Seattle, the Emerald City (Part I)

I’m reporting from the Pacific coast this week! The husband and I added a short vacation in Seattle onto the front end of a conference trip to Vancouver, B.C. For those of you who don’t know us well, we vacation hard. During our four days in Seattle we walked a little over 20 miles, visited three museums, an aquarium, and countless other hotspots around the city. We had to stay active to make up for all of the eating (especially the bag of jellybeans acquired on day three which I am destroying)!

I cannot claim to be an expert on Seattle after only four days. It is a large city and we never made it to 80% of it. For two nights, we stayed in an AirBnB apartment in Lower Queen Anne, just three blocks from the Space Needle. The neighborhood was a mix of apartments and houses, relatively quiet, and homier than downtown. Our first order of business after 20+ hours of travel across the globe was finding some Mexican food, one of the things we miss most in Kazakhstan. Luckily, just down the street was a great taco place called Agave. I cannot say enough about their tacos carnitas– so melt in your mouth delicious and flavorful. It really hit the spot.

01 3-23 Biscuit Bitch

Mmmmm…biscuits…

Considering we are on a 13-hour difference from Pacific Coast Time, we adjusted quite quickly. Our plan for our first full day included walking around, finding a place for me to get my haircut (and getting it cut), and getting the Seattle City Pass to see some sights. And more eating of course. I read about a breakfast place called Biscuit Bitch. …Oh, did I need to say we went there? I figured that was implied by the hilarity of the name—of course I will go to a place with a name like that, and come on, it’s biscuits! This ended up being my favorite meal of the trip. I prefer getting recommendations from the staff because they know best and directed me to their best-seller “Gritty Scrambled Cheesy Bacon Bitch”. It was beautiful. I’m still not sure if it was one giant biscuit or four smaller ones, but it doesn’t matter. Their texture was light with a golden crisp exterior. The sausage gravy, the best I’ve ever had. The cheesy grits, pure deliciousness. It was all covered with scrambled eggs and more cheese and crispy bacon. I long for this meal already…

Well that lead bomb to the stomach required some walking. We were early enough in the day to explore Pike Place Market before the crowds invaded. We saw a fish toss and I oo’ed and ahh’ed over how beautiful and fresh all of the produce looked and spotted the original Starbucks. Shortly after we descended to see the famous Gum Wall, which looks just as you’d imagine a wall of gum would. We ventured to the Seattle Aquarium (included in the City Pass), which had mixed reviews from friend’s who’d previously been. They had interactive tidepools where you could be hugged by a sea urchin or pet anemones; these was my favorite, or at least were right up there with the sea otters! Overall, it’s probably better to visit if you have kids or if you did not grow up on the ocean.

02 3-23 Pike Place Market

The aquarium took it out of us, so we needed to refuel. Back near Pike we stopped at Jack’s Fish Spot and had a full Dungeness Crab steamed and served with butter right next to where it’s sold. While it was delicious, it was a lot of work and I found I worked up an appetite. We walked just down the alley to Pike Place Chowder where I ordered their New England Clam Chowder (they had a lot of other interesting options that sounded tempting as well). It was classic, savory, and probably the best I’ve ever had. I want more.

Earlier in the day we reserved our ticket time for the Space Needle, that iconic tower of the Seattle skyline. While I wasn’t super interested in visiting (only went because it was part of the City Pass—it’s $22 on its own!), I did enjoy it. Actually, I mostly enjoyed the wait to get up to the top because it had the history of the Needle’s design and construction, of which I knew nothing other than it was part of the World’s Fair in the 1960s. It really is amazing to see photos and realize, “Holy shit, that guy is 30 stories up and doesn’t have a harness.” Seeing the bit-by-bit progress photos is humbling and mind-blowing – humans are capable of some incredible things. I was not a fan of the wobbly elevator ride up to 520’ in the air, but I did manage to go outside to take in the view. It was windy! We went at dusk, which I thought would be beautiful because we’d see a bit of the sunset as well as the city light up for the night. And it was lovely. There is something a bit cliché and simultaneously magical about a city illuminated at night…

07 3-23 View from SN2

We got our first bit of Seattle rain as we were leaving and making our way to another Mexican restaurant—I wasn’t joking about missing this delicious fare. And wow, this is much longer than expected, so I guess I’ll be writing a Seattle, Part II – stay tuned!

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