Welp, today marks the end of vacation. For those of you who follow along on my Instagram feed, you know that I have spent the past week in the Pacific Northwest. It was my first time in the area, and I fell in love. Seriously. Oregon and Washington, you are two freaking beautiful states.
This trip was my last mother-daughter trip for a while, and I’m not very happy about it. BUT it was amazing nevertheless. We ate great food, saw lots of famous landmarks, and had a dandy ol’ time.
The basic trip was a little like this: day of travel, two days in Seattle, one
day hiking different spots in Washington, and one and a half days in Portland before heading home. While you can obviously spend numerous days in any of these spots, access to Portland from Seattle (or vise-versa) is extremely easy either by driving or taking the train. I was not about to pass up the opportunity to see two awesome cities in one trip. I’ll be writing a three-part series that will cover each section of my trip, but first up is Seattle: land of coffee and markets.
Obviously, the most important part of vacation is eating at unique, local, delicious restaurants. That is, for me at least (I’m sure you can all agree). Before planning out anything else, I had to figure out where we would be eating.
For our first day in Seattle, we headed out for breakfast at the iconic Portage Bay Cafe. Let’s just say that this place totally met my standards. They get almost all of
their ingredients locally, and everything totally ROCKS. I got the farmer’s hash aka the best hash I have ever had. It was full of fresh, in-season vegetables and packed with flavor. My mom had a snack before breakfast, so she just got an oat muffin (which was super cheap, priced at just $1.50). The one thing I regret is not getting pancakes. They have three varieties of gluten-free pancakes that you can then take up to their toppings bar to stack high with seasonal fruit, nuts, pure maple syrup, and homemade whipped cream. Ugh..REGRETS!!!
Day two breakfast was at this quirky little place called Roxy’s Diner. They have
an ENORMOUS breakfast menu that they serve up fresh all day long. If you aren’t gluten free, they have some crazy good stuffed french toast (that my mom got…lucky) and made-fresh-daily bagels. I, myself, had the best eggs benedict that I have EVER had. Potato latkes topped with brisket, three poached eggs, hollandaise, and housemade bbq. Ahh yes, HEAVEN.
Funny story, actually…my mom and I were so full from breakfast each day that we did not each lunch once on this entire trip. Actually, not funny…just sad. However, I had some awesome spots that I wish I would have had the chance to try out.
Wow, I wish I had the chance to visit this burger joint. They use grass-fed beef and have gluten free buns available upon request. Not only do they accommodate our gluttonous needs (get it..haha), but they go above and beyond as a restaurant to made their own sauces and come up with creative toppings for their burgers.
I actually did visit one of Homegrown’s locations in Melrose Market, but I did not get to try one of their delicious sandwiches or salads. They label all of the allergies in their products and offer gluten free bread for all of their sandwiches! Definitely a place I’ll eat at next time I visit.
El Camion is a food truck that claims to be the most authentic Mexican food in Seattle. While I didn’t get to try it myself, it does look pretty damn good. Lots of original Mexican favorites that look amazing.
In a city known for pho, Ba Bar is said to have the best. They are home to Anthony Bourdain’s favorite, actually. I’m not a huge fan of pho, but I went ahead and got their famous Bún Bò Huế. It was great, but I still liked my mom’s Lemongrass Beef Vermicelli Bowl better. Their rice paper dumplings are also a must-try!
I was so stoked to try Seattle’s first sustainable sushi bar, but unfortunately, by the time my mom and I arrived, they were no longer taking parties of two. TIP: MAKE SURE YOU MAKE RESERVATIONS TO EAT HERE. I have heard so many great things about Mashiko, but now I can’t review it for myself. 🙁
This place gets 90% of their ingredients within 360 miles of Seattle…how freakin’ cool?! And they make some rad food, too. From Braised Oregan Rabbit Leg to Root Beer Glazed Pork Belly, you really can’t go wrong. They also serve up some mad brunch in the mornings, too!
Shug’s is basically the most adorable little ice cream /
soda parlor that I have ever been in. Not only is it decorated so cute, but they also have some great ice cream. They make their own syrups for their soda (if you’re about that pop life) and they also have vegan options. I went ahead and got the blueberry ice cream, and my mom got coffee. Great stop if you’re one for atmosphere!
Every city has their one ice cream shop that triumphs all of the competition, and Molly Moon’s is Seattle’s. And for good reason. They come up with seasonal flavors to add to their classics, and all of them are delectable. If you are not gluten free, they also make their own waffle cones whose sweetness I could only imagine through their scent. After sampling almost every flavor, I decided upon salted caramel and maple walnut.
The Original Starbucks or The Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
Between the two, I would recommend the roastery hands down. The decor is classy and chic plus they serve platters of coffee; who wouldn’t enjoy that? The original Starbucks location is nothing to wait in line for a drink for, but if you go to Pike Place Market, you should definitely snap a photo to say you’ve been there!
Everything between food on vacation is pretty much just filler time, right? Nope. Seattle is full of entertainment…here’s my top recommendations!
You could spend an entire day at Pike Place Market. There is so much to do, see, and eat! What not to miss: the gum wall, the Atrium Kitchen, and (if you visit after 2017) the MarketFront. Be sure to also take your time seeing all that the many shops have to offer. A cool place to check out is the Pike Place Fish Co. that throws fish around hourly.
If you are looking to see all of the popular attractions, you should definitely invest in the $74 CityPASS. This gives you admission to the Space Needle, EMP Museum, Seattle Aquarium, and more! My mom and I decided not to because we were only in the city for two days and only wished to visit the EMP Museum. However, all of these attractions are definitely worth it if you have the time / desire to see them!
get a great view of the city (with the space needle in it)
If you are looking to see the Seattle skyline WITH the famous Space Needle, you should visit the Smith Tower, Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center, or Kerry Park. Smith Tower is full of city history, but it is said that the Columbia Center is home to greater views. If you are just looking to get a quick picture for free, though, Kerry Park is the place to go.
Considering Theo is one of my favorite brands of chocolate, this was probably my favorite part of the trip. A little background about Theo: they produce organic, fair trade chocolate that is freaking delicious (and does not contain soy). Need I say more? On the tour, you get to learn all about the process of making chocolate and, even better, you get to sample TONS of cocoa goodness. For only $10, this is a must!
Tip: make your reservations ahead of time—especially if you are going with a group larger than two people. You can call the day of to see if there are openings, but there are no guarantees.
This GIANT Asian market is awesome for all of my fellow foodies! The selection is endless. There’s shopping, a food court, and even tours…you will not be bored here.
Staying in a hotel in the city is VERY expensive. If you have the money, go for it! However, we’re all about affordable travel around here, so we stayed at an AirBnB in Kirkland for our visit. Below are some of the most rad places to stay in the city, in order of price from high to low.
No matter where you eat in Seattle or what you do, you are bound to have a great time! This city is full of happy people, great coffee, and good vibes, and I can not WAIT to visit again soon!