12.07.2010 by Andrea
Recently I have discovered I really enjoy the freedom my job allows for me to run errands midday and midweek. I have come to realize that I don’t do well going shoulder to the shoulder with the shopping weekend warriors.
I have stood in line for a store to open twice in my life. Once was for the iPhone 3 [which was totally worth it], and the second was in the dark hours of a Black Friday morning at a Fred Meyer. I was attempting to snag athletic socks for a good friend who was away at a college where there was no local Freddies. Apparently the deal is that good. I was back in bed before 7am.
So, while folks were pouring over the Thanksgiving ads, and mapping out their gameplan to divide and conquer the Black Friday sales, I was planning on avoiding the masses. At all costs. My plan was thwarted when my gal pal who recently relocated to Atlanta came back to town for the holiday weekend. For those of us who have lived in a city for any length of time and have established deep social roots and then moved away it can be somewhat of a frenetic whirlwind when you’re visiting and trying to see everyone in a short span of time. It was determined that the best midpoint for a mid-afternoon meetup would be down in Tacoma. Fun Lunch Friday, takes a roadtrip!
I was lucky that one of our good pals, T, is very familiar with Tacoma as it is part of her sales territory, so she offered to drive. Thank goodness. I might still be sitting at stop lights trying to figure out my way around the Tacoma Mall in the middle of holiday traffic. The bonus of going down to Tacoma was that my pal, JD, had promised me that we would eat at the Nordstrom Cafe Bistro. The Nordies Cafe Bistro is a hidden gem, I am a huge fan. Often I find myself seeking them out throughout my travels. There is something about them that is inviting, cozy, and familiar. Not to mention I really enjoy their Tomato Basil Soup.
The Tacoma Nordstrom underwent a beautiful renovation in 2008 and I had never set foot in the store. The holiday decor was breathtaking and the store itself is gorgeous. We headed up to the Bistro, where the line was out the door. JD and her entourage had grabbed us a table and were munching on an order of fries. The fries are sprinkled with what I presume is sea salt and rosemary. For the folks, like myself, who enjoy sauces for dipping – don’t shy away from the Kalamata Olive Dip that accompanies the fries.
I had been craving the Tomato Basil Soup, but I was told that the French Onion Soup was to die for. I love soups, and the way they warm your belly and instantly create an atmosphere of relaxation so I was game to try them all. The Bistro menu offers countless options. Collectively we were struggling with what to order and then we were let in on a little insiders secret. Some, as in not all, of the menu items you can order half portions of, and so of course that promptly made the picking and choosing easier.
I didn’t deviate from plan and was happy to hear the the soup du jour that day was the Tomato Basil.
JD’s sis sampled the Crab Bisque. I am sorry to say that in my haste to devour my own food [and everyones plates around me] some of my pictures turned out rather blurry, so I had to omit them. The Crab Bisque being one of them but if you google Nordstrom Cafe Bistro and click on “images,” [or this link] you can see a multitude of mouthwatering pictures. I added the Roast Turkey on Focaccia to my soup order. T, ordered the Cilantro Lime Shrimp salad, which looked like a piece of art. Another blogger, girl loves food, also documented her affinity for this particular salad. She even includes the recipe! The Roasted Chicken & Herb Goat Cheese alongside the Blue Cheese & Pear Salad was also split amongst several people.
What makes the Bistro so wonderful, besides the food is the people. The manager of the cafe, a bright & bubbly lady named Laura, works hard alongside her employees. She made special efforts to visit each table, during an extraordinarily busy day. We observed her refilling beverages, clearing tables, and being kind to her employees. It’s obvious that she has put together a team that has a genuine rapport with one another and that translates into them enjoying their work. Ensconced in the Nordstrom Bistro Cafe that afternoon it hardly felt like the hustle, bustle, and mayhem of the holidays had officially commenced in the wee hours of the morning. I can’t imagine a better place to meet with friends on Black Friday or any day for that matter.
We are now a week into December and the holidays are coming at full throttle. For those Seinfeld fans, I hope you are also excitedly counting down to Festivus! I’m headed back to the South this week, and have been informed I am going to be sampling fried pickles on this trip. Also, looking forward to sharing in the next blog post how Christmas Dinner came early for me this year.
Until next time, happy eating!
bistro photo: compliment of Nordstrom