For the record, this has absolutely nothing to do with a mid-90s Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie and everything to do with a trip that I took to Seattle two weeks ago, during Memorial Day weekend. Nor do I have insomnia — though most of my friends can attest to my night-owl tendencies. I just insist on having punny blog titles that are at least semi-related to the actual city, and that movie happened to be the only Seattle-centric phrase/pun/thing I could think of.
So why Seattle? Well, (a) I wanted to and (b) it was a holiday weekend. I had actually been to Seattle before — the West Coast was always a popular vacay spot for the family back when I was in elementary school — but seeing as I am no longer 9 years old, it doesn’t really count for much. If that doesn’t scream TIME FOR A REVISIT, I don’t know what does.
Besides, if I’m living on the West Coast, I ought to get myself acquainted with cities other than San Francisco, am I right?
Seattle is actually very much like San Francisco; if they were both people, they’d be in the same family — cousins, probably. Maybe even siblings. Actually, no wait. Seattle and Portland would be siblings, and San Francisco would be their cousin. And Bergen would be their Norwegian relative (apparently Bergen and Seattle are sister cities, a fun fact I picked up while walking around Ballard, the Scandinavian neighborhood in Seattle). Anyway, back to San Francisco and Seattle, as I have yet to go to either Bergen or Portland (both are on my list though!): they’re both cities with a residential community vibe, hills for blocks and blocks, a shortage of sunny days, grassy parks made for lazy weekends, and quiet residential neighborhoods that you will definitely not find in, say, New York. Instead of Berkeley, you get Fremont. And in lieu of the Mission, you get Capitol Hill. Coming from a San Francisco standpoint, Seattle is leafier (+1), less touristy (+1), less pedestrian friendly (-1), and its skies more downcast than SF (-1). And surprisingly, I managed to escape the infamous rain while I was here (the weather report told me it was going to rain all weekend. Thank god the weather report lied like a dead bird.), so +938234893 points in its favor.
After dropping off my bags in Fremont on my first day here, I was hungry because my stomach was having none of that wimpy airplane food. And in times of hunger, my stomach waits for literally no one. First stop? Paseo, a sandwich place up the hill famous for their much-beloved Caribbean Roast Sandwich. Juicy, marinated, slow-roasted pork sandwiched between two warm loaves of bread? Yes, please! Word to the wise: it’s ridiculously messy of a sandwich, so be prepared to forego any pretension and load up on the napkins.
Later that afternoon, I went to downtown Seattle, the area most people think about when they think about Seattle: the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the og Starbucks, etc.
The old-school Starbucks — recognize the logo?
The Public Market is one of those things Seattle is super famous for, and for good reason — there are numerous food stalls of fruit, flowers, seafood, etc. and if you live for super cliché moments, you could probably catch some of the vendors tossing fish at each other. I, however, am not one of those people so you just get generic photos of food instead. Yay.
In Post Alley, near the Market, is a wall of gum. Yep. A wall of, you guessed it, ABC gum (already-been-chewed gum, for those of you who missed out on the joke in your childhood days). You thought that wad of gum under your movie theatre seat was nasty? HERE, HAVE AN ENTIRE WALL. 😀 Even better, you can experience the very fragrant smell of stale peppermint gum with a note of saliva wafting at least a mile away. The smell that dreams are made of, am I right?
Lake View Cemetery
Bruce Lee’s grave at Lake View Cemetery
The rest of the afternoon was spent walking along Volunteer Park, Lake View Cemetery, and Capitol Hill. Seattle, much like SF, is filled with gorgeous houses that make you wish you were a millionaire so you could move in and live there already, flowers that practically beg for cliched macro shots (…guilty.), and really good graffiti art. It’s not terribly pedestrian friendly; buses come about once every half hour and driving is still vastly preferred, but on a good day, it’s well worth walking about.
English fizz at Tavern Law
The next day, I decided to do a bit of walking (for me, there’s no better way to explore a city than on foot) and ended from Fremont to Queen Anne, a relatively quiet, residential neighborhood.
I started the day off with breakfast at Macrina Bakery & Cafe: buttermilk waffle with lime whipped cream, pineapple, and bacon on the side. Spoiler alert: It’s every bit as good as it looks.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around town by foot (and occasionally bus, when I was lucky enough to catch the bus stop on time), and I managed to hit up a few places along the way:
Like the Olympic Sculpture Garden!
And Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream — the favorite ice cream spot in Seattle, which you can easily tell by the long lines that snake past the corner. For the record, the salted caramel was worth the wait: sweet with a bit of a salty kick for an aftertaste.
A stone’s throw away from Molly Moon’s is the Elliott Bay Book Company, a local bookstore and a bibliophile’s paradise; if Paris has Shakespeare & Co., New York has Strand, San Francisco has City Lights, then Seattle has Elliott Bay. Unlike Shakespeare & Co. and City Lights, which can feel awfully cramped at times, Elliott Bay is more spacious, with aisles and aisles of books that are perfect for a lazy evening of window-shopping.
On the last day, I went to Ballard, the Scandinavian neighborhood I briefly mentioned at the beginning of this entry. My friend described it as a place for “aging hipsters”, and oh man, I could not agree more. I went to Miro Tea with my laptop in tow, ordered a berry crepe with ricotta and an iced tea, and got a bit of work done.
Later that afternoon, though, I caught up with a friend and got margaritas and nachos just in time for happy hour at The Matador.
Since I had to leave next morning, the last evening was relatively low-key, as I mostly walked around Fremont. The highlight?
As much as I would love to leave it at that, there actually is a troll though:
Troll! In the
dungeons bridge! Man, I love trolls. Probably because I’m sure I’m part troll.
Oh, and have a photo of my mac and cheese pie that I got from an aptly-named placed called Pie. IS IT NOT DELICIOUS-LOOKING.
On a somewhat unrelated aside, now I actually want to visit Portland.