The words “bucket list” hold sacred value and I do my best to never throw them around carelessly. For me it started as very young boy with wanting a Golden Retriever. Check. A few years later, at age 10, it was a deep desire to visit Germany and Tahiti. Still pending. Then in the #4 slot was Seattle. Check. A half dozen times.
A bucket list dream within a dream in my love for Seattle was a very special restaurant.
I had dinner at the SkyCity restaurant 20 years ago nearly to the month with a special girl in my life. When we went our separate ways in life she took the pictures and I said no problem because I would be back in a couple of months. The odd turns that life takes and a reminder that “tomorrow” is never a guarantee for us.
I told Phoenix, my Golden Retriever, over and over as he sat next to me at the computer how badly I wanted to get back to the Seattle and the Space Needle. He and I would be sit and stare at the pictures on the computer on a weekly basis. I have a picture of the Space Needle hanging on a wall in my house with a full moon in the background.
Now, I was finally back in Seattle but unable to get reservations to SkyCity via phone or online from Reno. So, on Saturday night after our dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse we walked out of the restaurant and into our hotel lobby at the Grand Hyatt. I said good night to my aunt and told her I was going to explore for a while. After the elevator doors closed, whisking her up to her room, I approached the concierge desk. I kept it a secret to hopefully surprise my aunt.
I explained to the nice gentleman that I didn’t know if it was possible because I was not able to plan this ahead. But, could he help get me a table for two at the SkyCity Restaurant on top of the Space Needle for Sunday brunch. He raised his eyebrows with doubt, stating that it was unlikely because of the short notice but that he would make a phone call. Due to the late hour, the restaurant staff was no longer answering the super secret SkyCity Bat Phone and he told me to call downstairs to speak with the morning concierge. He explained that several of the restaurants in the city held tables for VIP guests staying at the local hotels.
Instead of calling the next morning, I bolted downstairs and gave the concierge lady my name. She looked up at me and with a big smile slid a paper across the counter that said, “SkyCity Restaurant Reserved – Grand Hyatt 2 VIP Guests – Mike Vogler – 11:30 a.m. Sunday Oct 19, 2014”.
My eyes lit up, and the volume of my voice intensified, “Are you serious??!!”
She said, “I’m quite serious…is 11:30 a.m. ok because that is the best they could do for us (the hotel)?”
Then a moment…
I literally squealed with delight to the entire lobby, “YESSSSS!!!” while giving a fist pump. The entire line of pristine, perfectly dressed check-in ladies all spun their heads in unison to the right. Directly at me. All of the guests in the lobby did the same choreographed head turn to their left.
I looked at all of them and exclaimed with the same joy of a winning lottery ticket held tightly in my right hand and arm vaaulted into the air, “11:30 a.m.! SkyCity Restaurant! BUCKET LIST!” Two of the desk employees and two guests actually clapped seeing the sheer emotion of the moment!
I wanted to leap over the counter and hug and kiss the lady on the cheek. Instead I thanked her profusely and gave her a $40 tip. She said as I walked away, “Oh remember Mr Vogler, when you get there to go right to the front of the line. They are expecting you.”
Now you know why, my previous post, I mentioned that I was nearly dragging my aunt down the street because of her late wakeup and the need for two coffees. We had 45 minutes to make that reservation time.
I wasn’t let anything or anyone get in my way of this date…
The #1 tourist attraction of the Northwest United States and I would be going 605 feet up in a minute…
The rods attached to those bolts go 30 feet deep into the earth below this behemoth. At eye level right here is the center of gravity for the Space Needle. That is bizarre.
That’s right kid, fun for cover, this time I’m Mr Front of the Line. And…waiting for the Elevator Operator.
I was about to come unglued with excitement waiting for those doors to open…
We finally entered and were on our way up for the 43 second ride. The atrium at Chihuly Glass and Gardens quickly left our line of sight as we were now traveling skyward at 800 feet per minute in the Wonkavator…I had goosebumps everywhere. I told the female elevator attendant she was the most awesome elevator operator I had seen all day. She giggled and thanked me. She was the only one I had seen so far that day.
I handed the meticulously dressed maître d my reservation slip and he said, “Ah Mr Vogler, I hear this is a very special brunch. Right this way please…”
Our window seat…it pays to be nice to be people 🙂 I was speechless as I sat down…making sure I didn’t miss the seat itself entirely. Hey, it’s happened.
I started off with orange juice and my aunt soon had coffee. We had creamy, whipped butter to slather onto our basket selection of a freshly-baked blueberry scone, blueberry muffin and banana bread.
Please note the idiot at this table who put his expensive lens right next to his glass of orange juice. This same idiot has a notorious reputation for accidentally knocking things over.
The SkyCity Restaurant makes a full revolution every 47 minutes. We made a total of two. Our hotel is the tall building right there. No, the other tall building silly.
Mt Rainier with my telephoto lens…54 miles away as an eagle flies. I don’t like crows so I don’t use them in that saying.
The Puget Sound. Does anybody have a boat? Let’s go…
The SkyCity Restaurant saucer is 14 feet deep and weighs 125 tons. It’s one of the most perfectly built pieces of architecture and get this…it only requires a 1 1/2 horsepower motor to rotate it. That’s a trivia winner every time at parties. Your welcome.
My aunt and I barely spoke a word…in a good way. She was letting me have my moment (all hour and a half of it) and allowing me to absorb it all.
My aunt’s Hearts of Romaine with an enticing roasted garlic vinaigrette, a rich Spanish white anchovy, olive croutons and a generous sprinkling of grana padano cheese.
Bainbridge Island off in the distance and the Puget Sound as perfect as it can get. See the large group of boats docked in the upper far right of the picture? Just next to that is where the big cruise ships dock for arrivals and departures via Seattle.
For those of you that follow me it’s known that I want to try new and different dishes every time. This rich, creamy razor clam and corn chowder with peppered bacon and a potato gaufrette were an embracing starter dish.
People playing and getting wet in the International Fountain as it plays music to numerous different renditions around the world. This was the third week of October. In Seattle.
Memorial Stadium kneels under the shadow of the Space Needle’s impressive size as the crown jewel of the Emerald City.
The Queen Anne neighborhood derives its name from the architectural style of the homes. With beautiful, affordable homes and still having that quaint community feel…this is the place to call home.
My aunt’s entrée of which I ate a lot of had the most moist, fresh Wild King Salmon you can imagine. Soft, tender roasted potatoes, a roasted pepper, earthy spinach with a corn puree and a butter drizzle and there were no complaints.
Any fans of the movie “Sleepless In Seattle” here? That’s Lake Union where Sam and Jonah lived in the houseboat.
Freshly made pasta means having a tasty Italian dish at it’s best. This Agnolotti was stuffed with rich goat cheese to marry perfectly with the sun dried tomatoes. Broccolini, lobster mushrooms, a sweet onion puree with a tomato jam only incited further moaning with each bite I took.
Speaking of Lake Union, how about a magical seaplane ride with Kenmore Air? Many years ago I took that flight to Victoria, British Columbia. The tickets are not that expensive and I HIGHLY recommend it.
That picture is without the zoom lens as they thrill not only the plane passengers but visitors and diners alike at the Space Needle with a close flyby.
To the east is the city of Bellevue, Washington with the North Cascades as a beautiful backdrop.
This notepad was stationary on the windowsill as the inner disk of the restaurant rotates. This notepad came around and I was attempting to write on it as it sat upright moving to the left past me. My aunt said, “You can pull that off the window and set it on the table.” Her way of saying, “Hey, numb nuts…get a clue!” Not a word…from any of you, hear me?
My aunt wasn’t able to eat the desserts because of the high sugar content, soooo….
Her white chocolate-blue blueberry bread pudding in a lemon cream with vanilla ice cream was all mine.
Note to self. Next chance I get is to take a helicopter tour of any big city I’m in for fun and a great photo opportunity. I love helicopters.
Let’s not forget my dessert which was a chocolate cheesecake parfait with house granola, Belgian chocolate bark and berry preserves. That is a party in anyone’s mouth…
We were getting ready to leave and THIS happened.
I went weak in the knees, my heart pounding and I whispered to my aunt, “My gawd, that is the most beautiful woman.”
My aunt said with complete sincerity, “Why don’t you ask her for her number??”
….SO THAT EVERYONE IN THE ROOM HEARD!!
They don’t have any rocks to crawl under at the SkyCity restaurant. I could have crawled under the piano but that would have been ten ways of wrong.
Looking at the girl my aunt says, almost apologetically to her, “Did you hear me?”
The piano player of the gods smiled and winked.
So, I got up all of my nerve in the world and asked for…
…her picture 🙂
I could not have written a better script that this huge bucket list event occurred and had not even been planned ahead of time.
I will miss you terribly Space Needle…