Earlier this month I had the opportunity to travel out to Seattle for the very first time for a weekend shoot. It was my first trip without Michael since starting Map & Menu, and although I spent a lot of time wishing he was right there with me, I had a wonderful visit. It was a fairly quick trip – I left Maine bright & early on Friday morning, and I was back in town on Monday morning. Even though I only had two and a half days to explore (read: eat my way through) Seattle, I managed to see (and eat!) quite a bit.
Seattle is an incredible city, overflowing with quirky/cute neighborhoods & shops, and, of course, amazing eateries. I’m actually embarrassed to admit how many meals I enjoyed during my relatively short stay (I believe I had eight while I was there!) and there were still several places on my list I didn’t visit. The arts & cultural scenes appear to be nothing short of thriving – there seemed to be sources of inspiration everywhere I looked. I was lucky to visit the Olympic Sculpture Park (twice!), Pike Place Market, and the Sunday Fremont Market, which was also host to a special food truck festival that day!
I haven’t really spent a lot of time in the Pacific Northwest – our trip to Oregon last summer was my first introduction to the beautiful region that is the PacNW. After having such a wonderful time in Seattle and, of course, each place we visited in Oregon, I’m already daydreaming about future trips to the San Juan Islands, Whidbey, Vancouver, etc. Another trip to Seattle is a given – there are so many places I fell in love with during my trip that I have to share with Michael!
As with all of our ‘Go’ posts, I’ve broken my trip to Seattle into various posts, including where I stayed, ate (there are a record number of ‘Eat’ posts, so you might not want to view them all at once if you’re hungry), and what I did.
When the time came for me to decide on where I’d be staying in Seattle, I chose Hotel Andra, pretty much for the warmth & design of the reception area. View photos and read more about Hotel Andra here.
During my research I was delighted to see that Serious Pie was literally right across the street from Hotel Andra where I was staying. After a long journey from Maine, I knew it would make the perfect post-travel lunch. View photos and read more about Serious Pie here.
My friends, Darcy & Carolyn, recommended that I stop in this gem of a restaurant at some point during my weekend in Seattle, and the minute I walked through the Oddfellows doors, I said a silent ‘thank you’ for having friends with such incredible taste. View photos and read more about Oddfellows here.
Living three doors down from a delicious homemade ice cream shop, I indulge in this frozen treat a lot, a little too much even. Regardless, you don’t really have to twist my arm for me to try a new ice cream place – especially one with a sweet name like Molly Moon’s. View photos and read more about Molly Moon’s here.
Not only is the space gorgeous, the shop is filled with the best selection of books. Had I more space in my carry-on bag, I would have walked out with no less than six titles! View photos and read more about Elliott Bay Books here.
I wanted to hug my bride, Taylor, for suggesting I pop into Belltown’s Macrina Bakery, fairly close to my hotel. If I had the time, I would have visited Macrina no less than three more times before leaving Seattle – I loved it that much! View photos and read more about Macrina Bakery here.
Black Bottle, located in the heart of the city in the Belltown neighborhood, has the atmosphere of many of my favorite urban restaurants – loud, but in that good, bustling-life kind of way, an upbeat ambiance, and an elbow-to-elbow bar. View photos and read more about Black Bottle here.
Gas Works Park is a former gasification plant on Lake Union with beautiful views of the city. Given that I was beginning to feel like most of my time in Seattle was being spent eating, I was looking forward to an activity that allowed me to experience a different aspect of the city. View photos and read more about Gas Works Park here.
If being located in the beautiful, historic Melrose Market (which could seriously be my version of heaven – no joke) wasn’t enough, Sitka & Spruce, with both its space & food, is one of the coolest restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. Seriously, being there was all kinds of mind-blowing for me. View photos and read more about Sitka & Spruce here.
When I found out that I’d be traveling to Seattle this spring, I searched & searched for various accommodation options, but nothing was really jumping out at me. I knew I’d want to be near the center of the city, as I wasn’t planning on renting a car, and I kept coming back to Hotel Andra, in the centrally located Belltown neighborhood, for one reason – the entryway pictured above. I had seen a similar photo while searching ‘Seattle’ on Jetsetter, and mentally bookmarked Hotel Andra as a possibility. When the time came for me to decide on where I’d be staying in Seattle, I chose Hotel Andra, pretty much for the warmth & design of the reception area. (It wasn’t until after I checked in that I found out I could have Serious Pie pizza delivered to my room from the restaurant across the street!)
As is typical with most of my city trips, I didn’t spend too much time in my room at Hotel Andra. Had I been traveling with Michael (or Orvis, as Hotel Andra is dog-friendly!), I might have wanted a bit more space, but for a solo traveler who spent most of her time out of the hotel, it was a perfect fit. The minimalist, modern bathroom was certainly my favorite part of my stay, although I’m sure the Serious Pie room service would have been, had I not walked across the street to experience the restaurant myself.
I first read about Serious Pie in a fairly recent issue of the Carolina Alumni Review (one of the chefs went to Carolina!) and added it to my Seattle must-visit list. At first glance of the menu online, it reminded me of our favorite pizza place in Portland, Flatbread Company. I love any and all pizza, but there’s something fun about eating fresh ingredients that aren’t typically served on your pizza- for instance, Serious Pie serves a pizza with yukon gold potatoes as a base, instead of the traditional red sauce.
During my research I was delighted to see that Serious Pie was literally right across the street from Hotel Andra where I was staying. After a long journey from Maine, I knew it would make the perfect post-travel lunch.
I walked through the doors sometime just before 1pm, and although the place was packed, I only had to wait a few minutes for a seat. Given that I was eating alone and Serious Pie only has tables that seat six, I sat next to the most delightful retired couple who are Serious Pie regulars and live right around the corner. (It’s interesting to think how many more people I met during my solo meals in Seattle than I would have if I’d been eating with someone.)
Selecting just one pizza to try was a challenge, but I ended up with the garlicky white bean puree, with asparagus & parmesan, and a salad to start. Both were amazing, but, of course, the pizza was top notch! After looking at the photos, I can still recall the exact salty/garlicky taste of my pizza, and I only wish I could somehow recreate the pie myself here at home.
My friends, Darcy & Carolyn, recommended that I stop in this gem of a restaurant at some point during my weekend in Seattle, and the minute I walked through the Oddfellows doors, I said a silent ‘thank you’ for having friends with such incredible taste. Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Oddfellows pretty much represents everything I love about dining out – great food, delicious drinks, spot on branding, thoughtful (and quirky!) decor, and an atmosphere that simply cannot be matched.
It was Friday night and the place was bustling with people, and though I felt a little silly dining at a table alone, I had plenty of sights to keep my mind occupied – 90% of the furnishings & decor are salvaged or re-purposed, which clearly makes for a visually interesting space. I was in love!
While I waited for my Negroni, I continued to people watch and take note of the restaurant’s atmosphere. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take any photos of the actual space with restaurant patrons inside, so you’ll have to take a look at the photos from the Oddfellows site to get a good idea as to how the space is set up, with its many long tables, beautiful bar, and high ceiling. Really, I simply cannot say enough wonderful things about the design and ambiance of this restaurant.
My bibb lettuce salad and spinach & arugula lasagna were just what I expected from a restaurant like Oddfellows – simple, delicious, and comforting – just what I needed after such a long trip from the East Coast. Right before I finished my lasagna, I had the chance to enjoy Oddfellows a bit longer than I’d expected – my friends who’d recommended I stop there, called two of their friends who lived nearby to come and join me for dinner. Not only did I come away from my evening at Oddfellows with two unexpected new friends, but I also enjoyed one of my favorite dining experiences to date.
The same friends who suggested I go to Oddfellows insisted that I stop by Molly Moon’s, just around the corner, for some ice cream. Living three doors down from a delicious homemade ice cream shop, I indulge in this frozen treat a lot, a little too much even. Regardless, you don’t really have to twist my arm for me to try a new ice cream place – especially one with a sweet name like Molly Moon’s.
There are a few Molly Moon’s locations throughout Seattle, and there’s even a Molly Moon’s food truck, but since I was in the neighborhood for dinner at Oddfellows, it just seemed wrong not to walk around the corner for some dessert! Walking in nearly any ice cream shop brings a smile to my face, but there’s just something about inhaling the scent of freshly baked waffle cones that puts me over the moon with excitement. The Capitol Hill Molly Moon’s is a delightful little space and is as cheerful as one might expect from the name. After quite a bit of careful consideration, I decided upon a cup of Honey Lavender, which was divine! Of course, with a variety of flavors like balsamic strawberry & earl grey, I can now see why my friends practically demanded I visit Molly Moon’s!
When I began thinking about what to do during my time in Seattle, I asked a few friends who’d either lived in Seattle or visited several times, and they each said that I needed to stop by Elliott Bay Book Co. After walking in the shop, I now understood why three different people recommended the bookstore to me. First of all, the space itself is gorgeous- well lit, warm, and inviting. It was, hands down, one of the most beautiful bookstores I’ve ever remembered visiting.
Not only is the space gorgeous, the shop is filled with the best selection of books. Had I more space in my carry-on bag, I would have walked out with no less than six titles! I was pleased to find out in addition to having an online shop, they’ll ship your in-store purchases anywhere in the country. I was floored to see a photography book my local shop couldn’t locate for me after several weeks of trying, so I came home and ordered it from Elliott Bay’s online shop. Too perfect, right?
I wanted to hug my bride, Taylor, for suggesting I pop into Belltown’s Macrina Bakery, fairly close to my hotel. If I had the time, I would have visited Macrina no less than three more times before leaving Seattle – I loved it that much!
My friend, Allison, who was visiting Seattle for the first time from San Francisco, joined me for a quick lunch at Macrina after our trips to Elliott Bay Book Co. and the sculpture park. Upon walking inside, my heart melted a little bit and from the looks of the cafe, I just knew I would love pretty much anything from Macrina. We ordered the veggie quiches and sat outside, taking in the Belltown neighborhood on a relaxed, sunny Saturday afternoon. We finished up with a macaroon for Allison, and because I simply couldn’t choose between the two – a snickerdoodle and a chocolate chip cookie.
The breakfast, brunch, and lunch menus all looked quite delicious, and it was with great sadness that I boarded my plane back to Maine not having had the chance to stop by Macrina just one more time. It’s a good thing Michael is itching to visit Seattle after hearing about my adventures – Macrina is sure to be one of our first stops.
After our shoot, Ashley & Patrick, two of my September wedding clients, took Allison & I to one of their favorite restaurants downtown, Black Bottle. We were all looking forward to treating ourselves to a cocktail and some delicious food after the shoot and a day of exploring the city before that!
Black Bottle, located in the heart of the city in the Belltown neighborhood, has the atmosphere of many of my favorite urban restaurants – loud, but in that good, bustling-life kind of way, an upbeat ambiance, and an elbow-to-elbow bar.
I ordered the Throwback Manhattan, which was so delicious that I most definitely credit it for my current Manhattan kick, weeks later. We all ordered two or so dishes each, and shared many of them. Every last one was delicious. I particularly enjoyed my roasted tomato caprese and grilled portobello & butter bean salad. Of course, Allison’s steamed clams were too fun not to photograph!
All in all, Black Bottle was the perfect Saturday night meal to enjoy with good friends in a fun new city.
One of my sweet brides, Taylor, who grew up in Seattle was kind enough to send me a few suggestions for my weekend trip. I was so thankful for her recommendations, as each of the ones I tried were a perfect fit for me (and Map & Menu)! High on her list of things to do was to visit Gas Works Park, a former gasification plant on Lake Union with beautiful views of the city. Given that I was beginning to feel like most of my time in Seattle was being spent eating, I was looking forward to an activity that allowed me to experience a different aspect of the city.
After a stop at the Fremont Sunday Market, Ashley, Allison, and I drove out to Gas Works Park to enjoy the day. I’m not sure there could have been a better day to be at the park- the weather was perfect and there were dozens of people picnicking, flying kites, and simply soaking up the weekend’s warmth & sunshine. It was just the right place to sit and catch up, so that’s what we did – we sat perched at the top of the hill among families, groups of friends, and couples, and chatted, all the while watching the kites in the sky and the boats on Lake Union. It was a simple afternoon, but being there was one of my favorite Seattle memories from the weekend.
Now this may sound a little melodramatic, but, really, words simply cannot describe my love for the restaurant, Sitka & Spruce. If being located in the beautiful, historic Melrose Market (which could seriously be my version of heaven – no joke) wasn’t enough, Sitka & Spruce, with both its space & food, is one of the coolest restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. Seriously, being there was all kinds of mind-blowing for me.
Let’s back up to Melrose Market, the building where Sitka & Spruce is located. Comprised of two old automotive warehouses built in the 1920s, Melrose Market is now home to several of the city’s most unique cafes and shops. The space itself has that distinct undeniable charm found in gentrified old warehouses and factories across America , with its open floor plan, high ceilings and exposed beams, but the shops and restaurants only add to the market’s unique charm. There’s the Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop, Bar Ferd’nand (quite possibly the most beautiful bar I’ve ever seen), The Calf & Kid (a cheese shop), Marigold & Mint (a flower shop that also carries gifts, paper goods, cookbooks, etc.) and many more!
And then there’s Sitka & Spruce at the back of the warehouse. I’m fairly certain my jaw dropped as I walked through the doors. It was as though I was transported into a real life kitchen-inspired Pinterest board – reclaimed wood, white subway tile accented by dark trim, rustic pendant lights, industrial looking stools & chairs, a butcherblock workspace in the center of the dining area, and exposed brick. The attention to detail in the design and branding was simply unbelievable!
I snagged a spot at the end of the window-facing bar for Sunday brunch, and felt giddy with excitement to be eating at Sitka & Spruce. I’d read such amazing things about the restaurant, and although I can only imagine how delicious the dinner would be at Sitka & Spruce, the brunch menu looked incredible. It’s certainly not your average brunch spot, serving up plates of pancakes and french toast, drenched in maple syrup. Brunch at Sitka & Spruce is different- a forward thinking, thoughtful, and fresh (literally) approach to the meal. I ordered the yogurt with oranges, poached rhubarb, and quinoa, followed by the hot Blue Bird Grains cereal with dried apricot & almond butter. They were exquisite, both in taste and presentation, and reminded me that you can eat a wonderful brunch that will leave you energized and ready for the day, instead of needing a post-meal nap and feeling lethargic until you get one.
All in all, I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up my trip in Seattle, and a more promising way to get me planning for our return.