Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Northwest Passage: The Sights And Bites of Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington, is one of America’s great cities, brimming with exceptional scenery, attractions and upper echelon eateries.

Visiting The Emerald City

Traveling for business can be an exciting adventure, especially when it brings you to Seattle, Washington. Not only did my recent trip afford me the chance to explore the city, but by extending our trip, we were able to trek to nearby Woodinville to get our fill of Washington State wine.

While waiting for our room at the Westin Seattle, we strolled a half-dozen blocks toward the waterfront. There we were able to explore Pike Place Market, one of the oldest continuously operating farmers markets in the country. This is a hurly-burly of activity with shops, cafes, and craftsmen swimming with shoulder-to-shoulder tourists. The multi-level market is under a roof, so it is a perfect place to shop during Seattle’s occasional rain showers.

The smell of delicious baked goods wafting through the air drew me to Daily Dozen Doughnuts. They specialize in mini-doughnuts. My hot doughnuts were baked as I watched, then placed in a paper bag with cinnamon and shaken (not stirred!) ‘til ready. Within a few blocks of the market we strolled passed crowds waiting at Piroshky-Piroshky Russian bakery and Starbuck’s original café, which serves only coffee and espresso. Look for its sign with the original Starbucks's logo. 

Taking A Bite Out of Seattle

Even before there was grunge rock, Seattle was known for amazing cuisine using fresh Pacific Northwest ingredients, especially seafood. Dungeness crab and salmon top the list of savory seafood.

One of the city’s top seafood restaurants is Aqua. Nestled at the tip of Pier 70, walls of glass windows allow scintillating views of Elliott Bay. There is an outdoor deck for dining or strolling afterward.
Aqua’s sister restaurant is El Gaucho steakhouse, so they prepare a mean steak as well as succulent seafood.

We enjoyed a seafood platter appetizer followed by a steak and salad entrée. One of the joys of Seattle dining is a superb Washington State wine to accompany your meal. Our seafood was paired with 2014 Lumiere Chardonnay from Sparkman – one of the premier Chardonnay makers in Washington. For our beef we enjoyed Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon, another favorite.

If you walk downtown Seattle for five minutes in any direction, you’ll come across unlimited possibilities for dining. Cuisines range from Bavarian to Thai to Vietnamese to vegan to Italian. For our final evening we ventured to the eclectic Westward on the north shores of Lake Union.

Westward Ho!

Our trip there was complicated by a fundraising visit from President Barrack Obama, who happened to be staying at the same hotel as ours. This triggered a police lockdown with wife inside the Westin and the rest of our group outside the perimeter. On a good day, traffic in Seattle can be thick – throw in a presidential visit and you have virtual gridlock.

The wait was worth it. Westward is a funky restaurant with an emphasis on “water inspired Northwestern fare.”

One of the restaurant’s best features is the dozen or so Adirondack chairs on its deck with a view of downtown Seattle. This is perfect for pre- or post-dinner cocktails. On the night we visited, the weather was cool, so we opted for an inside table with a warmer view. Our dinner included grilled octopus with taramasalata (a dip made from fish roe), chili and fennel bark and parsley oil. We also enjoyed wood-oven roasted Rainbow Trout, which was carved table-side and served with rhubarb, pistachios, basil and brown butter. 

What a unforgettable way to end the first leg of our Washington journey. For our next phase, the compass points to Woodinville and the wines of Washington…

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