Warm crumpets topped with chilled lemon curd. Salty breeze from the sea that carries the sweet scent of pines. Little puffs of weed mixed with the scent of freshly roasted coffee, “Smells like Teen Spirit” playing in the background. If you’re wondering which Zoya Akthar movie this is from, let me clear that up for you. None (not yet, at least). But if she ever set a movie in Seattle, I’d like to believe this is what she’d open with – because the world needs to see this talking bubble image of Seattle in my head too!
One weekend is nowhere near enough to see everything worth seeing and devour everything worth devouring in Seattle, but I was determined to make the most of what I had. I decided to start off with all the downtown tourist attractions — beginning at the Experience Music Project (EMP).
The Experience Music Project houses the largest collection of Kurt Cobain artefacts. You could easily spend a whole morning looking at the exhibits and learning all about the birth of alternative rock music in the Northwest. The EMP is located within the Seattle Center which is also where Seattle’s most famous attraction, the Space Needle is located. The pre – noon lines to go up to the observation deck aren’t too bad and after a 40 minute wait, I was looking down at a panoramic view of the city. Mt. Rainier, the Seattle skyline and the Pacific encompassed in one montage shot made the wait worthwhile!
A hop, skip and a jump later, I was at the famed Chihuly Garden & Glass museum located within the Seattle Center campus as well. An intriguing display of artist Dale Chihuly’s work, the stunning colors and assemblages will not fail to mesmerize even the most reluctant visitors. If you intend to visit all three attractions, consider purchasing the Seattle City Pass – at $79, it will save you the hassle of waiting in line for tickets and it is also cheaper than buying individual tickets.
The Seattle Center has various events going on throughout the year such as the Korean festival taking place during the time I visited. I decided to grab a quick bite to eat while listening to some Korean music before heading to Kerry Park on Queen Anne’s slope. And while the trek up the hill was probably not a good idea right after lunch, I had forgotten all about it the moment I reached the park. The view of the city was spectacular and in my humble opinion, even better than the one from the Space Needle. The fact that there were no crowds definitely helped as well. If the walk up the hill did not burn all your lunch calories, consider walking a short distance from Kerry Park to the waterfront park.
Dotted with quirky sculptures and paintings along the way, this is a good spot to cool your feet while people watching. I was almost ready to call it a day, that is, until I saw a Ferris wheel. If you are not afraid of heights, I would recommend this. There is something wonderfully zen about sitting in a Ferris wheel car by yourself and watching the mighty sun set over the majestic Pacific, far above the hustle and bustle of life.
It was almost time for dinner and I was famished from all the walking. Lucky for me, the Pike Place Market is right across the road from the pier. After much deliberation, I settled on a bowl of kimchi udon noodles. It might have been the hunger talking or the exhaustion, but I don’t think I have ever tasted better noodles than at that tiny hole in the wall joint at Pike Place Market!
My plan for Sunday was to catch up with a high school friend who’d promised to give me a culinary tour of the best of Pike Place Market. We kicked off the tour with an uber crumbly, buttery ricotta and lemon curd crumpet at The Crumpet Shop and followed it up with some of Seattle’s famous coffee. The famous Gum Wall is right down the aisle from here, so make sure to make a quick stop and take a few pictures.
No trip to Pike Place Market is complete without watching a performance of the “flying fish”, which was our next stop. Fishmongers entertain crowds in the market periodically by throwing fish from the display across to the counter where it is then packed and sent off with the customer. From there, we continued on to the flower market where you can find flowers of any kind from any country. The only disappointing part was not being able to carry any back with me.
It was time for more sugar so we settled on Ellenos Greek Yogurt after much deliberation to try some of the marionberry pie. Truer words have never been spoken on Yelp – it is definitely THE best Greek yogurt you are ever going to taste! If you are a fan of Starbucks, this might be the perfect time to hike down the block to the very first Starbucks store, a staple in Seattle, and get in line for a coffee.
I wasn’t going to leave the Pacific without a tour of the bay and the cheapest, easiest way to do this was to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island. It was a beautiful day which offered us a clear view of Mt. Rainier from one side and the Seattle skyline on the other. A small island of 27 square miles, this quaint little town is a good getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. We enjoyed walking the main street lined with multiple restaurants and shops for a few hours before deciding to return to Seattle to complete our culinary tour.
Our pick for lunch was Beechers Handmade Cheese. Watching cheese being made in the huge tubs behind a large glass window will keep you entertained as you wait in line for your order. And though it might be tempting to order everything on the menu, stick to the tomato soup and grilled cheese or a mac ‘n cheese – you will definitely not regret this decision.
If you need dessert to wash down with this delicious meal, you don’t have to look too far. The Confectional is just down the corner and their bite- sized desserts are just perfect for one! There was one final stop to make before this fantastic culinary tour ended – Piroshky Piroshky. I was too stuffed to eat any, but got some to go. This delectable Polish pastry which was my breakfast AND lunch was possibly THE best thing I’d eaten on the whole trip (and as you can see, I ate a lot, a LOT!). That long wait in 100F weather was definitely worth it – if you are in the vicinity, I’d suggest passing up on the Starbucks line and getting in this one instead.
I’d gone on the trip wanting to check Seattle out and see if it was a place I could move to and live in. But I left feeling like this was the home I’d always been looking for.
Photo Credit: Shalini Udayasurian