Visit Seattle invited me to spend two days in Seattle as a part of their #2DaysinSeattle campaign and told me that I could do whatever I wanted to do during the weekend, they were providing me with free accommodations, and more perks. Since I love Seattle and love exploring any city that offers great food, I knew how I wanted to spend this weekend.
After leaving Vancouver, I drove South on Highway 99 to the border and then South on interstate 5 to Seattle which took close to 3 hours. Arriving in Seattle with my family, I checked in to my hotel centrally located on Pine & 7th at the Grand Hyatt Seattle. Visit Seattle and the Grand Hyatt Seattle set us up with 2 spacious Executive Suites overlooking Puget Sound. Each suite had an Executive bed in the bedroom as well as a living room, kitchen and 2 bathrooms. There was also a large walk in closet along with a Hyatt bathrobe for use during the stay.
We parked our car with the valet (included in our stay, a nice perk) and then checked in, which was nice and quick. In the room, on the table I opened Visit Seattle’s welcome letter (which included our $500 Visa card and $100 in Shell gift cards). They also left me a little welcoming gift, which was super sweet: Washington state crackers from La Panzanella, a selection of cheeses and a basket of fruit along with some bottles of mineral water, and a Visit Seattle water bottle. This was another great perk after travelling a few hours to get to Seattle.
My room had a great view of the city’s towers from the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows. My guestroom was high up on the 26th floor, the Wi-Fi Internet access was helpful for use while on my iphone. A sleek modern design adorns these spacious rooms. The bathroom is large and features a separate glass-enclosed shower along with a deluxe soaker tub, deluxe amenities and plush robes for your comfort. Located in the heart of Seattle’s thriving retail and theater district, adjacent to the Washington State Convention Center, the Grand Hyatt Seattle is steps from Pike’s Place Market, Seattle Waterfront and the Space Needle.
Each of the rooms in the hotel have three dual line cordless speakerphones with voicemail, an in-room safe for your laptop, iHome stereo with iPod® docking station, electronic blackout drapes and a doorbell. The Hyatt Grand Beds are fitted with luxurious linens, thick down blankets and plush pillows. Additional amenities in our welcoming Seattle Washington accommodations include 24 hour Concierge, 24/7 StayFit™ fitness center access, and 32” flat screen TV.
Up early we had room service and shared an order of the French Toast which is large enough to share for two. I visited the health club in the morning to get some fitness in and relaxed.
In the afternoon I attended Taste Washington an annual food and wine festival that happened to be taking place at Century Link Event Centre during the weekend. I obtained a Media Pass for Saturday to experience the delights and tastes of Washington. The festival was enormous and far greater than I had expected featuring 225 wineries pouring 800 wines along with 65 Seattle area restaurants offering up bite sized portions of their food. After a few hours eating my way through the festival I went and walked it off, which I did through the International District and eventually visited Stumptown Coffee in Capitol Hill to enjoy an Espresso Macchiato.
Afterwards I headed back to the hotel to rest for a couple of hours before taking a drive out to the Northgate neighborhood for a visit at one of my favourite bookstores in the area, Barnes and Noble which is a large multi-leveled store with a great selection of Food & Wine Magazines. After reading and working up an appetite I then headed out for dinner.
That night I visited Shanik Restaurant for fine Indian cuisine, it is a recent newcomer to the Seattle dining scene located close to Lake Union where my friends Chef Meeru Dhalwala and Oguz Istif set up shop. Meeru and her husband Chef Vikram Vij own the popular Vij’s Restaurant located in Vancouver, BC. The restaurant was packed full the night I dined and I waited for an hour for a table, during my wait Meeru gave me a behind the scenes kitchen tour and showed me their wall of spices. I had intended on visiting to try a dish or two, hours later I had indulged in four dishes, carried away by the wonderful flavours and spices into a journey similar to ones that I had when dining at Vij’s restaurant in Vancouver. Meeru knows how to run a restaurant and this was evident with Shanik which had been open for only 3 months and already packed nightly with diners.
I requested smaller portions since I was dining solo to be able to sample a few of their dishes. From the Sautéed Onions and tomatoes on layers of paneer to start, it was then on to the Brussels Sprouts w/ bell peppers, cashews and paneer which had a nice spice kick. Next was the outstanding Spice encrusted Lamb Popsicle with split pea & spinach mash & coconut curry; followed by the Vegetable Koftes in a creamy tomato curry w/ green beans along with some rice and naan.
It was fairly late, on the way back to the hotel, I had to satisfy a sweet craving and I visited Capitol Hill for some dessert at Old School Frozen Custard as I wanted to try their frozen custard, I decided on halfing the Vanilla & Chocolate.
The next morning I visited a few places in the area, starting with a cappuccino on 15th at Victrola Coffee, followed by a breakfast snack of the potato and onion hash and a Vietnamese Coffee at Ba Bar also in Capitol Hill.
From there I went for a drive which took me about 15 minutes NW to the neighborhood of Ballard. On Sundays they host the Ballard Farmers Market and I thought a walk through the neighborhood and farmers market would be ideal to work up an appetite.
Located very close to the market was Volterra an Italian restaurant where I decided to eat breakfast. I had their delicious Chestnut Pancakes with apples, & chestnut mascarpone – yum!
A visit to Elliott Bay Books was in order, the huge independent bookshop is located in Capitol Hill and houses a great cooking section of books, a great spot to browse.
After the visit to the bookstore, I checked out of the hotel and headed home.
By: Richard Wolak