|Eight days in Seattle: a little rain, a little sun, and lots of cozy-good vibes.|
Last week was my first time in Seattle, and I think I'm in love. Between the ridiculous abundance of healthy vegan food and the complicated, ubiquitous recycling bins, I felt right at home. And this "home" had just about everything my little heart desired: cozy coffee shops serving up steaming mugs of foam-topped heaven; a focus on diversity within a community-and-togetherness culture; an easygoing, friendly populace eager to help newcomers and visitors find what they need and feel at ease.
|My guy and I arriving at "SEA-TAC"--the Seattle - Tacoma International Airport.|
We arrived late due to snowstorms delaying our flights, took a taxi to our hotel, and walked next door to the Queen Anne Beerhall to relax and enjoy a meal before bed.
|German beer...what's not to like?|
|Long Skyrim-style tables and benches plus tall tankards of ale awaited us inside.|
The beerhall was blissfully empty on a Sunday night, so we settled in and ordered up some food and libations. I managed to find a huge bowl of greens on the menu along with roasted veggies, so I put it all together for a huge bowl of body-nurturing deliciousness.
|This is basically how I like to eat at home, except I try not to guzzle beer with it every night. :)|
Queen Anne Beerhall had an extensive beer menu as well as a specialty-meats sausage grill, so whether your thing is meat, vegetables, and/or beer, you should be happy eating there. I know that about halfway through my tankard I certainly was.
|A long day of traveling, but feeling warm and fuzzy now. :)|
Next morning I set off in an Uber for a writers' group meeting at Uptown Espresso, a local chain serving an impressive array of coffees and teas in a relaxed atmosphere. Why yes, of course they carried unsweetened alternative milks, and the barista had no trouble whatsoever creating righteous foam with them for my scrumptious dairy-free latte.
|I think this was my favorite latte in Seattle, and that's saying something.|
We worked for a while and then networked for a while, and as luck would have it, two of the writers in attendance had backgrounds in psychology. Since Kaiya in Untamed Barbarian (my current work-in-progress) is a police psychologist, I need these people. (I really have no idea what Kaiya would or should be doing sometimes; I am just making it up as I go. :))
The sun was out when our work session and meeting were over, and I was hungry, so I did Apple Maps walking-directions to the nearest Whole Foods and attacked their deli. The place was busy with college students, business people, and people like me who seemed to be just out enjoying the day. I filled my recycle-friendly box with fried tofu which had been battered in nutritional yeast + veg broth (must try this at home!), raw veggies, roasted veggies, and edamame, then took a barstool at a tall communal table and dug in.
|A big box full of everything Jayla likes.|
Before leaving, I grabbed a cart and browsed the store for a few groceries for the kitchenette in my hotel room. The produce selection and quality was amazing, reminding me of what you can get year-round in California, so I bought spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, a small bottle of olive oil, a couple of lemons, and a huge carton of fresh basil for salad. I hit up Whole Foods' olive bar last, filling a plastic container with an assortment of black olives. The checkout stands had huge signs announcing a discount on groceries for Amazon Prime members (ah, yes...Amazon owns WF now, I remembered,) so I pulled up my Prime membership on the app on my phone and saved a little money. Happiness.
Tuesday night I was craving Indian food, so I Googled "best Indian food in Seattle," and came up with a hip little place in Pioneer Square called Nirmal's. The Uber dropped us off on a street lit up with romantic white Christmas lights, and we stepped out in the light, misty rain to stare up at them in awe.
|Beautiful night out on the town.|
|Nirmal's laid-back retro-city ambiance was a perfect backdrop for the excellent food.|
Nirmal's was packed, but we got a table, ordered wine, and settled in. I loved the mellow vibe and the lovely earth-tones decor of this restaurant, but the food was the real star. My veggie kofta with palak (spinach) sauce was unbelievable. I almost went back for dinner there Saturday night as well just to eat that dish again, but I had another restaurant I wanted to try.
|It might not look appetizing, but this feast blew our minds. My guy ordered a chicken masala-type dish and raved about it the whole time. We raved together. And, we both got a little drunk on Riesling so our feasting and raving was complete. :)|
|Flowers blooming in early March? Yes, they get plenty of moisture and the late-winter temps weren't bad.|
Pioneer Square was just too pretty and romantic to not go strolling around together afterwards. We passed art galleries, cafes, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and a shotgun wedding chapel.
|In case you want or need to get married quickly, this highly eclectic place's got you covered.|
|Green smoothie love.|
|This miso soup was filling and delicious. It was thickened with a little almond butter, loaded with veggies, and spicy with ginger and chilies.|
|Had the place to myself for about 15 minutes since it was 2:30 in the afternoon.|
Heartbeet also served up as much filtered, alkaline, ionized water with fresh cucumbers slices and mint as you wanted to drink. Definitely my kind of place.
Friday I headed to Elliot Bay Bookstore and Cafe for another writers' work session and networking meeting, and discovered a warehouse-style bookstore filled with books I wanted to spend all day perusing. But first I had to order a tea (the cafe had a delicious "Rooibi-sipper" that needed nothing more than a touch of stevia to make it perfect for my mood,) and get some writing done.
|Looking down from the loft in the back, this place was a gorgeous, book-nerdy sight.|
|"Cooking?" Oooh, oooh, ooh...!|
|A page from Allison Day's Whole Bowls.|
After the writers' group meeting, I went straight to the "Cooking" section and found two or three new cookbooks to put on my wishlist. Top of the list was Allison Day's Whole Bowls - Complete Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Meals to Power Your Day. She runs a blog that I'll be checking out often now that I know about this woman's simple, delicious-sounding bowl creations. (I love it when someone obviously loves food as much as I do, ha.)
Next day, my guy and I walked the gorgeous Seattle waterfront enjoying the blue skies and sunshine.
|Weather was outstanding over the weekend.|
I found good deals on my t-shirt and sweatshirt souvenirs, and then we walked back into the city a few blocks looking for a non-touristy coffee shop.
It's Seattle; you don't have to wander far to find something amazing in terms of coffee shops, and we ended up at Storyville Coffee, where we were treated to artisan lattes in a swank yet welcoming atmosphere. (Note to self: someday when rich, stay at the adjacent "Alexis" hotel and just write novels all weekend, because that place was extra, extra cool-looking. #hotelgoals)
|What to our wandering eyes did appear? A coffee shop that looked like it needed me to come inside.|
|I literally watched the barista do this design while chatting with us about their coffee, and I literally still have no idea how he did it. (These are the wrong uses of the word "literally.")|
Later that evening I dragged my meat-eating man to Plum Bistro, a vegan restaurant with some of the best reviews in Seattle. And even he admitted that the food did not disappoint.
|We arrived as soon as dinner hour started, because I'd heard tell the line could get long. By the time we left at 5:30, the place was packed and there was a small crowd waiting outside the door.|
|Filtered water served with slices of cucumber and orange. Beautiful and refreshing.|
|Street view from our table at Plum Bistro.|
|Vermouth-glazed tempeh over mashed potatoes and broccoli, seasoned with rosemary and garlic and garnished with kalamatas.|
I have been getting into tempeh lately (due to Sprig opening a restaurant nearby, and glazed tempeh being a protein-rich ingredient you can add to their Roasted Vegetable Bowl...but I digress...) so this "Tempeh Vermouth" dish immediately caught my eye. I asked the server about it and two other dishes I was considering, and when she said the tempeh one was her favorite thing on the whole menu, I was sold.
Smart woman, that one. :) It was amazing, and of course, I will definitely be trying to make it at home.
Next morning was travel home day, and I'll be honest, I haven't stopped thinking about Seattle since I left. It's a contender for my favorite place to travel now, up there with Orange County, California. And that, my friends, is saying something!