Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What to do in Seattle After Taste Washington!

You planned for Taste Washington! Did you plan for after?

Taste Washington! (Taste) is one of my favorite annual Washington wine events. It was my pleasure to attend Taste Washington as a Media representative. This year I was better prepared for Taste,I had a list of wineries and winemakers to visit. Equipped with a camera for bottle shots, satchel for cards and brochures, and for tasting notes, my trusty iPad was fully charged. Ready for Taste, plan of attack on my iPad, I was so prepared for Taste Washington! that I neglected to make plans for after Taste Washington!

Seattle City View from 1st.

While I grew up in Seattle, go Roughriders, it has been a couple of decades since I last lived in Seattle. Okay, maybe three decades. When I think of Seattle, my mental image is still that of the Seattle I remember from the 1970's. That city no longer exists. Saturday after Taste, I explored downtown Seattle. I walked past the walkway to the Ferry terminal where I used to wait for the ferry to Bainbridge Island. My parents lived on the island in the early 1980's. Then I passed the Federal building where my mother worked for the NLRB in the late 70's. Then through a closing Public Market, past the bakery where my mom used to buy a delicious almond/honey/cream cake no longer sold there. I walked all the way to Belltown two blocks from the Seattle Center, then I walked some more. Back to Pike St. and up the hill to Broadway and then back to Belltown. It's been three years since I lived in Abu Dhabi. Cities are built for walking, I miss living and walking in a city, however, I walked too much Saturday.

Bambinos Pizzeria on Cedar Street.
1. Eat Pizza, Drink Beer.

Saturday night, 8:00 PM, exhausted after three hours of hiking downtown, thirsty and very hungry, I finally stopped walking in Belltown. I stopped at Bambino's Pizzeria on Cedar street. Bambino's is a place I've wanted to visit, but have never stopped at until Saturday night. Oh, the pizza was so good. Never been to Bambino's? Order one of their pizza's, brick oven, wood-fired, baked on super-hot stone. Loved their 10” Calorosa pizza: Tomato Sauce, Smoked Mozzarella, Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, and Bacon. Enthusiastically washed down with a much needed Pilsner they had on tap. Beer tastes amazing after an afternoon of wine tasting and city hiking. It was an epic meal for me. Recommended. Bambino's Pizzeria 401 Cedar Street Seattle, WA 98121 Phone: 206-269-2222. www.getbambinos.com Note: their website is incorrect about closing hours on Sunday, they close at 9pm on Sunday. I tried to buy a pizza at 9:15 Sunday, too late.

2. Drink Coffee and Cava While Tweeting.

Sunday was another afternoon of impressive Washington wines, cider and food. Once again, I had no plans for after Taste. As I was leaving Taste Washington! I ran into the host & wine expert of Wine Folly. Wine Folly is an online wine show with articles and tutorials, there's a link on my blog below. She suggested I stop at one of the local coffee shops with free wi-fi. More walking, but not as much as on Saturday. I should mention that I do own a car, however I choose to park it and leave it and do the remainder of my city travels on foot or bus. I detest dealing with parking in Seattle.

Fonte was one of the Magnum Sponsors for Taste Washington.

After several blocks of walking around, looking for an open coffee shop on a late Sunday afternoon, I stopped at Fonte on 1st Avenue. It's the Fonte across the street from the Seattle Art Museum. The first thing I ordered was an americano. Next, I used the free wi-fi to catch up on some tweets and email. Browsing the menu, I ordered a glass of Cava and a plate of salted nuts and olives. Ahhh, just what I needed to wind down. I noticed, just before 7pm, that everyone had left. It must have been closing time, but no one hurried me to finish, so I took my time and thanked everyone for the great service. Recommended. www.fontecoffee.com Fonté Cafe & Wine Bar 1321 First Avenue Seattle, WA 98101 Phone: (206) 777-6193.


Dahlia Lounge serves the perfect Manhattan.
3. Have a Manhattan with Dinner and Keep Tweeting.

Refreshed from coffee and cava, I walked some more along 1st Ave. past the Market, crossed over and up to 2nd, past 3rd and ended up on 4th Ave. On impulse, with more time to kill, I stopped at Dahlia Lounge. When I'm in Seattle for Taste Washington! and back again for Bumbershoot Labor Day weekend, I stay with a long-time friend in Belltown. She has a great view of the Seattle Center and the Monorail. We always take the sidewalks to get where we need to go. I've walked past Dahlia Lounge many, many times. This was my first occasion to stop by and visit.


Sea Bar Sampler at Dahlia Lounge.
A little weary, and anxious to catch up on my tweets and more email, Dahlia Lounge was a wonderful haven for me. The waiter seated me near the bar, at a cozy  table, with just enough room for me and my iPad and the subsequent drinks and food. And yes, they have free wi-fi. To start, I ordered the Dahlia Manhattan. It was a perfect Manhattan. The Manhattan is one of my favorite drinks, but too often Manhattans are made too sweet with too much vermouth. This Manhattan was filled to the brim and was so very delicious. As I sipped and tweeted, I browsed the very interesting and tempting menu. My waiter was attentive, but did not hover. The next item I ordered was the Sea Bar Sampler, which came with samples of: Astoria anchovies hard egg, caper, piquillo pepper + Dungeness crab tobiko, avocado, furikake, puffed rice + Smoked salmon hot mustard, sesame + Ahi tuna tartare ponzu,lemon peel, radish + Kona kampachi grapes, tarragon, almond, verjus, paired with the recommended local vodka. Wow, that was good and the chopsticks made it all manageable. Recommended. Dahlia Lounge 2001 4th Ave Seattle, WA 98121(206) 682-4142.

Belltown Dance Studio.
4. Go Salsa Dancing.

Near my friends apartment is Belltown Dance Studio. Last year, I stood outside waiting for my friend on Sunday night, watching all the laughing, happy people enter the Dance Studio. This year, I stopped by and visited the Studio. Sunday night is Salsa night at Belltown Dance Studio, with a cover of only $5 to dance, dance, dance. Sunday is also their weekly social from 6pm – 10:30pm, all ages welcome. No experience or partners are needed, just drop in.

Dance Salsa on Sunday 6pm - 10:30pm.
No, I did not dance this time, I was still a bit worn out from my three hour Saturday hike. But I was tempted. Maybe next year? If you are a Seattle local, stop by any Sunday for Salsa. They also offer Zumba, Tango, Belly Dancing, Yoga and workshops, very friendly. Recommended. www.belltowndancestudio.com Belltown Dance Studio 2521 4th Ave. Seattle, WA 98121 Phone: (206) 930-7246 Email: Salsa1jim@yahoo.com 

Walking the streets of Seattle.
5. Catch a Concert.

You don't know how disappointed I was to see a huge line waiting to see a live performance by Ani DiFranco. Man, I missed out. Don't end up walking the streets of Seattle and missing a performance by a talented musician like I did. Plan what you want to do after the amazing Taste Washington! Seattle. It does not have to be wine related.

I will continue to work on editing posts and comments about the amazing wines I sampled at Taste Washington! this year. The quality was strong and all of the wines, ciders and foods were very good. Really impressed by Taste Washington! once again. Bravo.

Cheers!