Seattle, Washington is a town known for its tech companies, ports, and Pike Place Market (including the original Starbucks!). Seattle was also the first stop as my friend Amanda and I road tripped down the West Coast. Read on for the highlights of our day in Seattle!
Hello, hello, hello! Long time, no talk! How have you all been?
I have been... better. As I write this I'm sitting at LAX, drinking a glass of v v cheap red wine, mourning the end of my nearly two week vacation on the West (best) Coast. Alas, like finishing your last bite of mac n' cheese, all good things must come to an end. But, let's relive the magic from the beginning, shall we?
It all began two Thursdays ago, when I boarded a flight to Las Vegas for my best friend's 26th birthday. It was the first time my friends Steff, Amanda and I had ever been to Vegas, and it was QUITE the experience. If I were to write a blog post about the food of Vegas, it would look a lot like hungover Spinach, Feta & Egg White Wraps from Starbucks at 11 AM, drunken Cheese Tots and Onion Rings from a restaurant inside the Aria at 3 AM, and not much else. No shame in my game. But, that whole weekend is a story for an upcoming episode of the Just the Tip Podcast - so let's move on to our next stop. Seattle, Washington!
On Sunday, after two long days and nights of nonstop debauchery, Amanda and I bid farewell to our friend Steff and hopped on the 3 hour flight to Seattle to begin a road trip that would take us down the west coast from Seattle to San Diego. We got in pretty late on Sunday, grabbed our rental car, and headed to my friend Ben's house to catch up with him before falling fast asleep. The next morning we woke up, happy to have fallen asleep at a reasonable hour (read: NOT 4 AM) and ready to take on the day. Of course, we had to start with brunch!
The Wandering Goose
Amanda and I were fortunate that my friend Ben a) is a living angel who let us stay with him for Sunday and Monday night, and b) offered us some brunch suggestions! After counting out the first few restaurants he suggested because they were closed (caution: we found that a lot of restaurants and bars were closed on Mondays), we ended up at The Wandering Goose, a southern spot in the Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle. We went in with one thing on our minds: mac and cheese.
Wandering Goose is a cute restaurant, a relatively small space with tables lining both walls and a small patio space out front. You order at the counter, and your food is brought out to you. The cashier was incredibly bubbly and sweet - a theme that proved to be true almost everywhere we went in Seattle. She took our order, and we grabbed a table.
...and waited. Our food took quite some time to come out, especially considering that the restaurant wasn't super busy (11 AM on a Monday and all that), but the food was well worth it when it did arrive! In addition to a much-needed coffee, I ordered the Aunt Annie's, a biscuit with fried chicken, bread & butter pickles, house mustard, and Heather's honey. Amanda ordered the daily special, another type of biscuit, and we both shared a side of the Pimiento Mac & Cheese. Told you we have one-track minds!
We both agreed that our food was delicious, although the mac & cheese could have been cheesier. Still, we were only able to finish about half of our meals before we declared ourselves too full to move and called an Uber to our next stop: Pike Place Market.
Pike Place Market
Did you even go to Seattle if you didn't make it to Pike Place? I think not! This is the pinnacle of the Seattle experience - a multi-level market full of farm stands, fish being thrown, niche shops, and more. Since Amanda and I were super full from brunch, we took the opportunity to walk up and down each level of the market and take in the sights and smells before heading to the pier to look at the water.
Unfortunately, the Pacific Northwest is currently experiencing a significant amount of wildfires, and our view was mostly clouded by wildfire smoke. (Also, breathing the air in Seattle right now is the equivalent of smoking 7 cigarettes a day. Let's take care of the environment, kids!) However that didn't stop us from taking pictures in front of the ferris wheel along the water!
After our brief photoshoot, we continued our stroll near the market, checking out parks, the marina, the love lock bridge...
...and eventually finding our way to the gum wall! Amanda and I braved the hordes of bees (and Instagram models posing dangerously close to bees) to leave wads of gum on the wall, then took one last lap of the market before walking about a mile to our next stop: the Seattle Center.
When you picture Seattle, you can't possibly ignore the beautiful Space Needle - the 605' structure that is one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Unfortunately, the smoke made us forgo the trip to the top (you wouldn't be able to see anything!), but we did explore the Seattle Center that surrounds the Needle. This outdoor playground is full of plants, sculptures, vendors, playground equipment, a science museum, and our favorite - the International Fountain.
The International Fountain is a giant fountain that sits in the middle of an amphitheater, and has jets of water timed to the beat of various songs. If Amanda and I had been wearing our swimsuits, we absolutely would have joined in with the people dancing under the fountain - it was nearly 100 degrees out! - but instead we sat and sipped iced teas while we watched children play in the fountain.
We had plans to meet up with Ben at 5, and still had unfinished business in Pike Place, so around 3 we walked back over to Pike Place to grab a drink at...
Old Stove Brewing Co.
Seattle has a TON of bars, and while Amanda and I have never (ever) said no to a margarita, we decided the best way to get the full Seattle experience was to head to a local brewery. After a quick Yelp search, we decided on Old Stove Brewing Co., a brewery in Pike Place, right on the water.
The whole brewery is outdoors, and we were seated at a table on the patio so that we could take full advantage of the beautiful weather and get some more sun on our Vegas-tanned skin. Both our host and our server were very friendly, and our server even gave us suggestions for where to stop on our road trip, which was super useful because we had planned approximately nothing for northern California ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Amanda and I each ordered a flight of 4 beers, which was super reasonably priced and absolutely needed after all the walking we had done that day. Once we finished, we headed to the next stop on the agenda, which involved more cheese. A LOT more cheese.
Alrighty, kids. If you like cheese of any variety - cubed, mac n', grilled, curds, you name it - you MUST fly to Seattle (or New York) immediately and get your booty to Beecher's Handmade Cheese STAT.
From the moment you approach Beecher's, you are bombarded with cheesy goodness. Amanda and I were leery of Beecher's when we walked up as it looked like the line wrapped all the way around the building, but further investigation (and many a "hi, sorry, are you in line?") led us to understand that these people were just watching the cheese be made, and the line inside was actually nonexistent. Excellent.
Amanda and I decided to split two items - a small cup of original mac & cheese and an original grilled cheese. The mac was INCREDIBLE - super cheesy, creamy, and saucy, just how we like it. The grilled cheese took a little longer to come out, but was PIPING hot, gooey, crunchy, cheesy, salty - everything you could ever want from a grilled cheese. They also have dressed up grilled cheese options with various accoutrements that looked phenomenal - but we kept things simple as we were about to walk up to our next stop...
Salt & Straw
Nothing says "I've eaten mac & cheese twice today and am clearly exhibiting zero regard for my health" like a nice pre-dinner stroll to get ice cream, right? That's what I thought. As Amanda and I closed in on the time we were supposed to meet Ben for a tour of the Amazon campus, we decided that no time crunch was too tight for ice cream, and walked (hiked) up to Salt & Straw for some ice cream.
The cashier was super nice (ugh, love Seattle) and practically forced us to sample all the new flavors after we told him we had never been there before. Well, twist my arm! The flavors were all incredible, especially this month's theme flavors - "Eat your Vegetables" - which included carrot cake batter & pralined hazelnuts, freckled chocolate zucchini bread, and more. Although I was about ready to tap out after our samples, my mama didn't raise no quitter, so I got a scoop of Vegan Coconut Mint Chip Cupcake which rocked my socks off.
Ice cream in hand, we hopped in an Uber over to the...
I'm fortunate enough to have a handful of friends who work at Amazon, by which I mean a handful of friends who I can beg for coupon codes that they'll never give me and who I can be sure have Amazon Echo's in their homes so I can always control the music when I'm at a party. I'm a peach. And Ben happens to be one of those friends!
Ben, our gracious and hospitable host, kindly offered to give us a tour of Amazon's newest addition to its Seattle campus - the Amazon Spheres. Or, as our Uber driver put it, "Jeff Bezos' Playground". Honestly, the latter seems far more likely, as Ben filled us in on a couple key details... like that they were rarely used for working and more people showing their friends what a truly insane amount of money can do. Noted. Regardless, it was a great spot to regroup, have a seat, peruse some Venus flytraps, and charge my phone before we headed out for drinks!
Zig Zag Cafe
While we decided where to go for dinner, Amanda, Ben and I headed to one of Ben's favorite cocktail spots - Zig Zag Cafe. Zig Zag is a cute little bar with a patio area and ample indoor seating, and we opted to avoid the smoke by grabbing a table inside. We were presented with the happy hour menu and cocktail list, and each ordered a drink - myself a gin cocktail that was made with house-infused rose gin (they don't have a website, so I'm not sure exactly what it was!). I do know that my cocktails as well as those of my dining partners were all incredible, and were the perfect aperitif to dinner at...
Alright, y'all, this is where I completely spaced on being a food blogger and was like FOOD YUM GIMME despite having already had so many meals that day. Guess walking 11 miles around Seattle will do that to a girl?
So, alas, no pictures were taken. But rest assured - the food was delightful! Nue is a restaurant delivering street foods from various countries on almost every confident. Since a lot of it is food that isn't super familiar to patrons, they encourage doing shared plates so you can try a bit of everything. Our table ordered the following:
- East Indies Brussels Sprouts - Crispy Fried Brussels Sprouts, Coconut and Garlic Chutney, Peanut Satay and Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce
- Pineapple Cornbread - Pineapple, Butter, Love
- South African Bunny Chow - Chicken Breast, Indian Masala, Lime, Cilantro, Served in a Pullman Bread Bowl
- Hungarian Paprikash Jumbo Chicken Wings - Sweet Hungarian Paprika, Sour Cream, Caramelized Onion, Fresh Dill, Topped with Green Peppers & Crispy Fried Onions
Everything was amazing. TBH I could have just had two whole orders of the brussels sprouts for my meal and called it a day but where's the fun in that?! If you find yourself in Seattle, I can't recommend Nue enough - it's a great way to get off the beaten path of Pike Place and try something new.
And with that, we headed back home, popped open a bottle of prosecco we had left over from Vegas, and watched Netflix until we fell asleep. The next morning, we were off bright and early to our next stop - Portland!
Thank you to Ben and to Seattle for all your hospitality! We will definitely be back - hopefully with the air a bit clearer so we can hike!
The Wandering Goose, 403 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112
Old Stove Brewing Co., 1901 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Beecher's, Multiple Locations in Seattle and New York
Salt & Straw, Multiple Locations in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego
Zig Zag Cafe, 15101 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Nue, 1519 14th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122