Wednesday, July 9, 2014

West Coast Journey Part 1: Seattle

I realize I've been MIA this last week, but that's only because I was MIA. At least from my normal routine. Boyfriend+ and I headed over to the west coast for a friend's wedding. And we figured if we're coming ALL THE WAY OVER HERE, we may as well make a mini-vacation out of it and head up to Seattle before making our way down to LA. Because really, any excuse to get to Seattle.

Lucky you (or unlucky, if you're not a fan of travel posts) you get 2 posts. Part 1: Seattle!

We land, get our bags, pick up the rental car and immediately head to Paseo for sandwiches. I've talked about this sandwich before because it is the best thing ever. It's roast pork shoulder in this marinade that I'm pretty sure someone had to sell their soul to the devil to get. It's got garlic aoli, the sweetest grilled onions, jalapenos, and lettuce on a french roll and, man I wish I had another one right now. So yeah, these sandwiches are a big deal.
After we had our lunch we headed into downtown (Paseo is out in Freemont, near that troll) to check into our hotel. Then it's time for walking.

Since this is our third time in Seattle, we skipped a lot of the big things like the Space Needle, Experience Music Project/Sci Fi museum, Underground Tour, etc. All stuff that if you've never been to Seattle and find yourself there I recommend. We wandered around Pike's Place for a while, which we've done multiple times each trip but since it's one of my favorite places anywhere, we can't go without a few trips to the market. And we made our way over to the International District for some noodle soup which worked out well for Boyfriend+. Not so much for me, which...whomp. We had plans to stay out later but we'd been up since 5 something and jetlag wasn't helping so I ended up passing out around 9:30.

Of course this meant the next morning I woke up super early but HEY early start to the day. We again wandered the Market and got some piroshkies from Piroshky Piroshky for breakfast, stopped in a cafe for coffee, and then made our way over to the ferries to head over to Bainbridge Island. I ended up spending most of our time on the island at a bookstore which is FINE by me. I picked up Bryson's latest book, which is now out in paperback, much to my excitement. We then headed back to the city to meet up with a friend for lunch.

One thing I didn't realize was this day was also the Seattle Pride Parade. This was something our friend, who was driving in, also didn't realize so it took him a bit longer than anticipated to make it through the traffic. Boyfriend+ and I stayed to watch a couple minutes of the parade. And by "stayed to watch" I mean "watched while waiting for the cop to tell us we could cross the street" so, yeah. We did see lots of people AFTER the parade. I saw so many butts that day...

Our friend did manage to make it in so we headed back to the Market (YAY) for lunch at a Japanese place where I got replacement noodle soup to make up for my dinner the night before. And it was delightful. We then made our way over to the Sculpture Park where there is a new giant head statue and HEY, I know that head. And not sarcastically. It used to be installed in NYC and I stumbled upon it there. Now it's here. Following me. Obviously.
Our friend had to head back and we decided to go and rest for awhile before meeting up with ANOTHER friend (damn, we're popular) for dinner. Walking Seattle is not for the faint of heart because the HILLS. I should know better by now but I'm still consistently surprised with how steep the hills are there. It also didn't help that Boyfriend+ and I decided to be responsible and go to the gym that morning where I did the treadmill because I did not think "Hey, I'm going to spend the entire day trekking around the city. Maybe I should do some weights instead." I'm awesome at planning ahead.

Our friend picked us up and we headed over to Alki Beach to Salty's, which has BEAUTIFUL views of the city and Mt Rainier if you have a clear day. We had a clear day. It was beautiful and we had SO MUCH FOOD. Shrimp and salmon and lobster and dungeness crab.
The next day we woke up to another gorgeous day. Listen, I'm not saying people who say Seattle is cloudy and raining ALL THE TIME are liars. I'm just saying that we have amazing luck because it's always beautiful when we're there. Granted, we go during the summer when things tend to be nice but whatever. We went up to the Columbia Tower Sky View, which is even higher than the Space Needle and gives you better views. TAKE THAT, SPACE NEEDLE, YOU WIMP. Plus Sky View stamps your hand so you can go back whenever that day. (No, the Space Needle is very nice and still a lot of fun.) The views were beautiful because again, clear day. After spending our time up there we headed over to Safeco Field to go to the team store. 
Our plan for LA was to go to a Dodgers game. A game during the afternoon. When the sun just wants to beat you up. So yeah, I needed a hat. And we figured why not get a Mariners one? We walked over to the stadiums (CenturyLink is right next to Safeco because Seattle makes it easy for people to go to soccer, football, and baseball games. Because it's great), hung out in the team store while I agonized over what hat to get. Eventually decisions were made and now it was time for lunch.

There's this restaurant called Il Corvo that makes homemade pasta that is just the best. Here's the thing. They're only opened for lunch and only Monday-Friday. It seems silly to me, but I guess they're making money since they moved to a new, larger location since the last time we went so good for them. And the place was packed, which always gives me some anxiety cos you have to seat yourself and what if there are no seats, huh???? But there were, and I had delicious tagliatelle bolognese while Boyfriend+ got, I think rigatoni with spicy chicken something. I really just remember having a bite despite being warned it was spicy. Then regretting that bite cos HEY, spicy.

Since we've done the main museums, or at least the ones that first caught our attention (Experience Music Project/Sci Fi, Art Museum, etc.) we decided to check out the Museum of History and Innovation, or MOHAI to those in the know. Or those that like abbreviations. Or those that think saying "moHAI" is HILARIOUS. Guess which group I fall into? The museum had a whole exhibit on chocolate so YES PLEASE. It also had lots about the history of Seattle, mostly from the 1900s onward, so it's a little weird to be a museum and see things that would work as props for Mad Men. Although I've seen so many Nirvana exhibits in Seattle, so seeing not-that-old-stuff in museums should probably be less jarring. OH, and there was an AMAZING musical thing about Seattle's giant fire and there was a talking bag of money and yeah. If you're in Seattle, might I recommend MOHAI.

After MOHAI we drove around a few of the neighborhoods (Capital Hill, Magnolia, Medrona) and visited the haunted Coke machine. I did not get one of the Mystery drinks because when the hell was the last time Brisk Iced Tea was even manufactured? Not saying I'd GET Brisk, because of the whole "mystery" bit but I mean, someone has and that was enough for me to be like "I'll not drink the soda of the damned." We got froyo instead.
The next day though. This is where Boyfriend+ gets all the points. The night before, when I asked him what our plans were for the next day he said "Look. I have a surprise for you. In the morning. We have to be up early. And you have to dress nice. Don't ask any questions." OF COURSE I asked a bunch of questions because what? But he wouldn't tell me anything. So the next morning we got another piroshky (they're so good!) and headed down to the water front where we were met by a photographer. Boyfriend+ arranged a photoshoot for us, since I had been saying we have no pictures of the two of us. So we essentially did engagement photos 2 years after the engagement and 2 weeks before the wedding. But it's before the wedding so STILL COUNTS. 
We got another beautiful day (although with record breaking heat which was less fun) and took pictures on the pier, on a little beach, and up at Kerry Park where he proposed. It was the best surprise. And I love the photos so if you're ever looking for a photographer, check our Jordan Quinn. She's in Seattle (obv) but actually travels around a lot for work. 

After that surprise we headed to Paseo, again, for sandwiches. (WE COULDN'T GO JUST ONCE! Who knows when we'll be back again) and then found a bar to watch the US/Germany game which...sad. But the place had good beer so that's a win at least. A small one. We then met up with our Salty's friend again for drinks and snacks before heading up to University of Washington and getting a little behind-the-scenes tour of their new stadium, which is BEAUTIFUL and I have no appreciation for football stadiums normally. But well done udub. 

That was, unfortunately, the end of our Seattle trip. We had to race back to the airport to return our rental car before time ran out and we got charged for another day, then headed over to a new hotel near the airport so we could more easily make our 6:45 (ugh) flight the next morning.

I realize this was long. Sorry, not sorry, about that. What can I say. Even when there isn't much to talk about I have a lot to say when it comes to Seattle. 

Next travel post: LA. That one will be much shorter.