The Lonesome Traveler Hits Seattle Again for IFBC 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010


Okay, I know this post is woefully late in coming, but that’s part of the rub about travelling. Once you get back home, you’re bombarded by real life again. And for me, that means family obligations, work backlogs and writing deadlines. Unfortunately, the paying gigs take precedence, so SGCC often has to take the back burner.  Hence, the lateness of this post.  I’m not complaining, though.  I’m very grateful for the paying gigs.  I still have to pinch myself sometimes to believe that I work as a professional writer.  How fortunate I am to have the opportunity to get paid for something that I love to do!

So, I’m actually beginning to get pretty good at this travelling by myself thing.  Last May, I ventured out alone for the inaugural International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle.  I shared with you then how anxious and yet, exhilarated I was to be “putting on my big girl pants” and taking my first solo trip.  Bolstered by the wonderful experience, I trekked cross country again a few months later for BlogHer Food in San Francisco. Again, a wonderful and exciting experience!  So, when the time came to register for IFBC 2010, it was a no brainer. I was an old pro. I signed up without giving it a second thought.  And of course, I am so very glad that I did.

I arrived in Seattle a few days early so that I would be sure to have lots of time to explore the city, especially Pike Place Market.  The market was the highlight of my trip last year, and I couldn’t wait to go back!  I checked into my delightful little jewel box of a room at the Hotel Monaco and planned my attack.

Picnik collage

I spent my first day grazing my way through Pike Place Market, the holy grail of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, specialty foods and crafts.  As always, the abundant selection of gorgeous fresh fruits and vegetables left me breathless, as did the magnificent flower displays!  Honestly, I could live at that market! After sampling some of the sweetest, juiciest peaches I’d ever tasted, I bought some to snack on back at the hotel along with some dewy, plump figs and Rainier cherries.

Pike Place-2010-web-1

Then, I made my way over to Pike Place Fish and placed my order for fifty pounds of the some of the freshest seafood on the planet.  I swear I saw one of those Dungeness crabs winking at me!  I got a whole King salmon and a black cod, several pounds of halibut cheeks, Dungeness crabs (Mr. SGCC’s fave) and spot prawns.  Spot prawns! Major score! I’d only dreamed about ever finding spot prawns after seeing them prepared on Top Chef!  The folks at Pike Place Fish are great. They shipped my whole order, packed in ice, overnight to my house, so that it got there the same day I did.

Picnik collage-fish-1

I know that fifty pounds seems like a lot, but we love fish.  I also do share with family and friends, and freeze some to enjoy later.  Even flown in from the Pacific Northwest, the seafood from Pike Place Fish is superior to much of what I can find here.  It’s not cheap, but let me give you a little tip. If you buy a whole fish there, you’ll pay an average of six to seven dollars per pound less than if you buy fillets.  And, the best part is that the fish guys will clean and fillet the fish for you before they send it.  So basically, you’re getting the exact same product for a lot less money.  Sweet!

After a luscious crab roll with a crab chowder chaser from Pike Place Chowder, I popped into Beecher’s Handmade Cheese for more tasting and to check things out.  I left with a small wedge of their sassy, aged, Flagship Cheddar and visions dancing in my head of the fab fresh fig and cheddar midnight snack I would enjoy later.

On my way back to the Monaco, I zigged when I should have zagged and ended up right smack in front of Nordstrom.  What luck!  It was obviously kismet. I had to go inside.  I won’t bore you with the details of my little shopping frenzy spree.  Some things are better left unsaid.


One of the “do not miss” experiences in Seattle that I’d been told about was lunch at Armandino Batali’s storefront deli, Salumi. In case you don’t recognize the name, Armandino is the father of celebrity chef, Mario Batali.  After retiring from a thirty year career at Boeing in 1996, Batali decided to go to cooking school. He became fascinated with meat, particularly cured meats, and spent the next few years learning everything there was to know about the art of curing meat, including a stint traveling through Italy to learn with the masters.  Salumi was the culmination of Batali’s culinary journey.

Only open four afternoons a week, this little hole in the wall deli is one of the most popular lunch spots in the Emerald City.  The line to get in regularly snakes down the street and around the block.  Despite the long wait, no self respecting Italian foodie would dream of missing an opportunity of a meal there – especially not me!   So, on Friday morning, I hiked all the way down there to be gastronomically wowed.  Luckily, I got there early and only had to wait about forty minutes.


I ordered Salumi’s signature Porchetta sandwich and what a sandwich it was! My, oh my, oh my!   I held in my hands a masterpiece of glistening, juicy, hunks and shreds of pork punctuated with sweet peppers and onions all enveloped in a massive slab of crusty Italian bread.  The heady aroma of garlic, herbs and pig made me weak in the knees.  I could barely contain myself long enough to snap a picture of it!  On the way out, I ran into several other food bloggers waiting on line. Word gets around!


Thoroughly satiated (and stuffed to the gills), I then made my way to the Filson store.  What? You’ve never heard of the Filson store?  C.C. Filson opened his flagship Seattle sports and outerwear store in 1897, during the Great Klondike Gold Rush.  Among other things, the company manufactures the highest quality jackets, coats, sweaters, shirts, pants, caps and shorts, as well as leather goods and even luggage.  Filson products are a great favorite of Mr. SGCC. It’s no small wonder why, since he is a Filson too.  I promised him that I would make the time to visit (and pick up a few things) while I was in town.  I had to chuckle when I handed the store clerk my credit card to pay for my stuff.  She just kind of stared at it for a minute, looked at me and then back at the card.  Then, she asked the inevitable questions:  “Is your name really Filson?” and “Are you one of THE Filsons?” To which I replied, “Yes, and yes.” That’s right, folks.  Mr. SGCC is distantly, many times removed, somewhere down the line, related to C.C. Filson.  So you see, there was no way I could leave Seattle without stopping by.  And by the way, the staff was just as nice and helpful as could be, even before they knew my name.  ;)


I got back to my digs at the Monaco with just enough time for a quick nap and a quick change before the IFBC opening festivities.   Luckily, the cocktail reception was being held at the hotel so I didn’t have to travel far.  I was beyond excited to see old friends again and hopefully, make many more new ones! But, this post is already waaaay to long!  So, as the immortal Scarlett O’Hara would say, “Tomorrow is another day!”.   I promise you it won’t take me two weeks to post Part 2 of my Seattle adventure.

43 responses to The Lonesome Traveler Hits Seattle Again for IFBC 2010

  1. On September 10, 2010 at 1:38pm, Eliana said...

    sounds like you had a blast – can’t wait to read part 2 :)

  2. On September 10, 2010 at 4:31pm, Jessica said...

    Wow. Sounds like so much fun. Your pictures are awesome. Looking forward to more about your trip.

  3. On September 10, 2010 at 4:53pm, bellini valli said...

    I will be heading to Seattle next month so will definitely be heading to Pike Place Market as always and perhaps Salumi too:D

    • On September 10, 2010 at 7:40pm, Susan said...

      You must try to make it to Salumi, Val. I’m still dreaming about that porchetta sandwich! :D

  4. On September 10, 2010 at 5:01pm, Rosa said...

    A lovely trip! It seems you had a great time there!



  5. On September 11, 2010 at 9:19am, kelly said...

    That makes TWICE I’ve missed this conference. Grumble, grumble. Love hearing about your shopping adventures — they remind me Seattle is still on our list in general for a get away. Sounds like you had some fun!

  6. On September 11, 2010 at 3:01pm, Jen of a2eatwrite said...

    Wow, Susan, this sounds like a wonderful adventure. I loved Seattle – especially Pike Place market! I couldn’t eat at Salumi, sadly – we had a melting down 11-year-old who just wasn’t going to do the line that day. Sigh. I can’t wait to hear about the conference itself!

  7. On September 12, 2010 at 4:09am, Joy said...

    My eyes bugged when I read fifty pounds, thinking that must be a mistake. :-D I hope you’ve been enjoying your loot, the fish and Nordstrom kinds.

    It was great to see you again, in Seattle this time! Wish we got to chat more, but hope to catch you again next time.

  8. On September 13, 2010 at 2:05am, Ruth Ann said...

    Loved the post. Sounds like a great time in Seattle.
    Will you be at BlogHer Food this year? I hope to see you then. Let me know when you arrive.

  9. On September 13, 2010 at 2:05am, Ruth Ann said...

    Loved the post. Sounds like a great time in Seattle.
    Will you be at BlogHer Food this year? I hope to see you then. Let me know when you arrive.

  10. On September 13, 2010 at 3:16am, laura said...

    yeah for traveling alone! you never know when you’ll meet great peeps!! :) my husband only wears filson wool pants-he loves them!! He got excited when I showed him the picture of the Filson store–so cool!! I am on count down BlogHer Food!!

  11. On September 13, 2010 at 2:49pm, Karen@Mignardise said...

    Great recap! I am so jealous of your wonderful trip. Maybe next year I’ll attend too. Fantastic photos!
    Looking forward to part 2. And to hearing about what you’ll do with all that seafood.

  12. On September 13, 2010 at 4:10pm, Rachel (S[d]OC) said...

    What fun! I want to go to the deli and eat that sandwich!

    Travelling alone has its advantages for sure. You get to set your own agenda and go atyour own pace. I do find myself missing my hubby when I’m alone and thinking, “It would be nice for him to see this.”

  13. On September 16, 2010 at 8:16am, Beth said...

    I love your photos! You really made Seattle come to life. What a wonderful market!

  14. On September 16, 2010 at 6:50pm, The Food Hunter said...

    I am so jealous you had a pork sandwich at salumi. It’s my favorite :0)

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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