It's pretty rare that I visit a new city and am instantly inspired to move, but Seattle . . . I love you . You've cast your magic spell on me, hardcore, wrapping me in soft plaid flannel, placing a perfect cup of warm latté in my hands, then telling the radio to play only songs that make me feel melancholic high-school nostalgia. Oh, Grunge capitol, you and your lushly green hilly enclaves, and romantic rain, how can I resist thee?!?
It also doesn't hurt to have two awesome Seattleites as hosts, especially when they're totally fun and adventurous foodies, with fabulous taste (in everything), and a dreamy little house in which to rest our heads (THANKS Jen & Eddie!).
I'd also like to add that the first thing we saw upon exiting the freeway to the city, was a vagabond-grunger so totally perfect, Cameron Crowe would've felt teary-eyed. Were we on Candid-Rock-n'-Roll Camera? Perhaps . . .
Our first Seattle meal set the bar sky-high, and that was dinner at Cafe Presse in Capitol Hill, where I had one of the most perfect roasted chicken dishes of my life (with homemade mayo, radishes, grilled baguette, and a crispy arugula salad). Everything was farm-fresh and presented like a simple French dream.
As we were walking down 12th Ave., I freaked over the puffiness of the electric poles due to bazillions of show fliers, then spotted the word Hausu (Aka: House) on the marquee of the Northwest Film Forum, and flipped my film-nerd lid. It is a really hard-to-see-on-the-big-screen psychedelic Japanese horror film from 1977, which Nic and I were dying to experience forev's, so we basically dragged our friend Eddie into the theatre, and had our minds subsequently blown . . . the Persian cat shooting lazers out it's eyes, the weird funky-folk soundtrack, the dreamy Peter Max-style animated fades . . . just watch THIS for a taste of its mega-madness. We loved the quaintness of the theatre so much, that we went again the following night for a screening of the Basquiat documentary, The Radiant Child (directed by an old friend from my Riot Grrrl days, Tamra Davis), which was also inspiring. Following our haunted Hausu adventure, Eddie forced us to eat handmade ice-cream at Molly Moon's, which I resisted as first, until I saw that they had turned my dreams into real life by creating a Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie flavor.
The following A.M., we headed to the ever-popular Glo's for crazy-giant homestylin' breakfasts, mine being eggs over medium, accompanied by bacon, orange slices, hash browns, and two giant biscuits smothered in gravy (the size of which I could hardly fathom, let alone finish), but it was terrif'. Down the street I spotted a frou-frou fantasy of vintage attire called the Pretty Parlor, where they not only have an awesome white cat named Vincent, but a section for dudes called Manland, yet girly garb is their specialty. It was here that I purchased the world's most perfect 1930s black silk-crepe Kimono, lined in peach floral silk ($135), a basic i've sought for eons, and was elated to finally add to my wardrobe (thanks, Parlour ladies!).
We then went full-throttle-commando-tourist, and headed Downtown to Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, which is a souvenir store/museum of morbid antique curios, est. in 1899 (though it moved to its current location in 1988). Along with Space Needle coin purses, you'll find carved totems, a family of deceased fleas dressed in formal-wear, shrunken-heads, and an animatronic puppet from the 1920s named Laughing Jack, who is a sailor smoking a disintegrating cigarette. It's a hoot and a must-see for fans of the absurdly kitsch.
We then ventured over to historic Pike Place Market, which hawks everything under the sun, from world-famous fresh fish, to vintage LPs, gourmet teas, artisan jewels, gypsy attire, flowers and warm crumpets. Not to mention, the world's first Starbucks (who knew?) Experiencing this place elicits major sensory-overload, but the architecture and colorful sights are quite electrifying.
Despite being on the tourist radar, Antiques at Pike Place is wicked-good, featuring primo finds in every nook and cranny. We purchased a gorgeous Chinese antique lacquer box (a gift for our gracious hosts), a mid-century hand-turned wood vase ($28), and Nic got a Zuni thunderbird bolo tie ($58) from 1967 (he's dressing more and more like a Twin Peaks character everyday). If we were opening a bakery, we would've totally bought the amazing '70s signs, as seen below . . .
Before hitting the road to our next stop, Portland, we had an unforgettable breakfast at the Hi Spot Cafe in the Madrona dist., which reminded me of the quainter parts of Silver Lake, CA. We died over the greatness of the huevos, perfect bacon and creamy lattés, then shared a warm, freshly baked and heavenly cinnamon roll. It's one of those places I wish I could frequent every single morning. DO NOT leave Seattle without having this most-magical of breakfast experiences!