I took a trip to Seattle last weekend. I got to spend four days getting to know the city– thanks to my sister who let me tag along on her work trip! Even though I’ve lived in Portland for more than six years, I’ve never made it up to Seattle for more than a day or two. So, this was long overdue.
Highlights and more photos after the jump.
Pike Place Market (of course), including: Lowell’s for breakfast with a view, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese shop, Pear Delicatessen for snacks and gifts like cookbooks, lots of local affordable wine and other foodie finds, and DeLaurenti Specialty Food and Wine for all your imported-from-Europe favorites and fresh made Italian-inspired cafe fare. Really, that just scratches the surface of the market, the browsing is endless. I’ve already made a list of where to be sure to hit up next time!
Near the south end of the market is Vital Tea Leaf, a charming Chinese tea shop. My sister and I warmed ourselves with a free tasting of their expertly prepared high-end teas, got all kinds of advice on choosing and preparing tea, and left with two new ones to drink at home. I’m sipping on their Blue People ginseng oolong as I type.
My friend Erin recommended that we hit up Olympic Sculpture Park and I’m so glad she did. It’s an easy walk from Pike Place Market and the sculpture and views make it so worth it. My favorite was The Eagle, the iconic (and huge) red steel sculpture by Alexander Calder.
If you’re downtown between 3 and 6pm and love oysters, do yourself a favor and go to Blueacre Seafood. I had a half dozen sustainably-sourced (and delicious) local oysters on the half shell and a crisp glass of house sparkling wine for a song. Best $11 I ever spent.
South Lake Union
Just north of downtown in the very center of Seattle is the burgeoning neighborhood of South Lake Union. In addition its namesake Lake Union and the Wooden Boat Museum, it’s the home of more and more restaurant hot spots– thanks in part to the growth of neighborhood resident, Amazon. To get there, you can walk up from downtown or take the streetcar.
Kakao offers coffee and sipping chocolate. I chose the chocolate. The barista melted squares of chocolate into milk in a little stovetop pot behind the bar–thick and chocolatey and delicious. Their airy and vaguely industrial space with free wi-fi was the perfect spot for a break.
Shanik, the sister restaurant of the famous Vij’s in Vancouver, makes its home in South Lake Union. We enjoyed everything we tried, but especially the complimentary cups of chai that are served when you sit (indescribably good) and their take on samosas with house-made chutneys. We joked that they should open up a chai and samosa window on the side of the building– we’d be there daily.
My favorite breakfast spot was Portage Bay Cafe. With a focus on local, seasonal and organic food and lots of amazing gluten-free options, this casual breakfast spot won my heart. The table with heaping bowls of fresh fruit, nuts, whipped cream, real maple syrup and more, was the icing on the cake– or in this case on my perfectly fluffy, yet crisp around the edges, buckwheat pancakes.
Northeast of downtown (totally walkable, but a bit of a climb) is cool kid neighborhood, Capitol Hill.
Totokaelo was my favorite shopping spot of the trip. Amazing textiles for kitchen and bath, beautiful and unique things for the table, plus I thought I had died and gone to Dieppa Restrepo heaven. I couldn’t help leaving with a couple of new hand towels and the loveliest french-made ceramic tea cups.
Next door, conveniently enough, is the storied Elliot Bay Book Company. It’s big enough to find everything you would want, but not so big that it’s overwhelming. It feels pleasantly curated with lots of staff book reviews and recommendations. I loved the exposed beams with light streaming in from above.
As I’ve written before, I’m a big Barre3 fan, so it was fun to take a class at their Capitol Hill studio on vacation. Right up the street is Healeo. It was a great spot for a post-workout green juice and matcha latte. Thanks to my friends at Kure for the recommendation!
I didn’t get to hit up many shops in Ballard (next time!), but I had some great food. Besides Shanik’s chai, the best thing that went into my mouth on this trip was the molé at Carta Oaxaca. I had the molé pork platter, my sister had the molé chicken tamale. Both were pure magic. I’m a huge molé fan and theirs made my top three. The tender and delicious house-made corn tortillas were just the thing to sop up every last drop of molé. Molten chocolate cakes in mason jars at Hot Cakes made the perfect dessert. Did I mention they have gluten-free and gluten-free vegan options? Heaven. We capped it all off with well-crafted cocktails at Bastille. Their bar menu had lots of great looking options too, but I was way too full of chocolate cake.
Until next time, Seattle…