A tale of two cites, one crowler and Amtrak Cascades ride away
20.05.2016 48 °F
We seem to love our morning excursions so much better our nights! (Probably because we're well rested and sober, haha).
After our Airbnb host Rose (originally from Negril, Jamaica by way of the UK) gave us a ride, we arrived at Pike Place Market.
It was breathtaking.
Rose dropped us off in front of Beecher's Handmade Cheese! We could see the cheese makers were hard at work and the aromas were great. We ordered the Mariachi Mac and Cheese to tide us over until we found a breakfast spot. Needless to say, it was fantastic.
Strolling through the Farmer's market, we saw an array of fresh produce, seafood, and bakery items. Heidi and I were really looking forward to seeing the fisherman throw some fish around but alas, we didn't see any action.
We ate breakfast at the Sound View cafe (which was an apt descriptor, all the seating provided views of the Puget Sound). I tasted Northwest clam chowder, and it pains me to say this as a native New Englander but it was MORE FLAVORFUL than New England clam chowder. Ugh, okay it's over. Now back to breakfast:
Heidi got the crab cake frittata and I got the salmon and prawn omelette.
The portions were huge, the amount of seafood was generous, and given that the prices were fair. Most of the eateries in the Market were pretty expensive, so Sound View cafe was a great value.
Next we perused the flower shops, artists, and vendors. The flower arrangements were beautiful and pretty cheap considering what was going in them. I understand now why all the local business had such beautiful bouquets.
Given our talks with locals, we just couldn't support a coffee purveyor that lead to the demise of local coffee shops and wholesalers (Seattle's Best Coffee was bought out by Starbucks). So we got a pound of coarse ground roasted on site at Local Color.
Overall, Pike Place Market did not disappoint. I could've spent the entire day there if we had the time!
A small hiccup in our travels to Portland turned into another fun adventure. Originally we planned to drive from Seattle to Portland. I made reservations at a car rental agency only to find out that I couldn't take one of their cars one way without more documentation. Heidi, my quick thinking cutie, recalled that with our Amtrak USA Rail Pass we get 8 segments and we only used 7 given our time constraints. So we just scored a "free" train ride to Portland! We had some celebratory craft beers at Old Stove Brewing Company and had a "Crowler" prepared for the trip. They pour 32 oz of your favorite draft into a can and seal it with their canning machine. After taking the underground downtown bus to King St Station, we were on our way!
Amtrak Cascades is an older train that makes several daily trips along the Pacific Northwest from Vancouver, BC to Eugene, OR.
We can never seem to escape large groups of field tripping school children (from Daley and Millennium Parks in Chicago to Pike Place Market) and our trip to Portland almost kicked it up a notch with middle schoolers! Luckily, Amtrak saw the writing on the wall and placed them in their own train car.
The trip was a quick 4 hours (sadly too overcast to catch a glimpse of Mt. Ranier, our Airbnb host jokingly said the best view Seattle folks get of the mountain are from the Internet), enough to drink some craft beers and get in a cat nap.
We made it to Portland! It was raining pretty heavy so Heidi and I protected our packs with rain covers (tucked away in a secret compartment at the bottom). We walked to Deschutes Brewery for dinner and more beers. There were a ton of great stuff on tap. I stuck to IPAs and Heidi pursued her new interest in Saisons. I ate a delicious burger with plums, bleu cheese, and cream cheese with a side salad adorned with IPA dressing. Heidi has never seen me eat meat so it was shocking for her to see how much I enjoyed it! Heidi had an Alaskan King Salmon with spatzel, mushrooms, and peas shoots. She loved it!
Even though we were kind of full, the lure of good ice cream led to a Lyft ride to Salt and Straw. The line was super long (out the door and onto the sidewalk) with eager patrons, but definitely worth the wait. Coming to get ice cream here was singlehandedly one of the best life choices I've made. It's up there with going to medical school and dating Heidi. We seemed to forget or refused to acknowledge how full we just were from dinner and all the beers. The quality of artisan ice cream cannot be captured in words. Heidi captured it in a dance (see my Instagram post @claudsee) and in a cute smile. Thanks SO MUCH to fellow Tufts track alum Megan Sears Caldwell and Jen Morse, my research mentor while at Duke, for the recommendations!
This morning is our last in Portland, we really want to do some biking and eat some delicious local food (". . but is it local?" -- Portlandia) before heading to our next destination by train. . . San Francisco!
Happy [train] travels,