A Day of Exploration in Renton, Washington

Renton is changing at a fast pace. I live in North Seattle and decided to hang out in Renton for a weekend to explore the food scene. So much has changed, even in the last five years but one thing that hasn’t is urban convenience with nature in our backyard.

Disclosure: This post is not sponsored. Why Renton and/or businesses provided a complimentary stay, food, and beverage. All opinions are my own.

My first stop was to visit my friends at Boon Boona Coffee. Since I don’t get to Renton much, I’ve ordered their coffee beans for delivery at home before. I had an iced lavender latte which was a treat! When I visited, the ordering system was at the front door and customers line up outside.

Peach Tea + Iced Lavender Latte

Next up was lunch at Ocha Thai Kitchen & Bar, a restaurant I’ve been hearing a lot about in the food community. It’s got a great location, a private parking lot, and spacious dining and bar area. This is one of the few places I dined indoors since March and the spacing was excellent! Contactless ordering was done at the table and I felt safe eating out.

Ocha Thai Kitchen & Bar owners Bryan (left) and Q (right)

I had a big day of eating planned so I kept it simple with an order of coconut shrimp, crab fried rice, and pad see ew. The star of the show was the incredible crab fried rice. It had great chunks of crab and a nice spicy hit! There was a subtle smokey char on the rice that took it up a notch. Currently, they’re open for dine in but many people were doing takeout as well.

I decided to take a walk to the Cedar River Trail, located near the library. On my way, I stopped to admire a bust of Chief Sealth. I’m lucky to live in Seattle and can never forget that it is occupied Indigenous land. The walk to the river was lovely and just what I needed after lunch. There was a park nearby full of lush greenery. It was the perfect day to visit!

Cedar River Trail

Checking into the Hampton Inns & Suites before dinner was the right choice. I wanted to get settled a bit before continuing on my adventures. Check-in was easy and the staff was very friendly for the duration of my stay. Parking in the underground garage was a breeze using the room key or phone app. When I got to my room, it was sealed with a “clean stay” sticker indicating that it had been cleaned to the hotel’s exacting standards. This is so important during the current pandemic and it made me feel safe to see the other safety measures they took in the room. My room had an outdoor balcony with a view of Lake Washington. It was dreamy! If you don’t get one of those rooms, no worries. They have rooftop spots on both sides so you can watch the sunset. The room was spacious and perfect for my needs. I needed a place where I could comfortably create content and begin an outline for this article. It was perfect!

Hampton Inns & Suites
One of two rooftop spaces open to guests
The space was great for working!

On my way to dinner, I stopped by Common Ground Coffee and Cupcakes. As much as I wanted a cupcake, I didn’t think I’d be able to eat that much so I got a refreshing iced raspberry Oleo CBD green tea and sat outside, enjoying a day of leisure. From my seat, I could see Erasmus the Dragon, guardian of downtown Renton. What a sight! I hear it’s 750 pounds!

Iced Raspberry OLEO CBD Green Tea
Erasmus the Guardian

It was time for dinner, and one of the top recommendations I got from my followers was Melrose Grill so I was sure to secure one of the few reservations available on the weekend. They have limited dine in reservations and also do takeout. I had the Surf and Turf which was made up of a lobster tail and brochette. The brochette is a skewer of 7 ounces of rib eye and New York steak. It comes with your choice of sides and I got garlic mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables. The lobster was cooked perfectly and the meat was seasoned well, cooked well, and absolutely tasty! For dessert, I had creme brûlée and it was delicious! The Surf and Turf was under $50, which is a great deal!

Surf and Turf
Creme Brûlée

My hotel was near Lake Washington so I decided to walk down to Dock and Drink for happy hour. It’s part of the new Hyatt Regency Lake Washington at Seattle’s Southport and located on boardwalk right on the water. I ordered a few tacos and chips and salsa. I topped it off with a Rainier tall boy and watched the sunset. It was the perfect evening! It’s all outdoor seating and you get 2-hour complimentary parking.

Fish taco (top) + Carne Asada Taco (bottom)
Chips + Salsa + Guacamole
Sunset on Lake Washington

After a long day of exploring, I enjoyed the cool night breeze on my balcony. I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels and I have to say that I was struck by the comfort of the bed and pillows. I usually have trouble sleeping in hotels but it was a completely uninterrupted sleep. The bed was not too soft and not too firm.

Super comfy bed and pillows

I got up the next morning ready to go! I grabbed a breakfast bag from the hotel (this is a COVID-19 pivot) and they even included frozen breakfast sandwiches! I also picked up some supplies for the day from their market. They have a nice selection of sweet and savory treats as well as beverages to go.

My next stop was Fit Bar, a place I’d seen on Instagram. I ordered a Mini PB Power bowl and a Kids Hulk smoothie. Both were delicious and helped me to feel healthy after a ridiculous amount of eating. I wish other places would offer smaller sizes for smoothies and bowls. They’re so filling and I like the option of trying a bunch of different combos.

Kids Hulk Smoothie + Mini PB Power

My last stop before heading home was Blossom Vegetarian. I’m a well-known meat eater but will eat plant based if the food is good. I heard raving reviews about this place so I was excited to try! I had the Mongolian Beef made of smoked “beef,” crispy noodles, sesame, chili flakes, bamboo shoots, and bell peppers. The texture of the protein was good, not exactly like meat but pleasant. I loved the crispy noodles mixed with the fresh veggies. I also had the Stir Fry Rice Noodles which included tofu, Vietnamese ham, carrots, mushrooms, peanuts, bok choy, broccoli, celery, cabbage, and rice noodles. The dishes were $15 and $14, respectively and the portions were huge! I had pack the rest to go. It was a great value and delicious! Currently, they are offering seating in the outdoor back patio.

Some of my Instagram followers asked me why I had to visit Renton for a full day. To me, that was the bare minimum. I’ve been stuck at home, like many of you since March. It was nice to get out and be able to highlight Renton and some of the businesses there. Every city has a different feel, culture, and magic. I’m grateful I had a chance to experience some of what Renton has to offer. Many thanks to Why Renton and the many businesses I visited! If you want a visual tour, check out my Instagram highlights to see my stories!

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