A Tasty Tour of the Pacific Northwest

I think we did things last week that didn’t include food, but we (OK, I) had too much fun documenting this part of our tour of the Pacific Northwest. You can get a feel for the other things we had going on by what we ate, so consider this the tastiest vacation slide show you’ll ever see. 🙂

French_Market_MKE_AirportDay 1: We typically slack off on pictures towards the end of vacation, so we (OK, again…I) get a bit obnoxious right off the bat. This was our first meal, a lunch at the French Meadow restaurant in the Milwaukee Airport C Terminal. My veggie panini was actually really good. Randy liked his Reuben, too. It’s a surprisingly good choice if you find yourself needing food while in the area.

One of the reasons I put up with being one of the cattle on a Southwest flight is that they are pretty free-flowing with their snacks. Case in point – the 4 bags of peanuts, 2 bags of Wheat Thins, 2 bags of Oreo Chips (yep…a thing!), one full can of Sprite and a ton of water between us. Since I brought cookies and apples myself (trying to clean out the fridge before we left!), we made this food last through Tuesday’s hike.

That night, Randy’s friends hosted us and others for a lovely lasagna and salad dinner. We didn’t take any pictures because we were having too much fun catching up (and hearing history of Randy), but the salad with from-the-garden veggies was particularly good. As was the POG, with or without coconut rum, depending on what you have growing in your belly. Happy vacation indeed.

Day 2: April fed us another delicious meal before we headed out for a tour of the Pike’s Place Market, where we enjoyed a bunch of samples of fruit, cheese, dried cherries and fresh salmon. Randy and I stopped at Lowell’s for our first fishy meal – fish and chips for me and halibut tacos for him. Even though both are standard menu items, they tasted so much better here. FRESH FISH!


That afternoon found on us an electric boat touring around Lake Union, again with Randy’s friends, delicious snacks, and wine. There was even a non-alcoholic wine option for me. (Sure, it’s just grape juice, but it looks so much more grown-up.) The weather was perfect to be outside, though the traffic, including incoming seaplanes, was a bit busy.


Randy_and_A_CrabAfterwards, we headed to a fancy restaurant for more seafood. Randy got the biggest crab I’ve ever seen! And being an engineer, took for.ev.er to finish it! We capped off the evening with ice cream from Molly Moon’s, where I discovered salted caramel ice cream with hot fudge sauce tastes like coffee in the best possible way.

Day 3: We started Labor Day with another great meal at Erik and April’s and then got on our way. Since we were in this fair city, we decided to get a Starbucks snack for the road at a Starbucks in Randy’s old neighborhood. (Probably one of seven in that neighborhood… They are like Walgreens out there!)

Our lunch that day was gas station chicken tenders and Pringles because we are nothing if not healthy. That and the leftovers from our Saturday flight got us through the trip up, down, and sideways of the lookout to Mt. St. Helens.

From there, we hightailed it down to Portland where we met up with another old friend of Randy’s for dinner at Deschutes Brewery. I was a bit fished-out by this point, so I enjoyed a simple tomato & basil pasta dish and the first (and best!) ginger soda I’ve ever had. I kind of wish I would have discovered this earlier on in pregnancy. We also had a pretzel appetizer that included a melted cheese & mustard dip. I’ve got to try this at home.

To finish off the night, Mickey took us to Voodoo Doughnuts where I showed the most restraint of the week. Between the two of us, we got a oreo-frosted white cake doughnut, a Cocoa Puffs doughnut, and a “voodoo doll”, which was a raspberry stuffed, chocolate-frosted concoction with a pretzel dagger. OMG. So good. So rich. Thank goodness we had a fridge (and the rest of the things you’d find in a full kitchen, but that’s a story for another day), so we were able to eat off of this for the next three days.


Day 4: The hotel provided a complimentary breakfast of basics which was perfect with doughnut leftovers. We snagged a couple extra granola bars and fruit for our hike to Multnomah Falls, but we didn’t end up needing them. The lodge at the bottom of the falls could have phoned in their food, but the options were really good and healthy. I had tomato soup and a freshly carved turkey sandwich with homemade ranch chips. Randy had a pulled chicken sandwich and a really fresh salad. It was the perfect amount of food to fuel a smaller hike on one more path before heading to the McMenamins Edgefield place for desserts that we discussed yesterday.


Once we got back to the hotel (and napped… P.S. I love vacation.) and got cleaned up, we used the free trolley tickets provided by the hotel to get to Saucebox, one of Mickey’s recommendations.

Mocktail_Saucebox_PortlandFirst of all, let’s discuss mocktails. I may be pregnant and following the rules, but do you know much I like to still be a grown-up and hold something in a grown-up glass? Many thanks to restaurants like Saucebox that have a whole list of non-alcoholic options available so I don’t have to gamble on the bartender and/or be stuck with water. I really liked their blueberry lemon concoction, but there were around five to choose from.

And their food. Oh my, their food. We ordered small plate style and every single dish was wonderful. My least favorite, the sweet potato eggrolls, would still get a B+ on my grading scale. I was able to overlook the shitaki mushrooms in the gyoza and I continued to eat off of the pad thai dish even though every bite hurt my lips and throat (so spicy!!!). The best dish of the night was the brussel sprouts. They were fried and then served in a sweet broth with scallions. YUM.

(Editor’s note: the food at Saucebox was unbelievable. The lighting was not that great. It was dark enough that this kid with good eyes had to use the candle on the table to read the menu. This means we used a flash for pictures and well, noodles with bean spouts and sauce don’t turn out too pretty when in ugly light. Just trust me it was fantastic!)

By the time we finally finished dinner, it was 9:30, which was the perfect time to check out Powell’s book store. The store closed at 11, giving me just enough time to wander the aisles. I could have easily wasted a lot more time here.

Day 5: Portland, just when I think I couldn’t love you anymore, one of your own suggest Besaw’s for breakfast. It was so Portland-ish I could barely stand it. My egg scramble had kale in it. The ketchup was homemade. Our waiter hand a scraggily beard and wore a square-dancing shirt. A perfect finale to the area.


Pizza_in_Seaside_OregonFrom here, we headed west towards the coast, traveling through beautiful farm, forest, and beach-y areas before stopping at Cannon beach for me to geek out at the rocks from the racing scene in Goonies. We made our home in Seaside, Oregon that night where we spent too much money on a C- hotel, but it was almost worth it since we had a beachfront view. Randy went for a run while I napped again before we walked to a pizza restaurant to pick up dinner to enjoy on our patio while we watched the sunset. I can think of worse C- hotels…


Day 6: Since we were on a streak with the doughnuts (see, I wasn’t kidding yesterday…), we found a bakery for the goods. I think the actual cake part was better here than Voodoo Doughnuts, but I like them all. We got a smoothie to pretend we could be healthy as fuel for a short walk on the (super cold!) beach before heading out.

Upon arriving in Astoria, we decided to check out the Maritime Museum because, well, why not. It turned out to be more interesting than I expected. Turns out that the entrance of the Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean one of the most difficult places to sail due to the crashing weight of the waters fighting against each other.

Even more interesting was the line for fish and chips served out of a ship-wrecked boat across the street. The line was about 10 people deep at 3 pm on a Thursday and upon my first crunch, I could see why! I don’t know how they do it out of a little boat (probably don’t want to), but everything down to the homemade tarter sauce was perfect.


Gas station hot chocolate fueled the thunderstorm-filled drive to our final destination, the Glenacres Inn in Westport, Washington. The hotel (rather a bed and breakfast without the complimentary breakfast) was adorable and the proprietor recommended a good place for dinner. I say good, not great. It filled the belly in a positive fashion, but it was nothing to write home about (or take pictures of, as the case may be). Here, Randy and I realized that Small Town, USA does not have the same appreciation for food as Small Town, Italy. One more reason to travel abroad…

We toured through “town” (could have been done while holding my breath) before heading home to a Twix bar dessert. You win some, you lose some.

Day 7: We had a lot more driving on this day than originally thought, so we got up early (if you consider 8 am early) to hit the road. Another hot chocolate, coffee and muffins were ordered from a unique coffee shop which kept us full until Tacoma. A small bag of chips kept this preggo from getting too moody (which I commented on… much to my jinxing mistake.)

And then we had lunch. Seattlites might consider this a “fill the belly” lunch. Nothing gourmet. Plastic plates and generic sodas. But what a revelation for this lover of white rice and Asian sauce. Yes, I am speaking of the teriyaki shops that are everywhere. Instead of having the nastiness of Subway, locals can enjoy heaping (I mean, HEAPING!) portions of chicken teriyaki for cheap, cheap prices. I would be at one of these for lunch everyday if I lived here. Yelp suggested CC’s Teriyaki which was close to the Boeing factory, which we also toured. Life was good that afternoon.


It was fun to watch Randy at his first place of grown-up employment. To picture the 24-year-old version of my husband working in a place building airplanes, just like the 6-year-old version always dreamed of was worth a smile. The chance to see the innards of the newest planes out there, even better.

Dukes_Crab_Chowder_and_Crab_CakesAfter the tour, we went to Duke’s Chowder House, home of the “Award Winning Clam Chowder”. (When asked by who, they defer and say they’ve won three times so they aren’t allowed to enter again…funny…) Now, I like me a corn chowder, but I’m not really a fan of clams. Or crab in non-cake form. I was a semi-trooper and tried the crab chowder and crab cakes. Lots of crab, which made sense because I was super crabby that night. It was just a bit too cold to be outside, where we ate, and it was just about 30 minutes too long since the last meal. Randy got his fleece and tackled the waiter for more bread for me and all was well. (My hero!) Oh, and I got a Torani cherry lime soda, which was very refreshing (and which the interwebs are telling me I can do at home! Hot dog!)

There was a really fun grocery store next to our hotel, where we got milk to go with our dark chocolate-covered Washington cherries that night and breakfast/lunch for the next day.

Day 8: Speaking of which… Again, a relatively early morning where we arose to see it was drizzling. All week Randy had been telling me that in Seattle people still do stuff when it rains. This was the first time I had to see it in action. Which was super fun when our “action” was a hike up another mountain-side. The rain stopped right before we took off on Alpental mountain and the weather turned out to be perfect. Old lady Maggie used a hand-crafted-by-Randy walking stick to keep from falling in the mud, but we made it further than I think both of us expected.

Back at the bottom of the hill, we enjoyed another turkey sandwich, hummus and pita chips, apples, and apple juice in the car. (I forgot to mention…there may have been another doughnut for breakfast, but it was paired with a Naked Juice drink and Greek yogurt. That’s worth something, right?!)

Hotcakes_Seattle_Molten_Chocolate_Cake_with_Peanut_butterBack in town, we visited with Randy’s friends who lent us our hiking backpack (thank you!!). While there, they suggested Hotcakes for a PM snack. Woo doggies. I have had rich dishes before, but I’m always able to eat them. This molten chocolate cake with peanut butter, homemade vanilla ice cream, and homemade peanut butter toffee… It was almost too much. I still managed to eat it all (and some of Randy’s chocolate chip cookie with ice cream), but it took awhile back at the hotel before either of us were interested in checking out dinner. (P.S. I love my hands in this picture… GIVE ME NOW!) Oh, and there was a visit to the locks in there somewhere which was also interesting.

5_Spot_Seattle_Fried_Green_TomatoesOur last real dinner of the trip took place at the 5 Spot, a passing suggestion from friends and Yelp. This unique restaurant totally changes their menu every few months focusing on a different theme. Currently, they are doing “New Mexico”, but they had past favorites from “Meat and Potatoes”, “South of the Mason-Dixon” and “New England”. We had fried green tomatoes, chile verde and the night’s special which included the best piece of fish I had the whole week. And a combination of polenta + baked tomatoes + sauce that was perfect. So perfect.

We actually passed on dessert and instead went to a bar young Randy frequented. A mocktail, a Jack & coke, and a few Nirvana songs later and it made for a perfect night. Randy got a high five for taking home a girl from the Palomino for the first time, too. 🙂

Day 9: (Does your belly hurt yet? Don’t worry…we’re almost done.)

This late-waking morning took us by monorail to the Space Needle for a fancy brunch. Two spins around brought us three courses (plus juice and pastries) of… oh, so much food. Here’s some pictures. You can describe on your own while I go lay down. I’m getting full just writing this!


After brunch, we went up a floor to take more pictures. The weather turned out perfect and the scary mountain loomed large in the distance. Then we walked. And walked and walked. We took a ferry out in the Sound because that seemed like a thing to do. (It was.) My the time we got back to downtown, the market was closing and tourists were scattering like cockroaches. The line at the first Starbucks was only a few people deep so we took advantage of that and got a smoothie. Final check off of the Seattle tourist bingo! We win!


We went back to the hotel where we waited a bit too long to think about dinner. Neither of us were really hungry at that point, but things were closing around us, so it took an hour and a half of walking and then waiting before we got our take out from Umi Sake House. Eh. We definitely peaked at brunch that day.

Day 10: A super-early wake-up call got us to the light rail line at 6:30am. With an absence of homeless people (there are so many on the streets…how come no one in the station?!) and traffic, we got to the airport in no time. Final Starbucks and book in hand, it was time to come home.

Flight was so uneventful that we arrived in Milwaukee about 45 minutes before our ride. We ate one last vacation meal at the Brew Pub, which was surprisingly good. Mine was a grilled cheese with roasted red peppers and fresh asparagus (and onion rings with ranch because I was still on vacation, dang it.)

Sooooo much food. So many good memories. I can’t wait to show Randy my stomping grounds next year. We’ll see how South Carolina food (and maybe other stuff, too) compares then! For now, it’s back to the zumba classes and salads I go.

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