I loved to watch the Lion fish and sea horses swim around in the tanks for as long as I could until being shooed out of the dining room….
My mom worked as a pantry cook at The Wharf Restaurant and I was always up for riding into “the big city” with dad to pick her up after her shift from seven to three in the afternoon. It was a huge restaurant and I’d get lost on purpose when the place was empty during the lull before dinner. If mom was running late with clean up, I’d gladly explore the banquet rooms, look out the huge windows at the fishing boats, and my favorite stop was the Mermaid Room, one of the two bars there along with the Moby Dick to sit at one of the high backed booths. I remember the bartender who’d make me a fancy drink (soda pop with a ton of maraschino cherries) complete with plastic sea horses which I joyously and greedily collected. I didn’t want to leave, much to my mother’s frustration as she’d had enough of the place and had to be back early the next morning. There are some cool pictures of The Wharf and other classic local restaurants in the book Seattle’s Historic Restaurants. Seeing The Wharf’s dining room pictures brought back a lot of great childhood memories.
Both of my parents worked or were involved in the hospitality industry in some sort of form, and I was born and grew up into it. We even had a restaurant of our own, a steak house for a short time. Food, restaurants, and hotels are as welcoming and natural to me as breathing.
Coming full circle in 2013 I’m beyond excited to attend my first International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) at the W Hotel. It’s my birthday present to myself, tickets purchased months ago and the time is finally here. It’s extra special and full of nostalgia because it just happens to be one block up from another place mom worked. This is becoming more than a bit – surreal. The place is called Bernard’s on Seneca and I’m not certain it’s even open anymore, but it used to be called The Bavarian Haus. See thumbnail. My image searches yielded some good finds. In this picture the view would be if you were standing on the north side of Seneca street halfway up the block between 3rd and 4th avenues. Can you guess from this old photo where the W Hotel currently sits?
Perhaps I’ll tell you folks the story about bringing my pet chicken to the Bavarian Haus for a visit – mom loved that one too. I was very attached to that bird.
As I wrote this I finally had a chance to settle down after a busy summer, and reading through the IFBC agenda and participant packet got me excited all over again. Living in downtown Seattle just a couple blocks from the W will make it great to simply walk down the hill right to the conference. I’m not sure what I want to do and see first, besides everything. I’ll most likely end up going with the flow, making sure to bring my journal to take notes as they happen about all the wonderful people that I’m going to meet. Looking forward to seeing you there!
“Organized by Foodista.com and Zephyr Adventures, IFBC was the first-ever conference for food bloggers, first held in May of 2009. The series focuses on three themes: Food, Writing, and Technology. This event will feature high-quality educational sessions, personal networking opportunities, and what 95% of attendees say is the best food and wine of any blogging conference.”