Bellevue, Washington

As occasional visitors to Seattle, my husband and I head down the coast for a change of scenery, some great dining, craft beer discoveries, shopping and cultural offerings. Last weekend, we experienced Bellevue, Seattle’s little brother to the East.

Just 10 miles outside the Emerald City, Bellevue is a compact, easily-walkable city with shopping, museums, restaurants and cafés within its heart.

Bellevue Hyatt-13


We spent a couple of days here, based at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, part of the Bellevue Collection connecting the hotel via sky bridges to over 250 shops and 45 restaurants as well as Microsoft, Eddie Bauer, Expedia, Nintendo and T-Mobile’s corporate headquarters.

While we imagine that the Hyatt would attract a business clientele, we noticed many families and couples here to enjoy the long Easter weekend as well.

Bellevue Hyatt-1 Bellevue Hyatt-3

Upon check-in, we were upgraded to a luxurious suite on the 20th (top) floor, with access to the Regency Club for some great views over to Seattle from the 23rd floor. While the Regency Club is a great spot to enjoy light meals, a drink, or lounge in front of the TV, we soaked in the atmosphere of our plush suite, looking down on the city, enjoying the spaciousness and artwork on the walls and on the tables.

Bellevue Hyatt-4

The second floor contains the 7,000-square-foot Hyatt StayFit gym including rows of exercise machines, free weights, and a 25-meter heated pool for guest use. There’s many dining options located throughout the sprawling, modern complex, including Eques, where we enjoyed an amazing Easter brunch.

Bellevue Hyatt-8 Bellevue Hyatt-9

Joey’s Bellevue is just past the main entrance, inside the adjacent Bellevue Collection.

Bellevue Hyatt-6 Bellevue Hyatt-7

Eques really went all out on the Easter brunch, their dining room filled with food choices ranging from gourmet omelettes and carrot cake pancakes to smoked salmon, salads, ribs, and an array of Easter-themed desserts. We also noticed a separate children’s buffet set up with peanut butter and jelly mini sandwiches and other kid-friendly items.

Bellevue Hyatt/Eques Easter brunch Bellevue Hyatt/Eques Easter brunch Bellevue Hyatt/Eques Easter brunch

The Hyatt Regency Bellevue is located at 900 Bellevue Way NE in Bellevue, Washington.

Purple Café and Wine Bar


Enter through the massive steel door of Purple Café and Wine Bar and you’ll be greeted with high ceilings, racks of wines, steel accents, and wrought iron lighting fixtures. A circular staircase by the bar leads to yet more wine stock.

Purple Café and Wine Bar Purple Café and Wine Bar

Executive Chef Enrique Reza-Moreno and Sous Chef Jorge Ruiz offer an abundant array of dishes on the menu with a Northwest focus. Founded by husband and wife team Larry and Tabitha Kurofsky, the Purple family has grown to two additional eateries: Lot No. 3 and Barrio.

Purple Café and Wine Bar

Highly recommended here are the Dungeness crab cakes served with citrus and avocado salad in a red pepper remoulade ($18) and (if it’s on the special) the quinoa and brown rice bowl ($14) with grilled corn, tomatoes, roasted cauliflower, Lacinato kale, black beans, avocado cream and a fried egg on top. I’m looking into getting the recipe as I write this! Portions are good-sized and the flavours are well balanced.

Purple also offers an extensive international and American wine list by the glass and bottle, alongside local ales and a small-batch, hand-crafted whole leaf tea selection. We’ll return one day to experience their wine flights.

Purple Café and Wine Bar is located in downtown Bellevue at 420 106th Avenue NE.

Moksha Indian Restaurant

Arrive hungry when at Bellevue Square: MokSHA makes for a hearty dinner stop after a busy afternoon of touring and shopping.

MokSHA chicken tikka salad
[MokSHA chicken tikka salad]

MokSHA’s culinary offerings range from Punjab in the north to Tamil in the south. We ordered the Chicken Tikka salad ($13) with sliced chicken tikka, mixed spring greens, romaine, dried cranberries, cherry tomatoes, candied walnuts and wonton crisps all dressed in tamarind-citrus vinaigrette. Alongside a portion of garlic naan and tamarind chutney, this made a filling meal.

Moksha Indian Restaurant
[Malabar Alaskan halibut, creamy tamarind-coconut sauce]

A small plate of grilled chicken skewers ($9) are served in a spicy peanut sauce, perfect for enjoying with a glass of Taj Mahal beer ($7.50/22 oz. bottle).

Malabar Alaskan halibut ($25) is served in a creamy tamarind-coconut sauce and is seasoned with cumin, curry leaf, green chile, garlic and ginger. The sauce is great for dipping. MokSHA’s been open for two and a half years, with a modern look and lounge feel that stands out from a typical Indian restaurant.

Moksha Indian Restaurant

High ceilings, dark wood star cutouts on the walls, stenciled golden elephants and hanging lanterns add a welcome atmosphere to what appears to be a popular dining spot in town.

Seasonal cocktails, rotating IPA and ale, bottled red and white wines by the glass and A Bloody Shame – a virgin Bloody Mary (MokSHA’s official mocktail) – complete the libations list. Find MokSHA at 515 Bellevue Square in Bellevue.

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, Madeleine Albright collection
[Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil; photo by John Bigelow Taylor]

Explore Downtown

Bellevue Arts Museum is located right in the downtown core on 510 Bellevue Way NE and makes for an excellent post-lunch walk through its two main galleries (the third is currently changing exhibitions). Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection was the primary reason for our visit.

In December 1996, President Clinton nominated Madeleine Albright to serve as America’s 64th Secretary of State. She acquired an eagle pin to mark the occasion, and gradually, her pin collection grew to incorporate numerous one-of-kind designs and collectables from around the world.

Each pin tells a story and conveys a message; whether serious or humourous, Albright’s pins became her mark in the world of politics. For example, she’d rock a dragonfly when wanting her adversaries to wonder what on Earth was going on! Some pins were kept in reserve (e.g. the Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher), just in case diplomacy didn’t work out.

She wore an Atlas pin when relating her numerous responsibilities to her colleagues. Putin once confided to then-president Clinton that he routinely checked to see what brooch Madeleine was wearing on a particular occasion in order to sense her mood.

In 1997, Vaclav Havel bestowed Czech Republic’s highest honour upon Czech-born Madeleine, the Order of the White Lion, a medal made of gold and silver awarded to Czech citizens and foreigners alike for outstanding services to the Czech Republic.

Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box
[Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box (book cover photo detail); Diana Walker photo]

The above photo shows Madeleine wearing Dutch designer Gijs Bakker’s Liberty pin. The exhibit continues to June 7 and we highly recommend a look into the amazing bling on display.

Bellevue Arts Museum
[Manuela Castro Martins, Glass Lace I, 2013; Fused Glass]

Also at BAM through June 14 is Emerge/Evolve 2014: Rising Talents in Kiln-Glass. The exhibit showcases Emerge competition winners chosen by the Bullseye Glass Company, a Portland, Oregon-based factory and organization that promotes emerging glass art talent around the world as well as developing new methods of glass fabrication, facilitating research and eduction, and hosting collaborative artist residencies.

We also took a Sunday afternoon stroll around Bellevue Downtown Park with its half-mile loop promenade bordered by a canal and lots of green space to enjoy. Another great walk is through Old Bellevue, concentrated along Main Street between Bellevue Way SE and 100th Avenue NE.

The Eastside Heritage Center provided us with a self-guided walking tour map containing photos of Bellevue’s past. Comparing the old black and white photos with today’s Main Street is a stark contrast in both architecture and pace!

Oil and Vinegar, Bellevue Square


We knew we’d seen Oil & Vinegar elsewhere in the world as we wandered into their Bellevue Collection store: Holland! The Dutch-based company now has retail locations in numerous countries, including 20 stores in the USA and three in Canada (two in downtown Calgary, the third in Toronto).

According to Vice President/COO Debbie Gokhan, there’s a good chance that Vancouver will see an Oil & Vinegar shop down the road as the Calgary franchisee is keen on opening a West coast shop.

The shop is filled with oil and vinegar sampling areas, filling amphoras, as well as pastas, appetizers, spices, herbs, truffle products and gifts. Some of the oils here have won top honours in world competitions, including Morgenster EVOO, made from a South African winery that imports trees from Italy to produce extra-virgin olive oil that wins awards annually.

Oil and Vinegar, Bellevue Square

We admired the colourful, hand-crafted Italian pastas and learned that Italians use bronze molds in order to add texture to the noodles resulting in the sauce sticking better to them.

The EU has declared that balsamic vinegars can no longer contain numbers or descriptive words, so the current way of rating them is via medals and leaves on the bottles, denoting both density and viscosity. We also sampled Fruttati, a fruit-fermented balsamic vinegar. During an abundant fruit harvest, the centuries-old Italian tradition involves combining leftover fruit with balsamic vinegar, then slowly cooking the mixture, allowing the fruits to flavour the vinegar.

Bellevue Collection is filled with retail chains as well as locally-minded shops and restaurants, located at 575 Bellevue Square.

We were guests of The Hyatt Regency Bellevue for the purpose of experiencing downtown Bellevue courtesy of Visit Bellevue Washington. Our meals at Purple Café and Wine Bar, MokSHA, and Hyatt Eques were paid for (excluding tips). Opinions, as always, are my own. We’d also like to thank Roam Mobility for providing us with unlimited talk, text, and data coverage during our Washington adventures. Check out some of their well-priced plans the next time you’re headed across to the USA and Mexico.

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