My body often doesn’t take well to travelling, especially when it involves different time zones. Adapting to a different eating and sleeping cycle, even when it’s only 2 or 3 hours difference, does a bit of a number on me, with the main symptom being, uh, “gastro-intestinal distress” (to put it politely). Normally, popping a few Pepto tablets keeps things in check, but this time it seems to be hitting me even harder than usual, and has expanded to include headaches and a generally feeling of crappiness.
As a result, I’ve not been enjoying my visit to Seattle as much as I would have liked. I’ve only visited a handful of places that I’d planned on seeing, and while it’s only afternoon on Saturday, I’m honestly considering just staying in my hotel room for the rest of the day & evening. The idea of drinking more beer is actually somewhat unappealing. This is not good.
Still – I have managed to get a bit of exploring in, starting with last night when I headed out to Capitol Hill neighbourhood. This area is Seattle’s version of Greenwich Village or Queen Street West, as well as the heart of the city’s gay community, so needless to say there are lots of funky shops, trendy restaurants, espresso bars, high-end grocery stores and the like.
My first stop in the ‘hood was the Elysian Brewpub (1221 E Pike St.), a large and inviting place that seems to be popular with the slightly aging hipster set. Several tables were taken by post-grunge couples in their mid-30s who had brought along their little Kurts & Courtneys in training. One kid in particular caught my eye – he couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6, and he was dressed in faded jeans, a red plaid shirt, and had a mop of dirty blonde hair. Very cute, in an odd sort of way.
Anyway, my well-inked waitress was chipper and friendly, and the beer and food were both quite good. My dinner was grilled mahi-mahi tacos – the fish was a bit overdone, but still tasty. And on the beer side, I did a sampler flight of five of their house beers, with the Hydra Hefeweizen and Perseus Porter being my faves, and followed that up with a glass of their Spirit Fire IPA, which was a hop bomb but in a very good way.
Leaving Elysian, I walked a couple of blocks over to Broadway, which looked to be the main drag in the area. When I got the corner of Pike & Broadway, I saw a Bartell Drugs, and recalled that Sheryl had found out from a friend that they carried Idaho Spuds, a local candy bar that we had read about in Steve Almond‘s Candyfreak and wanted to try. I went in and found not only Spuds, and Sheryl’s beloved Payday bars, but about a dozen other candy bars that we’d never tried. I called Sheryl to list them off, and she replied with “one of those, and two of those, and…”. The somewhat embarrassing result is pictured to the right.
Next up was The Stumbling Monk (1635 E. Olive Way). Located a couple of blocks off of Broadway, this a serious blink-and-you’ll-miss-it place. I ended up walking several blocks past the turn on Broadway, and then had to keep my eyes open for it once I back-tracked and found the right street. It has no sign and heavily frosted windows, so unless you know it’s there, odds are you won’t find it – but according to the friendly barman, that suits them fine. They have a steady local clientele who dig the laidback neighbourhood vibe of the place, as well as the impeccable beer list. After all, where else would you find a corner tavern with Duchesse De Bourgogne, Chimay White and Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux on tap, alongside some solid local micros? And I’m sure the the large, Belgian-heavy bottle list probably helps, as well as the remarkably reasonable prices. I spent an enjoyable couple of hours at the bar, and put back some of the aforementioned Duchesse along with an Imperial Stout and a Silk Lady Belgian-Style Ale from Dick’s Brewing of Centralia, Washington. All nice stuff.
And then I woke up this morning with what I originally thought to be a hangover, but what has proven to be something more nefarious. I managed to get out for a couple of hours at least, and I’m still not sure about whether or not I’ll head back out this evening. Whatever happens, watch this space for a summary in the next day or two. Bleh.