Tuesday, July 16, 2013

North to Alaska, but not quite yet Part 2

With 620,778 residents, and thousands of visitors at any given time, Seattle is a large, vibrant city with something for everyone.  Our time in town was relatively short, and the focus was on visiting with old friends and preparing to get underway. Still, no trip to this city is complete without a stop at Pike Place market. Here the famous fish mongers toss the freshest catch imaginable over customers heads, stalls of fresh flowers spill perfume into the air, antique shops, ethnic food stores, artisan craft stands, tacky Seattle souvenir shops and funky tobacco stores share wall space with bakeries, meat markets, candle shops, and jelly stands. There are always street performers playing and singing for change, which just adds to the eclectic fun atmosphere.  Every repeat visitor has his or her favorites- mine are the jelly stand, the hot fresh donut stand, and the fragrant incense store. We spent a few hours browsing and eating our way through the market- pretty typical for our visits here.

After leaving the market we walked down the many sets of stairs and hills to the waterfront area. One thing I always get a kick out of here, is the main road you have to cross to get to the piers themselves is “Alaskan Way”. It’s a great reminder of this city’s ties economically and historically to the great state far north of it. On this visit, we had the chance to take our first ever ride on the great wheel on the pier. At $13 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $8 for children it’s a little steep priced but trust me when I say the ride is also really steep and it’s worth every penny. The views were amazing! Clear views  over to the space needle on one side- across the sweeping city, the the majestic Mt Rainer on the horizon. I am not one who loves heights, so I was a little nervous. Okay, a LOT nervous! But really, the cars are enclosed and I was able to convince myself I wasn’t going to go pummeling down to my death and I sat back and enjoyed the views. The cars do sway a little but it’s very mild and wasn’t enough to make me feel concerned. You get one trip around as they load the entire wheel, and then 3 additional rotations. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really was enough!

As far as food goes, Seattle is a mecca of good eats. You can find dishes of every ethnicity imaginable. So what does a girl from PA do when faced with all those wonderful choices? She goes for familiar comfort foods of course. Sort of. We stumbled upon the Icon Grill on 5th street, near our hotel (the Warwick Hotel) and out of sheer hanger desperation and the fact there was a wine bottle visible through the window. The restaurant is decorated with dark woods, blown glass, and fun kitchy d├ęcor. The staff was extremely friendly and whisked us off to a table, where our server cheerfully explained this restaurant liked to call its food “upscale comfort food”, and better yet- he actually volunteered his favorites which helped us narrow down dishes.  I have not had red eat in quite some time, so it was a bit of a surprise but I was immediately hooked by his description of the meat loaf- a dish made famous on the Food Network. The meat was wrapped in bacon, and cooked in a black molasses sauce and served with cilantro-corn mashed potatoes. Sold! My husband and children had various versions of macaroni and cheese. I managed to make my great meal even better, with a wine flight of some great reds. All in all, we would eat at Icon again- in fact, we did! Breakfast the next day. Food was not quite as good as dinner but the $5 Bloody Marys and Mimosas were fabulous.

Our other notable eats were at the Crab Pot, which is pretty much always good, plentiful and messy and a late night snack and drink stop at Fado Irish Pub where I enjoyed a really unique drink, the Jameson and Ginger drink, which was a tall glass filled with a mix of Jamesons and an alcoholic ginger beer, It had bite and a bit of a punch and I liked it!

Our night culminated in a celebrity sighting back at the Warwick. One last nightcap in the hotel lounge led to a chance encounter with Elizabeth Pena (of Batteries Not included, La Bamba, and The Incredibles among other features) I should probably go revise my post about The Warwick as any time one has a celerity run in it immediately raises a hotel’s legitimacy right?

And at last, we are done in Seattle. So done we’re currently on the ship at the dock and are awaiting sail away. Bon Voyage!

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