Posts by Anthony

Pacific Northwest: Day 6

Buses, buses, buses, oh my.

Today we had goals of reaching the Museum of Flight in Southwest Seattle, near Sea-Tac Airport. The short version, that did not happen. For more details, read on...

We got up and out the door knowing the bus/transfers we needed and life was good. On the way to the bus-stop, we went into a Tully's Coffee for a Soy Mocha and Caramel Macchiato. We even ordered a few snacks to put in our bag for later. A few minutes later we were on the road.

Our bus-stop was in front of Seattle Central Community College. We waited there for 10 minutes or so, paid our fare and were headed to downtown Seattle (near Westlake Center) for our transfer down south.

We got off the bus to get on the next one, #26, and accidentally went northbound instead of southbound. Oops... 

We realized in the middle of the ride but decided to stay on anyway. We ended up in the Fremont neighborhood of north Seattle. Once we stepped off the bus to get our bearings, we turned around and there was a Dusty Strings acoustic instrument shop, as if it were placed just for me. We went downstairs where I played a few instruments (mostly a Taylor 114, which sounded amazing) and had a relaxing 30 minutes. While I was playing, Malisa was scoping out our next activity using her trusty iPhone. 

On this vacation, we have tried to keep our meal times open for any restaurants we happen to notice while walking by. Once we left the guitar shop, we started walking up Fremont Ave and I noticed a sign that said "noodles" and "hot." With it being freezing outside, our meal was decided by those two words alone. The restaurant was called Lucky's Pho (pronounced "fuh"). We both ordered beef with noodles and it was exactly what we needed. After we ate, we zipped our jackets and headed out into the cold.

Our next stop was only 1.1 miles away (25 blocks), so we started walking. Little did we know, the whole 1.1 miles was uphill. About halfway up the hill, a fellow pedestrian asked us for directions. Being the smarties that we are in taking the wrong bus earlier, we said "we have no idea." Turns out she was from Boston and was visiting her sister in Wallingford (the next neighborhood to the east). We walked with her a few blocks, bid her farewell and continued up the hill another 10 blocks.

We finally reached the plateau and in our sights was Woodland Park Zoo! We walked to the ticket counter, flashed our Go Cards and we were through the gates. While inside, we didn't see a single person for 20 minutes from the time we bought our tickets, it was deserted! Although, I can understand why nobody would plan to see animals on a windy, 40 degree day.

While we were there we saw the elephants (always Malisa's favorite), hippo, jaguar, tigers (my favorite of the day) and their new meerkat exhibit. I really wanted to see the Snow Leopard and the Lions but most of the animals weren't out. How ridiculous for the Snow Leopard not to be out because of the cold. Apparently captivity has made it the "70 degree" Leopard instead. After quietly venting my frustration, we stopped in to the little cafe in the Zoo and got some more coffee to warm up and ate our snacks from Tully's. 

Since we hadn't planned on being in north Seattle, we didn't have much to do up there. One thing I wanted to do in Portland, but we didn't get a chance to, was visit the Apple Store in University Village. We hopped on the bus and headed down the road. On the way to Apple was The Mac Store. They are a private reseller of Apple products. I wanted to see what the difference was between their store and Apple's official retail store.

After the Mac store, we hopped on another bus and after a few minutes it turned, out of the direction we wanted to go. Having had issues with buses, we got off and decided to walk the rest of the way.

A couple blocks down the road, we stopped into the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Unfortunately, the museum was closing so we never saw past the lobby. And, come to find out, they don't accept the Go Cards as of 2 days ago. We took the opportunity to warm up for a few minutes and continued on our way.

We walked past the University of Washington (U-Dub), down another giant hill, on a trail and ended up in University Village. Like I mentioned earlier, we did not plan on being outside as much today since we were going to be inside museums, so we did not dress appropriately. Inside University Village was a GAP, where Malisa purchased a beanie and scarf. After GAP, we went next door to Eddie Bauer where they were having a 60% off sale on jackets. I didn't get a jacket, but I did get these little beauties for $8!

In Eddie Bauer, we asked the employees what restaurant they would suggest. We ended up getting names for a ton of restaurants that didn't sound appealing. We had a place in mind that we've heard great things about called Beth's Cafe. It is located on the northwest side of Lake Union, not very close to where we were, so that was out.

After Eddie Bauer, we finally got to visit the Apple Store! It was very big (twice the size of the Galleria store) and quite roomy. I immediately was drawn to the MacBook Air and started playing with it, trying to convince Malisa that we needed it. From there I went to the iPads, where I tried the same tactic on my wife. She must have some Dave Ramsey superpower, because she's impervious to my attempts at technological purchases. 

From Apple, we walked back to the street for the bus, as it drove by us... We recalculated our route and got on another bus to take us through the university and had to transfer. As we got off that bus, the other one pulled in behind us and kept going! For the first time ever Malisa waved down a bus, and it didn't even stop! We ran 2 blocks to catch it and almost couldn't get on but luckily we did and just before our passes expired. The last bus brought us all the way back to Capitol Hill (where we're staying) and landed us two blocks from our condo.

Malisa would like to tell you about our dinner experience, here she is. *hands the mic* 

When we first walked in to Quinn's Pub, we passed through two large velvet curtains. We told the hostess we needed a table for two and she immediately escorted us to a table. This is something that has happened so frequently on this trip, I have begun to take it for granted! When we sat down, I made my way to the ladies room to freshen up. Anthony noticed that they had chilled water in old alcohol/wine bottles and glasses in addition to the place-settings. I made my way back to the table and began to peruse the menu...let me just say, my immediate thought was that we were dining at a restaurant that one of the chefs, namely Richard Blais, from Top Chef: Season 4 and Top Chef: All Stars would have owned. The main reason for this was that many of the dishes featured fois gras (duck or some other animal's liver) and other fancy names/ingredients.

As has been our habit, we asked our waitress what she would recommend (I informed her that I did not care for seafood, but that we love meat), she suggested oxtail. I thought I heard her wrong, so I said, I'm sorry, what did you say? She said oxtail and pointed to the item on the small plates section: Oxtail, gnocchi, kale, fontina, crispy marrow. I went with her suggestion. Anthony ordered a fail-safe dish: Seared painted hills steak with potatoes, mushroom, onion, mizuna.  

As we waited for our meals to arrive, we asked one of the employees if Quinn's was a gastropub. He said, we don't refer to ourselves as that, but we don't correct our customers if that's how they refer to us. He went on to tell us the history of the gastropub and how it was originally a derogatory comment made for pubs trying to serve expensive food. We found out all about the Michelin (as in Michelin tires) rating system that applies to restaurants and hotels. Also, he told us the history of the restaurant owners and their vision for Quinn's initially was a burger house. I was quite nervous about my meal choice, having never eaten any food that I wasn't sure what it would look like. However, my fears were quickly relieved when I saw this bowl: 

Even though this is sometimes considered uncouth, I discretely smelled the food. Each bite of food was full of flavor and amazingly different. Being the kind human he is, Anthony shared his delicious steak with me. We both enjoyed our dishes, but I think each person was glad they had chosen their particular meal. 

Our waitress was quite clever and left a menu at our table, so we were able to scan it numerous times and see if there were any other items we wanted to try. Of course, there were. We once again asked the "gastropub" employee, who I think had one of the coolest, raspy, pirate voices, if we should get spicy baked peanuts or a baguette. He said, you can get bread anywhere, but did you get one of our pretzels? We said no, he then went on to explain how these pretzels are so amazing they sell out nearly every night and before dinner service begins they have a pretzel count. For this evening, they started out with 750 and when he placed our order for one, they were down to 7! The pretzel was served with welsh rarebit (a cheesy sauce made of beer, cheese, & dijon mustard) and was incredibly flavorful. He shared yet another gem of information with us: "rarebit" is a term used in the 1700's for poor people's rabbit.

The last thing we ordered, was ice cream, however this was not ordinary ice cream. We enjoyed a scoop of candied bacon with caviared molasses and one of mint chocolate chip with housemade chocolates. Both of these ice creams were made with real ingredients. They were something we will not soon forget. I think Anthony will agree with me that the bacon ice cream was a one-time experience, but the mint ice cream we would like to enjoy many more times.

I'm finally finished discussing our dining experience at Quinn's. *hand's mic back*

Overall, we are happy with how our day went. It wasn't how we planned and that's why it was so cool. It was definitely one of the most stressful days because of dealing with buses, but we're better because of it!

Miles walked today: 6 (mostly uphill, yet again)