Monday, November 5, 2012

72 Hours in Seattle


We took a quick weekend trip to Seattle for our anniversary this year. It's part of our new plan to lift our self-imposed austerity measures and start spending more money doing fun stuff now instead of holding out for some big thing down the line. It was a ton of fun, and I think we'll start taking more weekend trips.

We picked Seattle because the tickets were pretty cheap, and I had never been. Andrew's family used to live on Bainbridge Island across the Puget Sound from Seattle so we didn't need to do any research or really much planning before we went. We stayed at the Ace Hotel in Belltown and spent all of our time in the downtown area.


We arrived on Friday night around nine, and headed into town. In a moment of nostalgia, the driver who drove Andrew's dad back and forth to the airport from the ferry terminal (he traveled every week for work) when they lived on Bainbridge was the guy who picked us up at the airport. I love going back to a place that used to be home and having some things still be the same. We arrived at the Ace around ten and entered what is best described as hipster heaven. We wanted to fully embrace the urban setting so I asked for a room with a view, and they gave us the corner room in front, which is above a bar. I was a little worried about the noise, but our room came with ear plugs, and it was so much fun to feel like we were in the middle of everything.

We asked at the front desk for a dinner recommendation. By that time, it was already 10:30, and I figured we'd just have to eat bar food (no one seems to eat dinner after about eight in Santa Fe...). The guy at the front desk sent us down the street to Local 360, and we had an amazing meal, which set the tone for the rest of the trip.  All of the ingredients are sourced from within 360 miles, including the liquor. I had the mussels, a beet salad with arugula and Rogue blue cheese, walnuts and a cider vinaigrette and a glass of Washington red (wish I could remember what...), and Andrew had the best hamburger of his life, a side of mac and cheese and local beers. The restaurant was super cozy, and we were totally pleasantly surprised at our luck for stumbling upon it.

On Saturday morning, we were greeted with clear, beautiful sunny skies, which we were lucky enough to have ALL weekend! We ate breakfast at our hotel and then headed to Pike Place Market to stroll around.

We found Northwest ristras - more colorful than the New Mexican kind

Admired the purple dahlias - our wedding flower
envy!
We made our way to Pioneer Square and went on the Seattle Underground Tour. We learned a little about Seattle history and got to go underground.


We headed back to Pike Place for lunch at Lowell's, which is where I discovered Dungeness Crab - holy moley! We had the crab cakes and fish and chips and enjoyed a killer view of the Sound. Vacation is so fun!



After lunch, we took the monorail to Seattle Center. The monorail was a highlight for me - I love all things World's Fair!! And we have a special connection to the Seattle World's Fair because some developer sold or gave away quarter acre lots in the area where we have our cabin at the Seattle Fair, and that's why we have such a random patchwork of ownership out there. We strolled around Seattle Center, admired the Space Needle, and watched the kiddies play in the fountains.

How can you not love the monorail??
On Andrew's brother's recommendation, we decided to take the Duck Tour. This is really not our kind of thing, but since we weren't renting a car, we thought it would be fun to see some more of Seattle and get out on the water. Luckily our driver and fellow passengers shared our level of enthusiasm so it was a fairly normal tour.

Lake Union with a view of downtown

Saturday night dinner was our special anniversary dinner. We ate at Anchovies and Olives in Capital Hill, which I had read about in bon appétit. We had nine o'clock reservations - I love being in a big city! - and we had the best table in the restaurant. It was nice and cozy and romantic. We started with cocktails and oysters from Fanny Bay (yum) and Elliot Bay (tasted like the sea, not so yum in my opinion). One of my goals of the trip was to learn to like oysters, and I realized that there was no "learning" needed. We ordered a bottle of champagne and had smoked fish crostini and proscuitto for our appetizers. For dinner, Andrew had the gnocchi with Geoduck and lobster mushrooms, and I had tagliarini with Dungeness Crab. For dessert we had salted toffee and vanilla ice cream with shortbread. All around a FABULOUS meal!

On Sunday we went to the  Seattle Aquarium, where the highlights were an octopus, the seals, and the sea and river otters who stole our hearts. Those otters are so frickin' cute. We were there for the sea otters' feeding time, which was a real treat. After the aquarium, we ate lunch at Place Pigalle (which they pronounce Place Pig-alli because it is located in Pig Alley) for more... Dungeness Crab and oysters of course.


After lunch, Andrew wanted to show me the downtown library, which was designed by Rem Koolhaus. We went to the top floor and slowly made our way down through the stacks admiring the architecture.


We spent the afternoon strolling around and shopping before we went to happy hour back at Local 360 to try their local whiskey flights. Unfortunately, the local whiskeys of Washington and Oregon leave quite a bit to be desired, but it was still fun to try something new. On Sunday night we had reservations at Shiro's Sushi Restaurant. I had done a lot of research about the best sushi restaurant in Seattle before we went - with so few meals, we had none to spare. Shiro's exceeded all expectations - and mine were pretty high - for the best sushi in Seattle. Good lord that sushi was the best I've had since I was in Japan. In a stroke of luck, pine mushrooms happened to be in season, which our waitress informed us is only about a month each year, and we had the pine mushroom soup, by far the best soup I've ever had. We loved everything we had at Shiro's and even ordered a second round of our favorite nigiri for dessert.

I knew we'd eat well in Seattle, but I had no idea just how wonderful the food would be. The eating really was the highlight of the trip for me.

On Monday, we took the ferry to Bainbridge. I saw a harbor seal from the boat as we were leaving the ferry terminal. We met up with one of Andrew's friends who we haven't seen since our wedding and hung out in the sunshine catching up. We strolled around town, wishing that his parents still lived there, and made our way back to the ferry for lunch in Seattle. We misjudged how much time we had before the ferry left and ended up having to sprint to catch it - a run Andrew has done countless times. Ahhh, just like old times!


We did a little more shopping and strolling before heading to the airport to fly back home.We came back home feeling like we had been gone for a week. It was a great getaway, and now we're trying to decide where we'll go next...

4 comments:

  1. What a perfect trip! We took our honeymoon to Seattle and would love to go back soon. The food sounds amazing!!

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  2. You guys have self-imposed austerity measures, too? I'm getting tired of ours, and a trip to Seattle sounds great! But Meghan, what happened to the all-you-can-eat cheese buffet? Was it closed? Did you decide against it?

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  3. Yes, we do, well we did. They've been lifted - thank goodness. We're both much happier and although it means putting some big stuff off a little longer, we're much happier day to day. AND, it means I have been able to splurge on some cute clothes at anthropologie and some super super cute boots.

    Anyway, the cheese buffet was a bust. We had planned to go Friday night when we arrived, but we were hungry for a real meal and decided that eating cheese for dinner wasn't going to be enough. We headed over to the buffet after dinner, but it turns out it is in the Four Seasons hotel. It was really stuffy in there and everyone was way older than us. You know that feeling when you enter a bar or restaurant and realize immediately it is NOT going to be fun? I'm usually too polite to turn right around, but since we were on vacation, I didn't want to waste any time on disappointing food or drinks. So, no all you can eat cheese buffet for us!

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  4. Too bad for the cheese, but I totally understand not being able to have a good time in a stuffy atmosphere. It can ruin even the best cheese.

    I want to see the super cute boots!

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Hey, thank you!

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