It’s Always Fun When Stephanie Comes!

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Seattle Inn at the Market

It’s Always Fun When Stephanie Comes!

Seattle Inn at the MarketWhen my dear friend Stephanie visits, the world applauds!  Or at least I do.  I jokingly tell Steph we could never have travelled together when we were young because I was fanatic about being punctual which was complicated by my lack of patience.  Luckily, after life beats you up, you let go of those unattractive traits and I LOVE exploring with Steph.  (I give myself too much credit–I’m still tragically flawed, as Steph can attest.) Last week we spent a day in Puyallup browsing antique stores and headed to Seattle the next day.

image2Serendipitously,  I watched a Food Network show several weeks ago that featured three Seattle shops:  Fran’s Chocolates, Dahlia’s Bakery, and Crumble & Flake.  It was a daunting task to fit all three into our leisurely schedule but we managed.  We started at Fran’s Chocolates in the Georgetown area of Seattle.  We realized when we arrived that we needed something good to eat so we split a falafel sandwich at “Helluva Falafel,” a food truck across the street.  It was great and it satisfied.

image1We crossed the street to Fran’s Chocolates, home of the ultimate chocolate bar: the Gold Bar.  They must deliver these in armored trucks because I would consider a life of crime to get my hands on these.  They come in three varieties: Almond Gold Bars, Macadamia Gold Bars, and Coconut Gold Bars.  The Almond was incredible–the caramel as rich as I’ve ever tasted–and studded thickly with crunchy almonds.  I was disappointed in the Coconut simply because the filling was creamy white, probably from coconut cream, but I wanted the texture of coconut in the bar.  I sacrificed the Macadamia Bar for my sister.  Cindy, when you receive your birthday package please let me know what you think!

The Inn at the Market was our home for the night, a fabulous hotel that has a view of Pike’s Market and the Sound.  Since Steph hadn’t been to Seattle for years I took her to my favorite places.  First stop was Kennedy Watson, a “European-style shop with an upscale range of candles, bath items and small home decor pieces.”  I didn’t know if Steph would ever finish shopping–and I didn’t care!

Isadora’s Antique Jewelry is a pilgrimage destination for jewelry lovers.  It’s for serious shoppers–the door is locked and you must ring to enter!  Steph discovered “pools of light,” rare jewelry that features perfect spheres of crystal quartz.  They cast beautiful light on the skin and must be seen to be appreciated.  If anyone knows Stephanie’s husband, please inform him that these necklaces would be a perfect Christmas gift!  All of Isadora’s jewelry is available at their online store.

IMG_7168-1We browsed through Metsker Maps where I got a walking map of Prague and then hit Market Spice at Pike Place Market.  This is a stop that will make you dizzy with excitement if you like to experiment with spices.  We discovered a sweet onion sugar to sprinkle on cream cheese atop bagels; granulated honey that melts on cinnamon toast; fennel (because we had a delectable olive oil/tomato dip for bread and loved the fennel flavor); spaghetti spices for my son-in-law who is furiously canning spaghetti sauce with his garden tomatoes; and Italian sausage mix, in case I don’t have Italian sausage on hand for spaghetti sauce and want all those yummy spices.  Darrin made our visit memorable, and the Spice Market has an online store in case you’re not near Seattle.

IMG_7178-1We met another dear friend that shares Idaho roots, Peggy, for dinner at Dahlia Lounge.  The Dahlia Lounge is an iconic Seattle restaurant and serves excellent food.  Dahlia’s Bakery shares the same owner, Tom Douglas, who evidently has many Seattle restaurants that all have a great reputation.  We selected Dahlia’s so we could have the dessert featured on the Food Network Show:  TRIPLE COCONUT CREAM PIE.  It was simply delicious.  I dreamed of floating on coconut cream clouds all night!

The next morning we visited Crumble & Flake, a small but rewarding stop.  Steph said she had the best cream puff she’s ever tasted–they don’t fill it until you order it, so the crust is delightfully crispy.  And we both loved the pink peppercorn shortbread.

Having satisfied all our culinary fantasies, we journeyed to Gig Harbor for a class on indigo dying taught by Judy Wise. Steph and I cannot say enough good things about the group we enjoyed our weekend with.  Judy is a remarkably talented woman, and a warm, patient, and inspiring teacher.  Kathie Vezzani, who organizes the workshops, is the consummate hostess.  She graciously opened her home and served four-star meals that seemed to appear at just the right time.  I would highly recommend any of Kathie’s offerings.  Steph and I can’t wait to reconnect with the marvelous women we worked with.

I’m giddy about my trip–I leave Wednesday.  I watched “The Third Man,” an old Orson Welles film set in post-war Vienna.  There’s a chase scene through the extensive Vienna sewers, and evidently they offer “Third Man” tours in the sewers.  I don’t think I’ll participate.  I also watched “Woman in Gold” which has some scenes in Vienna and informed me about reclamation efforts of WWII victims to reclaim family possessions stolen by the Nazis.  And I’ve read “Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance” by Madeleine Albright, which is a thorough and interesting history of the Czech Republic and her heritage.  I think I’m ready!




Columbia River Gorge


  • Cindy Gabe

    I loved reading about you and Stephanies adventure. Felt like I had been with you and am excited to try the wonderful places you featured.
    Look forward to reading about your European adventure.

    September 15, 2015 at 7:51 pm
  • Kristina

    I am so happy our paths crossed and we had two and a half days together creating. Have a wonderful trip. I will following along here and hope that one day I run into you and Stephanie again….maybe Painting Big in January!

    September 16, 2015 at 3:16 am
  • annie

    You are a wonderfully gifted writer, Rhonda! I’m so glad you have just started your travels and I will be able to follow along on all your upcoming adventrues!

    September 16, 2015 at 5:03 pm