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USA: MoPop, Seattle, WA
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USA: WA - Spokane & Seattle
July 2019

Spokane Seattle Pike Place Market Museum of Pop Culture
Pike Place Market fish throw Seattle


Spokane is a pleasant place and a good half way point between Glacier NP and Seattle.

Seattle is a vibrant city with some great food and wine.


 

Spokane

Hucks' Grill lunch
Excellent lunch at Huck's Grill, St. Regis.
Historic Davenport Hotel Hall of the Doges
Hall of the Doges
Historic Davenport Hotel Hall of the Doges
The Hall of Doges is inspired by the Palace of the Doges in Venice.

We had been exploring Glacier NP before making our way to Seattle via Spokane. I must admit, we hadn't expected much of Spokane but it was actually quite a nice place.

We set off from Whitefish in Montana, travelling mostly through wide pastures and forests, very sparsely inhabited, before stopping for lunch at St. Regis. We ate at Huck's Grill - very good Glacier Melt dish of beef, mushrooms, caremelized onions and Swiss cheese on toasted ciabatta with fries and a jus to dip, and fantastic Huckleberry shakes - practically all ice cream with a superb taste.

Historic Davenport Hotel
Historic Davenport Inn
Spanish Renaissance style - not really my cup of tea!

We made good time to Spokane where we stayed in the Historic Davenport Hotel in a gorgeous room in the original hotel. They are very proud of their mattresses, and we did, indeed have a very good night's sleep here, but the bed is so high off the ground you practically need a ladder to get into it!

The hotel has a long history which it sets out in a walking tour leaflet of the hotel. It first opened in 1914 and was named after its owner Louis Davenport. It was the first hotel in the US to have air conditioning.The hotel has, or had, no less than five ballrooms, the Isabella (originally the hotel's dining room and once more set with tables, probably a function room) and Elizabethan Room on the ground floor and the Marie Antoinette, Hall of the Doges and Grand Pennington on the first floor.

Historic Davenport Hotel Hall of the Doges

There are also a number of glass cases holding historic artefacts including a few related to Bing Crosby, most notably his pipe. Crosby was brought up in Spokane, though he was born in Tacoma south of Seattle on Puget Sound.

The hotel closed in 1985 and was almost demolished before being purchased and renovated in 2000.

Spokane
On an extremely hot day children were having fun splashing in the fountain. In the background is the Clock Tower, all that remains of the 1902 Great Northern Train Depot which was demolished in the early 1970s.

 

Spokane
This beautiful 1903 clock stands outside what was once Dodson's Jewellers, a business that opened in Spokane (when it was still Spokane Falls) in 1887 and remained a family business until it closed in February 2019.

Spokane Steam Plant
Inside the Steam Plant.

 

Situated on the Spokane river, the late 19th century settlement, originally called Spokane Falls, became a city in 1883.

We dropped in at the visitor centre in the Riverfront Park to pick up leaflets and find out what there was to see. Of greatest interest to us was the Steam Plant.

 

Spokane Steam Plant
The Steam Plant smoke stacks.
Spokane Steam Plant
At the bottom of one of the two smoke stacks in the Steam Plant.
Spokane Steam Plant
Inside the Steam Plant.

 

 

 

Built in 1916 it provided heat for many of the city's buildings, remaining in operation for 70 years. It was renovated in 1999 and is now home to office/retail outlets and a restaurant. The two smoke stacks remain and you can stand inside at the bottom of one of them.

Davenport Hotel breakfast
Excellent breakfast at the Davenport.

After the great lunch we'd had at Huck's Grill we didn't feel like much for dinner so went across the road to the Post Street Craft Beer Ale House and had rather spicy chicken wings and a beer - Silver City Ziggy Zoggy Lager in my case!

After a good early breakfast the following morning at the hotel, we set out around 8 a.m. for the drive to Seattle.

 

Columbia River
Columbia River/Wanapum Lake looking north.

 

Forested to begin with the landscape then opened up into desert and sage brush, then up into the mountains and agricultural areas. At the side of the road there were signs identifying the various crops, mostly sweet corn and potatoes but also Timothy, alfalfa and lima beans.

We stopped at an overlook on the Columbia River at Wanapum Lake to stretch our legs and change drivers.

 

 

Columbia River
Columbia River/Wanapum Lake looking south to the I-90 road bridge.

 

 

Here the wide river runs north south. The lake is named for the Wanapum Indians, who once lived peaceably along the banks of the Columbia River, living on fish, venison, berries and roots.

 

Seattle

Purple wine bar Seattle
Excellent pizzas and wine at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar.
Purple wine bar Seattle
The central wine stack at Purple.

 

Seattle
Space Needle
Seattle
Modern architecture in Seattle - the building on the left is nearing completion.

Arrived in good time in Seattle and dropped our rental car off before taking a cab to our hotel, the Monaco, located very centrally. After unpacking we were straight out to lunch at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar just a block away. Excellent pizzas, my gorgonzola, fig and walnut a really great combination. Saviah Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla Valley WA and Stag Hollow Purple Cafe Selection Pinot Noir were both very good. The barman recommended Migliore just across the road for coffee and he wasn't wrong, best espressos we had on the trip!

We took the monorail to the Space Needle - pricey at $37.50 a ticket but something you have to do. The revolving glass floor is fun and it was a very clear day so the views were superb. The 605ft Space Needle was built for the 1962 World's Fair and has become a symbol of the city.

Seattle
Seattle
Lake Union from the Space Needle.
The two curved buildings almost directly below are part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation campus. Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the founders of Microsoft, were born and raised in Seattle.

Seattle
Two giant Daddy Long-legs spiders painted on a roof below the Space Needle by artist Marlin Peterson, very cleverly done to look three dimensional.
Seattle
Capital Grille
Jimi Hendrix was born and raised in Seattle.

 

Seattle
The streets of Seattle are a bit like San Francisco in places - seriously steep leading down to the waterfront.

We had some very good meals in Seattle. One evening we ate at the Capital Grille, again very close to the hotel.

Seattle
Lovely Dungeness crab and lobster cakes with a fresh sweet corn salad to start at Capital Grille.
Seattle
Sushi-grade tuna with three dips: ginger, soy and wasabi.

 

Seattle
Lamb at Capital Grille.

Crab and lobster cake starters and lamb and tuna main courses were all really excellent - Andrew declared the lamb the best meal of the holiday!

Another evening we had terrific fish and chips at Shuckers, again, very close to the hotel, served by a really lovely waitress.

 

Seattle
Two very good cocktails at Shuckers - a Tom Collins and a non-alcoholic "Just Peachy" for me.
Seattle
Shuckers excellent Fish and Chips.
Seattle
Seattle
Mamma Mia cocktails at Assaggio.

And on our final day we had a very good lunch at Assaggio, starting with two Mamma Mia cocktails: gin, limoncello, prosecco and lemon. Excellent wild boar/olives/capers papardelle and a good sausage meat rigatoni with creamy tomato sauce and a glass of Brunello - very enjoyable.

 

Seattle
Superb pasta at Assaggio
Seattle
Mount Rainier

 

 

We took the ferry to Bainbridge Island to see the city from the water and to get ice cream from the acclaimed Mora. Unfortunately they were out of the chocolate mint that Andrew wanted to try but the raspberry was excellent as was the dark chocolate.

Seattle

We had good views of Mount Rainier on the way back too, at 4,392m high it's hard to miss if the air is reasonably clear; we'd also seen the mountain quite well from the air when we flew in.

Seattle
Mount Rainier from Puget Sound.
Seattle

 

Pike Place Market

Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour
Wall covered with used chewing gum.

Probably the most revolting sight I've ever seen was alley walls near Pike Place Market totally covered in old used chewing gum. If we hadn't had to go to the Market Theatre there for the start of the food tour we were on I'm not sure I would have lingered to take photographs! Unpleasant, unhygienic and definitely not one to touch!

Apparently the gum first started being put on the walls when patrons were asked not to chew gum inside the theatre, so they stuck it on the wall outside. It has been cleaned, once, in 2015, but gum was again stuck on the walls very soon after the process was completed and the vile mess stretches for a good length of the alley on both sides.

Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour

We headed out to Pike Place Market to begin the tour. The company was Savor Seattle, and our guide, Liz, was full of information about everything we saw which she delivered at a rapid rate - I don't think she stopped talking once during the whole two hours.

The market had its roots in a battle with food wholesalers. The farmers of the region used to come into the city to sell their produce to wholesalers who kept raising their prices without passing any of the extra profit back to the farmers.

 

Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour
As this sign says "In 1941 approximately two-thirds of the farmers' stalls in the Pike Place Market were occupied by Japanese Americans. Today none."

 

When prices, especially of onions, rose so high that the Seattle residents began to get angry, a councillor, Thomas Revelle, proposed creating a market where the farmers could sell directly to the people. Predictably, the wholesalers were against the idea, and threatened the farmers that, if they sold there, then the wholesalers would never buy from them again.

 

Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour
Lovely sugared doughnuts from the Daily Dozen Doughnut Company.
Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour
A tray of passion fruit yogurts for us to try.

Only a few farmers were courageous enough to stand up to the wholesalers and bring their produce to the market on August 17, 1907, but thousands of people turned up to buy, so many more farmers came in the following days.

Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour
Mixed Berry yogurt from Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt.

Many of the farmers were Japanese Americans. During WW2 they, along with other Japanese-origin citizens were interned, and the market sharply declined. It grew again after the war but was badly affected by movement of people out to the suburbs and the growth of supermarkets. Slated for demolition in the 1960s, it was saved by Victor Steinbrueck's "Save the Market" campaign and was designated an historic district. Now it is vibrant and a major tourist attraction, selling all kinds of fresh produce and crafts.

We started at Daily Dozen Doughnut Company with fresh small sugared doughnuts.

Then excellent Greek yogurts from Ellenos, one with a mixed berry compote and a second with passion fruit. They had many other flavours to choose from including chai and marionberry, a type of blackberry.

Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour

On to Beecher's Handmade Cheese where we tried curd cheese (salty with little aftertaste) and a Cheddar which is not as strong as English Cheddar, and a very good mac and cheese.

 

Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour
Making cheese at Beecher's.
Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour
Mac and cheese - or macaroni cheese!
Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour
A great New England Clam Chowder from Pike Place Chowder.

 

Next we went outside onto a bridge overlooking Puget Sound for some air and a tasting of Chukar Cherries excellent cherry chocolates including chocolate-covered Bing cherries and dried cherries. We particularly liked the raspberry truffles: dried cranberries covered with white chocolate and a raspberry outer coating, and went back later to buy some.

Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour
Chocolates from Chukar Cherries.

 

Back to the savoury stuff and Pike Place Chowder. I'm a big fan of clam chowder, ever since I lived in MA for a while, so I had high hopes here. I wasn't disappointed.

Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour
Piroshkies from Piroshky, Piroshky.

Then something completely new to us - piroshkies. These are originally from Russia, small pies with a variety of fillings. Liz brought a selection and we enjoyed the two we tried, a savoury beef and a sweet cinnamon cardamom braid.

Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour
Etta's crab cakes.

Finally to Etta's Seafood Restaurant for crab cakes, very good but not as good as the crab and lobster cakes we'd had at Capital Grille the evening before.

Seattle Pike Place Market
There are some great seafood stalls in the market. The chap at this one had lots of interesting facts including that, theoretically, lobsters can live forever!

Seattle Pike Place Market
Tourists love the fish throw!
Seattle Pike Place Market
I'm not a big fan of Starbucks coffee, but the world-famous company began life here in Seattle. Not, though, as is commonly thought, at this store in Pike Place. The first Starbucks was actually located elsewhere in the city, though not too far away. There is a permanent line outside.

 

 

 

 

We were tired and very full but thirsty and wanted to find a good beer, we knew there were plenty of local craft beers to choose from in Seattle. Liz couldn't suggest anywhere in particular so after wandering back through the market we stopped by the info booth and were recommended a couple nearby, choosing Pike Pub just down the street.

 

Seattle Pike Place Market
Seattle Pike Place Market

Video: Seattle Pike Place Market fish throw.
Seattle Pike PCraft Brewing

 

Museum of Pop Culture

Seattle MoPop
Seattle MoPop
MoPop seen from the Space Needle.

 

I was mainly interested to see the exhibits related to Hendrix but really enjoyed the Pearl Jam hall and the huge array of guitars.

The building itself was designed by Frank Gehry with his trademark metal folds and curves, great for photography!

Paul Allen, who together with Bill Gates founded Microsoft, was a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix, and founded the Experience Music Project in 2000. The museum changed its name several times to reflect the widening of its remit, which included a sci-fi section, and became the Museum of Popular Culture, MoPop, in 2016.

Seattle MoPop
Seattle MoPop
Seattle MoPop
Very Art Deco.
Seattle MoPop
Seattle MoPop
Seattle MoPop
Seattle MoPop
Seattle MoPop
The stairs leading up to the Pearl Jam hall.
Seattle MoPop

 

Pearl Jam formed in Seattle in 1990 and are still going strong.

Seattle MoPop
Pearl Jam instruments and equipment. The space is inspired by the band's first rehearsal space, Galleria Potatohead, which was located under the Black Dog Forge blacksmith in the Belltown neighbourhood of Seattle.

There are several screens showing performances and loads of memorabilia.

Seattle MoPopGateway Station Craft
Filming miniature from Aliens, 1986.

 

Seattle MoPop

Improvised flamethrower and a spear gun used by Sigourney Weaver (Lt. Ripley), and cap worn by Harry Dean Stanton (engineering technician Samuel Brett) in Alien, 1979.

The sci-fi section has a lot of props from sci-fi films and tv shows and a bit of horror too.

Many exhibits come from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection.

Seattle MoPop
Alien
Seattle MoPop
Alien Egg from Alien: Resurrection, 1997.
Seattle MoPop
Alien
Seattle MoPop
There are many guitars on display, this one Eric Clapton's 1956 Fender Stratocaster, "Brownie".

Seattle MoPop
Seattle MoPop
Cyberman from Doctor Who.




Seattle MoPop
Imperial Dalek
From the Doctor Who episode "Remembrance of the Daleks", 1988.
Seattle MoPop
Seattle MoPop
Photograph taken June 4th, 1967 backstage at the Saville Theatre in London where Hendrix played two shows.

 

 

But the main event for me was the room filled with Jimi Hendrix material, from stage costumes, guitars and album art to letters, diary entries and lyrics.

 

Seattle MoPop
The beautiful 1968 Fender Stratocaster that Hendrix played his iconic "Star-Spangled Banner" on at Woodstock, 1969. In his lifetime he owned over 100 Stratocasters but this was his favourite.