Elliott Bay Book Company
With an inventory that’s Barnes & Noble-esque in scope, this venerable independent bookstore is a point of pride for Seattleites. Occupying a historic building with exposed-brick walls and cedar shelves, tight aisles and creaking floors, it’s packed with new and used titles—ranging from rare limited editions to the latest Grisham novel to the musings of obscure Pacific Northwest writers. Handwritten staff recommendations help you parse through the more than 150,000 books.
Tip: The store has a nice little café in the basement, but skip it and take your reading material around the corner to Zeitgeist (206-583-0497; www.zeitgeistcoffee.com), a much-beloved coffeehouse on the corner of Jackson Street and 2nd Avenue South.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.