Fitness, Food, Wine & Travel


Seattle’s Historic Mayflower Park Hotel

Ah Seattle. Good times. We’ll definitely be back. And most likely, we’ll again stay at The Mayflower Park Hotel, a 75 year-old gem in uptown Seattle.
The hotel began as the Bergonian Hotel on July 16th, 1927 and has been in constant operation ever since. It was designed by B. Dudley Stuart and cost $750,000 to build. The name “Bergonian” came from the hotel’s then proprietor, Stephen Berg, who was a prominent builder at the time. 
Opening prices for rooms at the hotel ranged from $2.00 to $3.50 for one person and $3.00 to $4.50 for 2 persons. Rooms with twin beds were $4.00 to $5.50 and suites were $5.00 to $10.00 per night.
Here’s a picture of the lobby and reception desk inside the hotel, which has been restored with crystal chandeliers, brass and period
In 1974, Birney Dempcy formed a limited partnership to purchase the hotel. At the time, it had been foreclosed upon and was very run down. Birney renamed the hotel The Mayflower Park awaiting the development of the city’s Westlake Park.
Following major renovations in 1976 and 1988, the Mayflower Park is always being upgraded and refurbished to keep it as beautiful as it was when it opened in 1927. Recently, the hotel was recognized as one of the Historic Hotels of America because of it’s history and architecture. The Mayflower Park prides itself on being “quite simply, one of a kind” which has become their marketing slogan.
Their logo and marketing pieces are quite beautiful, and here is the
little welcome present that was waiting for me in the room.
Tea, fruit and nut mix, and chocolate truffles were in the bag.
Our room was so comfortable, had 2 televisions, and had the option of converting into two rooms by a sliding door. The couch in our suite’s main room could be pulled out for extra guests.

We stayed on the ninth floor, and it provided a fantastic

view of holiday lights and activities going on below us.


One amenity I always look for in a hotel is the fitness room. And Mayflower Park’s is located on the third floor. It is equipped with 2 treadmills, a stairclimber, and 2 stationary bikes, as well as a set of free weights I found very useful. The BF would run outside and I would retreat to the workout room so that later in the day we were free to enjoy our meals at Andaluca, Place Pigalle, and Fall Line Winery.

Here’s another shot of the lobby. There was a Christmas party
in the room upstairs on one of the evenings of our stay.

This is inside Oliver’s, the bar in The Mayflower Park. The spot used to be one of the first Bartell Drug Stores, since the hotel was built during Prohibition and no areas were designated to serve alcohol. The dining area of the hotel was a coffee shop located where Andaluca is now, and in part of that area, Andaluca once lived as a barber shop. Prices in the 54-seat coffee shop ranged from 10 cents for coffee, to 20 cents for chicken broth, and $2.00 for a sirloin steak. Oliver’s (shown below), opened in 1976 and became Washington’s first “daylight” bar. Prior to that, Washington had “blue laws” that prohibited anyone from looking into a lounge where hard liquor was sold.

The huge windows and lights outside made it such a romantic place to be.
Here’s another shot from where I was sitting.

Oliver’s features a special cocktail called The Golden 27, honoring the year the hotel originally opened as the Bergonian. Here’s the recipe:

Golden 27

Half fill a mixing glass with ice, then add 1/4 oz. Lemoncello Lemon Liqueur, 1 1/4 oz. Ketel One Vodka, 1 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin, and a pinch of Gold Luster Dust. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Following dinner on one of the nights of our stay, we had dessert in our room. I found just what I needed on the room service menu… my favorite: fruit and cheese!!
So many happy memories and so much fun in Seattle. Thank you to all my advertising partners!

If you are planning a visit to Seattle, please consider the Mayflower Park hotel. They’ve got a few ongoing specials including one for New Years and in 2012, they are teaming up with the Seattle Art Museum during their showcase of Paul Gauguin.

You can find The Mayflower Park Hotel on twitter here and their Facebook page is here.

Evergreen Escapes Wacky Quacky Holiday Lights and Wine Tour

Are you in Seattle for Christmas/New Years or will you be traveling there? If so, I want to tell you about a fantastic holiday venture that will delight any food and wine lover! The Wacky Quacky Holiday Lights and Wine Tour!

Evergreen Escapes has teamed with Ride the Ducks of Seattle, Fall Line Winery, and Maven Meals for a ride through downtown Seattle to view the prettiest light displays, followed by the ultimate food and wine experience at the Fall Line tasting room.

Lights Tour: This is the ceiling of the vehicle. All decked out for the holidays!! The vehicle is semi-open, so bundle up and cover up with the blankets provided in the vehicle (the DUKW ‘Duck’ — an amphibious landing craft developed by the U.S. Army during World War II) on the tour.

This is Macy’s display, which is right across from the Mayflower Park Hotel where we stayed.

Trees in Occidental Park were dressed in sweaters!
De-boarding the amphibious. I loved this kid’s Angry Birds hat.
Then it was into a HEATED caravan 🙂 and onto Fall Line Winery for the food and wine pairing (don’t worry, the kid was not on the wine portion of the tour and only there for the duck!)
The winery name: The owner of Fall Line, Tim Sorenson, and his wife Nancy Rivenburgh are both avid skiers, and the name Fall Line worked because a perfectly balanced skier will leave behind a “fall line” on a slope.
After 4 years of winemaking studies and apprenticeship, they founded Fall Line Winery in June 2003 and in 2004, moved it to the South Seattle neighborhood of Georgetown (its present location.)
Really cool map of Washington AVA’s was on the wall.

The tasting room was decorated so pretty with lights and little herb baskets (containing rosemary and sage). The lights in the room were turned down and the tables were lit with candles.

Food (provided by Seattle’s Maven Meals) and wine for the evening were set up at three stations. The first station (the Snoqualmic Pass Station) featured this table of appetizers which included locally made Beecher’s Cheeses, cured meats, an olive tapenade, and a roasted vegetable spread. The wines for this course included a 2008 Red Mountain Artz Vineyard Bordeaux-Style Blend and a 2008 Yakima Valley Boushey Vinyeard Bordeaux-Style Blend.

Tim Sorenson, the winemaker.

At the Crystal Mountain Station, a Carnival Squash Lasagna layered with a sage bechamel sauce and cheeses was served with a garlicky grilled broccoli. This pairing included two more wines, the 2008 Red Willow Vineyard – Yakima Valley and a 2009 El Otro – Yakima Valley Tempranillo with which the BF absolutely fell in love (before he found out it was rated 92 points in Wine Advocate)!

Station 3 was Hurricane Ridge and a Brandied Cranberry Short Rib served with Whipped Garlic Red Skin Potatoes. We sampled this dish while sipping a 2009 Exhibition – Yakima Valley (my favorite wine besides the Tempranillo served at the earlier station, and a blend of
46% cabernet franc, 34% merlot, 16% cabernet sauvignon, 4% tempranillo). The last wine of the evening was the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – Yakima Valley.

Dessert was a duo of Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and a Bittersweet Chocolate Cake. They went over very well with the crowd around me as I had another glass of the Exhibition instead. I really want to stress that no one was left hungry and the portions were sizable. If there was something left on the table and you wanted another taste, you were welcome to have it. The same goes for the wines.

And here’s Tim at the end of the evening, adding up all the wine my BF bought!
A whole case of Tempranillo, and another case of mixed wine.

Do you want to get in on this tour and wine/food tasting fun?? There are still seats remaining for December 23rd and December 30th! You can book your experience here. Also, if you are a participant on the Holiday Lights and Wine tour, you will receive a 15% discount on a purchase of three bottles of wine or more.

You can find Evergreen Escapes on Facebook here and on twitter here.

Ride the Ducks is on Facebook here and on twitter here.

Fall Line Winery’s Facebook page is here.

Maven Meals is on Facebook here and on twitter here.

Andaluca Restaurant in the Mayflower Park Hotel

Andaluca Restaurant is located adjacent to the Mayflower Park Hotel (where we stayed during our recent trip to Seattle).
Instead of rushing back out to eat after our check-in at the Mayflower Park, we opted to dine at Andaluca. It was so nice to simply walk down the stairs and be seated at our table.
Andaluca had a special that evening (all wines from Washington were at a 20% discount), so we chose the 2009 O’Shea Scarborough Chardonnay to kick things off. This wine release is aged 18 months entirely in neutral oak with barrel fermentation and is a classic oaky and buttery chardonnay.
When it was time to order dinner, we opted for the special Prix Fixe “Tour of the Meditteranean” for $39 per person, so that we could taste a wide spectrum of the menu. It’s a great deal because it includes a salad or soup, three small plates and a dessert for each person.

The beginning-of-meal bread basket comes with a ramekin of house made hummus. Hummus is real treat for me (because I really don’t eat legumes anymore at all), but I didn’t touch the bread. Instead, I used the hummus as a dressing on the salad I ordered.

My salad was a Pear Salad with mixed organic greens, stilton cheese, hazelnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette.

The BF ordered the Green Bean and Roasted Beet Salad with mixed organic greens, goat cheese, marcona almonds, roasted carrots, and sherry shallot vinaigrette.

This is the mini crab tower with dungeness crab, avocado, palm hearts, and gazpacho salsa.
Then it was onto a Beef Tenderloin Skewer with a marsala demi glace. I really enjoyed this one!

Next, I ordered the Grilled Quail with shallots, mushrooms, black currant jus. I had just had an exquisite quail appetizer at Hurley’s in Yountville a few weeks prior, so I saw no reason to quit my quail habit anytime soon. It was cooked perfectly (it’s a tiny creature and easy to overcook).

The BF ordered the Broken Egg Papas Frites made up of fried yukon gold potatoes, chorizo, and roasted mushrooms. I had most of the egg–I love dishes with runny egg.

These are the Roasted Mussels with baby tomatoes, sizzling lemon butter, rosemary, lemons, and finished with white wine.  I have had my share of gamey, metallic mussels, but these tasted sweet and subtle. I would eat mussels all the time if they were more like these.

The next bottle of wine we tried (yes, bottle number 2, don’t judge) was a 2008 Hedges Family Estate “Red Mountain”. It is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon; 33% Merlot; 14% Syrah; 11% Cabernet Franc; and 6% Malbec. It was full bodied and a great pairing with our desserts… especially my cheese plate (pictured below):

For dessert, I ordered the Cabrales Cheese Selection 1 oz. cow and goat milk cheese blend from the north of Spain, with a pear and almond compote. To my surprise, it was a blue cheese (my favorite!)

This is the Garrotxa plate that the BF ordered. It has 1 oz. goat’s milk cheese from the Catalonia region with red wine tempranillo reduction and grapes and crostini.

Meet our server, Chris. His service was exceptional at Andaluca. Since I had a gift card, he did not know he was going to be written about until I told him at the end of the meal and asked for his picture. He was very knowledgable about the menu and the wine list. Great job!

The head chef at Andaluca is Wayne Johnson. He has been at the helm since 1999. Some of you might have seen his appearance on Iron Chef America this year when he competed against Michael Symon. The secret ingredient was cucumbers! You can see video of the competition here.

If you’re in Seattle or planning a trip there, Andaluca is not to be missed. You can find Andaluca on Facebook here follow them on twitter here, and visit their website here.

Place Pigalle in Seattle: Romance on the Waterfront

Probably the most romantic dinner I have ever had was on November 2nd of this year. My boyfriend made dinner and for dessert surprised me at the end of the meal with my favorite treat: bacon wrapped dates. To be honest, every time he has ever made dinner for me has been very special, and every time I come over to his house it is quite like he is throwing a little party for me. The kicker is that he can really cook, so everything is delicious and I don’t have to pretend to like it. Also, I am no longer in charge of making all the food which is also an added bonus. 😉

But dear readers, while it is fresh in my mind I want to tell you about a restaurant we visited in Seattle just last Friday night called Place Pigalle. My meal at Place Pigalle was THE most romantic dinner I have ever had (so far, that is)! Place Pigalleis located through a little corridor behind Seattle’s Pike Place Market Fish Throwers and overlooks Seattle’s Puget Sound.Place Pigalle began as a watering hole called the Lotus Inn. The Lotus Inn used to be a hub at which sailors could imbibe before meeting up with a lady friend at the bordello upstairs.

A woman by the name of Nellie Curtis ran the bordello (which she masked as a hotel). Then eventually the owners of the hotel, Rosuke and T.K. Kodama, were sent to an internment camp in 1942, and Curtis purchased the hotel lease. She ran her business for years, evading crackdowns and even an earthquake in 1949.

Sometime in the 50’s, The Lotus (equipped with a sawdust floor and an alleged blind accordion player) became Place Pigalle. The name comes from the red-light district in Paris. Patrons of Place Pigalle used to toss beer and wine bottles out the west windows and watch them sail 50 feet down to the sidewalk and ravine.

By the 60’s the biker crowd that frequented the tavern called it “Pig Alley”, and it became a popular venue for bikers and commoners.

In the 70’s, Place Pigalle became a mecca of sorts for artists, merchant marines, hippies and world travelers. Visitors were attracted by the view and the jukebox, which played everything from Edith Piaf to Jimi Hendrix.

In 1982, Place Pigalle was remodeled when Bill Frank (the bartender) took ownership. He made major improvements to the menu and even the equipment in the kitchen (by tearing out the Sears electric range). It was shortly after that, the restaurant began to attract a more serious following by distinctive diners.

Seth and Lluvia Walker now own Place Pigalle and keep a strong commitment to the restaurant’s tradition and history.

Below is a peek inside the dining room, which is on the smaller side, but looks spacious thanks to lots of windows and an enormous mirror on one side of the room.
Bar area at Place Pigalle
At the table, were my favorite flowers, tulips, which I normally don’t see until spring. 🙂
If you go to Place Pigalle, do everything you can to sit at table four. That’s pretty much the best view in the restaurant, which can be very helpful if you are trying to woo someone. 😉
We started with a 1/2 Dungeness Crab for our appetizer. The crab is served with with tarragon aioli, drawn butter, and lemon. To pair with the crab, we ordered a few glasses of sparking wine, and our server suggested a 2008 Prosecco, Bortolomiol, Brut, Filanda Rosé Valdobbiadene, made from 100% Pinot Noir.
I am pretty sure I could have ordered another crab and a bottle of the prosecco for my meal, but I was too excited to order other dishes once I saw the full menu (which I would describe as French-inspired).
The BF ordered the Roasted Beet Salad with Baby Arugula, Toasted Walnuts, Chèvre, Shallots, Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette. It is a warm salad, and the Chèvre is rolled in the toasted walnuts in a little cheese ball. The arugula is a bitter contrast to the natural sweetness to the beets, and the flavors are all tied together with the vinaigrette. I ALMOST wish I had ordered the beet salad, but…
I was quite pleased with my Mixed Greens Salad. It was made with Gorgonzola, Spiced Pecans, Roasted Garlic, and served with Wildflower Honey Vinaigrette.

To accompany dinner, we ordered a bottle of a Bordeaux blend, the 2004 Château Greysac, Cru Bourgeois, Médoc. The Médoc part of the name refers to the region (and Médoc is the largest wine making region of Bordeaux, France). A perfect little French wine to go with what was to come next!

For my entrée, I ordered the rabbit roulade prepared with house-made duck and rabbit sausage, argula, onion jam, and a huckleberry reduction. I am a little ashamed to tell you that I pretty much cleaned my plate other than a piece of the roulade I bartered with the BF so I could taste just a little more of…

My BF’s Cattail Farms Lamb Foreshank with a chestnut purée, squash Napolean, and swimming in a little moat of jus. And I think I actually liked the lamb just a tiny bit better than my dinner! As flavorful as the rabbit was, the lamb was on the very next level. With the food and the wine and the company being so perfect, I could not have asked for more. I only wish I could have taken photos of the view from our table, but they just don’t do it justice.

Near the end of our dinner, Seth, (one of the owners of Place Pigalle) came by our table and introduced himself. We talked a little bit about food, wine and social media. Yes, my favorite topics! 😉

Seth graciously posed for a picture with me. 🙂
As I write this I find myself  craving the food we had, and dreaming of the components in the dishes… Like, I have an acorn squash in the fridge and I am thinking about how good the duck sausage (that was in the rabbit roulade) would be baked inside an acorn squash!!
Thanks to Seth, the chef, the sommelier, and the waitstaff for making everything perfect and a night I will remember forever!

Place Pigalle is open for lunch 11:30-3:00 everyday and for dinner 5:30-9:30 Monday-Thursday and 5:30-10:00 Friday-Saturday. They close at 3:00 on Sunday.

You can follow Place Pigalle on twitter here and you can find them on Facebook here. To make a reservation, you can go here or you can call the restaurant at 206.624.1756. Tell them you NEED table four!

PS: (Extra tip) There is free parking available After 5pm in the Public Market Parking Garage. The Public Market Parking garage offers covered parking and is connected to the Market’s Main Arcade by an elevator and sky bridge.