With about 48 hours in my schedule – and a completely insufficient jacket – I headed to Seattle this past weekend to visit my friend Joe and to also attend a dinner party hosted by my friend and fellow blogger Matt & his lovely wife Danika. Oh, the lengths I’ll through for a good party, I tell ya!
It’s been about 7 years since the last time I visited Seattle. While it’s only a quick jet up the west coast I always wondered why I never made it up more often. Seattle has its share of amazing bloggers and people I call friends, but it took the constant, never-ending emails of a certain persistant British lad who just happens to have a very nice name to force me to visit. Alright already, I’ll be there!
(Yea right…he asked me once and I bought my ticket immediately. If you know Matt and Danika you know why!)
So, this dinner. Oh my stars this dinner. No, really. There’s no way I could do him justice so just visit his blog for a recap of the entire evening. And you’ll also see who was there and if you look closely you’ll see me stuffing my fat face with pork crackling. Do not ever put chicarrones in front of me and expect to have any left to share. Just don’t. Don’t do it.
Although my trip was too short I did manage to pack quit a bit of activity in. I thought I’d compile the 10 things I loved about Seattle, in no particular order. And while I really had an amazing time in such a beautiful city it’s really the people that made my trip so special.
10. Macrina Bakery • 615 W McGraw St • (206) 283-5900
There is a huge shortage of adorable cafes in my life. When you live in Southern California it’s just something you deal with. In order to make up for my environmental deficiency I asked my friend Joe to immediately take me for coffee and a pastry somewhere and to my surprise we ended up at Macrina Bakery. I had a delightful muffin and a great latte while I watched the caffeine slowly bring my friend Joe to life. I think he started complaining about heart palpitations or something.
9. Skillet • Roving restaurant, different locations
You know what I did immediately after breakfast? I braved the chilly wet weather and stood outside eating one of the best burgers of my life. And I’d do it again in a second if it involved anything from Skillet, the roving airstream that serves amazing burgers and sides. While standing up freezing my ass off isn’t my ideal manner in which to dine it was totally worth it. And getting to hang with Traca was delightful. And two parting words: Bacon Jam.
8. Pike Place Market • 1501 Pike Place
No visit could be complete without a visit to the Pike Place Market. Since 1907 this vibrant market has been a bustling center of food and commerce and quite a sensory overload. I wasn’t doing any cooking this trip but it was nice to grab a few apples and snacks and admire the colorful residents all around.
7. Stumptown Coffee and Mighty O Donuts
On the second day of my visit my friend Joe offered up a cup of Stumptown Coffee as we sat on his couch gossiping about the 3 Bs: Britney, Boys and Booze. We were happily singing bad 90’s pop songs to each other when I raised my cup of Stumptown to my lips and was completely distracted. What happened next was one of those moments in your life when you realize you’re having a perfect moment and one damn perfect cup of coffee. So immediately after finishing up my cup of coffee (and my Toni Braxton — or was it Whitney?) I had to get my hands on this bean, and boy did I ever. I came home with 5 or 6 pounds of the stuff and have been on Cloud 9. Speaking of Cloud 9, everyone told me I couldn’t miss Mighty O Donuts and by golly they were right. Vegan donuts never ever ever tasted this good.
6 . The Woman On The Right. My Heart Be Still.
Reason #7 why I love Seattle: Orangette. As soon as my childish boy crush subsides (will it ever?) I might tell you how utterly gorgeous, stunning and wonderful she is in person. But right now I’m still in Swoonsville. As I told her, when the physical presence of a writer is as dreamy as their words you’ve grown to love it’s a very magical thing. I’ll stop now so she doesn’t think I’m some sort of crazy LA stalker.
5 . Bloody Mary Interludes at Oddfellows Cafe & Bar • 1525 10th Avenue
In my dreamlife I will have enough time to read the newspaper, play with my dogs and then walk to an adorable cafe for a Bloody Mary with friends on any given afternoon. Since that’s not likely to happen any time soon I made sure to seize the moment with Joe at Oddfellows. The gorgeous open space was so relaxing and the drink was delicious. So was my oatmeal. What, you think I can live on olives and the pickled asparagus in my cocktail alone?
(and that’s my dear friend Joe above, apparently passing judgement on me for drinking during the day even though I spy a mimosa not far from him)
4 . Melissa of Traveler’s Lunchbox • www.travelerslunchbox.com
Early on when I began food blogging I was inspired by Traveler’s Lunchbox. I was captivated by Melissa’s writing that fused travel, food and memories together so perfectly. I couldn’t wait for new posts so that I could see the world through her eyes and learn about something unique and delicious.To me her food and travel writing is some of the best I’ve ever read and transports me each and every time. We struck up a long-distance friendship, always keeping in touch throughout the years. When I found out she was moving back to the states from Scotland I was beside myself. I knew I had to meet her and her husband Manuel and I was thrilled they’d be heading to the same dinner party.
I didn’t leave her side the entire night and I was lucky enough to meet up with her for brunch the next day before heading home. You’ve heard me say it a million times before and yes, I shall say it again: blogging is one of the most amazing things I have ever done. I’ve met the world’s brightest people this way and Melissa is a shining example. I miss her already!
4 . Coffee
Yea yea yea, I know I already mentioned coffee in #7 but really people, it bears repeating. Any city that does coffee correctly really deserves accolades. But I don’t need to tell you this. Sigh.
3 . Dinner at Dinette with friends • 1514 E Olive Way
I secretly pray for moments like this: friends with smiling faces come together over food in a neighborhood restaurant, enjoy a bottle or two of wine, and share a moment in time that feels comfortable and meaningful yet relaxed and just perfect. These are moments of what I want my memories to be made of. Joe and Mike, you rock. I love you guys.
2 . World Spice Merchants • 1509 Western Avenue
I hadn’t planned on heading to Seattle and stocking up on spices and chiles. But one whiff led to another whiff which led to me filling my arms with herbs, spices and dried chiles and peppers. I couldn’t resist! The staff was super friendly and I wish I had a shop like this near me.
1. Matt & Danika and The Entire Group Of Seattle Food Bloggers (and you too, Bradford!)
I met Matt & Danika last summer at a So Cal Food Blogging Dinner held by my friends Todd & Diane. Matt said he was inspired by the gathering and wanted to host his own party. Now I know some may say hopping on a plane for a dinner party is excessive but I don’t see it that way. I would have crawled on my hands and knees to get there and all I can say is that it was one of the most amazing nights I’ve experienced in a long time. I simply cannot do the evening justice so I urge you to head to his blog to read about the evening.
Sometimes when I’m down or frustrated with the world I only need to close my eyes and think back to moments like the party at Matt’s house. No agendas, no hidden motives, no need for anything but people coming together to share a meal and love one another. Because that’s what it was — pure love. I get choked up when I think that people can connect like this when we all lead such hectic lives and sometimes forget to slow down. But it’s possible and I thank god I’m alive to experience it.
Matt and Danika, thank you for making it an evening I will remember forever. And can you make me some extra rillette and paté and send it on down? Thankyouverymuch.