Tuesday, February 16
I’m in Seattle on business for 10 days. My goal is to find out-of-the-way places to eat fresh seafood. Dinner – A fine calamari salad at Anthony’s in Gig Harbor. The calamari is dredged in flour with a subtle spicy seasoning much like you’d expect on fried oysters. The lettuce is nice and crisp. Only $8!!! Speaking of nice and crisp, a Pinot Grigio would go perfectly…
Wednesday, February 17
Good news! Bob and Noah are joining me for the weekend. That takes me off photo duty. One of our key tasks will be to find a seafood vendor to safely ship fresh shrimp and salmon home so we can party with friends. I got a head start last night and am doing it again tonight — this time at Elliott’s.
Friday, February 19
We’re going to Bainbridge Island by ferry. I have a business appointment and the boys will explore town and find a good lunch spot. We get off the ferry and drive into town. First stop: Blackbird Bakery. It’s filled with locals and slowly filling up with ferry riders. Bob had a very tasty piece of cherry pie: flaky crust and filling that was mostly locally-grown cherries and little else. Nice and tart with a hint of sweetness. What caught Bob’s eye were the local folks simply enjoying the chance to chat and relax — and the scones.
After walking around town bit, it really started to rain. Bob and Noah stopped in at Van der Veen jewelers, looking for a lunch referral. They met Mike Pedrelli, who worked there, talked photography, and steered us to the Madison Diner. An old railcar-turned-diner was the last thing we expected, but were very glad we stopped in. Burgers, fries, shakes, and lots of locals. Of course, we skipped the tables and sat at the counter. (I stuck with my seafood diet and had the thick chowder, which was loaded with clams. Noah of course had a burger and Bob excitedly discovered his old favorite from New Jersey diner days – the tuna melt.)
The weather cleared a bit when we got back to the mainland. We decided to visit the Chihuly Museum and the Space Needle, which are right next to each other. (If you’re new to the magical world of Dale Chihuly and his incredible blown glass artistry, check out his website. He seamlessly combines glass and nature to create stunningly beautiful landscapes that are playful, inspiring, and thought provoking.) Here’s a shot of Noah and me at the museum:
We totally enjoyed the view from the top of the Space Needle, which opened in 1962 as the architectural centerpiece of the Seattle World’s Fair. As we watched, a rain squall moved quickly across the city. As it left, the sun and rain created a full double rainbow. Amazingly, we were able to see the entire rainbow, from top to bottom. Bob was able to grab this shot with his phone.
We had a great dinner at Toulouse Petit, a highly rated bistro near our hotel in the historic Queen Anne Hill neighborhood. The restaurant combines great food, excellent service, and a relaxing ambiance with very reasonable prices. Bob and I ate a fabulous selection of seafood, including an incredible sauteed halibut and a spicy bouillabaisse prepared with real, fresh cod.
Saturday, February 20
First stop: Breakfast at Macrina Bakery. (Their Sour Cherry Shortbread Cookies were included in Town & Country Magazine’s 2015 “16 Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Carb Lover.“) Bob and I split a bialy sandwich filled with salmon, onions, and eggs. When Bob told the server that the bialy reminded him of growing up in New Jersey, her response was, “You can get these on the East Coast?” Then, it was off to the Pike Place Market. Bob’s collage says it all:
The market has 3 floors and extends across the street and through a few alleys. We’re having a great time watching, tasting, talking, and walking around. Be forewarned: This is a tourist trap and prices are high. (When you think of it as entertainment rather than grocery purchasing, the prices become a bit more reasonable.) There are plenty of shops and restaurants in the area. The original Starbucks is across the street, filled with tourists making the pilgrimage to the Mocha Mecca. (If you want coffee, there’s another one just a block away, with little or no line.)
Walk down the hill from the market to the water and you’ll come to one of Seattle’s newest attractions – the Great Wheel. It’s a 4 year old ferris wheel with comfortable, glass enclosed, temperature controlled, gondolas. Here’s Bob’s rather artsy take on it, as seen from the waiting area:
The view is sensational. (We had plenty of time to take it all in since the folks running the ride gave us 8 rotations rather than the 3 we paid for.) Here’s a shot of one of the ferries heading towards Bainbridge or Bremerton:
Time for a rest, so we’re heading back to the hotel before getting ready for dinner at Shuckers, a classic restaurant and oyster bar. Oops. Turns out we made a reservation for next Saturday by mistake. The hotel staff pointed us toward The Brooklyn, a similar seafood, steak and oyster house a few blocks over. Talk about serendipity – we were able to snare the only open table. The food was terrific. We shared two plates. One was scallops that were “porcini mushroom dusted with braised shortribs, served with red bliss potato croquettes and spinach, and finished with honeycrisp apple, smokey bacon and cashel irish blue cheese butter.” The other was a bouillabaisse with scallops, fish, mussels, clams, prawns, fennel sausage, roasted corn, spinach, tomatoes, and crab risotto. Yum!!!
Sunday, February 21
We’re heading to Port Townsend to visit my brother, sister-in-law and aunt. We’re taking the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. The view of the Olympic Mountains is magnificent:
We met them at a local farm where they grow vegetables and brew beer. The farm raises sheep and chickens as well. This is Lightning McQueen, the farm’s prized ram and stud extraordinaire:
Favorite Eats: Whatever seafood is fresh. Ask and you’ll most likely get an honest answer.
Favorite Hotel: We stayed at The Mediterranean Inn on Queen Anne Avenue. It’s a block from Key Arena, a 10 minute walk from the Space Needle, and a half hour walk to Pike Place Market. There are plenty of restaurants and grocery stores in the neighborhood as well. Prices are reasonable, so the crowd in the hotel tends to be younger and a bit exuberant, especially late at night.
Look For: Mt. Rainier on a sunny day. Also look for the Olympic mountains to the west and Cascades on the easterly side.
Watch Out For: The weather.
Noah’s Tips for Kids:
- In Pike Place Market, there are guys throwing fish at each other or back and forth with customers.
- You can get lots of fruit and chocolate samples at the Market.
- There are lots of cool electronic and digital viewing stations at the top of the Space Needle.
- The Great Wheel is kinda scary at first, but you’ll get used to it.
- Don’t touch anything at the Chihuly Garden! It’s all glass and costs a fortune.
Travel Tips: It’s a compact city, so a car is probably not necessary. Bring an umbrella and hat. Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island and walk 5 minutes into town. Have coffee. Pie. Gelato.
Masthead photo: Seattle Skyline (Bob)