Friday, August 16, 2013

Pacific NW Pt. 4: Seattle

Remember the Skagit River bridge that fell into the river back in May? Well, that happened the week before we were supposed to drive to-and-from Seattle/Vancouver. We were able to detour without much trouble and I'm glad we did because there is apple cider to be had on I-5!

You can't miss Cedardale Orchards on the southbound lanes of I-5. It's a bright red building with a huge "CIDER" sign on the roof. I saw it going up to Vancouver and made a mental note to stop off on our way down to Seattle.

When we pulled up, I really thought it was vacant but as I made my way up to the door I realized that it was an unmanned store. They go my the honor system here -- quaint, right?

They have fridges stocked with various sizes of cider. Mind you, this is straight-up apple juice, not the boozy cider.

We grabbed the small jar, dropped a few bucks in the box and made our way back to the freeway.

When I opened up the juice, I knew it was going to be good. The smell was clean, cutting and refreshing. The juice was sweet but with a tart bite. It was divine. This stuff would make amazing hard cider! Too bad I can't get a jug of that stuff here!

When we got into Seattle, we checked into our hotel and headed straight to Alki Beach to meet-up with my cousin and his family. My cousin, Phung, is from Vancouver (remember my aunt from the last trip post? that's his mama) but he now lives in Indiana with his lovely wife Cindy and their two adorable kiddos.

How adorable is their baby Gisele?!

Our attempt at a family portrait. lol. No wonder I don't have any kids.

I haven't seen my cousin in 8 years so it was AMAZING that our vacations aligned and we got to see each other in Seattle! They were actually doing our same trip but flipped (Seattle-->Vancouver-->Portland)!

After Alki Beach, we made our way into Chinatown, got boba tea and perused a Japanese dollar store. My cousin's eldest child finally warmed up to me and let me hold him... he is big boy though! His name is Austin -- and I've been a bad cousin for not sending him a tshirt from Austin that says "keep austin weird."

We were going to go to dinner but my cousin-in-law's relative wanted to have us back over at his house for dinner so we made our way to Issaquah. Really lovely suburb of Seattle - so green, so lush!

We picked up a mixed case of Ninkasi beer (Gisele obviously wanted a taste!) and spent the night hanging around the house munching on fabulous food and talking the night away.


Love these two fools.

The next day we made our way back down to Chinatown to hang out with fellow Lamar alum, Chanh and his family. We got boba tea... again. Why so Asian?!?

The rest of the day we spent hitting up various breweries in the Ballard area.

First up was Reuben's Brews. Their roster mainly consists of rye beers -- which I'm not a huge fan of -- but the beers were clean and malty. There is seating on the main floor and on a second floor.

A few blocks away was Hilliards Beer. We liked this place significantly more than Reuben's.

Their list is much more varied with more interesting beers. One of our faves was the Belgian chocolate dubbel.

Hilliards also has plenty of seating and is right down the street from a mural of Deadliest Catch star, Capt. Phil Harris.

After visiting the breweries, we stopped off at Chinook's at Salmon Bay located at the Fisherman's Terminal for some delicious seafood.

Delicious oyster shooters for $1 a piece! What a steal.

Mussels, calamari and fish tacos all on their happy hour menu. It was perfect.

It is so cool seeing all the boats dock at this location, even from the restaurant!

There is also a memorial dedicated to the fisherman who have lost their live to the sea in the Pacific NW.

Before my trip, I got in touch with Yelp's Seattle Community Manager, Katy H, and she was unbelievably helpful! She sent me a rundown of some her fave places while answering specific questions I had. One place she mentioned was the Pine Box restaurant and bar. It's an old mortuary turned bar. Claim to fame? Bruce Lee's funeral was held here.

The building itself s beautiful... albeit a little creepy when you know the history.


We also managed to find a bottle of Cascade Brewing's Kriek! The brewery in Portland didn't have it, but this place did! It was $25/bottle -- but totally worth it. My face is ridiculous in this pic, ignore me.

That night we had a fabulous late dinner at Wasabi Bistro! Their late-night happy hour is fantastic!

Their miso is one of the best misos I've ever had. Seriously. The umaminess from the mushrooms was amazing.

The fatty pieces of fish were melt-in-your-mouth. Great suggestion from friends!

On our last morning in Seattle, I jogged from our hotel (Silver Cloud Inn on  Lake Union) -- not for my health -- but to the nearest Top Pot donut shop, which happened to be next Amazon headquarters.

I bought myself some coffee and a maple bar and headed lakeside to enjoy my treat.

These geese were also enjoying my treat! I made a mistake and gave them a bite.. I thought they were going to peck my eyes out.

Before we flew out, we stopped off at Public Market for a quick walk-around and some cheese curds at Beecher's. Yum.

Some parting shots of Seattle...