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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Seattle – Foodie Heaven, Part I (Wed – Friday)

Last week I attended a conference in Seattle WA at the Washington Convention Center. The conference was good, I learned a lot, did some excellent networking, and received some great feedback on the poster I presented. But beyond that, I ran around Seattle like a crazy person, trying to take in all the great food experiences I could in a short amount of time (and without spending a ton of money).

Washington Convention Center

So, to give you a glimpse into some of the experiences I had around the Downtown Seattle area, I am going to give you a picture tour of my trip to Seattle.

Check out this building!

The first day, Wednesday, I got into Seattle around 3pm, and took the ORCA light-rail train into downtown (30 minute ride from the airport, only $2.75) and checked into my hotel (Sheraton Seattle).

I was pretty hungry when I got settled (by this time it was about 7pm East Coast time) so I decided to walk around and see what was nearby. I started out of the hotel in a random direction (I think I walked down Union) and came across a bunch of shopping places (H&M, Banana Republic, American Apparel, etc) and then to a bubble tea smoothie place.

I love Bubble Tea! I even did a post on it… Here! Whenever I see a place that sells bubble tea smoothies, I have to get one. I found a place called Bobachine and ordered an orange creamcicle smoothie with a scoop of the traditional bubbles. Bobachine had a bunch of drink choices along with different "bubble type" things such as small gelatin pieces as well as food (Ramen, Banh Mi subs). The smoothie had a great flavor, and I was off to a good start!

Samurai Dog with Smoothie
Next, I came across a food truck/cart selling Japanese style hot dogs on Pike and 2nd. I think it was called Dog Japon (I forgot to take a picture of the sign) and according to their sign, Andrew Zimmern from Bazaar Foods has eaten there. His favorite was the Samurai Dog, so that's what I got (I trust that man). It was a Chicken & Apple Sausage with Wasabi May, Orashi Graded Radish, and Japanese Onion. I think there was also some soy sauce on the top. It was so good and you could really taste the wasabi bite.

After the smoothie and the hot dog, I wasn't quite full so I wandered back up to the hotel area and found a place called Specialty Bakery. This place was amazing (you'll hear more about their food soon)! I ordered a cup for their daily soup, that day's soup being a braised cabbage and beef soup with roasted potatoes. It reminded me of a corned beef and cabbage dinner in a bowl and really filled me up. It was especially nice to eat after walking around in the cold, drizzly weather outside.

On Thursday, two of my roommates and me decided to venture out to get breakfast. I had found a good-looking breakfast place on Urban Spoon, but we went out of a different exit of the hotel and I got turned around. Because we were crunched for time, we just dropped into a Starbucks. I am always trying to eat at not-chain places when I travel, but I guess in Seattle, Starbucks is local. Oh well. Coffee and bagel. Done.
For lunch, we headed out to find some sushi (it’s a conference roommate tradition of mine to have sushi with the women I'm sharing a room with) and we found a place in the Union Square Mall that had a great "fast food" style sushi. I had the spicy salmon platter, with a spicy salmon roll and spicy salmon nigiri. It was very fresh and was nice and spicy, all for less than $12!

Outside of Ivar's (fat seagull)
For dinner that night, I met up with some friends from school to eat some local seafood, which Seattle is known for. Being right next to the Pacific, you can get so many fresh fish and shellfish, it would be terrible to not enjoy large quantities of it. We made our way down some very steep streets to go to Ivar's Acres of Clams on Alaska and Madison. Ivar's has two sections, one is a to-go clam shack, selling the typical fried goods, and then a very nice indoor restaurant. We sat at a table overlooking a ferry terminal and enjoyed some great seafood. The prices were a little high, but all the food is local (there is even a map on the back of the daily specials showing where each variety of their fish is from). Liking variety, I ordered the oysters rockefeller ($12 for 4 oysters), oysters with a topping of sausage, spinach, and parmesan cheese, baked until crispy. They were amazing! The flavors worked together really well but didn't overwhelm the oyster underneath. I also ordered their clams (after all, the place had "Acres of Clams" in their name) in white wine sauce ($13 for a bowl). The clams were good, if a little small, and everything else that I sampled off my friends plates was amazing and I waddled my way up 3+ flights of steps to get back to the hotel.

Clams in White Wine Sauce
Oysters Rockefeller
On Friday morning, my roommates and I managed to find the breakfast place we got lost trying to find the day before, Sweet Iron. Sweet Iron is a waffle place unlike another other! They serve "real Liege waffles" (more info here: which are made from a risen dough, instead of batter. The waffles are small and you only get one but they are dense and with the toppings, they are very filling. I ordered their Bruleed Banana waffle with caramel and fresh whipped cream ($6). Amazing! The bananas were sweet and had a crisp topping from being bruleed with a torch. I also ordered a caramel latte, and that beat the pants off of anything from Starbucks.

Bruleed Banana Waffle

OMG this sandwich!
For lunch, I took my friends to the Specialty Bakery (where I got the cabbage soup), and I ordered a "Turkey, Bacon, Brie, and Apple on Ciabatta sandwich". Nuf' said. I also got a side order of the Thai coconut curry soup with herb focaccia bread. This soup was good, but not my favorite with the sandwich. Oh well. This bakery is so good and they make everything fresh in house (the smell on the street when we walked by in the morning stopped us in our tracks). It's kinda like Panera, but way better.

For dinner on Friday, my roommates and I met up with some friends and went out to Cheesecake Factory. I know, I know, I don't like to eat at chair restaurants when I'm in a new city, but I had never been there before, either had most of our group, and it was next door to the hotel. Anyways, the food was good, we drove the waiter crazy, and had some great cheesecake. To drink, I had a Georgia Peach (blended fruity girly drink), and for dinner I had two of their small plates: Chicken Samosas and Pot-stickers.


Keep your eyes out for the second half of my Seattle Food Tour!

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