A Tasty West Coast Tour
To experience Seattle and Northern California through the eyes of food stylists, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts partnered with Todd and Diane, the husband and wife duo behind the popular lifestyle blog White on Rice Couple. Using the couple's passion for discovering local artisan cuisine, Fairmont's Choose Your Moment service curated two unique itineraries. From a shellfish farm visit to cocktails at the nation's oldest running tiki bar, Todd and Diane documented their trips as they do with all of their loveliest adventures, via Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter and Pinterest.
Seattle is one of the couple's favorite cities. They love the natural beauty, approachable locals, and ever-changing culinary scene. They checked into the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, a gorgeous building built in 1924. They were elated to discover that despite the hotel's downtown location, its dedication to fresh ingredients means sourcing from its very own roof. “The Fairmont Olympic Honey Ale is one perfect example,” Todd and Diane said after touring the rooftop garden and apiary, where they even got a lesson in beekeeping from a chef at The Georgian. Handling the bees that helped create the Honey Ale brought a whole new dimension to the term "locally crafted beer."
Next Todd and Diane headed to Penn Cove Shellfish on Whidbey Island to see the area’s freshest mussels and those sourced for Shuckers Restaurant. Nutrient rich waters are essential for top-notch shellfish, and after spending hours with them, Todd and Diane were eager to try some for themselves. At Shuckers they claim they “practically ate the whole menu,” including chef Austin Green's “killer” mussels, which are served with a sauce made from their favorite Fairmont Olympic Honey Ale, complete with chorizo butter. The culinary adventure continued into the dessert course. Chef Artis Klasons walked the White on Rice Couple through the art of making a soufflé with chocolate shavings. They’re determined to make their own some day, as the chef made it look so easy. The video of their time with chef Klasons might inspire you.
With so many incredible breweries and wineries in the Seattle area, Todd and Diane recommend a minimum of five days. "You want to be able to pace yourself. So maybe give yourself a whole week or two!” they said enthusiastically after a beer tour with Road Dog Tours and wine tastings at Chateau Ste. Michelle and Novelty Hill Januik Winery. Thankfully the fresh air reinvigorated their appetite, and by the time they returned to Fairmont Olympic Hotel, the couple was ready to taste The Terrace's legendary totchos, a tater tot nacho creation with herbs from the rooftop garden, including charred padron peppers for added kick. It did the trick, and Todd and Diane declared the dish "mind blowing" and captured the recipe on film.
After Seattle, it was off to three distinct Northern California experiences. The White on Rice Couple began in the heart of wine country at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, one of their favorite properties, as it's dog friendly. And while their dogs were near their hearts, they didn’t make the physical trip. There was far too much indulging to do, starting with the complimentary wine tasting in the lobby. The couple enjoyed a perfect apéritif to prepare them for a prix-fixe dinner at the Michelin award-winning Santé Restaurant, where they had “one of the best lamb dishes” they’d ever tasted: a roasted ribeye of free range lamb, topped with tabbouleh, eggplant, minted yogurt and bordelaise aioli.
In addition to these luxurious meals, Todd and Diane visited Willow Stream Spa, one of the only resorts in the United States to source thermal mineral water. Relaxed muscles set the stage for a great game of golf at the championship Sonoma Golf Course, where Todd and Diane found it “super cool to be golfing across the street from beautiful and tranquil vineyards.” Back on the culinary track, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa next sent Todd and Diane to Kendall Mini Farm with Santé's Chef Andrew Cain to get as close to the farm-to-table revolution as possible, an experience they captured on film. They topped this afternoon off with a tour of Benziger Family Winery for a lesson in Biodynamic, organic winemaking. They found the winery's sustainable practices and caring nature heightened the taste of the already delicious wine.
After two blissful days in Sonoma Valley, Todd and Diane drove to one of the newest members of the Fairmont family, Claremont Club & Spa, located between Berkley and Oakland, and a hotel Frank Lloyd Wright called “one of the few hotels in the world with warmth, character and charm.”
While first admiring the hotel’s expansive San Francisco view, complete with Bay and Golden Gate bridges, Todd and Diane were soon drawn to the Hillary Tenzing Room with its rich blue walls and eclectic artifact display. A museum worthy collection comes from the items explorer Edmund Hillary found while traveling with his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay.
After the following day's “insanely delicious” meals at Limewood Bar and Restaurant and Meritage, the couple was grateful for the Claremont’s exclusive access to The Club and its lap pools, tennis courts and TechnoGym. A little calorie burning and endorphin releasing prepared them for their third Northern California culinary-inspired getaway, this time in San Francisco.
Fairmont San Francisco, located on Nob Hill, is just steps away from the San Francisco trolley and the city’s endless adventures. Naturally, Todd and Diane were most interested in making gastronomic discoveries, so Fairmont San Francisco arranged two food tours, one with the hotel and another with local guru, Foodie Chap. From there it was on to cocktails in The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, the oldest operating tiki bar in the country. Loosened up, the couple then hosted their own fabulous soirée in none other than the hotel's 6,000-square-foot penthouse suite, which has welcomed stars such as JFK and Mick Jagger. One of the couple's favorite features of the suite was the two-story circular library's secret passageway. Filmmakers that they are, Todd and Diane’s video documented their swanky shindig to inspire their friends and fans to host their own glamorous party.
A gourmet breakfast overlooking the city rounded out their Northern California vacation and leaving paradise is never easy, so The White on Rice Couple vowed to return soon knowing there’s far more food and drink to discover.
Feeling hungry? Take on the White on Rice Couple's culinary adventure in Seattle and Northern California, or create your own. There's a culinary journey for all tastes.
Courtney Lochner is a writer based out of Chicago but frequently escaping to Europe. Passionate for all things food, wine and travel, her work has been published in magazines like Glamour Magazine, Inspirato, and Runway Live, and her short story became a film produced by Moxie Pictures.