We Jagers assume roles when traveling that we naturally do best. I take on the role of activity planner and navigator while Derek is the food connoisseur. He takes great joy in vetting menus and online reviews for our meals to uncover the gems in the city. Our favorite places are usually Japanese but we also like Farm-to-table American restaurants and Mexican taquerias. Derek had his work cut out for him in Seattle because there were so many restaurants that it was a matter of deciding how far we wanted to walk to eat our food.
For breakfast, we ate from the free buffet in our hotel for two mornings but walked a hilly mile to Portage Bay Cafe on Terry Avenue for the breakfast that has a line out the door. Amy and John Gunner opened their first restaurant twenty years ago with ten employees, a toddler, and an infant when farmers delivered organic meat and produce from the back of a pickup truck. Now they have grown to four Seattle locations maintaining the quality of organic, delicious food. I ordered breakfast tacos that were extremely tasty but a little on the spicy side and Derek had the breakfast sandwich with eggs, bacon, fig jam, arugula, and new moon jack cheese on homemade potato bread. It was a mouthwatering meal that I had to steal a few bites from!
In the international district, we walked into a small, unmarked restaurant on Main street in Japantown that had no online menu but a room full of people. We shared an enormously large bento box at Tsukushinobo where we savored every bite of grilled salmon, tempura jumbo shrimp, sweet potatoes, carrots, pickled vegetables, edamame, seaweed, salad, miso soup, and Botan rice with fish flakes. It was a feast for two that made for a perfect lunch.
On Capitol Hill, we ate at Fogón Cocina Mexicana http://fogonseattle.com/ because we were in the neighborhood and it looked really good. They serve each person a free tostada for an appetizer with bean paste and lettuce on a crispy tortilla. We ordered guacamole and salsa with Arnold Palmers and steak tacos on authentic corn tortillas that were hand-made by the front door. It was a popular lunch spot and there was more than enough food for me to finish. We loved this place so much that we visited a second time for lunch on our last day in Seattle.
Downtown on 1st Ave is Shug’s Soda Fountain & Ice Cream Shop http://shugssodafountain.com/ serving nostalgic treats with a modern twist. We visited twice for the mint-chocolate-chip and cookies & cream ice cream in a waffle cone. We spun on bar stools and licked up our sweets while people watching the busy Ice cream counter. Of course, the ice cream shop is organic with house-made syrups and dairy sourced from the Lopez Island Creamery.
On our walk from the hotel to Pike Place Market, we stopped by the Amazon Go Spheres on 7th Avenue. Larger-than-life orbs housing a greenhouse of botanical gardens are an otherworldly site to see. The exterior is a modern design of geometric shapes creating shade and green space for a dog park, cascading staircase, and open lawn for families to play. Next-door is one of several Amazon Go Stores in Seattle where customers literally walk in, grab snacks from the shelves, and leave without ever exchanging money with a cashier. I wasn’t sure if this was a revolutionary concept as I have used a mobile scan at the grocery store back home to ring up items and pay at the door. This model takes it a step or two further. Customers set up their credit card on the Amazon Go app and use it to scan the barcode on the doors to enter. While shopping, cameras record what you pick up from the shelves and they are added to your cart. If you put the item back, it takes it off the bill. The cameras record you leaving and charge your account. I have to say that it was convenient but a little creepy for me so we just took bottled water out of the fridge for the experience. What came as an even more unusual surprise was that Amazon only charged us sixty-five cents for that bottle of water. It must have been because Amazon has the world’s largest stock and can afford to sell it wholesale.
We’re not coffee fans but Derek has a sweet tooth every once in a while for a small mocha frappuccino at Starbucks that tastes like an icy milkshake. We didn’t indulge this time around but we did visit the Starbucks Roastery and Reserve on Capitol Hill in the city where the first Starbucks location is in business in the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. We opened heavy doors to reveal a Willy Wonka factory of sorts where beans were roasted and served in the middle of a gift shop that felt more like a dedicated shrine. They had a tasting bar, bakery, and a couple counters for ordering drinks. I took interest in the infographic painted on the walls leading to the bathroom detailing the coffee process from the farmers around the world to the roastery.
Overlooking the Pike Place Market from above was Matt’s in the Market. https://mattsinthemarket.com/story/story.htm The waterfront breeze wafted through the open windows as we people-watched the market crowds. We had “chips and dip” with gigantic salt-pepper chips in a baked bacon-caramelized onion dip and one of the best ham sandwiches we’ve ever had.
For a fancy evening out we dressed up for the Wild Ginger downtown on 3rd & Union for Southeast Asian tapas style. We shared the Chicken Pad Thai and Mongolian beef with rice. The noodles were spot on, not too thick or saucy with fried tofu and a crunchy peanut garnish. This was a most excellent meal. We considered going back another evening but didn’t have the time.
The dinner we wished we could have was woodfired pizzas by Delancy http://delanceyseattle.com/. Derek had been reading a book about the owners in preparation for this trip but we had no idea that they would be booking reservations through October 2019. This place will have to stay on our wish list for now. Maybe we’ll get to visit them the next time we come to Seattle. Part of the joy of traveling is eating out but this might actually be one of our vacation hobbies too. So long Seattle!