Saturday, February 13, 2016
A Few Days Away
We're home! The road trip was stress free. Traveling this time of year was so different from our usual May road trips because the traffic was light in both directions. Even the weather cooperated. It was in the 60s in Seattle and rained just a bit one morning. The snow on Mt. Shasta was the most we had ever seen and Lake Shasta reservoir was half full, a miracle. We have been in such a drought, it had been down to almost a creek!
It was so good to see our son. We met a The Walrus and the Carpenter (HERE), a cool, small restaurant hidden down a long hallway. They featured fish. We noticed that the current food trend was small plates and large plates ordered for the table and arrived as they were ready. Nothing was held in the kitchen. We had eaten very little on the road so we were starved. Michael and William shared a variety of oysters before the small plates of fish arrived. Besides some sunchokes, we had fried oysters, grilled sardines, steamed clams, whole fried herring and octopus. All in delicious herbs and spices.
We talked and ate and got caught up. It was good to see him. To be with him. To let the conversation just flow. We went back to the hotel and William opened his Christmas presents. Finally!
The next morning he retrieved us from the hotel and we went to Cafe Presse (HERE) for breakfast. It is a funky, fantastic French place on Capitol Hill. Michael and I split a Croque-Madame. We are always amazed by the parks and the waterfronts that make up Seattle. We walked through the Volunteer Park Conservatory, which was built in 1893. The flowers and plants were beautifully displayed. The conservatory sits in a large park filled with meadows and walkways. I had been struggling with coughing and being short of breath so we walked as much as I could, mostly on the less challenging paths. The views from the park to the downtown area were spectacular. The photo at the top of the blog was taken in this park and if you look carefully, you will see the Space Needle in the center of the "donut,"
We drove to the new Filson flagship store (HERE) and took a tour. It was beautifully designed and even featured the manufacturing room on the entire first floor. Women and men on sewing machines were making luggage and bags. Michael tried on a jacket but everything in the store was for a colder climate. He would rarely need it here in the Bay Area.
We needed a snack so he took us to the best bakery in Seattle for a little something and coffee. I can't remember the name!! It was a good stop. Afterwards, we drove to the old military base that is being developed for a variety of housing options from the buildings already on the property. After a short walk, we were able to make our way to the waterfront. The views of the entire Puget Sound were beautiful, the different islands were to our left and further away was the Olympic Peninsula. All of downtown was on the other side of the sound. We watched the harbor and small boats drift in and out. Very quiet and lovely.
We needed a nap. After a couple hours at the hotel, we cabbed to Stone Burners on Ballard Ave (HERE) for the best meal of the trip. Again, small plates to share. The very best of the whole trip was their cold-smoked albacore tuna served in a small pot with slices of sweet potato chips (photo). We also ordered a large plate of meatballs (7) to split and: Grilled Octopus, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Black Chimaera pasta with clams. Did I mention the donuts and chocolate sauce for dessert. They were tiny, thankfully, but I still only had one.
The next day, we met for breakfast/brunch at Seatown (HERE) right on the water. Michael and I shared an egg sandwich with CRAB! Yes, that's right, crab. It was delicious. He even had an Irish Coffee to start the day. It was a vacation, you know. We drove around, through the different areas. After a cup of coffee, he drove us to West Seattle. It is a peninsula that sits across the Sounds and has magnificent views of Seattle. It felt very much like home. In the summer, the road is bumper to bumper tourists enjoying the beaches. It reminded us of our little beach town. Nothing fancy.
After another nap at the hotel, we met William and his roommate at Bramling Cross, also on Ballard Ave. It, too, featured small plates. (HERE). We began with a Dungeness Crab Dip and seasoned fries while we waited for them to arrive. We ordered to share: Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Seattle "Hot Wings" which were fried oysters in Frank's Hot Sauce, Pork Osso Buco and housemate sausages served with cannellini beans, kale and tomato sauce.
As a thank you to Ron for watching our house, I tried to buy some salumi from Mario Batali's father's place in Seattle but they only take Internet orders. The line to have one of their sandwiches was long and the wait was going to be over an hour. We didn't wait. After we got home, I ordered some to be delivered to Ron and gave him the information. Here is their web site: HERE
I know this sounds like a lot of food but I really did not overeat and we walked a lot. A good balance. Most of the time, I would take a small helping, just to taste it. I was also grateful that I had lost some weight before we left for the trip but I still don't think I did much damage. As I have an appointment with the nutritionist later this week, I will still watch every bite to be sure any weight I gained is gone.
After the 15-hour drive home, it felt fantastic to sleep in our own bed. It was a short vacation but it felt like we were away forever.