I recently went on a vacation to Seattle. I hadn't been back to the Emerald City in about five years, but just minutes into the drive to the hotel I remembered why it was one of my favorite cities to visit. The lush greenery, overcast skies, and the petrichor--it's like a familiar blanket that envelopes me. Not to mention the coffee...Seattle is a town that knows how to do coffee right. I think Mr. S. and I had at least 5 cups a day. Seriously. Nothing beats a great cup of joe. I'm a big Stumptown fan, but we also ventured out and hit up several other coffee houses this visit. FYI- In the midst of our caffeine quest, Mr. S. and I discovered that Fonte also makes an amazing Americano. Give it a go.

If you're not already a fan of the Kimpton chain of hotels I highly suggest checking them out.  This is the second time we've stayed in a suite at the Alexis and we loved it. We got a great deal  (25% off, free parking, and a $40 gift card).  The free parking is a HUGE cost saver. Parking is crazy expensive in Seattle.  

Our Living Room 

The Dining Area (we were in the Ballerina Suite)

The Bedroom 

We also visited our favorite restaurant again- Cascina Spinasse in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. We did the Menu Degustazione (which includes every antipasto, primo and secondo on the menu) and every dish was spot-on amazing and the service was impeccable (just like last time). They've expanded a bit since the last time we were there but the restaurant has still retained it's rustic, romantic charm.  The housemade fontina fonduta stuffed Caramelle with pinenuts and sage was just one of my favorite dishes that night. It just melted in my mouth.

We did a few touristy activities as well- Pike Place, a ferry ride, the Space Needle, and a spin on the ferris wheel at sunset.  Mr. S. wanted to check out the EMP Museum, so we did that too.  

And I wanted to take a peek at Chihuly Gardens. The glass sculptures were absolutely mesmerizing. I could have spent the afternoon staring at some of the floor-to-ceiling pieces inside the facility.

Vacation, alas, it's always too short! When we got home I wanted to keep the vacation vibe alive so I made a batch of "Seattle brownies." It's a riff off of a recipe by Nick Malgieri that appeared in the NY Times called, "Supernatural Brownies." But this version has coffee and cocoa in it to kick it up a notch.

"I Left My Heart in Seattle" Brownies


8 oz. bittersweet chocolate

2 sticks of unsalted butter

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

1 cup AP flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons Guittard's Cocoa Rouge Cocoa Powder

4 large eggs

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped walnuts


1. Butter a 13x9 baking pan and line with buttered parchment paper. 

2. Preheat oven to 350 F.

3. In a double boiler (or use a boiling pot of water with a metal bowl over it like I do), melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter. Once it's all melted down, add the instant coffee powder.  Mix together. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

4. In a bowl, combine the flour, sea salt, and cocoa powder together. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.

5.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs.  Then add in the sugars and vanilla.  Stir.  Add the melted chocolate/butter mixture and stir again.

6. Fold in the flour mixture. Mix. 

7. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Spread the batter evenly over the parchment paper. Sprinkle the walnuts across the batter.  

8. Bake in the oven for roughly about 35 minutes. At 30 minutes, I would stick a knife or toothpick in and see if it comes out clean.

9. Cool in pan on rack.  Once it's cool, lift out the brownies on the parchment paper. Slice. Place in airtight container or wrap with plastic tightly. **These brownies taste even better the next day when the flavors settle in. I know it's difficult, but set them aside until the next day.