With a couple of big trips planned over the next few months I figured why not take a crack at a “travel blog”. I mean I love to travel and have written about it before so why not rep off a few months in a row of what the beautiful U.S. of A has to offer. In the first of a 3 part edition let’s bounce back to the end of April and my first experience with the Pacific Northwest.
Now if you haven’t ever been out to the west coast or seen true snow capped mountains, I won’t be able to do this justice. It is just like me trying to type out the greenery of Ireland with the magnificence of the Cliffs of Moher…it just cannot be done. That being said, even if you hear Seattle is full of homeless people and where hippies go to drink overpriced coffee and get high, let me tell you, it has so much more to offer.
This blog will go through a couple of highlights and what Heidi and I found worth doing and things we probably could have skipped for anyone that feels the urge to see this beautiful part of the country. First off, plan in advance, while it is easy to travel sometimes with just the plan of relaxing. When you have the draw of Pike Place Market, mountains all around, you and an amazing downtown area full of coffee shops and bars, you likely will need a little bit of a plan. Our stay in Seattle was for four days so we had just enough time to squeeze in some hiking and explore downtown, with our main plan to catch Game of Thrones on Sunday night in our hotel room.
First off, if you have never had fresh seafood on the coast, you have to try it regardless of your opinion on seafood. Wandering around Pike Place you get to experience how fresh these fish actually are. If you think in Illinois or Texas you are getting “fresh” salmon, you’re sadly mistaken. We didn’t even go to a super fancy place because we were of course ballin on a budget, but I still got to experience my first time truly enjoying raw fish. At FOB Poke they have a sort of chipotle feel only with fresh fish and no chance that the guac will give you food poisoning.
I went with a seared tuna and scallops and man…I can’t even being to explain the party that was happening on my pallet. I think I finally got to experience that umami flavor everyone talks about on the food network. If you find yourself wandering around without any plans I would highly recommend checking out some fresh Poke!
Now on to my favorite part of the trip, my first ever hike. When people told me I would be exhausted from walking I hardly believed them. I mean I was coming off of my March Madness challenge and was in nearly the best shape of my life at this point, psh what mountain… Then I found myself staring at the trail-head of a 7 mile hike that climbs 3,500ft and began to realize it was going to be a long day. Almost 3 hours actually, the switch backs and rocky trail gave it the feel I was looking for because as a guy from Illinois our “hiking” is now just cute in comparison. All of the sweating and heavy breathing aside, the view from the top of Mount Si was breathtaking. As you stare out atop the surrounding mountain ranges you can’t help but reflect as to how small we really are on this planet. It took thousands to millions of years to build up these magnificent structures and we had the pleasure to walk right up it and stare out at a dozen snow-capped mountains—pictures just can’t do it justice.
If hiking isn’t really your things, not sure how that can even be truthful after our experience, then maybe you are looking for a nice cocktail? Well, let me tell you about the best cocktail bar in the greater Seattle area! To be fair, we only tried 5-6 but man was this experience second to none. As a cohost of the Whiskey Docs podcast, I like to think I have a fair knowledge of whiskey. Outside of staring out on our world from a mountain top, I was never more humbled on this trip than when I saw Cannon Bar’s whiskey selection.
The bartenders had 4-5 bookshelves that spanned the room on 2 sides with various whiskeys and gins. On top of the vast selection, the cocktail presentation was glorious! We each had one drink to ourselves and then we decided to try a shared cocktail. My first drink was served in a pipe shaped piece of glassware and was called the elementary (shout out Sherlock Holmes and Watson). While it was very theatrical to get served a smoking pipe with a perfectly blended cocktail inside, the drink for 2 was more over the top. The “Transfusion” was served to us in an IV bag hanging from a wooden cross and the pour was controlled by a flow nozzle as you would see in a hospital.
Even though the drink was much sweeter and you could tell the big selling point was the presentation, I would highly recommend going. That being said, there was a 30-45 minute wait and they said that is fairly common and the cocktail prices are what you would expect for a bar that serves you things in custom glassware ($12-20 a drink).
Now I know everyone at this point is only still reading because they want to know what our favorite part of Seattle was…well I am sorry to tell you it wasn’t the Space Needle, the Original Starbucks, or a Mariners game, we actually didn’t do any of those things. The hidden gem in downtown Seattle has to be the Savor Seattle Food and Booze tour. This tour takes you through 4-5 various restaurants where you get a small food sample and of course a cocktail or beer flight. While we signed up expecting to explore some of the big named establishments, they actually took us to more of the hole in the wall joints and let us explore cocktails such as a lemongrass martini, a whiskey and ginger beer concoction with fresh ginger beer, and our favorite, a full beer flight!
While the food was good and the drinks were awesome, our favorite part was the company. Whenever you and your significant other are traveling might I recommend finding some nice English fellows/ladies and asking them if they want to go for a pint. We spent the better part of 4 hours learning new futbol songs, random English chants, playing their drinking games, and wondering how in the world people can party this hard at 6pm. Our memories with this amazing group of people are ones that we only got to experience because of the interconnected nature of the Savor Seattle Tour. The tour guides encourage you to mix between groups and not always sit next to the people you came with. Of course you could huddle up and form a turtle shell keeping all of those strange humans outside of your personal circle out, but given the opportunity I would recommend learning more about everyone in your group. The liquid courage and nature of the experience is one that I would assume typically carries over to a couple more drinks at the end of the night.
Well that pretty much sums up our experience in Seattle folks. Oh wait coffee. Yeah that is a thing they do there as well isn’t it. I feel like this wouldn’t be a true Seattle travel blog without explaining the differences in roasts and the subtle notes you get from a pour over versus your traditional coffee stuff…but seeing as I don’t know how to explain any of that, go to the Starbucks roastery. It is awesome and a marvel to look at. Plus, they have a fully stocked bar and pair their whiskey with cold brew so that is pretty sweet too.
Hopefully some of this helps for your next Pacific Northwest adventure and if you have any other questions please feel free to reach out! We ended up doing a lot more stuff than what is listed here like having the best Ramen north of Seattle, chasing some waterfalls, and we even went up in the tallest building in the city (no it isn’t the space needle). If you have questions on any of those comment on the facebook post or send a message as I would love to talk you into exploring the wild outdoors or the urban city feel of the Seattle area.
Until next time my friends!
I am a new graduate DPT and am interested in personal growth and becoming a connector within my profession.