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Trip Report Sipping Our Way Through Seattle: A Trip Report

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I'm back with another adventure with my travel loving mom!

What would a long holiday weekend be for me and mom without a travel adventure planned? Well, it certainly wouldn’t be a normal holiday weekend for us at all. Consequently, when a 3 day weekend is approaching we maximize our vacation time and extend that weekend by a couple days and Labor Day weekend 2011 was no exception.

It began several months ago with both of us saying we’d like to return for a visit to Seattle, not in January. Our last two expeditions to the Emerald City were in January and we really wanted to experience this terrific place when the sun rose before 8am and set after 4pm. We accomplished that and then some with an early September visit.

When I was able to score roundtrip tickets from Savannah, Georgia to Seattle, Washington on Delta Airlines for just over $300 each (including taxes), I knew where we would be heading for our September sojourn!

Several weeks preceding the trip we had been watching our local newspaper weather listings and seeing temperatures in Seattle to be in the mid-60’s, hey, that was ok with us, we were scorching in the SC low country, with the whole month of July seeing temperatures well above 100 degrees every day. We were ready for a little “chill time”. BUT, as the trip drew closer an amazing thing happened, summer came to Seattle! During the four days we were there, the mid-day temperatures were in the mid-80’s and sun was splitting the sidewalk everyday. We were two very happy ladies, and it wasn’t only because of the wonderful wine we were drinking!

Prior to this trip I jumped on both the Groupon and Living Social websites and signed up to get emails for deals in the Seattle area. Boy did that add a bunch of emails to my inbox, but it was worth it. I was able to take advantage of a Groupon deal with Immersus tours. http://immersustours.com/seattle.php For half the regular tour price we got a terrific tour of areas outside the regular tourist track. We loved seeing some Seattle neighborhoods we probably wouldn’t have normally ventured into, but more about that later.

Saturday, September 3, 2001

I am sure some of the reason I got a good deal on our plane tickets was, in part, because we had a 7:30am departure, which means the alarm clock was chiming in my ear at 4:30am, hey; at least it was better than the 6:30am departure for our San Francisco trip back in July!

By 5:30am we were in the car and heading to Savannah, by 6:30am we were through security and waiting at the gate to board our flight. Lucky for us, a few days prior to this trip I got the “heavenly” email from Delta telling us we had been upgraded for both segments of this outbound trip, which meant we would not be participating in the food for sale option in the economy section, YAY!

An interesting observation I noted while connecting to the Seattle flight in Atlanta, the airport seemed less crowded to me than on previous trips this year, not sure if it was because of the time of year, the economy or just because it was the “crack of dawn” on a Saturday, but the crowds were minimal, which made moving between terminals a breeze.

We had 2 hours between flights, which left plenty of time to find the gate for the Seattle flight and get our caffeine fix! Of course we had ample time to observe our fellow travelers, which is always interesting. One gentleman did not stop talking to the woman next to him from the moment he sat down, and they were not traveling together. I often wonder what my fellow travelers might be thinking about me, as I sit and survey the goings-on around me.

We boarded the flight without any delay and got settled into our business class seats. Mom and I were not seated together, but that wasn’t a big deal for us and instead of inconveniencing the passengers around us, we didn’t ask anyone to change seats, heck, we were just happy to get the upgrade! However, this was not the case with another upgraded passenger.

As the flight attendants were serving drinks, a honeymoon couple boarded the flight, how do I know they were on their honeymoon? You may be asking. Well, the bride got upgraded but the groom did not. The bride is now asking the passenger who was her seatmate to give up his business class seat! I was more than a little surprised. It did become clear the seatmate who was asked to give up his seat was also an upgrade and his wife happened to be back in economy because she wasn’t upgraded, so he agreed to make the change (nice, guy, I’m not so sure I would have given up business class!), but not before the bride stood in the aisle whining and offering the man $100 to make the change. Maybe it’s me, but gee whiz, show a little class lady, don’t go announcing to the whole cabin your dilemma, it was worked out in the end, but boy did she make a scene!

The rest of the flight was uneventful and the pilot was kind enough to point out when we were flying over Yellowstone Park, it was a beautiful clear day and the view from my window seat was spectacular!

In the last 2 trips to Seattle, I’ve always liked flying into SeaTac airport, there is great scenery and this time we approached over the city’s suburbs and got a fabulous view of Mt. Ranier.

The flight arrived about 20 minutes early and we found our way to the Link Light Rail station, bought our two tickets. At $2.75 each we could ride from the airport to the very last stop, Westlake, right in downtown Seattle, which was just three blocks from the hotel we stayed in. That price is one of the best deals I’ve ever encountered for public transport to and from an airport. The ride took about 30 minutes and we were exiting into downtown Seattle at 2:30pm.

We stayed at The Paramount Hotel on Pine Street between 7th and 8th Streets. http://www.paramounthotelseattle.com/ When I started to look into where to stay I was coming up with rates for downtown hotels in the $200-$250 range, we were looking to spend a little less than that and even hotel connections from my previous life in the hotel business where coming up with zilch. We would have paid that rate ut then I turned to Twitter.

In July I started aggressively looking for accommodations, figuring since it was a holiday weekend hotels would start booking up and then I found out that is the weekend of the Bumbershoot Festival and I really wanted to nail something down. I tweeted I was looking for a hotel in Seattle and The Paramount Hotel replied, they had rooms available and I could get their social media rate of $159…bingo! I booked and I’m glad we did. We really liked this hotel. We liked the location because we didn’t have to climb any “major” hills, well, mom appreciated that more than I did and it was an easy walk to all the things we wanted to do in downtown and an easy walk to several of the bus stops we would need to take while exploring the city. The Paramount Hotel staff was courteous, and helpful. The room was comfortable and clean and there was free wi-fi. I thought it was a good price for the accommodations we got.

Our first day in Seattle ends with, shopping, a great happy hour deal and a terrific seafood meal with a great local wine!

Stay Tuned...

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    Thanks Lee Ann!

    Here is the remainder of Day #1

    It was close to 3:30pm and we had freshened up and were ready for some retail therapy. We stopped at Pacific Place to check out a wine shop/wine bar I had heard about, thinking it might be a good spot for happy hour. We passed on that, but did manage to buy shoes…ahhhh yes, there isn’t a shoe store I will pass without browsing in! In my quest to always find some type of footwear for my travels I managed to lay my eyes on a cute pair of Clarks waterproof faux fur trimmed ankle boots. I know what you must be thinking, what on earth would a gal from coastal SC need winter boots for? Well, that’s easy, I’ll be in Strasbourg and Paris, France the first two of December, surely I would need them for that trip…can you hear the swipe of the credit card reader? Yes, the boots were purchased.

    In my pre-trip research I came across the name of a place called RN-74, it’s a restaurant and wine bar at 4th Avenue & Pike, so we walked over to check it out and we liked what we saw. Here is their website: http://michaelmina.net/restaurants/locations/rnwa.php
    With a train board in one corner of the restaurant we had the feeling of being in a train station, even the wine bar area evoked the feel of long ago train station waiting rooms. As we walked in I knew we would like this place.

    At 5pm on a Saturday it was not terribly crowded and we had our pick of high top tables in the wine bar to choose from. The big draw here are the wines from France, the wine menu is extensive. Our server gave us the rundown of the happy hour specials and we couldn’t resist the $5 per glass house French chardonnay, I’m not a huge chardonnay lover and this wine was excellent, not one bit oaky. From the appetizer menu the maitake mushroom tempura was on the happy hour special too, just $5 instead of the regular $10, so we had that too. We were not disappointed the mushrooms were perfectly fried, not greasy, but light and crispy. I would happily go back here again and would love to try dinner here, the menu looked great. Good service, good food, good wine, we started with a winner!

    Just before 7pm we left RN-74 and walked to the Steelhead Diner at Pine & 2nd. Here is their website: http://www.steelheaddiner.com/ . We had a 7pm reservation and I’m glad we did, the place was hoping. We were seated immediately at a nice table in the corner and we could watch the sunset over Pike Place Market. This was a second visit for us, we liked it so much last January we wanted to give it another try and we were just as happy this second time around.

    Our server was Megan and she was terrific. She recommended a local Whidbey Island Winery wine that went perfectly with our fish dishes and for $27 a bottle we liked it even more! We started with the crispy chicken spring roll which was just as good as we had remembered.

    Mom and I both choose the entrée specials of the night. Mom had the salmon grilled to perfection with fingerling potatoes, summer squash, corn and grilled radicchio, she gave it two thumbs up. I had the lemon crusted Alaskan halibut on a bed of summer squash with an olive tapenade, it was deliciously savory. The halibut was cut so think it was like a piece of steak.

    When I spied a plum and blueberry crisp with lemon ice cream on the dessert menu and Megan gave her full endorsement of it, we ordered one to share. It was all good, but the lemon ice cream was the show stopper, it was creamy, and lemony and not too sweet. With two espresso to top things off we could not have enjoyed our first night in Seattle any more.

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    Sunday, September 4, 2001

    It was a beautiful, sunny Seattle day and we were up and out of the hotel by 9am. Our first target was Caffe Ladro directly across the street from the hotel. Once we fueled up on coffee and a little nosh we were set to start walking.

    We arrived at the meeting point for the Immersus walking tour, which was the Hard Rock Café in downtown Seattle and at 10:20am our guide, Antonio, was right on time. I liked him from the start, friendly and informative. There were 7 on our tour plus Antonio and it made for a perfect sized group. Mom and I were the only non-locals on this tour. The others in the group had all moved to Seattle within the last several years and thought this tour would be a good way to see different parts of the city and they were right!

    At 10:30am on the dot we left the sidewalk outside the Hard Rock Café and walked a few blocks to catch a bus heading towards Green Lake. The ride took about 20 minutes and it gave me time to ask Antonio how the Seattle bus system works…valuable advice for a newbie bus rider like me!

    When we got off the bus the first place we walked to was Green Lake, Wow! What a pretty area, and the park was full of people walking with strollers and dogs, or jogging or doing yoga and lots of people kayaking on the lake. It was a very active place.

    After walking a short distance around the lake we headed uphill towards the Tangletown area and our first “official” stop at Mighty-O donuts, a vegan donut shop. The samples were great and I was amazed to find out this shop turns out 7,000 donuts a day from one machine!

    We explored more on foot and went through the neighborhood of Wallingford and checked out the interesting buildings and shops there and in several other neighborhoods. We stopped at Gasworks Park and climbed up the hill in the park to get breath-taking views of Seattle and Lake Union. We then wandered to the Fremont neighborhood and stopped at the local Freemont Brewery for a few samples of fresh beer (see we do drink more than just wine!). We paid a visit to the Freemont Troll located under the bridge and the Lenin statue. One of our final stops was Theo chocolate to have a few sweet samples, yum. Since it was Sunday, the Fremont market was in full swing and we sauntered through looking at the booths set up. Everything from food to jewelry and artwork could be purchased.

    Antonio escorted us back to the downtown area on the bus and we said our goodbyes. We really enjoyed this tour and seeing areas of Seattle we had not explored before. Mom was a real trooper and on this 4.5 mile walking/public bus tour kept up with the hills (both up and down) and the one instance of a pretty long staircase. She certainly worked for the wine we would have later on!

    By 3:30pm we were back at the hotel and took a much needed rest…the both of us!

    In recent months I had been hearing a lot about the Capitol Hill area of Seattle. OK, to be honest, it was an episode of House Hunters where I heard about Capitol Hill, but then I started finding lots of references to restaurants in the area and I really wanted to check out this neighborhood.

    With our new found knowledge of the Seattle bus system we walked to Pike & 6th and boarded the #10 bus which took us to Pine & Broadway in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and then walked a few blocks to a wine bar called The Local Vine. Here’s their website: http://thelocalvine.com/ On a Sunday evening at about 5:30pm the place was not very crowded and so we sat at the bar and ordered two glasses of an Albarino white wine from Spain. We both really liked this wine and later that evening via a Tweet from a friend I found out this wine is made from the same grapes as Portuguese vino verdhi, well, no wonder we liked it, we love vino verdhi! In addition to our wine and since we hadn’t really eaten all day, we ordered the lamb sliders, which were terrific.

    At about 6:30pm we left The Local Vine and walked 3 blocks to Via Tribunali for our 7pm dinner reservation, yes, we were early, but that wasn’t a problem, we were seated immediately. Here is their website: http://www.viatribunali.net/index.php?page=capitol-hill This restaurant is what I would call a neighborhood pizza place with a little pizzazz. Our table was right across from the pizza oven and it was great to see the pizza makers “doing their thing”.

    We started with a liter of the house white wine, at $22, why shouldn’t we get a liter? The wine was slightly sweet, but we could live with that, especially when we paired it with the veal meatball starter. Boy were those meatballs good, huge, round meaty orbs perfectly cooked and slathered in a rich tomato sauce, Italian heaven on a plate!

    I know what you’re thinking, we had lamb sliders at The Local Vine, now we were having veal meatballs, and how could we possibly eat more than one pizza? Well, we gave it our best try because the pizzas here were out of this world fantastic. Plus we had a whole liter of wine to drink!

    The first pizza we ordered was with smoked mozzarella, ricotta, black olives, arugula and prosciutto di Parma. I have to say right here and now, this pizza was the clear winner of the night. The arugula was piled high on top and the pizza was incredibly fresh tasting, the crust was not too thin or too thick. We’ve had a lot of pizza in our time, both here in the U.S. and in Italy and this is most definitely in the top 5.

    The second pizza we ordered was with prosciutto, smoked provola, mushrooms and red tomato sauce. It was an excellent contrast to the first pizza, each different from the other. We ended the meal with 2 espresso. Before tax & tip the bill was $67.70. Just before leaving we asked the staff manning the pizza oven how many pizzas do they make on a busy night, they said it could be around 300 pizzas…WOW, now that’s a lot of pizza!

    We left Via Tribunali at about 8:30pm, and walked to Pine and Broadway and as we got to the bus stop the #49 bus was approaching. We hopped on and within 5 minutes we were at Pine & 9th, we got off and our hotel was one block away, how’s that for excellent bus route planning?

    It was another excellent ending to a fun-filled day.

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    Monday, September 5, 2001

    Today we had no firm morning plans so we had a leisurely coffee/breakfast at, where else, a local Starbucks. We then walked a few blocks to Nordstrom Rack, otherwise known in my world as “shoe nirvana”. I always seem to have very good luck with finding “just the perfect pair” at Nordstrom Rack and today was no exception. Having just purchased shoes on our arrival day, I was conscientious and whittled the potential purchases in my buggy to one pair, heck; I only had so much room in my suitcase after all!

    We didn’t want to have a big lunch since we’d be doing a Savor Seattle Gourmet Walking tour later in the afternoon, but we really wanted to have some of the terrific chowder from Pike Place chowder. At about noon we stopped in the Pike Place Chowder outpost in the Pacific Place shopping center and we each had a cup of chowder. Mom stuck with the tried and true New England Clam Chowder and I ventured out and tried the seared scallop chowder. Both were excellent and not to filling that we wouldn’t enjoy the samples on the afternoon walking tour.
    A quick stop back at the hotel to drop off our purchases and then we walked the few blocks to the Mayflower Park Hotel, which was the meeting point for the Savor Seattle tour. Here is the Savor Seattle website: http://www.savorseattletours.com/

    We decided to do the Gourmet walking tour since on our first visit to Seattle a couple years ago we did the Pike Place Market Tour and really enjoyed it. Our guide for this Gourmet walking tour was Mark, who was funny, personable and a fountain of food related information. He greeted us (there were 11 on this tour) with glasses of bubbling cava. Typically, that is not how this tour starts, but because our first stop had to change the item we would be tasting, Mark thought he’d start us off on the right foot with a little bubbly.

    The first stop was just down the stairs at the Mayflower Park Hotel at the restaurant Andaluca. Usually the sample tasted here is the famous duck cake, but because it was a holiday the restaurant was closed, and there were no chefs to cook the duck cake. Instead we were served the cucumber gazpacho and a glass of the house made sangria. WOW! On both counts. The gazpacho was like a garden exploded in my mouth, and with the lump crab meat tenderly swimming on top it was delicious, cool, creamy, and packed a lot of flavor. The sangria did not have the typical sweetness I’ve tasted in other sangrias, this house made version uses apples, pears, and a variety of spices, it was perfect with the cold soup. The server from Andaluca who spoke about the restaurant and the dishes was quite funny and this was the perfect way to start a food tour. As for some background information on this restaurant, the chef, Wayne Johnson, appeared on the finale of this season’s Iron Chef and prepared the famous duck cake. Although he did not win, according to Mark, our guide, he did Seattle proud. This restaurant has a great menu representing Spanish tapas. Mom and I enjoyed it so much on our last night we canceled the dinner reservations we already had and booked into Andaluca, but more about that later.

    The second stop on this gastronomic adventure was at Serious Pie, Tom Douglas’s ode to pizza. Mom and I had been here on both our previous trips and really like the pizza here and we got to sample two of our favorites, the chanterelle & truffle oil pizza and the potato pizza.

    Already heavily fortified, the “samples” were extremely generous; we walked down the hill to Pike Place Market and stopped at La Buona Tavola for a balsamic and olive oil tasting. This was pleasant, but I have to say not our favorite stop. It’s hard for us to get “into” the balsamic and oils here when last year we explored the Emilia Romagna area of Italy and did taste 125 year old balsamic. However, everyone else on the tour thought it was terrific.

    The next stop was at Il Bistro in Pike Place Market, this little Italian place is tucked into the lower level of the market and if I wasn’t on this tour, I could have easily just walked right past it. The chef here was very friendly and spoke about the preparation of the risotto we would be tasting, we even had a glass of red wine to wash it down. The risotto was excellent, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return to this restaurant for dinner another time.
    The next stop, and my least favorite, was the Pike Place Brewery. It was loud and I’m not a huge beer fan, but I will say the cheese and rosemary roll that accompanied the 2 different beer tastings were terrific.

    We were nearing the end of the tour and the next stop was at Thou’s, which is a Vietnamese place with a fantastic view. The noodle dish we sampled here was, again, a very generous portion, and delicious. The final stop would satisfy any chocolate lover. We popped into Fran’s Chocolates for a sampling of 3 of their fabulous chocolates.

    This tour did not disappoint and with 11 participants it was the perfect size. Just before 5pm we said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel to rest our feet.

    Because I knew we’d have a good amount of food on the tour I booked our dinner reservation for 8pm, but we still like to have a glass of wine at a different place just to see new wine bars. Just next door to the Paramount Hotel is The Hyatt at Olive 8 and the bar/restaurant looked like a nice place to have a glass or two of wine. This place was also convenient because it was directly between our hotel and Blueacre, where we had our dinner reservation.

    At about 6:30pm we ventured over to the Hyatt at Olive 8 and had a really nice rose wine from the Willamette Valley, it was dry and crisp. We liked it so much we each had a second glass. Just before 8pm we settled our bill and walked the 10 steps across the street to Blueacre. Here is their website: http://blueacreseafood.com/

    Initially when I made the reservation and looked at the menu, what drew me in was the fact there were sandwich and salad options. I figured if we were still full from the gourmet walking tour, we could have something on the lighter side here.

    The dining room at Blueacre is gorgeous, wooden floors, soaring ceiling and windows, huge bar with raw bar area. Being a Monday night during a holiday weekend it wasn’t very crowded, our server, Tara was excellent.

    We weren’t “starving” so we decided not to have a starter, but we did order a bottle of wine. After describing to Tara what our wine preferences were she recommended the Chateau St. Michelle sauvignon blanc, one of our favorites and for $24 a bottle a good bargain, so we went with the recommendation. It was just what mom and I like, dry, crisp and perfect with our seafood dishes.

    After asking Tara, our server, for recommendations, mom decided to have the olive encrusted halibut on a bed of ratatouille. The ratatouille was wonderful and the halibut was delicious. I had the Dungeness lump crab cakes and I have never had such tasty crab cakes. These crab cakes were all crab, no filler and the flavor was fantastic. We ended the meal with two espresso and the grand finale of two incredibly smooth limoncello.

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    LCI, what a treat to another one of your long weekend trip reports! I must admit I chuckled when I read about your (yet again) early flight departure. But good going on the flight upgrade and scoring a great rate on hotel via Twitter.

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    As a Seattleite, I'm proud to read your excellent trip report. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it all up for us. I live on the #10 bus route so get a kick out of reading that part (next time, if you stay on it til the end it takes you to Volunteer Park which is beautiful). Yup Il Bistro has been around forever. It's a fabulous hidden (but well known) gem. Good to hear about RN74, it's a brand new restaurant that I often walk by downtown and couldn't figure out what it was all about.

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    Thank you so much for writing your fabulous long weekend report. Seattle is on my list of places to visit.

    A couple of questions on the bus system. Do you need the exact change? How much is the fare?


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    Thanks for the kind comments. I have one more day to write up and hope to finish tonight.

    yk...it seems I'm addicted to these early morning flights! :-)

    suze...definitely check out RN74, even for just happy hour, we were pleased with what they had to offer.

    AMC...I'm with you, the donuts were delish!

    SandyBrit...yes, you do need exact change for the buses, however there is a rather large area in downtown Seattle which is a free ride zone between 7am and 7pm, but double check those hours. I used the King County Metro website often to find bus routes and bus stops and it was helpful. The way the system works outside the free zone is if you are traveling into downtown you pay the bus fare when you board, when you are traveling out of downtown you pay the bus fare when you get off the bus. BUT....to be on the safe side, I encourage any Seattle Fodorites to chime in with a correction on that if I have it confused.

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    LowCountryIslander~ Can you please tell me what store you found the <Clarks waterproof faux fur trimmed ankle boots>? Many thanks.

    SandyBrit~ You can't get change from the bus driver. the fares are either $2.25 or $2.50 (for single zone ride, and outside the ride free zone downtown during the day) but it you're stuck you can put in $3 in bills.

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    fabulous. thanks! i'll stop in. I didn't even know there was such a store at Pacific Place. i need new boots for winter and usually like Clarks a lot but Macy's selection was pretty slim. leave it to a tourist to help me out :-)

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    Great report, thanks for the detailed restaurant recommendations. I loved Capitol Hill when I went to Seattle back in 2008, so I'm glad you made the effort to go there this trip.

    Best wishes, Daniel

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    And to wrap things up....

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Today was our last full day in Seattle and we had no pre-scheduled plans. I purposely left this as a free day so we could do whatever we wanted and what we wanted most to do was check out Salumi for lunch. In our last two trips to Seattle we missed having lunch here because we always seemed to have time to go there on a day it was closed! Here is the Salumi website: http://www.salumicuredmeats.com/ We’d heard a lot of good things about Salumi, most of all that it is the cured meat store/restaurant of Chef Mario Batali’s father.

    We hopped on a bus and went to the edge of the free ride zone. The bus stop was just across the street from Salumi and as we exited the bus I looked across the street and saw the line. Yes, the line. The shop opens at 11:00am, we arrived just before the opening time and we got on the line that stretched to the corner. Once the door was unlocked the line started moving and we got to the entrance at about 11:30am.

    We were really looking forward to this lunch. We ordered one porchetta sandwich and one meatball sandwich. Both were served on crusty French bread. With two bottles of water the bill was $23. Lucky for us there were two free seats at the communal table so we sat down. I think our expectations were too high, we felt a bit let down with these sandwiches. They were ok, but not as good as we had hoped. We’ve had porchetta sandwiches at the Roli Roti truck in San Francisco and for what it’s worth we tend to measure all porchetta against the Roli Roti version. Maybe we ordered the wrong items; maybe we should have stuck with one of the cured meat sandwiches. It didn’t take us long to finish lunch and just after noon we were out the door.

    Fortunately for us the Smith Tower was just a block or so away from Salumi. We had heard about the Smith Tower from Antonio, our Immersus tour guide. He recommended checking it out if we had already been to the Space Needle and I’m glad we took his advice. The Smith Tower was Seattle’s first skyscraper, of course now it’s dwarfed by many of the buildings surrounding it. But the view from the top floor is nice, the ground floor interior and elevator is like steeping back in time, and for $7.50 entry fee ($6 for seniors) it’s much less expensive than the Space Needle. After taking in the view from the top of the Smith Tower we spent time doing a little more retail therapy.

    We had a dinner reservation for La Tavolata but honestly, with having to get an early start the next morning we decided to cancel that reservation, it was a bit too far to walk from our hotel and we didn’t want to maneuver the bus system on this last night. We chose to make a reservation at Andaluca, where we had been on the Savor Seattle tour. But, as usual, we wanted to enjoy a happy hour stop somewhere other than where we would have dinner.

    During dinner last night we thought the bar at Blueacre looked pretty darn nice. I got on line and checked out their happy hour menu and bingo! There was a terrific happy hour going on. There were $5 glasses of chardonnay and $3 classes of sparkling wine, how could we resist that bargain! The Dungeness crab poppers were pretty good too and the bartenders were a friendly bunch. We enjoyed a few drinks at this terrific bar and talked about what a great weekend it had been.

    Just before 7pm we walked a few blocks down to Andaluca at the Mayflower Park Hotel. Here is there website: http://www.andaluca.com/ we really liked the dining room at Andaluca, all warm dark wood and an inviting atmosphere. This restaurant offers Spanish tapas or small plates. The menu is not overwhelmingly large, but has several well thought out offerings that are delicious.

    We chose to have the $38 tasting menu. We picked one item from the soup/salad menu section, three items from the three small plate categories (vegetable, fish, or meat/poultry) and one item from the dessert section. Essentially 5 selections from the all small plate menu.

    Mom started with the cucumber gazpacho with crab. I had the pear and blue cheese salad. Both were full of flavor. What we really liked about the next course of the 3 small plates we picked was that they were all plated on one plate and served as an entrée, so there weren’t several small plates littering the table. Mom’s main course selections were the duck cake, the paella, and asparagus. I had the mushroom & chevre risotto, grilled quail and halibut. All were absolutely excellent. For dessert we both had the Cabrales Cheesecake with figs. Wow! What a dessert, decadent, yes, but it went perfectly with our espresso.

    Since we had a few glasses of wine at happy hour, we decided to have just one glass of wine each with dinner. We enjoyed another Albarino white wine from Spain, very similar to what we had at The Local Vine on Sunday night. With our Savor Seattle discount card the bill was $88.

    We had a quick walk back to the hotel and with a 3:30am wake up call for the next morning we had an early night.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    The wake-up call at 3:30am came all too soon but we were up and our taxi arrived at 5am to take us to the airport. At that time of the morning the ride to the airport was quick and we were going through security by 5:45am.

    We had plenty of time to get our coffee and hope for an upgrade. The coffee was good and the upgrade didn’t happen, no worries, we had exit row seats in economy, so we had a little extra room to stretch our legs!

    All our flights were on time and when we de-planed in Savannah our luggage arrived with us!

    It was a terrific, sunny, wine and food-filled weekend.

    Would I go back to Seattle again? You bet, in a heart beat!

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    Wow, I've never seen anyone line up for lunch...except at the Roli Roti truck in San Fran! When you first mentioned the porchetta I wondered how it compared. I seriously wish you could hand out samples of everything you ate, all of it sounded so delish! Thanks for the hunger pangs. ;-) Where to next, my friend?

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    AMC...you know how I love the Roli Roti truck,it's really hard to beat their porchetta, it's the the reigning sandwich champion in my book!

    Next adventure is a weekend trip to NYC in November, and then 2 weeks in France in early December! :-)

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