Monday, July 7, 2008

Travels to the Pacific Northwest, Part 1: Seattle

Over the Fourth of July holiday week, the Missus and I hopped a flight and headed into the grey and rainy Pacific Northwest. After getting on the plane, waiting, de-planing while mechanics made repairs, a fair amount of swearing, and finally a later flight out, we landed in beautiful, rain-free Seattle only four hours after we were originally supposed to arrive.

With only a few hours to enjoy the city on our first day, we checked into our hotel and headed down to check out the University District. With its 24 hour copy centers, multi-cultural hole in the wall restaurants, and trendy vintage shops, the University District reminded me of Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue. We walked for a while, enjoying the warm sun exploring a new city and looking for a good place to eat. We settled on Big Time Brewery & Alehouse, a cool little place with great beer and pub fare that includes some tasty thin crust pizzas. With a few slices of Margherita Pizza and a couple of pints of Organic Pale Ale safely in my belly, it was time to grab a cup of coffee and walk off dinner.

Note: The neighboring restaurant to Big Time was one of those Pan-Asian dives that pastes a color picture of each item on their menu to the front window called "Tasty Things". While the restaurant and the food looked dubious at best, the main figure in the restaurant's logo, was... wait for it... A DOLPHIN. Yes, a restaurant serving seafood felt the need to associate their menu with our favorite mammal of the sea. You can't make this kind of stuff up.

Day Two
It's time to hit the market. We met up with the folks from Savor Seattle for our tour around Pike Place Market with a group of about six people. With our cameras out and "Tourist" badges in plain view, we set out for a delicious and informative insiders look at a few of the favorite market stalls. Along with our infectiously cheerful tour guide Angela, we toured and tasted some of the best Pike Place has to offer, including Market Spice, Beechers Handmade Cheese, Daily Dozen Doughnut, and Piroshky, Piroshky.

We of course paid a visit to the raucous, fish-throwing gentlemen of the infamous Pike Place Fish Market.

The one throwing the fish there is called Bear. He took quite a shining to one of the ladies in our tour group. It got a little awkward.

You can call us tourists all you want, but the tour of the market was great. We never would have gotten to see and taste the things we did without Angela and Savor Seattle. It was a beautiful, sunny day spent exploring Seattle.

Day Three
Our last day in Seattle, and it's raining. Ok, I realize we are in the Pacific Northwest, but it was still kind of a bummer. Anyhow, one of the things we had to do before leaving Seattle was pay a visit to Salumi, a popular deli and Salumeria run by the loving parents of celebrity chef Mario Batali. Believe me when I tell you that this tiny shop doesn't ride the coattails of their famous son; their hand-crafted salumis stand on their own as some of the best food Seattle has to offer in probably the city's coolest neighborhood, Pioneer Square.

As a testament to Salumi's popularity, the line stretching out the door and down the block never seemed to get shorter, even a couple of hours after lunch. We barely made it in the door before they closed for the day, and with only 10 minutes to spare before our train left for Portland. With our delicious cured meat and cheese sandwiches in hand, we scrambled down to the Amtrak station just in time to catch our train.

Time to eat? I couldn't agree more. Seattle was an amazing city, but now it's off to Portland to visit friends, play some frisbee golf, and eat the greatest doughnut ever.


Sarah said...

You lucky dog! When you're in Portland, try to go to Simpatica Dining Hall for dinner one night. And if you can swing through the Willamette wine country on a day trip, I'm even more envious.

Mr. Rosewater said...

Next time we are up Portland way, I will be sure to check both of those out. We went mostly to a few of the many brewpubs in town, and of course to Voodoo Doughnut.

I have heard the Willamett wine region is blossoming, especially the Pinot Noirs.

Thanks for the reccomendations!