Julien Perry is the Food and Dining Editor for Seattle Magazine and one of the founders of the One Night Only Project. Prior to joining the magazine, she was an editor for Eater Seattle and a restaurant reporter for KOMO news radio. Despite being a graduate of the Baking & Pastry program at the Seattle Art Institute, she wasn’t always the gourmand she is now. “I used to be a bodybuilder and was on a strict diet for most of the mid 90s. I’m pretty sure I had more artificial sweetener coursing through my veins during my competition diets than a silo of Sweet ‘n Low,” reveals Perry, who also appears regularly on Q13 Morning News and Evening Magazine. Still fit and fabulous, but with a much more varied and envious array of food at her fingertips, she shares her answers to our 20 dining Qs.
1. What are some of the best qualities of the Seattle dining scene?: I’ve lived here for 20+ years, and some of the best qualities include: always incredibly fresh local produce, staggeringly good seafood, chef-driven restaurants, and a quaint neighborhood feel in a big city.
2. Any restaurants at which you’re something of a regular? Most Ethan Stowell restaurants (mkt., Bar Cotto), Corretto (across the street from my home), Rock Creek, and the bar at Canlis (until I can afford to have a real meal there).
4. Last best restaurant(s) you dined at? I had several awesome meals at Dot’s before it abruptly closed in late June. Outside of that, I had a multi-course meal at Canlis that was unexpected. I got to be a guinea pig for chef Franey’s new tasting menu. And it was divine.
5. Restaurant you’d most like to try but have yet to — anywhere? Restaurant Marron just opened near my home on Capitol Hill. Prix fixe menus only. Intrigued!
6. Favorite city (cities) for dining outside your own? San Francisco. But I always secretly hope to move back to New York City (I lived there in 1996), where the food scene has absolutely exploded.
7. Destination dining cities you’d love to visit? Anywhere in Europe.
8. What’s your overall favorite type of cuisine? Mexican. I just love the simplicity and the flavors and the spice. Besides, what better comfort food is there than nachos?
9. Shared plates, tasting menu, or the classic app/entrée/dessert? Shared plates! I can never make up my mind. I like to order a little bit of everything and share with a friend.
10. Dish you can’t resist ordering? Sliders and frites. Guilty as charged.
11. Have you ever done a bang bang (a la Louis C.K.)? If not, what’s the greatest # of courses you’ve eaten in one restaurant siting? I used to do eating challenges when I wrote for Seattle Weekly. Does a five pound hamburger or a four pound burrito count? God, I hope so.
12. What’s your go-to drink? Cava. Bubbles rarely disappoint.
14. Name five people, dead or alive, with whom you’d like to dine. Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Harry Connick, Jr., Jimmy Fallon, and John Stewart — because I would marry any of them on the spot, and I feel like I just need a shot.
15. Dining pet peeve? Staff who are so comfortable with you being a regular that you actually end up getting the worst service (“Oh, hey! It’s Julien! She won’t mind if we get to her last.” — a statement I would never ever agree to.)
16. Any recurring dining dilemmas to report? I am absolutely easy to please! If my surroundings are comfortable and I have a glass of red wine in front of me, chances are I’m in my happy place.
17. Split the check or itemize the bill? I’d rather pick up the tab than crunch numbers too closely.
18. If I won Powerball, I’d hire ___ as my personal chef. There is absolutely no chef I would ever want full-time in my home. If there is, I haven’t met him/her yet.
19. Trends you love or loathe? I love farm-to-table, but I just don’t see the need to keep promoting it. It’s assumed at this point.
20. Greatest culinary indulgence? A nice bottle of red wine.