Day one of my 10 day adventure on the west coast would begin in Seattle, Washington. I had decided while I was planning my trip to Vancouver for SeaWheeze that I would like to make a pitstop in another city for a bit of exploration to shake things up a bit. The beauty of Seattle is that one of my bests from Vancouver is a frequent visitor to the city, not only can he provide me recommends but Dustin was also going to drive down to spend some time in the city with me before driving me back to VanCity. Seattle was the calm before the chaos in Vancouver, a chaos that I was very much excited for but a much deserved weekend of me time, foodie must-trys, slowing things down a bit and just seeing where the city takes me was in order!
In my infinite wisdom when I booked my flights I thought it would be best to leave FIRST THING from Toronto which would get me into Seattle with a lot of the day left to use to explore the city. Looking back getting up at 4:00am was tough – I may have gone out the night before I left and stayed up until about midnight unpacking my stuff in my new condo. Either way I got up and headed for the Up Express in an Uber X bright and early to depart for Seattle!
Arriving in Seattle
Touching down in Seattle a few minutes behind schedule I was eager to get off the plane and make my way to the train to get to the city ASAP in hopes of making it to the lululemon class being held at Optimist Brewing Company. Two carry-on bags in hand I was hoping that time would be on my side it getting to Capitol Hill to make it to half the class at least.
Lady Luck was on my side and I managed to sneak into the stunning loft space at the brewery to catch the last half hour of the Blocks & Brews Class hosted by Pacific Place Ambassador Andreas Fetz which was just what my body needed after a 5 hour plane ride + early morning. The best part of the class was that each participant got to take home a set of lululemon yoga blocks and have a few brews together post class thanks to the hospitable folks of Optimism Brewing. One thing I am always quick to realize when I’m traveling and interacting with the run/yoga/sweat community is how quickly you meet folks and how welcoming that they are. Justin is an Educator at the Pacific Place lululemon store in downtown Seattle, during class he was quick to introduce himself and after class so kindly invited me to have a beer with him while he introduced me to other lululemon folks and yogis from the community. Before I left for my Airbnb I had a phone FULL of restaruant, coffee and bar recommendations, as well as someone to swing by and say hi to when I was downtown during the weekend!
Pike Place Market + Seattle Boardwalk
After the yoga class I walked over to my Airbnb which was located right downtown, a short walk from Capitol Hill and also close to the downtown core and Pike Place Market. Upon arrival at my Airbnb I was greeted by my host Em who from the moment we connected on the site I knew she would be awesome to stay with! A bright, airy, modern apartment where she lived on her own with her rabbit Spaz. Once we got to know each other, dinner recommendations were provided, I got freshened up and orientated on where I needed to go I was off to explore the city!
I was quick to hit up Pike Place Market even though I had a tour arranged for tomorrow morning at 10am, I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about and grab a bit before walking over to SafeCo Field for the big baseball game. The market of course was buzzing, it was Saturday afternoon but it was so fantastic to take in all of the smells, vendors, performers and vibrancy of the market as a great introduction to my weekend in the city. After walking around for a bit I was quite hungry and decided I would take a stroll down Post Alley to the Boardwalk where I had my heart set on dinner at the infamous Ivar’s Fish Bar to fill my fish ‘n chips craving that I had held off until I made it to the west coast. Around since 1938, Ivar’s is one of the top pick’s in the Northeast for fish, chips and most importantly chowder. Sticking to what I know I opted for the 3-piece Fish ‘n Chip Dinner with a side of coleslaw and an iced tea. The best part about this place is you can get a table in the dinning room or your can order from their walk-up window and sit outside on the water at metal picnic tables while you enjoy your meal. Fish was spot on, chips for me I feel like I’ve had better, either way it was a foodie must-try on my list in Seattle.
Seattle Mariners Game
When some of my run family first heard I was going to Seattle they asked me if I would go to a Mariners game and to be honest I had toyed with the idea but wasn’t sure if Dustin would be joining me on Saturday or Sunday in the city. Once I had confirmation that I was flying solo for the Saturday I started debating grabbing a ticket to see a game and was quickly encouraged by my fellow runner/baseball friend Ron. Ron encouraged me to get a cheap ticket – say $25 – and then find my way down to The Pen, a beer garden nestled in between both Bull Pens at the stadium. Sounded like an awesome plane to me, then it became difficult to find a ‘cheap’ ticket. Before I knew it I was discovering that one of the most important games in the team’s history would be taking place on Saturday August 6th as the Seattle Mariners would be retiring Ken Griffey Junior’s number – the first time they would do this for any player in the history of the franchise. I HAD to go and I actually ended up with a pretty decent seat, but it wasn’t $25!
On route to Safeco Field I waked through Pioneer Square to make sure that I hit up the Seattle Mariners’ Fan Store to purchase a t-shirt for the occasion, it was such an experience to walk to the stadium with so many other fans. I had actually seen fans since first thing this morning when I was taking the train into the downtown core from the airport, the city was buzzing with excitement. Safeco Field has a reputation for being one of the best baseball stadiums in the MLB organization and I was certainly excited to see what all of the fuss was about, I just wish I had done my research when it came to the food, big fail on my part to also learn once I arrived that they have some of the best stadium food offerings in the country, including their infamous Garlic Fries.
I started off my night by making my way down and around the stadium to get to The Pen, it was quite the experience to see the field from this vantage point, while also watching the pitchers warm up in the pens. I definitely thing this is something that the Rogers Centre is missing! I made my way up to my seat which I was pleasantly surprised was even better than I had expected, I had my own chair and no one in front of me, along with a few of the Seattle skyline to snap pictures of as the sun began to set.
The ceremony held for Ken Griffey was something else, they had legendary players from both the Seattle Mariners and Seattle sports franchises in attendance for the event. There were also video messages from Kobe Bryant and Willie Mayes just to name a few, before we say a stunning recap of Griffey’s life + career narrated by Seattle native Macklemore. I should note that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis music is quite popular at Safeco Field during the game.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
After what was starting to feel like one of the slowest baseball games I’d sat through in a long while I headed out in an Uber back to the downtown area in search of a night cap before I made my way to my Airbnb to call it a night. I was starting to feel the fatigue associated with t he 3 hours I had gained arriving in Seattle, meaning I had been awake much longer than I should be, especially after the late night unpacking the night before. Open until 11pm it naturally made sense that I head into the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room for a little treat before bed.
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room has been at the top of my Seattle list for a while, probably ranked ahead of the first store because it’s here that you can taste limited reserve coffee beans, sip on Starbucks beverages only available about this location, all while you learn about the whole coffee process first hand as they roast the beans served at this location on site. Starbucks describes the store as, “introducing a one-of-a kind coffee shrine in our hometown that captures the past, present and future of Starbucks.” It truly is one-of-a-kind experience and I was mesmerized from the moment that I walked into the space.
The beauty of the concept store is that all of the reserve beans that they serve in-store are roasted on-site by some of the best coffee roasters in the company, one of them being Brandon who I had the opportunity to speak on this evening. He explain his responsibilities and the process that the beans went through from start to finish as we watched on in awe of the machines in front of us. He shared his journey to how it got to where he is today, how this store is changing the process of many things for the organization as they look to reduce the amount of travel required for the beans to some of their stores overseas and which beans are the best to try out at the beverage bar.
For me personally I am a fan of purchasing a Coffee Flight when I visit a new coffee roaster or shop during my travels, but with the thought in my mind that I wanted to be able to sleep tonight I asked the baristas if they had anything decaf that would be worth giving a try. I can tell you right now that I NEVER drink decaf, I’ll drink coffee right before bed with no problem and I’ve never actually had a decaf coffee that has tasted good, but then again I don’t purposely go out to seek decaf coffee. The barista serving me suggested that I try a french press of the Decaf Costa Rica blend that they had available, within seconds of hitting my tongue I was surprised by how smooth, flavourful and balanced this decaf coffee was – these guys know what they are talking about! Before I headed back to my Airbnb for the night I chatted with the barista and asked him if he would be in tomorrow morning to guide me through a proper coffee flight so that I could take full advantage of the beautiful coffee they have at this location.
With that it was back to the Aribnb and into bed to get some rest in preparation for two walking tours the next morning and the arrival of my best on Sunday evening!