Merge & Al's Excellent Adventures

6 min read

Seattle — the celebrated and the secret

Day 7 – we have been to Seattle many times before, so for this one full day in Seattle, we wanted to go back to some of our favourite spots, but also explore some of the things we have not done in the past. Everyone talks about the fantastic views from the top of the Space Needle, and they’re right. But we read about another place to get some spectacular views of the city skyline and so we made our way to Kerry Park. Our sources were right! Free, with lots of street parking.

The views from Kerry Park
The views from Kerry Park

After identifying some of the popular landmarks we made our way to Pike Place market, where we were scheduled to join up in an Eat Seattle food tour led by Chef Eric. what a great way to spend a couple of hours. Chef Eric not only gave us some insights into the food history and culture of Pike Place market and the city, but also took us to some of his favourite shops in the market. Needless to say there was extensive sampling involved. Beecher cheese curds and their flagship cheese, Pike’s Pit bbq pulled pork, MarketSpice’s raspberry iced tea, Market Grill’s blackened grilled salmon, Chukar’s dried and chocolate covered cherries, Pike Place’s famous clam chowder, Indie chocolate chip cookies, Uli’s chicken rosemary sausage, Honest Biscuit’s biscuits, and Rachel’s Ginger Beer. We didn’t need lunch after that! $53 pp, plus tip. Must purchase in advance, includes samples and discounts at the vendors. They accommodate dietary restrictions — Al had his clam chowder made with coconut milk, and Cowboy Caviar (corn, black beans, red onions, bbq spices) instead of the bbq pulled pork.

The iconic view of the Pike Place market
And yes!! He caught the fish!
With Chef Eric, our wonderful market guide from Eat Seattle
In Uli’s Bierstube
LOVED his dried Rainier cherries, bought some to take home
Mmmm … so many different kinds of mushrooms
Huge bags of fresh clams getting unloaded at the market

We had reserved a timed 1:45 pm entry into MoPop, The Seattle Museum of Pop Culture, so that was our next stop. Many tourists to Seattle don’t have this museum on their must-visit list, and that’s a pity. Essentially, instead of being a museum about historical objects or situations, this is a museum that showcases pop culture, primarily in music and film. They have several permanent exhibits including some pretty cool sections on fantasy, horror, and science fiction movies; and in the music scene, they have sections on Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam, all Seattle natives. They currently have a new exhibit that presents a visual history of the hip-hop culture and music, which Al found pretty cool and interesting. We spent about 90 minutes here, and we easily could’ve spent more, but we had another destination to get to. They offer plan-ahead pricing which means that it’s cheaper the earlier you buy. They seem to range from $26-$35 pp.

The museum from outside … a hint of the creativity inside
Art outside in the parking lot
Live long and prosper!
Al doing his best impression from Planet of the Apes
This sculpture is composed of nearly 700 instruments

Before we left though, we stopped to take a quick look at the “Artists at Play” imaginative playground that is just on the north side of MoPop. We’ve never seen a playground like this before — a huge climbing structure that looks more like a giant octopus with endless tentacles than a jungle gym; a giant xylophone that you can play, and a giant maze painted on the ground that you have to walk through to solve. Free.

The giant orange maze in the foreground, the climbing structure behind, and the giant xylophone on the right

Our final stop for the day was a hidden gem. A secret that many Seattle residents actually know about, but most outsiders don’t. It’s a nondescript, at least from the outside, restaurant called Toulouse Petit. if you weren’t looking for it, or if you didn’t know it was there, you probably wouldn’t even notice it. Fortunately, we had been tipped off by a friend a few months ago. Their happy hour runs every weekday from 3 to 6 PM, and their claim to fame is that there are over 50 items on their happy hour menu, and that the food is beyond exceptional. We had to verify this information for ourselves of course, which is why we were there. We arrived at about 3:30 PM, and were quickly seated at the bar counter. Sebastian was our bartender, our server, and the source of excellent advice. With his help, we selected our beverages from the happy hour menu, and then we proceeded to make our menu choices. Whatever happy hours you might have gone to in the past, be prepared to put those preconceived notions away. These menu choices are unlike any other. Unusual, different, and delicious. Also bigger than we expected, and very shareable. We ordered two items to start, and then ordered a third. We thought we might need a fourth, but at the end we couldn’t do it, we were too full.

The only sign outside Toulouse Petit, and it’s very hard to read!
‘Barbecued’ shrimp New Orleans made with wild Patagonian prawns, and served with grits
Butternut squash, mushrooms, and hazelnuts with Crescenza bruschetta and salsa verde
Aromatic Anderson Ranch lamb sliders and pommes frites with aioli

Two hours later, we rolled ourselves out of there, found our car, and drove back to our apartment in Normandy Park. There was no need for dinner. Instead we sat out on our lovely patio in the shade and read our books, and chatted. Tomorrow will be our last day in the Seattle area, we will be heading up to Everett to visit the Boeing factory, and then making our way to Whidbey Island for the final three days of our excellent road trip adventure.


  • Wow … The Lamb sliders look (and I am sure also tasted) delicious !!!

    Rainer cherries … They are to die for … We get them in Canada in August for a short time only

    But I am sure the ones you had in Seattle were fresher and juicier

    Thanks for Sharing

  • Wow. You’ve done your research and hit some great spots. Love your blog and I can almost taste the food!

  • Seattle is an amazing city. Love to go back and visit. You certainly had a great day there. FYI our family lived in Normandy Park in 1974/75. It was a great place to be as a kid.


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