga — SEATTLE (Pike Place Market)
My cousin ordered the “From the Garden” special, reginette con guanciale e romanesco. What did I tell you about not taking other people’s plates? Well… maybe one of you will be grateful for the help finishing off such good stuff.

Kamonegi — SEATTLE (Fremont)
Out of these four spots, this is the only visit that included a long wait. But it was worth it for the buckwheat noodles in this warm, tiny spot in the neighborhood that claims the Fremont Troll. Soba can be ordered in three different styles: bukakke (cold), seiro (with hot soup concentrate) or nanban (in hot soup). Most dishes were duck-based but my tonkotsu heart went for the pork based soup concentrate.

Kamonegi also offers a few different green teas: sencha, hojicha and genmaicha (green tea with toasted rice!). Many Japanese restaurants will have the variety, but Kamonegi makes the ceremony, or process, of eating here educational in an approachable, thoroughly enjoyable way.

And that’s it!

Now that you’re dreaming of pasta, sail away with HONNE. Perfect soundtrack for checking if Southwest or Alaska Airlines is having a sale…?