Apr 8, 2010

Seattle Sampler

And now, a taste of our trip...
We arrived late into Seattle on a Saturday night and made our to the groovy old Scully and Mulder-esque Moore Hotel. The hotel has been serving Seattle since 1907 and sits adjacent to the Moore Theatre, where sadly, we missed seeing Spoon's performance by just a few days.

The Moore Hotel

The hotel is basic, but fun and friendly, and just what we needed for single night's stopover in Seattle on our way to Vancouver. After taking the light rail from the airport, we dropped our bags, and followed the night clerk's suggestion of nearby sushi at Umi Sake House.

We were blown away by the quality of the fish, the creative flavor combinations and especially, the very reasonable prices. Umi serves izakaya-style, like the informal Japanese bars that serve more substantial food with their drinks rather than just bar snacks. Umi also presents an extensive list of both hot and chilled sakes by the glass or bottle.

Umi's Moonraker roll

It was after 10pm when we arrived, but the place was rocking. We tried the Moonraker roll (spicy yellowtail, cucumber, cilantro, topped with seared spicy snow crab and black tobiko with jalapeño-citrus sauce and truffle oil), the king crab tower (king crab, snow crab, avocado, and tomato salsa with jalapeño, yuzu aioli and cilantro), wild white king salmon nigiri, wild Copper River Sockeye nigiri, and sake kama. What a feast! (Please forgive the image quality above. I only had my iPhone with me.)

Breakfast at Macrina Bakery

The next morning we had breakfast at the much raved about Macrina Bakery. And I must say, it not only lived up to the hype, but exceeded it. Macrina is well known for their freshly baked breads, muffins, pastries and luckily for us, their weekend brunch. We lucked into the last open table before a long line formed. I had a decadent fried egg topped with balsamic-pickled fiddleheads and a rich, creamy, melty cheese, roasted potatoes, some fresh greens and some of their fresh baked bread and jam. I managed to squeeze in three visits to Macrina during our trip and could have eaten every meal there.

Fueled up and ready to roll, we packed up, and headed for Fremont for a morning of strolling the market and a tour of Theo's chocolate factory before driving to Vancouver.

My husband, the chocolate fiend, was very keen on making the Theo chocolate factory tour, so we anchored our morning around it. We had just enough time to quickly explore the adjacent Fremont Sunday Market. With vendors selling everything from produce to collectibles to prepared foods to artisans offerings, we could have spent hours there.

Instead, we made our way back down the street to Theo for their tour.

Seattle's Theo Chocolate is the only organic, fair trade, bean-to-bar chocolate producer in the United States. They...

• use only sustainable ingredients and source locally when possible
• make sure that their growers earn a living wage and that their families have access to educational resources
• control every step of their manufacturing process
• use green energy sources to run their factory
• use only sustainable packaging and printing methods

Theo's chocolate roaster

I like supporting a company that does business like this. But how does it taste?

I'd enjoyed several of Theo's bars and especially, their Big Daddy peanut butter candies — peanut butter praline and vanilla caramel over a graham cracker and covered in chocolate and peanuts. But I'd never had the opportunity to try sample so many of their chocolates. On the tour, you not only get a mini-chocolate education, and a tour of factory and candy-making room, but you also get a chance to try almost every product they make. Seriously, it was an overwhelming amount of chocolate. And then, of course, we bought some more goodies to bring home with us. From caramels to "sipping chocolate" to a huge assortment of chocolate bars, they've got you covered.

Roasted cacao beans at Theo

Theo is open and offers tours daily. (Be sure to make a reservation, it fills up quickly on the weekends.) I highly recommend the tour and at their store for the ultimate Seattle souvenir. If you can't make it to Seattle right away, in Austin, you can find some of their products at Whole Foods. Find out who has Theo in your local area here.

The Moore Hotel
1926 2nd Avenue, Seattle

Umi Sake House
2230 1st Avenue, Seattle

Macrina Cafe & Bakery
multiple locations

Fremont Sunday Market

Phinney Ave. N. and N. 34th St., Freemont

Theo Chocolate
3400 Phinney Ave. N., Freemont
make a tour reservation by calling 206.632.5100

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

That all looks and sounds *fantastic*! Next time I go to Seattle, these spots go on my list. :)