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open mind, empty stomach

travel, food, and fun

Anthony Bourdain is coming out with a new show called “Layover” where he spends a day or two in a major airport hub and makes the most of it in terms of eating. I deliberately bookmarked this trip with a layover in Taipei on the way from Hawaii to Bangkok and a layover in Seattle on the way home from Paris with the same intention, before I had heard of the concept for the show. Arriving at 5pm and leaving at 5pm the next day, I had exactly 24 hours in the Emerald City. I stayed at the Green Tortoise Hostel in the center of the city just across from Pike Place Market. It was one of the nicest hostels I have ever stayed at and the location can’t be beat.
Seattle has a number of great restaurants and I decided to go with Spur because it was a short walk from where I was staying. I budgeted remarkably well for the trip overall and had a small surplus, so I decided to go big on dinner. I had the eight course tasting menu with cocktail pairings. It was one of the greatest meals of my life and rivaled the best of what I had to eat in Europe and Asia. The cocktails were as well thought out and tasty as the food. The staff was friendly, knowledgable, attentive, and loved food.
Seattle is known for its coffee culture and I checked out two of the best cafes in the city, Vivace and D’Arte. I don’t have a very sophisticated coffee palate, but thoroughly enjoyed my beverages at both places. For lunch I went to Armandino’s Salumi. Mario Batali’s dad’s place is very popular and I was sure to get there early to avoid a long line. I had a delicious porchetta sandwich and took a salumi and cheese for the plane ride home.
I spent my last few hours in Seattle walking in and around Pike Place Market. The place is really cool and like a gigantic Ferry Building. I bought some wild chanterelles, brussels sprouts, and other goodies I can’t get in Hawaii to take back home.
This was my second time to Seattle and the first time was more than 5 years ago. I was only there 24 hours this time, but it was long enough to reserve a place in my heart for this wonderful city. A drab, gray, rainy place was full of incredibly nice people, world class coffee, and a vibrant food scene. I boarded my plane very full, very happy, and eager to come back and taste more of Seattle!

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