An Arrogant Bastard Mellows Overnight in Bellevue

Why would a Seattle food writer overnight in Bellevue when the west side of Lake Washington has plenty of eating, entertainment, and excitement?

It was the soothing promise of supper, sleep, a sweet and savory breakfast, and a scrub at a spa. Oh, and some snowflakes. Yes, even I put my “bah, humbug!” sentiment aside watching all the holiday characters come to life at the Bellevue Collection Snowflake Lane.

My base for the getaway experience was the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. I basically parked the car, dropped the bags in the room, and then strolled outside into the snowflaked festivities. The Hyatt is ideally situated for shopping at the adjacent Lincoln Square and Bellevue Square malls, but my next move was a walk across the street to Black Bottle Postern.

This Black Bottle plays to a little different crowd than the hipster-filled Belltown location, as families, for example, stop in during their days of shopping. And why not, as Black Bottle bills itself as “a casual tavern committed to great eating and drinking at fair prices.” My first order was a bottle of Stone Brewing Company’s Arrogant Bastard Ale. The label says “You’re not worthy,” and their promo says “You probably won’t like it.” I loved it—hoppy and caramel-like as it was—and then I went on to enjoy much of the meal I ordered, including the famous “broccoli blasted.”

From Black Bottle it was back to the hotel for a quiet and comfortable evening. High up in the tower, I savored the view back to my beloved Seattle before going to sleep.

I’ll admit: I was a total skeptic about Eques, the Hyatt’s one restaurant on the property, serving breakfast only. I’m not a believer in buffets, and had thoughts of skipping out to try something different. But the buffet looked great (hello, red velvet pancakes), featuring lots of locally sourced ingredients, including Salumi meats. Besides, it’s also possible to order off the menu, which features “classic breakfast favorites with a Pacific Northwest spin.” And thanks to the kind staff, I sampled a decent chunk of the menu, like the delicious “425 pork and eggs.”

I didn’t want to eat too much (or drink coffee), though, as breakfast was followed by my much-anticipated visit to Yuan Spa. On my menu: a Couples Yuan Signature Chinese Body Scrub Ritual. This nearly two-hour treatment was both relaxing and energizing.

My partner and I had the first appointment of the day. If you’d like longer opportunity to take advantage of the hydrotherapy spa area, I recommend booking a later appointment. But even the first slot gets you early entry (30 minutes) to enjoy the hot and cool sea salt pools (with a salt scrub bar), the cedar sauna room, and the eucalyptus “twilight” steam room—with instruction to steam for ten minutes before your scrub to soften the skin, relax the muscles, and aid in detoxification.

Then the two of us were off to side-by-side tables in a treatment room, where we felt like we were traveling through the most exotic car wash. It went something like this: head-to-toe scrub (not harsh, like a typical Korean scrub, but firm enough to exfoliate), rinse, lather, rinse, brief break back in the hydrotherapy area, full body moisturizing that integrates massage, facial cleansing (yes, cucumbers on the eyes and face), more moisturizing and massage (the massage feels like a bonus in this treatment!), hair washing, scalp massage, rinse, and dry.

This body scrub ritual feels a little more intimate than other spa treatments, but the workers are professional and do proper draping. Besides, the whole experience, in addition to leaving the skin so soft, is incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating that you won’t care what’s going on or where you are—though let me remind you: Bellevue.

Check out the photos below for all the food and more.

(And thanks to Visit Bellevue Washington for their assistance with the trip.)

Yellowfin tuna sashimi poke at Black Bottle Postern. Nice big pieces of fish, but a little heavy on the green onions.

I was excited to try Black Bottle’s flatbread, especially this version with spicy fennel sausage, dandelion greens, and fresh mozzarella. But this was my least favorite dish of the night, akin to Safeway’s treatment of a bagel: too bready.

Better is Black Bottle’s “broccoli blasted.” Mmm…the richness of roasted vegetables.

Black Bottle’s hanger steak was my favorite dish of the night. This cut of beef is underrated.

One more from Black Bottle: passion fruit sorbetto and guava gelee. I especially liked the addition of black sea salt.

A look inside the comfortable hotel room. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt Regency Bellevue.)

Part of the buffet at Eques, the hotel’s restaurant. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt Regency Bellevue.)

Eques’ “425 Pork & Eggs,” served with two cage-free eggs and tortillas. The pork shoulder braises for about 425 minutes (7 hours), and the potatoes are perfectly browned. I especially like the variety of sauces/smears on the plate, including the avocado. Delicious!

A little sampler plate that Eques put together for me: eggs Benedict with locally smoked salmon and dill cream on the left (you can also get them with shaved prosciutto and citrus cream, or Alaskan Dungeness crab and caper cream) and short ribs on Beecher’s cheese grits with onion jam on the right.

There’s always French toast on the menu at Eques, and when it’s fried like this one, it’s addictively delicious. I love the use of stone fruit as well.

When you need to relax in Bellevue, Yuan Spa is just outside the doors of the Hyatt. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Barta.)

Here’s the hydrotherapy area of Yuan Spa. Take time to enjoy the hot and cold pools, the sauna and steam room, and the salt scrub bar. You can get entry to this area on its own, or as a prelude to one of Yuan’s many treatments, which range from acupuncture to facials to massage. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Barta.)

Black Bottle Bellevue on Urbanspoon

Eques on Urbanspoon

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