A look at a hip and happening block of Madison Valley in Seattle.

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The hipness of Seattle’s Madison Valley can be summed up by my favorite block of East Madison Street, between 28th and 29th Avenue East. This is the land of affordable used Armani suits, Jimmy Choo shoes and three French restaurants.

I reckon if the girls from “Sex and the City” ever had an airport delay at Sea-Tac, they would hop in a taxi and slip in here for a few hours with lipstick-stained lattes in hand.

For French chef Thierry Rautureau, this French-and-fashion block is reminiscent of a European street, a tiny French Quarter perhaps.

There should be a street sign in Rautureau’s honor. His James Beard Award-winning Rover’s opened here in 1987, when few would dare to walk these blocks at night.

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Two of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants, The Harvest Vine and Nishino, also reside nearby. But most people forget that in 1991, Café Flora brought in the hip and the young by showing that vegetarian food is more than just tofu.

And I won’t even venture to guess why Madison Valley is home to dozens of therapists, though Rautureau offers up this theory: “I think once they heard there was a crazy Frenchman in Madison Valley, they all moved in.”

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com

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