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Besides all the funky urban art, one thing I didn't want to miss in Fremont was Theo Chocolate. This chocolate factory is first and foremost proud to be the only fair-trade organic chocolate factory in the United States. But Theo is much more than just a nice philosophy - they actually make amazing chocolate! And when you visit their store in Fremont, you get to sample every single one of their creations. Their classic and fantasy flavor collections of chocolate bars are great - I especially liked their spicy chile dark chocolate bar and their chai tea and coconut curry milk chocolate bars. After carefully sampling each flavour, we ended up buying four chocolate bars - and now that their Christmas collection is out, I think I might even order some more online!
Theo Chocolate is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Factory tours are also offered, check out the Website for more details.
What to pay: The classic chocolate bars cost $4 each, while the fantasy flavor ones cost $3.25 each.
Updated Nov 11, 2010
Address: 3400 Phinney Avenue North
Even though it's not as big as Portland's Powell's Books, I must say that I had just as much fun shopping at Seattle's Elliott Bay Book Company. This bookstore originally opened in the Pioneer Square area back in 1973, but it has recently moved to the more lively Capital Hill area. The new store is pretty big, and with its wooden bookshelves, floors and ceilings, it offers the kind of cozy book warehouse atmosphere that is absolutely perfect for book shopping! Of course they offer a huge selection of books, along with really good staff recommendations, frequent author readings and book club meetings. Since I've made the resolution never to buy books at full price, I headed for their discount section and found so many good deals, I left with a bag full of classic and contemporary novels. It truly is a must-see attraction for book lovers in Seattle!
Written Nov 11, 2010
Address: 1521 10th Avenue
We don't shop much on vacation but when we do we prefer items that are unique to a city or region, In Seattle, you'll see numerous shops and galleries that specialize in beautiful crafts by the Pacific Northwest's tribal peoples. Ranging from drums, totems, masks, plaques, jewelry and baskets, and priced from $50 to many thousands, you can't go wrong with an authentic work of art from a reputable source. My one word of caution would be making SURE your chosen treasure is the real deal and not a knock-off. Don't buy from cluttered shops with large inventories of tacky tchotchkes or from anyone who can't tell you much about your piece. A reputable dealer will be able to tell you about the artist, which tribe he/she is from, the medium used and provide a certificate of authenticity - even a printed bio about the artist. The piece should also be signed and if the price seems too good to be believed, it probably is.
One of shops we enjoyed was Northwest Tribal Art in a quieter corner of Pike Place. During the course of our browse, the dealer noticed our interest in certain pieces and gave us lots of background about those particular artists, how long he'd been working with them and lots of other insights that gave credibility to the merchandise. I'll always encourage shopping around but will include their website as they have a nice variety of pieces, backgrounds on their artists and some really interesting information about the symbolism and materials used by the various indigenous cultures: a good opportunity to learn a little before you go shopping!
Written Mar 29, 2010
We didn't make it to the exhibits at the Seattle Museum of Art 'cause it was just too nice outside to fritter away time inside but we did stop for a quick browse of the museum's store. I like museum shops as the quality of the products is always high and you can find truly unique or hand-crafted treasures far better than tacky tourist tchotchkes. This shop is no exception. Here you'll find books, clothing, toys, glassware, jewelry and a nice selection of Native American crafts created by regional artisans. Prices range from a little to a lot but this is good stuff. If nothing else, give it a spin to admire the goods.
Open Wed - Sunday, roughly 10:00AM - 5:00 PM, evening hours on Thursday and Fridays.
Updated Mar 7, 2010
Address: 1300 First Avenue, downtown Seattle
Bottleworks is the premier beer specialty retail outlet in town. This is no mega store but rather a small locally run shop run by people who know and obviously love beer. Though it is not particularly large, they do have a well thought out selection of largely domestic beers though expect to find a fair selection of Belgians as well. The store is well laid out and beers are easy to find. The people in the store are not pushy but certainly very willing to help you out in your selection. You can tell they have actually drank most of the beers in the store and make no pretence whether they liked a beer or not. I didn't always agree with their recommendations but I think they were honest and a reflection of what they liked.
If you have read my many brewpub tips on this page, you might wonder how I could possibly need to get even more beer, right? Well, not all craft beers are available in brewpubs. Some micros just bottle their stuff and others are in towns we did not get to. We also had a few nights when we hung out at out friends' house and I wanted to drink some local beers with them too.
Here's some I found: 1) St. Wilbur Weizen-Bayern Brewing, Missoula, MT-Honey hued w/rocky head. Nice banana clove overtone, in the Bavarian style. Not cloying and fairly clean finish. One of the better US Bavarian style weizens though lacks yeasty flavor you would expect. 2) Bayern Pilsner-A bit dark for a pils but nice fluffy head and citrusy nose. Bitter palate and clean dry finish.
What to buy: 3) Schwarzbier-Baron Brewing, Seattle-Darn brown w/ little head. Fair roasty Germanic dunkles. Nothing amazing but not bad. 4) Rauchbier-Baron Brewing-Mostly malty brew that loses its head immediately. Light smokey flavor is the only thing that makes it remotely interesting. Bland. 5) Über Weisse-Baron Brewing-8.5%-Deep garnet w/dense tan head. Dried fruit and some roasty malt but odd bitterness mars the overall impression. Better than other two Baron beers but not what I had hoped for in the brewery. 6) Dick's Hefeweizen(4%)-Centralia, WA-Looks more like a dunkleweizen but does exhibit yeasty profile typical of a weizen though lacking any fruity quality. An odd bitterness mars the overall flavor. 7) Dick's Cream Stout (4.5%)-Black w/ tan head & slight coffee nose. Bitter coffee palate w/ some chocolate. Uneven finish mars overall impression. 8) Dick's Imperial Stout (7.5%)-Black w/ fluffy head. A bit thin and simple for the style but the best of Dick's lot. 9) Dogzilla Black IPA-Laughing Dog, Sandpoint, ID-Darn brown with reddish hightlights and fluffy tan head. Dry hoppy palate w/ some roasty bitterness to boot. It's a shame they skimped on the malt for what otherwise would be a more memorable beer. 10) Moylan's Ran Sullivan Imperial Stout (10%)-Novato, CA-Black w/ garnet highlights & dense tan head. Dried fruit nose & palate that dries incredibly in the dry bitter finish. Best beer of this lot.
It seems I picked more losers than normal but Germanic beers are tough to replicate and the beers of Baron Brewing in Seattle were a major disappointment. Dick's also contributed quite a few bad beers. I'll not be buying anything from either brewery for a long time. You live and you learn. In this case, you taste and you learn. ;)
What to pay: Craft beers are not cheap, running close to $10 for a six-pack. 22 oz bottles go for $5-10 though special beers and some that are aged can be appreciably more.
Written Nov 9, 2009
Address: 1710 N 45th St # 3
Phone: (206) 633-2437
This is the best store to buy spices in Seattle. The sellers combine all the spices you wanted in front of you to concoct the best curry to add on your favorite curry dish.
It is very interesting to see this store because they sell all the spices that you can imagine used by all the people in the world! They have the spices of the eastern and western world, Mexican spices, Arabic spices, Mediterranean, Indian, Pakistani, Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, Indonesian, etc.
What to buy: Any spice you want and any kind of tea you can think of.
What to pay: Since I come here often, I buy the spices in bulk so it cost me a lot but if you just wanted to buy a certain spice like the Sizchuan pepper, for example, a small bottle costs $4.00. My bill is usually $40-$120.00 but I buy in bulk and use the spices in two years!
Updated Feb 7, 2009
Address: Western Union, Seattle, Washington
Just recently, the mall was opened to business and it is amazingly huge and spectacular! The old South Center Mall is now a megamall with new business establishments inside. There are more stalls than before adding more selections for shopping.
There is also an AMC cinema added to the top floor of the mall and a food terrace.
The mall has many brand name stores on top of the regular big outlets like Nordstrom, Macys, Sears, and JC Penney. The original ones include Limited, Gymboree, Victoria's Secret, Kay Jewelries, Americal Eagle, Body Shop, Sanrios, etc.
There are hundreds of stores added to the original ones including Bebe, Cache, Hollister, H&M, XX!, Limited, Anne Taylor, Abercombie & Fitch, Coach, PacSun, etc.
There are three stories of stores to choose from.
What to buy: You can find anything here from jewelries, shoes, hats, etc.
What to pay: Depending on what you wanted to buy
Updated Jan 21, 2009
Address: Tukwila, Washington
While going to the Martin Luther King's (MLK) 22nd Annual celebration of King County at the Paramount Theater on Pine Street, I found two street vendors who are selling great black and white sketches of the newly elected President of the United States Barack Obama.
The sketches were okay and original. The street vendors also sell some presidential pins and pictures of the new president and his family.
What to buy: Sketches of the newly elected president of the United States Barack Obama.
What to pay: $25.00
Written Jan 16, 2009
Address: 911 Pine Street, Seattle, WA 98101
This is a specialty store. They only sell Mariner's stuff like Mariner's t-shirts, caps, shorts, jackets, and other memorabilia items.
What to buy: T-shirts with the logo of Mariners' and Ichiro's name on it.
What to pay: $28.00
Written Dec 22, 2008
Address: Located inside the Alderwood Mall
The shop usually sells specialty items - mostly imported shirts, t-shirts, dresses, skirts, beddings, etc.. The goods are usually made of 100 percent cotton. The store also sells kitchen wares like mugs, plates, and other craft items. The comforters are usually quilted and hand-made from China or India.
The store opens at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 8:00 p.m. on regular days Monday-Friday. On the weekends, the store opens at 11:00 am and closes at 6:00 p.m.
What to buy: 100 percent cottong dresses
What to pay: More than expensive than the regular goods that you buy at a mall.
Updated Dec 4, 2008
Address: 5th & Pike St., Seattle, Washington
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