Last weekend, I was in Seattle for a couple days, both for work purposes but also to show a friend around Seattle on the Sunday before the workday and after work hours. I’m going to spread the posts out a little bit, but here’s a first taste.
We took the Bolt Bus- I can’t speak highly enough for the fact that it was faster than taking the Amtrak since it was a straight shot (and with no traffic on Sun morning to worry about at our early departure time at 6:30am) and the fare was only $15 for each of us. Later, our return cost us $8 a piece. The cost for both of our tickets round trip is the equivalent of the Amtrak fare. Now, Amtrak has a little bit more room in the seats and offers a dining car, but by choosing such an early and late bus schedule route she and I each had a double seat to ourselves and were fine. I got quite a lot of work done on the way to Seattle.
Once we were there, we walked just about 15 minutes from where it drops off in the International District/King Station area and reached the downtown area and found our hotel for our stay the next two nights, the Hotel Monaco Seattle. This boutique hotel already had a room for us before 10am so we were thrilled to be able to put our bags in the room and then go off to our first adventure. If you stay here, make sure you sign up to be a Kimpton InTouch Loyalty member so you can get access to free wireless and also $10 room minibar raid! We did not partake, but they have a complimentary coffee stand in the morning from and a hosted wine reception every evening as well, something they kept as a tradition from their founder (who used to host these himself).
I had signed us up for a Pike Place Market tour later in the day, so I tried to keep our stomachs mostly empty so we would be able to enjoy it. For a tiny breakfast, we walked towards Pike Place Market and had a small bite at The Crumpet Shop. On the way there, the city was still waking up, and it sort of peaceful as we made our way there. It was still overcast gray skies, but the flowering trees added color and cheer. Since it was early, the walkways were not crowded yet with people.
And here’s the Crumpet Shop! I have walked by it several times and wanted to stop, but always was on my way to another meal stop. There was a line out the back door of the little store extends into the rest of the Corner Market Building (you saw a glimpse of it to the right in the first Pike Place Market shot above). The building has looked the same since 1912 when it was first built over the remains of a collapsed hotel from attempting to build a railroad tunnel underneath. Meanwhile, the Crumpet shop has been making fresh crumpets everyday in their kitchen (which you can see right there) for thirty-six years. Standing by the windows into the kitchen, we watched a man mixing the dough in a huge bowl that was 1/3 the size of our body, and a woman managed a whole griddle full of crumpets.
We came through the front door which gave us a chance to peek at tables and what the crumpets looked like before we lined up in the hallway. The line moves pretty fast though- and you may find that it is barely sufficient time by the time you get inside to decide what you want from the menu of all crumpet but with various toppings. Well ok, there is coffee and tea and scones too, but really it is all about crumpets- sweet, savory, simple with just organic butter or a fruit topping, or all out with egg and smoked salmon cream cheese, or with homemade hazelnut chocolate and ricotta, or Stilton Blue Cheese and orange marmalade, or… yeah I had a hard time selecting just one. Their website doesn’t have the whole menu as shown below… there are probably more than 30 variations possible.
A crumpet is a traditional English griddle cake made from flour and yeast, and then on the pan/griddle are put into rings which gives the crumpets it’s round shape and the way it is cooked is similar to a pancake, and it has a fluffy softness with a crispy edge that is similar to pancakes as well. They are thick in a way that is reminiscent of a bagel which is perfect for carrying the toppings and eating with with your hands, but with its flat top with many small pores and chewy spongy texture, it also like an English muffin. My ultimate selection was Walnuts, Honey & Ricotta (AKA The Walrus). My friend selected the crumpet with English cheese and tomato and pesto.
As you can see, these are very do-able as part any progressive meal. And now I’ll just let you enjoy the food pron pictures.