Being about 1.5 miles (or about 2.4 k.m.) northeast of Seattle downtown, Capitol Hill is outside the usual tourist map. But as far as I know, being outside of the tourist map means this area is rich and lively with the local vibes, be it the low-keyed residential area, food, cafe, bar or bookstore.
One thing that we ALWAYS do when not in Thailand is to walk. A Lot. When you live in Bangkok long enough, you can get sick of all things automotive. Sitting in the car is something we endure day in and day out back home when the traffic can take as long as hours and hours every single day. So, naturally, when we are out and about and the weather is nice and cool, we tend to enjoy ourselves on foot, and Capitol Hill happens to be one of our favorite destinations while visiting Seattle not too long ago.
Capitol Hill is a large area, but for us it starts at Melrose Avenue where they have a small Melrose Market situated right on the Melrose Ave. Spacious with high ceiling and an appropriate look of a timber lodge, the market consists of a branch of the popular Homegrown sandwich bar that claims to be a ‘sustainable sandwich shop,’ where we had lunch. I chose and liked their portobello + goat cheese sandwich that comes also with caramelized onion, mixed green and hazelnut + arugula pesto. My hubby went for a full turkey, bacon + avocado which he said was also delicious. We each also had their super-thick corn chowder which I think it was way too thick for a soup and leaning toward being a leftover oatmeal. The taste was OK (read – bland), and I would just stick to their choices of sandwiches next time around.
Melrose Market also has one another restaurant, a delicious-looking cheese shop, a cafe, a florist, a bar and a lovely home accessory shop (take a small staircase up). A good place to come for variety, if you are in the neighbourhood.
We also walked further to the Old School Frozen Custard – a famed (but low-keyed, hence super attractive and charming) ice cream shop in a small spot on Pike. With a sandwich board sign in front announcing their two flavours of the day, this place boasts nothing fancy. It looks just like, well, an old-school ice cream parlour with bare-bone table sets and simple counter area. We were there the day that ‘butterfinger crunch’ and ‘red velvet cake’ were their daily specials. Of course, we went for both, with their delicious homemade brownie and hot fudge that I really really think delicious (not suicidal sweet and with good choco-flavour and just right gooey-ness of texture).
Walking around Capitol Hill, it is obvious to us that this is an up-and-coming neighbourhood. Many empty spaces are now being turned into something hip and new. There are a lot of renovations going on and I am sure there will be more aspiring restaurants and cafes opening up soon.
But then there are some places that have been there forever, as they are the reasons why the locals frequent there at the first place. Among those places, it seems, is Bauhaus Books and Coffee which is an excellent spot for those loving to read and sip their coffee (real book nerds go there, I suppose).
But if it is the books that you are looking for, head down to the famous Elliot Bay Bookstore on 10th Avenue where book lovers will drool over their wonderful selections. For some inexplicable reasons, I find myself buying more books at independent bookstores. I unconsciously want to read everything there. I think those who run bookstore out of love tend to be better selecting seductive titles for customers than those who just do it because it is a job that pays their bills.
Anyway, please walk to Capitol Hill while visiting Seattle if you can. It is only 20-30 minutes stroll from downtown. Seattle is pedestrian-friendly and its small city blocks are encouraging if you are counting your every pace. And it absolutely will allow you to see things you never would if driving or on taxi.
Until next time, then. Bye! ^_^