All Aboard and Then Some

So after not having traveled anywhere for almost a year, I’ve just returned from my second vacation in one month.

I wrote all about my Michigan experiences in my last post.

This one is about my trip to Seattle and the train ride we took from The Emerald City to The City of Angels.

We flew to Seattle on Friday and got there just in time to grab a cab to Elliot’s Oyster House. Located on Pier 56, the restaurant is designed for great views of Puget Sound. IMG_0191Huge ferries moved in and out as the sun set. Warm golden logs and beams, high ceilings and a soft, busy vibe added a touch of romance and glamor.

We went to Elliot’s on the recommendation of my friend Susan, who I’ve known for decades. The restaurant is one of her and her husband, Steve’s favorites when they visit Seattle.

I have to thank them. We had a fine meal.

We kept our dinner simple: a dozen and a half oysters and the alder planked Alaskan sock-eye salmon. We paired it with a Washington State white wine.

We tried three oysters from over a dozen choices on the menu. They were all local and achingly fresh. A bright mignonette, ketchup and the hottest horseradish I’ve had in a while were all that accompanied the bivalves. Some, I think they were the Hama Hamas, were tiny and light while the Wildcats were big and plump and almost two bites worth.IMG_0196 I could’ve eaten a dozen more, but sanity prevailed.IMG_0195

The salmon was outstanding, as well.  The photo doesn’t do the presentation justice.IMG_0197 A light rub added a pop and the tomato beurre blanc glistened with a rich layer of buttery flavor.

The next day we went to Pike Place Market. John had never been and he was totally blown away, as was I even though I’d been there before. We didn’t see any flying fish but we did see beautiful fruits and vegetables, IMG_0199huge, bright bouquets of flowers, candies, baked goods, pastas, IMG_0201oils and much, much more. We popped into Beecher’s and bought cheese.

We sent chocolate covered cherries to the kids in Brooklyn from Chukar cherries. We also sent them two types of smoked salmon from City Fish. We bought some for ourselves (it’s fabulous).

We were able to get a table at Lowell’s, another Pike Place institution. We opted for the line as opposed to the restaurant, but the line has a full selection of fantastic options. We ordered the Dungeness crab cocktail, crab cakes and the clam chowder.IMG_0204

The food was at the table pretty quickly but we had time to enjoy the views. IMG_0202The Sound was as calm as could be and because it was the weekend there were pleasure boats galore.

We had to get up early so we ordered a pizza in from Padrino’s. No photos. Nothing really to say either, but we liked it.

We boarded the Amtrak Coastal Starlight the Sunday morning just prior to departure at 9:30. We had a sleeper but spent a good part of the time in the parlor car.

Like the observation car, the Parlor Car allows for great views but it has more comfortable chairs that allow for almost 360° views. This ride is the only one with the Parlor Car option and due to costs it may be cut. I am writing letters to the powers that be, maybe two.

We ate several meals on the train: a rather ordinary burger in the dining car at lunch; a small but savory lamb shank and fettuccini alfredo in the parlor car; a salad and a hot dog for the next day’s lunch and salmon for our final dinner. Nothing was fantastic, but like airplane dining space and equipment are limited so all in all we enjoyed our food. The only foodie photo I have though is of the wine tasting. We had a fun time even though the wines were not that great. IMG_0215

We arrived in Los Angeles right on time Monday at 9:00 pm.

Maybe, I’ll do a play by play of the ride, but not today. But I can recommend this trip. It was a fabulous way to see our beautiful country.