Monday, October 27, 2008

Have Corporate AMEX, Will Eat

While in Seattle, I had a chance to entertain my boss and a few teaming partners. I arrived Monday night, and I went straight to the hotel. Tuesday morning arrived way too early and started with a conference call for an east coast project. From that call, I hopped in my teaming partner’s truck and was whisked from the downtown Westin and onto a small business parks near the harbor and Alki. After three hours in front of a white board—then decorated with my color coded markings—and high on those markers, I was starving.

We dined at Salty’s, overlooking the Seattle waterfront, decorated with moving barges and USCG boats. On a rare and gorgeous sunny day, we enjoyed the view and ate asiago cheese crusted halibut served over purple potatoes and accompanied by roasted pears. From lunch, he dropped me off at my downtown office, where I reviewed emails and made dinner reservations.

My boss arrived in Seattle at 1900, and an hour and half later, he found me already sipping on a Cote du Rhone at Purple. Knowing that he too is a wine snob, I picked the perfect place for the two of us to relax as we spoke of the next day’s strategy meeting. I feasted on their roasted pork tenderloin accompanied by sweet roasted apples and onions. The meal was delicious, as were the pumpkin-chocolate truffles we had for dessert. For wine, he ordered a sweet pinot noir from Williamette Valley, while the chef recommended an Oregonian pinot grigio that was tart against the sweet apples in my dish.

Not done with our conversation about office changes, we headed to Vessel, where the bourbon selection more than pleased my boss. I ordered a dark and stormy and those fabulous roasted notes and marinated olives they serve on the side. My boss ordered a flight of 4 bourbons and took notes on his pda to look for at least two of them in his Anchorage liquor store.

Early the next morning, my team and I locked ourselves into a conference room and do whatever it is you do at a strategy meeting. We invited our teaming partner to join us for lunch at Wild Ginger. Enclosed in a private dining room, away from the loud, regular, lunch crowd, our sampled spring rolls, and laughed at each other using chop sticks to eat soup. I ordered their Wun Tun Mein, a phenomenal soup with lo mein noodles and fried, chicken and shrimp filled dumplings.

Over the course of the afternoon, I rcvd notification of a new Request for Proposal (RFP). Eager to utilize my teaming partner’s past performance, I called our lunch companion to meet for dinner. Very much like the morning prior, he whisked me away from my office and through Seattle traffic exiting the city. The afternoon turned warm; convertibles with tops down whizzed past us, and there I was, highlighter in hand, systematically breaking down the components of the RFP and chatting about what past projects would meet the requirements.

We passed soccer families as we pulled into EIlliot Bay Marina and parked at Palisades. Opposite from Alki and downtown Seattle, our seats offered us a view of the marina—filled with sail boats—the sunset, the ferries pulling from the harbor and into the sound, and the lights atop the needle. We started with oysters Rockafeller and ordered a bottle of Firesteed Pinot Grigio. We unfolded our notebooks and outlined our response and charted our projects while the chef prepped our dinner. We took a quick break to eat cedar plank salmon (him) and seafood chop with shrimp and dungenous crab (me). We wrapped our notes and palates with dessert—a white chocolate cake with raspberry glaze.

When my head hit the pillow at 2130 PST (early for me, I know), I started to add up my receipts from the past three days. Thank goodness for corporate accounts, right?

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