This is definetely going to be a three or four parter Before beginning part 3 which begins Friday June 1 and is the also the final chapter, I thought I would address a couple of questions. Doggydaddy, when I travel I'm not much of a breakfast person unless there is something regional that is a must try.For the most part, I think scones are about as regional as you can get in the Pacific Northwest. I simply cannot eat a large breakfast along with a large lunch and dinner, it's simply "too much" for me. Usually if I have a large breakfast then I usually end up not eating lunch at all, or I'll just have a snack instead. I do regret not taking a couple of breakfast photos, specifically of the Apple Pan Dore at Mama's in part 2 and of the huge scone at the Maltby Cafe in part 3.
Tamandmik, I think cedar plank refers to the what the salmon is being grilled or smoked on. Similar analogy would be the wood used when bbq'ing in the South or Midwest.
Before I begin Part II which begins on Tuesday May 29,
first I want to thank you all for your compliments, especially you Pwingsx. Sadly I put about 5 or 6 lbs back on this trip, I know most of it is water weight which happens when one actively diets and then goes back to regular (or maybe a little more than regular) eating. These past 5 days I've been monitoring my weight which is now at 221lbs and hope to get back into dieting mode this coming week. Prius, my next new ballpark will be RFK stadium in DC in August to see the Washington Nationals Saturday, May 26
What would I do without Southwest Airlines? A $220 r/t flight to Oakland with a brief stop over at Midway cannot be beat- I didn't even have to change planes. My trip almost took a downturn from the start. I deliberately didn't take my allergy medication (yep it's that time of year) as we were descending into Chicago on the first leg of the trip, I had the most excruciating headache, the same thing happenned to me 2 years ago- same time of year. I thought I was going to go directly to my hotel, forgo eating and the Giants game that evening. Luckily as soon as we landed in Oakland and I got off the plane I felt much better.
I took the shuttle/bart from the Oakland Airport to San Francisco. It was only a 3 1/2 block walk to my hotel from the Bart Stop. I discovered I was staying a half a block away from the Chinatown Gate on Grant Street! After checking in, I walked, actually climbed right up Nob Hill- for those from the Bay Area, you can appreciate that I walked up Grant Street and then up California Street right through the heart of Nob Hill to Swan Oyster Depot
. I got there around 2:45pm and noticed the huge line outside. Already I'm thinking "is this how every food venture is going to be on this trip?" I made some small talk with a visiting couple from Michigan and their transplanted relative. I was planning on going for the Crab Louis,however the Transplant insisted that I should go for the Combination Louis. After an hour and 15 minutes, I noticed a seat was available at the small counter inside the historical establishment. I sat down and ordered San Francisco's premier beer- Anchor Steam. The lively and colorful countermen (apparently they are all family) made the dining experience extra special with their witty banter. I ordered the a cup of the Boston Style Chowder and the Combination Louis Salad. The buttery soup chock full of clams came with a wedge of the most delicious crusty sourdough, the Crustacean Laden Salad of Dungeness Crab, Shrimp and Prawns complimented the tangy Louis Dressing, my only complaint- I'm not a fan of iceberg lettuce. The counterman saw me taking photos of the meal and he insisted on taking a photo of me - so I let him.
I left Swan Oyster Depot and made the mad dash to my hotel to change into something more suitable- jeans and a long sleave shirt- I didn't realize how cold it was in San Francisco-it was 92 degrees in Rhode Island the day before. I walked to AT & T park for the 6pm Giants Game Vs the Rockies. The park is definetely up there as one of my favorites. Bonds was in his dry spell and the Giant's pitching and offense was a little lame that evening. I ordered the Gordon Biersch Garlic Fries
. At first they were really good, but the garlic laden fries were just a little overwhelming as I started to reach the halfway mark, I had to quit- way too much Garlic for me to handle. The Gordon Biersch Ale on the other hand had a nice hoppy taste. To my surprise, "local radio personality" Gregg Kihn led the crowd in take me out to the ballgame during the 7th inning stretch. What a far cry from his former glory days as a pseudo rock star. The Giants lost to the Rockies. I don't remember the score.
After the game, I walked back towards my hotel and then through Chinatown. I had initially intended to go to Yuet Lee for dinner, but I really wasn't that hungry. I was looking for a snack and happenned to remember photos of the eggrolls at the R & G Lounge
on another website. I walked in and down the stairs towards the dining area and decided to get an order of eggrolls to go and bring back to my hotel. I was happy to see that the clientele was mostly Asian, quite the opposite experience as I walked by the touristy House of Nanking which by the way had a long line of "round eyes" waiting to get in
I brought the eggrolls back to the hotel- They were definetely better than most, however I thought they were just a tad bland. They hit the spot anyway.
After the eggrolls, I watched some dumb Matthew Perry movie on TV and called it a night. Sunday May 27
After perusing the yellow pages when I first woke up, I found a coffee house only a couple of blocks away from my hotel called Cafe Amici. My plan was to get a couple of strong cups of Joe and then head on down to Dol Ho
for a Dim Sum Breakfast. I arrived at Dol Ho, I was the only Non Asian there. I then knew I was in for a treat. I assumed that no one spoke english, the waitress came over and I said two words- "Dim Sum" she replied "Tea?" I shook my head and said yes. The tea arrived and so did the Dim Sum Cart. I had shrimp toast, shu mai and something else- An elderly Chinese man next to me, pointed to the garlicky oily concoction on the table. I dug in and WOW, the dim sum was just amazingly good. 3 plates and I was stuffed- I looked as the two men next to me had something that looked really good and perhaps a little exotic- meat and gravy of some type, I was just so stuffed I couldn't have any more. The whole meal was $8.00 and that includes a tip!
After breakfast, I walked over to Fisherman's Wharf to see if I can get a schedule for the Sausalito Ferry to take the Shuttle to the Muir Woods on Monday. I found out that the ferry that would take me to the Shuttle actually leaves from the Fishermans Terminal at the foot of Market Street- oh well. I then proceeded to walk up Telegraph Hill and up to the Coit Tower. This was actually my second visit to the tower- the first was in 1993. I was bummed to find out that climbing up the tower was no longer allowed, I had to use the elevator. Oh well. I then decided on a whim to check out that Afternoon's Giants game, Bonds was having his dry spell of homers and I had "a feeling" not that I care for Bonds, I just wanted to see if he would hit one. I walked back to the ballpark and managed to get a nosebleed seat right behind home plate. The Tower of Power performed the national anthem. I decided to get a Ghiradelli Chocolate Sundae which really hit the spot and guess what- Bonds hit that homer. The Giants still lost.
Tower of Power
After the game, I walked back to my hotel and then took the Trolley to the Pier for the Sunset Cruise at Alcatraz. I've been waiting to do this for almost 14 years. I'm a history buff and I just eat this stuff up. The tour was informative and interesting, however it was freakin' cold out there.
no this is not my hotel room!
After the tour, I took the trolley to the Embarcadero Station and then took BART directly to 16th and Mission for a Mission Style burrito at Taqueria Pancho Vi
lla. After waiting on the short line (it was already 10pm by this time) I was dissapointed to find out that they were all out of the El Pastor. I got the Super Deluxe Carnitas instead- This was loaded with Roasted Pork and comes with choice of beans (whole pinto for me) and salsa (yes there's more than one) as well as rice, cheese, guacomole, sour cream, lettuce and tomato. This gut buster was flavorful and the spicy fire roasted pastor salsa gave it a kick- who says size doesn't matter. Oh, and it comes with a side of chips and salsa. After my late dinner, I took Bart back to my hotel and called it a night.
look at the size of this behemoth! Monday May 28
Well it's Memorial Day and most of everything is closed. I did want to try BT's
Banh Mi recommdation at Wrap Delight
. Of course I called them and they were closed. I had called them the week beforehand to verify if they would be open on Memorial Day. The lady who picked up the phone and barely spoke english said they would be, but truthfuly I don't think she understood the question I was asking. I decided to head in that direction anyway, I understand that this area is called Little Saigon, and surely there must be someplace
that's open. After stopping for Coffee at one of the Plethora of Coffee Houses along the way, I stumpled across this place
Called Kieu My Tam (KMT) Cafe
on Hyde Street between O'Farrel and Ellis. This appeared to be a small take out or lunch place. The Vietnamese lady behind the counter who I'm assuming was the owner was very nice. She brought me over some tea and then sked me something about "spicy" i said yes. The sandwich arrived and yes it was spicy, I think it was the green things on top. Either way it was pretty good and was definetely worth $2.50 (yes that's not a typo) and would certainly consider trying it again.
After breakfast, I slowly made the walk back to Chinatown, stopping and perusing around Union Square and then did some Souvenir Shopping. I actually got myself a sweat jacket because I forgot to bring mine as well as a few post card. For lunch I decided on Chef Jia's
. This place has gotten rave reviews on Yelp, Citysearch etc. I decided to start out with the Onion Cake appetizer. This came with a side of peanut sauce. It was good, relatively greaseless but I only ate half of it to same room for the main meal. The Lunch Special includes Hot Sour Soup- The soup lived up to it's name- it was probably the hottest and sourest soup I ever ate- yes that means it was really good, probably the best I had. I ordered the chili honey chicken for the main course. Similar to General Tso's it's not quite as spicy and definetely has an empasis on the honey flavor. Overall a very good meal.
After lunch, I took the trolley to the foot of Market Street, and then took the Ferry to Sausalito. From their a shuttle bus went to the Muir Wood. I had a couple of hours to enjoy the woods. Although its less than 20 miles from San Francisco, the secluded beauty of the woods is compromised by the crowds of people who want to spend the day there. Although there are many trails, some rather challenging, I opted for the least challenging one due to a lack of time. I had to head back and take the ferry over to Oakland for the Athletics game. McCaffee Stadium has definetely seen better days. The entire upper deck is closed and the stadium was still only half full. Despite this, the crowd was loyal and exhuberant and the A's beat the Rangers that night. After the game, I again thought about heading up to Yuet Lee or R & G in Chinatown for dinner, but again, I wasn't that hungry and had my fill of Chinese food over the past couple of days. A decision I now regret, instead I went back to my hotel and called it a night. Part II Tuesday May 29
Tuesday was probably the nicest day in San Francisco yet. The Sun was actually out in the morning and stayed out all day. It would also be my last full day in the city. Part of the jist of this trip was to have a few reunions, some planned, some unplanned. Today would be the first attempt at an unplanned reunion which I will get into shortly.
For breakfast I had planned on Mama's on Washington Square
I walked there from my hotel and for some reason went the long way (I seemed to do this alot while in town) up Stockton Street instead of Walking up Columbus. Of course I walked up hill and forgot that the sidwalks actually have steps to climb. I arrived at Mama's and was surpised to see a small line on a Tuesday Morning. The line moved quickly and I didn't realize that you actually call in your order while on line, pay there and then they seat you. I ordered the Apple Pan Dore. This is a Sourdough Baguette French Toast with apples in lemon butter. I was told this took a little longer than most to make, but I thought that based on the description it was worth it.
Breakfast arrived and the best way to describe the meal is "delicate" The bread was sliced very thin and I didn't think the portions were that big (at least compared to some of the other meals I saw) I guess I was picturing a more hearty and substantial meal. Overall it was good, very light tasting, the melding of the lemon butter did not compromise the taste of the carmelized apples at all.
Unfortunately no photos of the meal.
After breakfast I passed the Caffe Roma Roasting Company
in the North Beach area of town. Of course I'm here on the West Coast and can never pass up a good cup of Joe. The guy behind the counter (the owner?) made fun of my New York accent when I asked for "coffee".
I then proceeded to my first unplanned reunion. While doing research on San Francisco a few months back, I came across an alternative weekly newspaper and found out that an old friend who I haven't seen in almost 2 decades is the editor. I decided to walk to the address listed on the webpage and see if I could surprise him. Well, as it turns out the address is just a drop box to collect mail
, when I called the number it was disconnected
- Ok, first failed attempt at a reunion.
All of this walking around gave me an appetite- My Hotel- to Washington Square-to the Tenderloin and back to Chinatown.
It was soon time for lunch- The Tadich Grill
was it. I walked over and as soon as I walked in I noticed the dark clubby atmospher with the Huge Central Bar and the walled in booths. I sat at the bar and ordered Cioppino. The meal started out with the same Sourdough reminiscent of the wedge at Swan Oyster Depot. The Cioppino came- and this I can say with almost compete certainty was the best meal of the trip. The Rich Red Stew had an aquarium of fresh sea creatures in it and the hot sourdough garlic toast which accompanied the meal also complimented it as well. Unbelievable!
After recovering from the exctatic delirium of lunch, I decided to spend the afternoon in Berkely. Something else I've been wanting to check out since my last trip in 93. I took BART over to Berkelely, walked the downtown area and then headed over to the Historical Hippie Commercial District of Telegraph Avenue. After wandering around, I decided to walk around the Campus at UCLA Berkely. It's interesting but my Alma Mater SUNY Stony Brook has always been called the Berkely of the east- Sorry SUNY, but you're no Berkeley.
After a few hours of exploring this neat town I took BART back to San Francisco as dinner time was approaching. Sam's Grill
would be the last big meal for me in San Francisco. I arrived and ordered the Petrale Sole and a side of Creamed Spinach. The meal started with an incredible hunk of sourdough and the as the Sterns Descibed it previously, the Sole had a nice clean taste. The creamed spinach was good too.
After dinner I had to satisfy a curiousity that's been gnawing me for most of my trip, I saw signs all over the city for Irish Coffee (a specialty?) I quickly jumped on the web at my hotel and it appears that an Irish Bar called Buena Vista
at the foot of Russian Hill serves the best- What a way to finish my visit to this charming city!
After the Irish Coffee, I stopped at the San Francisco Brewing Company
for one last pint before settling in for the evening. I had to get up early the next morning for the big drive north! Wednesday May 30
Today was the day I was going to meet a couple of fellow Roadfooders. Bill Voss
strongly advised that I hit the road by 7am to avoid the Bay Area Traffic. I woke up at 5 AM and after a quick breakfast of an Oat Bran Muffin and a couple of cups of Dark Roast at Cafe Amici, I checked out of my hotel, walked to Bart, got off at the Oakland Airport Stop, took the Shuttle to the Airport and then the Shuttle to the rental car. I was on the Road by 7:10 AM. I arrived in Talent Oregon just outside of Ashland by around 12:30 PM with Bill guiding me in to meet him. Bill took me to Inti Tacos Y Mas
a Mexican Restaurant owned by his friend Elise. Bill opted for the Green Chile Corn Chowder and I had something a little more traditional, the three taco special- with choice of filling- I chose Lamb- Shrimp and I believe Carnitas was my third choice. I also knocked down a local beer (just one) but I don't remember which one. The Taco's were delicious, my favorite was the lamb- not too spicy but very tasty. I tried some of Bill's Chowder and that was good too. Bill is quite a conversationalist and his friend Elise was very pleasant and accomodating hostess. I spent more time with Bill on the way back down but that's for another chapter. After almost 2 hours it was time to hit the road to Portland. Bill was very gracious and gave me some beef jerky and a bottle of local wine for the ride up (well not the bottle of wine of course!
) (courtesy of Bill Voss) courtesy of Bill Voss
After stopping in Roseburg for gas, I observed my first Espresso Take Out Place, I am now truly in the Northwest. I ordered an Iced Mocha- the Northwest was going through an unusual heat wave and it was hot- but the Iced drink really cooled me down.
On the way up to Portland I was conversing with Mr Chips
and unfortunately he had a prior little league engagement with his son Sam, however his wife Trudy
was going to meet me at Halibuts
for dinner and the plan was for Mr Chips to join us later that evening. I arrived in Portland at around 7PM after being stuck in a accident related traffic jam approximately 25 miles south of the city. Trudy called and we agreed to meet at Halibuts in the North East Section of the City. I arrived first and then Trudy got there. We knocked down a couple of beers and traded our Roadfood Stories. I decided to order the Clam Chowder with Bay Shrimp. The chowder arrived, the thick chowder was reminiscent of Gilbert's Chowder house in the "other" Portland- Maine of course. It had heaping helpings of Bay Shrimp which just made it taste that much better.
Now, the main course "Halibut and Chips"- That's another Story. I looked at the menu and thought "wow" prices are kinda high. I had the option to order a half a portion as the guy behind the counter when I first walked in, warned me that the portions were big. The meal arrived and I was underwhelmed, the portions were very skimpy and honestly I don't think tasted that great. The company was fantastic, but I just wasn't impressed with the fish I thought they were greasy and not hot and crisp. Really my first dissappointing meal (excluding the chowder) Trudy and I decided to move to an outside table to continue our conversation and beer, as it turns out, Mr. Chips and Sam were out later than expected, I was tired after my long 630 mile drive and 5 AM wakeup call and decided to call it night after parting with Trudy.
BTW, the temps in Portland were 90 Degrees that day, very unusual
for the Pacific NW and a far cry from San Francisco. The heatwave would continue through the remainder of my trip with temps in Seattle in the low 80's. Thursday May 31
I woke up with the intention of hitting the Bijou Cafe
for Breakfast. I took MAX (the local light rail) which has a stop 3 blocks from my hotel to downtown. Imagine my dissapointment when I arrived and found a sign on the door that "closed due to mechanical malfunction, see you tommorow". Well I guess that means I'll see them tommorow. I walked a few doors down and stopped at a local coffee house called Morning Star Cafe
I felt a reprieve when I was told that they had Marionberry Scones. The scone was big, fresh and delicious and loaded with tart n sweet marionberrys, the coffee was good too.
After breakfast, I noticed Voodoo Donuts which Mr Chips suggested I should check out. Of course I just had breakfast but curiousity got the best of me. Although he recommended the Maple Bacon Donut, I went with the Maple Frosted instead. I ate almost half of it and was too full to continue. It was pretty good, but it's not quite up to Allie's standards here in Rhode Island (Mr Chips- you must check out Allie's if you come out for a visit!
I then decided to walk off my breakfast and a half by walking up towards the Nob Hill District, Portland's answer to Greenwich Village, after walking and browsing around I hit a local brewpub called the New Old Lompoc Brewery and had a pint. I don't remember what it was but it was good. I then inquired about some hiking trails in the area. Perfect after lunch, although I did have to return to my hotel to pick up my 35 mm camera as that is the camera I use for all of my ballpark photos.
I walked back towards downtown as lunchtime was approaching and I planned on going to Dan and Louis Oyster Bar
. This place is housed in an historical downtown building and the interior just wreaks of character. I started out with the seafood stew which was so-so (Mr Chips told me I should have ordered the Oyster Stew) I then went on to the Fried Yaquina Oysters which were delicious- Hot-Crispy and Fresh with that oceanic taste and ended with the Marionberry Pie- Wow another excellent meal! Thanks Mr. Chips for the recommendation!
After lunch, I was going to take MAX back to my hotel pick up my other camera and then head back towards downtown to hike one of the west hills trails recommended earlier in the day. Little did I know the Rose Festival was starting and the Trains were delayed as a result due to the raising of the bridge for a fleet of ships. I ended up eventually getting back to my hotel and then took MAX back downtown but lost an hour of time. I had about an hour and a half to kill before meeting Mr Chips for dinner and decided to get off at PGE Park, the triple A ballpark for the Portland Beavers and take a walk back towards Nob Hill.
After my PM stroll, I again returned to downtown, actually only a few blocks away from the ballpark to meet up with Mr Chips at Jake's Famous Crawfish
We decided to grab a table in the bar area. Jake's is also housed in an older historical building and has the interior to match. We shared and swapped stories and also a Salmon Cake Appetizer which was really good. It was a tough choice to order off the "Fresh List" or go with the farm raised Stuffed Salmon which I had my heart set on after previously perusing the menu. I decided on the Stuffed Salmon and Mr Chips had the Sole. The Salmon was stuffed with Bay Shrimp, Dungeness Crab and Brie Cheese and was very delicious, I am now wondering how much better the Wild Salmon would have been.
Mr. Chip's Meal
After dinner we walked to the Beavers Game they were hosting the Iowa Cubs. Unfortunately Mr Chips had to go to work later that evening and I ended up initiating a reunion with a girl I haven't spoken to in over 11 years. We left the game at the beginning of the 8th inning. I was back at my hotel before 10pm and was on the phone until after 1 AM. More about that in Part 3. Friday June 1
Friday got off to a late start, I was on the phone the night before with a girl who I met in late 1995 3 weeks before I moved from Seattle to Pittsburgh at a party in Portland. Apparently she had just lost her job on the day that I called and was obviously upset. One thing I do remember about her is that she is quite the talker, let's leave it at that. At first I offered to meet her for breakfast at the Bijou Cafe in Portland. I also offered to meet her on Sunday evening since I would be going through Portland on My trip back down to the Bay area from Seattle. She preferred that we meet Sunday since "she would need to put herself together"
So Friday morning I went to the Bijou
alone. I arrived to a strong fresh cup of coffee and ordered the Granola with Yogurt and fresh fruit. The Granola was ok, it didn't stand out like the Granola I had last year in Los Angeles,however I kept asking to have my coffee cup refilled because that
During breakfast I called my friend Alan in Seattle to let him know that I was on my way. My first stop after arriving in Seattle was Spud Fish n Chips
. There are 3 locations, one in Alki(West Seattle) which was taken over by Ivar's and I understand is not so good anymore. There's the one in Greenlake which I always thought was hit and miss and the one in the Juanita Section of Kirkland which I always enjoyed. Of course this is the location I went to, in addition, it was on the way up to my old office where I was going to go visit my ex coworkers (or what's left of them) after lunch.
Spud's looked exactly the same. I ordered the Halibut n Chips which was always my favorite. Since ever meal is cooked to order, I was waiting almost impatiently wondering if the meal was going to be as good as I remembered. They called my number. The meal looked exactly as I remembered, large crispy filets of halibut with golden brown fresh cut fries and creamy home made tartar. The fish was piping hot and had a fresh clean full bodied taste the batter (cornmeal?) was light yet very crispy and the fries were just delicious. Of course I spritzed the fish with some vinegar which comes on the table and then dipped both the fish and fries in the Tartar sauce which is the customary way to do things here in the Pacific Northwest. As good as ever!
Here's a closeup of those fresh cut fries. I can still taste 'em!
After lunch I headed up to Bothell WA to visit my old office. Again I haven't seen everyone in about a decade, all I can say is wow, everyone looks older. Am I the only one that looks the same?
I spent about an hour at my old office and the drove, actually crawled along the floating bridge to Seattle. I parked in the International District and paid $16 to park in the lot. Of course afterwards I found out from my friend that I could have parked at his office for free. It was still too early to meet Alan, I walked around Pioneer Square and noticed that many of my old hangouts are gone!
The Old Timer's Cafe, where did that go. And Doc Maynards Tavern is now Doc Maynard's Bistro???!!! What the frig??? This isn't the Pioneer Square that I remembered
After lamenting the loss of a really cool part of downtown I headed to my friend's office. We were going to go out for some Pho, in the International District- Should be a great unique local place- right?? WRONG!!!! We ended up going to a CHAIN
Pho place called Pho Hoa
. I never would have guessed that chain Pho existed, let alone in the International District. They even have a place in Dorchester MA for crying out loud! I didn't know where else to go and trusted my friend with his decision, he had previously mentioned several other Pho places but we would have had to drive to get there and we had a 7pm Mariners game to catch. Ok, I've never had Pho before and I'll keep an open mind. I ordered a bowl of Pho with "everything" in it- It had tripe, tendon and every other imaginable body part you can imagine. It was not bad and reminded me of some of those Japanese Noodle chains my friends and used to go to in NYC back in the 80's. I couldn't tell you how it compares to Pho at some of the local spots,but I guess it gives me a reason to go back to Seattle or at least visit another city with a large Vietnamese Population.
After dinner we headed on over to Safeco Field. The Mariners were playing the Texas Rangers. Safeco field is a Majestic Park with a retractable roof. What a difference from the Kingdome! It was a beautiful evening, temp's in the 70's. Ichiro hit a homer that night but both teams displayed some really sloppy pitching, either way, Seattle Lost. On the way out of the ballpark I noticed a guy playing his Tuba on the street. I actually have a photo of this on my 35 MM. Saturday, June 2
What a beautiful clear crisp morning. Temp's are around 60 degrees, can't get better than this. I was hoping to go to a coffee house for breakfast, my friend wanted to do a real breakfast. I suggested Julia's, however my friend said there would likely be a long line. We ended up going to the Blue Star Cafe
also in my friend's Wallingford Neighborhood. I noticed the Bay Shrimp and Dungeness Crab Omelette which comes with bread or scone. My friend also had an omelette ( don't remember what kind) and a fruit smoothie too. The omelette also included onions and hollandaise. I thought the omelet was good but it seemed to be missing something, in retrospect I was thinking maybe adding bacon or subbing monterey jack for the hollandaise would have worked. The cinammon scone which came with the meal was ho hum. I've had better. Sorry no photos. After breakfast we walked through Fremont, Seattle's old "hippie district" I grabbed a strong cup of coffee at one of the local coffee houses and we ended up checking out a chocolate factory housed in the old Trolleyman's pub (where they used to brew Red Hook Beer). One of the cool things about fremont is the infamous Fremont Bridge. There is actually a Troll living underneath the bridge and it actually has a real volkswagen in it's left hand. If you don't believe me, take a look for yourselves.
We then took the long walk to the Pikes Place Market Downtown. There was some festival going on there. And there seemed to be a preoccupation with pigs
I was hungry, my friend wasn't (he had both the smoothie and omelette for breakfast) we went to the Market grill
. I got the grilled halibut sandwich which comes with coleslaw. The Fish is made to order and is served on french bread and comes with lettuce, tomato grilled onions and tartar sauce. The Sandwich was delicious, but I remember a similar sandwich served on a kaiser bun at the many downtown festivals that were even better.
Here's a close up of the Grilled Halibut
After lunch we walked to the Pier and we oogled at the authentic preserved mummy's and the deformed pig and shrunken heads inside Ye Old Curiousity Shoppe. I then grabbed a Marionberry Waffle Cone Ice Cream at one of the ice cream stands. We then opted to take the bus back to Wallingford. (The walk from Wallingford to Seattle alone was at least 4 miles)
That evening I had a another reunion in Store. A lady friend I met in Seattle back in 1993 just under a year after I moved there. We kept in touch over the years but haven't spoken over the last 3 or 4 years or so. She had 3 children that were all little when I first met her (one reason among many that we never dated) Even when I left in early 96, her oldest was 12. Well her oldest son is now getting married, the middle son is now 18 and 6'7" and the youngest girl(who I didn't get to meet) is now 6'1" and was at her high school prom! What the hell was she watering these kids with??!!! Anyway We decided to go to Ivar's Mukilteo Landing
which is right on Puget Sound. My friend's 18 year old son joined us. Although a part of the Ivar's chain, this is a nice sit down restaurant with beautiful views of the sound. We started out with the Smoked Seafood Appetizer and I chose the Applewood Smoked Wild King Salmon as the main course. This salmon is the real thing- Wild, not farm raised and was definetely the best Salmon dish on the trip. I wish I took my camera, but I didn't want Shelly or her son to think I was some kinda freak. BTW, I don't remember what Alan, Shelly or her kid had.
We chatted for a long while after dinner, somehow our conversation got on to the question of if there is extraterrestial life out there, but that's for another forum I guess. Sunday June 3
Somehow this morning I convinced my friend to go the Maltby Cafe
. We arrived around 10 am and surprisingly there was only a 1/2 hour late. Again, I was dissapointed that the Turkey Cheddar Jack Omelette was no longer on the menu. I got the chili and cheese omelette instead and for a buck more I can choose a Scone over the toast or biscuit. Breakfast arrived and the fresh warm blueberry scone was Gi-Normous and delicious, the Omelette was good too and the portion was also huge. I couldn't finish both, so the scone won out and I left about a third of the omelette on my plate. When the waitress came back I mentioned my dissapointment about my favorite omelette no longer being on the menu, and she replied, "oh,you should have mentioned something, we could have made that for you", Now she tells me!
Another meal I wish I had a picture of- at least a photo of the scone.
After breakfast we headed to my old stomping grounds of downtown Kirkland and strolled around the upscale shops and waterfront area which overlooks lake washington. Unfortunately, my old watering hole , the Roaster is gone, Hales Ales also used to brew right next door and the Roaster was basically there flagship pub. It's now an Irish Bar and I sat down to a refreshing pyramid hefeweisen. We then drove back to Seattle and headed up to Greenlake for one last 4 mile walk.
It was now time to depart Seattle. My lady friend from Portland called and we were going to meet at McCormick and Shmick's in downtown Portland @ 8pm. Before leaving Seattle I stopped at Daly's Drive In
for a Salmon Burger. This nice hunk of Salmon Filet on a wheat bun was really good, I decided to get some extra tartar but the sandwich really didn't need it.
I headed down to McCormick and Schmick's and met up with my lady friend who I hadn't seen in over 11 years. At almost 5'8 and just over 130 lbs she has definetely retained her figure, however she can certainly talk and talk. Although she arrived over 1/2 an hour late we chatted for 2 hours and I really had to go since I was heading down to Eugene to sleep for the night. Oh, I had the seafood jambalaya for $3.99 and she had the burger and fries for 1.99- big portions-apparently they run a special. I arrived in Eugene just after 12:30pm and called it a night. Monday June 4
I had breakfast at a coffee house at some farmers market in downtown Eugene, basically had a rasberry coffee cake. Nothing Special. I met up again with Bill Voss who was nice enough to let me print my boading ticket on his computer- actually I just checked in- you know-Southwest- no reserved seating. We took a tour up through the Mountains, and I met up with his son as well. I showed them both how badly I can "shoot hoops" We then drove to Ashland unfortunately it started to rain, Bill wanted to take me to Omar's, one of his favorite restaurants but they had already stopped serving Lunch, we ended up going to another place and they were closed At this point I was really hungry and we ended up going to an English Restaurant. Bill had the Snapper Fish n Chips and I had the Shephard's Pie (hey it's an English Restaurant- right?? I took a bite of Bill's Fish n Chips, and I guess I should have gone with that....We parted ways at around 4:30pm, this time bill gave me some Smoked Salmon to bring back home with me.
My Shephard's Pie (Courtesy of Bill Voss)
Bill's Snapper and Chips (Courtesy of Bill Voss)
It was raining fairly heavily, the steady rain continued over Siskiyou Pass and then it sporadically rained on and off until Redding where it stopped altogether. I continued to drive back to the Bay area, however after all the seafood I ate I had this amazing craving for red meat. I happenned to stop in Williams CA, a little over a 100 miles from San Francisco to gas up. As I took the exit, I noticed this big restaurant called Granzella's. An Italian restaurant in the middle of no where? Yeah, right. I went in, and noticed that I missed the Eggplant Parm Special by one day. Either way, I simply had this craving for red meat. Nothing Italian on the menu appealed to me. I ended up making the biggest mistake. I ordered the BBQ Beef ribs. Oh G-d, this was the worst meal of the trip. The salty sauce poured on the tough and gristled meat was just
. On a positive note, the garlic bread was good. What was I thinking- BBQ Beef Ribs in an Italian Restaurant??!!
Either way, I still felt like I was in the middle of nowhere and no one in the Restaurant either looked or sounded Italian! Where's Tony Soprano when you need him? I finally arrived at my hotel in Oakland at 10:30pm Tuesday June 5
The last day of the trip. I thought I found a coffee house in the Alamda neighborhood of Oakland, it even had a separate menu section in the yellow pages, of course when I got there, it was out of business. A few doors down there was a place called "coffee and donuts" a take out donut shop, it appears to be run by someone of Korean Descent based on the language they were speaking but I wasn't 100% sure. I got th maple bar. it wasn't bad, the coffee was bad. Starbucks at the Airport faired a little better. After layovers in San Diego and Phoenix (yes you heard right) at least I didn't have to change planes, I finally arrived back in Lil' Rhody at 11:30 PM and was home before midnight.