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A few friends of mine recently moved to Seattle, Washington, and I was invited to fly up for a summertime visit. Seattle has a reputation for dreary weather, strong coffee, and for attracting urban techy outdoorsy types. I experienced all that, but so much more!
Towering pine and sycamore forests lined my drive into the city. Taking a walk around downtown, I encountered a quaint crumpet shop, chocolate and ice cream vendors, quirky boutiques, and an above-ground monorail. I rode the rail to the Seattle Space Needle and MoPOP, the Museum of Pop Culture, founded by Microsoft guru Paul Allen. The building was designed by Frank Gehry, in an homage to a “ smashed guitar.” I danced my way through the exhibits on Prince, Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Pearl Jam. I particularly loved a special presentation titled “The Queen Within” featuring far-out fashion and how contemporary fashion designers engage with feminine archetypes.
Seattle is also home to the Chihuly Gardens of Glass, which were mind- blowing for me. Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. He later went on to study glass blowing in the US and Italy, eventually teaching it for ten years. He believes in a team approach to blowing glass as fine art, and today, his work is represented all over the world. I got to walk through rooms of his work, see a glasshouse, and travel through a garden filled with his larger-than-life sculptures. The museum also showcases several films showing him and his team of glassblowers in action. Fascinating!
Here is a link to the YouTube video of the exhibition:
For dinner, I picked the Palace Kitchen, as it came highly recommended and a touch of Southern food in Seattle seemed too decadent not to check out. The “Pressi’s fried street corn” with Parmesan cilantro and lime was a bursting goodness in my mouth, the “enormous garlic crouton and romaine lettuce” was crunchy and tangy, and the “ wild Alaskan Halibut” in saffron was exceptionally prepared. Scott’s “tomato salad with local chicories and a muscatel vinaigrette” was innovative and impressive.
My friends in Seattle have chosen to live in the suburbs, one in Normandy Park and one in Edmonds. We converged at the Salmon Bay Marina and chartered the 1933 classic fifty-eight foot Mitlite Foss for an afternoon on the lake. Captain Dorin regaled us with stories about the houses along the water’s edge (we saw Pete Carroll’s home and Bill Gate’s abode, both on Lake Washington). We floated above the fresh water of Lake Union, and I learned how it got its name. In 1854, Thomas Mercer correctly predicted that canals would someday join Lake Washington to Puget Sound in a “union” of waters, and thus Lake Union was to become this basin. The men onboard our vessel smoked cigars on the bow while the ladies enjoyed snacks and aperitifs on the aft deck before we returned to dock and our dinner at The Pink Door. Summer in Seattle allows for alfresco dining, so we were seated on the patio with a water view. Eating lasagna and chatting with friends was the perfect ending to my Northwest coastal night.
Before flying home, I had a chance to sample brunch at The Four Seasons Hotel. Divine doesn’t begin to describe the array of fresh seafood, desserts, soups, and scrumptious goodies assembled in the cozy sea view Gold Finch restaurant. Satiated, I fit in a final stop at the pool fire pit to enjoy a final cappuccino before heading out, knowing I will return for another visit soon.