Today was a lovely day in the Seattle area, built around seeing as many of my loved ones in the city as I could. Becca and I got up early in Portland, grabbed a quick cold breakfast from the hotel lobby, and hit the road. Pretty quickly, we Game of Thrones nerds got excited at this exit sign on the freeway:
The drive up to Tacoma was beautiful and otherwise basically uneventful, and we made our first “appointment” (lunch with some of my lovely friends) with 20 minutes to spare. Lunch was a chain, so I didn’t take many photos (it’s all stuff you can find at a strip mall near you), except this cute one with my sweet friends Lori and Mandy:
It was so much fun to spend some time with them, and then Mandy had to get back to work and I was more than ready to show Becca around Seattle, so we headed up and then straight to the downtown area. Up first, a stop at the tasting room of Dry Soda, one of my favorite little all-natural companies.
A few years back I made the acquaintance of the lavender flavor, and I’ve been a tad obsessed with it ever since. It’s a bit hard to find near me, so I was really excited to stop in and pick up a case (not to mention taste all the other flavors as well)!
As it turned out, the lavender dropped to my now-second fave, just slightly falling behind the crisp, refreshing and delicious cucumber. With a small case of each safely packed into my car (and Becca’s myriad mixtures of several flavors), we thanked the people of DRY and made our way over to Pike Brewing, where my cousin Kris (whom I hadn’t seen in a great many years) was waiting to meet us for a drink. On the way to parking, we couldn’t help but laugh at this little oxymoronic sign post:
Kris, Becca and I had a fantastic time chatting, and somehow our two hours were up (on Kris’s parking meter), and it was time to let him get back to his life – but not without a quick photo op first:
We had a little time to wander through the lower level shops of Pike Place Market while we waited for Kris’s little sister, Lindsey (whom I also hadn’t seen in several years), to meet us. When she called to tell us where she was, we whizzed past stands selling fresh fruit and vegetables, jams and jellies, oils, vinegars, and dipping sauces, and jewelry and other hand-crafted goods. One ware in particular called out to me, so I was happy that we made it back to taste it:
the vanilla and fig balsamic vinegar:
Happily, it was exactly what I hoped it would be when reading the label, so I picked up a bottle, along with a package of chocolate linguine! (Who can resist the idea of pasta for dessert? Not me!)
Becca chose a bottle of the basil garlic parmesan dipping sauce, and we meandered next to a cute little hand-crafted jewelry stand:
Though there were options in silver, gold, and some kind of bronze or copper, all three of us fell for the rock & roll look of the leather imprinted bracelets:
We spent quite a bit of time poring over the different sizes, colors, and sayings:
But of course we eventually each settled on one:
(Mine says “miracles happen.” I don’t actually need the reminder, but I’ve decided I’ll wear it for a person or two in my life, both of whom I love, who may not have such faith at this moment, for whom I’ll carry it until they find their own again. You know, in case you were wondering…)
After the girls made fun of me for “killing my tastebuds” sampling various hot pepper jellies (they particularly thought I was crazy for the ghost pepper jam), we eventually stopped at a stand with amazing ceramic goodies, where Becca and I bought similar pairs of beautiful leaf-shaped earrings:
Next we crossed the street so Becca could peek into the original Starbucks location, and then on our way toward dinner, Linds asked if we could stop at Piroshky Piroshky, where she wanted to pick up a potato cheese piroshky (Russian pastry) for later:
Next door we found The Confectional, a place for committing (and confessing?) the sweetest sin: cheesecake:
After we’d each picked out a bite for later, we left in hopes of finding The Crumpet Shop still open. Sadly, it was closed (but it’s at the top of my list for next time)! Instead, we made our way back to Pike’s Brewing, this time for some dinner.
I’ve said before, I don’t like to write about a place more than once, but this happened to be a matter of convenience: it was inexpensive, nearby, and I already knew the food was good. On our way, this billboard made us giggle:
Becca, having heard me rave about the “air-fried” halibut fish and chips, couldn’t decide between that or the crab chowder, so she ordered a cup of soup in order to have both:
Linds had the very veggie burger:
And I opted to go a bit lighter, ordering the tuna-salad-stuffed tomato with chips:
When Becca asked the waitress to have the bartender select an “interesting” vodka flavor and soda, we discovered that they had a local chocolate vodka in house, promptly ordering ourselves each one:
Linds, who doesn’t drink, decided to dive into her Convectional cheesecake (mint chocolate) instead:
I was tempted to ask her for a bite, but seeing how quickly she was devouring it, I could tell she was thoroughly enjoying it and opted instead to live vicariously. Suddenly our time was up on the meters again and we had to pay our bill quickly and depart (thankfully, our stellar server Cece was on top of everything, so we had no trouble making a quick exit). As we drove Linds to the ferry, I noticed a quirky sculpture of an inverted umbrella that for some reason made me smile – I think it’s very Seattle:
A quick squeeze and a camera flash, and she was gone as quickly as she’d appeared:
And then so were we, though we had to stop for gas before heading back south, and we’d hoped for a quick cup of coffee, it being Seattle and all. No such luck: apparently all the Seattle’s Best coffee shops and Starbucks alike that we could find (not to mention other non-chain establishments) close between 5:30 and 7pm, so we learned the meaning of irony, leaving Seattle empty-handed with a lust for a good cup of coffee.
A quick swing past the Space Needle so Becca could see it up close:
And then we were on the road again. Becca liked the look of the bridges along the highway,
And about halfway to Portland we remembered our salted caramel cheesecake bites:
Now you might think that a few bites of cheesecake would appease us into calling off our nightly Portland habit of Salt & Straw, but you’d be wrong. We’ll miss it when we’re gone, so we weren’t about to on our last night here. This time Becca got a half-scoop of the Rainbow Sherbet, which models each individual ribbon of flavor after one of the colors of the Skittles rainbow (she loved it), and a half scoop of the still-perfect honey lavender:
I chose the chef’s choice of the night: foie smores (foie gras marshmallows, smoked vanilla ice cream, veal chocolate sauce & graham…I’m not going to pretend to be so ambitious. I was intimidated by the foie, but accepted the offer to taste it and quite liked it. And when else will I have the chance to try something so offbeat, decadent, and let’s be frank: affordable?) as well as the coffee with cocoa nibs (yum on the coffee, notsomuch on the nibs…my least favorite):
Tomorrow I’ll go back for the last time for years, and I know for sure I’ll stick to my tried-and-true new-favorite-ice-cream-ever, the Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache. Becca and I are plotting to try to somehow get a few pints home in a cooler without a melty mess. We’ll see.
Now it’s nearly 3 am and beyond bedtime. I unearthed a beautiful ceramic neti pot I forgot to mention buying (along with essential oil sea salts to use with it):
Now we’ve unpacked, reorganized, and tomorrow morning holds a last minute quick and dirty laundry list of must-see/taste/do before leaving Portland for home. Don’t miss it!