One thing I liked about Seattle is that it shares my feelings about the magnitude of a good cup of tea (left) in relation to a cup of coffee (right). Here’s what tea-drinking heaven looks like:
And you never know, in Seattle, where the perfect gustatory experience will reveal itself. Top Cat and I walked all over our University Park area on our first morning of the Great Pacific Great Northwest Tour and we could not find one single cute quaint achingly chic hipster-Seattle breakfast experience. Hunger got the better of us so we stopped in at (what I thought was) a one-off neighborhood establishment called Burger Master. (Turns out it’s a local chain.)
At Burger Master, my expectations were that I’d get a crappy egg-over-easy and a look at what would be the Seattle version of the raw material for a country and western tune about sitting in a roadhouse dive with a busted heart and a crappy egg-over-easy.
But au contraire. The place was clean, well-lighted, and full of regulars that looked like truck driving college professors. And the best thing was that if you order tea, they give you a choice of half a dozen black, green, and herbal teas. AND THEN THEY GIVE YOU A BACK UP TEA BAG.
Burger Master is the ONLY PLACE ON EARTH that gives tea drinkers parity with coffee swillers. Since they get free refills, the tea drinkers get a free second tea bag.
I was astonished by this lovely gesture of civility. And I became an instant die-hard Burger Master groupie.
“We’re coming here every morning,” I told Top Cat.
And we did.
Here’s what the best breakfast place in all of Seattle looks like.
Although Burger Master is totally 100% my kind of place, you know that Top Cat, like most grown-ups, is much more demanding when it comes to cuisine. So he dragged me to a couple of fine dining experiences.
First, there was Elliot’s on the warf there, underneath the Pike Place Market.
The Copper River salmon had just that morning arrived from Alaska, an event that is as ballyhoo’d in Seattle as the Nouveau Beaujolais is in France.
This is what a $35 piece of fish looks like at Elliot’s. Top Cat said it was worth every farthing. (I had a $6 Caesar salad and couldn’t wait until it would be time for breakfast again.)
And the next night we drove across the West Seattle Bridge across the Puget Sound to go to Alkai Beach, to Salty’s restaurant, where we could dine while gazing at the Seattle skyline. (Also, out in the middle of the bay there’s a float on which huge fat sea lions pile and bark their constant complaints that there are too many huge fat sea lion asses on this damn float.)
This is what a $50 piece of Copper River salmon looks like at Salty’s. Top Cat said it was worth every ha-penny.
My fish-n-chips were pretty good too.
The next day we traipsed all over Rattlesnake Mountain and made a leisurely run to Edmonds, arriving just in time to miss getting into Rick Steves’ Book Shop there by about ten minutes. (The shops closes at 5 o’clock on Friday nights, which I didn’t even think was possible. I wanted to check if my book was there. Just curious. )
Edmonds is a lovely town, as we walked around and poked into a few other book shops and Top Cat discovered that the wine shop there stocks a little-known Bordeaux that we discovered in the Cotes de Castillon– Chateau Robin — and he also found out that the wine we paid $40 for at Salty’s costs $14 out in the real world. It’s called 14 Hands and you will not regret spending $40 on it if you have to.
So we got a bottle of 14 Hands and drove to have a look at the coastal town of Mukilteo. I wanted to suss out the ferry situation there, because we were traveling to Whidbey Island the next day and we’d have to take that ferry in the morning, at the crack of dawn.
Mulkiteo is a fine place to watch the sunset.
It was a tiny bit chilly, slightly colder than usual for May, and windy, and we had an open bottle of wine, so we sat in the car and opened a small bag of pretzels that Top Cat had been carrying in his jacket pocket for four days, and I opened the doggy-bag (Styrofoam box) that I’d got for the half sandwich I couldn’t finish at lunch, and we hunkered down for the view.
The light got dimmer, the wind got colder, it began to rain, the seagulls called one another, and we kept toasting our luck in being together in a rented car with left overs on the edge of the beautiful Puget Sound.
Here’s what a priceless dining experience in the Great Pacific Northwest looks like.