Ben & I got to get away (thanks be to wonderful grandparents) from Friday to Monday. Our anniversary was a week ago and the original plan was a Sunday night concert of U2. Ben bought the tickets way back when and I actually mentioned how it would be fun to see them. Little did I know he was one step ahead of me and it was set. However, in May, Bono had emergency back surgery and the tour has been postponed. So we did what any reasonable person would do and listened to them on our way down to Seattle and lived the high life as single married couple.
We stayed here via my father-in-law's co-worker hook-up. Just to paint a picture--the water facet to fill the bathtub was in the ceiling. The view was incredible.
It was a couple blocks from Pike Place Market. We made a point to spend money on good food. Eating a nice meal is money well spent in my book, compared to stuff to clutter the house. We perused the market as I admired the flower bouquets or peonies & sweet peas and Ben went to check out the baseball card shop of his youth. I scoured Sur la Table envying the baking section (came out with some cookie cutters). We ate at a couple of Tom Douglas restaurants, a Brazilian restaurant 'Ipanema,' (which was Ben's favorite--think carnivore's heaven), The Crumpet Shop, different bakeries & patisseries and coffee shops.
I was frequently looking on my Yelp app this weekend reading reviews & finding directions to the various places. The one Tom Douglas restaurant that had the lowest rating, and none of the people I asked referred us to Etta's, which was my favorite meal of all. It wasn't just the food, but the overall experience for me. When we arrived, I knew a couple things. One is Tom Douglas is a well known chef and he's created a reputation for his food. Secondly, since he knows food well--I was inherently going to trust him & his expertise. Thirdly, this was the time to ask what the server recommended (to basically sell me on their product) and see if it came out on top.
I had a couple options in my mind, but I asked our server what he recommended. He gave me some choices and coming to either the salmon or crab cakes. I personally love crab cakes, but the salmon was smoked & had a cornbread pudding. So I told the server to surprise me. Once I gave him permission I noted two things. One is a spark in his eye went off & a challenge was set before him. Two, is by giving him a challenge to see if he picked the right dish, which made his job a little more interesting that day. I found him to be even more attentive to us. He wasn't just serving us, but contributing to my experience. When he came back to ask about drinks, I told him I liked red wine and he should pick. Again, I saw the glimmer. He chose this.
For the rest of the weekend, I began asking the server (or behind the counter person) what they recommended, and would occasionally ask them to surprise me. Not only did it help the server share in my experience, but it either reaffirmed their choice or it nullified it. We went to a bakery my friend Paige recommended. I didn't have a specific craving, but wanted to try something there for later. So I asked the guy what were some good choices. He named a few items from the pastries & a few from the cakes. I asked him to choose the best from either pastry or cake. He said, "that's hard--they're completely different categories." My response, "Yeah they are different, but if this is the only time I come to your shop & never come back, which one should I have?" Basically, what is the last taste I have in my mouth from your shop--or--what would bring me back or recommend you to other people? He chose the carrot cake. It was good, but I think I make one at par or above par.
Aside from the food, I am completely thankful to share this life journey with Ben. He constantly brings humor & laughter into my life (and the girls). He works so hard for us, completely devoted & treats me SO very well. Here's to 8 years of marriage so far and many, many more to come.