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72 Hours in Seattle


Mike and I spent a long weekend in Seattle visiting friends. We had never been so we arrived with a long list of things we wanted to check out and luckily our hosts were game to show us around. Here are the highlights!

Day 1

We arrived around noon and it was amazingly sunny and warm. Everyone said it was the best day of the year so far. To take advantage of the nice weather we decided to tool around Kirkland and grab a bite to eat at the Purple Cafe and wine bar.

I had seen a clip about Purple on the Food Network’s ¬†“Best thing I ever Ate” where¬†Melissa D’Arabian said the calamari was to die for. For the table we ordered the calamari, a cheese plate, a bunch of spreads with flatbreads/crackers, bruschetta and lots of wine.¬†I should have known better than to trust the opinion of a winner of ¬†“The Next Food Network Star” because I hate that show. The calamari was nothing special AT ALL! It was good but no better than any other calamari I’ve had.

Hey, Melissa! Next time you go try the bruschetta with¬†cambozola cheese, prosciutto and red onion jam …now that’s something to drool over!

Day 2

Before we went on BILL SPEIDEL’S UNDERGROUND TOUR we walked up the street 2 blocks to Built Burger. Built¬†specializes in burgers made with all natural meats from the Northwest. The meat, the buns, the toppings were oh so fresh! Check it out for sure if you are in the area. By the way the tour was fun too.

On our walk back to our car we ran into a little food cart called Street donuts. They serve mini donuts fried to order. We chose¬†coconut¬†with caramel…sooo good! Glad I don’t live here or this could become an addiction.

For dinner we went to a Tom Douglas joint. We had to because he is the king of Seattle. The Palace Kitchen features food cooked in its apple-wood burning grill. We feasted on the following: goat cheese and lavender fondue w/wood grilled bread, palace olive poppers,summer vegetables,washington flat iron steak,tagliatelle w/braised leg of lamb,warm roasted beets,smoked salmon chowder,peach-wild huckleberry crisp and the dahlia triple coconut cream pie. My personal favs were the fondue & coconut cream pie. Now I know why Chef Douglas has such a big following.

Day 3


Today was a little cool and cloudy and rained for the latter half the day but that didn’t stop us from strolling through all the hot spots of Pike Place Market. We hit up Daily Dozen Doughnuts (good stuff),¬†Piroshky-Piroshky (I preferred the sweet over savory) and Pike Place Chowder (better than Boston). It was a slow Monday morning so no flying fish : (

Following that we jumped on a ferry to do some wine tasting in the small town of Bainbridge. The 30 minute ride was relaxing and had fantastic views.

view from the ferry

Walking distance from the boat we found 2-3 tasting rooms. We stopped at Island Vintners which featured wines from 3 local wineries and Eleven Winery. We were very surprised with the high quality of wines sampled and the woman working the Island Vintners room was hilarious.

For our last evening we headed to Bellevue to have apps and drinks at Black Bottle  (cool spot) followed by dinner at Din Tai Fung. Din is an award winning Taiwanese run dumpling house that serves up dim sum like dishes all day long. We shared a bunch of entrées like steamed pork soup dumplings, pork buns, shrimp shui mai, green beans and fried rice. Everything tasted great but I gotta admit my favorite thing was the garlic green beans.

We had a blast in Seattle. Shout out to CB & DB for showing us a wonderful time.


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O Chateau French Wine Tasting in Paris

While in Paris I wanted to make sure Mike had the opportunity to do a tasting of French wines. O Chateau fit the bill perfectly. It is a fairly new establishment right near the Louvre. We chose the 1 hour¬† introductory tasting which was held in O Chateau’s intimate wine cellar. Leading our tasting was Lionel, a very informed handsome young French sommelier (he spoke English of course). Our tasting included 3 French wines: a Sauvignon Blanc from the Val De Loire region, a Cab Sauv/Syrah from Sud-Quest and a red blend from Rhone.

While tasting we learned about the different French wine regions and what varietals they produced as well as wine tasting techniques and how to read a French wine label (it is different than the US).

Mike and I were very impressed with the amount of information provided as well as the quality of the wines poured. We would highly recommend this activity to any wine lovers.

Tip: if you purchase a Paris Pass this tasting is included for free (usually 30 Euro/per person)! And you’ll need to make¬† a reservation with or without the pass.

Website: http://www.o-chateau.com/

Joseph Phelps Insignia Blending Seminar

Mike’s kind of a wine connoisseur. Before we met my wine of choice was a glass of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill or Sutter Home’s White Zinfandel. Growing up in an alcohol free home I missed out on Wine 101. Over the years with Mike’s guidance my palate has changed. These days I find myself liking Red Blends, Cabs and Rieslings. Mike’s favorite winery in Napa is Joseph Phelps. He has been a preferred club member for over 15 years. Whenever we are in the valley tasting Phelps is always on our list because they have informative seminars, friendly staff, reasonable prices, a beautiful location, and most important fantastic wine.

On our latest visit we took the Insignia Blending Seminar which discusses the different elements that make up a bottle of Insignia. For those of you not familiar with Phelps wine, Insignia is its award winning proprietary red blend. The class started off with a tasting of 4 other Phelps wines: ’06 Viognier, ’05 Pinot, ’05 Syrah & ’05 Cab Sav. Then we moved on to the 5 wines that made up the 2004 Insignia. Once we tasted the components we were free to create our own blend of Insignia by mixing the various wines provided. We had lots of fun and wine…but my Insignia concoction didn’t compare to the original!

Tasty Tip: call ahead, all tastings/seminars require an appointment. If you are member pack a lunch and reserve a picnic table.

Website: http://www.jpvwines.com/

Goldeneye Winery

If you ever travel through Anderson Valley make sure to stop at Goldeneye Winery for a tasting of their world class Pinots. Goldeneye is owned by the Duckhorn family so you know they produce some outstanding wines. While in Mendocino we decided to do a day of Pinot tasting and Goldeneye was our first stop. We had made a reservation to take their Estate tasting session which is a 45 minute semi-private tasting (8 people max) that discusses the winery’s history and production process¬†while tasting wines paired with a selection of cheeses, nuts and dried fruit. This was one of the best tastings I have been to.¬†Our host¬†was knowledgeable and friendly and the setting was breathtaking. At $20 per person this was a steal compared to Napa. You will find that many winery tastings in the Valley are low in cost or completely free.

Tasty Tip: Before you arrive pick up a picnic lunch and sit and enjoy the magnificent views of their vineyard.

Hours: open daily
11:00am – 4:00pm
Website: www.goldeneyewinery.com

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