even steven goes to seattle…

Our girl’s nose was out-of-joint ’cause our boy got to go skiing for a week with his buddy, while the rest of us stayed “a la maison”. We thought we were so clever not going skiing. We rubbed our hands together just thinking about all the hard-earned cash we’d save this Spring Break. NOT!!!!

If you’ve ever been a sibling, you know that seething, brewing, festering temptation to “get even”. Our little pre-teen knows how much her brother LOVES going to Seattle to shop for clothes with the family, so that’s exactly where she picked as her revenge destination.

You’re right! Mark and I are weak! We bend at the first sign of trouble. We’re old and tired, and we don’t have the strength to resist her superhuman powers. Where did she learn how to get her eyes to go really big and fill up with FAKE tears on demand? Damn Google and its tutorials!!!

So yesterday morning (stupidly early), we headed for the border. We stopped for breakfast in Fairhaven at the historic Harris Avenue Cafe, where I gobbled down the best darned buttermilk pancakes I’ve ever tasted. I’m going to try cornmeal in my homemade pancakes–it adds a lovely crunch. They roast their own divinely-good coffee too!

Our next stop was Northgate Mall in Seattle. I won’t bore you with all the hideous shopping details, but I can’t resist just one. If my child ever comes to me and tells me, “My dream is to work in a hazardously dark store, where they play supersonic music, and I can inhale noxious perfume all day long,” I’ll know exactly who to direct them to–Hollister. My head is still pounding and the budget is blown!

Next we headed for my favourite shopping area–the University District–but this time we avoided the freeway and chose to drive all the way down on Roosevelt Avenue, through the funky little shops and houses. I was surprised by how much further ahead their Spring is. The cherry trees are in blossom and there are crocuses and daffodils everywhere. Lucky!

I couldn’t resist getting a shot of these tiny quirky shops–gotta love university towns.

There aren’t any more details or photos from this point on. Let’s just sum it up this way:

* Everything started to look the same

* Price tags started to get blurry

* feet throbbing

* No parking anywhere near Starbucks

* Nobody agreed on what to have for dinner, so ended up in worst restaurant choice of all

* pouting throughout vehicle

* Listened to the border report and drove the extra 30 minutes to the “faster” crossing, only to find out everyone else was listening to the same border report

* Headed back to original border destination, only to find out everyone else headed to the original border destination ahead of us

* Waited in line-up for 60 minutes

* Seethed with hatred for all the “idiot” drivers cheating the lineup

* Honked at twice by idiot drivers ’cause we wouldn’t let them cut in front

* Got home three hours later than expected

* Loved up by lonesome dogs

* Hate shopping

* Hate losing when we think we’re winning

who's the fairest in the land…

Today was an awesome Saturday! Mark and I hopped in the Volvo and crossed the border on our way to Fairhaven, Washington for a lovely afternoon of snooping and eating. It wasn’t a planned trip, so I only had my iphone for snapping pictures, so please forgive the grainy shots.

image courtesy Bellingham Online

This is the Three French Hens shop “a boutique for chicks” (you bet I made Mark come in…he hid in a corner pretending to work on his iphone). It’s typical of the amazing architecture everywhere you look in Fairhaven–a vintage bank housing a lovely clothing, jewelry and decor shop.

We happened upon the Dirty Dan Days festivities including a trout toss competition, cupcake eating contest and the Chukanut Chowder Cookoff. There were outdoor entertainers, musicians, and amazing food vendors. The smell wafting from the paella simmering in two massive pans was intoxicating!

Next we happened upon Drizzle Tasting Room–an amazing new tasting bar dedicated to olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt. There were lots of different creative flavours in each category and lots of fresh baguette to dip into my own little tester cups…yum! Owner, Ross Driscoll, filled me a bottle of lavender balsamic and another of a wonderfully fruity olive oil…can’t wait to use both in a salad with creamy goat cheese and carmelized onions!! The lavender balsamic vinegar will be perfect on a dessert of rich vanilla ice cream with roasted strawberries and almonds.

It’s a lovely little family affair at Drizzle. Ross’ wife, Dana, and their toddler daughter, Grace, were hard at work behind the desk (Grace’s hard work: Sitting on a stool chattering and charming the pants off customers). Ross explained that they were inspired to start their business when they lived amongst olive orchards in California and regularly tasted the amazing oils. When they moved back to Bellingham, they decided to pursue their creative vision and share their passion with lucky customers.

We visited Mambo Italiano Cafe for lunch, where we had a fresh salad of mixed greens and one of the best margherita pizzas I’ve ever eaten. It was a hand-tossed crust with a light sauce of freshly sauteed tomatoes mingled with fresh mozzarella and chopped basil and salty tomatoes! Worth a trip just for that!

What’s a perfect day with a cupcake and coffee? NOTHING!!! That’s why I insisted (read: whined until I got my way) on stopping by Katie’s Cupcakes. I know this post is full of superlatives and my hallmark exclamation marks, but there are no words to describe how amazing their strawberry cupcakes are. Chunks of fresh strawberries mixed with light moist cake and a heavenly whipped vanilla buttercream frosting–bliss. Again, definitely worth a return trip!!!

image courtesy Katie's Cupcakes

Wait a minute….I just realized that at every turn, everyone was super friendly! I’ll be back, fair Fairhaven!

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