Work occasionally takes me to Seattle, and not just to greater Seattle but downtown Seattle. I enjoy visiting. There are always interesting food and drink choices in our off hours. I like to stay at the Andra and this trip that’s just where I landed. Though I did have one night at the nearby Warwick due to a scheduling snafu. The Warwick is nice too. I just like the Andra better. Maybe it’s because the restaurant Lola is connected to the hotel and they have the best breakfast going that I’ve found in that area – though the prices are ridiculous.

There’s only one non-stop flight from Austin to Seattle (on Alaska Airlines) and it’s definitely the way to go. With business to attend to Monday, Sunday would have been the day to fly but that flight was booked up so I just decided to go on Saturday. Gave me a chance to see a little more of Seattle that I do on a typical whirlwind trip to the area. So I had the whole day Sunday to bum around.

Now, that would have been a lot easier had it been a little warmer. Temps never got above freezing that Sunday but although it was cold, the sun came out and that made all the difference in making it pretty comfortable to get around town by foot. I felt a little bad for the thousands of people that came out that Sunday morning early for the annual Jingle Bell run. At that time of the morning – around 8am – it was probably closer to 20 degrees.

I spent the bulk of my day after a leisurely breakfast wandering around Pike Place market. See photo of pepper wreath at right and the one at the bottom of this post. Every time I’ve ever been there it’s been bustling and given this was a weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas it was jammed with people. The cold weather didn’t keep anyone away. Aside from the usual fish, fruit, veggies and flowers there were a lot of craftspeople selling their wares.

With the weather cold I was up for a warm beverage. People stand in line at the Pike Place market starbucks because it is known as the 1st starbucks. (Though I read that lore is perhaps not 100% accurate.) I wasn’t going to stand in line – beside which I’d been there many years before – so I pulled into Local Color – another coffee joint down the street. I had had so much coffee earlier in the morning I opted for a decaf tea so I don’t really know if their coffee is any good.

Prize for the nicest looking coffee place I think I have ever seen goes to Storyville, which is also in the Pike Place market area. This place is like a ski lodge. I stumbled across it late in the evening during the work week and wasn’t up for a coffee at the hour but, wow, I have to check this place out on the next visit.

Having said all of the above, my favorite coffee joint I have gone to now a few times is Moore Coffee Shop. It is a crackerbox of little place. The coffee is fantastic though. On this trip I noticed it had expanded in size a bit though. They have opened the space between the coffee shop and The Moore Hotel. If that was open before, I don’t remember it.

The photo of the bar here is from the Black Bottle. This is a place I’ve been to several times now. They bill it as “casual tavern serving rustic fare made from scratch” and I guess I’d agree with that. The wine list is nice and they serve small plates so you can try a variety of things. I see this trend in restaurants pretty much everwhere I go. It’s certainly become popular here in Austin. Anyway, I like this place and hope to return again some time.

The photo of the space needle here was one I snagged early one morning late in the week. The weather had warmed up and was misty that morning. It was hard to tell whether the sun was up or not – clouds were that thick. At this point in the week I was at the Warwick and from my room the space needle was prominently on display out my window. This photo was taken with a slighly telephoto lens so I look like I might have been closer to the needle than I actually was.