Bonjour, Governor

Linda Burton posting from Olympia, Washington – Lavender? Chipotle Chocolate? Strawberry Margarita? Cupcakes by the dazzle sit before me arrayed on china plates and perched in baskets on a stand, their names in silver holders, tucked into a glass case framed in walnut, in a room of crystal chandeliers. The sugar-plum fairy has surely been here, lives here, runs the place! I approach in awe, a lavender cupcake? That will be my first choice; I’ve never had flowers-in-cake before. But look at that, chocolate with a pretty swirl on top, Fleur de Sel is what it tells me by its tag. Choice #2, a French delight. “May I help you?” lifts me from my reverie, and I have to say “I’m still thinking,” which I am. I must take three, no, make that four, to fit evenly in the box (and they’re just bite-size, I justify). Red Velvet will be #3; and then I agonize. Toffee? Honey Almond? No, I settle for Key Lime Pie; Key Lime Pie in a cupcake. I call my choices one by one; my treasures are cradled in a pretty box, presented to me with flair. What is this magic shop?

It’s a narrow little tea-time place called Bonjour Cupcakes; a mother-daughter team baking up fresh gourmet cupcake dreams with no artificial anything. Come in with a friend for a sweet treat and a freshly-brewed local coffee; they’ll cater your party too, or set up for any event. They’ll even teach you how to frost – come alone for a lesson, or bring your Girl Scout troop for a frosting afternoon; there must be a badge for that. It’s just a few steps back to my hotel; I have to stop at the front desk and show off my wares. “They’re works of art, too pretty to eat,” we agree. (But nevertheless, I will.)

I love my hotel. The staff is grand –let me tell you what Sandy did this morning when the crossword was missing from my paper (yes, the Olympian is on the front counter each morning for the guests; I grab one as I head for the breakfast room). She called the newspaper office and they brought one right over for me; somehow that section hadn’t gotten folded in. My kudos to the staff, and to the paper too! (It’s a darned good read.) I love my spacious room as well; they’re currently updating the hotel but my room still has the traditional look; it suits the cats and me. An easy chair right by the window, overlooking the square. This morning, in the sun, I saw the top of Mt Rainier peeping over the trees.

The complimentary breakfast is an awesome spread, overseen by May and her charming smile; she remembers every guest who’s been there more than a day. Housekeeping takes care of my needs just when I ask and wants to know if they can do more. Am I part of this family? It feels as though I am. There is no charge for the covered parking garage and a bus stops right out front where a free shuttle will haul me to the other end of town, if I don’t want to drive. But why not walk? I’m two blocks from the State Capitol and Capitol Lake is out the back door. I’m across the street from Sylvester Square and the park. Go to the corner; at dinnertime Adesso for Mediterranean is one way and Urban Union for northwest specialties the other; lunch at Happy Teriyaki (their tempura and rice made my day); or hang out with coffee at Starbucks. Just past the corner is a little grocery store, pizza and art and the coffee roasting place. And almost next door is Bonjour Cupcakes. Why be anywhere else?

Bonjour Cupcakes, 609 S Capitol Way, 360-515-0564,

The Governor Hotel, 621 S Capitol Way, 360-352-7700,

The Urban Onion in the former Olympian Hotel,

Adesso, A Culinary Hotspot, Rudy Viggiano, Owner,