I had a 5+ hour layover in Atlanta, which was actually a good thing. I was able to get some work done for ThinkTank and Half Full. I thought I would be so tired after a long flight with semi-annoying passengers. Laverne & Shirley, as I dubbed them, sat next to me, and wanted to make conversation. Well, they were low talkers, and one had an under bite, making it very hard to understand her. But I did catch the bit about how I must be “always alone” and that’s why I’m okay traveling by myself. What the heck kind of assumption is that? Not that it is any of Shirley’s business, but I had to let her know that I’m not a loner and am in fact very social.
The rest of the flight continued with Laverne spilling every. single. drink. she had onto either herself, Shirley, or both of them. I’m just glad I didn’t get hit. Oh, but I did get poked and prodded through the back of my seat! The televisions were touch screen, and ironically not very responsive to touch. This man, who didn’t speak English sat behind me, and started using his TV, punching it rather roughly! His name for the next 5.5 hours became Punchy McPuncherson. I tried to explain to him the effect of his violent TV watching had on my body, but he didn’t seem to understand.
Finally, I arrived in Seattle and lugged my 3 heavy bags onto the LINK Light Rail. I forgotten how industrial Washington could be. The first few stops on the rail showed nothing but trees and steel companies with a random mechanic shop popping up here and there. I arrived downtown and was surprised to find it like a mini, cleaner, slightly friendlier New York City. I loved it! I even caught a taxi easily; the drivers in Seattle seem way nicer than drivers I’ve met in most cities.
I took the taxi to Capitol Hill where I was staying through AirBnB. The draw to this particular apartment was the fantastic penthouse view of the skyline and space needle! My host, Nam, welcomed me. We chatted a bit and I went to freshen up to go to dinner at Plum Bistro. I found out about them through Groupon. There are a chain of Plum restaurants in Seattle — all of them organic and completely vegan. In other words, heaven.
I did fairly well navigating through Capitol Hill in the dark by foot, with the help of GPS and not the help of Cal Anderson Park, which cut off the streets slightly, but I managed to find my way around it. The locals are what you’d expect to find in Seattle: hipsters, some slightly eccentric, and some looking like they stepped out of Gotham City. Anyway, Plum Bistro is absolutely fantastic! I had several foodgasms between the Cajun Mac N Yease and this peach, avocado, green bean dish that was fresh and tasty. I also fell in love with Ace’s Hard Pumpkin Cider. By 9:30, the day and time change was catching up to me and I passed out.
I slept like a log. I don’t know if it was the bed, the cooler temperature (I actually got to sleep with the window open, something I never got to do in Florida), being worn out from the day before, or simply because of the anticipation of leaving Florida was behind me. I’m guessing all of the above. When I woke up, my first thought was to photograph the sunrise off the balcony with the space needle. Then I realized…this is Seattle, land of clouds, gloom and rain! There is no bright, big sunrise. Instead, I photographed a cloudy, morning view. To my surprise, the sun did come out about an hour later and was warm and sunny for the entire length of my trip!
I didn’t make hard plans for the day. I just wanted to wander and float in and out of coffee shops, especially since I still had to work on a marketing report and publish articles. Balancing everything during my travels is going to be a challenge, but I think it’ll be good for me.
I went to 3 different coffee shops: Seattle Coffee Works, Ghost Alley Coffee, and of course, the first ever Starbucks on 1st and Pike. The only coffee shop I didn’t enjoy was Ghost Alley. It was this tiny place crammed into the corner of Post Alley and they do ghost tours out of there. I only went in there because it’s located right near the gum wall, and I thought they might sell gum for me to add to this disgusting work of art. They did sell gum, but none that were vegan.
I wound up wandering the Pike Place Market for hours and did find vegan gum in the process, but lost my way back to the wall since I kept getting led in all different directions of the market. From odd little eclectic stores to record stores to the farmer’s market with pears and apples so damn crisp, fresh and delicious that it makes me want to move there alone for that kind of access to produce.
Finally, I stumbled upon the gum wall again, formed my small wad into a heart and stuck it to the wall. So gross, but I’m glad I contributed. Next, I walked down to the waterfront for some photos ops.
I figured I better get something to eat at this point. Aside from the samples of pear and apple, I hadn’t eaten since early in the morning and it was now late afternoon. I had also purchased Groupon to Loving Hut, an international vegan Asian-ish chain. I have ordered some of their products online before to prepare at home for holidays.
Well, I decided to walk, not really thinking about how I’d done nothing but walked all day and how easily irritated my feet become. Not to mention the hill climbing I have done — I didn’t think I’d face so many hills until San Francisco! My calves were definitely feeling it.
Anyway, so I walked, and walked, and before I knew it… I was in China Town. I didn’t even know that’s where Loving Hut was, but it made sense. It was far into neighborhood and I guess technically, it was no longer considered China Town since there was a little thing that said the area was “Little Saigon”.
I found the restaurant and ate the Jumping Princess for an appetizer, which was basically mock shrimp with a dipping sauce. Delish. My main dish was called something or other bliss, and I found out it is a traditional Vietnamese dish. The manager seemed to think, 1. I was eating it wrong and 2. I didn’t like it. Apparently, you’re supposed to mix this bowl filled with a ton of rice noodles, taro, tofu, lettuce, and a bunch of other stuff all together and they give you this side of broth that I poured into it. I felt judged while I was eating it, but I did like it — I just couldn’t finish it because the portion was huge!
After lunch/dinner, I made the hour long trek back to Capitol Hill. I tried to take the bus, but no one spoke English and the bus only takes exact change. So I was planning to walk until I got change, but I enjoyed exploring so much that I just kept walking. I caught a great look at the sunset and space needle on my walk back. I ended the day sipping wine with Nam.
My feelings about Seattle at this point? I felt like a local. I must have blended in because people were asking me for directions! I enjoy the hustle and bustle with the occasional hello or smile from a stranger. I am even considering living there…
Exhaustion got the best of me. I was so stubborn yesterday with me not taking any buses! I love finding my own way, especially by foot. My tootsies and legs were still recovering from yesterday’s adventures and I should have taken it easy on them, but I didn’t! I walked to Espresso Vivace for the most amazing, sweetest espresso in the world. I could have drunk it black, that’s how good it was. Afterwards, I did take a bus to go to the space needle. I enjoyed the views from the top, but I like looking at the needle itself rather than being inside of it.
I was determined to take a picture with the Fremont Troll under the Aurora Street Bridge after that. There is actually a sculpture of a troll built into the bridge. I tried to take the bus, but this woman told me it was the wrong bus stop. (In retrospect, I think it was the right one!) So me being stubborn, said “screw it” and tried to walk to the bridge rather than search for a bus stop. The walk was supposed to be about 40 minutes. Well, of course, there were sidewalk and road detours all along Aurora Street. I kept trying to go around them and wound up getting turned around several times. Tired, broken, and with a completely dead phone, I wandered into a small coffee kiosk across the street from the Seattle Center to charge my phone and eat a banana. I talked to the barista for a while about Seattle living, and it made me reevaluate wanting to live there. Between the high cost of living, and all the detours I was hitting, it really was starting to remind of New York, and not in a good way.
Once my phone was charged, I decided to grab some food at Plum Pantry in the Seattle Center, and head back to the apartment defeated. My entire body felt like I had done a week’s worth of intense workouts. I watched the season 6 premiere of “The Vampire Diaries” while comforting myself with mac & yease before passing out.
I got up way before the sun and headed to Bauhaus Books & Coffee. Terrible coffee, but I loved the old books, payphone and camera they had on display. Afterwards, I went to Victrola Coffee Roasters for an espresso macchiato, which made up for the lousy coffee at Bauhaus. Plus, the barista was really nice. I had renewed vigor to find the troll once more, this time, planning to bus it. Well…guess what? The bus I needed after walking 20 minutes to the freaking bus, was detoured and no one knew where to!
So, I planned to take a different bus…which passed me by while I was trying to cross the street! Since it was Saturday, the schedule was less frequent and I didn’t want to risk missing my Greyhound to Vancouver over this damn troll, so I gave up…again. And where did I go to comfort myself? Plum Bistro! I’m kind of glad to be done with that temptation, as much as I loved it. I ate way too much. Brunch consisted of pancakes, Field Roast sausage, yam and potatoes, and a tofu scramble! Plus, I had to indulge in some Hard Pumpkin Cider again.
Seattle, I love you, but I think I’ll just visit you once in a while… and I’ll remind myself to only order appetizers at Plum.
Coffee + Food reviews will be posted soon on www.HalfFullMag.com!