Line ups can still be long if you are driving, so leaving early in the day on a Saturday is recommended. Only 30 minutes or so from the border, is a little town called Mt. Vernon, where one of my fave cafe’s is. The Calico Cupboard. It’s the brick building right beside I-5 and the tulip stack. It’s got real character as it was a grain house once upon a time. With the brick exterior and the open interior with exposed beams, some natural light and a real country feel.
The menu offers home cooking, decent portions, prices and very friendly staff. I’d recommend any of the sandwiches, fish tacos or the breakfast burrito! Their bread is delish and they even offer a spelt alternative.
The Calico Cupboard
Next stop – La Connor. Just west of Mt. Vernon about 20 minutes from the I-5. This quaint little town, offers many local boutiques, antique shops and some restaurants for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even a brewery. Go for a couple hours or a whole afternoon, or stay in one of the many bed and breakfasts.
Once in Seattle, you need to take advantage of their Happy Hour. We just don’t do it like they do!
Sazerac at the Hotel Monaco offers happy hour daily from 4-8pm in the lounge. Try a glass of wine from $3-6 or a local micro brew $3-$4 – like the Mac & Jacks African Amber Ale (so smooth) or the Pike’s “Kilt Lifter” Ruby Ale. The food menu ranged from $3 to $8 specials, from Organic Lettuces with a lemon vinaigrette; Dates stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in bacon, grilled and served with a balsamic reduction (oh my – this was heavenly to me); Kobe beef sliders with gruyere cheese; Red Rock feta stuffed peppers, to name a few. They offer cheese and charcuterie and full regular menu too.
Sazerac Restaurant at Hotel Monaco
Sitting at the bar in any local restaurant just gives more opportunity to talk to the locals. The next stop was recommended by a guy in the food biz and the bartender at Sazerac. Tavolata’s, located in Belltown is known for their modern space and homemade pasta. It’s a loft with concrete walls, little art and low lighting. A long communal table, private tables and a long bar. Their wine menu is extensive and decently priced in comparison to Vancouver (possibly slightly cheaper by the glass for better quality international wines).
Recommended by some Seattle foodies at the bar – the Mackerel Bruschetta! Not as fishy as you might think, instead light and fluffy (if that’s possible). The Rigatoni I was told is the best dish on the menu, with house made spicy italian sausage. It went nicely with the red wine chosen by the bartender – an Italian earthy wine at $9/glass. But my night was blown away by the simplest dessert…lemon glazed donut holes (timbits to us) with a dark chocolate dip. For a late night dessert, this was perfect. Well worth the visit!
Tavolata’s (in Belltown)
And sitting at the bar at any restaurant and talking to a Seattle foodie, just means your list of restaurants to check out grows and grows. Until my next Seattle adventure – enjoy!