Tillicum Village…a traditional Northwest experience

On a surprise sunny day on Memorial Day weekend, an essential Northwest tradition was experienced by spending the afternoon at Pike Place Market, the Seattle waterfront, and Tillicum Village.

At Pike Place Market, we hit a few of our favorites…DeLaurenti, had a BBQ pork hom bow at Mee Sum Pastry, walked through the market and stopped by La Buona Tavola, where a jar of fig preserve with balsamic vinegar was purchased  www.trufflecafe.com.  La Buona Tavola specializes in truffled products, Italian specialties and wines from Italy and Washington State.  See May 2010 post for more Pike Place Market fun.  The water glistened as we walked along the waterfront.  Stops were made at the Ye Old Curiosity shop and Exclusively Washington (Pier 54 next to Ivar’s)  www.exclusivelywashington.net.

Tillicum Village is a fun trip for visitors and locals alike.  You will be welcomed aboard an Argosy Cruises boat with a narrated look at Puget Sound area Native American history, with a focus on Alki Beach and the Blake Island area.  Did you know that Blake Island is only reachable by boat?  Argosy Cruises have two runs a day to Tillicum Village (with three on Saturdays during the height of summer).  Check out http://www.tillicumvillage.com/  for a schedule and more information.  The cruise is approx. 45 minutes and seating is available indoors and out with a bar for beverage service on each level.  Upon arriving at Tillicum Village, you are greeted by a gentleman in Native garb and offered steamed clams as an appetizer (in mugs).  They encourage the dropping of the shells on the already shell made pathway (stomp away!).  I love the smell of a campfire!  View a whole salmon being cooked on a cedar stake above an open fire.  Then it is off to enjoy a buffet dinner…with berry cobbler to finish the meal off (see link for menu specifics).  The dinner concludes with a show of storytelling and dance of Coast Salish tribes.  The storytelling itself is done by Roger Fernandes, also known by his native name Kawasa, a member of the Lower Elwha Band of the S’Klallam Indians from the Port Angeles, Washington area.  Note:  the storytelling is presented via video and the dance, by three live performers.  After the show, you are given 30+ minutes to tour the gift shop and to wander the grounds/beach of Blake Island.  A very nice trip overall!

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Food Trucks, Oma Bap and others…

Food Trucks have arrived in Bellevue and the Eastside!  I have seen that food trucks bring people out of their office and fosters a gathering in the community.  I have had the pleasure of trying – Skillet serves up tasty street food with stops in Seattle, Bellevue, and Redmond (via an Airstream)… and is worth the gourmet price.  The burger is oh so good – grass-fed beef, arugula, bacon jam, and cambozola on a soft roll.  Have you tried Skillet Bacon Jam?  Ooh la la…this is really tasty on a burger, Panini, or whatever you choose.  http://www.skilletstreetfood.com/  “Like” them on Facebook.   And as of this past week, I tried Tuscan Stone Wood Fired Pizza, which is located at the corner of Bellevue Way and Main Street in Bellevue…with more locations to come.  They have 8 delicious wood fired varieties.  Carne Amante is made of Red Sauce, 5 Cheese Blend, Fresh Mozzarella, Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Onion and Tomato.  Fabulous flavor!  Definitely recommended!  http://www.tuscanstonepizza.com/  Check out this article from Downtown Bellevue… http://www.downtownbellevue.com/2011/04/07/food-trucks-bellevue/#txt8!

Blue C Sushi – If you like the idea of getting your food via a conveyor belt (Kaiten Sushi dining), this is a fun option.  Blue C Sushi has six locations in the Puget Sound area.  Although Sushi snobs might choose other, Blue C Sushi provides a taste for those hankering for a fresh, vibrant atmosphere offering high quality ingredients.  On this visit, the following was had: Scallop Nigiri, Red Dragon Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll, Spider Roll, Lobster Roll, Eel Nigiri, Sesame Noodles and a special order of calamari.  And after all that, you are sure to be on the full side, with a decent sized lunch bill.  Blue C Sushi also offers a number of sweet options for those with a sweet tooth.  http://www.bluecsushi.com/

Oma Bap –  located in Bellevue, WA on the corner of Bellevue Way and NE 2nd….I love this newly opened Korean inspired joint!  Oma Bap opened a month or so ago and what a hit it is!  If you have not tried BibimBap, this is a good place to do it!  Oma Bap offers flavorful  and colorful dishes with a modern casual atmosphere.  Those of you who have the delicious BibimBap elsewhere, you just might miss the traditional stone bowl you are accustomed to.  Vegetarian options are available. We chose the traditional Chicken BibimBap (bee-beem-bop) with brown rice (you may choose white or special as well).  This is a Korean rice dish that is served with a variety of vegetables, a fried egg on top, add a sauce…whether it be spicy or mild and then mix it all together (image shown above).  Check out their website to view how it is made.  My only complaint would be the gal taking our order rolled her eyes to a co-worker after my friend asked a number of questions of her.  Oma Bap also has outdoor dining to enjoy those longed-for sunny days.  A delicious accompaniment to any of the dishes, is Mandoo “Korean pot-stickers” (pork) …Yum! Yum! Yum!   http://omabap.com/

River Rock at Maplewood Golf Course in Renton – a nice stop on a sunny day for outdoor dining and a golf course view.  We were lucky enough to get a seat outside on our only sunny 70 degree day.  The Spinach Crab Dip was a really nice starter.  It did not come with enough crisps (advertised as warm french bread) so we asked for a few more…and found that when we got the bill, an extra charge.  ok.  For an entree, we ordered the Bronzed Tilapia Spinach Salad.  I substituted romaine lettuce for the spinach which I liked.  The gorgonzola cheese and sliced red onion were good.  The walnuts were stale.  The big disappointment was the salad dressing…promoting it as a creamy citrus vinaigrette.  It was basically mayo – yuk!  We then asked for a vinaigrette and then that was pretty much only vinegar…and we were charged for the new dressing.  What!  My friend mentioned that it was a “south king county” salad.  I am smiling at this.  The service and food is “ok”.  So, there is room for improvement here as I saw a number of wrongly cooked or unsatisfied plates being returned.  But, give it a try as it can be a nice experience.  There is dining in the bar and dining room as well.  http://www.riverrockgrill.com/

Not posting info on others tried this month…

Seattle Restaurant Crawl

A spring-like evening for a restaurant crawl in Seattle…

Pintxo –  known for their cocktails and Tapas.  Albondigas con salasa tomate, Bacon wrapped Dates, Mac & Mahon Cheese, Quail Eggs on Toast, Tequila Lime Shrimp.  Favorite of the night – Mac & Mahon Cheese and the Albondigas con salasa tomate.  A tasty variety of Pintxos, Sandwiches, Raciones, and Desserts are available.  To drink…Singria, Dulcinea, Pintxorita.  Jeannine was great.  Covered cozy terrace for outdoor seating.  Select items available at happy hour.  Located at 2nd Ave and Blanchard.  http://www.pintxoseattle.com/

Local 360 –  http://www.local360.org/  All food and drink are made/come from vendors who are within 360 miles of Seattle.  The wine and bev list is filled with interesting cocktails, local 360 lager, WA wines, and the like.  A great reason to support Local 360…sustainable, whole, natural, conscious, choice.  As we were there during Happy Hour, we received the Happy Hour menu…available from 3-6 pm Mon- Fri. and from 10 pm till late every day.  All items looked REALLY good and I must come back for more… this visit it was the Corndog – handmade kielbasa (thin) served with spicy mustard.  I like the concept but especially liked the atmosphere and decor (see attached image).  Love this place!

List –  http://www.listbelltown.com/   owners are one in the same for sister restaurants Barolo and Mamma Melina.  Ahi Tuna (could have been seared hot), Fried Calamari, Xrated Tini and Bluberry L Rocks.  Modern decor and airy atmosphere.

Sullivan’s Steakhouse –  http://www.sullivansteakhouse.com/  Cocktails only…a nice list.

And then it was off to see Guys and Dolls at the http://www.5thavenue.org/  The cast who played Sky (Brandon O’Neill) and Sarah (Katherine Strohmaier) were impressive.  Overall, meh.

Bellingham, WA 2011

Bellingham, located about an 1-1/2 – 2 hours north of Seattle, is a nice getaway within 4 hours reach…whether it be a day trip or making a weekend of it, a nice time can be had here.  This trip consisted of a girls weekend.  The itinerary included:

  • Milagro Mexican Grill
  • Shopping in Fairhaven – fave stops included Artwood, A lot of Flowers, Gallery West, Three French Hens, 12th Street Shoes, and others…
  • Olive Oil and Vinegar Tasting at Drizzle
  • Wine tasting at Purple Smile  http://www.purplesmilewines.com/  A must stop!
  • Hotel Bellwether   http://www.hotelbellwether.com/
  • Hearthfire Grill…not the greatest experience as our server (in the bar) was horrible, food could have been better
  • Starbucks
  • Bistro on Magnolia Street  – really good!  http://www.bistromagnolia.com/

Wine tasting at Purple Smile was most fun.  It’s a great stop on a Saturday afternoon, whether it is to have a day out with friends or meet some new ones…whether it be a person or wine.   You can pay/taste by the glass, a taste of 7 different featured wines or a separate tasting of 3 specialty wines.  A great selection can be found here… Washington wines and other.  I really liked the cement style high tables and other touches that made the shop inviting.  Wick was a great host.  On this day, I had a glass of O.S. Rose, a dry rose that aimed to please.

Hotel Bellwether was a nice place to stay.  Near a nice spa, dining, and right on the water.   Note:  they only have two rooms available with multiple beds, so not so convenient if there is a group event.

Bistro on Magnolia Street has a bistro vibe…is that possible?  Entertainment on Sunday mornings for brunch.  Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, and brunch on the weekends.  Scrambles are served with hashbrown casserole and bread farm toast.  A variety of options abound:  Smoked Salmon Hash, Magnolia BLT, Biscuits & Gravy, Blue Scramble, Frites, Cobb Salad, Green Bowl, Mac & Cheese, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Calamari Sandwich, Flat Iron Steak Frites, North African Vegetable Stew, and more.  The entrees at dinner are served with a seasonal vegetable and garlic mashers.  Prices range from $4 – 32, with brunch options under $13.  Improvement needed:  speed in the kitchen and the ability to split up checks for a larger group.  Hey…looks like they have happy hour too!

See my May 2010 Post for a more info.

The violets in the mountains…

The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks. – Tennessee Williams

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced.”  – John Keats

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Afternoon on a Hill”

Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms. – Ikkyu Sojun

The fountain is my speech.  The tulips are my speech.  The grass and trees are my speech.  – George Delacorte

Give me books, fruit, French wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors, played by someone I do not know.  I admire lolling on a lawn by a water-lilied pond to eat white currants and see goldfish: and go to the fair in the evening if I’m good.  There is not hope for that –one is sure to get into some mess before evening. – John Keats