I should have read further before posting--there is a ton of great recc's for around the Market that I will definately use. So, if I had I few hours to explore a cool neighborhood (other than the U district) with good food and coffee, where should I go? I would probably be cabbing from downtown.
Walk up to the International District and get some authentic asian food, or come over to West Seattle and explore the Alaska Junction or Alki Beach,. Capitol Hill also offers some great food, as does Ballard. Have fun with your exploration...
Ballard. go to besalu, Tallgrass, la carta de oaxaca, farmers market on sunday or walk to the locks between
I love Cap. Hill, it's walking distrance from the downtown hotel district and has a great food/drink scene. Coffee: Victrola, Vivace, Cafe Vita...all roasting their own beans in-house. Bistro (dinner): Dinette, 1200 Bistro, Crave, Crush, Lark . Drinks: Sun Luck, Liquorice, 22 Doors, Chapel. Cafe/Diner (Lunch) Kingfish, Baguette Box, Honeyhole Desserts: B&O Espresso, Dilettante Chocolates, Coco la ti da. Pizza: Piecoras, Via Tribunali.....plus a miriad of dive bars, greasy spoons, and asian noodle houses/teriyaki joints.
I agree about Cap. Hill - the value there is that you can get a lot of good, short dining experiences in a walking tour before filling up. Lots of good coffee and bars to space out the eating. I'd add three places to a possible Cap. Hill tour, as you head east of Broadway on Pike/Pine: Frites for great Belgian fries (the later in the day, in my experience, the better), served with large pieces of kosher salt and a wide variety of Belgian-style dipping sauces; Stellina on 12th for lunch, or La Spiga on 12th (right next door) for great Italian food in the tradition of Emilia-Romagna (others have written at length about this place.)
International District is also great for a food tour since you can space out the eating by browsing in the many Asian groceries/produce stands and/or getting a Vietnamese coffee at one of the many Vietnamese delis in the Little Saigon section (east of I-5 in the International District) or a Bubble Tea in the older section of the International District (west of I-5).
As with any eating tour, the goal is to stretch out the enjoyment and not get too full too quickly....