The girls and I have been on the road for dance the last three weekends! April was a bit ca-razy! I was kind of dreading being away three weekends in a row, but a friend encouraged me to embrace it and enjoy the time. So I took her advice, decided to use the time to get my steps in (yes, I’ve become a wee bit obsessed since I got my Apple watch), and explore the food and coffee scene in three different cities.
Here’s how it went down….Victoria, Portland and then Seattle. Well, it was actually Victoria, Vancouver, WA (with a drive out to Portland) and Tacoma (with a stop in Seattle). Quite a tour of the Pacific Northwest! And we were blessed with some pretty rad weather, so I really got to enjoy exploring and walking around.
People ask me how I find the places I stop at for food and coffee. Well, I have a few methods….
- Yelp and Trip Advisor | both have non-biased, for the most part, reviews of places. They have usually been fairly accurate. I tend to go with places that have lots of reviews (beware of ones with only a handful) and, of course, are rated highly. I also check out the pics of the food and coffee, check the menus and read the reviews to see if the places is known for a specific dish or drink…you can often see a trend and that can influence what I will order. I’m a big believer in ordering what the restaurant is known for or specializes in. Look for phrases in the reviews such as “farm to table”, “fresh”, “in season”, “locally sourced ingredients”….those usually mean it’s gonna be good food!
- Ask food bloggers | I follow a number of food bloggers from Vancouver and I know I can trust them for anything they recommend! If I am going to an area I haven’t been before, I will tweet them asking for recommendations. Recently, one recommended Tasty n Alder in Portland and…wow…it was on point! Not only was the food ah-mazing, but I really loved the whole space. Can’t wait to go back!
- Instagram | I’ve started keeping notes of places that I want to try if I see a great pic about it on Instagram. You can also use hashtags to search cities, such as #restaurants #brunch #coffee #icecream #donuts
- Ask people you trust | Just before we left for Portland, I asked for recommendations for coffee places in Seattle at my favorite local coffee shop, Old Hand. I figured they would know! They gave me a few names and we stopped at Elm Coffee Roasters. I had an amazing latte and cardamom cake (um…yes!) from The London Plane, which is where we stopped later for dinner (an Instagram find). Ask people who like the same type of food and drinks that you do. Once when we were in New York, we had an excellent dinner at a restaurant and asked our server where he would recommend brunch the next day. He sent us to a quaint, French bistro that became one of our favorite New York spots (it was Pastis and is sadly no longer there). Ask people you trust and are unbiased.
Hey, sometimes you gamble and lose and a meal might be a bust, but for the most part, I’ve found that doing a wee bit of research has led us to some darn good food and coffee. My family is getting me used to dragging them around, often walking for blocks, in search of a tiny cafe I’ve heard about. Hey, we’ve seen parts of cities that we would never have experienced before. It’s an adventure, there’s fun in the hunt and they appreciate the end result!