Do a little dance… practical information on Seattle and SF

Afb000 In an earlier post, I already gave the quick lowdown on my West Coast trip, but I wanted to give some more detail on the practical stuff.

First up: guidebooks. Obviously, as a bookhistorian, a fair amount of thought goes into which to bring. I have used copies of the Rough Guides Directions series a couple times lately, and liked them. They’re perfect if you’re in a city for a couple of days, and need some thoughts on where to go and what to do and you want something small and easy to carry. They are aimed at the crowd that is looking for good food, good shopping and good culture, and are organized per neighbourhood. I ended up taking the San Francisco Directions with me and loved it. One downside of this particular guide was that it wasn’t very detailed on public transport, but otherwise, thumbs up. For Seattle, there is no RG Directions guide, so after some research I ended with the normal Rough Guide to Seattle, and a copy of The Food Lover’s Guide to Seattle which is a wonderful guide to find out where to buy the best food and food-related items, organised by product (e.g. chocolate, bread etc). This is one of the best specialty guides I’ve seen in a long time and I can highly recommend it (and if they put maps in it, I would consider this THE best specialty guide I own).

Next: shopping. In Seattle, Pike Place Market was obviously one of my first stops. It’s an eclectic collection of food and general knick-knack shopping, and I loved it. Favourites were Dilettante, the chocolate shop, the guys throwing fish, DeLaurentis for gourmet food shopping (and wine, which is where the pic at the top comes from), the cooking shop Sur La Table and  the mapshop with inflatable and huggable globes and planets Metskers. On Pioneer Square, the Eliott Bay bookstore is a wonderfully eclectic bookstore with a great secondhand section. I was taken to Target and absolutely loved it, and for the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted, go to Fran’s Chocolates (the salt caramels are especially wonderful). In San Francisco I didn’t have too much time to seek out interesting shops, although I loved the Banana Republic flagship store just off Union Square.

Lastly: food! Breakfast in Seattle (with a vote for Best View Whilst Having Breakfast) at Lowell’s in Pike Place Market and the most scrumptious breakfast at Macrina’s Bakery in Belltown (gets busy on weekends but well worth the wait). Very good (and cheap) hearty Mexican fare in a relaxed setting at Agua Verde near the University (I had the flank steak taco with a side of mashed potatoes and I swear I almost ate my fingers with the food it was that good). Food in SF: we had lunch at a great Thai place, but I forgot to write down the name. It’s one block south of Union Square, I think on Geary Street. Dirt-cheap, big portions and good stuff.

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One thought on “Do a little dance… practical information on Seattle and SF

  1. You know, Target sticks out on that list of shops like a sore thumb.
    Not that Target isn’t cool. But I guess those of us who live in the suburbs have far better access to the big box stores than you New Yorkers do :)

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