As the pedal turns, the distance on the rails-to-trails Burke-Gilman from the Puget Sound beach of Golden Gardens to Marymoor Park, King County’s most popular, is close to 30 miles—and it’s almost all flat and traffic-free. The well-worn ribbon of pavement passes through Seattle’s hippest neighborhoods (Ballard, Fremont), winds through greenspace, hugs Lake Washington, and heads all the way out into the countryside. Thousands of commuters and athletes use it every day, but we like it best when we take time to smell the coffee. Here’s how to stay tanked up, from west to east.
You can’t miss tiny Solsticio : It sits right on the Burke just past the heart of perpetually funky Fremont, and almost always has a few bikes leaning against the building. The PomPom Berry smoothie—pomegranate-blueberry juice, raspberry sherbet, blueberries, and strawberries—tastes like dessert, only healthier. And you can always grab two slices of cinnamon toast for a buck-fifty for something a little more solid.
For Breakfast Burritos
Agua Verde is a combination Mexican café and paddle club, with tacos upstairs and kayaks downstairs. If you don’t want to sit long, there’s an express window that wraps up killer made-to-order burritos until noon every day. Chorizo with sautéed red potatoes, bacon with mushrooms, steak and eggs—all topped with house salsa.
The jury’s still out on whether a plate of xiao long bao —soup dumplings—qualifies as power food. But at the new Din Tai Fung , an uber-popular chain of restaurants in Taiwan with just a few outposts in the States, hundreds of them are hand-wrapped daily by dozens of chefs and gobbled up by University Village shoppers and devoted acolytes alike. (Avoid the lunch hour, unless you want a long wait.) The juicy pork version, with or without crab, is a must.
A few years ago, the research company NPD group counted over 1,600 coffee shops in the Seattle/Tacoma area. And one of the best, [Zoka Coffee](//www.zokacoffee.com/) , happens to be just off the Burke. It’s been home to multiple winners of barista competitions, and it sells fancy single-origin cups (from Panama to Kenya) and a dozen custom blends.
Where the trail passes by Magnuson Park, an army base–turned–recreational oasis, Joan Williams has been making sweet treats for decades. [60th Street Desserts](//www.60thstreetdesserts.com) , with a bakery case full of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and peach marionberry scones, has enough wonderful butterfat to rocket you to Idaho. If you need another fix, Bothell’s Hillcrest Bakery specializes in European-style cookies like meringues and the crackly Dutch-origin “John Hail.”
Kenmore used to be full of speakeasies during Prohibition, so it’s perfect for a place like 192 Brewing Company —which likes to call itself the smallest brewery in Washington. (It started at just 192 square feet, and was originally founded in a garage). But it makes big brews, and a variety of them: The Shticky Blonde is made with wild honey that’s taken from bees that hang out around the foothills of Mount Rainier. The Summer Apple contains fresh juice from the Skagit Valley. You can sample both, plus up to 16 more, at their Lake Trail Taproom.
For Pub Grub (and more beer)
There’s nothing micro about Woodinville’s Redhook Brewery—it has multiple tours a day and hosts outdoor movie nights in summertime. It’s been crafting beer since 1981. And for many Seattle cyclists, it’s a weekend pilgrimage: the beer (ESBs and brown ales) is good and the food (everything from fried cheese curds and kobe burgers to sausage plates and porter floats) is filling and delicious... especially after a nice ride on the Burke.