Thursday, June 13, 2013

Seattle, Washington – May, 2013
An early morning flight from Orange County and I arrived at the Seattle/Tacoma Airport about 1 p.m.  I took the light rail into town and was at the Westlake Station in 30 minutes.  After being on the plane all morning it felt good to walk up Pike to Melrose and to my first stop for lunch at Mamnoon ( .  The “restaurant” closes at 2 p.m. but the same menu is served at a communal table in front of the “kitchen”.  I had a delicious falafel sandwich with tomatoes, pickles and yogurt, quinoa tabbouleh and semolina crusted pie filled with walnuts – what a great start!!!  I continued walking along Pike to 15th Avenue and made my way to Foxglove Guesthouse ( , an wonderful old house filled with antiques located in the heart of Capitol Hill.  I stayed in room 2 upstairs and it was wonderful!!!!

By the time I checked in to the guesthouse it was about 4 p.m. so I decided to just get familiar with the city.  I walked back down along Pike and stopped at the Seattle Public Library (, a beautiful 11 story glass and steel building.  On to the Benoroya Hall where concerts are held and one of Dale Chihuly’s glass chandeliers is housed.  Next stop the waterfront to see where the ferries leave from and finally Pioneer Square, the historic birthplace of Seattle.  It is a small little area of streets with cafes, shops and a beautifully carved totem pole replaced by the one that burned down.  I walked down to the new train station on Jackson where I would catch the train to Vancouver in a few days.

It didn’t get dark until 9 p.m. so I continued to walk back up Pike to Poppy Restaurant ( on Capitol Hill.  It was a great walk along Broadway passing cafes and shops and ending at Roy, a residential street lined with uniquely beautiful brick houses.  Dinner was delicious!!!  The menu lets you chose a 7 item or 10 item “thali” which are small plates of Asian inspired food.   I chose a 7 item thali and had cumin-braised beef short ribs, nettle soup, asparagus with fried sage, fiddleheads and fingerlings, leek and fennel gratin, wild ginger pickle and nigella-poppy naan.  I ordered the chocolate torta with caramel in addition as a meal is never complete without dessert.  Everything was excellent!!!  My hotel was only a 15 minutes walk away and that was doable!!

After a delicious breakfast of berries, melon, strawberries, apricots, cherries, pumpkin bread, croissants and coffee I walked down to Pike Place Market filled with fresh produce, seafood, bakery goods and craft shops.  It’s great fun to just wander around sampling everything.  A leisurely stroll along the shoreline took me to the Olympic Sculpture Park, a 9-acre outdoor sculpture museum.  In the park you will fine the 39-foot “Eagle” by Alexander Calder, “Wake”, the 125-foot piece of steel you can walk through by Richard Serra and the “Typewriter Eraser” by Claes Oldenburg among other things.

Retracing my steps to Pike and over to Mistral Kitchen ( for a very nice $20 prix fixe lunch.  The restaurant is very modern, light and airy and I truly enjoyed my Buenalba cheese with homemade tomato marmalade, moulard duck confit with caramelized onions and lentils and smoked chocolate macadamia nut cake.  I spent a few hours at the Seattle Art Museum ( downtown where there was a special “going for gold” exhibit featuring Chinese robes, French brocades, etc. with golden threads as well as gold jewelry from all over the world.  I most particularly enjoyed the extensive collection of native and meso American handcrafted art.

One of the ladies at breakfast had mentioned the Ballard Locks so I took a bus out there and was delighted to find it open until 9 p.m.  The Locks were completed in 1917 and link the Puget Sound with Lake Union and Lake Washington.  Boats as long as 760 feet can travel through and I was fortunate to see two large ships navigate through.  The locks are also a critical link for salmon heading upstream to spawn.  There is a viewing area downstairs where you can see the fish ladder which allows the spawning fish to climb to the freshwater side.  I wandered the beautiful botanical gardens nearby listening to the
live concert going on before taking the bus to Tilth ( where I had dinner that night.  The kitchen focuses on organic and wild ingredients and everything was perfectly prepared and excellent.  I ordered salmon wrapped asparagus with shaved asparagus curls, tender tuna with fennel dice and potato puree and chocolate ganache cake with cocoa cream.  It was an easy bus ride back to Foxglove Guesthouse…

Friday was a beautiful sunny day so I took the monorail to the Space Needle which was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and is 605 feet high.  I rode to the observation deck in 41 seconds and had a fabulous view of Mount Rainer, Elliott Bay, etc.  Nearby is the Chihuly Gardens ( showcasing the most significant works of internationally acclaimed artist Dale Chihuly.  Inside there is the glass forest, glass baskets shaped like the ancient ones made out of bamboo, the Persian ceiling which was the most impressive of all, among other exhibitions.  There is an ongoing video showing many of Chihuly’s exhibitions in Jerusalem, Venice, etc. which was fascinating and the Gardens filled with glass art.  Dale was in the exhibition hall when I arrived so I was able to meet him – awesome in itself – such a famous man and so very nice.  Many of his “collections” are in the nearby café under glass which is also worth a visit.  Monorail back downtown and a short walk to Sitka & Spruce (, an adorable little “café” inside the Melrose market.  Although there are just a few tables and a simple menu the food is fresh and delicious!  I had small portions of the wild rice salad with tatsoi, cranberries and feta cheese and the kamut salad with cardoons and arugula and finished with a luscious gateau Basque with poached rhubarb.

A leisurely walk down to Pier 52 to catch the ferry to Bainbridge Island.  The ferry took about 30 minutes and it was a beautiful ride as the sun shone and the waves cascaded gently against the ferry.  I wandered the main street and took a walk along the shoreline before heading back to Seattle on the 6:30 p.m. ferry.  Everyone was a great help to me in finding the correct bus back to Ballard and to Staple & Fancy Mercantile, one of Ethan Stowell’s restaurants where I dined that night.  Housed in a beautiful renovated building, the restaurant focuses on simple Italian fare.  You are encouraged to order the chef’s menu and leave the decisions to the kitchen so that is what I did and it was the right choice.  I had several little plates to start, i.e. chilled asparagus soup with ramps, house made mozzarella with bagna cauda, crostini with white fish, spicy fried oysters, escolar crudo with sea beans, etc.  The second course was spaghetti with rapini followed by scallops with fava beans, olives and roasted garlic puree and ending with a chocolate terrine topped with chocolate gelato which was ever so delicious!!!  A ride on the same bus back as last night… Tomorrow I will take the train to Vancouver, B.C. and see what awaits me there!!!

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