Friday, December 30, 2011

City View 4

I can never seem to get enough of seeing the Space Needle.  It makes me smile each time it comes into my view, especially when it pops up unexpectedly in the background.

I have wondered if and when this phenomenon will wear off.  I also wonder if I will become immune to the breathtaking views with mountains in the background.  Most long-term residents say that it will wear off, without being able to say when.  A few people who have lived here many years say that it never wears off.  I tend to think that I will be in that category.  I have always tried to stop and smell the posies.

So this is just one, of what I am sure will be many, pictures of our views here in the Puget Sound.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Small Park, Big View

I haven't written about any parks for a while.  I have still been going on my hikes, but not as much.  The weather is not so motivating, though it is still typically temperate enough for most hikes.  I hope to try one up to some snow, but for now I am looking at a park that takes about 60 seconds to walk from one end of the other.  This is perfect for borderline weather because you can take a car or bus and be done in just a few minutes.

 This is the Louisa Boren Lookout Park.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Window Shaping

It was exciting once again living in a larger city with a vital downtown during the holiday season.  Honestly, I did most all of my present shopping in Capitol Hill supporting smaller businesses.  However, it was a joy to go downtown into the shopping area during December.  In shopping malls that time of year, people seem stressed and hurried.  On Pine Street, people were smiling and festive.  It was just as crowded as a mall, but people seemed much happier to be there.  I guess there IS something soul-sucking about the mall.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Lights

Some lights and decorations from around town.  Not the most or the best, just some I saw and thought were interesting and fun.

Nube window in Capitol Hill

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Stuff Around Town 5

I keep saying I am going to write something, but this time of year, who am I kidding.  But I have been out taking lots of pictures of lights, so they will be up this weekend.  For now enjoy this video.

Someone's apartment balconies in Belltown.   

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Get Lit in Greenlake

Another cool thing about this city.  Each year, people line the path around the lake at Green Lake with luminaries.  Then people dress up themselves and their pets in lights and parade around the lake.  It is a beautiful sight.  Unfortunately, I could only see a taste of it this year, so I hope to see the whole thing next year.

Here is one of the dogs waiting for his entrance into the park.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Scotch in Ballard

I have to admit I am excited about the McLeod's Scottish Pub opening tonight in Ballard.  It is from the owners of Poquito's and Bastille.  I think that Poquito's food is hit or miss and I have not eaten at Bastille, but both have incredible atmospheres and great drinks.  So I am sure the atmosphere will be great and I love Scotch Whiskey.  They will serve 50 of them and hope to have 100 more within the year.  I cannot wait.  I am going to go right now and see if I can find some change under the sofa cushions to fund an outing. 

Local Cereal

I love finding unique local products and supporting local businesses.  Sometimes it takes a bit more effort than shopping at giant (though convenient stores).  Luckily, living in Seattle there are not as many big box stores to go around and even some of the chains that are here like to support local business.  It is awesome to discover a product that is readily available (and of which you might already be a fan) is local.  Such was the case for me with Cascadian Farms.  I supported them long before moving to Seattle.

I eat massive amounts of cereal these days.  Not having a 40 hour work week, I am always eating at home.  So I am always trying to find the best deals on the most healthy cereals.  Some locally made granolas are tasty, but not inexpensive (or even that healthy), so are a rare treat.  I was happy to find that Madison Market and local groceries carry a brand called Nature's Path, and I was even happier to find out that it is made locally.

The cereals are delicious and healthy.  I have tried almost every flavor now and have liked almost all of them.  The cranberry ginger sounds good on paper, but the fruit and ginger had the consistency of cardboard.  A rare miss for this company.  Right now I am eating the Heritage, made from ancient heirloom whole grains.  It goes great with bananas.  Give this company a try. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Stuff Around Town 3

From a community center in Capitol Hill
It is an inflated carousel with Christmas character riders.  It is actually revolving on the inside.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Light Party

This is in an apartment, and it runs like this every night.

If anyone is home, how does this not drive them crazy?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bar Notes 2


You may have read that Rachel Marshall (of Rachel's Ginger Beer Fame), along with Kate Opatz and Adam Peters, have opened a bar in lower Capitol Hill on Olive Way.  They will sell the Ginger Beer next door.  I went and Montana is a great little bar.  Nothing fancy or pretentious; just a good hangout.  I will write more about it and my love for Rachel's Ginger Beer soon.

 Moscow Mule


I wrote about this before.  It seems that the opening has been pushed back to early 2012.  Work on the space has slowed down because of the holidays.  Rather than freak out, they decided to just take their time and get it right.  Cannot wait.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Little People Have Bigger Trees

The saddest little "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree I ever did see.  Actually, even Brown's tree was about three times taller.  This one is less than two feet tall.  As you can see, the tag is about as long as the tree is tall.

It was so sad that the employee at the QFC said she was sort of hiding it in the bushes so that people did not really think that it was for sale.  The price was $16.  As she said, I think they just lopped off the top of a much larger tree.  I think she had the best interest of the company in mind because this tree was embarrassing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unicorn Love

As much as I love exploring the city and trying new places, I also love to return to places I already discovered.  With limited dollars, it is sometimes difficult to chose between venturing out and returning to the tried and true.  Unicorn is one place I return to again and again.

Why?  Good question.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Move Over Brits, Local Gin is Here

I love to drink.  I also love supporting local businesses.  Across the country, there has obviously been a long wave of local breweries opening.  I have supported that movement since its inception.  I have sometimes supported that movement to excess.  I have also supported the craft cocktail movement (again sometimes to great excess - liquor is quicker).  Of course that often meant buying booze from giant multinational corporations.  Now, Seattle is again on the forefront of the craft distillery movement (calling it a movement sounds more high-minded than just drinking local booze).  There has been a boom of local distilleries.  Several have opened just since I moved to Seattle six months ago.  Several more are on the horizon over the next year.

I plan to sample each and every one of them (just in the name of journalism of course), but I am going to begin with Sound Spirits.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Holiday Stuff I See Around Town

Not sure this was for the holidays as it shows little traditional holiday trimmings, but it was stuck on a post in front of a house (and was not there before this week).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Future Transit

I am a big fan of mass transit.  I would not have moved to this city if it did not have decent transit, but it is also the promise of future expansions that made the place attractive.  The underground light rails and above-ground street cars are going to make this city so much more attractive and livable.  Someday we may even catch up to Portland.

While I was already well aware of the line being constructed from the University of Washington to downtown (through Capitol Hill), and the streetcar that they are about to start on (from Capitol Hill to the International District), I was unaware of the plans beyond that.  I did know that some people are trying to get a line run to Ballard (and I totally support that).  I did not know that the UW line will keep going north some years after the current line is finished.  I recently discovered these cool videos of simulations the constructions sites (and thus where the stations will be). The first is of the Brooklyn Station.  This will be located right off of 45th in the University District, right next to that tall building with the "U" on top.  This will be so convenient for getting to the funky shopping and cheap ethnic food of the U District, though buses already do a pretty damn good job.

The other station is the Roosevelt station, located further north. This will be near 65th street and serve the Ravenna and Greenlake neighborhoods.  

The line will then continue north to Northgate.  This is all several years in the future, but it is still good to know.  The videos may be a little esoteric, but I found them interesting.  Call me a geek, if you like.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stuff I See Around Town 19

For anyone not in Seattle who doubts that art is everywhere here (and I am not talking about myself), I give you...
Just installed on a fence in front of a house in a residential section of Capitol Hill

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Root Table (review)

I just love this quirky little place.  I know that sounds a bit condescending, but "quirky" really fits this place, and it is definitely a compliment.  The minute you walk into this place, you know you are in for a different experience.  

I really liked the way that the place looked as soon as I walked in.  I knew I would want to return, so I hoped the food would be good.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dream House

New feature in which I just post pictures of houses I love in Seattle.  If anyone is fabulously wealthy and wants to buy me a Christmas present, one of these would suffice.

I just love the design of this place.  Sure it seems a little guarded, defensive even, but it does not quite reach bunker level.  I love the upstairs balcony (not sure if you can see the outdoor speakers) that has some privacy from the street and no doubt has a spectacular view.  The recessed entryway is cool too and I love that upside-down "L" shape that it forms.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Madrona Park - the secret park

The edge of Lake Washington is dotted with numerous little parks hugging the banks and offering beaches, views, picnic spots, boat launches, and prime trails for running and dog walking.  When you first drive down the road, your eyes are naturally drawn to the lake views and you miss the parts of some of these parks which jut back into the neighborhood on the other side of the road.  Madrona Park is perhaps the least noticeable of these parks.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Seattle is Nice

As I am busy exploring my buttocks off and showing the friends and in-laws the city, I have not had time to write this week.  I am gathering loads of good material.

In the meantime, I have a guest columnist.  Okay, so not really.  I am actually just posting a link to a cool article I read on CNN about a person who used to live hear visiting.  Some good stuff.  Check it out.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Halloween Fun

Yeah, so all the other blogs bring you pictures of great costumes wandering the streets of their neighborhoods.  Good for them.  How can I compete?  I was much too busy adjusting my codpiece the whole night to have time to take pictures of random strangers on the street (though I do with I had a picture of Matt's Mexican wrestler costume to post - it was good).  But I did find something else.

What do you do when you have a burning desire to give out candy to kids (or whoever), but you live on the second floor of an apartment building with no children?  How do you get in on this Halloween action?  First, you decorate your balcony.  Everyone else does ghosts and spiders and witches and tombstones, but you are a little more original.

Maybe make it look like a ship in the water (complete with sails).  Then...

Friday, November 4, 2011

City View III

a great view to get your weekend started right
(from a building in Capitol Hill)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stuff I See Around Town 15

A gate in the U-District

Magestic Bay in Ballard - great moviehouse

Seattle is a great city for independent movie theaters.  If there is a better city, I am not aware of it (and it must be a much larger city than Seattle).  “Independent movie theater” has two meanings and Seattle represents well in both categories.  There are great venues for all sorts of foreign and independent American movies, but there are also a good number of independently owned theaters showing Hollywood movies.  People here may not realize how rare this has become, as in most cities large national chains such as Regal run the vast majority of Hollywood movie screens.  


Monday, October 31, 2011

Let's Try this Skillet Diner Review Again

Seeing the lines waiting to get in at Skillet Diner, you would think that the image of Jesus had appeared in one of their biscuits.  And the way the local press and populace gush praise upon the place, you would think that they had developed the cure for cancer.  Given the hype and the fact that the concept began in a food trailer (and I love street food), I was, of course, eager to try this place.  The aforementioned lines were a barrier for a while, because  I do not usually plan ahead enough for meals to leave time for long waits before I start consuming whatever semi-edible things I can find lying around.  One magical afternoon, I was driving down Union, contemplating a snack, when I drove past Skillet.  There was nobody waiting outside.  After the required double-take, the car screeched to halt and I pulled over.  The errands could wait, but would this place live up to the hype?

The stakes were high...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Woodland Park, more than a zoo

As I was saying yesterday, Seattle is lousy with parks.  A 90 acre park would seem large in most cities, but here, it is across the street from a larger park.

Woodland Park...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Green Lake Park, more spectacular waterfront

Seattle has so many damn parks that they are often short distances from each other.  In many cases, there are even completely different parks right across the street from each other.  Seattle also has a crazy amount of water (and I am not talking about the rain).  Different parts of the city jut out into the Puget Sound on peninsulas.  So it is possible to look out over the sound from the city by looking West, North, South, or even East, depending on where you are standing.  Besides that, there are also canals (called “cuts” here) and lakes.  The largest is Lake Washington, which is Seattle’s Eastern boundary, but there are several lakes fully contained within the city.  This is one reason I call Seattle the “city of views.”  So many people have views of water.

I took a walk around Green Lake Park...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hey Dahlia

Volunteer Park has an amazing garden of Dahlia that is worth checking out.  I was not aware of dahlia until I move to Seattle.  Clearly I am a gardening hack. Previously, the names for Tom Douglas' Dahlia Lounge and Dahlia Workshop were totally lost on me.  I was really missing out, because these flowers are spectacular.  The colors are super vivid and intense, and the variety of shapes and sizes are amazing.  Some blooms are an inch or so across and some are bigger than a hand.  I could really yammer on and on about them, but wouldn't you rather see some?

And there are a bunch more...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gabriel Von Max at the Frye Art Museum

If you act quickly, there is still time to see Gabriel von Max: Be-tailed Cousins and Phantasms of the Soul, which is up until the end of the month.   If you are an art history buff, you need to see this quirky painter from the late 19th and early 20th century.  If you are more of a modern art fan, or not an art person at all, you still should see this show.  I know you are thinking "dry landscapes and still lifes and weirdly dressed old people."  Think again.  Actually, there are plenty of olden-times people, but they are interesting.  I swear.  And there are cool paintings of monkeys.  Everybody likes monkeys.  Best of all, this is all free!  Yes, the Frye Art Museum is always free.  A block away, on Madison, there are a couple of dive bars for post-viewing discussions, so you can make an afternoon of it.

keep reading...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bar Notes

Monday may seem like a weird time for bar notes, as some people are pledging never to drink again after a hard weekend.  Just consider this research for friends who like to drink.  Maybe by the end of the week, you will have decided to have just one drink this weekend.

 news after the jump...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hoptoberfest and Washington IPA contest in West Seattle

This is from the Washington Beer Blog.  I have not been to this place yet, but I love IPA's and I plan to try it out soon.

May the best IPA win:
It is Hoptoberfest at the Beveridge Place Pub. What exactly does that mean? Well, in short, it means that the Beveridge Place is dedicating a whopping 12 taps to a rotating selection of mostly local IPAs. It also means that the Bev is in the process of choosing a new house IPA for 2012 — the house IPA is the always-on-tap IPA at the Bev. Not only is it an honor for the winning brewery, but it also represents a lot of guaranteed keg sales.

What happens after that?

Stuff I See Around Town 11

nom nom

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Seattle Mariners and their "fans"

I remember riding into Seattle on a train from Portland about one and a half years ago.  It was on that trip that we decided to move here.  As you come into town on that train, you get a close-up view of Safeco field.  That giant roof with the big metal spines and tracks for moving.  The companion Century Link Field (formerly Quest) with its own metal spines.  


Monday, October 10, 2011

La Spiga (review)

La Spiga Osteria has the look of an expensive restaurant.  This goes a long way in explaining why I had never yet considered eating there.  It looks very cool from the outside and the location is very convenient to me.  I just thought I would go there someday when I was making a bit more money.  What a pleasant surprise when a nearby place was full and my friends were hungry and we ventured in here as a desperate alternative.