A Mini Vacation - Seattle 2016

Didn’t I just write about a mini-vacation? Oh that’s right I did. It was only last weekend that Jenn and I flew up to Napa Valley. A couple days later Jenn got word she would be going up to Seattle for work and so we decided to add a couple of days for us to enjoy the city. We already had tickets to see If/Then at Segerstrom on Friday night so we decided to fly up first thing Saturday morning.

We woke up a little early on Saturday, I worked out while Jenn finished packing. We got an Uber to pick us up at our apartment a little after 7AM and were off to John Wayne Airport. We dropped off our bags with Southwest and were off in search of breakfast. We weren’t about to make the same mistake as last week with Ruby’s and we decided to up our game and go to Javi’s an airport version of the great Mexican restaurant Javiers. We had a really nice breakfast pre-flight. Jenn got Mexican pancakes while I had the huevos rancheros.

Our flight was only half full so we shared a row. Not to mention unlike last week which both flights had slight delays our plane landed in Seattle a half hour early. We made our way to the luggage area picked up our bag (one of the first ones off) and got an Uber to take us to our hotel.

We didn’t have much time to decide on hotels but we lucked out and got one of the top rated hotels, (according to TripAdvisor) The Hotel Monaco Seattle. We arrived a little after noon and got a corner suite with a view overlooking the city. We even got a special key card to take the “fast elevator” up to the premiere floors. We recorded a room tour and then made our way out to the city.

Our first stop of the day was to try some world famous chowder. When Jenn told me about the Seattle trip I spent my Thursday evening looking at dining options. Let’s be honest nothing is more important to a Joel & Jenn trip then good cuisine. There’s a place near Pike Place called Pike Place Chowder that has over 3000 positive reviews on Yelp. We made our way there (around a fifteen-minute walk) in a downpour of rain and split their sampler which gave us four small soups. The four we selected were the Clam Chowder, Corn and Chicken Chowder, a Seafood Bisque, and the Market Chowder which is the specialty for the day. Sadly, Pike Place Chowder has no where to sit and enjoy the chowder so we took the soup back to our hotel room and enjoyed it there. The chowder and bisque did not disappoint. Our favorites were the Seafood and Clam Chowder although all four were really good.

The rain started coming down even stronger when we got back to our hotel so we decided to stay in, in the hope that the weather app on our phones was correct and that it would die down by 4PM. After watching an episode of Downton Abbey (in which I fell asleep) we made our way back out to the city. We first walked over to Pike Place (again) and went to the original Starbucks location. Jenn got a mug to add to our Starbucks collection. She also got a hot chocolate while I had their specialty Pike Place coffee blend. We sat and talked in the Starbucks for an hour before walking to the Public Market across the street. At this point in the day it was just wrapping up but it was interesting to see all the little shops and fish stands.

Once I heard that we were going to Seattle I spent a ton of time researching where to eat. I made reservations for both nights I was in town and our first dinner was at a small place called Lecosho. It was a couple minute walk from Pike Place and only ten minutes from our hotel. We got there right around 6PM and got a great seat overlooking the harbor and the giant Ferris wheel (more on that in a bit). We started out with a glass of Cab and ordered the fresh baguette. We also got the grilled house made sausage which was put on top of lentils and served with a soft boiled egg. The sausage was delicious and the wine was phenomenal. For our main course Jenn had the Pappardelle pasta with Rabbit and I had the Cod. Jenn’s dish stole the show. The rabbit was incredibly tender and bursting with flavor. The pasta was also freshly made and was excellent. My cod was prepared beautifully but I wasn’t in love with the sauce. We decided to end the meal with their chocolate chip gelato.

As we were leaving the restaurant we saw the Seattle Great Wheel a couple of blocks away. Jenn and I have always loved doing these types of touristy activities so we walked down bought our tickets and waited in the 40-degree night to get in our cart for a couple turns on the wheel. The night had cleared up from all the rain and we got to enjoy some magnificent views of the city. It was a really nice end to an wonderful date night.

We walked back to our hotel, got ready for bed and watched the movie The Intern starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. It was the perfect way to end a great first day in Seattle.

The next morning, we spent most of the morning lying around the hotel room. I did make my way to the gym and got a run in before getting us Starbucks. It was a great morning and gave us the ability to recover a bit from a full day of activity yesterday. We left our hotel a little before 11 AM and took an Uber to the Space Needle. We had done absolutely no research before going to the Space Needle and lucked out because it was deserted. We used a self service kiosk and took an elevator up to the top five minutes later. It was one of the easiest tourist destinations we’ve ever encountered. We also lucked out because the weather in Seattle could not be more beautiful. Clear skies in the low 40’s. We spent a half hour at the top taking in the various views of Seattle and messing around with a lot of their interactive displays spread throughout the top.

When we made our way down the elevator and out of the Space Needle it was time for lunch. We did some quick searching on Yelp and found a building only a couple of blocks away that housed all sorts of food truck style eateries. We ended up having lunch at a place called Skillet Counter. Jenn had a hamburger and I had the chicken Sammy. Both were out of this world. Jenns hamburger came with a bacon jam which was incredible. My chicken Sammy came with an aioli sauce and was some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted. The fries were phenomenal as well.

After lunch we thought we would take advantage of the beautiful Seattle day and walk the two miles back to our hotel. That might not have been the best plan for our wallets because although we saved the Uber cost we also incurred the penalty of passing a huge mall. We stopped off at Jenn’s new favorite store Zara and of course they had items that were now “out of stock” online so we “had to get them.” Jenn of course came away smiling and so that made it all worth while.

Once we left Zara I thought we were done but we then passed a J Crew store where I get most of my clothes and Jenn fell in love with a long sleeve shirt for me with elbow patches that we “had to buy.” We left the mall with our wallets lighter but with some new clothes, so according to Jenn it was a very successful afternoon.

We came back to our hotel a little after 3PM and I caught the end of the AFC Championship game between the Broncos and Patriots. Jenn fell asleep so I even got to catch the first half of the NFC Championship game between the Cardinals and the Panthers. We had dinner reservations at 6PM a couple of blocks down at a restaurant called the Purple Café and Wine Bar.

The restaurant has a giant wine tower as you enter and has a really neat vibe. We started off with some calamari that was seared not fried. It was really good and the sauce that they had with it was on point. For our main course Jenn had the Duck Carbonara which was just spaghetti carbonara with duck in it. She also had a glass of red wine which the menu recommended to pair with the dish. I had the lobster roll which was by far the best lobster roll I’ve ever had. We finished off dinner splitting the crispy brioche. This is very similar to a dessert Jenn has been perfecting over the last six months a bread pudding. It was a great dessert (not as good as Jenn’s) and a perfect way to finish off our dinner.

We walked around Seattle for another half hour before retiring back to our room. We watched an episode of Frasier because why wouldn’t we we are in Seattle after all and rented the movie Pitch Perfect 2. We had watched Pitch Perfect last week and thought we might as well see what the second one was about. We only made it a quarter of the way through before turning it off. Jenn fell asleep and I watched the first half of the Warinka, Raonic match at the Australian Open before calling it a night.

The next morning it was time for us both to pack up our things. I went for a run at around 7AM and got us Starbucks. When I got back we started packing upo. We grabbed an Uber at 10AM and made our way to the airport to go get Jenn a rental car. She got the ugliest yellow Kia I’ve ever seen. We pulled out of the rental car parking structure and Jenn dropped me off at my terminal. We said our sad goodbyes and I made my way to my plane and Jenn drove to Redmond. Jenn has a couple more days in the Seattle area while I have to go back to work tomorrow.

I was texting Jenn as I was getting on the plane and one thing really struck me after this weekend getaway to Seattle. More then any other time during the year we both feel so alive and free when we're on vacation. Both this weekend and even last weekend in Napa Valley, I just felt like I was having a reprieve from the real world. It makes me even more excited and full of anticipation for whatever other travel we do in 2016. Until then I will cherish the memories of these past two weekends with everything I have.