Saturday, July 18, 2015

Seattle's Booze 'n Bites Tour

Creative Cocktails, Snacks and New Friends

Over the years I have enjoyed witnessing the emergence of Seattle's now thriving downtown.

Unlike many American cities where residents almost never go downtown, Seattle's downtown is the epicenter of the regions art and culture, and resident's and tourists alike love it.

While much of Seattle's cultural amenities are mostly found downtown, good food can be found downtown and in nearly every one of Seattle's distinctive neighborhoods. And the whole Seattle foodie scene seems to evolve endlessly.

Anyway, while in Seattle last week, a friend suggested we join a two-hour Savor Seattle downtown walking tour. It featured five stops with a wonderful little eating / drinking event waiting at each stop. The tour began in Seattle's Pike Place Public Market.

After a few days battling Seattle's now truly dreadful (perhaps epic?) traffic jams, I was up for any activity that did not involve moving or parking a car.

Savor Seattle offers a wide variety of tours but this one seemed just perfect. Tour groups are typically small (with a max of about 14). Our group was an eclectic mix of couples and a grad student from Brazil splitting his time between Portland and New York.

Our guide Patrick popped open his pink umbrella to guide us and then proceeded to walk backwards telling us stories and offering advice about Seattle's changing foodie scene.

Our Guide Patrick 

We met in Post Alley in Seattle's Pike Place Market at Rachel's Ginger Beer where we sat down to a Ginger Beer Montana Mule.

From there we walked north up Post Alley passing a truly amazing Lump-O-Canine enjoying some quality time at the feet of his people. He was watching the tourists walk by and the tourists were watching him.

This Guy Drew Ahh's From Everyone On Post Alley

Our next stop was the Cantina de San Patricio to enjoy a wonderful carne asada street taco, grapefruit "slushie", fresh chips salsa and some truly wonderful guacamole. While we ate and chatted among each other Patrick filled us in on the paranormal activities reported here.

We all pronounced this stop as great and then walked east to the Long Provincial. I've walked past this place dozens of time and never given it a second look. Once we entered Long I realized what I've been missing. This is a home to serious Vietnamese cooking. And I love Vietnamese cooking!

Here we sipped lemongrass martini's and ate Long's wonderful salad rolls that feature a crunchy core of crispy fried tofu. I'll be returning here.

Lemongrass Martini's and Softly Wrapped Salad Rolls

From here we walked to The Diller Room. This classic cocktail lounge is housed in the 1890 circa Diller Hotel at 1st and University. 

When Seattle adopted prohibition (four years before the rest of the nation) speakeasies flourished downtown including one in The Diller where it was concealed by behind a ground floor Chinese laundry. 

We stepped to a private little seating area in the back of The Diller for some very tasty funghi (mushroom and smoked mozzarella) sliders, a crock of mixed sweet and savory nuts and a stiff little Jameson cocktail.

After The Diller we moved on to our last stop; Von's 1000 Spirits GastroBistro. OK, I have to admit I immediately fell in love with Von's.

It could be in part because Von's heritage (being a creation of Tim Firnstahl - whose grandfather was founder of Seattle's Sunny Jim foods).

Tim was the force behind some of my favorite Seattle restaurants (including lower Queen Anne's Jake O'Shaunessy's). Now only a fond memory, Jake's anchored the beautiful, but long gone, Hansen Baking Company. I lived near the Baking Company and loved stepping into Jake's now and then for some prime rib accompanied by Jake's stout Bartender's belting out opera.

But I digress. Von's is now run by Tim's daughter Merrisa and offers a great menu, fair prices and one hell of a bar. First they poured us a Skinny Bitch cocktail, then dropped two hot selections from Von's list of excellent artisan pizza.  

Von's Skinny Bitch Cocktail 
Vodka, fresh grapefruit, cranberry and lime 
all shaken and poured over a big fluff of quickly melting cotton candy

Von's Pesto and Chèvre Pizza 

Here is where the tour officially ended, Patrick chatted us up a bit about some other worthy stops (including the New Starbucks Reserve Roastery) and bid his adieu. 

Now, among new friends we all chatted and laughed for another hour.

From there we walked to the Roastery on the lower flank of Capital Hill (where just outside a wedding party was beginning). I had to run over to snap a photo of the bride and groom in front of a stunning vintage Roll's.

Warm Wishes for a Marriage 
That Lasts Even Longer Than That Beautiful Roll's

Savor Seattle will get a great TripAdvisor review from Roadboy.

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