After our flight landed in Seattle, we got our bags, waited forever for a shuttle to the car rental place, got the car and left the airport around 11:30pm. We were STARVING. Problem was, it was getting close to midnight. The GOOD thing about Seattle is you won’t find many fast-food places, but that really sucks when you have no other choices at midnight. After driving around looking on Yelp, we found Dick’s Drive-In! This place looks like it is straight out of a 50’s photo album. It was quick, cheap and satisfying! We got a burger each, split some fries and a vanilla shake.
PIKE PLACE MARKET
On our first full day, we headed to Pike Place Public Market, one of the iconic landmarks in Seattle. We got to sample some delicious smoked salmon, watch the guys toss the fish back and forth, warmed up with some hot, spiced apple cider, looked through some strange shops, and smelled the beautiful flowers being sold. They also have several stands selling fresh fruits and vegetables at super reasonable prices. Before we left, we stopped at Pure Foods Fish Market got some fresh, Alaskan King Salmon and Hawaiian Ahi tuna that was so red it was practically purple. If you love fish, Seattle is the place to get it! It doesn’t get much fresher than this!
AWESOME GROCERY STORES
Since Seattle is full of hipsters, eco-friendly people, and Asians, there were plenty of options for grocery shopping! Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, aka “Gross Out” (no really, they call it this!) was great because for some great items, including organic produce and other packaged goods, you paid a fraction of the price you would at a regular store. Just don’t forget your own bags! What I loved about this place, was that even though it was a discount store, it wasn’t dumpy, it was just filled with cost savers like myself!
If you like to eat and/or cook Asian foods, you have to visit Uwajimaya, an amazing Asian market! We stopped here to get some goods for the spring rolls I wanted to make, but we found so many other awesome items including seafood, Asian produce, and any other Asian item you might need. We walked through the seafood area and saw these GINORMOUS clams and HAD to learn more about them. They are called geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck), and are apparently are a huge delicacy in China, an aphrodisiac due to its phallic shape, selling upwards of $200/lb! We had watched Bizarre Foods episodes in Seattle after visiting the market, and Andrew Zimmerman kept raving about this geoduck. We had to try it!
TAYLOR SHELLFISH OYSTER BAR
Some of the nicest Seattleites we met worked at Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar! We came here to try the infamous geoduck! They are known for their shellfish, but their real cash cow is the geoduck exported from their farm. In addition to their farm, they also had oyster bar restaurants, so we stopped in to the one in Queen Anne. I wish I learned everyone’s names, because they were just the best. We sat at the bar since we were one of 4 people in there at 3pm during the week. Our server/bartender was hilarious and gave us a great tutorial to the shellfish platter we got. He even offered us some of the scallops they just got in. Everyone else working there was super nice! Since they all heard about our journey, they took turns asking us questions about it, giving suggestions for places to visit, and simply just having fun at the job they clearly love.
On one of the nicer weekend days, we decided to take our own “Foodie Tour” in downtown Seattle after visiting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We parked at Pike Place Market since most of the places we wanted to go to were in this area. Our first stop was Mee Sum Pastry to get a little snack. We got a lotus pastry, but it seems that the hom bows were the hot items! Next, we found Country Dough, an authentic Chinese place, tucked in the corner of the market. Here, we got a hot and sour soup, which was really good, and didn’t taste like it was full of artificial ingredients like some places have. We also split one of their Szechuan flatbread sandwiches, which was super spicy and delicious. While we were in Pike Place, we got some meat sticks and cheddar brats to go at Bavarian Meats, and some yummy cheese curds at Beecher’s.
Our last stop on the foodie tour was the icing on the cake! Din Tai Fung, a well-known dim sum spot worldwide, had just opened up at Pacific Place Mall. When we arrived, we were told there would be about a 45 minute wait. Thankfully we had been snacking all day, so we popped into the brewery next door kill some time. When we finally got seated, we had already picked out everything we wanted, and in a very short period of time, we had food on our plate. We started with a boba tea, steamed pork buns, and wood ear mushrooms, and then finished with the famous pork soup dumplings and spicy pork wontons. Everything was fantastic! Tiago’s favorite part was making our own sauce with the soy sauce, chili oil, and black vinegar. YUM! The service was also top notch. Our server was happy to explain how to eat everything, make the sauce, and answer any questions we had. I can’t wait to go back, maybe in another country because this was a great way to end our foodie tour for the day.
As much as I try to eat healthy, I cannot help myself when it comes to really great bakeries and dessert shops, especially when Tiago insists that we go! There are several Hot Cake – Molten Chocolate Cakerys in Seattle, but we specifically found the one in Ballard after a brewery stop and sunset at the park. What I loved about this place was how even though it is a dessert shop, they really choose the best, local ingredients to ensure the healthiest options. We had a hard time deciding what we wanted, but we opted for the Peanut Butter Cup molten cake. Yummmm!
Bakery Nouveau absolutely blew us away! Since we couldn’t decide what to get, we got a little of everything! Chocolate truffles, carrot cake, Phoenix Cake, and Praline Dream. In addition to being so decadently delicious, everything was also so beautiful. My description won’t even do it justice, so I had to quote their website menu, “Carrot Cake –
Delicately spiced cake with minced carrots and dates, filled and finished with cream cheese icing and garnished with shredded coconut. Phoenix Cake – A cool and creamy mousse cake, featuring a caramel mousse with accent flavors of pear and chocolate mousse, all on a base of pecan dacquoise with caramelized pecans. Praline Dream
Chocolate and hazelnut are a classic pairing for a reason – they’re delicious together! The praline dream has a thin chocolate sponge cake base, a hazelnut, feuilletine and milk chocolate crunch layer, rich 60% chocolate mousse and a topping of hazelnut-gianduja curls.” Oh man…I’m drooling just posting this! MUST GO BACK! Just wish I got some photos, but we devoured everything too quick!
Lastly, we went to Pie, for pie, on Pi Day, and waited in line with everyone else who thought it was a clever idea to get pie, at Pie on Pi day. It was worth the wait though! We got a warm key lime pie which was so different but really great, strawberry/rhubarb, and a pulled pork pie. Don’t worry, we didn’t eat it all in one day…but I think I need to hop on a scale and hit the gym!
After a day of beer tasting, seeing the Where Ya At Food Truck parked outside of our apartment at Chuck’s Hop Shop was a gift from God! Muffuletta sandwiches, jambalaya, beignets and gumbo? YES PLEASE! Took us right back to New Orleans! Thanks Matt!
On our last day, we went to Terra Plata with Kate, who moved to Seattle a few months back. This is a great spot for brunch, right on the corner of Melrose and Minor, across from the Starbucks Reserve. Their food is all farm to table, and absolutely delicious. I really enjoyed the pork dish, pictured below! Since this is a farm to table restaurant, their menu is always changing, but chances are, anything you get will be fantastic!
I’ve been asked how we are able to eat out so much, especially since I am not working, and it is a good question! The truth is, most of our meals are eaten at home, on a super strict budget. I pre-plan the week for meals and a budgeted shopping list. I’ve been a big nerd about saving money while traveling, so I have found great deals on Groupon that ended up as total steals, and my new favorite thing is Ibotta! Ibotta gives you rebates on certain items, almost like a coupon, but instead of the money coming off right away, you can cash back which you can save up and use in PayPal. If you sign-up using my link, you will get $10 after your first rebate!
Groupon has been great for getting deals, but they often provide additional dollars percentages off their already great deals. Using Ibotta, you can get 10% back on what you spend on Groupon, which is insane! I found a great, small yoga studio called Richmond Beach Yoga for $20 for 5 classes. Already a great deal, BUT they had a $5 off $20 deal, so I got 5 classes for $15 AND Ibotta gave me $1.50 back. I ended up loving going there, trying the different classes and instructors! I feel like I robbed someone! Sick deals! So traveling or not, download Ibotta immediately, use my referral code, xvxdsbs, AND download Groupon. Stacking deals on deals on deals. YES!
So yes, eating out more frequently can happen, but you really have to save in as many areas as possible! Certain cities and places are not worth going out to eat as much, but Seattle, like New Orleans, deserved to be explored! Between the awesome budget grocery stores, to specialty fish and Asian markets, to the thousands of restaurants, Seattle is a mecca of all things food!