My First Visit To Seattle

Posted November 28, 2010

Since I missed the chance to see one of my all-time favourite people live, in Vancouver, I had an all-too-good reason to visit Seattle for the first time.

Grinderman, the newest project of Nick Cave and most of the Bad Seeds, is
finishing up their North American tour. It seems the show in Vancouver sold
out too fast for me and, without hesitation, caused me to buy tickets to the
Seattle show. Incredibly excited to see Nick Cave in the flesh—I just
can’t help but enjoy almost everything he produces—I was also
excited to visit Seattle for the first time. Which is a strange thing as I
have, thanks mostly in part by my Dad, seen more American soil than
Canadian.

Belltown

My girlfriend and I decided to stay at the Belltown Inn(in Belltown!), which
I booked through Hotels.ca. The process was easy enough, and it landed us
right in between the concert Venue and Pike Place Market. The Hotel itself
isn’t much to talk about: it’s clean; friendly staff; free bicycles;
whatever. Thanks to Hotels.ca we stayed one night at half price, but I can’t
see myself going back at full price.

Now, the neighbourhood of Belltown is pretty interesting. Though I haven’t
seen much of Seattle(stayed within Belltown, West Edge and the Seattle
Centre) I came to like it immediately. Maybe because it’s like Gastown but
not dark, dirty & depressing. Belltown is interesting because there is
no apparent sign of generic and duplicated business. Actually, from what I
saw, Seattle has far less fast-food joints and chain restaurants than
Vancouver(I’m probably thinking of Downtown and Gastown). I was
really surprised that I only came across two Starbucks, and yet both of them
had unique and rather interesting storefronts.

Eating

It was rather easy to find online restaurant recommendations for Seattle and
perhaps through instinct shortlisted about 6-8 for my Girlfriend and I to
choose from once there. Le Pichet easily got both of us excited and we went
for our first meal(brunch/lunch thing) there. Le Pichet serves traditional
and regional French food. We shared a plate of charcuterie and a Black Cod,
Orange & watercress salad. Awesome. It may not have been the best plate
of prepared meats I’ve had, but it was damn tasty, as was the bread and
salad. What I really enjoyed was the atmosphere: totally relaxed, subtle
decor, really attentive service and Massive Attack on the playlist.

As a snack while browsing the Pike Place Market, I grabbed a BLT from Three
Sisters Cafe. Perhaps a bit pricey, but good ingredients and just made
simply. No fluff.

For dinner, we went to the frequently recommended Zig Zag Cafe. First
impressions are tough, and it didn’t go too well for this Cafe: a mentally
distant hostess, red lighting and purple velvet. Not my vibe. I think the
high-mark of this place is the drinks—the beverage menu is
massive—but we don’t care much for this as we’re more interested in
food. Oh well, we ordered the Boar Bacon Risotto and Full Quail. The food is
well prepared and mostly flavourful. The risotto came with big cubes of Boar,
which was great! But, Istill prefer a simple Mushroom risotto. The quail was
good…just a bit boring. Maybe, if the skin was crispy, or there was more fat,
or a tasty sauce all over it. But it was basically just a seasoned bird on top
of some seasoned vegetables. Well made, but not exciting.

Grinderman

We caught Grinderman at the King Cat Theatre, a movie-theatre-turned-venue
which works quite well. I’m never really sure how to describe Grinderman.
I’ve heard the term, Garage Rock, thrown around. But it’s not exactly the
sound I think of when I hear that term. Basically, they’re a bunch of
bearded baddasses(and Nick) who’ve been playing music for at least 30 years.
Nick Cave’s writings and lyrics are usually pretty dark and disturbing, but
Grinderman really pushes the dirt. The show was loud, dirty and full of
energy—they are just amazing to watch.

I’ll be back

I really enjoyed Seattle. I couldn’t help but compare it to Vancouver and,
though my experience is limited, Seattle is a golden city to me right now.
It was just so relaxed: big sidewalks, much less inner city traffic, and
just so many unique restaurants, cafe’s, bars and shops. Walking
aimlessly, we never were far from yet another local food spot.

Seattle is just easy.