Date Night #9: Gauguin and Good Food at the Seattle Art Museum

I don’t know if the company that used to say “membership has its privileges” still uses that line, but it certainly applies to tonight’s date. As a member of the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau, 9 Cranes Inn staff – that would be me and my trusty technical consultant  (husband) – attended a special reception and viewing of the Seattle Art Museum’s Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise exhibit.

Truth be told, I’m not a huge Gauguin fan, but this exhibit is a pretty big deal, with the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) being the only U.S. venue for the show. It’s nicely done – there are the expected paintings of course, but who knew that the man did block prints and wood carvings as well? (Okay, probably lots of people know that, but I didn’t.) Anyway, the exhibit tells a coherent and captivating story about why the artist went to Polynesia in the first (and second) place and what he was trying to accomplish with his art during that time.

It took us just under an hour to go through the exhibit. Better students of art than I could spend more time, but hey, I did listen to every entry on the audio tour. Plus, we were hungry. With a 9 p.m. parking lot closure looming (more on that in a minute), we chose not to wander too far in search of food, and ended up at the museum’s own restaurant, Taste.

They could call it Tasty, for everything we had was excellent, if served ultra efficiently. Cocktails to start were imaginative and flavorful. Mike got the BLT, served in a martini glass and tasting exactly like its namesake, albeit puréed. I celebrated the reason for our visit to SAM with “Paull’s Voyage,” a refreshing martini made with cilantro-infused gin, dry vermouth, and lime. Mike’s red beet and pomegranate soup was a vibrant crimson and disappeared before I could take a photo. My simple green salad was sprinkled with a bright grapefruit vinaigrette that I’m going to try to reproduce at home. We shared two main dishes that weren’t huge but certainly enough to eat: scallops on mashed potatoes and a mushroom risotto.

It was fun to run into our friend and fellow innkeeper Korby from The Sleeping Bulldog B&B (who enjoyed his Alsatian pizza by the way), but it was all too brief a visit because of our parking curfew. Had we only done our homework, we could have taken advantage of the Gauguin parking special at the 3rd & Stewart Garage, where you get up to 4 hours for $6. Or, just take the #5 bus from our Seattle Bed & Breakfast to and from downtown for no more than $5 per person roundtrip.

We check these details out so you don’t have to. But you say you don’t have an invitation to a special showing of Gauguin? Just because we were special doesn’t mean you can’t be as well. At least if you get your discounted VIP tickets while staying at 9 Cranes Inn, you can show up at the museum and get the next earliest available time, rather than waiting in line with the masses. The Gauguin show runs at the Seattle Art Museum through April 29.

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