I am happy to start my travel series of some of the places I have visited. I am total foodie at heart and a lot of my travels revolve around food. Even when I have visitors come to Phoenix, I feed them until they are like a stuffed sausage! (I’ll have to share some of my favorite places in the Valley) What can I say I just LOVE food and exploring new things. I’ll occasionally do touristy site seeing, but the real goal is to try as many highly yelped, blogged, and Instagram worthy restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops.
I recently took a trip to Seattle, Washington with my best friend Desirae. She had never been to Seattle and was going to go ALONE, so being the mother like friend, I invited myself! Of course she was okay with this and I told her I would make sure we would have the BEST GIRLS TRIP! I had been to Seattle a couple of years ago for a family members graduation, and it was so much fun, I needed to experience the Pacific Northwest again.
Seattle is a pretty expensive city, so any discounts we could find we took advantage of it. We booked both our hotel and flight through Priceline, two months ahead. We got a pretty good deal on the flight prices, but the hotel prices were ridiculously high, especially for downtown Seattle. Ideally, that is where you want to be, since that is where all the action is, but that also means higher room rates. We opted for a hotel in Queen Anne, called the Mediterranean Inn, which was a short walk to Seattle Center near the Space Needle and a 15-minute car ride to Pikes Place Market. It was also within a short walking distance to many restaurants, one of which was our favorite of the trip, Toulouse Petit Kitchen and Lounge.
Desirae found this hotel and I will admit I was hesitant about staying here. I’m a chain hotel gal at heart. Holiday Inn (anyone remember that scene from Blast from the Past about Holiday Inn) and Marriot are two of my favorite places to stay when traveling. But both were way out of our price range, even when splitting the cost. So, after hours of research, going through reviews of the Mediterranean Inn on the internet, I felt more comfortable staying here. The highlight being the rooftop deck that gives a panoramic view of the Seattle skyline. It was a nice place to unwind with some wine after a long day of site seeing and one morning we woke up early to see the sunrise. It was a quaint place to stay and all of the hotel staff were nice and offered suggestions when we asked. There was also a Starbuck connected to the hotel, which we surprisingly did not frequent considering Starbucks is LIFE back in Arizona.
We arrived on a Tuesday, checked into our hotel in the early afternoon and our first order of business was FOOD. The hotel staff recommended Toulouse Petit Kitchen and Lounge which has won a plethora of food awards for their French Cajun-Creole food. I had found this restaurant in my food search of the city, but the website had noted reservations were recommended and when I tried to make them, they were all booked. When the hotel staff suggested this place, I was a bit leery, but they assured us, they wouldn’t be busy at this time of day, so made the short 5-minute walk to this place. To our surprise they were open for Happy Hour and offered a menu of small plates of their award-winning menu. We started off with their friend green tomatoes which were delightfully deep friend and tart with a lovely remoulade dipping sauce. The star of the afternoon was the Barbecued Shrimp New Orleans, which were perfectly cooked and tender, placed on a bed of mashed potatoes, and the most flavorful barbecue sauce I have ever had. We ordered two of these and honestly, we could have ordered one more! You can’t go to a French Creole restaurant and not try their gumbo, so we also ordered the Fried Chicken and Andouille Gumbo. The fried chicken was crisp and the gumbo was flavorful with a bit of a kick. It was perfect. We ended our feast with beignets, which I like to call cousins of the fry bread. Hahahaha…These were soft and fluffy and were served with a chicory anglaise which translates to a delicious coffee dipping sauce which was the best way to end this meal. I give this place 5 out of 5 stars! It is a must and it saved me a trip to New Orleans.
With bellies full we walked down to Seattle City Center which was only 10 minutes away from our hotel, we took in the autumn scenery of Seattle. The leaves were a golden orange and the light wisps of wind blew the fallen leaves like golden glitter in the air. We watched tourists walk by and observed the locals, who were some of the friendliest people. Each one would smile and say hi as they passed by. We felt welcomed here as we walked off some of the calories we just consumed. The only thing about downtown Seattle, that you have to remember is that everything closes early since its downtown. So, you have to keep in mind, most touristy places close by 6pm. We took advantage of the Seattle City Pass, which I highly recommend!! It offers a bundle of site seeing tickets for $79 for adults and $59 for children, which includes admission to Seattle Space Needle AM and PM visit, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, the option to visit the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) OR Woodland Park Zoo, and Chihuly Garden and Glass OR the Pacific Science Center. We wanted to check out the Chihuly Garden, but it was about to close right when we got there. With nothing else to do, I pulled out my must eat places list and coaxed, Desirae into trying this oyster bar that was on our way back to our hotel.
Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar was this cute little restaurant that was on the bottom floor of an upscale industrial style apartment complex. They offer locally sourced seafood which is what attracted us to this place. Everyone was very welcoming and the waitress helped us decide on a raw oyster we should try. We basically told her, this was our first time and to surprise us! I don’t remember what we tried, but I do know that neither of us liked it. The slimy texture and chewiness was not up our alley and adding hot sauce and lemon felt like we were masking it. We ordered both of their baked oyster options, the House Broil Oysters and the Dynamite Mussels. Both were delicious! But I’m not a big seafood person, I am a dessert girl, so this was a nice restaurant to try, but I probably won’t be coming back. If you are an oyster fan, I do recommend trying this place out.
The next morning, we woke up early and went to one of my favorite places in Seattle, Biscuit Bitch. I really like the name. I am not one to curse and I always feel silly when I do say a curse word, so just saying this name makes me feel like a total bad ass. We were going to explore Pikes Place that day so we went to the location near Pioneer Square which was a 15 minute Uber ride from our hotel. We got there before the crowd started and I proudly ordered a bacon Bitchwitch smothered in gravy, which was a biscuit sandwich topped with gravy. I giggled right after I ordered and took in the ambience of rap music playing loudly at 9am in the morning as the tiny restaurant became packed with people. I ordered Pumpkin Spice Latte, which I cannot remember what they cleverly named, but it was so frothy and good. Desirae ordered the Cheesy Pork n’ Bitch, which was an open-faced biscuit topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, smothered with gravy and topped with cheese. She let me try some of hers, and it was soo good!! I think it was the cheese, so I recommend you order this! The biscuits were soft, the bacon was crisp, and the gravy will comfort your soul.
I like going to Pikes Place Market as soon as it opens. I enjoy seeing all the vendors setup and how the market turns from quiet and calm to loud and crowded. My favorite part are the rows of fresh flowers that consume the market with their bright colors. I always want to take all of them home, but I only opt for a few stems, so I can walk around with beautiful flowers. They are also very inexpensive at less than $3 a stem and an even greater deal if you buy a bouquet. I picked some beautiful dahlias that seemed to be the flower in season. The last time I came to Seattle in the late spring peonies filled the market. Both flowers are my absolute favorite. We also checked out Eighth Generation which is a Native Owned business that sells authentic Native American goods. It was a beautiful store and the owner, Loui Gong, was so nice and chatted with us for a bit! This is a must see place while visiting Pikes Place Market.
After walking around, we needed a caffeine boost so we headed over to Moore Coffee Shop, which makes the cutest latte art. You never know what is going to appear in your cup as the women owned business carefully crafts your beverage behind the counter using tooth picks to define their artwork. I ordered the Red Rooibos Latte and Desirae ordered the Chai Tea Latte. After a 10-minute photoshoot with our coffee we didn’t want to mess up our animal characters in our cups.
We walked around for a bit then we quickly remembered our lunch reservations at The Pink Door, which is hidden in the alleyways of Pioneer Square, the only way of finding it is by the iconic pink door. We wanted to have dinner here as they have cabaret shows at night, but they were all booked for the week. So, we opted for lunch. At this point we were already busting at the seams and we ordered lightly. We tried the Dungeness crab cake, Caesar salad, and a pepperoni and sausage pizza. All were okay, but the real star was the Caesar salad which everyone seemed to be ordering. The romaine lettuce was served in whole leaves and topped with Caesar dressing and a side of lemon. It was so good! I think we may have been too full at this point to really enjoy this place. I recommend getting a reservation early and coming here for dinner and hopefully you can catch one of their cabaret shows.
After a short break and a few sips of pepto, we continued our site seeing journey and started using our Seattle City Pass. We went to the Pop Culture Musuem (MoPop) first and were quickly excited to see that there was a Jim Henson exhibit! We paid the extra $5 to see the exhibit and it was worth every penny. Growing up, I loved watching the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and was hauntingly creeped out by the Labyrinth, it was cool to see the actual puppets used for the show. We even got to take a hand at being a puppeteer and produced our own little video. Not going to lie guys, I think I was made to be a puppeteer! 😉 The rest of the museum was full of interesting and interactive exhibits. We spent a good portion of our time in the sound rooms playing with different instruments, I’ve always wanted to see how good of a drummer I would be and I could beat as loud as I wanted in their sound proof rooms. We ended our visit with a loud karaoke session in the voice rooms, where we channeled our inner Stevie Nicks and Stevie Wonder in the privacy of a sound proof room! They also had a Star Trek exhibit that we both admitted to watching a few episodes now and then and let our inner Trekkie.
The rest of the trip we used of the rest of our Seattle City Pass, the Space Needle is a must and the pass offers a trip during the daytime and at night. We went back in the evening and witnessed a proposal which was so sweet to see! The Chihulily Museum was breathtaking with all of the colorful glass sculptures. At the Seattle Aquarium, we saw cutest sea otters who were showing off to the crowd with all their cuteness. We took a Argosy harbor cruise, which was so much fun to learn about the history of the surrounding areas. It was also a good way to take it easy for an hour and get some really pretty skyline pictures.
I asked on Instagram for recommendations on where to eat and got a huge response. Our favorite was Portage Bay Café for their delicious French toast and toppings bar! This is where the locals eat and the location we chose was near the Amazon Headquarters, so we watched all the techies as they went off to work. Iver’s Fish Bar was also recommended and we loved it! We both knew we had to try salmon while we were here in the Pacific Northwest. We caught their lunch special and had a delicious lunch here. The salmon was perfectly cooked and flavorful. As if we needed to eat more, I had to try the Bubble Waffle cone at Blank Space Café. I have seen foodies all over post this Instagram worthy dessert and needed to try one. It was a beauty and I am glad I was able to try this sweet treat.
The last stop on our eating adventures was Din Tai Fung. The last time I came to Seattle I fell in love with this place. Prior to coming the last time, my husband and I became interested in soup dumplings after watching some of our favorite food personalities talk about them on their food shows. Good dim sum places are hard to find in the valley, so when we stumbled upon Din Tai Fung we were in LOVE! These are as authentic as you can get to Chinese soup dumpling and they are freshly made in house. They have a variety of locations in Seattle and a few select location in the US, so I had to take Desirae here. We ordered the Pork Xia Long Bao, Garlic Spinach, and Pork Fried Rice. The star here is the Pork Xia Long Bao for sure. My hubby requested I bring back some for him and I did! If you near a Din Tai Fun you HAVE TO try this place. You will not be disappointed.
After gaining about 5 pounds after this trip, I was ready to go home! Although I could keep eating my way through Seattle, it’s probably a good thing for my health and wallet that I was only there for a few days. Ha! Have any of you tried the places above? If so let me know in the comments below.