Date Night in the International District

With all the amazing neighborhoods and cool activities to do in Seattle, you think it would be easy to come up with new adventures for date night. But, you know, sometimes you're stuck in a rut. You've been to all the usual spots and need something different. We're here to help! Whether you are meeting up with friends, on a first date, or just need a night on the town with your honey, the diverse and interesting International District is a great place to go. Here are our recs for putting together a night out in the ID.

Activity: Imperial Foot Massage

Imperial Foot Massage

A massage on a date? Why not! This place is a prize spot in Seattle and needs to be put on your radar immediately. For $27 you can get an hour long, full body massage. Now, this isn't like your typical massage. You will not be served cucumber water and given a luxurious bathroom to change into a fuzzy robe. You will be ushered into a large room filled with other patrons getting massages. You'll stay fully clothed and sit in big pedicure-style chairs that leans back while the masseuse works you over from head to toe spending extra time on your feet. Please note: this is not for the faint of heart. You might wake up fairly sore the next day as they don't hold back. There might have been a few times we wanted to tear up. But for $27, we say who cares! Breathe through it. It's good for you. We also recommend making a reservation as this place is catching on and getting popular.

Other great date activities: Wing Luke Museum, International District Food Tours (daytime only), Pinball Museum, Karaoke 

Dinner: Dong Thap

Beef and Meatball Pho/Pork Bun Cha with spring rolls

Beef and Meatball Pho/Pork Bun Cha with spring rolls

Sure, there maybe are nicer places you could take a date, but we love this Vietnamese restaurant for their homemade noodles! You would be surprised at how much those chewy, thick, delicious noodles elevate the soup. You have never tasted a bowl of Pho like this before! We also recommend ordering the Bun Cha, which is a bowl of rice noodles topped with peppery grilled pork, lettuce, spring rolls and covered in a lovely fish sauce. It tastes crazy authentic and fresh. They also have a "Superbowl Challenge" where you can attempt to eat a bowl of pho containing four pounds of noodles, four pounds of meat, and four liters of broth. We don't recommend doing this on your date unless, of course, it's a first date that isn't going well and then you can eat the entire bowl, making yourself sick, and go home.

Other great dinner spots in the I.D.: Tamarind Tree, Green Leaf, Tai Tung

Drinks: Fort St. George

Fort St. George

The best part about drinking in the ID is that the cocktails are stiff AF. This Western/Japanese style pub is a bit hidden, you'll find it in the top of an office building. Look for the neon sign in the window. It's the perfect after-dinner drink spot as it is a bit of a dive but in a good, non-scary way. They have a short cocktail list plus your usual liquors and beers. They also have four sakes (hot or cold) to choose from. We like to get a large house sake and a Sapporo! If you are still hungry and need a snack, we recommend the flaming dried squid, which literally comes flaming to your table --uh COOL ,right?! 

Other great drink spots in the I.D.: the bar at Ocean Star (formally Sun-ya), Dynasty Room at Four Seas

Dessert: Dole Whip at Go Poke

Dole Whip at Go Poke

Have you guys heard about this Dole Whip business? Apparently this dessert is at Disney theme parks and has a huge cult following....as in people wait in line forever to get this pineapple flavored soft serve treat. Well, lucky for you, you don't have to go to Disney, you can get it at Go Poke (add an extra $7 if you want the souvenir glass). You can also get a Dole Whip float, which is served with pineapple juice. Go Poke closes at 8pm, so plan your date accordingly.

Other great dessert spots in the I.D.: shaved ice at Bambu, bubble tea at Gossip, Taiyaki from Uwajimaya

Alright, go and have a great date night! Expect more neighborhood date night posts to come in the future. 

5 Secret Tiny Parks of Seattle

Seattlelites love parks, and with over 485 to choose from in the city, there are countless options to find a place to spend a sunny afternoon (check out our parks and hikes page to see a few of our favorites). But what if you don't want to be surrounded by a bunch of people? What if you just want a quiet spot and a patch of grass to call your own? Well, no problem! There is a good chance you'll be one of the only people visiting these tiny, but mighty, parks around Seattle.

Bhy Kracke Park

Bhy Kracke Park

Probably the most popular and well known park in Queen Anne is Kerry Park because it boasts what are arguably the best views of the city. However, with popularity comes crowds and tourists (and lots of selfie sticks). What most people don't know is that Bhy Kracke Park is located right down the street and it's just as wonderful in its own way. This tiny park has an upper and lower level connected by a winding little path. The lower level has a playset for kids and a picnic table tucked under an arbor of ivy. The upper level has a nice grassy lawn for spreading out and beautiful views of Lake Union, the Space Needle, and downtown.

Sidenote: Hanging out in Queen Anne always involves walking the streets and staring at the homes. They give us serious house envy -- how do we get one?!

Bky Kracke Park
Bhy Kracke Park
Bhy Kracke Park
Louisa Boren Lookout

Located right next to Volunteer Park, this little park has breathtaking views of Lake Washington, some impressive trees, little benches for watching the world go by, and a unique (and untitled) sculpture by artist Lee Kelly. There is also a running path that goes right through the park in case you feel like getting some exercise. This is a perfect spot to have a picnic, mediate, or take a little rest. It's in a very quiet and quaint neighborhood with only a few joggers and dog walkers passing through.

Louisa Boren Lookout
Louisa Boren Lookout
Howell Park

It's hard to find a spot on the shores of Lake Washington where you don't have to wrestle crowds and jockey for a spot. Howell Park is a true secret Seattle gem. It's hidden down a tiny street (that looks almost like a driveway) and has no parking, but the little park butts up right to the lake with a little shore providing easy access for wading in on a hot day. Chances are you will have this lake front spot all to yourself. Since there is also no parking on Lake Washington Blvd., your best bet is to park down the street at Denny Blaine Park (another tiny park with amazing views!) and walk to it.

Howell Park
Howell Park
Howell Park
Thomas C. Wales Park

This park was once a gravel quarry, but now it's a unique park tucked in Downtown Seattle. The city worked with an artist to create these amazing rock structures. There is a small pond in the center, which makes it an ideal spot for birds (and apparently bats) to hang out. We suggest grabbing a sandwich at the nearby Lyon's Deli and finding a bench to pass the time.

Thomas C. Wales Park
Thomas C. Wales Park
Thomas C. Wales Park
Rainbow Point

Hiding next to an I-5 on-ramp in North Seattle, you are almost guaranteed to have this little park to yourself. It has great views of downtown, Green Lake, and (on a clear day) the Olympics. There are a few benches for sitting and a little grassy area for relaxing and picnicking. We recommend grabbing snacks from the deli at the nearby PCC and heading here for a quiet afternoon of reading.

Rainbown Point
Rainbow Point

What are some of your favorite little spots to visit around Seattle on a nice day? We would love to hear about them in the comments! 

A Girl's Guide to Packing for Seattle

Seattle is a tricky place for visitors. It is overcast 62% (~200 days) of the year, but the weather is generally mild and, yes, occasionally it does rain here. If you are from places like the Midwest or the South where the skies open up and drench everything, you will be pleasantly surprised. Our rain is more like a light mist 99% of the time, just enough to be annoying, but not enough to ruin your leather bag/shoes. We locals have come to be very comfortable going out and about when it's raining, because if you didn't you really wouldn't get out much! 

Besides the rainy days there are the other 165 days of the year when it's sunny. These days are cold in the winter and in the summer they feel like a gift straight from Mother Nature herself. 

So what should you pack when you come to Seattle? Here are our general recommendations for what should be in your suitcase depending on which season you are heading to The Emerald City.

Spring/Fall 

Spring and Fall are usually very mild. Think 40-50 degrees with unpredictable weather. Seattleites know that even if you check the forecast day-of, it will likely be wrong. Days that are supposed to be rainy will be clear and vice versa. So if you are visiting in these months, make sure to pack for a variety of weather patterns. Rain jacket and closed-toe shoes for when it rains and then a jacket and layers for when it's cloudy/sunny. 

These items will keep you comfortable: 

  • Sweaters
  • Winter dresses or dresses that layer
  • Scarves
  • Closed-toe shoes/boots
  • Jeans
  • Shirts that layer
  • Rain jacket
  • Normal jacket/coat
  • A mid-sized tote

Summer 

Summer in Seattle truly starts at the end of June or beginning of July and runs through September. If you are coming during our peak season you'll witness the PNW at it's finest. The days are long, with sunlight sticking around until 9PM and clear blue skies with perfect temperatures for hiking, biking, and kayaking. When you visit pack for the activities you are likely to do. Most people can accomplish some great hikes in just Nikes, so don't feel the need to throw down $200 on a pair of hiking boots. We also love just going to the parks in the city to experience the beauty in the summer, which all have nice paths and you can visit in normal clothes. 

The evenings still get a little chilly sometimes so pack a jacket to throw over your sundresses or jeans to change into for nights out. 

IMG_7294.JPG

These items will keep you comfortable: 

  • Jeans
  • Shirts that layer
  • Sun dresses
  • Light cardigan or Jacket
  • Scarves
  • Short sleeve t-shirts/tank tops
  • Sandals & closed-toe shoes
  • A mid-sized tote
  • Activewear for outdoorsy outings 
    • Tennis shoes, athletic wear for beginner hiking 
    • Swimsuit and casual coverup, clothing for kayaking/paddleboarding

Winter

Winter in Seattle is still beautiful; as long as you aren't made of sugar you should still have a fantastic time visiting. Obviously, the number one thing you need to pack for is rain. And wind. And probably chill. The odds are low it will be below freezing, but don't let a 45-degree weather forecast fool you - once you get near the water and the wind picks up it can feel very cold (or maybe we are just really weak after living here so long). You also don't want to commit to an umbrella. Those little guys will flip inside out and be way more trouble than they are worth. Bring a coat that is water resistant, has a hood, and that hopefully has some down lining to keep you warm. Hats and scarves will also help and are easy to take or leave depending on the weather situation at the time. 

These items will keep you comfortable: 

  • Beanie/hat
  • Wool scarf
  • Waterproof/resistant coat
  • Jeans
  • Boots
  • Sweaters
  • Shirts to layer w/cardigans
  • Dresses w/tights
  • Rain boots

Here are some specific items we couldn't live without as Seattleites. Feel free to check them out before you visit. 

  • Longchamp tote - These bags are awesome because they resist water, they can fit a TON of stuff inside them and will remain relatively lightweight. Plus they are durable! Seattle charges for bags when you shop, so having a great tote to throw things will save you money too!
  • Eddie Bauer Rain Jacket - Getting a longer, fitted rain jacket means you don't have to look frumpy when you throw on your raincoat. We like this one because it's trendy, but it also covers a lot and keeps you dry. 
  • North Face Insulated Parka - This can be thrown over almost anything in the winter and work well. It's great for the PNW, with a climate that doesn't go below zero and has a lot of rain.
  • Hunter short rain boots - Tall rain boots look good on paper, but often we want to change into other shoes when we get to our destination. These are easy to throw into a tote or under your desk and still do a great job of keeping your feet dry. 
  • H&M Hoodie - Layering is the name of the game! We love to be able to throw on a hoodie under a jean jacket for added warmth and of course, the hood! 
  • Casual hat - Sometimes the rain is light enough you can get away with wearing a cute hat instead of a full on rain jacket getup. 
  • Tom's Booties - These are comfortable enough to walk around town in and they keep your feet warm and dry. Get 'em for Fall/Winter and have the confidence of knowing they will go with everything in your bag! 

What are some of your favorite items that helped you get around the PNW? We would love to hear in the comments!

50 Things to Eat in Seattle Before You Die

A few years ago, Thrillist posted an article about a Seattle Food Bucket List calling out 50 things you must try in the Seattle food scene. We like the list, but thought it was missing some lesser known spots so we decided to take a stab at the list from our point of view. I mean you can never really have too many lists of food to consult on nights when the fridge is running low.

After making our own list three things are apparent. 1. We have a sweet tooth, 2. We love carbs, and 3. We have a (justifiable) truffle addiction. 

FYI: The list is not in any particular order.

1. Cha Ca La Vong at Stateside - The Cha Ca La Vong at Stateside is actually way better than the real dish in Vietnam...maybe because they use black cod, which is so fresh it melts like butter in your mouth? That plus the turmeric and dill? Just trust us. 

2. Hashbrowns at Seatown Seabar - Tom Douglas can do no wrong. The thought in our mind is, "How do you take the average hashbrown and make it SO GOOD!?" It has this crispy top layer that simply turns them from ordinary to extraordinary. 

Pimento Cheeeeeeeese

Pimento Cheeeeeeeese

3. Pimento Cheese at Honest Biscuit - Everything on Honest Biscuit's menu is fantastic, but the pimento cheese, which is technically a side dish, makes our hearts swoon. Smear it on a buttermilk biscuit and go to town!

4. Anchovy Pasta at How to Cook a Wolf - After eating anchovy pasta in Italy, we have been on the hunt for something as perfect. How to Cook a Wolf is the closest thing we have found to that simple Italian dish. It's delicious. Oh, and get the burrata while you're at it.

5. Molton Lava cake at Saltoro - You have to wait around 30 minutes for this dessert, but one bite of this oozy, chocolaty goodness and you would happily wait longer.

6. Pizza at Northlake Tavern - The opinions on "best pizza" are vastly different, but the pizza at Northlake Tavern is an old favorite. It has been around since 1954 (!) and serves pizza with an "old Italian recipe." Not only is it incredible, but it's also a dive bar with cheap pitchers and a laid back attitude.

7. Everything at Bongos - Bongos has amazing Caribbean cuisine with an outdoor patio perfect for warm weather. We thought and thought about what item to suggest and finally decided you should just get everything.

The many flavors of Sweet Lo's

The many flavors of Sweet Lo's

8. Cookies and Cream from  Sweet Lo's Ice Cream - We interviewed the owner of Sweet Lo's (here) and had the opportunity to sample all of her flavors. We aren't biased, though. It simply is the best ice cream we have ever tasted.

9. Meatball sub at Dot's Delicatessen - We love a good meatball sub, and this one is top notch, with large, grass-fed meatballs and homemade marinara. 

10. Portabella sandwich at DeLaurenti - You'll have to catch this sandwich when it's in rotation, but if you do you'll feel like you've won the sandwich lottery. Grilled portabella mushrooms with cheese melted down into almost a spread makes this sandwich unique and savory. If it's not on the menu the day you go choosing the Grinder is a nice second choice.

11. Twice baked almond croissant at Bakery Nouveau - The chef, William Leaman, has won 1 million awards for his baked goods, and the almond croissants are over-the-top. He dips them in simple syrup, fills them with almond cream and tops them with slivered almonds and powdered sugar. And if that isn't enough, he also does it with chocolate. 

12. Sauball at Grinders Hot Sands - We told you we had a thing for meatball sandwiches, but the Sauball at Grinders combines both our beloved meatballs WITH a sausage grinder, and, to us, that is just genius.

13. Chicken Pho at Than Brothers - Simple pho with quality ingredients! This soup hits the spot every time (they also give you a cream puff for dessert, so A+ for that).

Dumplings with Garlic Dipping Sauce at Fu Man 

Dumplings with Garlic Dipping Sauce at Fu Man 

14. Dumplings (and garlic dipping sauce!) at Fu Man Dumpling House - There is only one kind of dumping here (pork and veggie) but the real star is the garlic dipping sauce that we would eat with a spoon if it wasn't frowned upon (luckily, they do sell the sauce by the bottle).

15. Shrimp and grits at Restaurant Roux - People from the South might throw shade since these might not be considered "traditional" shrimp and grits, but the fresh shrimp in a spicy, creole sauce is simply too good to care. 

16. Chorizo gravy at CJ's Eatery - You might walk right past this diner and never go in, but on the weekends something magical happens. Chorizo gravy can be ordered over biscuits or chicken fried chicken. We have never tried anything else here because we can't NOT order the chorizo gravy. Get a Rose Mimosa while you're at it.

Both Shaved Ice versions win at Bambu

Both Shaved Ice versions win at Bambu

17. Korean Shaved Ice at Bambu - Who knew Korean shaved ice was a thing? It is and it's delicious! We can't decide between the strawberry or the chocolate, so you should probably try them both.

18. Pork or Chicken Adobo at Oriental Mart - Joy and Leila make the best Filipino food in the city! If you are new to this cuisine, start with the adobo, which is perfectly tangy and tender.

19. Tacos from El Camion - There are a few El Camion locations, but we like the food truck in the Home Depot parking lot. This little truck serves up meat with a lot of flavor and the salsa bar is legit. It's quick, affordable, and authentic. Just the way we like it.

20. Chin-up Donuts - With flavors like Sriracha Cha-Cha (Sriracha glaze in cinnamon and sugar) and A'hoy Captain (Vanilla with Captain Crunch cereal) there is some weird and unique flavor for everyone. They are fun, different, and delicious!

Iberico ham at Jarrbar

Iberico ham at Jarrbar

21. Iberico Ham at JarrBar - JarrBar is one of the few places in the city you can get Iberico ham, which is made from Spanish pigs who feast on acorns and olives. It is expensive but 100% worth it.

22. Ramen at Aloha Ramen - Japanese ramen with a Hawaiian twist? Why not! This tiny spot in Lake City is always packed, but it's worth the wait. The broth has lots of flavor depth and the noodles are perfect. We like the spicy garlic miso which is packed full of garlic flavor.

23. Spicy Ponzu Albacore at Pokeworks - It kinda feels weird to include this place since it's a chain, but we looove their uber fresh poke bowls. The spicy ponzu albacore is that perfect mix of sweet and savory with a touch of spice!

24. The Fig and the Pig at Lil' Woody's - We are always on the search for a perfect burger, and Lil' Woody's is it. They serve only NW grass-fed beef, and we love the sweet/savory combination of the Fig and the Pig, which adds pickled figs, blue cheese, and bacon. Maybe get the house-made onion rings, too.

25. Chili ver jalapeno mac n' cheese at Slim's Last Chance - Slim's has four chilis to choose from, but we love all the additions you can get such as having it over jalapeno mac n' cheese or white cheddar grits (both which seem to take it to the next level).

26. Chorizo tacos at TNT Taqueria - Because tacos are SO good it needs to be on this list twice. TNT is a cute little taqueria in Wallingford that has their street tacos down pat. The chorizo has enough flavor to leave you wanting another order. Add the avocado salsa to it and enjoy!

27. Lunch from Il Corvo - The owner studied in Florence. He makes the pasta by hand every day. We know a REAL Italian and she says this place is legit and she is fairly outspoken about how crappy she thinks the Italian offerings are in Seattle. Just go. It's amazing.

28. Cheeseburger and a shake from Dick's Drive In - You can't live in Seattle without knowing the taste of a Dick's cheeseburger and chocolate shake. You just can't, ask Macklemore.

29. Salted Caramel Cupcake Ice Cream Cone from Cupcake Royale - They might have a name that says cupcakes, but the cupcakes IN ice cream is where the real magic happens. 

30. Coconut Cream Pie from Dahlia Lounge - This is Kristina's favorite dessert in all of Seattle. And we eat a lot of dessert. They sprinkle it with sugar spiked with crack or something because even with the $10/slice price we keep going back over and over again. 

31. The Big Moses from Ballard Pizza Company - You have to trust the pizza chef when you order The Big Moses (because it is a mystery pizza), but lucky for us the chef at Ballard Pizza Company has never made a bad decision when it comes to pizza. 

32. Omakase Course Menu from Shiro's Sushi - No one in Seattle knows sushi better than Shiro. So why would you get anything other than the Chef's choice when you visit his restaurant? Trust that they know best, sit back, and enjoy piece after piece of delicious sushi as it appears in front of you.

33. Clam Chowder from Steelhead Diner - On a cold, rainy day nothing hits the spot better than a warm bowl of chowder from Steelhead. They put amazing truffle oil on the top that really makes it the best. 

34. Risotto from The Pink Door - The Pink Door usually has a seasonal risotto on the menu. Our all time favorite is the sweet corn and dungeness crab risotto. Everything except the corn melts in your mouth and then the corn pops that sweetness in! 

35. Churro Ice Cream at Chavez - Chavez is semi-new to the restaurant scene in Seattle, but they have already become a staple in our dining rotation because of their churro + salted caramel ice cream dessert. Full disclosure we are usually full of tequila by the time dessert hits, but MAN it tastes good!

36. Truffle popcorn from Big Picture - Again, truffle. It's amazing. We go to Big Picture not for the movies, but for the truffle popcorn. The movies are just icing on the cake. Oh, and the wine. 

37. Pumpkin Pie Yogurt from Ellenos - This is only around in the fall, but when it is everyone MUST eat it. It takes the guilt out of eating pumpkin pie. Even though it shouldn't because it's literally pumpkin pie smashed into greek yogurt. If you're here other times of year you can't go wrong with the Marionberry or Passionfruit either.

38. Cauliflower Fritters at Black Bottle - This appetizer combines our love of asian cuisine with our love of cauliflower. This trendy spot in Belltown takes cauliflower flourets, deep fries them, and then covers them in a spicy Asian sauce. This is one of those sharable dishes that you won't want to share. 

39. Fish & Chips from Nosh - This giant, perfectly coated piece of cod is what British dreams are made of. The breading will melt in your mouth with the buttery fish and you find yourself thinking how great tea and corgis are. God save The Queen. 

40. Handmade Gnocchi with Black Truffle Cream from List - The only thing this dish is missing is about 30 more gnocchi. The pillowly potato pasta is drenched in truffle cream sauce. You'll have to fight to keep from licking the plate clean. Go on Sunday or Monday for their half price all day happy hour and you can justify getting two plates!

Storyville cinnamon roll

41. Cinnamon Roll from Storyville Coffee - You can taste the sugar crystals when you bite into this cinnamon roll. They even make it fairly small because I think if it was the size of a "normal" cinnamon roll you would go into a sugar coma. 

42. Oysters on the Half Shell from Elliott's Oyster House - If you want fresh, seasonal oysters Elliott's is a great place to go. They have an amazing patio on the water and their oyster wine pairs incredibly with those slimey, delicious little guys! 

43. Burrata at Tavolata - Burrata literally translates to butter in Italian and this dish from Seattle chef Ethan Stowell's Tavolata will make you realize why. This soft cheese is served on a board with salty or sweet pairings. 

44. Smoked Salmon Pate from Pirosky Piroshky - There is always a line wrapped around the premise of Piroshky Piroshky and there is a pretty obvious reason why -- their stuffed pastries are worth standing in the cold, rain, heat, or hurricane for. Get a little mix of Russian and PNW cuisine with the Smoked Salmon Pate! 

45. Fried Chicken from Ma'ono - This Hawaiian spot in West Seattle serves up the best fried chicken in town. Make a reservation and let them know you want to reserve your bird because they can run out on busy nights. When you arrive, wait anxiously for your entire chicken to come out. It will be golden, crunchy, and delicious. We love the chili sauce as an added punch of flavor.

BLTGA from Napkin Friends

46. B.L.T.G.A. from Napkin Friends - This food truck is getting its own brick and mortar restaurant. Want to know how they can afford it? Well they thought to switch out buns for latkes and then shoved bacon, lettuce, tomato, gouda cheese, and aioli in the middle. That stuff sells. 

47. Chocolate Marshmallow Donut from General Porpoise - Renee Erickson gained traction as a restauranteur in Seattle who knew good Northwest cuisine. Who knew she had some seriously amazing donuts in her arsenal too. General Porpoise serves stuffed donuts with creams, custards, and jams inside. 

48. Rub with Love Salmon from Etta's - This salmon is covered in a yummy rub and then perfectly grilled and served over a cornbread pudding with a shitake relish. Sounds fancy, but the basics are all there -- it's the best salmon in the city.

49. Aloha Sliders from Marination Ma Kai - Yes, they have SPAM in them. BUT, Hawaii knows how to do SPAM. So just trust the list and order these guys. Because they are delicious. Promise.

50. S'mores Sundae from Shug's Soda Fountain and Ice Cream - They toast the marshmallows right in front of you and then drizzle the whole thing with syrup. Need we say more?