In a region growing and changing as much as the Pacific Northwest, discovering the best places to grab a little R&R is one of our favorite ways to spend our down time. Check out some of our favorite spots below.
La Medusa, Columbia City
Sometimes you simply crave a high-quality, delicious dinner in a comfortable, homey setting. Enter La Medusa, in Columbia City. For 22 years this restaurant has been a staple in the neighborhood, focusing on Mediterranean-inspired dishes, and using local seasonal organic ingredients. The menu changes so often that it's written on a large blackboard instead of printed menus. Order at least one of the pasta dishes, it will comfort you like having dinner with an old friend.
Kip's tip - order "family style" to try as many dishes as possible.
Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to see this, but what I found was an intriguing gem of a place, located practically under the Space Needle. World-famous glass artist Dale Chihuly has compiled some beautiful exhibits of his work. The vibrant colors, amazing shapes and scale of some of the pieces will blow your mind! So, if you are looking for something to lift your soul on a rainy day, take a trip down to see this beautiful space.
Kip’s Tip: Your ticket is good for 24 hours; plan your outing so you can see the exterior garden during the day, AND after the sun has gone down. Well worth the return!
Brimmer and Heeltap
With a 2 year old we don’t stray too far from home for date nights these days, but fortunately Ballard has much to offer and Brimmer and Heeltap doesn’t disappoint! They serve up some seriously delicious comfort foods and tasty cocktails, and their happy hour is from 5-7 daily. Very solid. Just get there early if you go for happy hour because it’s a popular one.
Adam’s Tip :The Dynamite Chicken is absolutely dynamite! Crispy on the outside and juicy inside.
Informed Delivery by USPS
It doesn't get much more local than your mailbox! The USPS 'Informed Delivery Daily Digest' is a free service that sends a digital image of your incoming mail to your email inbox. You can see each morning what will be delivered that day including invitations, letters, financial information and even packages. All it takes is a one time online sign up and you're first notification will come within two days.
Todd’s Tip: Yes you have to give them your name and email address, but that’s it. Worth the time and convenience.
Frankie and Jo’s
What, made from plants?! Yep, it’s true, and it’s crazy delicious. I was skeptical at first but quickly became a convert with the Chocolate Mint Brownie. And the California Cabin. And the Gingered Golden Milk. Okay, everything I tasted was truly incredible. And the best part is it didn’t make my belly feel heavy and full!
Adam’s Tip: Get there early as the word is out that this is really good, and they tend to have a line out the door starting around 6pm.
Looking for a fun activity? Head over to Madrona to the glassybaby shop and blow some glass! You can plan an event there for between 7-20 people, and work one-on-one with a glassblower to make your own creation. Choose your colors and design a bowl, float or a paperweight. Plus you get a $15 discount if you buy a glassybaby votive from the shop.
Kip’s Tip: Purchase a liquor license for $10 and provide some food and drinks to make it even more fun!
I recently took my in-laws out to a delicious feast at Stoneburner and every one of us had a great meal, combined with exceptional service. Our waiter has worked there since it’s inception in 2013, and his passion for Stoneburner is contagious. We sat at a table next to giant windows that look out on Ballard Ave. Great conversation, food, ambience, and people watching!
Adam's Tip: You've got to try the crispy gnocchi with lamb belly bacon, spinach, poached egg and parmesan!
Flintcreek Cattle Co., Greenwood
It seems like it took forever for this restaurant to open, but it was well worth the wait! FlintCreek prides themselves on serving responsibly sourced, grass-fed animals, raised on small-scale farms without use of hormones or antibiotics. Located in the hub of Greenwood, this once antique store has floor-to-ceiling windows, making the ambience is truly fantastic.
Adam’s Tip: slow braised bison short ribs…comfort food yum!
The Electric Boat Company, Lake Union
These simple-to-drive and gently paced watercraft are essentially a floating sofa wrapped around a center table with room for up to 10 adults. One person captains from the back while the rest of you lounge about, enjoying the music, food and beverages you bring aboard. These fully-covered boats feature leather seating, cupholders, a jack for your music (or a CD--yes, a CD!), blankets, heaters for cool days and plastic windows if it gets really gross. You can even rent a cooler and buy ice at the dock. The rate is the same regardless of the number of passengers, so rent a boat for a romantic date, a birthday party or an easy way to entertain out-of-towners.
Todd's Tip: The two hour minimum is just enough time to circle the whole lake and Portage Bay, plus go down the ship canal to the Ballard Bridge and back.
An oldie but a goodie, Monsoon serves up Vietnamese fusion dishes in the quaint northeast corner of Capitol Hill. Expanded and remodeled to include a rooftop deck, drop in for a glass of wine, the best bowl of pho you'll ever have or their signature 'Drunken Chicken' (left). Atmosphere is smart casual and free street parking!
Ian's Tip: Sunday brunch offers dim sum options and the Bo La Lot appetizer is a fave!
The Nest at Thompson Seattle
Lets face it, rooftop weather is coming to a quick close in Seattle but The Nest is still a hot spot for hanging out with a view that cant be beat. Fall still offers some sunshine and deck heaters bring the warmth which will be well worth it once you are up here. Gorgeous sunsets, crafty nibbles and the ideal space for impressing company in the best way.
Our Tip: Make a reservation if there are more than two of you. The roof fills quickly and you don't want to miss it.
Come Fly With Me
As anyone who has ever flown into SeaTac can tell you, there's nothing like the beauty of Seattle from air. The next level up is to see it from lower down! Chartering an aerial tour with Helicopter's Northwest takes you around the city and beyond in 20, 30, 40 minute tours from an elevation from 500-1,000 feet above the ground. These private flights make an exciting date, easy way to entertaining out-of-towners, or a crash course on how all the neighborhoods connect together.
Todd's Tip: Be sure to check online first for Groupon offers and substantial discounts.
Thai Street Eats
When on the hill and craving something quick but desperate to escape fast food, pop into Manao Thai on 14th and Pine. Located in the 1st floor retail space of Collins on Pine Apartments, this small walk-up eatery features rotating specials with a menu heavy on rolls and noodle dishes. In my photo on the left is the herbal crispy chicken (or tofu!) with kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal, cilantro and crispy chili in a tamarind sauce. I went with the yellow turmeric rice, but white jasmine or brown rice are also options and included with the entrees.
Todd's Tip: Call ahead with your order then slip into one of the two free 30 minute zones on the east side of the building.
BBQ with Swagger
Hankering for amazing BBQ that serves organic, hormone free meat from sustainable Northwest farms that even Portlandia’s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein feel good about eating? Head on into Drunky’s Two Shoe BBQ in Fallard (Fremont/Ballard) for tasty treats, friendly service, and kitschy artwork in a shack-style restaurant that leaves you feeling like you’re getting your eat on somewhere in Texas.
Adam’s Tip: Live Honky Tonk music on Wednesday nights from 8-10.
The south end of Seattle along the shores of Lake Washington is full of surprises, including many delicious locally-owned restaurants. Included among them is Pizzeria Pulcinella in Rainier Beach. While the menu is filled with delicious cast of salads, desserts and pasta, the pizzas are the stars.
Pulcinella is one of only a few wood-fired pizza makers in Washington to be certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN), a special designation given "to pizzerias who meet strict requirements that respect the tradition of the art of Neapolitan pizza making". They come in only one size and the smaller pieces make it particularly delightful so sample and share.
Todd's Tip: Refresh yourself after stuffing yourself with a Dolce Fine espresso shot.
When Dogs Dream
Hot dogs aren't just kids play! In fact at The Red Hot, located along a trendy section of 6th Ave in Tacoma, only the 21 and over set is allowed. 1/2 hot dog stand, 1/2 tap room, it's a laid back environ where patrons enjoy affordable eats (including dogs, sausages, sides and a vegan menu) and over two dozen beers on tap. Crowded on the weekends you might wait for a table, but lunch it an easy and quick affair. Regardless, the friendly staff will make sure you enjoy yourself.
Todd's Tip: Ignore your better senses and indulge in The Hound Dog with creamy peanut butter and two slices of bacon.