Holy cow. Seattle... Where do I begin?
I should really start from the top— as in the 5am wake up call. We booked a very early morning flight, which is really not my jam because I need a good 8 to 9 hours of sleep to function optimally and an early morning flight usually gets in the way of that. So in general, early morning wake-ups... not a fan. Then our flight got cancelled. Luckily, the next flight was only an hour later, so we were rebooked without a hassle. Totally fine, but then that flight got delayed by an hour.
All in all, it was a pretty ridiculous start to a trip that was supposed to be one of the jolliest trips of my life. I live in Los Angeles, so Seattle is only a few hours away by plane. I feel like most people dream of going to far away destinations (and don't get me wrong, Africa is at the top of my to-do list) but I have just always dreamt of Seattle. I love the rain and I love the mix of city living and natural preservations. They also get those dry and brisk, sunny days that I'm a huge proponent for. Ok, I'm starting to question if I was really born in southern California now...
We stayed in Capitol Hill, but ventured out to Redmond, Queen Anne and Snoqualmie. While each neighborhood has a unique feel, they all showcased something similar— a more relaxed, but productive way of life. I know that sounds confusing, so let me throw in a comparison. In LA, most of the major neighborhoods are filled with flashy cars and people running around like chickens with their heads cut off. While this definitely works for some people, I think I prefer the Seattle flow of "look at my beautiful, successful lifestyle while I drive a Prius but might also have a Range Rover or Tesla parked in my garage." Does that make more sense? Whatever, A for effort.
In my opinion, the beautiful neighborhoods, friendly people and vast natural parks are just side dishes to the main show: plant based restaurants (!!). Capitol Hill has no shortage of trendy hipster cafes and natural food spots. Basically, what I imagine heaven to look like.
Our first stop off the plane was Oddfellow's Cafe. It wasn't a vegan restaurant by any means, but they did have some delicious (yet limited) vegan friendly options. And great hemp milk lattes, if you're into that.
They offer Meatless Monday specials, which consisted of a brie cheese, apple and cranberry panini during our visit. Not vegan, but meatless. Pretty disappointing, but I had my eye on the lentil bowl anyway. Overall, I'd give this place an 8/10. It has an amazing ambiance, cute little outdoor private back patio, delicious lattes and unique food. Oh I should also mention, they have vegan and gluten free baked goods. I didn't try any, but they looked delicious.
After our Oddfellow's meal, we went and checked into our AirBnB overlooking Volunteer Park. I freaking loved this location because it really gave us a glimpse on the neighborhood. After a walk around the block later that night, we realized how much community there was. It seemed like the entire neighborhood was at the park at sunset just meditating, playing soccer, bicycling hockey (? apparently a thing), acro yoga... In my 5 years of living in LA, I never saw this much community once. RIP.
Of course, we had to also take a trip to Pike's Place Market. I'm glad I did it because I feel like I would have always wondered what it was like if I didn't go, but I didn't buy anything there. I didn't find anything that was worth buying honestly, but maybe I didn't find the right spots? I do, however, think it's cool that you can buy local, fresh & wild-caught fish any day of the week there. They also have a load of fruit stands, but I'm not sure how seasonal the fruit is. It seemed more like a random conglomeration of "any fruit goes".
After a long walk around the city (we definitely hit our daily recommended 10,000 steps - love it), we stopped for an early dinner and our second meal in Seattle. Plum Bistro was one of the most recommended vegan restaurants, so I figured this would be the best place to have my birthday dinner.
Everything looked amazing on the menu. There were only 1-2 average vegan dishes; everything else was so unique! We ended up ordering the mushroom calamari, coconut "shrimp" skewers and the most popular dish on the menu, the Spicy Cajun Mac 'n Yease.
We loved the flavors of everything we ate, but truthfully, we wished we had some vegetables to chase each meal with. Although it was all vegan, it wasn't healthy or "plant based." Extremely delicious though, I must say. We both chased our meal with the sliced cucumbers that were in our water (LOL). Overall, my rating is 6.5/10. It was good, but I'm not dying to go back. It was also very expensive, the portions are small and there weren't that many clean vegetable dish options. Again, extremely delicious vegan "junk" food.
I had to finish off my birthday with a celebratory ice cream. I mean, it was my birthday after all so I might as well go all in! We headed to Frankie & Jo's, which is an entirely plant-based ice cream shop that is free of artificial ingredients, parabens (a class of common preservatives) and gums, and only uses local and seasonal ingredients. I should start off by saying there are a few places like this in Los Angeles, but NONE whatsoever that tastes this good.
I was in absolute heaven. I also hadn't had a waffle cone since I was probably like 10 years old, so the fact that Frankie & Jo's has gluten-free & vegan waffle cones is absolutely remarkable. They also offer a range of refined sugar free and paleo flavors like Date Shake and Chocolate Date. A major deal breaker for me is if an ice cream has toppings mixed in. I honestly don't like just plain ice cream. I need a little chew or chunk or crunch inside. Whether it just be slivered almonds or full on cookie dough balls, it needs to be in there. Frankie & Jo's has that. They have that for me. And I was in so much bliss.
This concluded day one of our Seattle adventures. We were so happy and surprisingly not uncomfortably full. We felt just perfect. We strolled through the park until the sun went down and called it an early night so that we could adventure the next day.
This was our full free day in Seattle, so we had to make the most of it. The plan was to walk through the park, get some coffee/tea, stop for a late breakfast then walk to Kerry Park, but the day started a little rocky. We were woken up by the noise of leaf blowers and lawn mowers at the crack of dawn. Remember how I mentioned that I hate waking up before my planned wake up time? I'm sure this has something to do with my minor OCD and Type A personality, but also probably has to do with the obvious fact that a girl lacking sleep is not a girl you want to hang with. So that was me for the first few hours of this day. I decided I needed to get coffee stat (preface: I'm not a big coffee drinker, but I will drink it occasionally when I travel or have a crazy busy week). We went to Juicebox Cafe, a place I had on my list for the next day but I knew it was only a block from us and probably had a good latte so we charged it there first thing. Long story short, they in fact did not have coffee lattes. Only matcha lattes. They also did not have drip coffee, only espresso. Major malfunction for a cranky young Isa. We then charged it to Oddfellow's (a block over) since I knew I'd be guaranteed a yummy latte there.
After my beloved Oddfellow's latte (black drip coffee, frothed hemp milk, hold the sweetener), we went down toward main Seattle to have a late breakfast at Sweetgrass Food Co. By this time it was nearly lunch and I felt pretty inflamed from my sugar overdose the night before (I literally woke up with a swollen face. Just because it was natural sugar, doesn't mean it's always good for you! That being said, I would do it 10x over again), so I opted for a build-your-own leafy green bowl.
My mixture comprised of arugula, brussels sprouts, white beans (lowest cal bean, high in protein and fiber), shaved red cabbage (good for your gut), toasted walnuts (omega 3's a.k.a anti-inflammatory fats) and tahini dressing. My body was telling me I needed some nutrient-dense protein, so I added an egg. Sweetgrass Food Co's eggs are humane certified and pasture raised, which are my strict guidelines for eating eggs. The only animal products I eat on occasion are eggs and fish, but I am very particular about where they come from and how they are raised. Complete transparency is the only way to go.
After a simple but delicious meal from Sweetgrass, we started our trek to Kerry Park to see one of the best views of the city. On the walk from Sweetgrass to Kerry Park, we passed through Amazon's headquarters. One word: breathtaking. Amazon is doing some remarkable sustainable initiatives, like the biosphere work spaces they created to provide their employees with a more natural, enjoyable environment for productivity. I highly recommend you look into them on your own.
The trek to Kerry Park was pretty long and mostly up hill, as expected. But once we got up there, it was worth it. The view was incredible.
It was also relatively windy, which helped us to cool down and rally the troops (us) for our trek back into town.
After another long stroll around the city, we stopped for a late lunch/early dinner in Capitol Hill. Erik opted for some vegan pizza from Sizzle Pie, while I stopped at Plum Chopped (the salad/bowl version of Plum Bistro next door). I got this A M A Z I N G salad. You guys. I can't explain how unexpectedly scrumptious this salad was. If you're able to stop by for a salad there, get the "Well Aren't You Fancy" salad. It's a spinach and arugula base (my favorite combo ever, because it's nutrient dense and thyroid friendly), quinoa (complete plant based protein with all 9 essential amino acids), figs (in season right now !!), pecans, port wine cashew cheese (I'm a sucker for flavored nut-based cheeses, so sue me), blackberries (fibbberr keeps you full and balances your blood sugar) and balsamic vinaigrette. I unfortunately didn't take a photo of it, but there is one forever implanted in my memory, for whatever that's worth. Ugh, I'm dreaming of it right now. Do you think I could postmate one to LA?
Enough about my delicious salad. Let's get to the part you've all been waiting for: Erik's vegan donut experience! If you researched vegan food spots in Seattle, then you're probably aware of Mighty-O Donuts. The shop actually doesn't advertise itself as vegan at all, but if you search for the ingredients FAQ on their website, you'll find that they state they are dairy & egg free because "why not?" That's literally what it says. "Why, why not?"
Mighty-O is also devoted to ensuring their ingredients come from companies with sustainable farming practices, organic standards and fair treatment of people and nature. I absolutely love this, and I feel like not much more needs to be said. Oh wait, the donut review. Oops.
I took one of their samples that was out on the counter and I really wasn't that impressed, so I decided to get a mini donut hole in their seasonal "Apple Spice" flavor. Still, not impressed at all, and I didn't even finish the donut hole... I gave it to Erik. It was really dry and kind of tasted like white bread with frosting on it, but I'm also spoiled because I have Fonuts in LA, which are moist, gluten free, and full of amazingness. On the other hand, Erik loved his donut. He had 3 samples plus a donut to himself and finished my donut hole. He also went back the next day and bought two more donuts that he ate in one sitting, so yep can't relate with that metabolism. After my experience, I decided to look up the ingredients on the website. The donuts are pretty much just wheat flour and cane sugar. Not good for you what so ever, but I still love what the company stands behind and their devotion to sustainability. Overall, if you like donuts, saving the animals, and you aren't that picky, give them a shot!
We ended our lovely second day by spending the evening with some of Erik's family that lives in Redmond. I must say, I'm really glad we made it to that side of Seattle to see what it would be like to live in the suburbs. It was beautiful, peaceful, very green and full of positive vibes. I could definitely live there.
Our last day in Seattle :( We had to check out of our AirBnb fairly early, so we spent the morning packing and picking up a rental car for our day's adventure. We are going to drive out east to visit Snoqualmie Falls and Three Forks Natural Area. We stopped back in to Juicebox Cafe, but this time for an actual meal instead of coffee. Learned that lesson the hard way.
We walked in and looked at the menu and then almost left because the menu is very limited, and Erik really wanted a breakfast burrito. I was getting cranky at that point because I just wanted to get on the road so we didn't feel rushed on our mini road trip, but I somehow convinced myself to just stay and get the coconut yogurt parfait at Juicebox. I'd been craving some coconut yogurt and I knew it was really what I wanted, and I am SO glad I got it. It was so freaking good! I forced Erik to try a bite and he ended up staying and getting the same thing instead of going to Verve Bowls, which was a basic acai bowl place down the street. I think the key to the parfait was the crystalized ginger pieces. Ugh sooo yummy. I also got a matcha energy ball for later, which ended up tasting kind of like grass, but #health.
The drive to Snoqualmie was only 45 minutes. It is not a scenic drive by any means, but is beautiful once you arrive to the area. There are a lot of view points to see the falls, including a half mile walk down to the base that I highly recommend doing because it's as close as you'll get to the river and waterfall. It is a steep incline on the way back up, but still very much worth it. I saw a crippled old woman doing it. I think that's all the encouragement you'll need.
Before heading out to Three Forks, we stopped for a quick stretch and meditation on the grass area at the top of Snoqualmie. It was nice to just stop for a few minutes and observe all the birds going about their day. It really puts things into perspective, you know?
We then drove about 10 minutes to Three Forks Natural Area. It looks like absolutely nothing when you drive up. There is a small little dirt lot off the side of the road that fits maybe 3 - 4 cars. We almost didn't go down the dirt path, but we figured we might as well and see what's at the end of it, if anything.
It was breathtaking. We ended up walking for only about 5 minutes and landed at the river lined with millions of rocks and pebbles. It was just so beautiful, and the mountain range in the background looked surreal. The air was crisp, thin and so fresh. Definitely a change of scenery from my LA city living. 10/10 would recommend.
After our little adventure, we drove straight back into town to drop off our rental car in Capitol Hill and take the underground subway to Seattle Tacoma airport. By the way, there is a subway that connects Seattle Tacoma airport to Capitol Hill. If only we had known this when we arrived instead of spending $30 on an Uber. That could have been three more Frankie & Jo's ice creams. And my dignity.
Hope you enjoyed my Seattle diaries!
Love and light, always.
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