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Queen Anne Quest

Last weekend we enjoyed another exploratory weekend on our continuing search for the perfect Seattle IMG_2306neighborhood.  This weekend’s quest took us to the quirky, hilly and oh so delicious Queen Anne Hill.

As a refresher – our goal is to find a potential future neighborhood in the greater Seattle area that offers easy access to Interstate 5, walkable to stores, restaurants and services, on a bus route, and quick access to running and biking trails.  Oh and we need to be able to afford to live there!

We stayed in an apartment in lower Queen Anne, within easy walking distance of restaurants and shops and the Seattle Center.  We chose this location because  I was running in a half marathon race that both began and finished at the Seattle Center.  It worked out perfectly.  We walked to the start line and then I hobbled back to the apartment when I was done!

We explored some great restaurants, but before I go in-depth about that we also hit up the fabulous Queen Anne Books – a great little bookstore filled with wonderful gift ideas and inspiring novels and how-to books.  I could have spent the whole day here.  I bought a book on how to raise chickens!  It might inspire me to become a chicken farmer.  In addition we made purchases at the local drugstore, coffee shop and grocery store.  In fact there were several grocery stores and banks very near by.

We spent some time checking out several local parks, in particular the skyline park that offers the iconic view of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle.  These parks and views both are elements that define this area, but also elements that make Queen Anne an expensive place to live.

Although technically not part of Queen Anne, we spent part of one afternoon enjoying the crazy neighborhood IMG_2361of Fremont – Seattle’s answer to Greenwich Village – although that doesn’t really describe it either.  We went to Fremont to enjoy the annual Solstice Festival which includes a naked bike ride.  Yes I said naked. Yes I said on bikes.  The completely organic event has been going on in Fremont (which promotes itself as the Center of the Universe) for several decades.  It was hot, crowded and hilarious; hundred of cyclists, some in body paint some buck naked, riding along without a care in the world, reveling in the cheers of the crowds.

As you can see, the area in and around Queen Anne is both convenient and entertaining and I haven’t yet begun to tell you about all the wonderful food and drinks we had.  So here is a run down of the calorie intake for the weekend;

5 Spot Diner– our first lunch was at this iconic hilltop diner that has been serving breakfast, lunch and dinner at this location for decades.  Inexpensive with an eclectic and frequently themed menu, the 5 Spot is best known for breakfast but we enjoyed a Lamb Burger, Chowder, Cobb Salad and Cuban Sandwich with no complaints.

Bucca de Beppo was our choice for dinner because we had a large group and pasta seemed to be a good choice for those of us who were running the half marathon the next morning.

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Bucca de Beppo is a chain of quirky Italian restaurants serving up family style portions for a reasonable price.  The food was good, but the service on this night was a bit off, perhaps given the incredible number of athletes in the restaurant trying to carb-load.

Ponti Seafood Restaurant was a recommended stop for us to dine, but since I knew we were not going to be ableto eat at all the restaurants we received recommendations for, we decided to make a quick pit stop in at Ponti’s bar for cocktails.  The gorgeous restaurant was a complete surprise and of course I have now added it to a future stop for dinner.  Hidden nearly under the Fremont Bridge (Ponti is Italian for ‘bridge’)on the Queen Anne side you can easily miss it.  The menu looked tantalizing, and my Manhattan was.

Mezcaleria Oaxaca was our choice for lunch on Saturday, as it came highly recommended by my friend Jane who knows Queen Anne well.  I can’t wait to go back and try their dinner menu,

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but our lunch gave us a peek into an incredibly authentic (not American Mexican), fresh, and fabulous foray into the foods of Oaxaca. Oaxaca is both a city and state in Mexico, about 300 miles south of Mexico City and at an elevation of about 5000 feet.  No rice and beans and sour cream here!  I enjoyed a delicious and beautiful (and spicy) Ceviche.  Washed that down with a few Mexican beers and  my sore muscles from the half marathon were forgotten!

 Betty ( funny name, and surprising menu) was our choice for happy hour.  Located across the street from the 5 Spot, from the outside I expected Betty to be a diner as well, but the inside was elegant and their back deck exactly what we were looking for on a sunny afternoon.  We enjoyed a marvelous Duck & Pistachio Pate and Grilled Manchego Stuffed Grape Leaves.  Truly original and delicious.

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How to Cook a Wolf was our choice for dinner.  This very tiny restaurant by Ethan Stowell, one of Seattle’s celebrated chefs, is one of our favorites.  The service is perfect and so is the wine list.  A tiny but clever menu provides multiple small plate options which we took full advantage of.  We enjoyed Hamachi Sashimi, Deviled Eggs, Fennel & Sultana (golden raisin) Salad and  Burracha, a mozzarella type cheese.  I totally wanted to lick the plate.  We finished with a clam linguine, whichwas a bit on the dry side, a little more broth would have been good, but the rest of the meal made up for it.  Love this restaurant.

Toulouse Petit was our choice for Sunday breakfast, on our final day of our Queen Anne Exploration.  We met our friends Jane and Todd for an early breakfast that began with Beignet and coffee.  My husband had Duck Confit and Apple Hash with an Egg while I enjoyed an incredible Oyster Eggs Benedict with Pork Belly.  Oh My.  As we departed the line to get in for breakfast was down the sidewalk….we will need to venture back to this place again and delve deeper into this menu!!

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So it’s very clear that Queen Anne has certainly wetted our appetite for more!  We can check off several of our wish list boxes in this neighborhood, but the one thing that may keep us away is the housing prices.  Top range and I can see why.

We’ll see what happens next!  Thanks for a great weekend Queen Anne! You fit right into my Fabulous Fifties Life!

 

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