A city widely loved by tourists and denizens, Seattle was once known best for a granola bar-eating, flannel-wearing rock and roll scene. Coffee lovers worship the city where Starbucks began and fish lovers dream of the day they might catch a flying fish at Pike Place Market.
Whether you look up to the Space Needle or join the Underground Tour in Pioneer Square, a trip to Seattle is one that embraces nature and science about as much as it does food and drink. Creative and business minds abound in this pioneering city (Microsoft, Amazon and Nintendo’s American headquarters are all in the city), which is a vibe that infects the social and culinary scene.
Breakfast: We may have fought for independence from the British, but there are some of us who are really English people stuck in an American’s body. Is there anything more delightful than a warm buttery crumpet and a nice cuppa tea? (Besides a royal wedding, of course.) The Crumpet Shop in Pike Place Market serves up toasty crumpets with all manner of savory and sweet toppings. Think smoked salmon, ricotta cheese, maple syrup, pesto, honey, and ham. The list is endless. Did we mention the free tea refills and a latte happy hour? (Photo courtesy of Flickr/avis4030)
Lunch: You know when you're asked the question, “What would your last meal be?” You should answer, without a doubt, "A meatball sandwich with fresh mozzarella and peppers, smothered in garlicky sauce from Salumi." Sure, people complain about the 20-minute line, but that arguably creates a more exciting energy of getting to order and eat that delicious meaty masterpiece. Be prepared to have two sandwiches in mind, as usually your first choice will have been sold out hours ago.
Nice try getting there in time to try the Cured Tongue, but the meatball sandwich is no lame duck. The bread is thick and if you have access to a knife, go ahead and cut those big meatballs in half before diving in. Because losing a meatball would be a catastrophe.
Dinner: Oaxaca, Mexico has one big culinary claim to fame — super stellar mole sauce — and the cooks at Carta de Oaxaca do their namesake proud. The Mole Negro Oaxaqueno throws your choice of chicken or pork into the deep end of a pool filled with mole. Forget forks. Use a homemade tortilla as a sauce mop. Their fresh Qaxaqueno cheese is liberally stuffed between tortillas in their truly divine quesadillas before being smothered with guacamole, salsa fresca, and, of course, mole sauce. The only downside is that this place is smaller than a linen closet, making the wait to even order a bit of a challenge. It’s well worth it, though. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Rojoleon)
Drinks: Going down the list of offerings from Steelhead Diner, this place will take care of your every need. Located just off of Post Alley up the street from the Pike Place Market, the Steelhead serves up seafood that's preparation is as fresh as the catch. If seafood’s not your thing, there are plenty of carnivorous or vegetarian options, too.
Then, if eating’s not your thing, they’ll happily get you drunk on some lip-smackin’ cocktails, and their kick-ass view of the Olympic Mountains across the Sound don’t hurt. This is as Northwestern as you can get — cocktails with a view and the promise of their freshest catch.
Dessert: Like ice cream, but smoother, and with an egg yolk infusion that probably makes it worse for you, frozen custard is damned tasty. It’s slow churned to eliminate ice crystals and maximize silkiness. And Peaks Frozen Custard makes it fresh every two hours.
Their delicate process churns out standard flavors like vanilla and chocolate as well as Alumni Flavors of the Day that include peanut butter cookie dough, salted caramel cashew, and chocolate malt madness. On holidays, they get sassy with themes (think raspberry red velvet on Valentine’s Day and a genius horchata with abuelita chocolate on Cinco de Mayo). They also do lunch by way of paninis and veggie chili, but isn’t frozen custard enough of a draw? (Photo courtesy of Flickr/James Callan)