Monday, June 03, 2013

In Seattle {Not Sleepless}

The Space Needle in Seattle at sunset. 

Last week my sister and I took our much-anticipated sisters' trip to Seattle. We chose it as our destination mainly because neither of us had been there and it was a city we'd both wanted to visit. I'd say it was well worth the cross-country trek and would definitely return if given the opportunity. Of course, just getting some time alone with my sister made the trip worth it; I'm sure she not only appreciated time spent with me but probably also enjoyed the chance to go to the bathroom without kids banging on the door for a change.

We took several tours and did a lot of sightseeing during our trip but my favorite place (and the place where, outside of our hotel, we spent the most time) was the Pike Place Market.

We went to the market several days in a row and enjoyed several meals there, including not one but two trips to Pike Place Chowder, home of national award-winning New England clam chowder, which I can vouch for as being divine. The first time we ate there we had to wait in line for nearly 30 minutes before making it to the counter to order but it was worth the wait. Luckily when we returned on another day we hit it just before the lunch rush and didn't have to wait more than a couple of minutes.

Another favorite eatery (where we ate on our first and last nights in Seattle) was Crow, a small restaurant just down the street from our hotel. It was highly recommended by one of the hotel staff and definitely lived up to the hype. It was there that I discovered fava and spring pea bruschetta, which I am now determined to make at home soon.

Fava and spring pea bruschetta at Crow. 
All we needed was a nice Chianti to go with it.

We also darkened the doorstep of Chocolate Box, seller of locally made chocolates and wines and located near the market. 

Are you drooling yet? I resisted the urge to press my nose against the glass case. 

My stomach wanted to order one of everything in the store, but my wallet and my waistline convinced me to try just one truffle (dark chocolate and cabernet) in addition to a cup of hot chocolate flavored with orange. This wasn't Swiss Miss; this was rich, velvety smooth hot chocolate with tiny bits of grated orange peel at the bottom and topped with decadent whipped cream and chocolate shavings. No "skinny" hot chocolate here. And I didn't care one whit about the calorie count. I was in chocolate heaven. 


Lest you get the impression that the only thing that interested us at the market was food, let me assure you that that's not the case. I was enraptured by the sight of stall after stall of gorgeous flowers for sale. Peonies. Tulips. Poppies. Irises. Calla lillies. Mixed bouquets in every color under the sun. 

Flower wonderland

The most amazing thing of all was that the bouquets--that would easily cost me $50 or $60 at home--sold here for $5 to $15. Seriously. Don't believe me? Here's proof:

$5??? Seriously???

It broke my heart that I couldn't take any flowers home with me, so I had to settle for taking a lot of flower pictures. If I lived nearby I would be at the market every week to get fresh flowers for my home and office. (Hmm, maybe a move to Seattle should be on the horizon...)

Naturally, no trip to Seattle would be complete without sampling the coffee. We of course went to the "original" Starbucks in Pike Place Market, which is not actually the real original (that one is no longer in existence). It is, however, the oldest Starbucks in operation, and most of the time while we were at the market there was a long line of people waiting to get in. We happened upon it one night after most of the other market had vendors had closed, and thankfully only had to wait in line a few minutes to get our coffee. I have to admit that I couldn't really tell a difference between the Starbucks there and what I can get at Starbucks back home, but it was sort of neat to say we'd been there.

We tried a couple of other coffee places while there, and my favorite was from a tiny cafe across the street from our hotel (and just a few doors down from Crow). One of our tour guides actually recommended Caffe Vita to us, and once again, reality lived up to the hype. We had a very friendly barista who topped our coffees with a little art:

We didn't get to go to Caffe Vita until our final night in Seattle, and it was the perfect way to close out a deliciously fun vacation. I'm determined that my sister and I will plan another getaway in the not-too-distant future, but coming up with another city that neither of us have been to and really want to visit may be a challenge. Any suggestions? Given our love for food, drink and lovely things, I think Paris is calling our name...

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