a place to be pampered and well-fed
photo by Elizabeth Griffin
The secluded grounds at Cedarbrook Lodge — ideal for a wedding reception or large outdoor gathering during warmer months — are also pretty in the middle of winter, as shown above.
Cedarbrook Lodge boasts a quintessential Northwest feel with architecture that makes use of natural wood and stone.
By Elizabeth Griffin Nestled behind a quiet neighborhood in the town of Seatac, Cedarbrook Lodge is a secret waiting to be discovered. It took less than an hour for my family to drive there from our house near Lynnwood, and once there we easily settled into our room overlooking 18 acres of wintery lawn and gardens, encircled by woods. Due to the frigid weather, we didn’t explore the mile-long trail through the wetlands surrounding the lodge, but we were
given a tour of the facility. Previously owned by Washington Mutual, the main building has 14 conference rooms that accommodate groups from as small as 10 to as large as 300. As we toured I thought of many groups that would enjoy a retreat there — from a family we know that numbers about 300 when fully accounted for to our church marriage group to our own family reunion each fall. At least half a dozen common areas serve as gathering places in addition to the conference rooms. With original artwork and lovely furnishings, they make a fabulous venue for a wedding reception as
well as business events. Our guide told us that they hold weddings often, using the outside lawn and patio in warmer seasons, and catering from their own kitchen. Which leads me to the best part of Cedarbrook Lodge: the food. When Coastal Hotel Group purchased the property a year ago they made a smart decision to spoil their guests rotten with free amenities, including 24/7 grab and go gourmet snacks. Both of the guest lodges have common areas with a fireplace, large-screen television, classics-filled bookcases and game tables. Completing this is a countertop with bins
photo by Elizabeth Griffin
of oversized, gourmet malt balls and a huge bowl of fruit, as well as a refrigerator filled with string cheese, yogurt and juice, with gourmet ice cream in the freezer. It is a foodie’s, as well as a mother of hungry teenagers’, dream come true. The only down side to having gourmet snacks available is that when you stay at Cedarbrook Lodge you must leave room for a meal at Copperleaf Restaurant. Placed at the bottom of wide-planked wooden stairs with a wrought-iron railing, Copperleaf Restaurant is in the center of the main lodge, just below the entrance.
(L-r) The Copperleaf Restaurant, the bar, one of many snack bars available to guests, and a delicious entree from Copperleaf Restaurant at Cedarbrook Lodge.
An eye-catching multi-storied stone fireplace is the central feature with a dozen tables surrounding it. To say that I had one of the best meals of my life at Copperleaf Restaurant is not an exaggeration. I’ve eaten at my fair share of nice establishments, but this was fine dining at its best. Executive Chef Mark Bodinet and Culinary Director Roy Breiman have worked together for 10 years, and what they create is a work of art. Let me try to do it justice. To begin with, we sat right in front of a blazing fireplace, and on a cold winter evening that was heaven. With only a dozen tables in the restaurant, everyone gets personalized attention. The staff is pleasant and available, remembering every detail and preference mentioned by their guests. While our younger son, Zack, was content to eat the homemade rolls and butter, his brother, Taylor, had a huge sirloin burger and fries, and my husband Jay and I were treated to a five-course feast. Note: This is not a time and place to count calories, it is a time and place to simply enjoy. It is a life experience, not just a meal. The presentation is entertaining and the flavors intriquing. Copperleaf uses only fresh herbs and local, organic ingredients, and the chef makes every biteful on the spot. Don’t go there with a hurried mindset. Go there to savor an evening with someone you really want to be with. My first course was an apple, beet, endive and pecan salad with raspberry dressing. I love this type of salad and have had it many times, but this was a work of art and the flavor … well, let’s just say I even ate the beet, and I have a history of not liking beets. Jay had creamy chestnut soup. A bowl was placed before him with a small square of biscuit encrusted with brown sugar with
a truffle on top. Nutmeg crème fraiche was then poured on top to fill the bowl. I had a spoonful and it was divine. Next we had pasta — mine was gnocchi with Dungeness crab and arrowleaf spinach in cream sauce and Jay’s was celery root agnolotti. This was my favorite course — I wanted to lick the bowl, but you can’t do that in a fine dining establishment, so I resisted the urge. Next, what looked like a piece of very dark chocolate cake was placed before me. It was not cake, after all. It was Stiebrs Farm organic beef short ribs, so tender it required only a fork to cut them, covered with syrah sauce with a streak of vanilla quince, celeriac and braised red onions. If you don’t know what most of that is, don’t worry. I don’t either. All I know is that it tasted delicious and they aren’t afraid to mix the sweet and savory at Copperleaf. Jay had Shriners Farm fallow venison encrusted with gingerbread, with sugar pie pumpkin, chestnuts and cascade huckleberries. My previous experience with venison was not something I wanted to repeat, but I figured I could trust Chef Bodinet by this time, so I took a bite. It was amazing, tender, and worth the risk. The portions appeared small, but after several courses one realizes why. Quality trumps quantity, and with food this rich, you fill up nicely. Dessert number one was brown sugar ice cream on a huckleberry pain perdue with caramel fleur de sel for Jay and fromage blanc ice cream with honey cranberries, cinnamon streusel and caramelized apples for me. Then, before we could roll away, our waiter told us the chef had one more sweet treat for us to enjoy. He brought out a tall ceramic carafe, made especially for Copperleaf Restaurant. Explaining that there
was 73 percent cocoa Theo chocolate melted in the bottom, he poured fresh, hot cream into the container and mixed it with a molinillo — a Mexican chocolate whisk made of turned wood. This was poured into four cups and served to us with homemade cinnamon doughnuts. It’s a good thing Cedarbrook Lodge has a complete workout room with a dozen or so cardio machines and weights to offset the culinary delights it offers. Visitors will want to take a turn in there sometime between dinner and the complimentary continental breakfast provided each morning. This buffet offers freshly baked pastries, homemade granola, oatmeal with all the trimmings, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs and assorted juices, along with coffee and tea. Lest I forget, your pooch can also experience gourmet dining at Cedarbrook Lodge. With 104 rooms in two lodges, they have a designated section for those who want to bring Fido along, and yes, he gets his own menu. If staying put and relaxing isn’t enough, Cedarbrook Lodge makes it easy to go into Seattle for some downtown shopping and a ball game via a shuttle to and from the Light Link Rail station. The staff is geared toward making the travel experience as convenient as possible for guests by arranging activities, trips to local hot spots and arranging flights at Seatac Airport. And for the business traveler, there is a business center. With its many amenities and conveniences, it’s not surprising that Cedarbrook Lodge was named the number one rated hotel in the nation when compared with 53,000 properties on TripAdvisor after only one year in business. — This article was originally published online at www.journal-newspapers.com.
For more information visit www.cedarbrooklodge.com.