I was a tourist and these are the necessary places.
No, I did not buy coffee at the famous coffee shop while in Seattle. Still, I visited their first store for one reason only – I adore historical “anything.” I later found out it was moved from the original site to its present location. Surely they brought every nail and piece of wood to recreate it, so they can say it’s the original. In my appraiser’s handbook, it does lose some integrity with the move. The aroma of roasted beans was intoxicating but not enough to make me buy the liquid.
The sight of the interior was my visual treat that attracts me. It’s always exciting to see old wood floors, high counter tops, and the original ceiling fixtures — like an old country store. The bean pig above door frame inside made me laugh as we exited. More amazing for me was the blend of cultures waiting to get inside for coffee or souvenirs, and the array of entertainment outside. I’m sure you know the name by now…they don’t need any more publicity!
My friend and guide escorted me across to Pikes Market, one of the oldest markets in America. More of a tourist attraction and flea market – not an everyday market to shop. High prices on everything. In any case, I didn’t like getting caught up in the crowds. Remember, I was a tourist and these are the necessary places. It’s like being in school on a field trip and you have no choice. I had heard so much about this market that it was somewhat of a let-down for me.
Yes, I saw the obligatory flying fish, only because someone bought one — they are paid to fly! Perhaps, I waited too long to visit this place and the reality is not the same as my travel dreams.
Although the salmon appeared scrumptious, and looked like glazed fish candy, I fretted how I could bring some home. I enjoy edible souvenirs as a great way to revisit a trip. Besides, staying in a hotel prevented us from buying fish and veggies to cook for the evening.
What I wasn’t ready for was the wall of gum! …I had to bear in mind..this was Seattle!
Thankfully, my friend had booked us in a hotel that we could walk to and from the market, which spared us any parking hassles. That evening more than made up for the market earlier; we walked nearby to Pike and Pine and stumbled on to the Capitol Hill area to a modern looking triangular corner…hence a triangular shaped restaurant called: Terra Plata…earth to plate. As always with no reservations, and we were anxious, wondering if we were going to have seats – any seat will do! Immediately, we were whisked upstairs to their open-air seating, I could hardly get a view of the first floor, (but beggars can’t be choosy, we were in the joint.) seated on wooded bench styled seats and ecstatic to be in this packed “house.” The menu listed starters – earth, land, and sea. We ordered right away, maybe too fast for me – Mussels. Charcuterie for my friend.
How I wish we had more people with us to share more food, trade off plates to enjoy more specialities like the pork. The black cod certainly would be scrumptious, and what about the Moroccan spiced lamb? I wanted more but it was late in the evening and unfortunately, I can’t stuff myself before bedtime. Plus,I would have had to walk another five miles more that day in order to eat what my eyes wanted. I had to be good and eat simple. It’s awful when the brain overrides the gut. I have to come back here because there was so much more on the menu. What we both had was delicious: great service, an awesome setting, perfect weather on a roof top garden.
Our next morning – walking in the same block as the night before and in daylight, we were completely caught off guard to find Melrose Market complex — another feast for my soul as an appraiser.
Melrose Market is an historical renovation at its best. Almost 100 years of old bones: exposed brick, exterior factory type windows that bring in natural light. Sort of loft like, but only one solid floor exists. Once inside, and far from the maddening crowd, is a flower shop, bar, cheese store, butcher, and restaurant, all under one roof and I hear they all work harmoniously.
This was right for my taste, and could easily be my hangout if I lived and worked in Seattle. Terribly idyllic on a rainy day. In the rear of the building was an irresistible industrial looking restaurant that appealed to both of us. Sitka & Spruce. We were too late for breakfast and brunch sounded wonderful.
With no reservations we were seated quickly, but when I looked over and saw a table by the open kitchen, I had wished we were at the Chef’s table. Ok, I call it that, rather than the popular “communal” table. Chef’s table, sounds as if we were invited and communal sounds dated — like a trough. It’s actually a community table from olden days. It gives you a front row seat to watch all the culinary action. Just like being on a live TV cooking show! All we had to do was ask!
My friend asked the hostess (who was rather aloof to our request) if it was possible to eat at the Chef’s table, since there were empty seats. Thirty minutes later, she consented by escorting us to the now very trendy table, which gave us a great view of the chefs at work. We were thrilled with our new seats and it was a first time for my friend.
Chefs at work!
Each plate was somewhat unique. I had remember that this was a farm to table experience. A culinary adventure, yet I was still hungry for more.
We packed up the car and drove to down a few streets away, less than five miles to Schilling Ginger Cider store.
The store is eclectic with reclaimed wood on the walls, exposed ducts. Large communal tables with bar stools—all very inviting. I had never tried cider and it was amazingly tasty, refreshing, and thirst quenching. Washington apples fermented with yeast. GMO free and no sugar added.
My friend talked me into getting a flight and don’t worry, I didn’t drink all of them! She helped out…and we left some behind. It was fun to learn about this family business, and old man Schilling actually founded the Schilling Spice company and dabbled with the coffee business in San Francisco. Cider could definitely replace regular beer for me, but I live on the East coast – it will be awhile before I come back and take a suitcase home. Or maybe I could take one of their cider making classes and learn to make my own!
Seattle was fun, yet gnawing at me during my visit was the amount of homeless people here – especially with the wealth in Seattle. Homeless in Seattle and elsewhere is one of the great inequities of this system, it’s not a tourist attraction, it’s a sad story. Nothing short of a new world will change the global poverty and it won’t happen by human efforts either.