24 Hours in Seattle: Pickles, Donuts & Downpour

Whole Foods’ hometown Mighty-O selection

Here’s one thing I’ve become quite fond of during my decade in the Pacific Northwest: 24-hour jaunts to Seattle and back.

On the most recent, March’s quick reunion with our friend Katie, the intention was pickle-tasting. I was then in the middle of my month-long Northwest Pickle Tour, and while I certainly wish I had more time to hit Bellingham, Tacoma, Olympia and anywhere and everywhere else who was both up for and down with pickling in the region, I had to be practical. In “real life”, I had meetings and walk-thrus to attend, and only so much time to get away. Alas.

That said, J. Legume, Katie and myself pickled the heck out of those 24 hours in Seattle, with two big exceptions: making room for glorious Mighty-Os whenever sweets beckoned, and missing out on Highline’s fried pickle chips. The recently open-again-sometimes vegan dive bar has one menu item I’ve yet to regret, and that’s their heaping plate of crispy, fried pickle chips that come with a nice side of ranch. Salty, sure, and something you only want to eat after a couple of drinks, and most importantly, something you need to eat within ten minutes or less before it loses its edge (okay, hot crisp), so to speak. Regretfully, we attempted our visit on a Sunday and while Google places led me to hope they were actually open, Highline was closed, and I’d actually complain about this, except what happened next and took all my attention away: downfall, Doritos, and pickle backs. —–

I’ll get to all that nonsense and some actual pickles, but first, the most important meal of the day.  


Breakfast. I’d rarely have it any other way.

I take a chance on that yeasted maple bar, being that Mighty-O is way more well known for their rounds, and I’m ever so glad I did.

Every so often, I meet a dog that 1) I fancy and 2) Almost poses for a photo.

I suppose even a 24 hour vacation does that to ya.

We found ourselves with fairly immediate access to the South Lake Union Whole Foods on this quick overnight and on one last year.

In short, it brings convenience to a selection of fresh Mighty-O, noochy tahini-dressed kale and mimosa-makings.

And this was big news to me:

Oh, tot-land. Look at you go.

Strolling downtown, thinking about more coffee

Don’t be alarmed, but we did not get coffee at Ladro. We headed right to Kaladi at Gay City for even more coffee and donut-buying.

J. Legume at Kaladi

Lunchtime was another easy choice: In the Bowl. If we were in Seattle to try new pickles, then it’s certainly fair to make room for a favorite lunch spot.

If I can say just one thing about this busy little restaurant? If you’re going, GET SOME CURRY. It’s so much easier to find good, vegan-friendly Thai noodles than it is to find from-scratch Thai curry even half as good as theirs.

I was quite nervous that I’d snob myself out of enjoying a bowl since our last curry-obsessed visit to Thailand, but dude, I was not disappointed in the least.

Best curry I’ve had in the Northwest, fo sho.

Always fascinating, with a hint of sweetness: Black soybean in coconut milk

Oh hello, did we mention we’re from out-of-town? Shucks.

My early Northwest Pickle Tour research was set to take me all over the state of Washington. When it came down to cramming my time in Seattle to 24 hours or less, the historic, tourist-packed Pike Place was a must.

Pushing my way through this marketplace on a weekend makes me never want to complain about being run over my massive strollers and small dogs at the Portland Farmers Market again.

First up, Parker Pickles’ Wasabi Dill

There was another pickle tasting thrown in here, but the pictures remain on my Iphone. It doesn’t matter, because while the wasabi wasn’t so hot and the second one was less than memorable, Britt’s Pickles was worth the maze of the madness in every way. Britt’s tasty, live-cultured pickles, kimchi and kraut are actually located across from the main market area, in the center building, and downstairs, in a far less crowded row of stands. Does that make sense? Hopefully.

Trust me, I now really know pickles, and these are rather good pickles. The live-culturing aspect really seems to lend itself to the bite of a new dill style, in particular. Britt’s holy grail of pickle brine They may not be my type of cinnamon roll, but what lies behind this flashy sign remains a requisite consideration when passing by the market…

I mean, the namesake pride of this spot includes gigantic, freshly baked and iced, vegan cinnamon rolls. Of course it’s a notion to consider.

Taking a moment to relax and paying a lot for a Tiger lager Spotted Oh, don’t act surprised. We had just met up with KJ, who needed to eat, and visiting new Veggie Grills is a fun form of vegan tourism.

HI KJ! We miss you!

From there, we rested a tad and were off to Capitol Cider for some artisan pickles:

Lovely setting, sharp, welcome brine and the first mason jar presentation of the pickle tour, but curiously leek and jalapeno-happy. Then, came the minor Highline fiasco, which turned into the WHY ARE THERE NACHO DORITOS AT THE BOTTOM OF OUR BUCKETS OF CHIPS AT BIMBO’S CANTINA?!

Sigh. Fiasco, schmiasco. We came for the photobooth and vegan chickin’, and didn’t stay for either. This was followed by making our rainy way back down the hill, which meant a stop at Speckled & Drake for the evening’s finale.

I had originally penciled in Montana Bar as a friend’s recommendation, and since this bar’s bathroom ended up covered in pee, it seems as though I made the wrong choice. The pickle back, however, hit the spot to prepare for a wet, wet, wet walk back to our hotel.

The morning after was just right: Perfecto, mild hangover-o grub at Wayward Vegan Cafe in the U District

Because let’s be real, I was missing Austin’s breakfast taco scene from a few mere weeks earlier. This remains true.

Best company KJ This place just gets better & better. Here’s another for next time, the shiny new Araya’s location, right down the strip. Another requisite stop: picking up goodies from Vegan Haven Inside the expanded Vegan Haven (formerly Sidecar for Pigs Peace) It’s impressive expansion warms my jaded vegan heart. I snapped this shot below as the restaurant owners were apparently getting out of their car. They were so tickled that I liked their sign so much (which was super nice because I was fairly mortified at being caught)! Back to the International District Boltbus Northwest! Home with ginger beer to sip, soy curls to meet my cast iron, and many, many cookies to bake. Bonus: Highline’s Pickle Chips, circa December 2010. My favorite thing on the menu, besides the booze.

Relevant reads:


  1. So many old haunts that I miss and new places added to the list for when I help a friend move from NY to WA in a couple of months.

  2. You came to Seattle, went to Vegan Haven (where I’m a volunteer) and managed to buy a ginger beer but didn’t choose the locally produced, locally owned (by the brother and sister-in-law of VH’s former manager, no less), head-explodingly-delicious Rachel’s Ginger Beer? Talk about a mis(u)sed opportunity!

    Highline is only serving food on Monday and Tuesday nights since they re-opened the kitchen; it’s mentioned weekly on their FB page. It’s my understanding that they’re not serving pickle chips yet, either. Alas. It’s my favorite thing, too. Well, maybe tied with their nacho cheese.

  3. Fun times in Seattle!! I wish I was eating a plateful of Wayward food right now. Also, wow, that is a new level of crazy face I made in that photo!! ❤ ❤ ❤ Miss youuuuu!

  4. You did so much in 24 hours, that’s amazing. Whenever you write about one of your getaways in Seattle, I tell myself I really didn’t make the most of my 2000 and something visit.

  5. I got some of those white choc chips at Vegan Haven when in Seattle last month too! And I made cookies with them last night! Also, I thought my only Seattle regret from my trip was not having time to fit in Veggie Grill. But now I’m also sad that I missed those fried pickles at Highline.

  6. In the bowl is RIGHT next to [Veganmoxie] Dawn & I! (We live a block apart!)
    I’ve yet to find those vegan cinnamon rolls at the market! (Have been happily buying the tubes of Trader Joe’s!)
    We are *really* hoping that Highline expands their food hours again. Right now it’s just Mon & Tues 4-8 and very inconvenient. On the flip side, yes, we really go to Wayward A LOT. (So good! But no whiskey!)
    Thanks for giving me a couple ideas of new places to check out.
    I can’t remember if there were ever doritos at the bottom of my chips? Maybe a long time ago. (You’d think I would remember.)
    I thought it was funny that you bought soy curls in SEA and not in PDX!
    Glad you had fun.
    (Sorry this comment is all over the place!)

  7. This looks like it was such a fun trip! I tried a pickleback for the first time this past summer and was really surprised at what a delicious alternative it was to an orange slice.

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