Last week work took me to Seattle so to make the most out of my time I added on a day of vacation [(work + vacation) x travel = worcation]. I’d been looking forward to this trip because it involved a lot of firsts:
- It was my first time to visit the Pacific Northwest (prior to this I hadn’t ventured north of San Fran).
- It was my first time to meet with our corporate accounts on my own (I’ve always shadowed a manager).
- My boyfriend was able to take off work and it’s the first time we’ve taken a trip alone together.
We arrived in Seattle late Tuesday night and took a cab to our hotel downtown. The Warwick is in a prime spot. It’s an easy walk to great shopping and dining and Pike Place Market. The hotel’s building is old and the interior isn’t as pristine as it appears on the Warwick’s website. Fortunately, management is renovating all of the rooms from the top down. My boyfriend and I snagged one of the newly upgraded Executive rooms on the 15th floor. As soon as we got off the elevator we were hit with the smell of new carpet in the hall (almost as good as new car smell). One side of the room was outfitted with a long desk (great for work), another corner had a small seating area, and the majority of the space was taken up by a comfy king size bed. The best part of the room was the view of the Space Needle from the balcony.
On Wednesday I had sales calls scheduled all over town but instead of renting a car, I opted to take public transportation. I’m a typical Texan so I never use public transportation at home. Riding a bus is a novelty, and I feel a sense of accomplishment when I’m able to maneuver through a new city on its bus system. (Lame, I know!) My experience with Seattle’s was great! Buses arrived on time, drivers and riders were friendly and helpful, it was remarkably cheaper than renting a car and paying for parking, and it allowed me to coast around town feeling like a local!
When my work was done, I met my boyfriend back at the hotel. I have to brag about him- he had a bottle of champagne, a single red rose, and chocolate waiting for me to “celebrate” my first day of solo sales calls! We popped the cork over the balcony and had some bubbly while we took in the scenic view of the Space Needle and the city streets below (play video to hear my horrible Robin Leach impression).
On our way to dinner, we cruised through Pike Place Market. Maybe we were in the wrong part, but I didn’t see any fish throwing (could it be an urban legend?), although the seafood looked divine. The market is nicely situated on the water with a beautiful view of the bay. By the time we perused the food stalls, I was starving for some fruits de mer.
For dinner we stumbled upon The Brooklyn. It’s in a beautiful old building (it’s on Seattle’s historic registry), just up the road from the market. The Brooklyn is your classic seafood, steakhouse, and oyster bar. We were lucky to get a table without a reservation. Service was excellent and we took all of our waiter’s recos. We started with oysters, vodka and beer flights, followed by creamy clam chowder, and finally grilled scallops served on chopped beef smothered in a rich Hollandaise-like sauce. Best surf-and-turf ever. Period.
I had another meeting on Thursday and some work to do back at the hotel. When I finally wrapped up, I was ready to begin the “cation” part of the worcation.
That night we dined at The Purple Café and Wine Bar. The restaurant is intriguing; it’s two stories tall and glass from floor to ceiling. The decor is “Gothic”- dark stained concrete floors, heavy black iron touches, and dim lighting offset by oil-burning light fixtures throughout. The focal point of the dining area is the wine bar. It’s a two-story cylinder wrapped in a wood and wrought-iron spiral staircase, a glorified wine rack.
We started with a cheese plate and Argentinean wine flight followed by a savory carrot, apple, and fennel bisque. For our mains I had an artisan pepperoni pizza, which I don’t recommend (too greasy). My boyfriend had the lamb burger, and I ate as much of it as he let me! The ground lamb was mixed with fresh herbs, grilled medium rare, and topped with a thick slice of feta and caramelized peppers and onions. I hardly eat meat, but this burger won me over.
After dinner we went for a nightcap at The Crocodile, a bar famous for the bands that have played on its stage. The Croc proudly provided a venue for bands like Nirvana, REM, Cheap Trick, and Pearl Jam and embodies Seattle’s “sound.” It’s a gritty, off-the-beaten-path dive. As I sipped my vodka tonic at the bar, I could only imagine the crazy rock star antics that have undoubtedly gone on inside those walls. Legendary.
On Friday morning we checked out of The Warwick and caught a free bus (yes, they’re free in certain spots at specific times of day- score!) to the King Street station. We boarded the Amtrak Cascade to begin part two of our worcation in Canada! We had a fabulous time exploring Seattle, so I won’t complain if/when work sends me there again. I may need to schedule some follow-up meetings with my Washington accounts in the near future!