Last month Rick surprised me with a luxurious birthday trip to Seattle. We had three nights in the Pacific NorthWest and I was in charge of the itinerary. Well, except that we were going to a US Soccer game one night and a Mariner’s Baseball game another night, but everything else I was totally in charge of planning.
We arrived on an early Tuesday am and took the light rail into the city. It was an easy walk to the train stop at the airport and for under $3 we had a painless ride to Downtown.
We were just a few blocks walk away from Hotel 1000, where Rick had booked us a suite. After scoring an early check-in, we headed to the top floor to settle in, only to find that they had upgraded us to The Grand Suite. Happy Birthday to me! The Suite was jaw-dropping amazing. We;re talking foyer, living room with fireplace, full media room, A 8-person conference room with big cushy power chairs, a jacuzzi overlooking the city, a canopy bed and heated toilet seat, as well as, a very surprised manager and hotel employee inspecting a soap dish. Oops! When they apologized profusely, I jokingly told them it was fine, and that I had just assumed they were delivering my birthday champagne (because I’m a travel evil genius) and then like magic, a tray of champagne was delivered to the door. I suggest you try this the next time someone apologizes for anything “That’s fine, I just assumed you were delivering champagne.” It might help if you are staying at a classy joint like Hotel 1000, but it won’t hurt to try it at a creepy motel or Baggage Services, you never know.
With a bit of sadness over leaving our luxurious digs, we ventured out for lunch with one of my best friends, whom I have never met in person. Isn’t the internet amazing? She suggested Café Campagne, a cozy french bistro near Pike Place Market and I noshed on the best Croque-Madame I have ever tasted. I loved her just like I knew I would. My friend Emily, of course.
After a mama spoiling massage at Hotel 1000′s Spaah (isn’t that a great name?) we joined the crowed walking to the stadium to see the US Soccer team play Panama in a Word Cup qualifying match. I knew it would be exciting and fun but I didn’t expect the emotional (and somewhat strange) experience of cheering for the United States for the first time. It must be what it’s like to go to the Olympics, which is one of my travel dreams.
The next morning we awoke to a second sunny Seattle day and I was feeling lucky. After asking y’all where I could get some wonderful Seattle coffee, you steered me towards Pike Place Market’s The Crumpet Shop. The coffee was great but CRUMPETS, OHEMGEE, why haven’t you told me? Crumpets are amazing. Here’s was my first crumpet (yes, this is going to be a trend in this post) was an orange marmalade and stilton blue cheese beauty.
Now to explore the market. I’ve been here a handful of times but there is nothing quite like strolling the isles admiring the gorgeous flowers, fresh seafood, fine cheese and baked morsels. Since Rick and I share a love of kitchen gear, the shops had us drooling over zesters, cookers and cutters a’flutter.
We also stumbled upon a garden where many of the local restaurants were growing their own herbs and vegetables. Awesome.
We had worked up an appetite so we headed up a windy staircase to Matt’s in the Market where we admired the view and noshed on hot bacon-caramelized onion dip with homemade chips and a pork belly confit “bánh mì” which didn’t disappoint.
With happy full bellies, we headed to the gallery district to take in some artwork. Seattle does a popular art walk the first Thursday of each month, we followed their map and had an adventure. We ultimately settled in at the Frederick Holmes & Company gallery where Rick almost started an art collection by purchasing his first original painting. Exciting! We ultimately walked out empty-handed but he is still talking about how much he loved the work. Frederick had some good art collecting/marriage advice. If you both insist on loving every piece you buy, you will never buy anything either one of you truly loves. Better to take turns buying pieces that thrill you.I think you could apply this advice to meals, trips and movies too.
Now this is crazy, my sister lives about 5 hours from Seattle and so of course I asked if she could come out to meet us while were there. Come to find out she was already going to be in Seattle the exact same days for a conference! We met up for a scrumptious dinner at the still-amazing Wild Ginger. Try the cocktail menu, there are some asian-inspired winners!! From there I had to be torn away from her to head to a cold, rainy Mariner’s game that they blew in the 9th inning. As my reward for such torture I ate a giant room service bacon cheeseburger and fries in bed, wearing a robe. YES!
It’s Thursday morning! Crumpet time! Today, ricotta and raspberry jam was on my plate. Now for a secret mission of delivering a gorgeous Market bouquet to my sister’s hotel, a gift from her husband for her anniversary. I love getting in on other people’s romantic gestures, and then Rick and I got in some business work back at the hotel. No, I really mean that we did work, on our computers, at our own conference table. I also spied this phenomenal Chihuly’s Pendletons book in our living room and promptly ordered a copy. Chehuly + Pendleton, I mean come on.
Next up, meeting my sister for some stellar Vietnamese over by the Space Needle. She doesn’t mention the flowers, the suspense was killing us. Then off for more Chehuly (spectacular) and some (not so terrifying) heights at the Space needle.
Coincidentally, the ATTA was holding a mixer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor’s Center. Since I love free wine and travel people, I stopped in to rub some elbows. It was really fun and I met so many wonderful people. The visitor’s center is gorgeous and they have a ton going on, check it out.
My man picked me up curbside and we cabbed over to Madison Park for a much anticipated meal at Madison Park Conservatory. Rick ordered a filet and salad. I ordered a variety of dishes featuring the likes of duck hearts (which surprisingly pair marvelously with caramelized onions and roasted grapes) and Bone Marrow Tots (very rich and delicious and probably not designed for one person to eat alone, oops.) I love a unique dining experience and Madison Park Conservatory blew my mind. Plus, I finally got to try Olive Oil Gelato and it was even more tasty than I had dreamed it would be. A night cap with another great friend who I have never met before, but felt like I have known in the flesh my whole life, we slipped into our delicious bed for one last night’s sleep.
Oh, let’s see, how about a crumpet. I had promised myself I would try a simple butter or honey version on the last day to really experience the perfection of the crumpet but the salmon cream cheese was just too tempting. I sat alone with my sister in the cool fresh air and caught up on life. That alone was an amazing birthday gift,
On my walk back I stopped in a few shops and discovered my new favorite home & gift shop in the world, Watson and Kennedy. Here are just a few hundred of the items I wanted to take home with me. 6-8 of them I actually did.
Back on the light rail to the airport and back to Texas and the tots. Seattle, thank you for a birthday to remember! XO Jacinda