Panorama view of downtown from West Seattle (click the pic for a larger version)
One of our first stops was World Spice, a store specializing in spices and teas from all over the world. We first found this place via Savor Seattle's Off the Beaten Path tour (now defunct - the tour, not the company) and we ended up going back after the tour with a long list of spice blends and teas we wanted to try.
If you don't know where World Spice is, you probably won't accidentally find it. It's on Western Avenue, to the Puget Sound side of Pike Place Market, and away from the major market craziness.
Here's a little peak inside the store:
What you see in the foreground on the table is samples of spices (there are more along the wall to the right, and along the window to the left) to give you an idea of what they smell like. The teas are down some stairs to the left, and to the back of the picture is the larger containers the store's employees fill your order with.
There is no air conditioning in the store and the line doesn't move quickly, so that combination can make it rough on a hot day.
For us, we picked up some pearl jasmine green tea, assam black tea, and a sweet chai spice blend to go with the assam. That's a fantastic mixture (the black and chai spice, not with the pearl jasmine) with some warm whole milk and a little honey. We've tried other mixes and blends and they just aren't as flavorful as this one.
Ideally we could find a store just like this in Portland - sure would cut down on the gas. If you have any suggestions, please leave it in the comments!
Our next stop was back up to the crazy part of the market and a cheesecake store called The Confectional. This is another place we stopped at on a Savor Seattle tour, but it's someplace we were going to go anyway.
We had to stop in because we had a Groupon certificate for a six-pack of mini cheesecakes for $12, instead of $22.50. For our six we chose (clockwise from the top left below): peanut butter and chocolate, Seattle's New York style, caramel, quadruple chocolate, raspberry and white chocolate, and cookies and mint chocolate.
All of them were pretty decent. The caramel tasted a little fake to me, but they were good. Are they as good as the New York style cheesecake here in Portland at Kenny and Zuke's? Not even close.
Our next stop was Cupcake Royale, one of several cupcake places in Seattle we have been to before. This is a picture of the West Seattle location.
We had leftover Groupon coupons for two four-packs that we picked up. We ordered a variety, but the seasonal strawberry cupcake was phenomenal. The frosting had strawberries in it and was fantastically fresh.
Unfortunately, no pictures of the cupcakes. Carrying a backpack around and walking sounded like a good idea, but after putting the cupcake boxes in they got a little, well, squished. Still recognizable to be sure and still yummy, but not pretty enough for the camera, if you know what I mean.
Next up was Sugar Rush only a block away from Cupcake Royale in West Seattle, because I needed coffee and because they also sell excellent cupcakes.
Misaki waiting dutifully for her papa.
Again, no pictures of the cupcakes, but both them and the coffee are highly recommended. Service here is also fantastic.
Lunch came from Bakery Nouveau. Well, lunch and a bunch of other things. Let me see, what all did we get... Chocolate croissant, ham and cheese sandwich on a baguette, a slice of pizza with goat cheese and tomato sauce, a brownie, and two macaroons - raspberry and salted caramel macaroon.
Not a good pic, but you should have seen the others
The sandwich was very good and big enough to split, which was nice. The pizza was interesting. It had a big, thick crust - almost like a deep dish - but unlike anything I've had before. Perhaps this is a French interpretation of pizza? The tastes were good, but just not quite what I'd call pizza. The brownie was actually disappointing. It was okay, just not great. The macaroon wasn't impressive either - there are better at Pix Patisserie here in Portland. The croissant was excellent.
Now, admittedly, we got here rather late in the day for a bakery - after 3pm - so the best stuff had been picked over. Unfortunately we missed out on the twice baked chocolate croissants.
We also hit up Old School Frozen Custard on Capitol Hill (warning, their official site just crashed my browser twice) for some chocolate frozen custard. Very smooth, not too rich, super creamy - absolutely we highly recommend this. We also ordered a treat with vanilla custard and peanut butter atop a brownie - that was pure perfection. So good...the brownie there was actually better than the one we had at Bakery Nouveau, which was quite a surprise. Love this place, and it's quickly becoming a staple for our Seattle trips.
Our final stop was Molly Moon's Handmade Ice Cream. We hadn't intended on going there, just happened to find ourselves standing outside after eating frozen custard. Supposedly this place is a Seattle favorite and there are usually lines out the door, but there was no line at the moment. We went back and forth for a minute, since we had just eaten custard, but figured what the heck. Having heard the salted caramel was very good and that being one of our favorite flavors, I ordered a scoop in a dish.
The ice cream was very good. Creamy, thick, smooth - all of the things that make good ice cream this had. The salted caramel? Not so much. The caramel part tasted either burnt or fake - couldn't tell which - and there was way, way, way too much salt in this ice cream. Way too much salt. It was okay for a couple bites, but after that we both started to get nauseous. The final third just ended up in the next trash can.
We're torn on a return trip to Molly Moon's. On one hand, perhaps another flavor would give us a better experience - the ice cream part was very good. On the other hand, this flavor people supposedly really like didn't match our palettes at all - would a different one be any better? Maybe...have to think on that.
Misaki would like to tell everyone the treat she got at Next to Nature in West Seattle was yummy. (Of course, she didn't eat it until the next day because she won't eat on the road, and it's not something we couldn't have found here at home, but that's neither here nor there. She had a good time on our adventures.)
Mostly a good day...can't wait to go back!