There and back again

This time last week I was just coming back from that gorgeous city on the sea. You know the one I mean. The one that quietly steals your heart with her coastal beauty, her very urban yet somehow woodsy and rustic aura. 

On my return flight, we took off and crested just above the clouds until parallel with Mount Rainier, majestically floating atop the clouds. It actually took my breath away. I let out a little "Oh!" and turned to the grump beside me so we could share in our delight, but I guess he didn't really see it or didn't really care. I wondered, is this just how you feel if you're from Chicago and don't see the mountains ever? I'm not sure I could ever not really care.

I'm indebted to you, Seattle. You did me good. 

I stayed with this sweet friend of mine who works at the amazing new Storyville cafĂ© in Pike Place Market. It was a long overdue vacation, time away from Chicago, and an opportunity to wonder at what it would be like to live in this fine city. So while my amiga worked in this glorious light, dolling out espresso that will make your heart sing on a damp Seattle day, I explored.

I walked the Market and tried the best of Seattle's pastries, taking in the splendorous displays of fresh fruit and veg. It took everything in me not to buy a big, gorgeous bouquet of flowers for $10. Next time, Southwest, I swear I'll carry on these flowers.

Dying to get out on Puget Sound, I took the ferry to Bainbridge Island. Which was worth every single penny, just for the chance to be whipped about by the wind and see the sun dip low in the sky. As we approached Bainbridge, I smiled, because in just 30 minutes on the ferry, I was worlds away from the city.

And wouldn't you know that some of the best pizza is actually not in Chicago? I've been waiting years to visit Delancey, having learned about this Ballard gem from one of my favourite food bloggers, Molly Wizenberg, who opened the restaurant with her husband in 2009. Because I love Molly and I love Orangette, I knew I'd love Delancey. The wine, the mushroom thyme pizza, the winter salad, the atmosphere, the brick oven. If you're ever out Pacific Northwest way, don't miss it.

In the past two weeks I have moved to a temporary new home, been to Seattle and back again, spent far too much time dealing with grown-up decisions, pilgrimaged to Springfield on a brisk and beautiful camping trip to conclude the season, and drafted a Thanksgiving menu in which I was allotted only one new recipe. All to say, I'm thoroughly whipped. There's been a great deal of movement and transition, late nights and early mornings going on here. Let's hope a few rounds in the kitchen will ease my spirit and make things feel a little more like home.

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