Seattle Overnight

I love going up to Seattle, but I have made myself believe the trip was only worthwhile if we stayed for a minimum of two nights. I was proven wrong on a recent trip where the pace seemed easy as we still packed so much (food) into our stay.

Avoiding the Friday night commute, we headed up Saturday morning just in time for brunch at Spring Hill in West Seattle. I've never had better corn beef hash- theirs is made from scratch, laden with sumptuous rich pieces of corned beef. Naturally, we felt a bloody mary was in order to kick off our vacation, and we joked that their spicy version with hunks of preserved meat and pickled vegetable could have sufficed for a meal in itself.

I do enjoy the shopping in Seattle, and this trip found a new to me and dangerous shoe store, A Mano, selling handmade Italian shoes. During my checkout, the proprietess confessed she had to visit a similar high-end store whenever she came into Portland, Halo Shoes, which has recently moved into the Pearl.

Remembering that the shopping was supposed to be for my husband J, we headed to several stores including All Saints, an uber hip British chain and Ian, where J found several great pieces at reasonable prices.

We refreshed ourselves at the Hotel Andra, and headed out for the evening- one of us in their new Italian boots. Stopping for a glass of champagne and a nibble of oysters at the reliable Campagne Cafe, we now felt fortified enough to head into Capitol Hill to our dinner reservation. A good thing we were fortified, too. Underestimating the distance to the restaurant, we headed off on foot. What started out as a jaunt started feeling like a death march as the blocks wore on and the rain began to fall. Luckily for our marriage and reservation, a cab was flagged for the last few blocks to Spinasse.

We've had many a meal in Seattle, and this was our best by far. The wait staff seemed to anticipate our every need, moving us to another table when the bar area became crowded, and helping us plan our way through their courses so we could try as much as possible. The first course was sublime, a roasted leek flan with a cream and steel head roe studded sauce. The house made tajarin with sage and butter was recommended and did not disappoint. Another unusual delight were the rabbit meatballs wrapped in caul fat and served with a caramelized turnip puree and horseradish. When we were sure we were too sated to even think about desert, our waitperson brought us out a complementary plate with two spoons to enjoy along with our coffee.

After a such a satisfying meal, one finds it hard to believe one can ever be hungry again. And yet, we found ourselves in the Capitol Hill neighborhood ready for breakfast. The neighborhood, so quiet and foggy on a Sunday morning and marked by a vintage sign made me feel like a Seattle insider. Oddfellows casual atmosphere was perfect after our elegant dinner and the rustic egg and smoked bacon sandwich was the un-fussy antidote to enjoy with our NY Times and strong coffee.

We always seem to combine out trips to Seattle with a visit to SAM, this trip being no acception with the last few days of the Picasso exhibit to enjoy for a several hours.

Nearby, a late afternoon repast at the venerable bistro, Le Pichet where we tried their french onion soup. Every last buttery, oniony, cheesy bite was enjoyed thoroughly. As we left, a musician was setting up for their usual live Sunday music.

Driving back to Portland, we were rather surprised that we had only been in Seattle for 26 hours.