Happenings 2019

What were some of my favorite things in 2019?  Did you travel within four hours reach of the Seattle area?  Check out the 19 highlights…

  1. California dreamin (by airplane) – Sonoma, Napa, St Helena, Sacramento, San Francisco, …and Russian River Brewery
  2. Snowmageddon in February in the Puget Sound area
  3. The Konmari Method – Does your ‘stuff’ spark joy?
  4. Poverty Bay Wine Festival in Des Moines, WA – an annual anniversary
  5. Seeing the snow geese in the La Conner, Conway, Mount Vernon area in early-mid March
  6. Eats –  a few new eats in 2019 consisted of the Five Star Cellars wine dinner at the Magestic Hotel in Anacortes, Black Raven Brewery in Redmond, and Resonate Brewery in Bellevue. The Mongolia Wagyu Beef at Baron’s in Bellevue was tasty as well.
  7. Port Townsend – windy Spring day to tour the town, Saturday market, Point Hudson
  8. Seattle Pride Parade fun
  9. Deception Pass and Hellams Vineyard wine/dinner boat cruise via San Juan Cruises
  10. Walk the Cedar River Trail
  11. Pike Place Market – Mee Sum Pastry’s Pork Hom Bow; Sunset Supper in August
  12. Gary Clark Jr at Chateau St Michelle’s Summer Concert Series and Evil Dead the Musical
  13. Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich – so tasty!
  14. Cheering on the Seattle Seahawks, playing fantasy football (4th place in both leagues) and pickem – Go Hawks!
  15. Metallica S&M2 (the performance after the fact) – so fabulous!
  16. Salish Lodge and Snoqualmie Falls –  breakfast, pics of the falls, shopping….one of my favorite places. Includes shopping in the smaller boutiques in Snoqualmie and North Bend
  17. Seattle Sounders win the MLS Cup vs Toronto – Way to Go!
  18. Leavenworth town and tree lighting
  19. Strangelove at Showbox at the Market – love, love, love!

What are you looking forward to in 2020?  I am looking forward to the movie Top Gun/Maverick – oh yeah!

Flower Festival and a Seattle Sampling

What makes for a fun outing to prepare for a Mother’s Day feast?  Head to downtown Seattle to Pike Place Market’s annual Flower Festival ~ that’s what!  Whether you make it for a few hours or all day, grab a bite and support the locals.  Flowers. Halibut. Broccolini. Shiitake Mushrooms. Pork Hom Bow. Chocolate. Sunshine. Check it off your list of May events.  Done.

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2015 Favorites

On this last day of 2015 and you look back on the year, what was your favorite part of it?  Was it a vacation or trip?  A new person (or pet) in your life?  A chance at a new career path?  Did you run your first half marathon?  Spent more time outdoors in nature?

As I update my 2016 calendar for the new year ~ Question: what was my favorite experience of 2015?  Answer: in May… a 5-night trip to Las Vegas.  We did it up VERY well!!!

My Top 16 list of other 2015 outings (in no particular order) are:

  1. Spending the final day of the US Open at Chambers Bay golf course with my dad and husband
  2. Drinking some very fine wine
  3. Enjoying theater.  Favorite: Phantom of the Opera or Mamma Mia
  4. Enjoying concerts.  Favorite Indoor Concert: Candlebox or Muse. Favorite Outdoor Concert: Afrodisiacs at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park
  5. Taking the Victoria Clipper for a weekend to Oak Bay/Victoria BC to catch up with friends
  6. Road trip to Ocean Shores
  7. Road trip to Leavenworth
  8. Flight to Dallas, TX for the Seahawks/Cowboys game and to meet up with my brother/family.  AT&T Stadium is amazing. Pecan Lodge. Iron Cactus.
  9. A dinner boat cruise on the waters of the Anacortes/San Juan Islands area via Mystic Sea Charters and Hellam’s Vineyard
  10. Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square … finding new shops (like Watson Kennedy, Clementines, Fleurt, Timothy De Clue) and restaurants (like London Plane) nearby
  11. Snoqualmie Falls #optoutside adventure
  12. Visiting Chihuly Garden and Glass along with dinner at Sky City and taking in the Puget Sound views via the Space Needle
  13. Tailgating and attending Seattle Seahawks games.  Go Hawks!
  14. Attending a day full of action of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament at Key Arena
  15. Road trip in a Mercedes-Benz convertible to get a pedicure at Tip Top Nails in North Bend
  16. Taste ~ Road trip to visit a friend and check out Dirty Oscar’s Annex and Corina in Tacoma. Honorable mention: Vista Lago Restaurant in Kirkland

And being thankful for other places and people not mentioned here.

What is on your list for 2016?

December Joy

It’s December and there is much to do.  Do you send cards?  Do you have many people to buy for?  Have you decorated yet?  We all have our own story and experience and what is tradition for one may not be so for another.  Or maybe you’ll start your own tradition.  There are options for fun this time of year whether you’re on a strict budget or you’re not.  I have already done some of these on the list below.  Others I won’t.  Here is a list of possible holiday options this month:

Visit a local nursery – Swansons, Molbak’s, Wight’s, Squak Mt., and more – the gift shops and decorating possibilities abound

Put up your own decorations – a little outside light with the indoor poinsettia and/or tree

Seattle Center –  a sample itinerary might be 1) Space Needle  2) Armory – grab a snack and check out the train 3) see a play at the Bagley Wright Theater (Seattle Repertory Theater).  I can attest that The Hound of the Baskervilles is a great choice – open till Dec 15th 4 & 5) enjoy a dinner at Collections Café.  Chihuly exhibition is extra special this time of year  6) walk the grounds to view the lights and take to ice skating to celebrate Winterfest

Woodland Park Zoo or Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium– lights!  Note:  Bellevue Botanical Garden is still under construction and they are having a smaller display this year.  And don’t forget the Issaquah Reindeer Festival at the Cougar Mountain Zoo

Bake cookies, spiced nuts or other holiday treats

Get a jump-start on your healthy New Year’s resolution and hit the gym, go ice skating or head outside

Watch a holiday movie (or one that is popular this time of year) – Sound of Music, It’s a Wonderful Life, Holiday, Christmas with the Kranks, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Andy Williams Christmas, or catch one on the Lifetime or Hallmark channel

Make a point of getting together with friends

Check out Snowflake Lane at the Bellevue Collection with its 7 pm nightly show

Take in the theater, ballet, symphony, orchestra.  This is an especially good time of year to check out a local company

Shop Downtown Seattle – the lights, hustle and bustle are especially fun.  Snowflakes at Pacific Place, the Holiday Carousel, Argosy Christmas Ship Festival, Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Hotel, take a Ride the Ducks tour or take a whirl on the Seattle Great Wheel, check out Pike Place Market, and there is a new attraction this year – SnowGlobe Live!  Step inside the globe and get your picture taken – what a treat!


Hello April!

It is April 1st and it is a time to think ahead to sunnier days and the upcoming festival season.  Have you started getting tickets to the plethora of summer concerts?  Did you know that this March was the 3rd wettest on record for March in Seattle history?  Why am I thinking Summer when it is Spring?  It’s the time of year to Spring ahead, right?

Looking for something to do this month?  Here is a sampling of ideas:

  • Head to Mount Vernon (and surrounding towns) to see the tulip fields – the largest display in the great US of A
  • It’s National Park Week – admission to the National Park’s is free all week April 21 – April 29th
  • Enjoy a new restaurant during Seattle Restaurant Week – April 8 – 12th and 15 – 19th
  • Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival – April 7th at the Seattle Design Center
  • The Space Needle starts their 50-year celebration this month (a separate post coming soon)
  • Pike Place Market – April 20th Arcade Lights: a celebration of artisan food, beer, and wine
  • Support a cause – how about the MS Walk on April 15th? Alaska Airlines Arena/UW
  • Go shopping for a pop of color
  • April 21st – World Class Crab Races and Feed, Westport, WA
  • Moooove on over to the Spring Fair in Puyallup – April 19th – 22nd
  • See the Pacific Northwest Ballet perform Carmina Burana and Apollo at McCaw Hall
  • Check out the 3rd annual Mt. Rainier Spring Wine Festival in Ashford, WA on April 28th (2-8 pm)
  • Astoria, OR hosts the 30th annual Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival – April 27, 28, 29th
  • Take a walk on a trail closest to you…or maybe within four hours reach?
  • It’s baseball season – get in to the swing of things with a Seattle Mariners game at Safeco Field
  • Check your listings for an Earth Day event
  • Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival 2012 at the Seattle Center

Downtown Seattle – Holiday Lights Tour

Downtown Seattle is a must see during the month of December. 

  • Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton
  • Stay at or visit the Fairmont Olympic Hotel…beautifully decorated for the season
  • Viewing of the bright star on the Macy’s store
  • Get a coffee or hot cocoa at the 2nd busiest Starbucks on the North American continent (corner of Pine and 4th)
  • Shop, view the decor in the window displays
  • see a musical at the 5th Avenue theatre… like Cinderella (we did!)
  • See the snow fall at Pacific Place, nightly at 6 pm
  • grab a bite…plenty of options.  We stopped at pnk Restaurant & Ultra Lounge this year, located at Pacific Place. Ambitious but missed the mark.  The calamari gets a thumbs up.
  • Pike Place Market
  • And what fun “tourist” event was enjoyed?  the Ride the Ducks Holiday Lights Tour:

Ride the Ducks of Seattle, known for a tour of Seattle by amphibious landing craft, does a Holiday Lights Tour during the holiday season.  Go with a participatory attitude and you’ll likely have a good time. Meg “Nog” was our wacky driver.  The music played was a mix of fun holiday music, 1999 by Prince, and what really made it for me was the Rock N Roll All Night (and party every day) by KISS – Whoo Hoo!  Awesome!  They provided warm blankets, bell ringers, and a duck quacker to add to the festive ride.  Bundle up. It is a short tour (30 minutes) and would suggest that they could go to/around the Seattle Center/Space Needle for more “lights”.  Find a coupon.  If you want more Seattle history and landmark discussion, take the regular tour.  It was a fun addition to the season.  http://ridetheducksofseattle.com/ 

See the December 4, 2010 post for more fun things to do during the holiday season.


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!

Rachel the Pig

Rachel the Pig has been in surgery to repair damages after a car accident (taxi) at the Pike Place Market in February.  The life-size bronze pig will return to the market at the end of the week.  In the meantime, Rachel is on tour as the full-time fundraiser for the Market Foundation (i.e. piggybank). Yesterday she began making appearances at some of her favorite places around town. 

Rachel’s schedule is:
March 14 – Colman Dock, 2 – 6 p.m.
March 15 – City Hall, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
March 16 – Seattle Art Museum, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
March 17 – Occidental Park, 10 a.m. –  3 p.m.
March 18 – Westlake Plaza, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and then…back home at the Market

Good to have Rachel back on her feet!

(Picture from MinkStudios album)

A busy day…

Today was a busy day.  If you are looking for a good wine selection, may I make a suggestion?  Esquin Wine Merchants on 4th Avenue South in Seattle.   http://esquin.com/   Lunch was had at Matt’s in the Market – just above the Pike Place Market.  I made note of this in a May post, but wanted to make mention once again…I really like the hustle and bustle of the lunch crowd.  We enjoyed a half bottle of 2008 Cadence along with the Lamb Burger and Roasted Lamb Sirloin.  For the Lamb Burger, I especially like the brioche roll used.  The bacon was cooked just right…and who could resist goat cheese?  And…the spread of onion jam was a really nice touch.  The dish came with a bowl of garbanzo bean-sultana salad.  http://www.mattsinthemarket.com/  A nice walk through Pike Place Market was had.  To complete the outing, a visit was made to the Picasso exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM).  I have to admit I am not much of a museum goer but did enjoy the experience today.  I especially liked that I could get more information during the tour using my smartphone and Microsoft Tag  http://tag.microsoft.com/consumer/index.aspx.  My favorite pieces  (in English) were Head of Fernande in Profile, Three Figures Under a Tree, Reclining Nude, and The Studio at La Californie.  Also, it was nice to see the photographs of Picasso with his family and friends.  The exhibit ends on January 17th, 2011.  The best part of seeing special exhibitions at the SAM, is that this entitles you to browse through the thousands of other pieces of art that are part of the museum’s regular rotating exhibits for no extra charge.  I especially like the robe-like form which is made up of 40,000 dog tags (Floor 3, see picture herein)  http://seattleartmuseum.org/.  Note:  Not an inexpensive day out.

Seattle Cheese Festival 2010

The 2010 Seattle Cheese Festival took place on May 15-16th.  Good weather and my love of cheese couldn’t keep me away this year (as I had not been previously).  http://www.seattlecheesefestival.com/   The festival takes place on the cobbled streets of the Pike Place Market – Seattle.

The event offers a sampling of dozens of artisinal cheeses from producers around the world.  There is a wine garden (mostly lower priced wines), educational seminars, and cooking demonstrations.  Also, there are over 35 Seattle area restaurants that offer a “Cheese Fest Best” dish during the week of the festival (the restaurants are not at the actual Festival).  My husband and I tasted some of the cheese offered and purchased a Roquefort (most cheese was available for purchase at a discount).  My favorite was a Gorgonzola from Italy.  Also, we liked that Mt. Townsend Creamery http://www.mttownsendcreamery.com/  brought some of their specialty cheeses as well.  The festival has a lively atmosphere but I probably wouldn’t go back anytime soon as the logistics are not well executed.  Many people stood in long lines while others would walk up to their destination and take their sample.   Frankly, if you stood in those long lines (as we did at the beginning), it would make for a very long day.  But cheese is always fun – isn’t it? Sample a variety of cheese at Whole Foods, take a class or try DeLaurenti’s Saturday wine tasting (which is paired with cheese).  DeLaurenti’s is a primary sponsor for the festival.

DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine is a must-see when visiting the Pike Place Market (or Seattle).  Whatever your culinary endeavors are, the deli offers the best specialty foods, cheese (hundreds offered) and deli meats around!  http://delaurenti.com/ 

Macrina Bakery & Cafe offered a number of different breads at the Festival.  Macrina offers bread, pasteries, cakes, catering, wedding cakes, and a number of delicious cafes serving brunch and lunch.   http://www.macrinabakery.com/  Oh Mamma Mia!

A number of notable mentions for take-out are Piroshky-Piroshky (did not try today) and Mee Sum Pastry.  A favorite at Mee Sum is the Pork Hom Bow.   On this day, we had the Pork Hom Bow and a Pork Stick.  http://www.piroshkybakery.com/  Of course there are numerous other notable options at and around Pike Place Market.  I will leave those for another outing on a different day.  Salud!   http://www.pikeplacemarket.com/