Where to Eat, Drink, and Stay in Downtown Seattle

Pardon The Punctuation…Seattle the “Emerald City” is a rainy foodie paradise. A Valhalla for all things digestible. I just got to spend 5 days in this amazing place and since most blog readers have the attention span of a fruit fly I’ll keep it short.

Stay:
The Kimpton Hotel Vintage. Perfect location. Just a few blocks away from the the Link Light Rail train fro the airport and right in the heart of all the downtown action. Gorgeous remodeled modern rooms and a complimentary wine hour from 5-6pm every night featuring local Washington State wineries. Also they serve complimentary Caffe Vita coffee in the lobby every morning. The staff knows how to treat a guest.

Great room at the Hotel Vintage.

Great room at the Hotel Vintage.

Coffee:
Victrola Coffee serves up freshly roasted java and barista drinks. You’ll want to try everything they make. I wish they had a store from in Los Angeles.

Caffe Vita is a mix of art gallery space and killer coffee shop in the Capitol Hill part of town. Friendly baristas will rock out whatever you want to drink and if you ask you might get a quick tour of the roasting plant behind the shop.

Chow:

Sitka and Spruce in Melrose Market offers up local farm to table delights. Best charcuterie and house made Kombucha I’ve ever had. Get a reservation as they fill up quickly.

Best Charcuterie!

Best Charcuterie!

Oddfellows Cafe and Bar serving up yummy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So good I went back twice. They also have a great $5 happy our “Old Fashioned.” For breakfast get the bacon egg and cheese biscuit…stellar. Had the mussels for dinner and they were solid.

Skillet Diner in Capitol Hill serves up some yummy breakfast fare. I had the chilaquiles and they were ok. Nothing to write home about. Their Bacon Jam on the other hand is the kind of stuff that wars are fought over. Perfectly sweet and spicy…order it on the side with one of their freshly baked biscuits. One of my friends ordered the pork belly and corn meal waffle. This was a heavy and delicious dish..definitely sharable.

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bars grow the best oysters I’ve ever had on the planet. They will blow you away… joke…get your ass there now.

Taylor Shellfish Oysters…wow

Taylor Shellfish Oysters…wow

Bar Sajor another farm to table gem. Fresh, fresh, fresh, and the menu changes daily. I had the leg of lamb. YUM!

Lowell’s restaurant in Pikes Place Market serves up good food in a touristy spot. Never expected food this good in a tourist trap. Great egg sandwich.

Molly Moon’s serves up outstanding homemade ice cream. The salted caramel will blow you mind.

Mamnoon has the best middle eastern food I’ve had this side of the atlantic. This place will blow your mind. Try the kibbeh, arnabeit makli, sambusek, shish taouk, and finish it with the turkish coffee dessert. This place has the “wow” factor.

To Do:

The Space Needle is an iconic building in the Seattle skyline. Felt like a complete waste of time to me. The view is fine but really not worth the time.

The Seattle Underground tour was fun and entertaining. Funny guides take you under Pioneer Square and keep it entertaining. It runs about 90 min and tons of fun.

If you’ve never been to Seattle I suggest you plan a trip ASAP. Wonderful people, food, coffee, scenery, and just about everything else. Can’t wait to get back there.

"Hillbilly Napa" My Trip To The Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Pardon The Punctuation...It doesn't get more American than bourbon. Recently I had the opportunity of touring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and experiencing my own little "Hillbilly Napa" of sorts. I don't mean "Hillbilly" in a bad way. I met some of the friendliest and most accommodating people on the planet. 

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My “Mancation” at Travaasa Austin, A Paradise in Austin Hill Country.

Pardon The Punctuation… Travaasa is “a new collection of experiential spa resorts that emphasizes real travel and the unique, authentic qualities that make a destination magical.” They offer ” a resort experience that is defined by guided adventures, culinary classes, cultural encounters, healing spa treatments, as well as fitness and wellness workshops.” So you can imagine that when I was invited to partake in a “Mancation” at the Austin resort I jumped at the chance. Don’t worry, ladies are welcome too.

The best part about this blog post is that one lucky dude will be able to win a trip with a few of his buddies to do the same “Mancation.”

The Staff: Probably the friendliest hotel staff I’ve ever dealt with. From the front desk to the restaurant, every person working at travaasa Austin really loves where they work and it shows.

Activities: I participated in archery, horseback riding, pump biking, obstacle course, zip lining, giant swinging, the ultimate tequila tasting, a grilling cooking class, and a farm to table experience where I was able to pick some fresh veggies and see them incorporated in the meal I was about to have. Oh…did I forget to mention the SPA!!!!!!! THE BEST SPA EXPERIENCE EVER! No joke. They have a spa treatment room specifically set up for dudes! After the beating my body took from all of these great activities, the spa was just what the doctor ordered. Once you’re done with the spa you can walk right into their stunning infinity pool for a relaxing swim and view of the hills. Don’t worry ladies there’s plenty for you too…I’m just not going to talk about it because this was a #Mancation!

Archery: It goes to show there are things you didn’t know you didn’t know. I had no idea how much I would love archery. Great instructors also make the experience more enjoyable for a novice like me.

Horseback Riding: Again the experienced instructors rock this out. I was petrified of horses until riding them at Travaasa. My horse “Jeter” was more mellow than a Venice Beach stoner and boy was I thankful for that. After a couple of minutes I felt like a natural. The connection between man and horse was a zen-like synergistic experience that will be cherished forever. The peaceful tranquility of the trail makes it great for both the experienced and first time rider.

Pump Bike Track: Looks easy until you try it. So much friggin fun. I was almost able to complete the course but still had to pedal one time towards the end. It will make you work muscles you forgot you had and seeing your friends fall off a bike never gets old.

Obstacle Course: You do some climbing and dangling before finishing off on a zip line. Such a blast and you’re all strapped in so you never feel unsafe.

Giant Swing: This is literally a giant swing that’s about 30ft up in the air. An electric crank brings you up to the highest point where you get to do the honors of pulling the ripcord. Oh yeah…this is the kind of fun that can leave some staining in the underpants. Did it three times.

Ultimate Tequila Tasting: Ed the sommelier takes you on a journey of some of the best tequilas on the planet. I’m traditionally not much of a tequila guy considering the only memories I had of tequila happen to involve my face planted in a toilet in Mexico. This tasting is the genesis of my new found love for agave goodness.

Grilling class: Nothing like some the smell of some grilled awesomeness and learning how to do so. If you’re that guy who over cooks everything on the grill this is the perfect class for you. Chef keeps it simple and has the gift of conveying the information in a fun way. We had some grilled shrimp, hamachi, and veggies…..yum yum yum yum…nom nom nom nom.

The Bar: The curated selection at the bar blew my mind. First off for my fellow bourbon lovers you can have a vertical tasting of the full portfolio of Pappy Van Winkle….that’s right the best bourbon on the planet is just staring at you while you sit at the bar. Their signature cocktails are also tip top. But I’m not going to lie…I’d make the trip over there just for the Pappy. Worth every penny. Specially the 23 year reserve…wow!

The Restaurant: There’s one restaurant on the property and it’s so good you need nothing else. The farm to table experienced is showcased at the restaurant. There is nothing like eating freshly hatched eggs at breakfast and then sitting down for dinner and eating the veggies you just helped pick on your farm tour experience.

I mentioned this earlier but you’ll have the chance to enter a contest to win this same experience. Follow me on twitter and I’ll keep you up to date with all you need to know to enter. I hope one of my followers wins this trip and tells me all about it. Travaasa knows how to take care of a guest. If Travaasa’s Hawaii property is anything like this one I’m going to be first on the list to jump at the chance to experience it and share it with you guys. Stay tuned and I”ll make sure to keep you in the loop so you can test out you #ManSkills!


St Regis Bora Bora...A Hotel Where Everything Looks Like A Screensaver

Pardon The Punctuation...very seldom am I ever swayed by a movie to make any kind of purchase...well if "Hover Boards" were for real I might be down for that. One exception was watching the movie 'Couples Retreat." The hotel featured in that movie seemed too good to be true. Well it wasn't a fake property created for Hollywood magic, it was the St Regis Bora Bora

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Where to Eat, Drink, Play, and Stay in Omaha.

Pardon The Punctuation...Omaha has to be one of the most pleasant surprises so far this year. In fact, I think this place gets a pretty bad rap. Sure there are probably toothless folks that find it entertaining to go cow tipping...but this town is full of great people who make great food and take pride in their work. Here are a few places that stood out to me during my one week stint in the land of steak and corn huskers.

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Best of the Hamptons Featuring South Edison, Canal Cafe, and Levain Bakery

Pardon The Punctuation...If you're in the Hamptons for the weekend and want to avoid the sound of snobby girls who add the "A" sound to the end of words like "Thank youuuuaaaaaaaahhhhh and yesssaaaaaaaaaahhhh", here are a few places that will hit the spot. I'll start with the finer dining portion and work my way down to the sweet stuff.

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2013 Food and Wine Classic in Aspen Part 2: Spain

Pardon the Punctuation...Seeing the Spain tent at the Food and Wine classic in Aspen really hit home for me. You see, I'm of Cuban, Spanish, and French descent. So I saw pretty stoked when I saw a whole circus tent full of goodies from the only country I'd consider moving to outside of the good old U.S. of A.. A foodie "Disneyland" of all things "Spain."

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