Thursday, July 5, 2012


Seattle is, like, four episodes of Friends reruns from Los Angeles on Virgin America, and I finally visited there last weekend. Flew up Thursday afternoon and got to see the Space Needle from space! Well, the air. That's cool. Met my friend Lucy and took the Seattle Link from the airport, which is absolutely the best and cheapest way to go from the airport to downtown Seattle. Stayed in Belltown at Hotel Five, which is a nice, not-too-pricey boutique hotel next to Top Pot Doughnuts and a block or two from this.
We took a cab to Volunteer Park in the middle of rush hour, which was perhaps a bit stupid and certainly pricey. We climbed up to the top of the Water Tower, which has a great, if latticed, and free view of Seattle and was fairly empty. Good stairs. The first Thursdays at many museums, including the Seattle Asian Art Museum, are free, so we went inside the park branch of the museum and checked out some Uzbek robes. They were gorgeous. I bought a few cards and a dragon-reindeer ornament at the gift shop and took a picture of the Space Needle through the Black Hole Sun Chris Cornell was singing about in one of my fave songs.
Then we walked down to Pike/Pine and had dinner at Quinn's Pub. I highly recommend the halibut (though I wish it came with more gnocchi) and pretzel with Welsh rarebit. Bought a signed copy of the new Peter Carey at the Elliott Bay Book Company and we got AMAZING custard at Old School Frozen Custard. Fantastic. The next morning we had biscuits at Serious Biscuit on Westlake (Tom Douglas stop 1) and took the bus up to the Gasworks. No one there really, but just a cool view of downtown Seattle and a weird, awesome, crazy park. Love.
Then we walked to Theo and had a chocolate tour. If you want to taste chocolate but not suffer through a sometimes dull hour, just check out their store, which is a bit of a sample heaven. Can I recommend getting the milk chocolate-almond bar? Delish. The s'mores thing is a bit underwhelming, so feel free to skip that, s'mores fans. We took the bus back and walked through Pike Place. The giant poppies for sale were amazing, and I love a good peony, but the market wasn't really my thing. Lucy bought a pen, and then we had a margherita and a potato pizza at Serious Pizza, where a police horse tried to enter through the front door. After the late lunch, we took a break and just hung out in the room.
Dinner was Palace Kitchen. Very dark in the back, but good food. Saturday morning we grabbed a quick breakfast at Dahlia Bakery and then wonderful hocho at Monrorail Espresso and then headed to the EMP Museum via the monorail, which is a good way to arrive there, as you'll see.
The EMP Museum is brilliant. The Icons of Sci-Fi exhibit had just opened up and had models and props from such films as The Matrix, Men in Black, Terminator, and so on, but the best part is the Sound Lab upstairs where you can learn hooks on the keyboard. Cool, playful museum for adults. Best activity in Seattle.
There's also this guitar-nado.
We had lunch at Steelhead Diner (I got poutine without gravy and pan-roasted broccoli, what?), and then we grabbed the ferry for Bainbridge. Little bait thingamajigs line the divider between tables at Steelhead. One with "jungle cock" sides was right next to me.
It's a cheap ferry ride, and the ferry itself is pretty cool. On the trip over, we had to stop while they ran a man overboard drill because apparently some drunk guy had fallen off the week before. Then this guy stood in front of us as we waited to depart.
Nice. Here's the deal: Bainbridge is cool. Ish. But the Winslow little village area is kind of dull. There's a nice bookshop and the ice cream at Mora's is good, but it's nothing to blog home about. BUT randomly at the marina there are these crazy rock sculptures everywhere.
Can you dig it? I can. On the way back, the entire Bainbridge High class of 2012 as well as a bachelorette party were on the boat, but we managed to avoid both annoying groups altogether. We had dinner at Fuji Sushi, which had really nice chicken Katsu, and walked a long way back to our hotel. At some point we went to Olympic Park, which is small, but a good place to chill and take pictures.
Sunday morning we had a leisurely breakfast at Dahlia Lounge, then walked to REI headquarters, which is impressive if you've never been to LL Bean in Freeport. Now THAT'S a flagship store. We had lunch at the TOTALLY GANGSTER Lunchbox Laboratory, which was quite delicious.
Then we headed back to the hotel, took the Link back to Sea-Tac, and flew out. Great trip.
In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen