A Morning In and Around Seattle’s Capitol Hill

by  Gowri Chandra | May 7, 2015
Gowri Chandra
Gowri Chandra

There are few moments more quintessentially Seattle than watching the fog peel off the bay in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, while sipping a freshly pulled espresso. The city offers up intimate moments everywhere, if you know where to look. And if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the Emerald City with a few hours on your hands, here’s inspiration on unearthing some local favorites.

Start your morning at Oddfellows , a woodsy shabby-chic spot in the heart of Capitol Hill. On warmer days the windows are open wide, and you can enjoy your a.m. meal on the sidewalk. Highly recommended here are the gluten free biscuits and jam, or, if you’re looking for something more substantial and savory, their baked eggs with ham will tide you over until a late lunch. And of course, no meal in Seattle would be complete without a piping hot latté (tea drinkers, never fear, they have options for you also). The magazines and papers to borrow and read with your meal are a fun treat as well.

After getting something in your belly and becoming sufficiently caffeinated, pop next door to one of the best independently owned bookstores in the Pacific Northwest, Elliott Bay Book Company. This warm, light-filled space offers curated end-tables full of tasteful staff picks, a thoughtful stationary and gift section, and best of all, comfy chairs to sit and peruse to your heart’s content.

Later in the morning, stroll down the hill about a mile to Pike Place Market. (Yes, it’s touristy, but there are also several establishments popular amongst locals, and for good reason.) If you’re feeling peckish for a snack, head over to Le Panier and grab a pain au chocolat. If you’re in the mood for something savory, try one of their feuilletés -- puff pastries served warm and filled with béchamel, lardons, and swiss cheese. Los Agaves is a market hit as well, and rarely has a wait. The to-go establishment offers heaping towers of nachos and doughy huaraches (thick layers of corn flour) topped with beans and marinated meats. Minimal seating is available.

Whatever you do, steer clear of the line at the original Starbucks and head over to Storyville Coffee. It’s a bit hard to find, tucked away on the top floor of the market building, but it’s a veritable oasis and well worth the effort. Amidst the amber wood panelling, mood lighting, ample lounge spaces, and a fireplace (very handy for those chillier Seattle afternoons), a solid espresso awaits. Great teas are available as well, for those eschewing caffeine or just having had their fill of joe for the day. Top notch pastries and chocolate are also on display, all locally sourced, with gluten free and vegan options to boot. Nibble on a cinnamon dusted chocolate square and look out the windows at Elliott Bay, and contemplate your next adventure.

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