General Porpoise – Seattle
Those who know me well understand I have an unshakeable craving for doughnuts. I dream about them, I speak lovingly of them, and I search for them, constantly. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to hear that on a recent return trip to Seattle I firmly told Nick that we would be frequenting Capitol Hill’s General Porpoise to indulge on their heavenly creations while we were in town. And indulge we did!
Located on East Union Street, General Porpoise is a modestly-sized hipster-haven, specialising in two things: coffee and doughnuts. If your heart desires a pot of tea and/or a crumpet you best go elsewhere, however, those who enjoy biting into a freshly baked (filled) doughnut will find comfort in the eatery’s pillowy treats and superior caffeinated beverages.
Now, while some people may question the legitimacy of the filled doughnut as a doughnut at all (Nick!), General Porpoise’s sugar encrusted morsels really do take the cake. The doughnuts are delicious and simply brimming with seasonal jams, jellies, curds, custards, and creams. Expect to find classic flavours like vanilla custard or berries and cream, as well as house-made twists, like peanut butter and jelly, roasted lemon curd, apple butter, and chocolate marshmallow.
The doughnut-centric shop also offers the ultimate doughnut companion — a well-crafted cup of coffee. While the lattes are to die for, expect to pay top dollar for your caffeine hit here.
The London Plane – Seattle
Part cafe, part specialty foods grocer, and part florist, The London Plane is a one-stop-shop, where locals and visitors alike can sit and enjoy a lingering bite to eat, pick up a range of pantry staples, grab a bunch of flowers, and/or peruse the sweet homewares section (stacked with one-of-kind knick knacks).
Thanks to a thoughtfully decorated open space, a warm ambience, and some truly delicious grub (be sure to order a baked good or two), The London Plane is the perfect brunch spot, where every moment (and bite) should be savoured.
Melrose Market – Seattle
Any self-confessed foodie who finds themselves strolling along the streets of Seattle should make every effort to visit and/or eat their way around Melrose Market. Located between Pine and Pike on Melrose Avenue in Capitol Hill, this industrial-chic spot boasts an array of artisans, shops, bars, restaurants, and more.
The modestly-sized food hall, which flaunts original brickwork and exposed heavy timber, offers an entirely pleasant experience, featuring eateries and retailers such as Sitka & Spruce, Marigold and Mint, Rain Shadow Meats, Bar Ferdinand, Butter Home, Glasswing, Still Liquor, and Homegrown.
Food Guide – Seattle
A perfectly packed Seattle long weekend consists of many things: sightseeing, coffee shop hopping, a trip to Pike Place Market, a photo of the city’s infamous gum wall, a ride up to the Space Needle’s observation deck, and the consumption of copious amounts of great food and wine. In fact, with a new generation of chefs and restaurateurs leading the way, Seattle is fast becoming a food destination all on its own; a food destination with an eclectic mix of cuisine and dining venues.
I was absolutely blown away by Seattle’s diverse selection of food and culinary offerings, as well as by the affordability of the meals in general, and as such I have compiled a small Seattle food guide, where the places listed below ensure some truly sensational grub. So if you are planning a trip to Seattle this year please take note as you’re in for one unforgettable foodie adventure where your tastebuds won’t leave the city disappointed!
The London Plane
Part cafe, part specialty foods grocer, and part florist, The London Plane is a one-stop-shop where locals and visitors alike can sit and enjoy a lingering bite to eat, pick up a range of pantry staples, grab a bunch of flowers and peruse the sweet homewares section. With a thoughtfully decorated open space and a warm atmosphere, The London Plane is the perfect brunch spot, where every moment is savoured.
Located in the heart of Belltown, Tavolàta is a thriving neighbourhood dining hot spot serving generous bowls of house-made pasta, as well as wood-fired pizza, delicately prepared fish, and tender cuts of steak in a beautifully lit and decked out space. Do yourself a favour and order the rigatoni with Italian sausage, tomato, and marjora — the sauce’s rich yet subtle flavours make this a truly wonderful dish.
Fresh, flavourful, satisfying burgers are the name of the game at BRGR Bar. Located in Seattle’s Pioneer Square BRGR Bar provides its patrons with a pretty chilled setting. The atmosphere is relaxed, the menu uncomplicated, and the burgers made-to-order. With a juicy, locally sourced beef patty and an organic seeded brioche bun, the classic burger is mouthwateringly good, as are the hand-cut fries!
Don’t be fooled by Trove’s nondescript exterior, this 4000 square foot restaurant houses four unique dining concepts under one roof. In addition to a walk-up ice cream window serving frozen layered custard, there’s a noodle counter (the rice cake and chipotle Pad Thai are a must), bar/lounge and Korean barbecue dining area. Exceptionally friendly and accommodating staff, quick service, fair pricing, a well thought out layout, and fantastic food make this place a true gem.
There are plenty of Starbucks in Seattle (the world’s first Starbucks opened in Pike Place Market in 1971) but there are also lots of unique and indie coffee houses. Renowned for its devotion to the perfect cup of coffee, Storyville pours a range of well-made espresso drinks and drip coffee. They also bake in-house every day a delicious range of baked goods, like frosted cinnamon rolls, danishes, and lemon cake.
Teeming with fresh produce, specialty foods, and made-to-order meals, Pike Place Market offers visitors an astounding amount choice when it comes to edible fare. While each stall has their own speciality, a meal at the popular Market Grill should not be missed. Cooked before you, perfectly grilled fish (try the tuna) is heaped onto a fresh baguette or added to a combo platter of rice, salad, sweet onions and garlic bread.
Purple Cafe & Wine Bar
A downtown Seattle favourite, pairing a global wine selection with a menu that combines classic American cuisine with seasonal North West ingredients. While you can opt to have a sit down meal it’s also fun to pull up a stool at the bar under the spiral staircase, which is shelved with and extensive (and impressive) wine collection and sample some of Washington’s best local wines and cheeses.
Pintxo is a modern tapas bar offering a range of small plates designed to be sampled and shared. Seated at either the bar or an individual table enjoy the sophisticated yet laid back atmosphere, house-made Sangria, along with a selection of the kitchen’s exquisite small bites, including bacon wrapped dates and salt roasted potatoes, which are served with picante paprika, aioli, and salsa verde.
Top Pot Doughnuts
With an outstanding variety of hand-forged doughnuts (baked, fried, yeast raised, old fashioned, cinnamon, glazed, frosted, sugared, filled) Top Pot Doughnuts is sure to satisfy any doughnut craving. Indulge yourself with a fluffy ring of doughy goodness (or two) and a cup of coffee, while enjoying the donuterie’s relaxed space. The two-story 5th Avenue shop boasts an impressive floor to ceiling bookshelf and plenty of seating.
Seattle – USA
With family and friends back in Sydney, Nick and I decided to head to Seattle for a few days. Arriving by bus from Vancouver on Christmas Eve, we were not too sure on how our four days in Seattle would pan out, with our trip coinciding with the festivities and all.
We wondered whether the city’s downtown shops, restaurants and bars would even be open. Apart from Christmas Day they were, so thankfully what unfolded was a fantastically fun four days jam-packed with exploration and a whole lot of eating!
While the colours and sounds of the holiday season most certainly filled our time in Seattle, an endless supply of great dining options and things to do ensured we got much more than just a few festive days away.
Aside from enjoying the twinkling lights and holiday displays on show in the city’s downtown area Nick and I also admired stunning views overlooking the city, from the towering heights of the city’s iconic Space Needle and Queen Anne Hill at Kerry Park.
We also ate our way around Pike Place Market which overflows with fresh produce and specialty foods, wandered around the EMP (Experience Music Project Museum) which dedicates itself to contemporary popular culture, visited the Boeing factory which is not only the world’s largest building by volume but also where they build 747, 777 and 787 aeroplanes (a production line that is truly incredible to observe), and strolled the city’s streets both day and night.
Although more hilly than we expected, Seattle is an extremely walkable city. So much so that Nick and I found ourselves pacing all over the city, from one side of town all the way to the other and back again. In doing so we discovered some incredibly cool and distinct neighbourhoods like First Hill, Capitol Hill, Belltown, Queen Anne, and Pioneer Square.
We also made it our mission to check out as many of the city’s dining hotspots as possible, which meant eating our way around the city, experiencing first hand Seattle’s vibrant cafe culture and dynamic restaurant and bar scene.
Both Nick and I were absolutely bowled over by the quality and affordability of Seattle’s genuinely delicious food scene. Every meal we ate, whether it was dished up at a food truck or served at a more upscale restaurant was top notch, as were the amazingly fluffy Top Pot Doughnuts!
In many ways Seattle’s food scene reminded me of NYC’s, in regards to the diverse selection of food on offer and the vast number of independently run eateries and drinking establishments, however, on a much smaller scale of course.
Nick and I savoured every bite at Italian bistros, Spanish tapas bars, Korean noodle houses, local bakeries, cosy cafes, candle lit wine bars, and all American burger joints. Not surprisingly, with such an overwhelming amount of great food on offer I will be posting a Seattle food guide next.
Stepping away from Seattle’s culinary delights, and moving onto the city’s scenic highlights, let me just say there’s a reason why Seattle is often referred to as the Emerald City. Surrounded by lush, green forest and comprising of more than 6000 acres of parkland within the city limits, Seattle is a positively green city.
In addition to its greenery, Seattle is also surrounded by water. Sadly, the expansive Elliot Bay waterfront that lines Seattle’s downtown is mostly off limits thanks to a massive double decked highway that spans its entire length. A project to demolish the 62 year old structure and build a 3.2km tunnel under downtown Seattle is currently underway and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2016. The tunnel’s construction not only aims to solve the viaduct’s traffic limitations but also allow better uses for the waterfront real estate, including parks, housing and retail development.
Despite limited walking access along Elliot Bay’s shoreline, there are still many opportunities to enjoy the waterway. A cruise along Elliot Bay on a Seattle ferry is a great way to experience the harbour in all its glory. Unfortunately, Nick and I didn’t get the chance to take a ferry on this trip but hope to on a return visit.
Needless to say, Nick and I had a brilliant time in Seattle, owing largely to the city’s outstanding food scene, coffee culture, stunning panoramic views, eclectic neighbourhoods, and compact size.
Visitors to the city who are only in town for a few days (like we were) can really cover a lot of ground and work through a heavily dotted to do list marked with outdoor attractions and places to eat, drink, and shop with ease.
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