Sunday, August 31, 2008
not so salumi or sam
a few weeks ago i had a thought that put several acts in motion: i would like to spend more time in seattle. i live about 60 miles north of seattle in a town that offers daily affordable train service to and fro, making the possibility of a driving- and parking-free day in the city possible, which is to say a stress-free and pleasant day in the city.
this is not to suggest that seattle itself stresses me out. on the contrary. i used to live there and immensely enjoyed it. the prospect of taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of downtown seattle more than two or three times a year (that is to say less like a tourista and more like a resident) is a really appealing idea.
part of the appeal of going to the city involves sam. sam, in this case, is not a person, but rather the seattle art museum. sam is known, among other things, for its first-rate exhibits and convenient downtown locale. the current exhibit inspiring impressionism, which looks incredible, will run to the middle of september when it will be replaced by yet another tantalizing one, that featuring the work of early 20th-century american artist, edward hopper.
sam, it turns out, is not only a great place, but a great price. doing a little research i found out that a yearly membership pays for itself in two or three visits.
instead of just thinking about seattle and sam and how i'd like to go more, i acted. i purchased a yearly family membership. in the process i found the moniker to be true: membership does indeed have its privileges. museum members routinely get discounts at taste. taste is the wine bar and cafe located inside the museum that features tapas (small plates), affordable wines, and best of all locavore (locally grown), organic and sustainable food. (what could be finer: art, responsible and yummy food, good wine...)
after pondering which wine might be good to sip after a long day reveling in art and pounding the pavement i checked my calendar for the next available day to go to the city. now, at this point it's important to tell you that my first choice of days to make this trip was a wednesday, but a check of the calendar informed me that the wednesday in question would not work nor, for that matter, would any days that week. the first availability was the following monday, the third monday of august.
third monday in august it was. after i purchased train tickets, i had another thought: salumi is right around the corner from the train station and the train gets in around lunch time: perfect! salumi is, as its
name would suggest, a meat shop and it is also a restaurant. it is operated by celebrity chef mario batali's family and is a seattle landmark (not to mention a vegetarian's nightmare). the meat is hand-crafted in the artisan style and it shows. the shop opens at 11:30 and the line at the door forms at about 11:29.
bizzaro but true for a foodie like me is the fact that i have yet to eat at salumi. i tried once, honestly i did. friends kate and omar, who were visiting one august week told me about the shop and together we made a trip there. but salumi was closed. and not just for the day, but for the entire month (apparently it is very italian to take a long vacation in august!). there was no chance of returning even another day during their trip.
i could not have been more excited to finally eat at salumi. the personal lead-up had been long and the reviewer ravings vast. let's just say food critics go hog wild about sinking their teeth into hot sopressata and lamb "prosciutto."
just looking at their online pictures makes one want to hide the hormel, that is for sure. so, salumi, it also was. we'd get off the train, grab a quick (or not-so-quick) sandwich and start the adventure off right. was this going to be a perfect day, or what?
or what. the saturday before the trip to the big city a friend told me that salumi is closed on mondays! yes, that's right, mondays. okay, i thought, no finochionna. we'll do that on another trip. i cheered myself with the thought that we could always grab a quick bite near the museum at etta's or maybe cafe compagne or even chez shea. we'd definitely not starve, that's for sure!
when we got to seattle, we realized that salumi is not the only place that takes mondays off. yep, so does sam. and to add insult to injury, sam is actually some mondays just for members. member mondays, as they are called which are normally the third monday of the month (OUR monday), but, for some strange reason, member monday in august was held the second monday.
not to be dissuaded--it was our first big day in the city in quite a while, after all--we made the most of it. we dined at etta's (somehow even the red hook ipa tastes better there--maybe its the grass-fed beef, home cured bacon and artisan cheddar cheese burger with, green tomato salsa and shoestring potatoes?), shopped at the filthiest ross dress for less you've ever laid your eyes on (there's even a seattle police officer working the door--no joke). we cruised the many shelves at elliot bay bookstore, where i bought several books, one of them anne lamott's grace (eventually) which was provocative enough to be the topic of a near-future post. we ended the day at--sigh--fx mcrory's, a sportsbar near the seattle stadiums that is well, a sportsbar (i'm not even going to give you the link, okay?). at this point in the day, i'll admit it: i did want it all to end. the day did go out with a bit of a whimper. but then the view of elliot bay and the puget sound on the way home was glorious. it's hard to stay grumpy looking at that...
there is always next time, as they say. and you can bet that next time will definitely come before impressionists leave sam and definitely NOT on a monday.
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