Reservation for two on Phinney Ridge By Elizabeth Griffin
Perched on the hillside overlooking Ballard, 9 Cranes Inn provides a majestic view of the Olympics on a sunny Seattle day. From the private rooftop that extends the top floor Ballard View room outdoors, visitors can relax on a chaise lounge and give in to the temptation to skip their dinner reservation, order in pizza, and watch the sunset. The owner of 9 Cranes Inn, Shelley Goulding, searched for two years before deciding to purchase the 1916 missionstyle home located at 5717 Palatine Ave. N. in Phinney Ridge. It was worth waiting for such a perfect location. Phinney Ridge is a charming, well-established Seattle neighborhood that boasts easy access to Green Lake, Woodland Park Zoo and downtown, as well as close proximity to equally charming and unique neighborhoods like Wallingford, Fremont and Ballard. As such, it is the ideal place to run a bed and breakfast. Goulding didn’t have to do much to the house, which had been well cared for and has exquisite original craftsmanship. After adjusting the pitch of one staircase, turning another one around, and painting a bit, she was ready to open for business six months ago. The inn has been happily busy ever since. The inn receives much of its business from the neighborhood surrounding it, according to Goulding. Extended family members and friends from out of town find 9 Cranes Inn a comfortable alternative to staying with the family they are visiting. It provides both parties enough space and independence, is more convenient than staying downtown, and is much cozier than a hotel. Though most visitors to 9 Cranes Inn have come from out of town, I recommend it as a getaway for those who live nearby. It is ideal for an anniversary celebration or just an opportunity to reignite some ro-
Photos by Elizabeth Griffin
Dinner at Six Seven.
9 Cranes Inn on Phinney Ridge in Seattle. mance. With upscale décor that rivals the finest hotels and resorts, 9 Cranes Inn is special enough for a wedding night. My husband Jay and I arrived in time to settle in before our 6 p.m. dinner reservation. If we had not been going to the award-winning Six Seven restaurant at the Edgewater hotel, we would have been content with takeout on the roof. We were glad we chose to keep our reservation when we arrived at the lovely updated venue that, true to its name, sits on the edge of the water in downtown Seattle. It was an easy drive on Highway 99 from 9 Cranes Inn and, with valet parking, we got there right on time.
Dinner at Six Seven
Located on the north end of the Seattle waterfront, Six Seven restaurant at the Edgewater provides an expansive view of
Elliott Bay and downtown. The sun was dazzling as it played on the water. Inside, the restaurant is designed with a Northwest flair, with pillars artfully wrapped to simulate fir trees, lots of natural wood, and a wall of windows looking out on the water. Six Seven offers a wide selection of seafood and other entrées that can be ordered in full and half portion sizes, as well as two halves together. Diners can also order a la carte and add sides, if they choose. We started our meal by sharing two appetizers: the wild arugula and local pear salad with candied walnuts, rogue creamery “oregonzola” crumbles, prosciutto chips and Dijon white balsamic; and the Dungeness crab and shrimp cake. I have had both of these items in other restaurants, but Six Seven has added their own unique twist to make them memorable. The prosciutto chips were paper thin and crisp, with a
Photo by Elizabeth Griffin
strong flavor that complemented the pear and candied walnuts. These, along with the cheese, woke up my taste buds in marvelous ways. As for the crab and shrimp cake, our waitress explained that it was so rich because the chef purees the shrimp with cream and then stirs in the crabmeat, giving it a lovely texture and rich flavor. For the main portion of our meal, Jay and I both ordered two half portions to sample as much of the cuisine as possible. He ordered grilled blue marlin and roasted lamb loin, and I chose cedar plank salmon and Natural Hills Farm pork loin. The secret really is in the sauce, and Chef John Roberts at Six Seven knows his sauces. Each entrée is a miniature work of art, with vegetables, garnishes, and dabs of cream and sauce placed “just so.” The portions are not huge, but they are rich and satisfying because of details named “crisp
calamari salad,” “charred onion fraiche,” “pea fondue” and “vanilla goat pudding.” If you aren’t used to these things, be adventurous and give them a try — we did and were rewarded for it. We found the fish and pork to be delicious, but of the four items we chose for our main course, the lamb loin is what I would order next time in a full portion. I was hesitant to try it because I generally don’t like lamb, but our waitress insisted, and she was right. It is roasted with orange zest and mint for hours at a low temperature that makes it the most tender and flavorful lamb I have ever eaten. After a recommendation like the lamb, I wasn’t about to pass up the lemon meringue tart our waitress suggested for dessert, while Jay ordered the molten Valrhona chocolate torte. The chocolate was exceptional, but once again our waitress knew her food and in my opinion, the lemon meringue trumped it. It was served with roasted strawberries and fresh thyme on a salted marcona almond crust, and each mouthful provided an incredible mix of tart and sweet with a hint of salt to keep me coming back for more.
Back at 9 Cranes Inn
After dinner out on the town, returning to 9 Cranes Inn was better than going home. Undisturbed, we lounged in our room with the door open to our private rooftop retreat. The Ballard View room is decorated in the soothing tones of oceanic blue and deep brown. A Jacuzzi tub built for two looks out on the roof and several skylights offer views of the stars. The room has comfortable chairs with books nearby, as does the downstairs living room and the second floor guest lounge. Goulding knows how to decorate in a way that matches the natural beauty of the house. Chairs are tucked into corners with bookcases that hold temptations to escape from the busyness of regular life. One of these, The Art of Doing Nothing, exemplifies the gift the inn gives to those who linger. After a restful night beneath silky sheets, we went downstairs to a breakfast of fruit parfait, juice, coffee, French toast made with a whole wheat baguette topped with strawberries, and sausage. Goulding kept our coffee cups full and the large dining room table allowed for pleasant conversation with other guests at the inn. We were pleasantly fortified for the day.
For more information visit www.9cranesinn.com and www.edgewaterhotel.com/edgewater_dining.aspx.
The 9 Cranes Inn has lovely common areas for guests to enjoy and provides a delicious breakfast each morning.
Photos by Elizabeth Griffin