PIKEMuch like Oregon, my ideas of Seattle were mostly informed by popular culture (and especially favourite films). Driving into town, I felt prepared for the cold and wind, but what I was not prepared for was the food. By which I mean how amazing the food was. Our friends have been living in town a couple of years, so had a range of amazing places in store for us, including Shiro’s. Shiro apparently trained at the famous Ginza in Tokyo and has a million years experience in sushi which, combined with the amazing seafood quality of the pacific northwest and the company of some very bubbly and fun friends, made for a hugely memorable night. I’ve never eaten sashimi so fresh, nor so many varieties of tuna. We had uni and clam miso, and washed it all down with hot sake and cold Kirins, and later a few bouryes (bourbon rye) at Canon.

The Seattle Art Museum, housed as it is in a fairly ugly early-80s building, is actually a pretty wonderful way to spend a cold and wintry December morning. The wind kicks off the sound with startling ferocity, so we were pleased to take shelter and take in a little culture, hardly having set foot inside a gallery or museum since New York two months prior. We saw their permanent collection, full of intricate local artifacts, and some lovely (and some startling) pieces from the Centre Pompidou as part of a feminist revisionist art history.

FANCY LOBSTERJust down the road from the Museum is the historic Pike Place Market. I had thought it would just be a tourist show, but was so impressed with all the seafood and fresh produce goodness I could have stayed all day. We tried fresh cheese curds at Beechers Handmade Cheese, and their world-famous mac’n’cheese which Jordy and I attempted to share, but I may have got the better half of. If that wasn’t enough (and clearly it wasn’t), we went to nearby Etta’s for ‘crabby hour’ and had ourselves a whole local crab and pints of hoppy ale for a very nice price as the silvery grey light set over the water.

Happily, through all this, I was able to sustain myself on Stumptown coffee, my new / old favourite. It warmed me and kept me wide eyed (a necessity, 10 weeks into a coast to coast roadtrip) as we explored this beautiful part of the world.