Snowed in, in Seattle

by Amanda McInerney on 26/01/2012

View of Seattle from my room

There’s an old song by Perry Como called “Seattle”, where he sings of the the bluest skies he’s ever seen as being in Seattle.  I’m not sure if Perry “did” irony, because Seattle is famous for being very wet and rainy, but there was certainly no hint of blue skies in the four days we were there.  Our flight from Vancouver was delayed for over two hours because of a snow storm in Seattle and when we finally landed there it was in almost totally white conditions after one of the biggest snow dumps they had seen in ten years.  The cab ride into town was quite hairy and every now and then we could feel the wheels slipping beneath us on the ice and snow which covered the roads.  Once in the city, any attempts to wander around and explore were pretty well useless for the first two days.  The sidewalks were treacherously slippery with ice and snow inches thick on them.  Many buses were not running as, even with chains, the hills were too icy for them and cabs were like hens teeth.  Even if we had been able to venture very far away from the hotel, there was little point.  Most of the museums, markets and city stores were closed or had shortened their opening hours because their staff were stuck at home, so our first couple of days were very quiet and restful indeed – not altogether a bad thing.

Once the snow had ceased falling and all we had to contend with was the rain, we managed to get around a bit more – although rain makes ice even slipperier (is that actually a word?) so my eyes were still mostly fixed upon where I was placing my feet.  I had hoped to catch up with Keren Brown, author of The Frantic Foodie blog and The Food Lovers Guide to Seattle, but the fact that she was snowed in with three small  children (including new-born twins) foiled our plans for that, but I did manage to get a few great tips from her on foodie finds in the city.

James Beard Award-winning Seattle chef, Tom Douglas, has a fistful of eateries in the city and a passion for making the most of his local ingredients.  As soon as we could get out we headed for Serious Pie, his cosy but noted pizza joint in the city.  Perched on stools and seated at shared tables, we were soon tucking into a couple of simply stunning pizzas.  We decided to keep it simple and went for the buffalo mozzarella and tomato combination, accompanied by a potato and rosemary pizza.  These were truly good pizzas with the crispiest and lightest base I have ever found – and I assure you I don’t exaggerate.  This is a popular spot and the kitchen was buzzing with the friendly and efficient staff bustling around a very large wood fired pizza oven.  The oven is surrounded by a massive slab of  local slate reminding me of just how primeval wood-fire cooked food really is – and how well fresh, local products will respond to basic techniques.

Serious Pie's slate enclosed pizza oven

After refuelling ourselves at Serious pie, we headed out into yet more snow but decided to divert to another highly recommended Tom Douglas establishment on the way back to our warm and dry hotel room – the Dahlia Bakery.  A tiny little store front, just around the corner from Serious Pie,  it is well worth a visit for this is a sugar hit any visitor to Seattle really shouldn’t miss.  Clutching paper bags full of coconut cream pies, peanut butter cookies and choc chip cookies we headed carefully back to our hotel where we succumbed to sugar induced nirvana ;-)  for the rest of the after noon.

We spent our last day in Seattle finally making it to all the attractions which had been closed during the nasty weather and the one I was most looking forward to was the historic Pike Place Markets.  Spread over nine acres, embracing the cultural diversity brought to the area by immigration and running for over 100 years, these markets are recognised as one of the US premier farmers markets.  They are home to 200 full-time commercial businesses, 190 crafts stalls and approximately 100 farmers who rent table space by the day and are  considered to be the “soul” of Seattle.  The area attracts over 10 million visitors a year and is a remarkably diverse shopping experience.

We started our trip with a visit to The Crumpet Shop for fresh, home-made crumpets smothered in maple butter for breakfast -

before checking out the famous local fresh seafood,

some of the seasonal local mushroom treats -

the – umm – interesting offerings

and the downright scary ones.

The  Pike Place market area is rich in culturally diverse food stores and the perfect experience for food loving visitors – I was so glad we managed to get there!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara | Creative Culinary January 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Your timing was impeccable but sounds like you made the most of it; love the photos, not sure I would be inclined to that package of dry soup though. Hope you are enjoying your travels…while you are here I dream of getting to your home. Funny how that is, isn’t it?

Amanda January 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Barbara – The soup was discovered on the shelf by my eldest daughter – named Grace. :-) I hope to see you in our hemisphere very soon!

Cakelaw January 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm

So sorry that you didn’t get to catch up with Keren. However, it looks as though you had some great foody fun – I covet that marvellous looking crumpet. Marie Sharp’s eh – I think I’ll stay away from that!

Lorraine Not Quite Nigella January 26, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Those cookies look enormous! How big was that bottom one? And freshly made crumpets- be still my beating heart! No comment re cock soup ;)

Hotly Spiced January 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I’ve heard Seattle is the most beautiful and amazing city except for the climate! Nothing but cool days and plenty of rain. I’ve also heard that those markets are incredible. Great that you were able to experience all they have to offer.

Katherine Martinelli January 27, 2012 at 4:26 am

I absolutely love Seattle! Even in the rain ;-) Looks like some great new places have opened up since I was last there, I can’t wait to go back. Thanks for sharing!

Barbara January 27, 2012 at 8:52 am

Love that pizza.

InTolerant Chef January 27, 2012 at 9:02 am

I guess we all romanticize about a snowy Christmas, without thinking of the down side.
Some very interesting foodie finds indeed!

Judy January 27, 2012 at 11:14 am

Been waiting for the next update Amanda and this was well worth the wait. What a shame you were snowed in for so long, a little rest would have sufficed as when you are on holidays it is usually go, go, go but 2 whole days would have frustrated me no end. I hate wasting a minute when I am on holidays when there is so much to see and do. Love the food pics, good find by DD – there’s always something to be found worth photographing for a laugh. Enjoy!

Kate January 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Did you see the fishmongers throwing fish ???

Jennifer (Delicieux) January 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm

What a shame you weren’t able to enjoy better weather in Seattle. Those foodie spots you visited look delicious though! I love the look of that pizza. I still pine terribly for New York pizza. How amazing do those crumpets look too?

And that, ummm, interestingly named soup mix made me laugh!

grant nowell January 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Amanda, You must of been in heaven at the market…seeing some things that we are unfamiliar with in Australia like elk smallgoods or yellow foot wild mushrooms. I havent yet been to Canada but it really does appeal to me after your descriptions and enthusiasm

Amanda January 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Kate – we did see them throwing the fish- very entertaining!

Lizzy (Good Things) January 28, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Amanda, funnily enough, I love that first photo with the rain and snow. You have really given us a ‘sense of place’, if you understand my meaning.

Oh, and the wood fired pizza… Mmmm, I can just smell it. Great photos! The markets look so interesting… gosh, I think I would need to take winter Kaftans. I know nothing would fit me after all that food!

Thanks so much for your informative postcards! Hugs.

celia January 29, 2012 at 8:50 am

Wow Amanda, what an adventure you’re having!! And look at those mushrooms! And the crumpet!! Thanks for taking us on holidays with you.. :)

The Food Sage January 30, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Lovely description in your writing Amanda – felt like i was there with you. And wished i was when i saw the photos of pizza and that lovely stack of cookies! Enjoy your trip. I’m enjoying reading all about it.

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