The best thing about Seattle? My awesome(ish) friend Scott (who I will now call ButterScottch) lives there! But it's also a great place for foodies, as me and Ms. Chew Your Food soon found out during a quick 1-day visit en route to Vancouver (see last week's post.) Here's part one of some of the highlights - hard to imagine we squeezed it all into one day!
For many, a trip to Seattle isn't complete without a visit to Pike's Place Market. To some it's a chance to see the famous flying fish from the Spike Lee commercial, or the Greek restaurant that Tom Hanks ate at in Sleepless in Seattle. But to me, it's the one and only place I know of that has deep fried chicken parts, for which I have a great affinity. At Chicken Valley, you can get a to-go plate of hearts, livers or gizzards (or a combination of alll three) for $3.00. It's the perfect thing to snack on while you're walking around Pike's, taking in the various food stalls, flower vendors, fresh seafood and homegrown arts and crafts it has to offer.
Next, it was impossible for us to walk by Piroshky Piroshky without getting completely lured in by the smell of freshly baked goodies. They totally know what they are doing - complete with a street-facing window displaying a bakery worker working on what looked and smelled like cinnamon-y butter-y goodness. It totally worked. Seconds later we emerged with a cinnamon-apple roll in hand and bit into it while it was still warm, sweet, buttery and delicious. But it's not just us, apparently Anthony Bourdain is a fan too.
A few doors down was the first ever Starbucks, which opened March 30, 1971. Did you know the intended name for this chain was Pequod, after the ship in Moby Dick? The co-founders eventually agreed on Starbuck, after the Pequod's first mate, instead. Much of the store retains it's original design, as required by the city's historic district guidelines, though we didn't stick around long enough to thoroughly investigate. The massive crowds scared us off, so after snapping a few photos we were on our way.
Later we had dinner at Maneki in the International District, at a teammate's suggestion. Thanks Don! (P.S. Your new name will be UDon, as in noodles.) Known for its authentic tatami (woven mat) rooms, it was originally established in 1904 and was a centerpiece of the Japanese American community until it was ransacked and ruined during World War 2. It was reborn after the war ended, and has been operating in its present state since 1946. The tatami rooms are still there, but we sat at a regular table (it's quite popular, reservations are highly recommended) and enjoyed wonderful dishes including fried oysters, black cod collar with miso, avocado salad with ponzu dressing, soft shell crab and broiled eggplant (they were out of geoduck). The food was satisfying, authentic, delicious.
Somehow we had room for dessert and walked up the block to the teahouse of the Panama Hotel. We immediately fell in love with this charming tearoom, with its antique wood floors and black and white photograph-lined walls. Part teahouse, part museum, the hotel was home to generations of Japanese Americans, many who were whisked away to internment camps during WW2. The proprietor chose to preserve and honor their belongings by displaying some of the unclaimed ones here, through a glass opening in the floor which reveals old trunks and suitcases still full of clothes and heirlooms. The space felt beautiful, important, inviting.
We ordered green tea lattes and manju (rice cakes stuffed with sweet bean) and chatted, with the kind of fullness and happiness that a only a day of good food, great company, and a kind city could bring.
SAMIWICH'S TASTE RATING