Seattle Photo Diary
I have a bit of a soft spot for Seattle because I lived there for a summer, right before my senior year in college. I had just turned 21 and it was my first time living alone, in a city, with no known friends or acquaintances. I remember trying hard to acquire an appreciation for wine (I ordered it just because I finally could, though I hated the taste at first), and also learning to buy groceries and cook for myself (beyond the instant noodles I’d previously prepared in the dorms, of course). It was a lot of time for self-reflection and growth – and also, I just couldn’t get over how much Seattle reminded me of San Francisco. The appearances and behavior of each city’s inhabitants, the mostly gloomy weather, the local foodie and tech culture – the similarities are just uncanny.
I haven’t had many opportunities to return since then, but my boyfriend’s friend’s wedding was a good excuse to go up for a weekend. We had limited time to explore (there were so many more coffee shops, restaurants and bars I wanted to see) but we made the best of it:
1) Camano Island – Just an hour-and-a-half outside Seattle, surrounded by dense forests and water on all sides. Our friend had a vacation home that dropped right to the lake’s edge, with kayaks and boats we could take out crabbing (my first and only time ever doing so – and it was quite fun, actually). Also, my lungs rejoiced over sucking in that fresh Pacific Northwestern air.
2) Daily Dozen Doughnut Co. – Because everyone should try a maple-glazed donut hole with bacon bits at one point in their life.
3) Rachel’s Ginger Beer – Ginger beer deserves to be elevated – and Rachel does a damn good job. Blood orange flavored ginger beer, by the way, is revelatory.
4) Toulouse Petit – Seattle’s Brenda’s Soul Food, basically, except with more ostentatious décor. Food was deliciously heavy, especially the biscuits and home fries, but service left a bit to be desired.
5) The Walrus and the Carpenter – Hands down my favorite place in Seattle. Not only is this tapas restaurant located in Ballard (Seattle’s hipster neighborhood, so of course I adore it), but the steak tartare, fried oysters and pickled veggies will send your taste buds soaring to new culinary heights. Also, the gorgeous decor manages to be post-industrial yet fantastical at the same time (antler chandeliers, I'm looking at you).
6) Percy & Co – Cute-ish bar also in Ballard, with a great enclosed outdoor seating area (a feature that seems to be very common in rainy Seattle and that I wish I saw more of in San Francisco, which is starved for terraces in general). The cocktails are phenomenal and made with locally sourced ingredients – and I mean local, as in some of the herbs are grown on their rooftop garden.
7) The Sexton – The bad-ass all-female staff and adorable rustic decor may have drawn me in, but the cheeky cocktail names and cassette countertops are what make the Sexton memorable.
8) Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room – Sure, you might feel basic for visiting, but this coffee lab is drop-dead gorgeous. Formerly a historic car dealership building, the 15,000-square-foot space now feels like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, whirring with activity and emanating irresistible smells of fresh coffee.