In this part of the world, the apples don't fall far from the tree, points out Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson, who lists seven easy ways to enjoy the fruit around town, from breakfast dishes to cider.
An apple a day — keeps me wanting more. In October, I don’t have far to look. From restaurants to roadside stands, farmers markets to festivals, in our part of the world, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
IT’S MONDAY, so start your week right — with a big breakfast at The Original Pancake House. There, the apple of my eye is an oven-baked apple pancake big as a plate, tall as a quiche and smelling like autumn thanks to a heap of sautéed, cinnamon-stoked Granny Smiths. (Seattle: 8037 15th Ave. N.W., 206-781-3344; Kirkland: 130 Parkplace Center, 425-827-7575; Bothell: 1904 201st Place S.E., 425-419-4476; Puyallup: 16116 Meridian E., 253-604-0791; www.originalpancakehouse.com.)
ON TUESDAYS, breakfast’s served all day at West Seattle’s Eats Market Cafe. Bodacious baker Toby Matasar offers plenty of apple-y goodness, including thick slices of brioche French toast with house-made apple butter. (Westwood Village, 2600 S.W. Barton St., Seattle, Unit B8, 206-933-1200, eatsmarketcafe.blogspot.com.) Speaking of French toast, you might do just that — at Madison Valley’s La Côte Café. Sip a proper cider-mugful of Etienne Dupont cidre bouche brut with La Côte’s signature salad (butter lettuce, shaved fennel and apple). And save room for La Tatin, a sweet crepe with caramelized you-know-whats. (2811 E. Madison St., Seattle, 206-323-9800; www.lacotecafeandwinebar.com.)
BY WEDNESDAY, Oct. 10, there may still be some spaces left at the Green Lake PCC for the hands-on “Easy as Pie” class ($45 members/$50 nonmembers). Instructor Barbara Schwartz changed my pie-making life, and she’ll change yours, too, by demonstrating how to prepare a flaky-crusted apple-pear pie. Students take home recipes and an apple-filled galette. You’ll need to register (206-545-7112 or www.pcccooks.com). If it’s full up, take heart: The class repeats Oct. 14 and Nov. 15 at PCC in Edmonds.
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THURSDAY is a great night to head to Phil Mihalski’s Green Lake dinner house, Nell’s, for a memorable marriage of Dungeness crab and Braeburn apples resplendent with red radish and a drizzle of herb oil. (6804 E. Green Lake Way N., Seattle; 206-524-4044 or www.nellsrestaurant.com.) Of course, we can’t all splurge on Dungeness crab with our apples, which is why god invented Fainting Goat Gelato in nearby Wallingford. Among their seasonal scoops: spicy caramel apple gelato. (1903 N. 45th St., Seattle, 206-327-9459 or www.faintinggoatseattle.com).
TGI FRIDAY: Need some oompah? You’ll find it downtown at RN74, celebrating Oktoberfest this month with”Alsatianfest.” Apples? They’ve got a few — on the five-course tasting-menu: apple gelée with the foie gras terrine, cider-brined pork in the choucroute garnie, apple strudel for dessert. At $65, that may be too rich for your blood? Well, grab a seat in the bar and try pastry chef Kim Mahar’s “fried apple pie,” a clever composition locavorified with Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar ice cream and Oola Distillery bourbon. (1433 Fourth Ave., Seattle, 206-456-7474 or www.michaelmina.net)
SATURDAY Oct. 13, Vashon Islanders (and island fans) celebrate the autumn harvest with CiderFest. The Vashon Fruit Club hosts a cider-pressing and apple-crisp sale as part of the farmers-market festivities (10 a.m.-2 p.m.). Islandwide events include an open house at Vashon Fire and Rescue; and a hard-cider tasting at Cafe Luna (4-6 p.m., $10). (Vashon Island Town Center, Bank Road, and Vashon Highway Southwest, www.vashonchamber.com.)
Oct. 20 is already circled on my calendar. It’s AppleLooza!, the University District Farmers Market apple-centric extravaganza. Fun and games include an apple taste-off, cooking demos, free apple cider and a chance to sample and purchase scores of lesser-known — and hard to find — apple varieties. (University Heights Center, University Way Northeast and Northeast 50th, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., www.seattlefarmersmarkets.org.) Whidbey Island also gets into the act Oct. 20 with the Whidbey Island Mutt Strut and Apple Festival (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) with apple tastings, fresh-pressed cider, live music and children’s activities. Mutts welcome! (Bayview Corner, 5603 Bayview Road, Langley, www.goosefoot.org.)
A SUNDAY drive to Skagit Valley is always fun. But this weekend (Oct. 6-7) makes it doubly so thanks to the Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday), offering an up-close look at life on the family farm (www.festivaloffamilyfarms.com). Be certain to include a stop in Sedro-Woolley at the Perkins family’s Eagle Haven Winery (yes, they have apple wine, and a tasting room) and Perkins Apple Orchard (where they grow 40 apple varieties). Take a guided tour of the fields and apple-processing facility and learn about pruning and grafting techniques, too. (8243 Sims Road, 360-856-6248 or www.EagleHavenWinery.com).
Nancy Leson: 206-464-8838 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @nancyleson.