Fancy Date Night, Tacoma Style.

Fancy Date Night, Tacoma Style.

I am, by no means, a high roller. That said, every once in a while, a splurge is in order. A time to enjoy the finer things in life and spoil yourself a little.

My husband and I were due for a fancy pants date night, and on Friday, we did it right with dinner at El Gaucho Tacoma and a stay at Hotel Murano. A staycation, you might call it. I call it an excuse to dress up emerge from my hoodie-wearing cocoon of our seemingly endless gray PNW days.

Though I have toured Hotel Murano before, I had not had time to really appreciate the unique view that greeted us upon checking into our 23rd floor king bed patron suite. You can see everything from Mount Rainier to the tide flats up there, and it’s spectacular day or night.

I’m equally in love with the hotel’s modern decor, cool colors and special touches. I’ve stayed in great hotels all over the country, and the Murano does it right in the details.

Staying on the patron floors, or the top couple floors of the hotel, gets you access to the business center (with more amazing views and amenities) and a complimentary continental breakfast.

When you stay at this hotel, exploring is a must. Each floor features a different glass artist, and the lobby and BITE restaurant are more like an art gallery than a typical hotel.

After exploring the hotel and getting sufficiently gussied up, we were ready for dinner.

Though not technically Valentine’s Day, El Gaucho continued their Valentine’s specials through the weekend. The normally older crowd of my favorite upscale Tacoma restaurant gave way to a more mixed customer base of couples of all ages celebrating all things love.

Perhaps my favorite thing about El Gaucho is the restaurant space itself. Stepping through the heavy wooden doors and down the dramatic staircase into the dimly lit dining room never fails to transport me to an earlier time when dining out meant a certain level of swank and sophistication, a la Mad Men.

We were both craving seafood this visit, and my sweet and succulent Barents Sea King crab leg hit the spot. They’re the biggest crab legs I’ve ever seen. I can only eat one. The one time I ordered two, I didn’t make it even close to eating both of them. My husband ordered one of the fish specials, a blackened Ahi tuna, his favorite fish.

Dinner at El Gaucho for us always means two things that aren’t to be missed: their lobster mashed potatoes and roasted sweet corn. Both are super rich, but what’s a fancy date night out without a little overindulgence? Also a prerequisite for us, their tableside Caesar salad, spiked with savory, salty anchovy

To finish, a classic creme brulee for me, and another of my husband’s favorites, the banana bread pudding.

Though I have no photos of our meal (it’s quite dark in there and photos wouldn’t turn out, not to mention I was on a special date), I can assure you it both looked and tasted every bit the part of an upscale seafood and steakhouse. Every time I dine at El Gaucho, I appreciate the consistent quality of the product. I can order the same menu items each time, and things are as they should be. There’s a certain value in that in itself. Also, with each visit, the service never fails to be impeccable, which makes the whole experience complete. A lovely night indeed.

We followed up our stay with breakfast at BITE in the hotel. I ordered the West of Denver omelet, and my husband had the Pacific frittata. As if he didn’t have enough seafood the night before, he really enjoyed this crab and asparagus egg dish. My Denver omelet was pleasantly packed with ham and caramelized onions. It was a great way to end our little getaway.

Have you ever had a local staycation? What did you do?

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