600 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101
Each year four of us go out on the town for one amazing dinner to celebrate all of our birthdays. These are two of our dearest friends, and our challenge for these meals is to deny ourselves nothing, which usually leads to the four of us spending so much money on the meal that we are embarrassed to tell anyone about it. The excess and fiscal irresponsibility of this celebration means that we cannot repeat it in a given year; hence, the one meal out for the four special days.
This year, we decided to celebrate at Loulay, the new restaurant of Seattle’s revered chef-in-the-hat, Thierry Rautureau. My beloved pusher called ahead and had a conversation with the hostess about seating. The restaurant has two levels—one up a long staircase—and we needed to be sure our reserved table was on the ground floor with a clear passage to the restrooms, he told her. She said she had just the table for us. And she did!
Our amazing meal was lit by a charming French candle. Two of us have special dietary needs, so some of us feasted on crab beignets, oysters, foie gras, sweet polenta with mushrooms, beet carpaccio with smoked salmon and chevre, salmon with red beans, roasted chicken, the chef’s hot chocolate with toasted brioche and salted butter…well, embarrassingly, the list goes on. The evening was a delight to the senses, and we sang the virtues of everything we ate to each other, praising the chef-in-the-hat, himself, when he stopped by our table. “Thank you,” I told him, “for making your restaurant so accommodating to those of us in wheelchairs.” “I love everyone,” Mr. Rautureau responded, “and I want my restaurant to be one everyone can enjoy.”
And enjoy it we did! The food was amazing; the space felt welcoming; and our server never smirked even once when we kept adding to our order.
Continue reading Loulay
6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway NE
Redmond, WA 98052
Our lovely daughter and handsome son-in-law gave us tickets to the Cirque du Soleil touring show (here till March 22), so on a very dark and very stormy night, we drove across the lake to Marymoor Park to see the show. This was the second time we had been treated to the Cirque. The first time visiting a new place can be a bit anxiety-producing both for me and my beloved pusher. I worry about bathrooms and having to damage others’ feet and coats to get to my seat; he worries about me worrying. Going to the Cirque du Soleil this second time was a known entity and so seemed easy.
Based in Montreal, Quebec Canada, Cirque du Soleil is at once magical, comic, heart-stopping, and otherworldly. The performers are beautiful and strong, and the sets are gorgeous. This version—entitled “Kurios, Cabinet of Curiosities”—was steampunky—nodding simultaneously to a romanticized past with its manual typewriters and graceful phonographs, to a robotic future, and to an imagined time when people flew in gorgeous, open-cockpit, bat-winged airplanes.
Cirque does an excellent job of accommodating wheelchair visitors, beginning with the ticketing process. Tickets for handicapped spots can be purchased online or with the phone assistance of a kind staff person, and the Cirque website makes both options easy.
At the performance, the Cirque staff also kindly accommodates handicapped viewers, with only one glitch on this visit.
Continue reading Cirque du Soleil – Kurios
1401 Third Avenue
Corner of Third and Union
Seattle, WA 98101
On a furiously stormy January night, we needed a place to celebrate the new year with our dear friends from Oregon. One of us is a vegan; one of us ventures into the animal kingdom only for certain kinds of fish; and two of us eat everything humanly possible. We needed a place that could accommodate all food desires deliciously with comfortable space for a wheelchair, so we reserved a spot at the aromatic candlelit haven that is Wild Ginger.
Looking out the Wild Ginger windows at the gloom of downtown Seattle on a windy rain-cloaked night, we felt as though we were safely tucked away in a warm place that would serve us a lovely meal, and we were not disappointed. We all shared lively spring rolls with a pineapple dipping sauce to start. Our omnivores chucked down oysters, prawns, and chicken; our vegan chose a couple of savory small plates from the vegan/vegetarian menu, including a pumpkin soup; and our vegetarian fish eater had an amazing tofu and eggplant dish with a stolen prawn on the side.
The wait staff were divine—attentive and negligent exactly when we wanted them to be. They let us take our time so we could enjoy each other and this very sweet and—with the exception of parking–accessible spot.
Continue reading Wild Ginger