Friday, I came to work with a suitcase and a smile. I packed for every season. Pushed on through lunch and Natalie picked me up to head to the airport, where, due to my masterful time management and insistence on getting there early, we had two hours to kill. We were in the security line behind Aubrey O’Day, who we first mistook for a freelance stripper. There is no other way to describe a dress like that, much less at the airport! It was like…a blue jean sausage. Those fake eyelashes sure looked heavy too. That time on Making the Band must have been traumatic.
I have concluded that the Virgin America terminal resembles most creative firms in Los Angeles…highest per capita usage of iPads I’ve ever seen in one place, lots of mustachioed gentlemen (most of them smoking and wearing murses), grey skinny jeans with a fade, and many many a pair of Ray Bans. The trendy folk and I boarded the plane and to our delight, Natalie and I had the oft-desired but seldom-seen empty middle seat. Armrests up, all screens set to SATC, head-to-foot stretchout, and liftoff! We considered spooning. We could have.
First impression upon landing and being collected by our gracious host Nicole with Alyssa in tow—trees. Trees on trees. That place is full of trees and oxygen and a big blast of Pacific Northwest air. *Disclaimer: Yes, I DO know that I visited during summer, the most beautiful season that Seattle has to offer. Yes, I DO understand that to really see the city in full spectrum, I need to visit during rain and gloom. Please know that I love chilly air, sweaters, ice, and misty weather. I’m a layers girl.
Nicole drove us right up close to the dang Space Needle—talk about a view! The picture above is the view out the window from her condo. She and her fiance Ben have an adorable place and I’d like one too. The housing, from what I could see of the city, is in significant contrast to what is available here in L.A., although I know there are plusses and minuses to both. Still, when I think of ideal city living, the materials and newer, more sustainable construction in Seattle are very attractive to me and are what I prefer in apartments in a city center.
After picking up a magnum of Barefoot, we headed up to the rooftop patio/grill space with more ridiculous views of the city and the water. Ben had been grilling steak and some sort of whiskey-cedar smoked salmon.
We drank wine and laughed and it was the best time…I felt like I was in an advertisement for the benefits of 360 degree sunsets.
Made a quick costume change and walked to the local watering hole…
Here I am playing a hunting game. I was reminded that I own steel-toed camouflage hunting boots. Been too long since I’ve been out on a deer lease or the woods for camping, but I’ll need to get creative to find that in SoCal. This game tided me over for what it’s worth.
After Bar #1, we drove to a hoppin’ joint called Brave Horse Tavern, and I do believe I inhaled a giant pretzel topped with peanut butter and bacon…with my beer. Feeling skinny as ever after that, I passed out on Nicole and Ben’s couch, lovin’ life.
In the morning, Ben and I went for a run all through Pike Place and the waterfront. He was quite the city guide, and I told him he should offer tours to visiting runners. Was a great preview of what was to come. As an aside, there is no way I could have eaten Nicole’s homemade waffle breakfast if I hadn’t run off the bacon pretzel.
Next, we set out to Ride the Ducks, an amphibious land-water vehicle that we used for boozing in undergrad where I am from…apparently it has other uses. You meet right underneath the Space Needle to board. Along the way, I realized that the Gehry-designed Experience Music Project was right next to the Needle, so I took some shots up close and personal. As I haven’t visited Bilbao to see the Gugg, it was special to see what my coworkers built for Seattle. Warm fuzzies and Frank’s signature facade work.
You shiny facade, you.
On to the Ducks…
This is Sea Captain Willie B. Famous. His pun, not mine. Great chops though.
Seattle skyline from inside the boat.
The house on the water in the very center, with the single second-floor window, is the house from Sleepless in Seattle! It was really gorgeous in context of the hill and treeline. Good postcard material.
Big boat, little boat…let’s all be friends.
Hey sailboat…I wanna be on you.
Grey-tinted Seattle takeaway for you gloomies out there.
Me and Alyssa.
After our Duckventure, we walked around Pike Place (as in…Pike Place Roast!) to witness the famous fishmongering. Yelling, throwing, and screaming children. I’m sure it’s terrifying unless you understand why it’s not.
OH GAWD it’s me at the very first, original, genuine Starbucks! A big Thank You to the barista making that face behind me. She knew what she was doing, and she looks like Bat Boy from the National Enquirer back in the 80’s. No matter what, I feel fulfilled after making this pilgrimage. Especially so close to the beginning of my year, a.k.a. When They Start Making Pumpkin Spice Lattes (next week).
Before we ate lunch at The Pike (heaven for beer lovers), we walked into a French patisserie where we met some puppies…
…notably, Mr. Pinky. Pinky is a Royal Frenchel and he was just a doll. Natalie and I figure we can head back up to Washington some day and adopt one of his brothers or sisters.
We made reservations at Umi Sushi House for dinner—service took about a year but the drinks and food were delicious. Highly recommend and apparently it’s great for happy hour. Our table allowed ample people-watching, which is very important when you’re visiting a new city. After a savory dinner, we decided to head to a bar called Amber…
…typical dancing ensued. There were maybe 5 men to every woman there. Per usual I was approached by men of the younger variety but it’s par for the course—last weekend a woman at my church asked if I had graduated high school yet. Not complaining! Most of what I remember from the night was that every time Pit Bull said “dale!” (“dah-lay”) in a song I would whip my head to the front like Dramatic Chipmunk. If this doesn’t make sense, listen closely to how often Pit Bull says “dale!” in any given song…even ones he’s not featured in, I’m sure.
Next morning, we continued on to Macrina Bakery where I would eat breakfast every day if I could—got a wonderful cheesy ham biscuit to prepare for the day’s activities, first of which was the Underground Tour of Seattle. Thirty-three city blocks of Seattle are one level below the street, due to its colorful city planning history. You can read about this online, or ask Natalie to recap (“ladders…there was a fire…tide flats…something about tide flats”). Above is the oldest restaurant in Seattle.
Pioneer Square and the Pioneer Building, above, were some of my favorite parts of the city. As was a giant totem pole.
Art in the alley.
As if all this wasn’t enough to fit in a couple days, Nicole planned a winery tour for us in nearby Woodinville. First stop, Januik and Novelty Hill Winery tasting room. Featuring bocce ball and brick-oven fired pizzas, the architecture and style of this one was impeccable. This would be a beautiful place for a wedding.
Chateau St. Michelle was a gorgeous property, but they didn’t have a sit-down restaurant as we’d hoped. Instead, we decided to drink more and hold off on eating until after a tasting there—a genius idea. What they lacked in food, they made up for with a sweet guy pouring our wine who looked like Alan Alda with an earring.
Scavengering for food at Alexandria Nicole Winery, we were informed that only members can dine there, so we parked in their parking lot and took pictures with their tractors. It was bright and I was tipsy and squinting but I love this picture of Alyssa and me.
If you are in the Seattle area and are at all hungry and in the mood for great wine pairings, might I suggest you RUN to Purple Cafe. Perfect ending to our time there, and I took home their signature salted caramel chocolates. I ate the last one yesterday and just about cried salty caramel tears.
And just like that, another city for me to love.