Saturday, August 04, 2007


What a great night.
Thirteen years ago this Seafair Saturday, I got married. I was 23, young, new to Seattle and, although I would have disputed it at the time, had no freaking clue of who I was or who I wanted to become. I thought about my wedding day a lot today and recalled some of the ambivalence I felt at the time. Not about B, to be sure, although there were misgivings. Mostly, ambivalent about getting married. I wasn't one of those girls who dreamed about their wedding. I wasn't a Bridezilla and I certainly wasn't bogged down in the planning. I just wanted a kickass meal, great wine and drinks and for everyone to have a memorable time. We accomplished that, without question.

I just didn't really give the whole marriage thing the right kind of analysis, although at 23, I doubt I could have anyway. I loved B, believed in him, loved how much he taught me and how I seemed to think differently and better because of him. I don't regret marrying him by any stretch of the imagination and, hopefully, I will again meet someone who opens my eyes to new ways of seeing things. Am so much richer for the experience of having known and loved him as he was when we got together.

But I am le tired of that conversation. Tonight, my friend the P and I went to see a movie (the latest Bourne one - review to come later) and then went to dinner. Serafina is the quintessential neighborhood bistro - a place for the locals, who never mention it to the tourists - and one that no city person should ever, ever take for granted. This was something of an event for me, as it was mine and B's place for a while. In fact, when I gave my name for the reservation, the hostess gave a little squeal and said "wow, K, we can't wait to see you!"

Serafina is everything I want in a place to really dine and enjoy great food and drinks. The atmosphere is utterly perfect - a slice of Italy in the city - and everyone from the bartender to the hostess to the server executes their roles flawlessly. It is, without question, the most intimate place to dine in Seattle, as the moment you enter the place, you are completely transported and welcomed as a family friend.

Our table in the back courtyard was not yet ready, so we had a cocktail in the city's best bar (all respectful deference to the Fireside Room at the Sorrento Hotel). It is a small, intimate bar - the kind of place that immediately comes to mind when, after a great date, you are not yet ready to end the evening and want to savor a drink with someone whose words you want(and can) hear. We were eventually led to our table in the courtyard, which, if your belief wasn't already suspended, would lead you to believe you were dining in Italy on an early summer's evening.

We ordered two apps - the cured pork belly and the crostini with mozzarella and arugula. Both were outstanding, but the pork belly, on its bed of creamed corn salad, really stole the show. I have had it many times, and each time, I usually ended up ordering a second helping as my dinner entree. It is the best, most flavorful and tender pieces of roasted pork whose edges are perfectly crispy. It melts in your mouth and reminds you that sometimes? You can and should rejoice simply amazing food. The crostini was also astounding - leafy pieces of arugula atop thick slices of buffalo mozzarella, atop herbed toasted rustic bread brushed with fruity olive oil.

By the end of the appetizer course, me and my no appetite-having self were full, but I was so tantalized by the flavors that I wanted to have one bite of everything on the menu. We settled on the Kobe beef special for me (medium rare, of course), and P got the pork chop (see, e.g. the menu. We ordered a side of pasta called the plin (Handmade agnolotti filled with braised pork shoulder, savoy cabbage, and Reggiano; finished with chive butter).

Oh my holy fuck. I know we all have our extravagances and hobbies and value things differently. I am a lover of great food, wine and conversation. I could live without television, internet, computers and all that and put my foregone expenses into great meals with interesting companions. Tonight's meal reminded me of that, as with every bite, I was truly contented. The executive chef actually helped serve our meals and recommended an amazing red varietal wine as a complement. P and I were just wide eyed and gobsmacked at how utterly delicious the food was and how clearly studied this kitchen is at creating a lasting dining experience.

I honestly didn't want to leave. I was ready to move in and just watch them cook and create meals that you really remember. We shared a dessert of berries and figs (NB: we don't like figs, but it was still tasty) and, as we left, the staff wrote down the wine we had and thanked us for coming in. I complimented the chef and told him that I had not had a dining experience like that in a long, long time and I could tell that the highest compliment he could be paid. I hugged the hostess, who probably (and hopefully) isn't privy to the days of B&K lives, and she asked me if now, they would be seeing more of me.

That would be a "fuck yes," for $100, Alex.

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