Our flight to Seattle took us, confusingly, through St Louis. While that’s kind of ridiculous, it was also much cheaper than a direct flight, plus it pushed me the few hundred miles over the 25,000 mark with Delta and earned me elite status for 2012. So it was alright.
The STL-SEA leg was on Alaska Airlines. If Delta was smart they wouldn’t have let us fly on that airline, because it made it obvious how much poorer their service was. Also, Alaska had awesome food and served Kona beers. We were very happy about that.
We arrived in Seattle shortly after 8, and Matt went to the car rental counter while I got the suitcase. We hopped on the shuttle, and were in a pretty awesome new Mazda 3 in short order. I looked up directions to the hotel on Google Maps while Matt drove.
The directions were pretty easy according to the map, but not so much in real life. We made a wrong turn, and then found ourselves stuck in a maze of one-way, dead-ending streets. All we wanted was to get across Broad Street to the side where Seattle Center was, but it was impossible unless we went exactly the way Google told us to. That’ll be a lesson to me about thinking I can figure it out myself!
We found the hotel, got the last parking spot in the lot, and checked in. The guy at the front desk was a former Minneapolitan, so we had a long talk about the Vikings and Minneapolis’ infrastructure problem; it hadn’t even occurred to us that the 35W bridge and Metrodome collapses had occurred within a year of each other. Our room was much fancier than I expected, and we loved that they had a Keurig machine and free bottled water and microwave popcorn. And real cream for coffee!! That never happens.
It was after 10 by the time we headed out, but we wanted food and a couple of drinks before we’d be ready for bed. We walked the eight or so blocks to Mecca, the place we’d gone with Steve on the last visit. He’d ordered a gimlet and a waffle there, so we knew it was obviously awesome. We both got some breakfast food and whiskey; Matt’s came in the form of a shot of Wild Turkey, followed by a beer. That’s a good way to start the night.
While we were wrapping up, people started piling in from the Journey/Foreigner/Night Ranger concert at Key Arena. The streets were full of fans plus what we assumed was the usual crowd in Queen Anne, so that made for an interesting experience. We walked back down toward our hotel and stopped into the Solo Bar, because their cocktail menu looked decent. It was pretty crowded, though, so we decided to try the beer place next door. That was even more crowded, though, so we went back to Solo and just hung out near the bar. Rather than the Journey crowd, it was full of people who had just been to the opera. Couple that with the fact that it seemed to be primarily an art gallery, and the end result was a LOT of pretension. The drinks were still pretty good, though!
It was after midnight by then, so we went back to the hotel and headed to bed. Matt had to be up by 7, after all.
In the morning, I sent him off to his conference in the car, and I hung out in the room, trying to get more sleep. My body was convinced it was after nine, though, so I got up and walked over to the natural foods store a few blocks away. (It was just me and the joggers on the streets of Seattle at that point.) I got a morning glory muffin, a really excellent Americano, a 5-Hour Energy, and two 4-packs of Maui Coconut Porter, because we can’t find it in Minnesota. I promised the cashier I wasn’t going to drink all the beer that morning.
Back at the hotel, I hung out watching football (it’s on so early in Seattle!!), and then went downstairs to meet Steve, Colleen, and Veronica to go have brunch. We went to the 5 Spot, which they told me changes themes quarterly or so. They feature a few menu items from a certain part of the country, and update the decor to match. (And they go all out, from what I saw.) The current theme was Philadelphia, which made being there extremely confusing, since we’d just been there. One can never get enough Ben Franklin, apparently.
After brunch, we went to walk on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. They’re in the process of knocking it down, so they had this half-day event where people could go up there and wander around. It’s a great view of the city, and also we got to take a piece home with us.
I guess it should’ve been a little unsettling that they were knocking down parts of it very near where we were.
Being Seattle and all, of course there was a girl hooping. There were also some people having a picnic, complete with wooden cheese board and spade. So fancy.
People left messages for the viaduct. They know it’s a highway, right?
After our walk, we went back down to the parking lot, where a bulldozer had just arrived with a fresh delivery of viaduct chunks. People cheered for the bulldozer, then everyone scrambled onto the pile to get the best piece. Some lady yelled, “I want a piece of rebar!” Yep, it was weird. Weird and awesome.
We grabbed some viaduct chunks and headed out. I got a smallish one, since I had to bring it home on the plane. I didn’t want Delta to look askance at me for taking part of Seattle’s crumbling infrastructure.
Steve and Colleen then took me to see Uwajimaya, which I’m pretty sure was the most gigantic Asian grocery store on earth. We spent a long time there looking around, and I picked up a few things including something for Awesome Christmas, some Salad Pretz (they’re the best Pretz), and a yakisoba sandwich. Seriously, it’s a baguette with a pile of vegetarian yakisoba inside. Colleen said it was the greatest hangover food ever. I believed it, even if we didn’t get to experience it while hungover. Which is totally fine with me, really.
They went to take the baby home for a nap, so I asked them to drop me off at the hotel so I could go be a tourist. The sun was finally coming out, so I decided to revisit the Space Needle.
Of course the sun was not out by the time I got to the top, but at least it wasn’t raining!
I walked around Seattle Center for a while, then decided to go get lunch at McMenamin’s, the beer place we hadn’t been able to get into the previous night. It was really quiet this time, of course, because it was in the middle of the afternoon. I ordered a beer and a bowl of Jamaican curry, and Matt texted shortly after that to say they were done early, and on the way back to the hotel. I said they should meet me there, since it was only a block away. He and his coworker and wife were there within half an hour, and we hung out for a while taking advantage of their happy hour specials.
We went back to the hotel around 5 so Matt could change clothes, then got the car and drove up to Steve and Colleen’s. We got to hang out with shark baby for a while before heading to dinner.
Our reservations were at 8, so they said we should stop into Paratii for a cocktail first. We instantly fell in love with the place, because one of the drinks on the menu was from Bradstreet in Minneapolis (i.e. the bar we spend most of our time at here). The bartender was great, and was more than happy to invent cocktails for us if we didn’t want to order off the menu. After a round, it was time to go to dinner, but we liked the place so much that Colleen called the restaurant and told them we’d be late. We got another round, then headed that way.
(Joking about a fast round, the bartender suggested shots of Fernet. Oh, craft bartenders: you all have the same bad ideas. I love it even though it makes my liver hurt to think about it.)
We walked over to the Golden Beetle for dinner, and ordered more drinks and almost everything off the small plates menu to share. Matt and I were more than amused that they highlighted the few things on the menu that couldn’t be guaranteed organic. It was very Pacific Northwest. The food was excellent, though!
After dinner, we went back to their place and hung out drinking local beers. We only made it til shortly after midnight before I was starting to fall asleep. I’m terrible at adjusting to time zones.
The next morning, we packed the suitcase with our spoils: a ton of yarn from Colleen, 8 cans of Maui Coconut Porter, and a piece of the viaduct. You know, the normal stuff.
We drove back up to Colleen and Steve’s so we could all walk to brunch. They’d chosen Zayda Buddy’s, a Minnesota-themed bar in Ballard. It was fantastic (the style was more Wisconsin tavern, but still), though I felt a little weird about wearing a Gophers hoodie there. I had a mimosa garnished with Swedish fish, and all our meals came with tater tots. It was like being at Grumpy’s.
We stopped in a couple shops and walked through the Ballard farmer’s market, which is probably the most earnest place I’ve ever been. Then we headed back to their place to get our car, and Very stayed awake by chomping on Bally’s leg. (I think Matt was panicking a little, but Bally was fine.)
We said goodbye and headed to the airport. Delta was incredibly efficient for once, so we boarded on time, got to watch the Vikings lose, and even arrived early! My parents gave us a ride home to the airport, so we had a couple of hours to sit on the couch before preparing for the week ahead. And as tends to happen lately, I woke up in the middle of the night with no idea where the hell I was.