Despite the fact that I would have loved to stay in Central Coast (and the fact that we almost forgot to buy plane tickets for the flight home, on top of it), we have arrived back in Pittsburgh, and I am 3/4 of the way through editing all the pictures. We took over 600 pictures on our eight-day West Coast trip, many of which are Achievement-related, so now it’s on to the lengthy task of writing the entries to tell you all about our trip to the opposite coast!
Although we spent the majority of our trip in California’s Central Coast, we started the journey up in Seattle. Neither of us had ever ventured north of Sonoma before, so we decided to knock a few new states off our ‘visited’ list, as well as a new Amtrak route (that’s coming in its own entry soon). The goal was to leave Pittsburgh at 7am Eastern and arrive in Seattle at 11am Pacific, giving us almost a full 24 hours before our train departed south to San Luis Obispo.
Unfortunately, we had about three hours of flight delays because of a wing problem. They got us all seated on the plane, waited 10 minutes for a connecting flight that was arriving late (which I thought was awesome – none of my connecting flights have ever been held because my arriving plane was late!), and then… we hear over the speakers: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain, and there appears to be a problem with the wing. So, we’re going to take a video of the problem and send it to our chief mechanic, who will hopefully advise us that it’s safe to tape it into place. If we can’t tape it, we’re going to have to have someone from Detroit fly us a new part.”
(I kid you not, they told us they were going to take a video of the messed up piece and send it to some dude who might tell us to tape it in place. I swear, if I could channel the calm and composed attitude of any person, it would no longer be that of a Buddhist monk, but of an airplane pilot – to be confident enough to fly a giant plane across the country with part of the wing taped on… that’s some inner peace right there.)
Anyway. The end of this story is that they wound up having to get us an entirely new plane. And so, instead of visiting Brandon Lee’s gravesite in Seattle like I’d hoped to, we visited the Max and Erma’s at the Cincinnati airport.
When we finally did get on the plane, we had a fantastic, smooth flight over a large part of the country, and en route to Seattle, they gave us cups of Seattle’s Best coffee. Seriously, am I a nerd or what?
Once we touched down in Seattle, it was time to grab our stuff, secure a cab, and get moving on our whirlwind tour of the city. Even though we were there for less than a full day, we saw a ton of things and took a ton of pictures, so I’ve decided to break this up into two entries. Today’s will be ‘Where We Ate,’ and tomorrow I’ll post ‘Where We Stayed and What We Saw.’
Our first plan in Seattle was to get something to eat. All those hours on a plane can really work up your appetite, and as soon as I realized that Seattle was basically a slightly-northern-er San Francisco, I knew what I had to have: clam chowder. We stopped into Lowell’s in the Pike Place Market and grabbed the last seat by the window.
Lowell’s also has a pretty significant signature cocktail list, so I tried out their berry fizz fizz (vodka, fresh muddly berries, lemon, and soda water). It was excellent, except that my straw kept getting stuck on the raspberries. True story: you can’t drink a raspberry through a straw.
We just wanted a quick bite, so we split a cup of clam chowder and these salmon potato croquettes. Wow. I am a pretty harsh judge of clam chowder (I know what I like, and I know when it’s right), and this was definitely made just right. The broth was not too thin, not too thick (too-thick clam chowder is like one of the seven deadly sins in my book), and there were plenty of chunky potatoes and chunky clams. And the croquettes were fantastic – crispy, flavorful (loved that herb dippy stuff they were sitting on), but not too heavy. Add a few bites of crispy slaw, and you’ve got the perfect betwixt-meals meal.
Later that evening, we were ready for our real dinner, and heading back to our hotel from the Space Needle, when we stumbled upon this cute little place, Tilikum Place Cafe, tucked away on a side street. It was charming, quiet, and had tables available, so we decided to check it out.
We are SO glad we did.
Our server started us off with a little bread basket, and we settled on a half bottle of wine to split with our meals. The menu at Tilikum was small, but every item on it sounded like something we wanted to try. We finally settled on a few dishes to share.
Michael got an order of the fried oysters, and they were top-notch. Oysters are a little weird for me – I’m kind of hit-or-miss on the texture, but the way these were lightly breaded and fried compensated for any of that slithery-oyster feel you can get from a traditional order. We were both really impressed with this plate, and it was a great size too.
As for me, I took one look at the word ‘beets’ on the menu and made up my mind. This is the roasted beet salad with julienned apple, celery, and toasted pine nut vinaigrette. I am really loving the subtle earthy flavor of different kinds of nuts popping up in menu options lately, and this salad definitely hit that note. I loved the crispy little apple and celery matchsticks on top, and they were certainly generous with the beets! This was one of the best beet salads I’ve had in recent memory.
I was so glad to have stumbled upon Tilikum. If you find yourself in Seattle, I really recommend checking this place out. It has a home-like feel to it, and the service was excellent. (To say nothing of the fact that I love happening upon a place randomly and falling in love with it!)
Our final meal in Seattle was breakfast at the restaurant in our hotel, Sazerac. We stayed at a Kimpton (my favorite chain of hotels, more on that in the next entry), and they always have a spectacular cocktail place inside the hotel.
We didn’t get to try any cocktails at Sazerac, since we were having breakfast, but I did fall a tiny bit in love with this piece of butter on a metal plate. And look at that – strawberry jam and ketchup, my two favorite breakfast condiments. These are among the reasons I love Kimpton. They *get* me.
Our send-off breakfast was this fantastic goat cheese omelette with bacon and mushrooms and chives. I’m glad we split this, because it was gigantic! And since we’re Kimpton In Touch members, we got a coupon for $10 off our meal on top of it!
So, I think it’s safe to say we were 3 for 3 on our dining choices in Seattle. I was glad we got to see a variety of different restaurants in our short stay, and I’m looking forward to checking out even more cool places (although I may be tempted to re-visit some of these as well) on our next trip to Seattle!
Up next: the details on the sites we saw, and our fabulous accommodations!