- Gilbert’s on Main (breakfast)
- Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
- Barking Frog Bistro (lunch)
- Hollywood Circle Wineries
- Purple Bistro (dinner)
- Bellevue Downtown Park
This weekend heading to Seattle for a two-day trip we did not expect to have one of the best winery trips of our life. We visited Seattle before, we’ve stopped at Bellevue for a quick shopping hit. We did not have a slightest idea that Bellevue had so much more to offer.
We planned the trip around the visit to Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. Riesling from that winery is one of our favorites and trying out a few varieties of the same make was always on our wish list. Winery was close to Bellevue, so we decided to book a hotel there, avoiding Seattle downtown traffic gridlock. Heading out to Woodinville we weren’t sure what to expect, but ended up passing by a number of wineries, before stopping at Château Ste. Michelle. The further we drove the more unique and interesting the area turned out to be. From industrial buildings the surroundings changed into beautiful valley surrounded by family estates and wineries at every corner. Chateau St Michelle is one of the largest wineries in the area and the grounds reminded us a lot of the Mission Hill Winery in Okanagan: expansive gardens, beautiful landscaping, multiple buildings and a huge area for a concert stage.
We were not disappointed with the wines, a Riesling wine tasting had a number of interesting takes on the flavors we already loved and we found a number of favorites to take home. Unfortunately as is sometimes the case with very popular wineries, we weren’t lucky with the service we’ve received – not knowledgeable and completely inattentive guest server left quite a bitter aftertaste from the visit, which was so sad, given how nice the wines were and how much love and care winemakers pour into their craft. We’d still highly recommend the place, and also hope that service standards don’t slip any further.
We did not find cafes or lunch options at this winery so we headed down the road to the Barking Frog bistro for a late lunch. Right next to the beautiful Willows Lodge hotel and highly acclaimed Farmhouse Restaurant, Barking Frog is a cozy bistro with Northwestern style menu. We were there just in time for brunch/lunch menu and thoroughly enjoyed meat lover’s breakfast and Dungeness crab chopped salad with warm baked bread and home style apple butter. The ambiance, the service, the produce in every dish were excellent, the setting is nice with lodge-style high ceilings, wooden beams and a stunning patio we didn’t get to enjoy because of on and off rain. After lunch we wandered through the Willows Lodge oriental-style gardens – around peaceful small pond, fountains and taken in the merged tree roots sculpture
The wineries around are easy to walk to, and entire little plaza around the Hollywood Circle has a handful of winery locations offering tastings. Next time we’ll be spending more time there, but we had to head back to the hotel. Staying at Westin, in the heart of Bellevue shopping district was great – ample parking underground, beautiful lounge inside and walking distance to many attractions. That location worked great for our trip and one again we’d highly recommend it.
Next stop on our trip and what ended up being one of the best meals we’ve had south of the border was the Purple Café and Wine Bar. This restaurant is right next to one of the wineries near the Hollywood circle, located in the corner of the plaza. We loved the ambiance, and what was the most amazing is the amount of restraint, smart restraint that the owners exercised when decorating the café. The only real decoration on the walls are small candles. The entire wall glimmers with small lights. Lights on the tables. Somewhat rustic, somewhat contemporary, but above all, it’s canvas for honest, great tasting and amazing food. Starters alone were made up of some of my most favorite dishes. We actually ended up sharing a number (way to many) of starters instead of mains. Calamari, baked brie, tuna tartar, crab cakes, mushrooms and steaks, burrata, spreads – each one is better than the other. Incredible taste, incredible service, wine flights – nothing was missed. All the things that we love about the restaurant meal were right there and we wished the time would just stop. Truly a perfect meal. Perfect for a date, perfect for a family dinner. In the middle of wine country, we could not wish for a more perfect experience.
We’ve rounded up the amazing weekend with a visit to Main Street and the Old Bellevue area. Concierge at Westin Hotel recommended Gilbert’s on Main as a place for a breakfast. Just one more thing that we did not expect to find in Bellevue. Small street full of character, cute cafes, small shops, right near waterfront and marina, in the middle of hills and beautiful apartment complexes. Right around the Downtown Bellevue Park – with fountains, playgrounds and green spaces. We were truly amazed by all the things Bellevue had to offer. Great weekend away. Great 2-day escape and a perfect place for a date weekend.