“Last Times”

By , July 24, 2009 4:50 pm

P1000736Well, our time in Seattle is rapidly coming to a close. Though we’re now looking forward to the next chapter in our lives, we have also recently been looking back. Looking back to some our favorite places and activities. We stopped working at the end of June so that we could use July to prepare for our upcoming move and trip. Even though there has been a lot to take care of, we’ve been fortunate to have the time to do some things for the “last time”.

It’s a funny thing, a little surreal even, to go to a restaurant, a grocery store, or a neighborhood knowing it will be for the last time. Since we sold our car (you know who you are and thank you) it’s a little tougher to get around. The Seattle bus system – Metro – is great if you’re going North/South but isn’t very effective if you want to go East/West or are in a hurry. Good thing we’re unemployed, we have plenty of time to sit @ the bus stop and wait . . . and wait . . . But this is where our Lonely Planet/Rough Guides come in handy, right?

Though I can’t include everything, here is some of what we’ll miss:

The downtown Seattle REI has spoiled us. 98,000 square feet of outdoor equipment paradise. Anything you want, everything you need. It boasts a 65 foot freestanding indoor climbing wall – one of the largest in the world. It has an outdoor mountain bike test trail, innovative sustainable architecture, reclaimed timbers in the construction, gear testing stations, free how to seminars and some really great clothing. We simply love REI. We seem to get everything from there. Backpacks, clothes, packing cubes, Tevas, Keens, first aid kit, locks . . . you name it – we probably got it there. We were only two blocks away when we used to live in downtown Seattle so we were always there. While I know there are other wonderful and completely useful outdoor gear stores in the world and though we’ll be excited to visit each of them, REI Seattle will remain our favorite.

We love kayaking, plain and simple. Our first date was kayaking. You know, that “safe” afternoon date in which if it doesn’t go well you can lie and say you have something to do later in the afternoon? Yea, that was our date. It must have gone well since this first date lasted over 12 hours. We soon picked up season passes to the kayak place and we would spend our warm summer days lazily paddling around Lake Union, Lake Washington and the arboretum.

– out to the Ballard Locks.
– plying  past “The Sleepless in Seattle house”.
– peeping into glass blower Dale Chihuly’s home on the water.
– going through the sometimes choppy Montlake Cut.
– floating past gasworks park and seeing people sunning and picnicking and flying kites
– making our way past Fremont to fishermans terminal in Ballard, where some of the crabbing boats from Discovery Channels’ “Deadliest Catch” are berthed.
– drifting past the wonderful million dollar floating homes on Lake Union/Portage Bay, choosing which ones we’d buy if we won the lottery

Seattle is lucky to have hundreds of miles of hiking and some of the most striking landscapes within an hour of downtown. Waterfalls, cold lakes, backpacks with snacks or even a stashed Subway foot long and chocolate.

I’ve been riding for most of my life and have been lucky to have been able to commute by bicycle in Seattle for the past few years. I’ve become an expert @ riding downtown. We also have the Burke Gilman trail, a converted winding rail line which has been turned into an excellent paved mixed use trail through greater Seattle. It extends from Golden Gardens west of Ballard through Fremont, the U District, University of Washington, Sand Point, along the north shore of Lake Washington, and out to Woodinville, where it then connects to other trails and towns. the much beloved Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville has been a necessary destination for us in the past and a cold pint of fresh beer is the perfect solution for a hot summer bike ride.

When we lived downtown we could walk everywhere. From South Lake Union to the International District, walking was the easiest thing to do and sometimes the fastest way to get there. We didn’t need a destination, sometimes we’d just walk into downtown without a destination and see what happens. Pike Place Market, walking down 5th Avenue, Pioneer Square, the waterfront, Belltown, Seattle Center (International Festal weekends, otherwise Seattle Center is pretty lame). Not to mention walking through the different outlying neighborhoods. Each have their own special feeling and distinct personality. Christine used to live on top of Queen Anne and loved walking along the tree lined streets looking at the different houses and pretty gardens that were so nicely taken care of.

(some) Restaurants we’ll miss:

GOlf, what can we say, you have the best Thai restaurant in Seattle, and we’ve been to quite a few. We’ve been enjoying your recipies since we moved up Lake City Way almost two years ago. Your hospitality is second to none. Thank you for taking such good care of us everytime we were there. Take care.

La Casa Del Mojitos
We simply call it Mojitos. In Lake City, it is a wonderful “secret restaurant” and we’re glad to have stumbled on it. Small, casual, and vibrant. The menu is Cuban/Puerto Rican/South American. The best Lechon Asado and Pabellon I’ve tasted. Fresh lime and mint in the mojitos. Imprompt salsa lessons on the deck. The never ending upbeat mix of latin music coming from iTunes.

Pho Viet Anh
The classic “hole in the wall/locals only” restaurant in Lower Queen Anne. Vermicelli bowls with fresh grilled meats, a crisp glass of Vietnamese lager, it really doesn’t get better than this. I wish I could go back 1,000 times.

Hing Loon
Wonderful International District restaurant. Why take a menu? Items from the menu are hand written on white sheets of paper in English and Chinese and posted all over the dining room. I’ve never had a bad meal there.

Paddy Coyne’s Irish Pub
When we used to live in South Lake Union, we lived above Paddy Coyne’s and went there rather frequently. Smithwicks, Boddingtons, Harp, Stella Artois. Amazing fries w/ curry sauce, Guiness Stew and Shepherds Pie.

This place is so local it doesn’t even have a sign and it doesn’t need one. Cash only, no screwing around. The “Midnight Cuban Sandwich” made with pork that is slow roasted overnight and served on sweet cuban baguettes. The corn is so garlicy yummy that as you eat it it drips down your forarms.

Yea, it’s probably the only chain restaurant that I like but it’s just so damn tasty. Its smell of warm fresh bread gets me from blocks away. And since we have been saving, the $5 footlong sub can fill us both up – and cheaply too.

2 Responses to ““Last Times””

  1. bert says:

    wow, great list…but, you did forget our favorite happy hours; contour and palimino…..which are so tasty…..i’m so happy we are going on the amazing adventure together…..i wouldn’t have it any way…you are truly my best friend and most important person to me……i love you, birthday boy!!!

  2. Barb Eldred says:

    Aaahhh it’s so sad to see you go…but so exciting to be included in your travels. Love your site and all your stories…can’t wait for the rest. Until we meet next June…you both will be always in my thoughts. Love you guys!

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