2013 West Coast Trip: Seattle Day 1

Vacation started bright and early as we caught a flight from Kansas City into Seattle. 
We drank our last cup of home-roasted City on a Hill coffee for the week and headed out! 
Over 8 days, we were seeing 3 major cities and a whole lot of coastline, so we didn't have a lot of time to waste. 

We landed with pretty much the whole day still ahead of us, and I navigated our tiny rented Toyota Yaris directly to Pike Place Market. It was every bit as lively and crowded as we had heard - people, food, and flowers everywhere!
We found a parking garage in the Pioneer Square area and walked back down to the market to explore. We spent the rest of the morning looking through the various vendor booths and shops along 1st street. Including the original Starbucks store!

 I joined the huge group of tourists across the street to get this token shot. You're welcome.

We ate lunch at a cute little gourmet deli/grocery store called Pear and people-watched for awhile. Just a few doors down was the famous Piroshky, Piroshky- a tiny Russian bakery well-known for its sweet and savory pastries. We split a chocolate hazelnut Piroshky, and while it was yummy, we weren't sure it was worth the $3.50. Oh well - YOLO

Diet busters! They all look super delicious, right?
We walked around some more of the market (in search of coffee) and saw the famous Pike Place Fish Co. The employees here sing and throw the fish at each other whenever they get an order! They also pack their fish up so it will keep for up to 2 days, so you could bring home fresh fish no matter where you were going!

While it was foggy when we arrived (and we were totally ok with that!), the sun decided to come out that afternoon and we could finally see the water! 

We finally found our first coffee at Bacco, which was a little bit more of a restaurant than a coffee shop, but they were brewing Caffe Umbria, which is a Seattle based company. It was delicious, until I spilled mine as I tripped on an uneven sidewalk while I was distracted using Google Maps on my phone. Memories for sure! lol

This pic was taken when my coffee was still intact. 

After I fell down and spilled coffee all over the sidewalk, we found our way down to the Seattle Aquarium, which had a cute little waterfront park next door with picnic tables. We sat and stared at the water for a little bit and enjoyed the sunshine. .

I had read horror stories online about Seattle traffic and how parking and getting around was a nightmare. That was actually not at all our experience. Parking in Seattle was the easiest of all the cities we visited. I would compare it to finding parking in downtown KC on a weekend - takes a few minutes, but never impossible. We were able to find parking very close by to everything we wanted to do, and often were able to find free parking within walking distance. We actually found that the street parking, although metered, was much cheaper than garages, and it was free after 8pm! 

After our Pike Place Market adventure, we went and checked into our hotel in Bellevue, about 15 minutes away on Seattle's east side. The nice thing about Priceline is that you can find very nice hotels for much cheaper than usual. The bad thing about Priceline is that sometimes, even though you ask for certain amenities, when you name-your-own-price, they reserve the right to pick and choose which amenities you get. SO - while we requested free wi-fi and free parking, we got a hotel with neither. We weren't about to pay $30/day to park, so we parked offsite at nearby retail stores.

We stopped by a grocery store to buy a case of bottled water and some protein bars, apples, and trail mix to get us through the week without always having to pay restaurant prices for snacks, etc. We also stopped by the new Bellevue location of Seattle Coffee Gear. They are an awesome little local chain of stores in Seattle that sell amazing espresso machines and...well, coffee gear. They also have super fun videos on YouTube where they do demonstrations of tons of different machines and coffee brewing techniques. The hubs has been watching their videos for months and we've ordered a few items from their store as we've been on this coffee journey. It was fun to visit and see all the amazing espresso machines and gadgets in person!

We decided to eat dinner in Bellevue, to avoid traffic during rush hour, and then go get coffee somewhere downtown Seattle after dinner. Bellevue is actually a really cute little "suburb" if you could call it that - it was actually a pretty decent size city with it's own downtown with tall office buildings. They even had a quaint little downtown area where we had a delicious dinner outside at 520 Grill

We headed downtown after we ate and had coffee at the awesome Bauhaus Books & Coffee. I had an almond mocha with rice milk and hubs had an iced coffee with some organic whole milk. Both were seriously great and so smooth! The atmosphere in Bauhaus was super fun, with cool old books floor to ceiling along one entire wall, and an upstairs seating area. Looking out the windows, you could see the Space Needle! 

We spent about 2 hours at Bauhaus (taking advantage of their free wifi since our hotel didn't have it!), and then decided to walk to nearby Caffe Vita, another local Seattle roaster that we'd heard great things about. 

At Caffe Vita I got an iced coffee with a splash of almond milk, and hubs got a chai latte. Either their iced coffee was awesome or I was just really thirsty, because I had finished it in about 5 minutes! Their chai latte was very different than the typical chai you would get at Charbucks or any other chain that uses a premade mix. The spice flavor was much richer and deeper and there wasn't nearly as much sweetness, but just the right balance. For being a non-coffee drink, they make an excellent one! 

We got to talking with the barista, and she let us walk around in the back where they were roasting! Since the hubs is into coffee roasting, this was a fun treat and he got to talk to their roaster for a few minutes. It was super loud and warm and really fun! 

A beautiful, wonderfully caffeinated, and delicious first day in Seattle. Before the day was even over, we knew we just loved this city. More fun to come on day 2!