First off, I'd like to say hello! It has been a while, and I have missed you.
We just got back from a week long vacation to Seattle, Washington, and had an amazing time. I am normally TERRIBLE at blogging vacations (by way of example, you haven't heard anything about Jamaica, or Portland--the trip that actually inspired this one), but this is my effort to be better.
We got there late on a Saturday morning, on what I must say was probably the SMOOTHEST traveling day we have ever experienced. We both packed completely the night before, sandwiches and snacks for the plane were already made, and boarding passes printed. We left EXACTLY on time (this never happens), and there weren't any flight delays. Made for two very good moods driving into the city from our rental car place. Oh, btw, we rented a hybrid Toyota Prius, and I really liked it. Kind of felt like driving a toy (and as a prosecutor I found it somewhat interesting that you didn't have to place the key in the ignition to "operate" the vehicle) but we got fantastic gas mileage, and received half off our daily parking fee at our Kimpton Hotel. Win!
There's a three hour time difference between Seattle and Richmond, so we were both hungry when we got there, it being pretty late afternoon our time. Of course, being food network and travel channel junkies, we drove straight to Red Mill Burgers, having heard Adam Richman report that you haven't really tasted Seattle until you've had one.
The line was OUT THE DOOR, and wrapped around the joint. We both felt this was a very good sign. In the end, starved and a little grumpy after waiting almost an hour in line, we wolfed down what I would score as a 4.5 on a scale of 1-10. Not to be a negative nancy or nay-sayer, I mean, there are a lot of fantastic places out there that have cult followings, but neither of us thought the burgers or onion rings were anything special, despite sort of being forced to listen to an over-enthusiastic waiter from another restaurant singing the place's praises to a group of his (looking lightly hair of the dog) friends while we ate at a picnic table outside. We each got the standard Red Mill Deluxe (cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle, with their special sauce).
From there we checked into our hotel, which was absolutely fantastic. They sent up champagne and chocolate covered strawberries upon learning we had just celebrated our five year wedding anniversary, and we unpacked and settled in until our dinner reservations at Maximilien a little later that evening.
We chose Maximilien for a few reasons. First, it was within walking distance to the hotel--a plus on a travel day. Besides that, it was touted as having an amazing view of Puget Sound (which, as you can see from the photo above, was certainly the case). Lastly, our Fodor's informed us that it was Julia Child's favorite French restaurant in Seattle. Pas mauvais, mon ami! We got there before our reservation and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine on their deck with cocktails (a decidedly more casual space than the inside, which had lots of mirrors, leather chairs, and wood panelling). Once inside, we ordered a good bottle of wine, and for appetizers, escargot, and freshly shucked pacific northwest oysters.
I've had escargot before, and actually liked it. In retrospect, I think that was because they were covered with cream and cheese. These tasted very fresh, but weren't my favorite. That decadent butter/herb sauce though? Amazing on the bread. The oysters were joygasmtastic. I love oysters on any day, but I had never had any that tasted as amazing as the ones we enjoyed that week in Seattle. Salmaan will normally choke down at least one, so I don't feel guilty about ordering a dozen, but this time we actually split each order! More on where we got the very best oysters in a later post.
We took our time with the meal and watched the sun set over the Olympic Mountains--absolutely beautiful.
Salmaan's entree was steak with some veggies. Let me also mention that our waiter, Carlos, was exceptional. He was there when we wanted him, and wasn't when we didn't. His recommendations were spot-on, and our wine glasses never sat empty for more than a minute.
My entree involved some locally caught halibut, a decadent sauce, and broccolini. Recently I sort of fell in love with broccolini. It's one of my new favorite things.
The meal was really wonderful, and I would highly recommend this restaurant. It's tucked right behind the fish stand where they throw fish at Pike Place Market.