by Kristine Lloyd
Just south of the downtown area lies the International District, a bustling neighborhood full of Asian eateries of all types. Head out for a long, brisk walk, or hop on the light rail at Convention Center station and disembark at the International District exit where wondrous and cheap eats await you.
Dim sum cart full of delicious bites
For a taste of the Chinese street scene, dine dim sum style at Jade Garden. With constant carts streaming by, full of tasty dumplings, and other bite-sized delicacies, you’ll be tempted to try everything. Be sure to sample the honey walnut prawns for a mouthful of sweet and savory goodness. The sweet and salty pork shu mai and the sesame balls are also not to be missed. As one of the most popular dim sum spots in the city, you may want to get there on the early side of lunch to avoid a wait.
by Amy Eaton
There are many great places to eat lunch in Seattle but they often require reservations and have a big impact on your wallet. Thankfully, I work only a few blocks from the Pike Place Market and have gotten into the habit of wandering over there during the lunch hour. The crowds can be dense and the lines lengthy, but at these eateries, things move fast! Most have little or no seating so grab your lunch and take a few minutes to browse through the Market.
Here are my top five spots for an inexpensive and handheld lunch.
Pike Place Chowder
1530 Post Alley
Pike Place Chowder
I love seafood chowder and most places disappoint but not Pike Place Chowder. Their Seafood Bisque ($6.25 for a medium) has large hunks of cod, salmon, crab and little shrimp deliciously floating in a creamy tomato basil broth. It is thick and rich and wonderful and one of the few reasons I will brave the Market during Spring Break or the summer season. I also love the Seared Scallop Chowder which is buttery and creamy with a good amount of scallops. Go with a friend and split the sampler (4 types of chowder, 5 oz. servings for only $11.95). If you want to be a big spender add in a Dungeness crab roll for $12.95. Avoid the crowds and hit the Pacific Place location on the top floor (600 Pine, between 6th and 7th), very close to the Convention Center.
by Jill Allyn
Located just minutes from downtown, Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood reflects the region’s Scandinavian history. Although Nordic people settled all over the Pacific Northwest, Ballard appealed to timber and fishing workers, many of them from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and other northern countries. Still home to one of the world’s largest fishing fleets, Ballard boasts a mix of blue-collar taverns and upscale eateries. There’s something for everyone here.
Eggs benedict at Volterra
If you’re in the mood for a good breakfast, try Volterra, located in the older part of the town. My favorite dish there is the Milano! Milano!, a savory bread pudding topped with two eggs, asparagus and smoked gouda cream. The Duck and Yukon Gold Hash is amazing, and I must say the coffee at Volterra is some of the finest I’ve ever tasted. If it’s Sunday, you can watch the Farmer’s Market vendors set up and crowds begin to arrive from your table. For something different, take a 10 minute stroll west of downtown Ballard toward the Ballard Locks. You’ll see Portage Bay Café just before the entrance to the Locks. This popular spot serves seasonal, organic and sustainable foods, and there are gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu. Try the Bananas Foster French Toast or the Wild Salmon omelet. Stretch your legs after breakfast and continue your walk one block north to the Hiram Chittenden Locks. Run by the Army Corps of Engineers, this facility is extremely busy lowering pleasure craft and working boats to sea level or raising them up to Lake Washington and Lake Union. The Locks are home to a lovely botanical garden with a day lily demonstration garden, a collection of hearty fuchsias, a beautiful example of a Harlequin Glorybower tree, and many other plants. There is a salmon ladder, a heron rookery, and sea lions are usually on parade.
by Emily Smith
Yes, Seattle has many destination neighborhoods offering great food and drink, but the city’s working stiffs need to eat too. So if and when you find yourself pressed for time, or you simply feel like exploring your Convention Center environs, this guide’s for you.
The good news in this case is that convenience doesn’t require a sacrifice, as there is no shortage of excellent places to eat and drink in the downtown core. A quick stroll through Pike Place Market will reveal many great grab-and-go options (here, a quick plug for a gyro from Mr. D’s or a Hombow from Mee Sum Pastry, just next door). But proximity to the Market, and its abundance of fresh produce and seafood, means that many more upscale restaurants in the Business District boast menus that take advantage of our local bounty. So if you’re looking for somewhere to spend a more leisurely lunch or dinner hour, read on. Continue reading
Are you interested in architecture? Do you want to explore Seattle with an experienced guide who will provide information on Seattle buildings, history and the built environment? Then check out the web site for the Seattle Architecture Foundation. The Foundation offers a wide variety of walking tours in the downtown area or close-in neighborhoods that will give you a real feel for how the city of Seattle has evolved architecturally over the years, as well as how it is looking to the future.
Are you a chocaholic? Do you wake up in the middle of night with cravings for something sweet & dark? Then the tour of Theo Chocolates is for you! Theo Chocolates (located in the Fremont neighborhood) is proud to be the only Organic, Fair Trade, Fair for Life certified Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory in North America. All their chocolate is manufactured on site and you can visit the factory for a tour and see how their cocoa beans are roasted and blended into the best chocolate ever! And yes, they have a retail store so you won’t go away without a souvenir (or two) of your visit.
Rita Dermody and Tina Ching, co-chairs of this year’s Local Arrangements Committee recently wrote a piece for the April 2013 AALL Spectrum about their Seattle favorites in July. Read the article and then check out the locations in the map below. What places are you looking forward to visiting during the annual meeting in Seattle?
View Rita and Tina ReThink Seattle in a larger map
by Ingrid Mattson
Having recently moved away from Seattle after ten years, I must admit one of the things I am looking forward to most about AALL is eating at some of my favorite Seattle restaurants. Think of them as ‘can’t miss,’ one-of-a-kind dining opportunities in Seattle. My list is about twenty-five restaurants long, but here are just a few you might enjoy.
Crispy Drunken Chicken
Baguette Box has two locations. One is in Capitol Hill (just half a mile up the street from the Convention Center) and the other is in Fremont (one bus away from the Convention Center). The sandwiches have an Asian flair and call to mind banh mi, but the sides are distinctly Seattle. My favorite sandwich is the Crispy Drunken Chicken Baguette, which you can also get as a salad. The chicken is lightly battered and fried with a cool, tangy sauce, and the whole thing is crunchy, soft, salty, and a little sweet at the same time. Add an order of the hand cut truffle fries for a serious indulgence. Vegetarians take heart: as with most Seattle restaurants, there is a veggie option. You’ll find a delicious braised tofu sandwich with avocado, and the beet salad with garlic olive oil is a perfect foil. Last but not least, they offer free delivery.
by Jill Allyn
Dining Options at the Armory
On April 21st, 1962, the World’s Fair opened in Seattle. I was 12, and our family went the first week it opened. I remember the crush of the crowds, the Science Center, and how we lost my 8 year-old brother (briefly). My mother fell in love with the food; every nation was represented, or so it seemed, and mom will try anything once. The fair ran through the summer and closed on October 21st, but mom and I went every month to eat our way around the world. The Center House became fixed in my mind as the “Food Circus”, home of many small food stalls that remained after the fair, and was a decent place to grab a quick meal on my way to the ballet, opera or theater.
The Seattle Center is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, and among the many changes it has undertaken is the renovation of the Center House (now known as the Armory) and a revitalization of the food stalls there. It’s a great place to have a meal when you visit the area. I admit I have not eaten my way through the new Armory, but I’m looking forward to trying something at each café because most of them are new.
by Kristine Lloyd
Since sitting is the new smoking, and you’ll be on your duff in meetings most of the day, head out for a heart-pumping hike up to Capitol Hill for a gourmet restaurant crawl. This old stalwart of a neighborhood is one of the hippest around. Squeeze into some skinny jeans if you want to look like a local.
Exit the north-side of the Convention Center and head up Pike Street. Hang a left on Melrose, and feast your eyes on the neighborhood’s newest strip of culinary delights. Pop in to Taylor Shellfish for some succulent local oysters so fresh you can see them in live tanks on death row just before slurping them down. If you fancy yourself a renegade gourmand, the likes of Anthony Bourdain, then try the geoduck sashimi. I simply can’t after seeing the elephant snout-like ectoplasms at my local market. Muscadet makes for a great wine pairing with oysters, as does a nice, light rose. Continue reading
by Stina McClintock
Full disclosure: I don’t hate macro brews. I have been known, on hot summer days, to enjoy a Miller product with no regard to how the beer snobs look at me. Which is why this guide is written for the beer lover AND the beer “oh heck, I’ll try it since you offered”-er in mind.
I also don’t fancy myself a “beer expert” as I think that title gets overused in this city by casual bloggers and random contributors to Facebook pages. However, I do know that Seattle and beer go together like Taylor Swift and a game of MASH. With so many options brewed locally, the question is not “what is there to drink”, but “what are you in the mood for”? I can’t name all the beers that Seattle has to offer in this post, but I can focus on those places that are brewing in the downtown area. With a few other beer restaurants tossed in for variety.
Wanting to go to Pike Place Market? Enough said. Pike Brewery is one of the seminal places to visit for beer lovers when they come to Seattle. Offering tours Tuesday-Saturday at 2PM, Pike brews on site and has the beloved Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale. No one beer at Pike is better than the other, but they certainly have a vast variety of styles to satisfy all palates and also allows for large groups to congregate in their Brewery Library. Truly the quintessential Seattle beer experience and located right in the heart of our historic market. (and honestly, the nachos? I don’t care if you are on some silly no carb diet. Eat the nachos. Pair it with a Naughty Nellie. High five yourself for living a little.) Continue reading