Love & Wisdom

Come Here Often?

The Seattle Book of Dates is a fun romp through the region

By Seattle Mag February 16, 2024

Eden Dawn and Ashod Simonian

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

Eden Dawn and Ashod Simonian are married, but dating is very much on their minds. The couple just wrote The Seattle Book of Dates, published by Sasquatch Books, on the heels of their successful The Portland Book of Dates. The book is a playful, lighthearted look at various outings across the region for couples, singles with friends, or visitors. It is organized by neighborhood.

Dawn, a former style editor for Portland Monthly, recently became a Guinness World Record holder for producing the longest drag show in history. Simonian is a creative director known for advertising campaigns and packaging projects for the likes of Columbia Sportswear and Peet’s Coffee.

Following is an excerpt, as it appears on the book, detailing interesting places on the Eastside of Seattle.

EAST SIDE

Snobby types have been turning their noses up at the east side since before Bill Gates was born, but those unwilling to make the trek over Lake Washington are missing out on a whole swath of what greater Seattle has to dish up. Whether it be a posh getaway or just some unbeatable cheap eats, these burbs are more bumpin’ than they might let on.

GOES DOWN LIKE A FINE WINE

We firmly believe that a good date can be done on the cheap. But we also believe there are the times — big anniversaries, birthdays that end in zero, fabulous personal milestones — to go ahead and spend that money, honey. One way to plunk it down is a luxurious wine-filled weekend in Woodinville.

Book yourself two nights at Willows Lodge, the posh place located on a handful of acres along the Sammamish River Trail. You could easily hunker down for the duration at the resort, which boasts rooms that include two-person soaking tubs, stone fireplaces, and balconies perfect for coffee drinking and pointing out pretty birds. Then there’s the relaxation pool in a Japanese-inspired courtyard and a full spa with detox wraps, deep-tissue massages, and aromatherapy facials. Or borrow a pair of bikes from the concierge and pedal around the riverside trail before having dinner in the lodge’s Fireside Lounge or Barking Frog restaurant.

But let’s say you do have the urge to leave the love den for a bit. There are more than one hundred wineries in the area, but given the nature of wine tasting (you know, drinking alcohol), we suggest hitting the ones within an easy walk. Try lounging out at The Deck at DeLille Cellars (in the old Redhook brewery) where you can sun and sip everything from a cucumber and Asian pear–noted Chardonnay to a round red-blend mix of Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah. Also a short meander? Novelty Hill-Januik Winery acclaimed winemaker Mike Januik released his first Columbia Valley harvest back in 1984, so you could say he’s been around the barrel. The winery expanded their outdoor space in 2022, meaning you can now roam both upper and lower gardens and go full Euro leisure by rolling some bocce balls.

Let’s say after a long day of playing the part of Dionysus, you want a break from wine. It could happen. Try paying a visit to 21 Acres Farm Market, a climate-focused market selling local produce from area farms that is all sustainably grown and pesticide-free; the market is surrounded by lovely scenery, including a summer wildflower field. The deli offerings are legit and full of food from the area, like hummus veggie wraps with Woodinville grown lettuce and roasted leek scapes or pasta salads with local mozzarella and French breakfast radishes.

Before you pack up for the weekend, make the time (and liver space) to pop into Woodinville Whiskey Co. for an affordable tasting flight that includes ninety-proof port cask-finished bourbon whiskey, a rye whiskey, and even a barrel-aged maple syrup! Make a reservation in advance for a distillery tour if the mechanical stirring of golden booze is a personal turn-on. Post-tasting, inch next door to the Hollywood Tavern. In the area since the 1940s, this place gives you all the things you want in a country roadhouse: lawn games, a firepit, deep-fried pickles, and chocolate–peanut butter milkshakes.

Illustration from the book

Ashod Simonian

FOR OLD TIME’S SAKE

Looking for a nice little day trip to sharpen your hunting skills? Try heading to Snohomish for antiquing — truly the more imaginative version of The Most Dangerous Game. There are dozens and dozens of stores in the area offering everything from cheapie egg cups to ornate, high-end furniture. Start by meandering First Street, where the window shopping is good but the diving in is even better. Get lost combing through shelves of mid-century crackle glass vases in all colors of the rainbow, delicate gold-rimmed flower teacups, or even phones from before they were smart. It’s worth noting owners of antique stores sometimes have a reputation for being cantankerous, especially when they think you might touch (and possibly break) something, so take care maneuvering through the aisles.

If you’re ready for some history, this time of the potentially haunted variety, pay a visit to the Oxford Saloon. Built in 1900, it’s had various business incarnations over the years, ranging from dry goods store to brothel to saloon. And in some of those dealings, violence was a regular occurrence (more likely during the brothel and saloon eras, rather than fisticuffs over the selling of flour and buttons, but perhaps things got spicy in the mercantile). One creeper ghost you might want to keep an eye out for is Henry. Henry was a cop who hung around the saloon a lot and was killed when a bar brawl turned into a knife fight. He shows up the most in the women’s bathroom, where many have reported not only seeing him but being pinched by him. Whatttt?

Now that you have the important facts, you can choose whether or not to order a drink with your jalapeño poppers or opt for dehydration to avoid Ol’ Henry. But if you’re there in the evening, stick around for one of their live shows, which can include everything from acoustic jams to an Elvis tribute band.

All rights reserved. Excerpted from The Seattle Book of Dates by permission of Sasquatch Books.

©2023 Written by Eden Dawn and Ashod Simonian.

TASTING MENU

You know that thing when you’ve been dating awhile and one person says, “What should we do for dinner tonight?” and the other stares blankly in response? This is the cure for that, namely, a trip to Bellevue’s Bel-Red neighborhood where a mile-long strip of Asian restaurants await to fill your bellies gloriously full. Sit underneath the col lage of glowing neon signs at Spicy PoPo for a dragon-adorned bowl with sizzling Szechuan Fish or load up on Taiwanese pickled cucumber and sautéed green bean sprouts from MonGa Café. Or maybe you wanna chomp into some chewy, delicious dumplings (a definitive cure for work stress)? Try the Xiao Long Bao at Supreme Dumplings. Ooooh, and don’t forget about the crunch taro patties at Sukhothai Restaurant. Heck, just zoom around your map app and form a progressive plan for appetizers, entrées, and dessert at any place that entices you with their menu. Before you head out, stop into the Asian Family Market for a bubble tea (if you’ve got room), and pick up the ingredients to re-create the favorite thing you just ate.

Follow Us

She's the Boss

She’s the Boss

Nina Christofilis created her business-oriented podcast, Ladyboss, in high school

Nina Christofilis launched her Ladyboss podcast while still in high school. Ladyboss is focused on interviewing women in business about their path to success, with the goal of empowering younger women. Photo by Katie M. Simmons

The Youth Debt Crisis

The Youth Debt Crisis

How parents can help

As Gen Z seeks to gain stronger financial footing, parents or caregivers can help by understanding that Gen Z’s experiences are vastly different from their own...

What I’ve Learned from 50 First Dates

What I’ve Learned from 50 First Dates

Some lessons are obvious, but you'd be surprised

I’ve tried to think long and hard about what makes one date good and another terrible, or why I went out with one guy three times and another guy only once...

Match Game 

Match Game 

Online dating requires skill. Here’s a simple guide.

Your profile is the digital first impression. Unlike the real world, you can’t rely on natural charm, inexplicable chemistry, pheromones, or other intangibles humans have used to attract a mate for millennia. Everything boils down to the pivotal profile. The reality is, most people spend between three to seven seconds on a profile before swiping