World’s best market fare
If you’re more of an “eat on the go” type of person, you’ll love the amazing selection of bite-size edibles at Pike’s Place Market in Seattle. Since you could easily spend hours foraging for grub inside the bustling square, we’ve picked out a few places you have to go. Start with Beechers handmade mac and cheese. It’s gooey, decadent and tastes they way mac and cheese should taste. After that, stop by Le Panier for a fresh-baked croissant or French baguette. Once you’ve had your fill of pastry, get a few hearty sausages at Uli’s Famous Sausage. Get the German Bratwurst; it’s one of the best we’ve had this side of the pond. For some fun (and the freshest fish around) visit the Pike Place Fish counter and watch the butchers toss 50 pound wild salmons over patrons’ heads.
Happy hours & wine tastings
For some of the best wine in the state, head to Lake Chelan, which is about four hours Northeast of Seattle and home to 18 wineries. Start off your tour with a trip to Nefarious Cellars. This winery sits on top of a slight hill so you get a sweeping view of the mountains and lake. Grab a bottle of the Viognier, which is a little fruity with hints of peach. Another winery you must check out is Tildio. Winemaker Katy Perry has caused quite the stir with her wines (including an incredible Tempranillo, the only in the region). Lastly, stop by Chelan Ridge Winery, which offers the best views of Lake Chelan from the porch. Not only that, winemaker Lynn Munneke is an absolute joy. You feel like you’re chatting with your mom over a few glasses of wine. We loved the 2010 Chardonnay.
A little farther South is another top wine producing region, the Yakima Valley. The valley is home to a whopping 43 wineries, all a little different than the next. One of our first stops in the valley is Gilbert Cellars, which has a stunning new tasting room, a lineup of award-winning vintages (we love the Allobroges) and a great vibe. Another must-stop is the Bonair Winery in Zillah. They’ve been making wines since 1985 and their new tasting chateau is absolutely stunning. We love the White Port. Finish your tour with a trip to Willow Crest, where winemaker Dave has been making wine for more than a decade. Try the Mourvedre, which has hints of black and white pepper.
Decadent dinners & local hot spots
If you’re near Lake Chelan, don’t leave without eating dinner at the quaint and cozy Cafè Manson. The small restaurant seats only a handful of people, so you need to make reservations ahead of time. The staff of three is made up of the owners and a chef, and sometimes, another staffer during high season. The food is seasonal, local and healthy, with a selection of gluten-free and vegan options. Start your meal with the fried green tomatoes (gluten-free), which are out of this world.
If you’re in Seattle, go to the SeaStar restaurant located in the posh Pan Pacific hotel. The food is fresh and local. When you are there, order from the Raw Bar. They have an incredibly fresh selection of shucked oysters, ceviche and sushi. Another top Seattle restaurant is Wild Ginger, which has won a James Beard award and is the No. 1 Zagat restaurant in the area. The food is Asian inspired and the fragrant duck is a must-have. You also have to dine at one of restaurant empire Tom Douglas’ places, like the Bravehorse Tavern, which serves low-key but delicious dishes like homemade pretzels and peanut butter bacon sauce and juicy burgers.
If you’re lucky enough to visit the stunning San Juan Islands, grab a bite (and a cozy stay) at The Bluff, which is located inside the Friday Harbor House hotel. The food is innovative and comforting, with dishes like fresh caught salmon with a sea salt foam and heavenly rosemary apple pie. Another place you must eat on the San Juans is the Duck Soup Inn. Rated a “must see” by Rachael Ray, this cozy restaurant about 10 minutes from the harbor has incredible options, like crispy duck confit, sea scallops with ceviche and Lopez island pork meatballs.
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