Monday, July 28, 2008

Ferry rides on Puget Sound

Seattle City on the Bay

We probably weren't the first nor the last who thought Seattle was situated on the ocean shore. What a surprise when the Pacific proved to be a 3-4 hour drive from town. You don't have to wait that long for a day, or even an hour on the water though. The Washington State Ferries offer a fast fix for those who crave to get in touch with their sea legs.

The official WA Ferry site offers a few ideas for trips all over Puget Sound.

For an instant "fresh nose" I suggest the ferry to Bainbridge Island. On the map you'll find Bainbridge to the left of downtown, only a 35-minute trip from the Seattle Pier 52.

All possible questions about ferry rides you may have are answered on the extensive site.

Pets may come along, but must be on leash or in carrier, but are NOT allowed above the car decks unless they are in a pet carrier. Too bad, that's keeping us from walking on, and that's a real pity cause it was one of our favorite little outings.

Jump on the bus, cross Elliott Bay, get off the ferry and walk to Winslow for breakfast, lunch, some shopping or just a good cup of Joe.

We often save room in our stomachs for the best treat at the Island Ice Cream & Coffee house on 584 Winslow Way. It's close to the ferry; close enough to keep an eye on cars queuing up to get on board. If you happen to have the car with you, park in line, then walk back to indulge on a cone from heaven.

The ferry ride back to Pier 52 offers the best skyline view of Seattle. And if you're lucky you'll get to see the biggest snow cone around, Mount Rainier!

Previously published by HotelByCity April 22, 2007

Café Campagne - or how French can you get in Seattle

Cafe Campagne, the more casual sibling of Campagne Restaurant in Seattle's Post Alley, near Pike Place Market is definitely one of my Seattle favorites.

I showed up by my self and wasn't hauled off to the back of the cafe, but given a good table in the front. Since I was going to The Moore Theatre and a bit strapped for time, I opted for a creamy carrot & fennel soup, which was —I kid you not— to die for. The first spoonful brought a big smile to my face.

Before the soup arrived, good bread and butter lined my stomach for what the gentle folks at Campagne call a taste of wine. Now this is the most civilized invention since, what? Mmmh., offering a second fork for dessert perhaps. No, it ranks higher on my list of appreciated gestures. A 2 oz serving of this or that (see the winelist) with bread and soup may be followed by another taste to go with the excellent "Bucherondin de chèvre baked on croutons and served on a salad of frisée and arugula in a scallion vinaigrette" (their menu wording). The serving of goat cheese could have been a bit smaller as far as I'm concerned, but hey, who's to complain about that?

Eyeing the plates of the couple at the table next to me, who had arrived in time for dinner (I later saw them at The Moore). I knew I'd be back for a longer visit. One had the special, something with fish that looked and smelled divine, the other the steak frites.

Last week I did return with my Beau. The ambience is great for a intimate tête a tête, but watching a couple pet at the bar made me wish for proper attire rules: No shorts, especially not if wine makes you lose control of your hands. But that as an aside.

While both of us craved steak frites, the foursome at the neighboring table had chosen the menu prix fixe, highly recommendable if I go by their happy countenance, the aroma and look of the plates.
Our choice reinforced my conviction that I prefer top sirloin or entrecôte many times over flank, and that however much I love twice fried fries, extra-extra brown really is over the top. The heap piled high on hour plates resembled a fried bird's nest.

Looks like we'll be going back to try the chef's specials, or just for a coffee & dessert, or another few tastes of the wine list.

Ah, and if we can get our butts in gear early in the morning, Oeufs en Cocotte or Brioche fried in Bourbon egg batter, call it French Toast with an attitude will make my day.

Previously published April 22, 2007 by HotelsByCity