It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years already. In a way those 5 years have gone by quickly and in a way it hasn’t. I’m talking about my anniversary with Michael. 5 years ago on June 19th, Michael and I had our first “real” date. I say “real” date because we met online as friends and were chat buddies for months before we ever decided to meet in person. Then it was about a month after meeting in person that we went on a real DATE. The rest is history. 5 years of loving, squabbling, traveling, biking, hiking, cooking and eating together. I learned to wear earplugs at night to silence his snoring. He’s learned to recognize the signs of an impending sugar crash in which I become Kool-Aid Guy.
Michael has taught me how to cook, how to enjoy REAL food, and how to ride a bike long distances. I’ve taught him that hiking is fun, the joy of wine tasting, how to snowshoe, and how much fun volunteering can be. I’d never had the desire to go to Texas, but Michael exposed me to the good things about a place I never considered visiting. We’ve run away to Vegas together, we’ve learned to love beer together, we started (and learned how to have) a veggie garden, and we’ve been remodeling his house together since we met.
For our anniversary this year we went up to Seattle sort of secretly. One of the reasons we don’t really vacation to Seattle is that I have so much family and we both have friends up there that if we visit, it becomes a “try and see everyone” kind of weekend, which can be stressful. So in order to celebrate our anniversary just us we didn’t tell anyone (well, I told my mom but she understood that we were there to celebrate just us).
We booked a room at the Watertown Hotel in the U District. We got a deal on Expedia and it looked like a really cute place. Since I’m from Seattle, I know the areas pretty well and staying in the U District was perfect. Close enough to downtown, but without having to pay downtown prices. After the not-so-great experience I had with Rachel at the Hotel Deca, I was a bit nervous about our hotel but was happily surprised that it was AWESOME. I would most definitely stay there again and I’d look for more of their properties in other cities, too. The hotel was nice, clean, quiet, perfectly located, our bed was comfy, the pillows were good (which is hard to get in a hotel), there was a Keurig in the room plus a mini fridge and microwave as well as free bottled water. Oh did I mention that there was a free covered, secure garage for guests? Cannot stress enough how awesome this hotel was.
The first thing we did once we got to Seattle was go to dinner. It was around 6-ish and even though my stomach had been bothering me all day, I was starting to get hungry. Michael suggested a place in Ballard he went to once with his friend Jeremy called Bitterroot.
The place was packed but we got a spot at the bar in the back. The service was attentive and friendly. I ordered a Bloody Mary because we were in a BBQ joint…they had to have good ones, right? Yeah, it was probably in the top 3 of all time for me. I loved it. It came with various pickled things and olives (including a large pickled carrot stick) and there was candied bacon on top. I did not like the candied bacon but I appreciated the attempt and the presentation. The Bloody Mary was delicious–perfectly salty and spicy.
It was hard to pick what to order. They had a whole page on their menu of the various mac n’ cheese combinations (I was particularly intrigued by the jalapeno one). I ended up getting the brisket (duh, it’s a BBQ place!) with a side of collard greens and cheesy grits. I was not a fan of the collard greens. I’m not sure what they cooked them in (maybe apple juice?) but it wasn’t good. The cheesy grits on the other hand were epic. I seriously need to learn how to make this at home.
We were stuffed from dinner and it was still nice and warm out. We went to Gas Works Park and walked around. It was kind of fun to show Michael around Seattle. Gas Works Park is a fantastic place to hang out if you visit Seattle. There’s amazing views of downtown and the Space Needle; there’s plenty of space to throw a frisbee or have a picnic; there’s a nice breeze of Lake Union on a hot summer day and it’s just a beautiful place.
It was getting late and the sun was starting to set. We went back to the room and ended up walking a few blocks to the Ave to get some frozen yogurt.
The next morning I got up a little early so I could go work out. The hotel had one of the better gyms I’ve seen in a hotel. It was still rather small but there were two ellipticals, two bikes, one treadmill and a really nice weight set.
I was expecting it to be super packed and unusable but it was empty at 8am! Sweet! I got in a 25 minute elliptical session and then did my weight lifting routine (modified since I couldn’t do some of the moves). I was happy to get in my workout without the hassle of having to drive somewhere else.
After my workout we walked about two blocks to the Portage Bay Cafe for breakfast. Michael chose it because they had buckwheat pancakes on the menu. It was very highly rated on Yelp and at 9:30 there was already a 30-45 minute wait for a table. It was definitely worth the wait.
We got a table on the covered back patio. It was really nice back there because it was secluded and surrounded by trees so it felt like you were tucked away in an oasis instead of the middle of the city. It was also quieter (the restaurant was packed and very loud).
The service was really good (again, always impressed with good service because Portland can be iffy sometimes). The Portage Bay Cafe had a toppings bar. ‘Nuff said, right? Yeah, they had a bar full of things to top your French toast, pancakes, waffles, etc with. There was tons of fresh fruit, nuts, brown sugar, syrup, and homemade whipped cream.
I got the challah French toast–they wouldn’t let me order the kids’ portion (some restaurants are cool about that) so I got it off the sides. Even ordering a side of French toast the portions were huge! I topped it with fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and a little whipped cream. I got a side of the homemade chicken sausage patties but they were just okay.
I’m a fan of this restaurant! I’d get breakfast there again in a heartbeat. They have other locations in Seattle and I can only vouch for the U District one, but definitely go there!
Okay, I will leave you with the drool-worthy photos of breakfast and the next post will be the highlights of some of the Seattle sites to see. Stay tuned!