Pancakes, waffles, dutch babies (really!), french toast, biscuits and gravy (very odd sounding to us Brits), hash browns, huevos rancheros, scrambles (but very different to English scramble), tortas, mimosa (bucks fizz in the UK)…who doesn’t love brunch???
We can’t really do a ‘top places in Seattle to eat brunch’ post given we have hardly been here 5 minutes and have a long list of places to still try out. But whilst brunching at Vios in Third Place Books (a wonderful independent book store) last Monday, President’s Day and a public holiday, we started to list our favourite brunch experiences so far. It came to 10 places – and a list of 10 seems sharable. So we won’t claim they are the best, but feel assured that if you brunch at any one of them you should have a great time and eat well. We have pulled on our two trips to Seattle before moving here, but have eaten at all of them within the last year. Depending where you go the waitstaff can be a core part of the experience, giving a wonderful performance – from the trendy and the alternative to the down-right naughty! Brunch is a fun and fabulous weekend treat. Continue reading
Admittedly we have had rain, but this post isn’t about that. That water was welcome however, a few heavy days of rain in Seattle meant really significant snow fall in the mountains and in no time a snowpack which had been at 50% the norm was back up to usual levels. As well as bringing much joy to those heading out for snow sports (well once the many high avalanche risks reduced) it also meant concerns over summer water shortages have disappeared.
So other water – because yesterday was a very spectacular visit to Wallace Falls State Park with Seattle Transit Hikers. This is a Meet Up group that mostly walks on weekends which doesn’t work for me, so I was fast to sign up when a trip was planned for a week day. They always catch public transport out to their hiking destination, hence their name. It takes about twice as long to get the Wallace Park on bus Continue reading
As you may have already read I am often to be found walking the streets of Seattle. I am finding that it is the kind of city which wears its heart on its sleeve. Whether those streets are filled with around 700,000 Seahawks fans celebrating the winning of the Super Bowl (had to slip that in!) or more quiet expressions of the city’s cultural life, there is always something interesting to come across.
A frequently spotted sight has been ‘Little Free Libraries.’ I had never heard of these before being in Seattle, but when flying here at Christmas there was an article about them in the KLM flight magazine. So I realised it was a movement not just a Seattle ‘quirk’. It turns out they exist in many countries. Todd Bol in Wisconsin built one in 2009, as a tribute to his school teacher and book loving mother and from there has inspired a global community. People passing are encouraged to take, read and replace a book (either the same one or another) in an open hearted desire to keep books flowing and being enjoyed. Continue reading
Opening night at The Seattle, later The Paramount, 1928
photo credit here
I have much to learn about the history of Seattle and habitation of the area prior to the arrival of pioneer settlers in 1851, but one thing is that evident just walking around the city is that for the wealthy in the early 1900s it must have been an exciting place to be. Unaware of the depression that would hit in the 1930s, and boyant with the exuberance of hosting the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition international fair it was a time of enormous city development. Although Seattle was already building a reputation for radicalism, as the ship builders started off what turned in to a general strike in 1919, the longest such strike in American history. What a great time architecturally for a city to be growing up. Whilst too many of the beautiful art deco buildings are well gone it is still completely evident as you walk the streets and see both commercial and residential buildings of the time that this was a boom period in Seattle – which interestingly has a history of booms and busts.
The Seattle/Paramount Lobby
Photo from here
In amongst of all of this movie palaces were key entertainment sites, with Seattle having more than 50. 1928 saw Paramount Pictures building their own – The Paramount, on the edge of the then entertainment area in the city. To make up for its location the building shone with an opulence and grandeur the city had not seen before – the cinema’s website recounts the Seattle Times reporting: Continue reading
Lake Washington from Log Boom Park
It sets itself up as a dewy eyed thing, damp and dismal with long grey periods. But whilst chunks of the USA seem to be ‘freezing their butts off’ the PNW (Pacific North West) is having an exceptionally mild and dry winter. It excelled itself last week by including four consecutive days of back to back sunshine and glorious blue skies – topping it off with wonderful sunsets. I’m regularly hearing “it is not usually like this” “don’t expect this every year” “this is the best winter since I moved here” so have been making the most of it. The house hasn’t been cleaned – but I’ve been to new parts of the city and revelled in glorious views.
One of many of the stairways which link homes, trails and parks across the city
I occasionally scan an ex-pat discussion forum, as it was really helpful when searching for immigration processing timescales and paperwork questions. People also talk about what they are missing from the UK – low walkability is a regular complaint. Well, much as with many other of their apparent losses, all we think is – move to Seattle! There are cars queuing on the freeway, but also miles and miles of waterside trails, copious green spaces and some delightful parks. Urban stairways ease access up and down the steep hills across the city. You never feel a lone walker here.
Library – Central Branch
In fairness the singing was led by Robert McClung Community Programmes Manager for Seattle Opera and was with around another fifty people. Not that Seattle Central Library is really one of those ‘shhh’ libraries anyway. When I worked as Arts Policy Officer at North Yorkshire County Council the Libraries and Arts Department ran a great ‘No shhh-ing at this library’ campaign (it was in the days, really not so long ago, when there was money being spent on promoting libraries - given the horrific cuts English libraries have been facing more recently, this work and its accompanying refit programme seem hard to imagine). I have had a thirst for encouraging some noise ever since…
Seattle Central Library is a one of those magnificent public buildings we can rejoice in. When I first visited Seattle two years ago my way to stay for a longer period was to bring some work with me. People kept telling me, that rather than using the small flat we were renting as an office space, to go to the Library. I thought this a boring option until I got there – what an inspiring place. It opened in 2004, and was primarily designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Ramus of architecture firm OMA. The strongest memory of my first vist was the giggle of children enjoying a secret corridor with its shiny red and padded walls. It seemed magical to them – and to me. As well as excited people there are nearly 1.5 million books and artefacts and 400 public access computers around the place.
It wasn’t my plan to write about this next, but it feels like I can’t let the weekend be too far gone before mentioning the event that got the city very excited. Although it turns out Part 2 is happening next Sunday – so I guess I could have waited after all.
Projected on to the Hammering Man outside Seattle Art Museum
No 12 flags have been going up everywhere – cultural institutions, corporations, businesses and well just about everywhere. And 2 for 1 or other discounts are on offer for the 12th man all over. The news reports have been full of the vital role of the 12th Man. It clearly had to do with Seahawks, Seattle’s NFL ‘American’ football team (they miss out the ‘American’ here – there is football and soccer, what is to confuse?) and their journey towards the Super Bowl but…??? So ‘what is the 12th Man thing?’ would seem a reasonable question wouldn’t it – not something to be scoffed at for asking the husband or anything, right? Hmmm. Okay – so it turns out everyone knows what the 12th Man is (err?) – it is the crowd, obviously. In football you only have a maximum of 11 people on the field at any one time – you knew that didn’t you?