Go Eat! These little dishes are not for sharing

Go Eat! These little dishes are not for sharing
What started out as research for a new spice cookbook ended up being a new career path for Jerry Traunfeld, the acclaimed executive chef of The Herbfarm for 17 years.

After a culinary tour of India in January 2007, Jerry decided to bring the thali style of dining to Seattle.

"A thali is a traditional Indian way of serving meals where each diner gets this, like, stainless steel tray and on the tray are all of these little cups and each cup has a different dish in it," Traunfeld says.

And that's exactly what diners get when they order from his menu at Poppy, which he opened on Capitol Hill last September.

"The Herbfarm didn't really reflect me - the food sort of reflected what I wanted to cook - but that style was just not ever me. I was getting tired of that level of dining where every dish has to be this composed work of art."

The thalis at Poppy are composed of 10 dishes -- usually a meat and seafood, some veggies, a soup and flatbread. There's also a condensed thali called the "smali" and a vegetarian option, too.

"People get freaked out or confused because they don't know what order to eat it in and there are some people that just want to start with their soup and then go to their salads. But really, it's conceived so you can just hop back and forth between everything."

The best part about the thalis? Unlike tapas, they're not meant for sharing.

"Sometimes you don't want to share your food with a bunch of people," laughs Jerry.

But if you're not in the mood for a platter of food you can head to the lounge like these folks did:

- "Let's see, we had the eggplant fries with sea salt and honey, which were delicious. Also, the chicken roasted in tandoor with slaw and naan, very spicy but good."

- "I had the Turkish Delight. Delish cocktail. Curacao, maraschino, lime and pomegranate. I was really excited to try the bar because I really like the bar atmosphere a lot. It's like upscale IKEA, but I like it. It works!"

Places Jerry likes to Go Eat!: Chang's Gourmet, Monsoon, Olivar, Corson Building.

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