Seattle, Day Three | Fremont Again, and Ballard

There was no workout the third day of our Seattle trip; no, not a chance. Instead, there was chocolate, and lots of it!

But first, predictably, there was some more fighting for parking. I’m convinced that the only reason I didn’t arrive in frustrated tears for our tour of Theo Chocolate was because I had a cup of really excellent coffee in my hand from CaffĂ© Vita, and had eaten more than my fair share of a marionberry and peach muffin with it. (Marionberries! The former D.C. resident in me was amused at the thought of Washington’s infamous former mayor, and the rest of me was just impressed by the PNW’s produce selection.) But the parking gods smiled upon us at the last second, and we arrived at 10:29 a.m. for our 10:30 tour.

Hairnet securely fastened, I was immediately impressed by our theater professional/tour guide Tristan’s ability to make me forget about how much I disliked driving in Seattle; he was armed with good humor and numerous chocolate samples, which may have helped. Between all of the tasting, a thorough explanation of cacao farming practices, and a walk-through of the factory floor and confectionery, the tour was one of the highlights of a trip stuffed full of highlights.

We met my brother for a farewell lunch at Paseo, toting our Caribbean roast pork and caramelized onion sandwiches away from the crowds to Fremont Peak Park. We ate quietly, blissfully distracted by our sandwiches and the view of the city, the water, and the mountains—a view that I can’t imagine would ever get old. We split another chocolate bar, just because.

After hugging Jamie goodbye, we stopped into the Book Larder to peruse their vast selection of cookbooks, buying one for a friend’s birthday and another to keep for ourselves. I was blown away at the breadth and depth of their library, but was glad I hadn’t gone in hungry; flipping through glossy pages plastered with tantalizing photos of grilled meats and ice cream cones wouldn’t have helped the cause.

For the rest of the day, we headed off to Ballard, the last neighborhood we wanted to tour before leaving the city. We started at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, which connect the Puget Sound to inland freshwater lakes, and spent a good long time breathing in the salty air and watching salmon pass through the fish ladder.

I’d promised Dan a belated birthday dinner at The Walrus and the Carpenter, where he could try the first insanely fresh oyster of his young adult life. We lined up right before the doors opened for dinner service, and by the time we had glasses of vinho verde in hand, the place was full, buzzing with the laid-back, lively chatter of a really good dinner party. Icy oysters were followed by a carrot salad with honey and hazelnuts; then buttery, tender scallop tartare with an airy dill mousse; then spicy fried oysters that seared off the roof of my mouth; then steak tartare topped, terrifyingly and deliciously, with a raw egg yolk; then a wedge of cheddar cheese nestled among vinegar-preserved cherries; and finally, a white flag. We walked around the cute little record and poster shops of Market Street and Ballard Avenue for hours while we digested, dangerously near comatose.

In retrospect, I’m pretty sure I had some sort of death wish when I made us get a molten chocolate-peanut butter cake from Hot Cakes to eat while we watched the sun set from the beach at Golden Gardens. But I’m glad we ended up there, watching the sun dip behind the mountains, listening to the beats emanating from an amateurish drum circle and spooning warm bites of half-baked cake batter and ice cream into our mouths (until it got too chilly to stay, and we drove on to Chuck’s Hop Shop to buy beer). Because really, is there any better way to watch a sunset?

Camera: Mamiya 645AF
Film Kodak Portra 400