Signature sculpture of SAM (Seattle Art Museum)
One sleepless night in New York when I was talking to my friend M who lives in Seattle, I decided to hop on a plane and go visit Seattle on a whim for a weekend. I told myself that it’s OK because 1) I’ve never been to Seattle, 2) I get to visit my friend, 3) I always wanted to go somewhere on a whim. A weekend is a short time to visit a city, but in hindsight, I’m glad I took this trip. It is always good to see a new place, new things, and new people. It is a good reminder to me that there are people living outside the city. New York is a great place to be, but sometimes it’s easy to get blackholed in it, like that’s the only place on earth. On JetBlue, the air fare wasn’t so bad either, so thank you JetBlue, and thank you M for showing me around town through the Seattle rain.
Top Pot doughnuts of Seattle
I left the JFK on Friday around 2pm, and got to Seattle around 5pm local time (because there is that 3 hr difference). Since it was already a dinner time, we headed to Purple to get some wine and food after a quick drive-through around town. Purple was spacious and chic. I think I’m so used to being cramped in small NY restaurants that this restaurant freaked me out a little bit. Like it was too good to be true. I know, it’s sad. Anyways, back to the restaurant, they had a good selection of wines, and friendly staff. After having a couple glasses of wine, and some decadent creamy, cheesy pasta dish, we walked around downtown a bit. If Paris was the city of light of the world, Seattle would be the city of light of the U.S. It’s got that vintage theater district kind of charm, with lots of light sparkles everywhere.
The next day, tired and hungry, we headed to the local doughnut joint, Top Pot. We were like zombies pre-coffee, so getting coffee and lots of sugar sounded like a fine idea. The place was set up like a nice and tall library, where downstairs is the counter, and the upstairs is the seating area, with tall book shelves around the walls. I’m not used to eating doughnuts for breakfast, but surprisingly there were lots of local peeps waiting in line to get some. I got a couple doughnuts, and I must say they were pretty good. I would still vote for the NYC’s Doughnut plant, but definitely not bad at all. Especially when I was hungry and cranky, it was just what the doctor had ordered. Bingo. Jack pot. Top pot. Maybe I had too much sugar…
Pike place market
After we got our caffeine and sugar fix, we headed to the Pike place market. The market was huge. They had everything from amazing looking fresh produce to fresh seafood to local food products and local art crafts. I could just roam around the market for hours trying different foods and looking at different crafts. Before I started serious tryouts, we walked around to skim through the market. I didn’t go in because there were way too many people, but I did walk by the original Starbucks. I guess it’s one of those things you have to do as a tourist in Seattle, like it or not. But oh my, the place was jam packed. Viva la Starbucks.
Beecher’s cheese shop
The coolest fish
Freshly made mini donuts at the market
Chukar cherries of Seattle – so good!
There were so many bakeries, and cafés around. It rains a lot in Seattle, so I guess I could see why it makes sense for the locals to sit at a café and talk or write or people watch or do whatever it is pleases them. As we walked by the shops, we just spontaneously walked into shops that looked interesting. Beecher’s is a cheese shop where they produce their own cheese, unlike many cheese importer shops. If I had the means to do it, I totally would’ve picked up their ready-made “The best mac & cheese in the world.” But knowing that I was going to be out for the day, I couldn’t pick it up then carry it around like a schmuck. Maybe next time.
We walked through the fish mongers after seeing the shops on the side. Just looking at the fresh seafood made me happy, like I was home. I was happy looking at most everything, but I just had to do an oyster shooter, which was only 2 dollars. It was sooo good, like that big, fresh burst of sea in your mouth. In retrospect, I should’ve done about 20 more of those shooters. There is nothing like fresh oysters, it shoots me off the roof. Hence the oyster “shooter” I guess. Ha ha.
Aside from the seafood, there were lots of fried stuff. Fried fish, fried oysters, fried clams, fried chips, and I found fried chicken organs. This one spot had fried hearts, gizzard, liver, and so on. I didn’t try them, but it’s definitely something I haven’t seen around in NYC.
Speaking of fried, there was a couple doughnut stands where the automated machine piped mini donut rings into the hot oil. They looked so good, but I just couldn’t do them after eating so much of the Top Pot doughnuts. :(
The market also had an ample amount of dried fruits and nuts. There were all kinds of coated nuts. They looked good, but I knew it’s something I could make at home too. On the other hand, there was a stand where they were selling dried fruits, cherries specifically. Apparently Chukar is quite famous in Seattle – it’s the stuff you’ll find at the airports, etc. I bought some dried cherry medley bags for myself and for my mom, because she loves a good trail mix. I bought a bag for myself so I can use them for baking, but it was so good I ended up eating them all up, only in a couple of days. I’ll just have to order some more online later.
More wall art
Wall of gum
Somebody went to Duke, or their name is Duke, or they like someone named Duke, or they have a dog named Duke…
The close up – gross but kind of cool how artsy it looks
Naughty Nellie used to be a well known hooker on the street. A local ale is now named after her
Missing 4 1/2 yr old burrito unicorn
If you see a burrito unicorn, please call. They really miss him…
The alley ways around the market were wonderfully hip, bizarre, and artsy. There were cool wall arts everywhere, and the tourists like me who were taking pictures of them. One of the most interesting wall art was the wall of gum. Somebody started sticking the chewed gum up the wall and people just started following it. Now the wall is full of colorful chewing gum. It’s very pop artsy. It’s kind of gross in a way, but still very cool. I never would’ve guessed that Seattle is so fabulously hipster chic like this. Well, probably because all I knew about Seattle was that 1) it rains, 2) starbucks is from here, 3) the space needle is here (which is like the Seattle version of our Empire state building). But seeing and learning about its original and hip culture, I felt closer to the city. I guess you could say that the city and I were bonding.
On our way out to the waters, we found this MISSING posters on one of the walls – they were looking for a 4 1/2 yr old burrito unicorn. We surely couldn’t find him, but maybe someone could (actually, I wouldn’t even be surprised if a bunch of stoned peeps called the number already and reported a possession of 4 1/2 yr old burrito unicorn…). Anyways, it made us LOL pretty hard, so whoever put up the poster, thank you.
Deep fried prawns and oysters, not to miss a tall glass of beer to wash’em down with!
A seagull by the water
We started walking a little further away from the market, closer towards the waters. There were a number of restaurants and stands offering fried seafood. Getting slightly hungry and tired from walking, and being cold from the drizzly Seattle weather, I insisted on getting some deep fried oysters and shrimps with a cold glass of beer. It just seemed like something I HAD to do. I didn’t want to miss out on it and regret later (like the oyster shooters and the mini donuts at the market). I’m not a big fan of deep fried stuff, but I was ready to take it down. I must say these deep fried seafood did the trick though. I was happy as a clam when I was done eating!
After getting my fried food fix, we went to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) to catch the Picasso exhibit. I was very excited because I actually missed this stuff when I was in Paris last year. Last summer in Paris, I went over to the Musée de Picasso, only to learn that it was closed for about 2 1/2 yrs for a renovation. So to catch what I have missed in Paris was just wonderful. I didn’t feel like walking in the rain anymore either, so it worked out perfectly. There were a lot of peeps (strangely many middle aged couples who seemed to be on a date), probably because it was a weekend, and probably because it was drizzly and cold outside. And probably because Picasso sort of is a big deal. It was a lot of stuff to digest, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing his work. It was well organized, so it was quite easy to follow his changing style. He was the kind of artist who didn’t settle for anything but to be ahead of the curve. True visionary in that sense. By the end of that evening, I was feeling as good as it gets in Seattle. (NYC, take that!!!)
West lake, where I stayed
Red Mill Burgers
The next morning, we grabbed a good cup of latte and drove around the other side of the town, where Bill Gates and the alikes reside. It was rainy, but still pretty to look at. The tall and skinny trees were everywhere, something I would never see on the east coast. I also liked how close it was from the waters. Seattle was a very good mix of metropolitan and the burbs, but also with the warm and cozy town feel to it. After a long drive through the Seattle rain, we were ready for a greasy breakfast. And at that point, I couldn’t think of anything but burgers. So we headed to the red mill burgers for a quick fix. It was a cute joint – I wasn’t knocked out by it, but it was still good. If anything, I knew I could only get it in Seattle. After that big burger, I was ready for a sunday nap. Zzzzz.
Bimbos in Capitol Hill
Awesome burritos here
Sadly, this night was the last night in Seattle. I was scheduled to leave at 11 PM, going back home on a red eye flight. But that didn’t stop me from taking advantage of what Seattle has to offer. We headed over to the Capitol Hill neighborhood, which is kind of like a mix between Brooklyn and Chelsea. It’s very hipster, very cool, and very LGBT. It’s a place where I feel like home, but still original enough to believe that I’m somewhere else. Parking is pain in the arse especially on weekends, but it surely has the cool hipsters streaming in, as it is one of the most exciting and fun neighborhoods of Seattle. Passing through many cool shops and bars on the side, we went into to M’s favorite burrito spot, Bimbos. We ordered some burritos (doh!), chips, and a pitcher of sangria, and may I say that the food here was excellent, and the pricing, very reasonable. Staff were friendly, and fellow restaurant-goers very hip. If I lived in Seattle, this would surely become one of my favorite spots. I’m not a big fan of sour cream, but their cumin sour cream was just so good, I ended up licking it with my finger. I’m not sure whether it was because I was hungry, or I was already tipsy, or I was just happy, but it was that good. Overall, I would highly recommend. There is also a bar downstairs, but didn’t have enough time to check it out. So that will have to be another “next time.”
Seattle’s cream cheese dog
Mini chocolate/salted caramel cupcake
Chill + vibrant deco inside
As full as I was from the dinner, I still wanted something sweet to close the deal. So we started walking over to Cupcake Royale, mainly because that was the only sweets shop we saw in the vicinity. On the way, I saw a hot dog sign where it said cream cheese hot dogs. M told me that Seattlers take their hot dogs with cream cheese, which I thought was a bit confusing because I would think of Philly instantly with anything cream cheese. I would have tried it had I not been ridiculously full. Actually I’m sure I can try making at home.
Anyhoo, Cupcake Royale was chill and vibrant inside. I’m not even a big cupcake fan, so I just kind of walked in with no expectation, only with one mission that I will get myself some sweets. I ordered a small latte with a mini chocolate/salted caramel cupcake. And 10 seconds. That’s all it took me to finish that delicious little cake. The cake was very moist, and the ganache, just right. It wasn’t too sweet, too rich, nor too dry, but just scrumptious enough to give you that satisfaction. In fact, it was so good that I picked up another one so I can have it in the early AM when I land in JFK for breakfast. The nice lady at the counter also gave me a sticker for free that reads “Legalize Frostitution” in hot pink. Sharing is Caring indeed.
The famous Space Needle
After walking around a bit to digest all the food, we hopped on a car to get to the airport. And M insisted that he won’t let me go without taking a good picture of the famous Space Needle. So we stopped by quickly to get a full shot of it. I guess you would have to take a picture of either Empire state, Statue of Liberty, or Chrysler if you were in NY. I would’ve regretted like there is no tomorrow if I didn’t take this picture, so thank you M. In fact, it was a perfect wrap to the short but sweet Seattle weekend trip.
I will remember the city fondly, and will be sure to come back soon.