I can’t wait to tell you about my weekend in Seattle! As I mentioned on Monday, even though I was only there for two full days, they were two PACKED days. My recap below doesn’t even include several activities we did like wine tasting, shopping, and walking around a local lake. I quickly found out there’s no shortage of things to do in Seattle, which I really loved.

Let’s get into it!

My friend Natalie and I got into the city on Thursday afternoon and almost puked when we saw the unbelievable view from the balcony of my friend Lindsey’s place. Water to the left, iconic Space Needle to the right – nearly cloudless blue skies above. Who says it’s always raining in Seattle?!

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By the way, I met Lindsey and Natalie freshman year of college during sorority rush and we’ve been friends ever since. We travel really well together as we like to see everything but also know when to stop and sip a glass of wine or seven.

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Anywho, after catching up at Lindsey’s place we headed out for dinner and drinks at Westward, a restaurant and gourmet grocery store right on the water. We arrived just as the sun was setting and had a fabulous view of the city.

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There was a short wait for our dinner reservations so we ordered a couple glasses of wine to sip in the warmth of the blazing fire in front of the restaurant. Who needs a stuffy bar when you can enjoy Seattle’s great outdoors with bonfire-side service?!

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We were gabbing too much to take food photos, but enjoyed everything from fried brussels sprouts, to steamed mussels and braised lamb shoulder – all was to die for. I’d return in a heartbeat for the food, location and atmosphere. It was the perfect way to kick off our weekend together!

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The next morning we were up and at ’em for Tour de Seattle. But first, breakfast. I’m so thankful for all the restaurant recommendations you all provided on Friday Favorites, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Portage Bay Cafe rose to the top for having a killer breakfast, so we hopped over tout suite.

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Portage Bay Cafe is known for their local, sustainable, organic food offerings and they had tons of gluten-free options too, which I of course appreciated. In fact, everywhere we went had many gluten-free/friendly portions of their menus, which made things so much easier.

At any rate, if you go to PBC make sure to get yourself a vanilla latte while you wait for your table (the place was PACKED.) It was one of the best I ever had. I credit the full fat milk. It’s always a winner.

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The restaurant is also known for their pancakes and french toast which comes with access to the fresh toppings bar (think any/all organic berries and mountains of freshly whipped cream…!) I was craving savory though, for once in my life, and settled on the Farmer’s Hash – 3 eggs with a variety of local, organic, and sustainably grown vegetables. With bacon, naturally. It was honest to goodness one of the best things I’ve ever eaten and I ate the entire. Thing! Well, except for the carrots, of course, but the rest of it – down the hatch. Could not recommend this dish enough. It was expertly seasoned and the produce was so fresh.

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Afterwards we drove about 10 minutes away to the troll under the bridge. Right. Nat and I didn’t know what Lindsey was talking about when she kept saying troll. I kept thinking she meant to say a grassy knoll or something. But no, it was a legitimate troll under a bridge! This community art project is quirky and fun – just like Seattle. : )

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We continued walking under the bridge, which led to the water. By the way, while spring is not even flirting with the Midwest yet, it’s in full bloom around Seattle. Flowers were everywhere and the cherry blossom trees were popping all over the city. So gorgeous, and a brilliant sight for sore eyes.

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But like I said, the bridge led down to the water – Lake Union, in fact!

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This was an especially special find because I had started Morning Glory by Sarah Jio on the plane ride to Seattle, which takes place ON Lake Union. What are the odds?? (It’s a terrific book, by the way!)

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After ogling the houseboats on the lake, and all agreeing that we’d buy one should we ever win the lottery, the girls and I headed a hop, skip, and a jump away to nearby Gas Works Park, a luscious public park built around the remains of an old gas plant.

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Sounds kind of weird, right? Well it is, I guess, but somehow the plant has morphed from industrial eyesore to hip architectural installation and anyway, the surrounding park has got stunning views of the city. Just climb up the neighboring hill…

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And blammo – beautiful! We stood atop that big ol’ hill under the sun with the wind lightly blowing and I, for one, didn’t want to be anywhere else.

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Our next stop took us to a look out point with some of the best views of the skyline at Kerry Park. A must see for anyone who wants that classic Seattle shot.

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After that? A trip to one of Seattle’s most famous landmarks – Pike Place Market!

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This market isn’t your typical summer market. It runs year-round and sells everything under the sun. Produce, cheese, fish, meat, flowers, pastries – I could go on and on.

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We walked around for over an hour sampling smoked cheese from Beecher’s and sipping Moscow Mules from Rachel’s Ginger Beer.

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This place rocked. It’s on a little side street off the market and offers lots of beverages centered around “Rachel’s” homemade ginger beer which is gluten free. I have yet to find a GF GB to make my beloved Moscow Mules, so this tasted extra juicy and delicious.

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Pike Place is especially famous for their fish mongers. I can’t tell you how much I’d love to walk down to the market a couple times a week and pick up fresh scallops or salmon to cook for dinner. What an amazing resource Seattlites have here!

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I doubt he agrees…

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Pike Place is also home to the stand that throws fish to entertain their customers. Real World Seattle watchers – you know what I’m talking about. ; )

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Above anything else, I could not get over the tulips…

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Tulips…

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TULIPS!!!

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Maybe it’s because it seems spring will never, ever, ever, ever (EVER!) arrive this year, but I think I took about 500 shots of the tulips within the market’s walls. They were stunning and so sunny. Cheap, too. You could get an entire arrangement for $10!

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Before leaving the market we made sure to check out the famous “gum wall” nearby, down Post Alley. Ew.

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I’ve heard several stories regarding the origins of this tradition and they’re all equally disgusting.

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Why I felt the need to get this close, I’ll never know. Gum wall officially crossed off my bucket list, never to be returned to again!

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We were really pumped to have dinner at Local 360 later that night, which sources 90% of their ingredients from farms within 360 miles of Seattle. I loved the emphasis on farm to table in this city. They’ve really got it together.

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The inside of the restaurant was very prohibition-esque. Think dripping candles mixed with industrial lighting. Super cool. A Whiskey Smash to sip on felt appropriate.

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Local 360’s menu had a variety of small and large plates to choose from so we got a bunch to share. Steak frites (sub frites for sauteed greens!)

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PERFECTLY rare and juicy. Gobbled.

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Plus a take on pork and beans – rootbeer-braised pork belly and baked beans (OMG) and a beet salad. Plus some fried brussels sprouts which I’m pretty sure we had for nearly every meal in Seattle. It was the right thing to do. One Old Fashioned later, and that was a wrap on Friday!

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The next day, before stretching our legs with a walk around Green Lake, we picked up breakfast from Ellenos Greek Yogurt stand back at the market.

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If you ever find yourself in Pike Place Market, DO NOT LEAVE without trying some of this Greek yogurt. It will blow. Your. Mind.

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Thick like cheesecake, it’s forever changed my concept of the stuff. If I lived in the area I’d pick some up every single day for breakfast.

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After that walk around Green Lake (very cute and quaint,) it was time to eat again (we felt it was our duty to try and visit as many recommended restaurants as possible!) One of the most highly recommended places by far was Paseo.

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Paseo is about as unassuming as they come. It’s a little red shack with a corrugated metal roof that, we were told, sells the best Caribbean pork, well, EVER. Lindsey had gone before and confirmed so we were more than willing to wait 45 minutes in line for a taste.

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Paseo is so small that you order then step outside to wait until your number is shouted, and your food is ready to be picked up. Like I said, they’re known for their pork sandwiches but since I can’t eat bread they gave me mine with a side of rice, no problemo.

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Insanity. I would wait in line for 45 minutes again and again to taste this mix! The pork tasted like it was marinated in pineapple juice which matched perfectly with the caramelized onions and spicy jalapeno slices it’s served with. I will remember this plate of food forever. Go to Paseo!

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To wrap up our Seattle adventures we booked a Booze and Bites Tour on Saturday night. Our guide, Morgan, took us to 5 different restaurants in and around downtown to taste bites and sips of mini drinks. It was a blast.

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Between minty mojito cocktails at the underground caberet restaurant Can Can….

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A spring roll served with lemongrass martinis at the Vietnamese restaurant Long

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Or the super-fun melting grapefruit martini at Von’s GustoBistro, it was so much fun tasting and drinking all that Seattle had to offer.

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Another great girl’s trip, in the books. ‘Til next year!

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As I mentioned last week, I hadn’t been to Seattle since college, and that visit was really quick, so I was thrilled to be able to spend some more time in this part of the country. Everything from the breathtaking scenery (holy pine trees!) cozy northwest architecture (craftsman-style – SWOON,) and access to both mountains and water (aka activities galore,) has me itching to go back soon. Book a trip and see for yourself – hopefully this post has given you some ideas on what to do when you get there!

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