“Summer” as a young professional is strange. The weather doesn’t quite match, everyone takes their vacations at different times, and there’s this odd feeling of anticipation for some unidentified event that never arrives. For better or for worse, I’ve fallen into a “weekend warrior” pattern. The short trips allow me to travel more and see different friends all over the place, but with little time to rest/process/blog in between. It’s back to the grind as soon I land after each trip!
So while photos from my recent travels to Austin, New York, and Charleston are awaiting edits, I thought I’d dust off this draft post from last summer in Seattle (the best time to visit)! The day trip to Bainbridge Island via ferryboat is still one of the favorite things I did in Seattle; but beyond that amazing ice cream and quiche, I found that the Seattle has an abundance of well-established places that are a breath of fresh air (literally) from the somewhat uppity “New American”/Michelin dining that dominates the DC restaurant scene. This is just a taste of all that Seattle has to offer, but here are some of my top recommendations:
ellenos GREEK YOGURT
This Greek yogurt is so rich and creamy, it’s more like dessert than breakfast. I loved everything I sampled, but my favorite flavors were marionberry pie (with real pieces of pie!) and passionfruit, pictured here. The chai was a unique and delicious runner-up. While you’re at Pike Place Market, don’t miss the flower stands that are located right across from Ellenos (under the “Public Market” sign in the photo above). Several different local farms sell their beautiful bouquets at the market for super affordable prices. How could I resist?
Fat’s chicken & waffle
Having gone to school in the South, I was surprised to hear of so many fried chicken/biscuits places recommended to me in Seattle. Fat’s is different from my beloved Dame’s in Durham – the waffle is thin and crispy instead of thick and fluffy. Surprisingly though, it worked! I think the fried chicken here is actually better than Dame’s (I hear the chef is from New Orleans), but I prefer Dame’s waffle. (Other chicken/biscuit places: Biscuit Bitch, Serious Pie & Biscuit)
The West Coast definitely has the upper hand for Asian food. As you may recall from my list of Top 10 Taiwan Eats, Seattle is home to some of the only US locations of Taiwanese soup dumpling mecca Din Tai Fung. That also means it’s capable of having competition in the form of Dough Zone Dumpling House, one of Joyce’s favorites. Beyond soup dumplings, Dough Zone has my beloved pan-fried dumplings (“sheng jian bao”). I just read somewhere that they’re listed on the menu as “Q-Bao” – the texture which you again might recall from my post on Taiwanese food 😉
I found out too late about the Pike Place Market Food Tours that allow you to skip the line at famous Pike Place Market stalls like Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Pike Place Chowder, Piroshky Piroshky, etc. The delicious smells coming from this Russian bakery convinced me to stand in line for a piroshky on my last day in Seattle… and waiting in line is my least favorite activity! Everything savory was sold out by the time I got there (late afternoon). I did however, snag an apple cinnamon roll that was the perfect post-chowder desssert. (For less of a crowd/wait for the chowder, try the Pacific Place location of Pike Place Chowder!)
This classic Hawaiian dish took root on the West Coast long before it started popping up on the East Coast. The quality and number of poke options in Seattle certainly show it! While 45th Stop & Shop (yes, a mom-and pop convenience store) came highly recommended, I loved Fob Poke Bar because it had eel as a protein option instead of raw fish. If you’re into poke, you should absolutely take advantage of the Seattle options.
London Plane is part flower shop, part bar, part restaurant, tucked away in the beautiful Occidental Square neighborhood. It definitely has more of a “brunch with the girls” (read: Instagrammable) vibe to it than anything else on this list. Even if it falls into that somewhat pretentious category I was referring to in DC, but the food was delicious (albeit expensive). I wouldn’t recommend it for picky eaters because of the small menu, but the service was great. I would love to try some of their pastries and take a flower arranging class next time!
Calling bubble tea “boba” is definitely another West Coast thing. I can’t hate it if it means quality bubble tea, though! I loved the oolong at Drive Thru Boba (plot twist: there wasn’t actually a drive through), but Seattle has some great options – you can’t really go wrong!
Starbucks Reserve Roastery and tasting room
Starbucks’ Reserve collections are limited-edition lines of small-batch beans from around the world, roasted at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Seattle is home to the first Starbucks (they are basically on every corner), something they are really proud of. At the Reserve, you can watch them sift and roast the beans, and enjoy an extensive menu of java brewed/served in methods I didn’t even know existed.
Pro tip: if you don’t make it to Bainbridge Island, the Roastery serves affogato (gelato + espresso) made with ice cream from Mora Iced Creamery on the Island. You absolutely have to try it!
PICNIC AT KERRY PARK or gasworks park
This is something I didn’t have a chance to do, but I think would be a great way to enjoy the view from either park and save on a meal out. There happened to be some sort of beer festival going on at the park when we went, so it’s worth looking into whether any special events are happening at the parks during your visit. As a bonus for Grey’s Anatomy fans, Meredith Grey’s house is in the Queen Anne neighborhood by Kerry Park at 303 Comstock Street. It’s worth a drive-by if you’re in the area!
Pin this guide for later: