*Oops… I started this post over a year ago when we visited Seattle for a major odometer-flip birthday. Better late than never, right? Especially since we’re planning on returning for dinner real soon…

Seattle’s outstanding Italian restaurant, Assaggio, just sort of snuck up on us. It turned out to be, by heaps and hounds, the highlight of our trip.

On our way to the Chihuly Glass Museum, we were reading menus posted outside restaurants, scouting out lunch options, when Amy appeared behind us, organizing something on the sidewalk.

Amy: Coming in for lunch?

Me: Well, we’re giving ‘er a think…

Amy: If you don’t see exactly what you want, we’re flexible.

This turned out to be both an understatement and a promise listed right on the menu.

We had no idea just how happy they would make us, but 2.5 fabulous hours later, we left very, very happy.

Amy turned out to be not only a psychic server, but also the most skilled, accessible and super friendly sommelier we’ve ever encountered.

It all started with the olive oil dipping sauce, stuffed with garlic, sundried tomatoes, capers, rosemary, and possibly heroin, given how mind-bendingly delicious and addictive it was.

Even though it’s served in a cute carafe that pours without dripping, they also provide a SPOON, so obviously we were intended to enjoy the goodies, right?

Amy refilled our olive oil and “goodies” three times. And this for people who “don’t eat carbs.”

Sometimes, you just need to know when to break the rules.

Once it became evident we had solidly marched into the “go big or go home” carb consumption zone, Rick asked Amy if they had any of the bread heels in the kitchen, since nothing, NOTHING, satisfied a carb-deprived palate like a basket of super-crusty fresh Italian bread.

She appeared moments later with ALL the ends, piled blissfully high in a basket, with our second refill of oil.

This is what I mean by Assaggio snuck up on us. I didn’t even realize I should have been taking pictures from the moment we entered. We had already eaten half the basket by the time I thought, “Hey! I think I may need to blog for the first time in forever about this!”

But photos don’t always capture what makes a lifetime-memory meal special. 

It was how Amy, Kelly the bartender, and entire kitchen staff made us feel like instant friends. We laughed, drank wine, sampled way too many fine Italian Amari (Rick and Kelly even created what we believe to be the world’s first “Sicilian Old Fashion”), talked politics, travel, and what it takes to become a master sommelier, and we ate.

Boy, did we eat. A year later, I still remember rolling out of the restaurant in the most delightful carb coma of my lifetime.

Amy and I have now been friends on Facebook for over a year. I snuck along with her amazing trip to Italy last May, commiserated over some distressing wind damage to a cherished tree in her front yard, and delighted in their recent adoption of the world’s most spunky rescue parrot, Miss Mel. So when I say that the “instant friends” experience was authentic, well… #word.

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