Seattle part 3

Sunday was our last day in Seattle and I was excited to do the number one thing on my list besides Pike Place market; visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Dale Chihuly is a famous glass artist whose works are displayed around the world. I’ve seen his pieces in various places before and went to a fantastic exhibition of his work at the RISD Museum in Providence several years ago. Seattle is Chihuly’s hometown and so at the base of Seattle’s most famous landmark, the Spaceneedle, sits the Chihuly Garden and Glass. It’s an interior museum and exhibition hall of Chihuly’s works with a beautiful garden filled with his glass art outside. It definitely live up to my expectations.

Indoor sculpture

Indoor sculpture

Glass artwork ceiling

Glass artwork ceiling

Reflection from glass art ceiling

Reflection from glass art ceiling

Gardens

Gardens

Since the Chihuly Garden and Glass was at the base of the Spaceneedle we bought a combo ticket that would also get us to the top of the Spaceneedle because why not? I highly recommend the Chihuly Glass and Gardens as you not only get to appreciate these beautiful glass pieces, you also learn about the process which is fascinating. I would not however, recommend the Spaceneedle. It was ok, but not worth the money. Also, neither Chris or I are particularly prone to motion sickness, but we both got really dizzy up there.

After the Gardens and Spaceneedle we were ready for a snack. We wanted to keep it light since we’d ate so poorly the day before and we planned on dinner at a gastropub that night. We headed back to Emmett Watson’s Oyster Bar in Pike Place and kept it simple. I ordered 6 oysters and 6 peal and eat shrimp while Chris ordered the smoked salmon Havarti and bread plate.  I still contend that East Coast oysters are more flavorful than West Coast oysters, but the shrimp were really delicious and it was a great snack.

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With our bellies full, we stopped by Rachel’s Ginger Beer bar because I loved it so much and wanted another ginger concoction before I left. This time I had the El Diablo; ginger beer with cassis and tequila. Chris opted for the Montana Mule, a Moscow Mule made with whiskey instead of vodka. Both were delicious! I really hope Rachel’s Ginger Beer expands to New York.

Now that we were refreshed and slightly buzzed so we headed off to Pioneer Square, a neighborhood which I’d read about before visiting Seattle. The neighborhood was really cute, but we were disappointed that most of the stores were closed and the street were pretty empty. As New Yorkers, it’s hard for us to imagine store being closed on Sundays or, well, ever. Luckily we were still able to take the Pioneer Square Underground Tour.

Here’s the extremely abridged version of the tour, which we enjoyed. Pioneer Square was the first neighborhood where Seattle’s founder’s settled. In 1889 there was a fire that decimated the neighborhood. A new neighborhood was then built on top of the old one.

After another nice walk and discovering that a whole lot of Seattle shuts down on Sunday we headed to Quinn’s Pub for dinner. Funny enough my parents are planning a trip to Seattle next month. In my mom’s research on Seattle she stumbled on a mention of Quinn’s and thought it sounded like a place that Chris and I would love and she was right. Quinn’s is a cool gastropub with great food and fantastic craft beers.

We started out by splitting the soft pretzel with Welsh rarebit. The pretzel actually had more of the flavor and texture of a baguette, but it was still super delish because really, who doesn’t love a baguette. The Welsh rarebit dipping sauce was amazing. After we finished the pretzel I may have dipped my fork straight in to the sauce and licked it off a couple of times.

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For our main courses Chris ordered the burger and I went with the fish and chips. Both were delicious. Chris’s burger was perfectly cooked, juicy and packed with flavor. My fish and chips were wonderfully season, the fish was fresh and the coating was light and crisp and not at all greasy. The fries were great too.

burger fishchips

For dessert we split the ginger and jalapeno sorbet which I forgot to take a picture of. It was really tasty and super refreshing though it  could’ve used a bit more kick from the jalapeno.

Our flight to Denver was at 7am the next morning so after dinner we grabbed our bags from the hotel where we had been staying, checked in to an airport hotel for the night and went to bed.

Chris and I both agreed that Seattle was a cool city with a great vibe, but our time there was so short and we were both exhausted the whole time; he from his flight delays and then not adjusting to the time difference and me from just coming off of a work conference. Since we liked the city so much though, we’re already thinking about a Pacific Northwest vacation in the future where we’d hit up Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. I can’t wait!

Have you ever been to Portland or Vancouver? Did you enjoy those cities?

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Seattle part 2

So it turns out that when you’re on a fabulous vacation with someone you love, you don’t have a lot of time to blog. Sorry for the delay.

When we last left off, Chris had just arrived at 1am PST after dealing with  flight delays. As you might imagine we rolled right in to bed, but had a hard time rolling out the next morning. I was tired and Chris was exhausted so we tried to take it as easy as one possibly can while playing tourist.

The day started with breakfast at our hotel where we both ordered the house specialty; a cobb omelet. It wasn’t the best omelet I’ve ever had, but the combination of ingredients, reminiscent of a cobb salad, was pretty brilliant and I’ll definitely be making this at home some day.

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After that very filling breakfast we headed out and decided to take a boat tour of the harbor. The weather was pretty yucky and overcast, even by Seattle standards, but we were so tired and so full that the bat tour was a good option as we could sit and relax for awhile.

When we got off the boat, we headed to the Olympic Sculpture Park which is an outdoor extension of the Seattle Art Museum. We both really enjoyed this. You get to check out some great art and take in more views of the water and it’s totally free.

PicMonkey Collage

Next we headed back to Pike Place Market, where I finally got to see some fish throwing, though I wasn’t able to get a good picture of it. I also wish I’d taken pictures of the gorgeous flowers, fresh fruit and seafood in the market. Everything was so beautiful.

Our friend Brian was staying in Seattle until Sunday morning so we agreed to meet in the late afternoon on Saturday for some drinks. We went to a very cool pub I’d heard about called Radiator. We sipped local beers talked and most of all laughed and laughed. We also ordered some tater tots with gravy to snack on. Not exactly the healthiest snack, but we hadn’t eaten since breakfast and it was vacation so whatevs.

tots

After much laughter and probably too many beers, Chris and I said goodbye to Brian and headed back to our hotel to relax before dinner. I’d made a reservation at Loulay, a restaurant that came highly recommended. I was excited too because I recognized the chef/owner, Thierry Rautureau, from his stint as a guest judge on Top Chef. On the map it had looked like the restaurant was right around the corner from our hotel, but guess what… the restaurant turned out to be IN our hotel! Double score!

We had an 8pm reservation, but when we arrived we were told that they were running behind. While this is frustrating when you’ve made a reservation, the restaurant made it right by giving us each a complimentary glass of champagne.

Once we were seated and got our menu I was overwhelmed as everything looked amazing. Our waitress helped us with the menu choices and we ended up splitting crab beignets with harissa aioli and the seared polenta with wild mushrooms and cheese crisp to start. Both were heaven. The beignets were crispy on the outside without being greasy and the inside was soft and smooth and filled with delicious sweet crab meat. The polenta was perfectly cooked with a a crisp outer layer and silky interior and the earthy mushrooms complimented it perfectly.

crab beignets

crab beignets

seared polenta

seared polenta

For our main courses Chris chose the Halibut with potatoes and caramelized fennel while I chose the braised lamb leg with harissa couscous and castlevetrano olives. Chris’s fish was perfectly cooked and delicious, but we agreed that my lamb was the star. It was richly flavored and melted in your mouth. The harissa couscous provided the perfect kick of spice and the tanginess of the olives cut through the bold flavors of the dish.

Halibut

Halibut

Lamb

Lamb

It is a well known rule that one must indulge in dessert while on vacation and Chris and I are nothing if not rule followers. Now, if you’ve read this blog at all or you know me in real life or you’ve spoken to me for more than 10 seconds you know this; strawberries are my absolute favorite food. So when the waitress reported that they had a special dessert that night of strawberry sorbet with macerated strawberries, basil and strawberry water I pretty much drowned everything else out. It was like a strawberry explosion which is pretty much my personal Nirvana and I’m still dreaming about it.

Strawberry perfection

Strawberry perfection

The way that I feel about strawberries is pretty much how Chris feels about chocolate so of course he opted for one of the chef’s specialties; hot chocolate, based on a recipe of the chef’s grandparents back in France, served with toasted brioche and salted butter. Chris loved it. I had a sip and thought it was delicious too. Chris also reported that spreading the salted butter on the toasted brioche and then dipping it in the hot chocolate sent it over the top.

hot chocolate

hot chocolate

After dinner we were exhausted and went up to our hotel room to get some much needed sleep and re-energize before our final day in Seattle.

What’s your favorite food? When’s the last time that you were able to indulge in it?

Seattle part 1

Well hello.

Earlier this year Chris and I had planned a vacation to Colorado for mid June. I soon found out that I’d have to be in Seattle the second week in June for my annual conference at work. It made no sense for me to fly home for two days only to get on another plane two days later so instead we decided that when my conference was done Chris would meet me in Seattle and we’d spend the weekend before flying to Colorado.

My conference was to end mid afternoon on Friday and Chris’s flight was scheduled to get in at 11pm so I was thrilled to find out that my colleague and dear friend Brian would be spending the weekend in Seattle too which meant I had someone to spend Friday with.

During the conference we actually stayed at a retreat center about 35 minutes outside of Seattle. Although the surroundings were beautiful, we were basically in the middle of nowhere.

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Thursday night a bus was organized to take us in to Seattle. We only had a little bit of time to walk around before we needed to be at a diner that had been organized for us. So, along with a group of my colleagues, we did what anyone would do if they only had 45 minutes to explore Seattle. We grabbed a drink and then some oysters.

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Finally on Friday the meetings came to an end and after a good, productive, but tiring conference; Brian and I were ready to get in to Seattle.
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Brian is a fellow ginger lover (the food, not the redheads, though maybe he likes those too), so after wondering around Pike Place Market a bit we were thrilled to stumble upon Rachel’s Ginger Beer, a store/bar that sells all kinds of ginger beer creations. I got a classic Moscow Mule and Brian got a frozen blood orange mule.

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We were exhausted so Brian decided to go back to his hotel for a nap before meeting up with me for dinner. At this point Chris had already let me know that his flight was going to be delayed by two hours. I felt so bad that Chris was stuck at the airport and was so eager to see him that I decided to drop by Fran’s Chocolates, a famous Seattle chocolate shop, to pick up a treat for my chocolate loving boyfriend. I grabbed a milk chocolate grey salt caramel and a dark chocolate whiskey.

After Brian’s nap we headed out to the Pike Place Brewery. We drank some delicious local beers and decided to split the salmon and the mac and cheese both of which were delicious. I’m not a big fan of salmon back easy, but it’s so delicious out here. I much prefer East Coast oysters though.
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After dinner Brian and I were exhausted so we just went back to our hotels, but I did manage (just barely) to be awake when Chris finally arrived at 1am! I was so happy to have him there and to start our vacation together.

Stay tuned for part 2.

Have you ever been to Seattle? What did you like most about the city?