Local Adventure: Fremont

IMG_9449_LUCiDOne Seattle neighborhood we seem to visit time and time again is Fremont. Maybe its self-proclaimed status as the Center of the Universe does on some subconscious level keep drawing us back!

It certainly offers a variety of activities, shops, restaurants, and eccentricities that we continue to explore, and that we bring visiting family and friends to explore.

Despite our multiple visits, there’s always more to discover, and we recently tackled a few new experiences with both sets of parents during their visits to see us.

Theo’s Chocolate

We’ve eaten Theo’s Chocolate. We’ve known about the factory tour. We just never seemed to be in the right place at the right time to actually experience it!

During my parents’ visit we finally made it a priority and scheduled a morning walking tour. It was easy to find nearby street parking, and a quick walk along the factory and past the tasting room/store brought us to the tour entrance.

A small group of us were signed up to participate, and while we waited we were given hair nets and asked to cover all of our exposed hair. Brian even had a beard net that was pretty cute! We also had to lint roll each other and apply hand sanitizer– multiple precautions to ensure we brought the fewest number of particulates into the factory.

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Our first stop was a small room where we learned about the history of the cocoa bean and the areas where it originated. Through this informational talk our guide gave us different types of chocolate to taste– some sourced from different areas, some with varying percentages of cocoa, and some with different additives, like fruit and nuts.

Our guide was knowledgeable and entertaining, and we agreed that it was definitely one of the more informational tours we’ve taken lately.

I think I’ve only been on one other chocolate factory tour, and that was Hershey’s in Pennsylvania. It’s more like an amusement park, with rides and interactive games– I don’t remember really learning anything. There were a few kids on this tour and they seemed to be enjoying themselves, although the content was more suitable for adults.

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After the lesson, we grabbed our things and headed into the factory. Again, I was impressed by the fact that while we were in an enclosed area for the first part of our tour, we actually walked out in between the machines on multiple occasions.

They weren’t running any of the machines at the time, but there was a film and some handouts that our guide used to explain the different steps during processing as she pointed out the various machines around the floor.

As we talked about the different steps in the process, she also introduced us to and let us taste some cocoa nibs! I had never heard of the nibs before– it’s the dried and fermented part of the cocoa bean before anything is added to it. The people in our group had varying reactions to tasting them. I didn’t mind them– they were a little bitter and nutty. Brian loved them, and I found out later you could buy them in the gift shop or multiple places online. Who knew?

We also had a chance to see the confection kitchen, although we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside. They had interesting formed chocolate concoctions, and we got to taste some gourmet treats. Brian loved a fresh mint chocolate truffle while I swooned over the sea salted caramel creation!

Overall I really enjoyed the tour. It was the right length of time, informative, and we tasted quite a bit of free chocolate! Of course we bought our fair share as well– as any good tour does, this one ended us in the gift shop. Multiple bars were available to taste there as well, and Brian opted for the dark chocolate coconut while I really liked the specialty cinnamon horchata bar.

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Pie

Brian and his mom had eaten at Pie before, but our recent visit was my first time. They make a variety of savory, veggie and sweet pies with some standards as well as a hefty list of rotating flavors (posted daily on Facebook).

While the standard pies sounded delicious, we all decided on sharing the specials. My parents got the meaty mac and cheese, which they said was very good, and Brian and I got the pork potsticker, which was delicious.

It’s not possible for Brian to be in a pie shop and not get a sweet treat as well, so we got some mini fruit pies to share, and a berry one to go. If you want a quick bite as you’re walking around in downtown Fremont, Pie is your place. We were in and out quickly, and the food was yummy!

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Fremont Bridge

We’ve driven over the Fremont Bridge countless times, but there were a few details I failed to notice. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon a website about weird things around Seattle (or what that site even was!), but one of the things listed was finding Rapunzel on the Fremont Bridge! Of course I added that to the list and asked everyone to go for a walk with me to find it!

We walked along the bridge’s east side and down the stairs to the Burke Gilman trail. It was a cloudy day but there were a fair number of people on the trail as well as on the water. We wandered around for a little while and then climbed back up the western staircase to the other side of the bridge.

There, lo and behold, was a neon Rapunzel in the window! Even better was the neon yellow hair cascading down from the window! I’m sure it’s amazing lit up– if we’re ever in the area after dark, I would love to see it!

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Fremont Mischief Distillery

Last year at the Bourbon and Bacon Festival, Brian really enjoyed a rye from Fremont Mischief Distillery, which, believe it or not, is in Fremont. We always talked about going and doing a full tasting since they only had a few products with them at the festival, but it just never seemed to happen.

When Brian’s parents visited, they suggested we add it to our itinerary as a belated birthday experience for Brian. We had a great day downtown and then ended in Fremont so he could do a taste testing before we headed home.

The building complex is interesting and under construction. While the tasting room along the road is complete, they are working on a neat shop in the back, as well as a central outdoor space. We wandered around for a little bit before heading in for the tasting.

One of their really neat products is the Storm Tossed Rye Whiskey, which involves actually installing kegs of rye on the bows of two ships featured on the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch. Half goes to Captain Sig of the F/V Northwestern and the rest to Captain Casey and co-Captain Josh Harris of the F/V Cornelia Marie. They stay out for the same amount of time, and they get bottled under the name Storm Tossed but indicating which ship they were on.

I tasted both of them with Brian and was amazed at how different they tasted! I can’t believe that the environment and amount of tossing makes the flavors that different, but the girl in the tasting room explained that the rye does in fact pick up things from its environment, and the way it moves around the barrel draws different things from the wood.

We both preferred the Captain Sig version, but I recommend doing the taste test yourself and seeing which you prefer. It’s one of many, many things to check out when you’re adventuring in Fremont!

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Previous adventures in Fremont:

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