Sunny in Seattle

I finally made it to Seattle, Washington. It’s a city I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and so I was quite happy to hear that my cruise to Alaska would begin and end there. My husband and I flew out a couple of days ahead of our cruise so that we could adjust to the time difference and enjoy some free time before we’d get down to filming.

We chose to stay at the Inn at El Gaucho in the Belltown neighborhood since this would be close to the cruise terminal as well as a lot of the city’s main sights. What a gem of a place this turned out to be. It’s a small boutique hotel with an old world kind of vibe, quite retro really. The staff were so friendly and helpful that even when we checked in close to midnight, we were helped with our luggage, given cookies and a welcome note and they even called the restaurant downstairs to make sure we could get 4something to eat and drink. My midnight snack turned into a gluttonous rack of sticky pork ribs and a couple of glasses of the Willa Kenzie Estate Giselle Pinot Noir. I’d say a quite tasty start to this trip.

It was so fantastic to wake up and have sunshine in a city where it’s known to rain pretty much on a daily basis. My husband and I took off walking and found CJ’s Eatery, a scrumptious place for breakfast where I had the best salmon eggs benedict and delicious Seattle Coffee. Feeling fueled up, we made our way to the Seattle Center for a closer look at the Space Needle, walked around in the Armory (where a Phillipine festival was taking place) and continued on the famous Pike’s Place Market, one of the country’s oldest continuously operating farmers markets that is also one of Seattle’s most visited locations. I can see why with the 500 or so vendors selling pretty much everything. Of course the flying fish at the fish market is a must see.5

On our way back to the hotel since it was nearing happy hour, we popped into a pretty looking bar called Absinthe. The name says it all with a huge list of absinthe cocktails as well as a nice list of wine and beer. My husband and I both figured that absinthe would do  us in  for the night so we opted for a glass of house white wine with an order of pork wings to tide us over until dinner.

Dinner turned out to be a special treat at Dahlia Lounge, one of Seattle’s long established and distinguished restaurants started by renowned Chef Tom Douglas back in 1989. We enjoyed a selection of their “tastes from the sea” with black cod, Dungeness crab, tuna and rockfish.9

The next day began with sunshine again and brunch at Revel, a kind of Fusion like Korean place in the artsy neighborhood of Fremont. I had their Revel ramen with pork belly, kimchi and a soft boiled egg served hot. (They give you a choice of cold or hot.) It was a quite tasty and filling breakfast to say the least and I was glad to have a few hours to digest and unwind before filming later in the day.

Around 3PM, we were picked up by our guide James from Show Me Seattle and taken to Aqua by El Gaucho, a magnificent seafood restaurant on the waterfront. The restaurant’s lovely General Manager, Sivi arranged for me to be in the kitchen with Chef Wes while he prepared and cooked one of his special halibut dishes for me and then the three of us sat down to chat with a glass of Sancerre and this incredibly fresh fish dish.

From that beautiful location it was off to historic Pioneer Square, Seattle’s oldest neighborhood and a stop at Good Bar for some tasty cocktails and yummy food with owner Nancy Kelly. She ordered us the fabulous Commercial Bank #2 –  shochu, lychee liqueur, yuzu, shiso tincture, orange oil and the Barbecue Burns -islay scotch, campari, bénédictine, charred hickory, sparkling rosé and candied fresno pepper plus mussels, sloppy joe and a cheese plate. Oh yes- this really is a good bar!

Next on my plate were oysters! We headed to Taylor Shellfish and Oyster Bar just a few blocks away where I was given a mountain of crab and a dozen of the most delicious oysters I’ve ever eaten. Thanks Tom for this incredible tasting.

There was still one more stop that night at Saltys, another waterfront restaurant but across the bay on Alki Beach with the best views of the Seattle skyline. We were unexpectedly greeted by owners Gerry and Kathy Keegan who generously offered me their grand seafood platter full of Dungeness crab, oysters, tuna poke and prawns as well as calamari, crab cakes and their famous seafood chowder along with some Washington State Riesling. What a terrific ending to this 2nd sunny day in Seattle.

When I woke up the next day and the sun was shining yet again, I couldn’t  help but feel overjoyed. It was the perfect day to tour around and see the beauty of the city before we’d be heading to the cruise ship. But first, our stomachs were rumbling and it was time17c for a full on greasy spoon breakfast. Dave, our guide/driver for that day eagerly took us to The 5 Point Café, he said his  favorite local “dive” that has the best breakfast around. After filling up on eggs, chorizo and spicy black beans at this unusual but fun place, we spent a couple of hours just driving around the city before we were taken to the port.

Although the visit was short, I enjoyed so much about this pretty city and looked forward to one more day there after returning from the cruise.

Cheers and all the best,

Zita

 

 

 

 

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Anchors Away to Alaska

Hello everyone,

Well here I am back from another amazing expedition for our show, “All the Best with Zita Keeley”. Starting and ending in Seattle we cruised through the inside passage of Alaska with some amazing stops in Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak, Sitka and Victoria BC. Not to mention, the beautiful Tracy Arm Glacier and Hubbard Glaciers.

I have so many photos to sort through (over 3000) and stories to write about so keep a look out. At this time, I want to shout out to all my wonderful new friends on the other side of the USA for their unbelievable generosity, kindness, fun, time and delicious food. I will acknowledge each of you in my individual blog posts.  I also want to thank Holland America Line and all the staff of the MS Amsterdam who helped us along the way.

Cheers and all the best,

Zita