Go Storm!

15 Sep

Last night we went to our first Storm game (and our first WNBA game for that matter).  It was game #2 of the WNBA Finals and the Storm was up 1-0 against the Atlanta Dream.  Seattle won 87-84  so they are now 2-0 and can take the series tomorrow night in Atlanta.

The game was super fun.  The stadium was packed and the fans were incredibly excited.  There’s a lot of Seattle sports news that we are not aware of, but the Storm seem to be extremely popular and we’re hoping they have a long future in Seattle.  Even if Seattle gets another NBA team, the Storm should be here to stay!  The world could use more women’s sports teams!

While there were all sorts of fans at the game, the crowd was definitely dominated by women (of all ages).  We also noticed that these games seem to be a meeting place for Seattle-area lesbians.  A quick google search found this article that confirms our observations.  Check it out:  http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/living/2003190157_storm11.html

If anyone in the Seattle area wants to watch game #3 with us tomorrow night (5pm), let us know!  We don’t have ESPN2 so we need to find a place to watch the game.

GO STORM!!

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Cloudy with a chance of sun…

14 Sep

We’ve been trying to be optimistic about Seattle’s weather and be thankful for sunny days and even partly sunny days.  It helps to change the way you speak of the weather– from partly cloudy to partly sunny.  We’ve actually been pretty lucky since we moved here and it’s only rained a few days in the past 2 months (we’ve been here 2 months!), but we know fall and winter are coming.

This morning when we woke up it was so foggy that we couldn’t see anything beyond Fremont.  Usually we can see Magnolia and Queen Anne (including the Space Needle) from our living room, but Queen Anne Hill has only just emerged from the clouds.  I guess we weren’t the only ones to notice the fog today.  Here’s the front page of the Seattle Times website http://seattletimes.nwsource.com:

I think the caption is the best: “Fog, then sun, but rain.”

Hoptastic!

13 Sep

Friday was the 5th Annual Hopfest at Brouwer’s Cafe in Fremont.  Brouwer’s Cafe was opened a couple years ago (?) by the same people who run Bottleworks, a well-known specialty beer store in Wallingford, Seattle.  Lucky for us, we live nearby both businesses!  Bottleworks advertises that they offer over 950 beers and Brouwer’s Cafe offers 64 beers on draft and over 300 bottles.

Since Friday was Hopfest at Brouwer’s, they had over 60 hoppy beers on tap!  We are definite hopheads and had this one on the calendar for weeks.  Apparently we were not the only ones because when we arrived, there was a line out the door.  Granted it was nearing the end of Happy Hour and people were getting off work, but clearly Seattleites love IPAs.  The line seemed a little daunting, but it moved pretty quickly.  We met our friend Jonny there and thought it was appropriate that our first round be the Boundary Bay Imperial IPA.  In addition to Boundary Bay brews being amazing, they are brewed in the same town we met each other in college (Bellingham).

http://www.bbaybrewery.com/

http://brouwerscafe.blogspot.com/

http://bottleworksbeerstore.blogspot.com/

After Brouwer’s we met Serena and had our first Fremont bar hopping experience.  Cheers!

Seattle is called Sea-Town for a reason.

13 Sep

We had a really hard time deciding where to move after living in Hawai’i.  The problem is that there are too many great places in this world and after Hawai’i, where do you go?  The other problem is the traveling bug is hard to shake off.  We knew we loved Bellingham (where we attended college and fell in love with the Northwest), but good jobs are so hard to come by there.  Portland and Seattle seemed like good places to start, but we still weren’t sure.  So last summer we went on a big adventure to check out our options.  We visited San Francisco, Portland (OR), Seattle, Orcas Island, Bellingham, Minneapolis, La Crosse , Madison, Princeton, New York City, Boston, Portland (ME), and Acadia National Park.  Although we had a blast on the East Coast and enjoyed those cities way more than we had expected, we were pretty sure that the West Coast was still the place we wanted to be.

Portland is an amazing city and it’s really gaining a global reputation as a green city, not in the trendy sense but in the legitimately sustainable sense.  We were feeling really good about Portland and had a great time on our visit.  After a few days in Portland we were pretty confident that we could move there–but then we headed north to Seattle.  While there are really great things to experience in both cities, a major difference between the two cities is that Seattle has Puget Sound.  Plus there are big lakes in the right middle of the city.  Maybe we’re just spoiled after living in Hawai’i, but Portland’s lack of water (in comparison to Seattle) was a real deal-breaker.  I guess it just feels good to still be on the coastline.  Even though it takes longer to get to the Pacific Ocean from Seattle than it does from Portland there is still much more of a water-oriented culture in Seattle.

This long-winded intro is just a way to bring us to our current post: We are loving all the water in Seattle!  We live very close to Lake Union and Green Lake and are in biking distance to Lake Washington and Puget Sound.  Not too bad!

We recently road our bikes to Golden Gardens Park http://www.cityofseattle.net/parks/park_detail.asp?id=243which is located in the Ballard neighborhood on Puget Sound.  Golden Gardens is an 88 acre park with forest trails, beaches, sand volleyball courts, and great views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.  Our friend Jacklyn took us to Golden Gardens for the first time when visited Seattle last summer and sitting next to the water was one of the experiences that made us ultimately chose Seattle over Portland.

We hung out in Golden Gardens watching the world spin by.  Then the sun started dipping below the distant clouds so we decided to hop back on our bikes and hit the road!

From Golden Gardens, we took the Burke-Gilman Trail http://www.cityofseattle.net/parks/BurkeGilman/bgtrail.htm over to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (“the Ballard Locks”) where we watched the boats and salmon swimming up the fish ladder.  http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/PublicMenu/Menu.cfm?sitename=lwsc&pagename=mainpage

This lock system isn’t very big compared to the big lock and dams on the Mississippi River but it’s still a lot of fun to watch.

The official website for the locks describes its purpose as:

1) To maintain the water level of the fresh water Lake Washington and Lake Union at 20 to 22 feet abovesea level.

2) To prevent the mixing of sea water from Puget Sound with the fresh water of the lakes (saltwater intrusion).

3) To move boats from the water level of the lakes to the water level of Puget Sound, and vice versa.

The locks also serve as a pedestrian pathway between Ballard and Magnolia.  All day long people walk their bikes across the dam with many crossing from home to work as part of their daily commute.  We just think it’ a cool place to hang out and watch the salmon run upstream to Lake Union.  Maybe someday we’ll have a boat that we can run through the locks but for now we’ll just watch.

After leaving the Locks, we followed the Burke-Gilman Trail back to Fremont where we climbed up the hill and headed home.

The view below is from the Fremont Bridge looking down on the Ship Canal which links Lake Union to Puget Sound.  One of these days we hope to rent a row boat like you see in the picture.  So much to do and so little time!

We’ll keep you posted!

Seattle’s a lot of fun- yeah, ya betcha!

2 Sep

As we continue to familiarize ourselves with our new home, we are reminded of our previous homes on an almost daily basis.  We will continue to highlight the Hawai’i themed sites, but today’s blog is about the Nordic influences that we see in Seattle and remind us of Wisconsin.  Sunday we ventured over to Ballard.  Ballard is an adjacent neighborhood, just west of Fremont, that is historically Scandinavian.

We have much to learn yet about the history of Seattle, including its Scandinavian heritage, but obvious signs are the Nordic Heritage Museum (http://www.nordicmuseum.org/), the Norse retirement home, the Finnish Lutheran Church, abundant Norwegian flags, and the “lutefisk” signs outside Safeway.

We rode our bikes over to the Ballard Farmer’s Market (http://www.fremontmarket.com/BallardWelcome.html) which runs year-round on Sundays from 10-3.  Highlights included rainbow colored carrots, vegetarian tamales, local wine and ciders, a guy on stilts making balloon animals, and the street musicians.

After leaving the market, we stopped in at Zayda Buddy’s.  This is a place that has been on our list since we got here.  http://www.zaydabuddyspizza.com/ Zayda Buddy’s is a “Minnesota-style Pizzeria.”  Wondering what Minnesota-style pizza is?

I guess we had never thought about this before, but we didn’t disagree either.  I know I (Angela) grew up eating thin- crust sausage pizza that my mom made and cut into squares 😉

We didn’t try any pizza (next time), but we knew we had to try their bloody mary’s and cheese curds.  If you’re from the midwest, you’d probably be surprised to find out that beer chasers are not standard.  And if you’re from the west coast or Hawai’i, you’d probably be surprised that bloody mary’s come with cheese and sometimes pepperoni.  As we described to our friends in Hawai’i, bloody mary’s in LaCrosse, Wisconsin come with brussel sprouts (Dell’s Bar) and pepperoni (Fayze’s).  So it’s like you get free pupus (appetizers) with your drink!  We were pretty excited that Zayda Buddy’s bloody mary’s came with a cheese curd!  Their deep fried cheese curds were also pretty authentic.  They also serve hotdishes (green been and tater tot), macaroni and cheese, and they have Leinenkugel’s on tap.  All midwestern staples!  That reminds me, if you haven’t seen “Drop Dead Gorgeous” before, you HAVE to see it!!

Concert in the rain

26 Aug

On August 7 we ventured over to Marymoor Park in Redmond to see our very favorite performer–Michael Franti.  It was our first time at Marymoor Park but according to their website  http://www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/inventory/marymoor.aspx, it is the most popular park in King County with over 3 million visitors per year.  It’s on Lake Sammamish and offers an “off leash pet garden,” concerts, movies, bike rentals, a reflexology path, a community garden, fields galore, and a velodrome (I had to look that one up).

The concert was great even though it was the first day it rained since we moved here.  Everyone was bundled up in their cozy hoodies and raingear (a site straight out of a REI catalog), drinking their delicious NW beer (they probably had seven local microbrews on tap), dancing, and having an all-around great time.  It was a typical NW concert and we had a blast!

This was our third Franti concert and what we noticed the most about this one was the diverse crowd.  There were entire families and fans of all ages.  And more folks in their 50s and 60s than we’ve ever seen at a show.  We think that says a lot about their music and positive message.  If you haven’t already checked out Michael Franti & Spearhead, we suggest you do!  http://michaelfranti.com/

One thing not unpredictable: when we pulled into the parking lot at Marymoor Park, it was full of Subaru’s and Zipcars.  We drove in a Zipcar too, but we’ll talk about that in another post.

At the end of the show he called all the kids to come up.  There were a bunch of them and I noticed they weren’t coerced into coming up; they mostly did so on their own.  Up on stage they danced around.  Good times!

Kayaking Lake Union

26 Aug

Our first visitors in Seattle were Xavier and Tonia, so we took them kayaking.   We rented our kayaks from Agua Verde on the campus of UW.  They have a really great set up–super easy and convenient.  We paddled from Portage Bay (the area in between Lake Washington and Lake Union) to Lake Union.  A very urban kayaking experience, but truly unique.  It was  a beautiful day and about as hot as it gets in Seattle.

After a good paddle, nothing tastes better than a margarita and Mexican grindz at the Agua Verde Cafe.  They have a patio on the water if you are lucky to get there before the rush, a fun atmosphere, and reasonably priced treats.  We especially liked the vegetarian options as they came with sweet potatoes.  Next time we’ll try to get there during Happy Hour (M-Th 4-6pm) so we can enjoy $4.75 margaritas!  Check them out if you get a chance:  http://www.aguaverde.com/