After saying goodbye to lovely Vancouver, we took a four-hour Amtrak train ride down the coast to Seattle. We survived the ride in what I deemed “The Bro Car,” thanks to the overwhelming majority of the car’s occupants being young guys on their way to the Seattle Seahawks game, drinking Budweiser at 7 a.m. Gross.
After a quick cab ride (our only cab rides the entire trip were to/from the airports and train stations – we walked everywhere else) we unsuccessfully tried to check in to our hotel, then did a series of random things to kill time that day, including a stop for lunch at Serious Pie.
This would be the first of three Chef Tom Douglas restaurants we ended up visiting during our time in Seattle. I love thin-crust pizza with fancy toppings, so Serious Pie was my dream come true after a long morning in “The Bro Car.” My pizza had prosciutto, arugula and soft eggs on it. I’d probably return to Seattle just for this pizza.
After lunch, we stopped for a few cocktails at The Whisky Bar. After enjoying our three whisky cocktails + one beer sampler (total, not per person!), and putting up with one very annoying bartender, we headed back to our hotel to check on our room. Still not ready – turned out, our hotel room wouldn’t be ready until 10 p.m. that night. Um yeah, the Red Lion Hotel was having some issues.
However, for the inconvenience, the hotel did provide us with a $60 credit for the rooftop bar/restaurant. A rooftop bar that had SHUFFLEBOARD!
I had never played shuffleboard, but it was soooo much fun. And I’d like to think that I was pretty good at it. I’m definitely ready to be 70 years old, playing shuffleboard and sipping coffee all afternoon. Speaking of coffee, let’s skip straight to the good stuff.
Long story short, we watched another Tigers playoff game, finally got our hotel room, and woke up the next morning ready to drink coffee. A lot of coffee. Over the course of the next few days, we would visit several lovely coffeehouses including Seattle Coffee Works, Caffe D’Arte, and (had to do it) the original Starbucks store.
My favorite coffee shop of the ones we visited was Moore Coffee Shop. It was just this adorable little place, where I believe the owner herself whipped up our cappuccinos and lattes. Each cup came with a little bit of chocolate to either stir into your coffee or eat on its own. They even sold tamales. While we didn’t try them, I just loved that the tamales looked like they had been made in someone’s home kitchen and brought in. Oh, and the coffee tasted just amazing.
A close second to Moore was Storyville Coffee Company. Storyville boasts a mysterious logo that we had spotted all over town, but weren’t quite sure what it was for. Luckily, an employee at Pike Place Market (more on that Friday!) pointed us to Storyville for a great cup of coffee. The perfect afternoon pick-me-up!
For me, one of the major highlights of Seattle was a visit to Chihuly Garden & Glass. Now, this is what I imagine an acid trip would be like. Then again, everything I know about drugs, I learned from Breaking Bad, and they weren’t really into acid too much. Is it even still sold? Do people still do it? Spare yourself the chemicals, just get on a flight to Seattle and go to Chihuly. While you’re there, you can also go up in the Space Needle, but, spoiler alert: that’s overrated.
An indoor-outdoor museum showcasing the work of artist Dale Chihuly, this place is a dream for anybody with a camera (or eyes!). It was so much fun to walk through the exhibit and snap a million photos. I was also amazed that half of the museum is outdoors, and uncovered! Apparently, they don’t get many hail storms in Seattle?
Let’s get back to the food, shall we? Our second of three Tom Douglas restaurants was Lola. When we arrived, we were immediately caught off guard by this place. Apparently, none of us had really looked at the menu before making our reservation. While we assumed it was a seafood house, it was actually a Mediterranean/North African restaurant. What? Our fault for not researching the menu.
Most of us are pretty adventurous, so we were still game. After a bit of confusion about the menu and what/how many dishes to order (some of it was served “family style,” and some wasn’t), we settled in for a variety of dishes. While the meal got off to a rocky start with an order of smoked oysters (they weren’t bad, but we were expecting smoked oysters on the half shell, instead of a pile of cold, smoked, saucy oysters on a plate), the rest of the meal was absolutely delicious. The seafood tagine, beet salad and Greek spaghetti (oh, the Greek spaghetti!) were highlights. Seriously, that simple side of Greek spaghetti was truly memorable. Get the Greek spaghetti.
We also visited the Seattle waterfront area and Elliott’s Oyster House for lunch one day. Not only did they let us watch (another!) Tigers playoff game in the bar area, they served delicious Bloody Marys, crabcakes, chowder, and a few rounds of fresh, briny oysters. I suppose it’s rare to vacation with friends who all love oysters.
While we all lucked out for our fellow oyster-loving friends, we did NOT luck out in one respect: our trip was planned to include a full day tour of Mount Rainier. Thanks to the ridiculous U.S. government shutdown, Mount Rainier National Park was closed, and thus, our tour was off. Not only that, but it was overcast the entire time we were in Seattle, and we didn’t even see the mountain, except from the plane! Oh well – guess it gives us a chance to go back some day.
We gained a whole day of free time because of that little debacle, which worked out OK – there was plenty to see, do, eat and drink in Pike Place Market and the surrounding area. Come back Friday for the lowdown on that.
- Serious Pie – Soft Egg Pizza. Yukon Gold Potato Pizza. Buffalo Mozzarella Pizza. Penn Cove Clam Pizza.
- The Whisky Bar – Various Whiskies and Scotches. Beer Sampler.
- Seattle Coffee Works – House Coffees.
- Moore Coffee Shop – Lattes. Cappucino. Hot Chocolate.
- Storyville Coffee Company – Lattes. Cappucino. Tea.
- Caffe D’Arte – Lattes. Cappucino. Tea.
- Original Starbucks – Coffee. Espresso Drinks.
- Lola – Smoked Spicy Oysters. Northwest Seafood Extravaganza Tagine. Lamb Kebab. Yellowstone Grass Fed New York Steak. Wild Alaskan Salmon. Grandma Dot’s Greek Spaghetti. Garlicky Baby Beets.
- Elliott’s Oyster House – White Clam Chowder. Dungeness Crab Cakes. Various West Coast Pacific Oysters.
- Vancouver, Part 1: Sushi Bella. Winking Judge Pub. Gastown. Pourhouse. Nero Belgian Waffle Bar. Stanley Park.
- Vancouver, Part 2: Cactus Club Cafe. Japadog. G Sports Bar & Grill. Hubbub Sandwich Bliss. Capilano Suspension Bridge. Yaletown. Blue Water Cafe.
- Seattle, Part 1: Serious Pie. The Whisky Bar. Seattle Coffee Works. Moore Coffee Shop. Storyville Coffee Company. Caffe D’Arte. Original Starbucks. Chihuly Garden & Glass. Space Needle. Lola. Seattle Waterfront. Elliott’s Oyster House.
- Seattle, Part 2: Pike Place Market. Market Grill. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Post Alley. Gum Wall. Pike Brewing Company. Cutter’s Crabhouse. Seatown.