Wondering when I was going to make good on that long-lost threat to post Part Two of Seattle Girls’ Trip? Wonder no more! After a ridiculous delay, here it is. To be followed, maybe even tomorrow, by Part Three!Tucked into a corner of the Seattle Four Seasons’ art-filled lobby is ART Restaurant. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel full of ocean view rooms, the restaurant is a destination in its own right, offering a taste of that five-star service along with its tasty food.The first clue that this dining experience would be inextricably linked to the lighting was the sign.Inspired by the ferris wheel lurking outside on the Seattle waterfront, perhaps? This is the ART Lounge, which could be the definition of Mood Lighting.Waiting for your table at the bar near the soft glow of those LED-infused shelves, if you checked your coat, you’ll discover even the minor details are not minus aesthetics.As I perused the locavore menu, the green sheen in the air made sense. Any Pacific Northwest restaurant worth its west coast salt requires a market-to-table philosophy. Besides, Pike Place Market is practically right next door. Nor did I notice the subtle switch to a tangerine hue as the appetizers arrived. I was too busy inhaling the Potato Gnocchi with chanterelles and melted leeks as well as the Crazy Salad, which was not psycho but a delightful fresh mix of local greens. Home-made tortilla chips arrived in the brown paper with the sticker, which I thought was a little casual for a Four Seasons… but that didn’t stop me from wolfing them down. To the left of my wineglass, you can see the Dungeness Crab Cake Bites peeking out of the brown paper in their black pot. Heads up: they are deep-fried, which I did not expect. I prefer my Dungeness to taste like crab, not breading.It was after the appetizers were cleared that I really became obsessed with the radiance of the room. It reminded me of the spectrum lighting of the Muttart Conservatory glass pyramids in Edmonton, of all places. I used to stare down at those I. M. Pei-ish designs during desolate winter nights (that would be November through May) from my condo.Just because I have three wine glasses lined up here, don’t start thinking it was my vision. Because look! The color changed again. Back to the food. Emily, my dining companion, was in Locavore Carnivore mode, so she had the 8-ounce Beef Tenderloin but ducked out of the picture just in time. So annoying to dine with a blogger. I had the Seared Kodiak Halibut: Fennel, Miscela. Both dishes were delish.For dessert we split a Warm Cup O’ Chocolate Cake. Lovely.When the spectrum pivoted to pink…… I know it was a good time to leave, since my pants matched the current luminosity. But……before I got too smug about the tandem incandescence, it changed again.Rolling out to the steamy cityscape, I tried to resist admiring the Big Wheel, but it would become a constant thread throughout my Girls’ Weekend in Seattle. Now, after a night dining within the artful glow of ART, it seems like a perfect pairing.
Now that Valentine’s Day is in the rearview mirror, it’s time to spend some quality time with the girlfriends. I recently met up with one of my besties in the USA, for a girls’ weekend in Seattle. We arrived in the heart of downtown via the ferry from Bainbridge Island. Check out the new ferris wheel spinning on prime waterfront real estate. Taking a cue from the other cities in the ferris wheel club, like Singapore and London, Seattle built this baby in 2012. It costs 13 bucks for a ride on the Great Wheel, the official name, which I googled, because it was not uttered by anyone during our entire Girls’ Weekend. We resisted in the name of priorities: shopping.Instead, we drove off the ferry and a few blocks to our hotel, just down the street from that other iconic Seattle symbol I have never been to, the Space Needle. I don’t know what it is about cities and their towers (even Calgary has one) but it’s interesting to see the changing of the guard in the status symbol department from phallus to unity.If you’re not on a five-star budget but you require a hotel that’s hip enough to be your base camp for a weekend of dining and shopping, Hotel Andra is a good choice. Given a Swedish name to emphasize the Scandinavian decor – that “A” is supposed to have an umlaut over it – the boutique hotel opened in 2004.The rooms may not be the most stylish in the world (after all, Sweden has given us Ikea, not B&B Italia) but they are uncluttered, huge and have everything you may need, from a desk and flatscreen…… to a bar area, to a separate beauty area that doubles as a walk-through to the closet (not shown)…… to a modern bathroom…… with Swedish products, of course.
Meanwhile, just a few blocks away, the heart of the Seattle shopping district was bustling! On a late Saturday afternoon, I almost thought I was in New York. The buzz was that good. Seattle, I didn’t think you had it in you.Everywhere you turned, something was going on. I found this talented cellist outside Barneys. The Barney’s itself was a little disappointing — much smaller than San Francisco’s, and of course tiny compared to the flagship store in New York. But there was almost every shop you could ever want.We all know Seattle is the original Starbucks city. Which of course made me want a different brand — I’m always so contrary. But I was like a lemming to the sales, shopping up a storm. That Vicky’s Secret bag may be small, but it contains a lot of undies.The cool store window award goes to…… British fashion retailer All Saints.Here’s a rare and exclusive shot of my elusive friend Emily, who is beautiful but hates being photographed. Gotcha journalism, courtesy of yours truly. Sorry Emily. Yes, that’s right, I’m saying it in the most passive-aggressive Canadian way. I don’t mean it. You look wonderful, and besides, I need to include it —proof that this was indeed a girls’ weekend.The bargains were so good we actually ran out of time before we ran out of money. Back to the hotel, now lit up in moody blue. Or Blue Besos blue?No time to relax in the lofty lobby… we’re got to do a quick change to be on time for our dinner reservations. Next up, Art Restaurant & Lounge. Mmmm.