A few months ago I went to Seattle with D and my brother to visit my dad and stepmum. Dad was (and still is) undergoing treatment for a tumour in his throat so we thought it might be nice to surprise him and give him something to smile about while undergoing chemo and radiotherapy. So, there he was at home one Thursday afternoon when he gets an unexpected knock at the front door and opens it to find the three of us standing there! Needless to say, he was a bit shocked.
After we gave him time to digest the fact that his quiet afternoon was thrown into chaos by our sudden arrival, we went and picked up my stepmum from work and headed out for some food as we were STARVING.
My brother, who will hereafter be referred to affectionately as GDU (garbage disposal unit), was itching to get to XXX rootbeer. So within about two hours of landing, this is where we found ourselves. They are (in)famous for their XXX burger and GDU was keen to get his teeth into one. As we ordered, the waitress commented on our accent and we told her we were fresh off the plane from Australia. Next thing we know, one of the owners comes out to tell us that an Australian holds the record for eating the XXX burger in record time. Well folks, GDU is the proud holder of this record. I stupidly tried to eat one of these burgers on our first trip a few years ago and was defeated. When he went over for the first time about 18 months ago, I told him there would be no way he could finish it. Well he proved me wrong, finishing it, AND his chips, in under four minutes! He tried to break his record but didn’t. To be honest, I’m not sure that is such a bad thing! Check out the size of the burger in comparison to his hands! If you’re really keen, feel free to watch the video he took of the experience.
I had a philly cheesesteak – my wallet in the background is about half the size and it is 21cm long!
Welcome to America!
Thankfully, we didn’t always eat like this, but we did go back to some of our favourite places in and around the outer Seattle area.
The Black Diamond Bakery is one place we always come back to. It’s an old style bakery situated in a town called Black Diamond (funnily enough), about 35 miles southeast of Seattle. It is a no frills kind of place, but they serve awesome sandwiches on bread they make fresh and old fashioned pie. If you’re lucky enough to visit on a day when the sky is clear, you can see Mt Rainier out the windows. Sadly, we weren’t so lucky either time we went. We did however, have some yummy food. Below is what I still think is the best club sandwich I’ve ever eaten. GDU had the meatloaf sandwich, which he tells me was pretty bloody good.
Thankfully their sandwiches come in halves because you need to save room for pie – I had key lime on this particular visit, but coconut cream and lemon meringue are also favourites.
No trip to the bakery is complete without a stop a few doors down to Baker Street Books. It’s one of the few places I know where you can walk in and the place just smells like books. Book lovers out there will know what I mean. We always leave with 10-15 books. The owner, Bob, is always up for a chat and is very passionate about books – I had a bit of a chuckle at the signs in the window.
No trip to see the Snoqualmie Falls is complete for us without a visit to Adventure Bowl and Sahara Pizza. Every time I walk through the doors at this place I feel like time has stopped since I last visited. The owner there reminds me a lot of Cletus from The Simpsons. It has eight lanes of ‘old school’ bowling where you have to score manually – that’s right folks, no TVs to do it for you! In the same building is Sahara Pizza, who will deliver piping hot pizza to your bowling lane! Their BBQ chicken + bacon pizza is so wrong but so right. As much as I love simple homemade pizza, there has got to be something said for American pizza pie.
There are some great outlet shops in North Bend and I usually go crazy with my credit card and stock up on clothes. One of the other reasons for visiting is a trip to Twede’s Cafe. I’m not old enough to remember the TV show Twin Peaks, but this is where it was filmed. They have a massive menu featuring 50 different kinds of burgers and free refills on fries! That said, the reason we go there is for the cherry pie. Delicious
Anyone who’s driven along the freeway past Issaquah will have seen the sign for Boehm’s Candies. I honestly don’t know why it took until our third trip to pay them a visit when they are just down the road. This time I made it a priority. The place is very cute and reminds me of a Swiss chalet. We bought a fair bit of chocolate and I have to say, the salted caramel chocolates were awesome. I am very partial to salted caramel and these sure hit the spot.
As this trip was more about spending quality family time together rather than being a big sightseeing trip, we also did a lot of cooking and baking at home. Some of the highlights for me were of course the cinnamon scrolls, the Nanaimo bars (recipe will be coming soon) and hanging out with the beautiful Bundy.
Whilst I know Seattle isn’t usually on the radar of most people visiting the US, it really is a beautiful place to visit for a couple of days, even if you do have to put up with it raining just about every single day! If you are lucky enough to get some nice weather, I highly recommend a visit to Mt Rainier – it truly is breathtaking.