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In Seattle - Cultural and Culinary Pleasures Go Hand in Hand

In Seattle - Cultural and Culinary Pleasures Go Hand in Hand


  • Story and photos by Robin Tierney

People know how to have fun in Seattle. And there are so many settings for having fun: the Puget Sound that edges downtown; Mount Rainier and other peaks beyond the city; colorful, bicycle-friendly neighborhoods; seemingly countless parks and nature areas -- and all kinds of hot spots for recreational eating.

Washington’s “Emerald City” has become a foodie destination, largely thanks to residents who avidly support indie-owned restaurants. Inventive, delicious plant-based dishes are a growing part of the food scene. Coffee is king, the craft cocktail and beer scene is robust, and at some places, it’s easy to skip the alcohol with creative mocktails. A good example is Artusi where “Megan’s Healthy Snack” is, well, partly healthy (and vegan) with its carrot-infused tequila and fresh peppers -- but my favorite is the booze-free “Back to the Fuchsia” that mixes grapefruit and black currant vinegar.

My vegan heart sang after unpacking at the new Thompson Hotel, thanks to the nondairy milks offered in-room, at the morning courtesy coffee-tea bar, and in the hotel’s restaurant, Scout. The restaurant space is filled with Pacific Northwest sartorial quirks such as plaid and Douglas fir, as well as terrific art by locally-based talents. Hemp milk? Hip hip hooray!

Jog a few blocks to waterfront Pike Place Market where vegan treasures include plant-based chowder at Pike Place Chowder, dark chocolate-covered Chukar dried cherries and blueberries, Woodring jams made from locally harvested fruits, and large heads of ornamental kale and cauliflower that would make beautiful centerpieces. Mushroom-lovers consider Seattle a satellite of heaven.

In downtown’s Pioneer Square, massive revitalization has turned the historic district into a now-vibrant wonderland. Drink tea made from cacao hulls at Intrigue; be dazzled by the looks and tastes of the veg items on The London Plane’s menu.

All-vegan ice cream? Some of the world’s best, boasting Seattle themes and inventive mixes of local ingredients, are at Frankie & Jo’s, a tiny shop tucked in a friendly downtown neighborhood. Do not skip this!

Smart fit tip: an easy way to get around is by borrowing a bike-share bike. With at least three different providers, including the new LimeBike service, they are easy to find.

Another downtown must-visit for recreational eaters: newly opened Rider, occupying a fresh urban-vibe space in a recently revamped, heritage-rich building now called Hotel Theodore. The veg dishes seem too pretty to eat, but you’ll quickly dig in anyway because they are super-tasty, brilliantly textured and healthy. Chef David Nichols showcases the local produce, some of which comes from his family’s orchard, and keeps the marinades and dressings light but flavorful. Rave-worthy radishes, beets and cauliflower? Absolutely.

Hotel Monaco, a downtown Kimpton boutique lodging, has lovely and affordable suites -- and in its lobby, a lively new eat-drink spot called Outlier. Ask for veganized versions of the heirloom-veggie-powered appetizers and make three of them your meal.

Excellent, only-in-Seattle, jogging destinations for non-culinary fun include the Museum of Pop Culture, the waterfront glass-car Ferris wheel, the Chihuly Glass Garden and live music clubs around town. You’ll run into fun at every turn.

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(about the author)

Robin travels the world in search of creativity, beauty, fun and great plant-based food.

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