Not So "Sleepless in Seattle"
Updated: Nov 1, 2022
Since seeing Sam's (played by Tom Hanks) bachelor pad, floating on Lake Union, in the movie "Sleepless in Seattle," I have wanted to take a trip to this seaport city in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is surrounded by captivating views of water, mountains and forests on Puget Sound, in the state of Washington. Below are some of the reasons I fell in love with Seattle.
First, the food is amazing!
I did not have a single bad, or even mediocre, meal in Seattle. These are some of the places I would recommend for exceptional food and great service.
Cascina Spinasse is a Northern Italian restaurant located in Seattle's Capitol Hill, and serves among the best pastas I have ever had. With the extraordinary food, wine and service they offer, it is no surprise that this cozy and rustic restaurant is packed year round.
Crostinis: chickpea and anchovy butter
The pastas were exceptional and remarkably delicate. I could have eaten several plates of each. Each noodle is hand cut and made fresh, when orders fill. You can watch the expert chef de partie roll and cut the pastas with striking speed and precision.
Tajarin Burro E Salvia
Hand cut pasta with butter and sage
Tajarin al Ragu
Hand cut pasta with beef and pork ragu
Cake Life Everyday
Baker, Kate Winowitch, crafts melt-in-your-mouth croissants, with the perfect amount of crunch. Flavors range from savory to sweet, so I decided to order from both ends of the spectrum. This pop up is located at Lowercase Brewing in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood. Lines are long and items often run out but, the wait, coupled with anticipation, is worth it.
Turkey and cheese croissant
Chocolate pistachio croissant
The chocolate, pistachio cream is unique, not too sweet, and complements the butteriness of the croissant perfectly.
Off Alley is non traditional in almost every way. From the handwritten menu on a sandwich board outside, or the inside chalkboard where items are crossed off as they sell out, to the menu offerings which change daily and are based on whatever Chef Evan Leichtling wants to cook. There is also the carefully curated, natural wine list by Meghna Prakash, and the 14 seat restaurant space itself that is a remodeled brick alley. For all those reason and more, this place is a must visit.
The menu changes daily to feature whatever ingredients are freshest.
Asparagus and garlic scapes soup with green onions, duck crackling and black garlic oil, paired with a Sonoma Valley, Chardonnay.
Grilled foie gras with pickled red and green strawberries
Grilled fava beans with garlic and anchovy dipping sauce
This Malaysian street food restaurant started as a stall at a farmers market, grew to a neighborhood walk up counter and then found its home in a restaurant space at the bottom of an apartment building in Seattle's Capitol Hill. Lines wrapping around the block, and waits that are up to two hours, bear witness to the phenomenal, authentic food.
*(Perhaps lines will never be longer than this past weekend however, as I just discovered that this Seattle staple closed its doors on October 29, 2022. It was truly a blessing to be able to eat here and enjoy the dazzling combination of Malaysian flavors. Thank you to husband and wife team, Kevin Burzell and Alysson Wilson for bringing a little bit of Malaysia to Seattle.)
Grilled squid with spicy sauce
Roti jalal with chicken curry
Can we linger on this roti jalal or "net bread" for a minute, please? I had never had anything like it before. It is made of flour, egg, turmeric and coconut, thin as paper but somehow thick enough to absorb all of the robust flavors of the curry. This is one of the best dishes I have eaten.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Renee Erickson, winner of the James Beard award, offers up the day's fresh catch of oysters and a fabulous list of champagnes for that effervescence that complements oysters so wonderfully.
Whether it is Kumamato, Flapjack, Kushi, Indigo, Baywater Sweet, Blue Pools, Hama Hama or any other oyster, the Walrus and the Carpenter, named after Lewis Carroll's poem, will not disappoint.
Second, Seattle is truly picturesque.
Ferry ride to the San Juan Islands
Deception Pass Bridge
The San Juan Island Archipelago consists of 172 islands in upper Puget Sound, near the Canadian border. The islands are home to all sorts of wildlife. On my trip there, I saw bald eagles, porpoises, a Minke whale and a Grey Whale.
A spout off in the distance and then...
Whale watching success!
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
San Juan Island is the second largest, and most populated, of the islands in the archipelago. We stopped here to explore and have lunch.
Local oysters from neighboring Orca Island.
Charcuterie board from a local restaurant with harbor views.
Rising above the clouds, Mt. Rainier stands more than 14,000 feet tall. It is the tallest mountain in the Cascades and the highest mountain in the state of Washington. It is also the fifth tallest mountain and the most heavily glaciated, in the lower 48 U.S. states. Mount Rainier is an active volcano that last erupted a little over 1000 years ago. I hope to get a much closer view the next time I visit Seattle but, even from a distance, the mountain is magnificent and staggering.
Third, Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market, located on Seattle's iconic waterfront, opened in 1907 and has since been a local gathering place for locals and travelers alike. It is Seattle's first and largest farmer's market spanning 9 acres. I easily and enjoyably spent half a day there.
While produce stalls are aplenty, offering the freshest in fruits and vegetables, the market is also home to restaurants, butchers, fish mongers, flower shops, bakeries, speciality shops and regional artisans.
Peonies, my favorite flower, only bloom from late spring until early summer. I was fortunate enough to be at Pike Place during this short window when just about every florist had them overflowing in stalls across the market. The fragrance was intoxicating.
Finally, Killer Whales
(This is my favorite reason, which is why I saved the best for last.)
These apex predators captured my heart very long ago. Killer whales or Orcas, actually belong to the dolphin family and inhabit almost every ocean on earth. Puget Sound is home to three resident pods. While I have watched many documentaries on Orcas, there is nothing like seeing them in the wild. Watching these majestic creatures in their natural habitat was breathtaking, exhilarating and one of the most profound experiences of my life.
Photo by Deborah Limb
Photo by Deborah Limb
Seattle is truly stunning, and a place I am looking forward to returning frequently.