Eat, Drink, Sleep, Repeat. I just spent 48 hours in the ‘Emerald City’, and I don’t mean Oz. Seattle is known as the Emerald City because of the abundance of evergreens in the city and surrounding area. Beautiful Seattle stays green year round, probably due in part to a little bit of rain… I am originally from the Pacific Northwest where most of my family still lives and I have the pleasure of going back to visit often, this time for my Dad’s 83rd birthday. If I were going to Seattle as a tourist or on vacation, I would be busy soaking up all Seattle has to offer, however, I was there to see family and friends so tended to frequent neighborhood restaurants and local haunts, which are also pretty great. For the unenlightened I thought it fun to list my top five things to do in Seattle, then I will get to the point of my blog which is a very brief tour of Seattle’s neighborhood restaurants, at least as many as I could get to in 48 hours. Alas, I was not home to prepare menus this weekend but Meatless Monday and Wheatless Wednesday will be back next week.
1) Pike Place Market, opened since 1907, is one of the oldest markets on the west coast and one of my favorite places to go in Seattle. You will see fish mongers tossing fish to each other, fresh produce, beautiful flowers, interesting places to eat and great shopping.
2)Seattle Water Front is another interesting and diverse area. More great shopping and dining while you enjoy a free show of the musicians and street performers that take over the piers. Walk down to Pier 57 and check out the Seattle Great Wheel, the city’s newest attraction just built in 2012, which is the largest observation wheel on the west coast. I have not gone on the Great Wheel yet but it looks like fun and an awesome view!
3)Take the monorail from downtown Seattle to Seattle Center, an amusement park and entertainment center, originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, which also includes the famous Space Needle where you can take the elevator up 605 feet and enjoy a 360 degree view of Seattle. There is a rotating restaurant on top which completes the circle every 46 minutes for a unique dining experience. Thanks to technology you can now experience the amazing view from the Space Needle from the comfort of your armchair. Just click on the link and start scrolling for a pretty cool view of Seattle and the observation decks. http://www.spaceneedle.com/home/
4) If you’re in Seattle for the first time, you should take a ferry – anywhere. It’s a common mode of transportation for locals but also a great way to see Seattle and the surrounding area. Go visit Bainbridge, Whidbey or one of the many islands that form the San Juan Islands. You can even take a high speed ferry to Victoria BC which is charming. You can take your car right on the ferry and go exploring once you get to the other side.
5)Seattle cuisine is exceptional so check out some of the trendy and fun restaurants. My hip local friends are raving about Flying Fish in South Lake Union, Luc, Ba Bar and Tavern Law in Capital Hill and Caffe Presse near Seattle University. The only trendy restaurant I went to this trip was Wild Ginger. Located in downtown Seattle, it has a great ambiance and delicious Asian inspired food. I would definitely recommend.
So now lets leave the ‘virtual trip’ and talk about my ‘actual’ trip. After a 5:30am wake up call and flight to Sea Tac Saturday morning, my sister, Margaret and her husband, Scott launched my two day eat-a-thon with lunch at Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant in Chinatown.
Chinatown is also known as the International District which is a multi-ethnic neighborhood with predominantly Asian Americans where you can find noodles, sushi, dim sum, stir fry and pho, all delicious and authentic.
At Green Leaf we ordered Tofu Spring Rolls (which I had to take a second picture of since my sister insisted on getting her Sea Hawks jersey in the photo. It was a tofu packed meal as I followed up with Bun Chay, a noodle bowl with Chinese mushrooms, vegetables, grilled tofu, fried tofu and something suspiciously called ‘imitation ham’, which is apparently common on Vietnamese vegetarian menus.
Our waitress seemed somewhat vague about what it was made out of ( maybe wheat and vegetables) so I ordered it on the side. I’m not a fan of tempeh like foods so I was a bit hesitant to try it but we all agreed that it was better than we expected. (see photo above).
We celebrated my Dad’s birthday at Europa Bistro Italiano in the heart of Tacoma’s Proctor District, near where my parents live. Europa is a small neighborhood restaurant that makes its own pasta (gluten free upon request) and uses fresh local seafood. The wonderful aroma that greets you at the entry lets you know it’s going to be a good meal.
My Dad and I shared Vongole, fresh Manila clams (the little teeny ones that are so good) sautéed in garlic, olive oil, white wine broth. I have a large family so we got to try half the menu. Other popular dishes that night were Eggplant Parmagiana and Spinach Manicotti with homemade noodles.
Breakfast Sunday was at Calamity Janes, in Georgetown, Seattle’s oldest district known back then for its bars, brothels and saloons. It actually incorporated in 1905 as a response to Prohibition. Georgetown is still dotted with taverns that are still rustic, filled with old wood and original brick. but they are now trendy and serve good food.
For breakfast I splurged on Orange Almond French Toast (with Drambuie French toast batter). Their omlettes and other dishes looked pretty good too. Calamity Janes prides itself on supporting neighborhood businesses and serves Georgetown beers, coffee and baked goods.
My grandfather had a car top shop in the neighborhood back in the day and frequented Jules Mae’s Saloon which is still there today. A block away is Doris Street (which is my Mom’s name) which is just an interesting coincidence. Jules Mae’s also serves great breakfast but doesn’t open until around 11am.
We stopped in at the Star Brass Works Lounge for a Screwdriver and then checked out Georgetown Trailer Park which is a very cute second hand/antique shopping center housed entirely with retro trailers. Then we drove back down to Tacoma to hand deliver mini birthday cakes to our Dad on his actual birthday. Happy Birthday Dad!
Our last leg of the trip was a quick stop at the house on Lake Washington Boulevard where Curt Cobain, Nirvana lead singer, lived (and died) on the way to meet our friends. Next to the house, in Viretta Park, fans have turned two benches into a shrine where people often leave flowers and messages honoring the singer. Fans of ‘Where’d You Go Bernadette’ will remember that this is the neighborhood where Bernadette lived and Curt Cobain’s house had a cameo.
We UBERed to Wild Ginger, an Asian fusian restaurant and satay bar in downtown Seattle. This is a great place to meet friends. The food is excellent and creatively prepared. We ordered Siam Lettuce cups, grilled seabass with roasted peanuts, Thai basil, lime, chili and tamarind wrapped in butter lettuce leaves. Yum! Another dish I would recommend is the Thai Passion Tofu, fried tofu, eggplant, kefir lime and basil,. The purple and green are glorious and the sauce is delicious.
Their most popular dish is one we tried as well, Green Curry Chicken. I love everything with green curry but this was pretty good. The restaurant is so kind as to share the recipe on their website, so I have printed it below. ‘Til next time Seattle…Enjoy!
Credit for the fabulous photos goes to:
Seattle Skyline – http://www.localtrips.com/images/seattle-trips.jpg
Wild Ginger Chicken Curry
For the marinade:
1 tsp Wild Ginger curry powder
For the curry:
Heat wok and sauté green onion bulbs (save greens to be used for garnish) and thinly sliced shallots over medium high heat until slightly brown.
Add yellow onion and garlic to wok, sauté for 1 minute.
Over medium high heat, sweep onions to the side of the wok and add chicken. Brown on all sides.
Deglaze wok with rice wine. Add chicken stock, coconut cream, Wild Ginger curry powder and sugar.
Bring to a boil and let sauce reduce and thicken. Season with fish sauce, to taste.
Serve your curry over steamed jasmine or brown rice and garnish with reserved sliced green onions.