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03/14/15 - Pompeii in Seattle

There is an exhibit on Pompeii at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. We really enjoyed the special exhibit on ancient Egypt that we saw there, so we made a point of getting into town for this one. It is a pretty amazing exhibit with lots of wonderful artifacts, a fair bit of explanation, and fascinating videos of reconstructions of the homes of the rich and famous of the doomed city.

Pompeii was destroyed by a volcano in the first century, but not by a lava flow. It was buried under volcanic ash, so all sorts of things were preserved, locked in stone. The folks living in Pompeii had no idea that they were living next to a recently active volcano. In fact, the Romans of the day had never even heard of a volcano, save possibly for highly distorted accounts in old stories of dubious veracity. We have no such excuse, so we don't buy retirement condos with names like Rancho Mount Saint Helens.

There were mosaics, glass bottles, statues of household gods, frescos, furniture, dishes and even somebody's safe decorated with various figures associated with vigilance and defense. We were fascinated, as we Kalebergs often are. The exhibit is in Seattle until the end of May, so if you are at all interested in this kind of thing, make your plans soon.

An ornate oil lamp

That's an ad for garum, Roman nam pla

Household gods - lares and penates - with Lars himself on the far right

A very atmospheric exhibit

Useful stuff for the bath including an early example of a blown glass bottle, the modern looking one

The three Graces, a timeless theme

An old safe

Keywords: science, seattle

01/09/15 - Short Trip to Seattle

We took yet another short trip into Seattle. The high point was our wonderful dinner at Sitka & Spruce.

To be honest, we started our meal around 4PM at Taylor Shellfish which is just down the block. We had dropped by before and checked out the oysters bubbling in their holding tanks. This time we tried some Olympias and Kumamotos, fresh and tasting of the sea. We also had some of the calamari salad with seaweed and mushrooms. It was quite good.

Then, we had dinner at Sitka & Spruce which was quite an experience. We knew we were in good hands when the sourdough bread arrived with the lightly whipped cultured butter. We were served each dish in turn, family style, and when the corned lamb with seared cabbage arrived, we knew we were in the hands of genius. The theme for the meal was crisp skin on the outside and tender meat inside. We had the pork belly with caraway seeds on toast, the porchetta with squash and rye crisps and the amazingly good rabbit. We were in heaven.

We finished off with a floating island with two types of meringue, one light and fluffy and one crisp like a cracker. It was an intense experience.

Wild water at the Ballard Locks

The winter garden at the Locks had its charms.


Downtown evening light

More light

The sunset in close up

Sitka and Spruce

More Sitka & Spruce

The ferris wheel down by the waterfront

Keywords: oysters, seattle, winter

12/09/14 - More Seattle

Our trip to Seattle was brief, but we did manage to get around. Mainly, we did a lot of shopping. We also saw some sea lions in the harbor while waiting for the ferry to start.

Seattle has great winter light.

This is the view from the market, near Place Pigout.

Sea lions?

Someone doesn't mind the cold water.

The Seattle waterfront

Keywords: seattle, shopping

09/06/14 - Another Quick Trip to Seattle

We made another quick trip into Seattle. We really had to do some shopping. Besides, we needed our urban fix. We love living out in Port Angeles, but we sometimes hear the call of the big city.

Bad camera optics show off a city skyline full of cranes and the Space Needle.

More bad optics and the Space Needle.

This car was in the lot outside of Tamarind Tree. We had Beef Seven Ways. The car is for sale.

Keywords: seattle

07/04/14 - Seattle

We made another quick run into Seattle. The fireboat Leschi was saluting a recently passed ferry crewman. When the announcement started we were hoping it was a retirement after 30 years sort of thing. No such luck.

We also checked out the Ballard Locks and fish staircase. There were lots of fish on their way. There was also a seal lying low in the water waiting for supper.

The Leschi

Ballard Locks

Plenty of fish - chinook salmon

Plenty of water, too


Keywords: seattle

06/11/14 - A Short Trip to Seattle

We had another short errand running trip into Seattle. One day we have to have a more leisurely visit. Still, we managed to squeeze in a great dinner at Staple & Fancy in Ballard followed by a much needed walk back to our hotel near Seattle Center.

The bar at Staple & Fancy

On the way back to our hotel

The area is clearly zoned for mixed use.

The water

Water and sky

Keywords: seattle, restaurants

04/03/14 - Signs of Spring

We stopped in Seattle on our way out to Walla Walla. Spring is well underway there. Here are some photos from Volunteer Park.

P.S. Did we mention that we used the Uber app to get a ride down from Volunteer Park? It worked surprisingly well. We had a car there in four minutes. The cab companies made no promises when they estimated 20-30 minutes. No wonder they're lobbying so hard.

Fruit trees in bloom

The forest and pool

Easter Bunny photo op

Keywords: seattle, spring

02/25/14 - The Chihuly Glass Museum

We finally visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum in Seattle Center. We've walked past it dozens of times, but this time we had an out of town visitor and wanted to do something Seattle. Dale Chihuly, artist, visionary and promoter, has created some pretty amazing glass sculpture with emphasis on the organic and fantastic. These are all large scale works, indoors and outdoors, and these photographs don't really do them justice. They are meant to be seen as an environment, not as artifacts.

Organic forms

The fantastic

A smaller artifact

Fantastic forms

Another amazing sculpture

Outdoors in the garden

Organic forms

More fantastic flora

Fantastic ferns

More of the garden

Life imitating art

Keywords: seattle, art

02/15/14 - Seattle Restaurants

We tried three new restaurants in Seattle and here offer our brief reports.

Skillet Diner has wonderful hours and serves a sort of breakfast, lunch, dinner menu most of the day. They have a great corned beef hash and make good pulled pork, but we could have used a lot more pork on our sandwich. They definitely know their fried foods, as the fried chicken thighs were excellent. We'll probably be back, but more careful in our ordering.

Skillet Diner - Firearms prohibited

Aragona, run by the same folks who run Artusi, opened with a big splash, but we were disappointed. The Seattle Times had a glowing review, but the restaurant needs a lot of tuning. The location, across from the Four Seasons, with views of the harbor, was wonderful, but the service was choppy. We never could arrange for our wine to arrive with our food. The menu, featuring Spanish country food, was interesting, but we found it a bit bland. We're hoping they'll get things more polished over the next year or so. The place definitely has promise.
Lark was our real find this trip. There is a big menu and we loved just about everything on it. The chicken liver mousse served with prunes and armagnac was creamy and savory. The king crab legs were fresh and simply prepared. There was an excellent spicy lamb ragout served with hearty pasta. All told, it was an excellent meal. We'll probably be back in a season or two to see how the menu varies.

Keywords: restaurants, seattle

02/14/14 - Seattle in Winter

We were in Seattle for a wild weekend of urban excitement. It was a strange trip, with all sorts of things being a bit trickier than we had expected. Some of this is because our trip spanned not only President's Day but also Valentine's Day. On the other hand, some things were unexpected, like Salumi running out of bread.

On the other hand, we did visit one of our favorite places in Seattle, the Ballard Locks. We checked out their winter garden. The daphnes were asleep, but the hellebores and witch hazel were in bloom.

Sorry, all out of bread.

Witch hazel

The Ballard Locks

The railroad bridge at the locks

Seattle at night

Keywords: seattle, winter

01/12/14 - Boat Street Cafe

We made a lightning trip into Seattle, got rained on terribly and tried out a new restaurant in Seattle. The rain was unexpected with great torrents of it pouring from the skies and turning the street channels along the curb into rivers. The Boat Street Cafe was unexpected in that we had expected a good meal, but not to find a new favorite restaurant.

The dining room
The cafe is in an uncharming part of Seattle, in the U of one of those biotech buildings cut off from the waterfront by the rail lines, so the interior was a charming contrast, peaceful, spacious and beautiful. The food was charming as well. We started with deep shell oysters with grated horseradish and tender grilled octopus with a smoked paprika sauce, picked onions and pickled celery. Boat Street Cafe, it turns out, is famous for its pickled fruits and vegetables, and we enjoyed them from the start.

We also had the most amazing Dover sole, lightly floured and seared and served on a bed of creme fraiche, but the real treat was the vegetables we had ordered on the side. We had a plate of roasted brussels sprouts and a plate of roasted baby carrots with a parsley chive pesto, covered with frizzled carrot greens dripping black butter. Baby carrots were a serious thing back in the 1980s, so it's good to see they are coming back in such style.

We also had a wonderful plate of pickles, with a host of pickled vegetables including rutabaga, turnips, carrots and bright purple onions. The Boat Street Cave comes by its pickling reputation honestly. Since we were having pickles, we also had some cheeses. There was a great selection, with a rich triple creme, a camembert, a light farm house blue and something much like a Spanish manchego.

What can we say? We were surprised too. We liked the Boat Street Cafe much more than we had expected.

Boat Street Cafe

3131 Western Ave
Seattle, WA
(206) 632-4602

Keywords: restaurants, seattle

12/11/13 - Edible Art at the Sheraton - 2013

Every Christmas the downtown Sheraton in Seattle hosts some serious gingerbread cookie art. There's more than gingerbread, of course. There's also a lot of candy, spun sugar and serious imagination. This year, the theme was nursery rhymes, rendered as charmingly as ever.

That's Jack's beanstalk towering over Seattle.

This is jolly old London, the setting for oh so many nursery rhymes.

London Bridge is falling down.

Hickory, dickory, dock.

There was an old lady who lived in a shoe.

I saw a ship a sailing.

A close up of the ship - The windows were magical.

If you look carefully, you can see the cow jumping over the moon.

A rendering of Seattle under the bean stalk.

Keywords: christmas, seattle

12/10/13 - Seattle Cranes

It is our favorite time of the year for visiting cities, because this is the time everyone gets serious about decorating for Christmas, and Seattle is no exception. There were wreaths and roping and Christmas lights everywhere, so the city was at its best both by day and by night.

The downtown Christmas tree

The Space Needle and one of the many construction cranes

The Space Needle a bit later - That's the Pacific Science Center down on the left.

The Space Needle and even more cranes

As dusk approaches, the cranes take light.

The guys must have had some real fun decorating this one.

Downtown by night

That crane from another view

More cranes decorated for Christmas

The Space Needle with its Christmas tree topper

The Space Needle again

Keywords: christmas, seattle

11/29/13 - Seattle - City Views

We've been making a lot of short trips into Seattle. This was another overnight. We had some shopping to do before Thanksgiving, so we loaded up at Pike's Place Market and wandered the waterfront.

View of the harbor from Pike's Place Market

A little vegetable and herb garden at the market

The waterfront from Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle

The grain elevator, loading wheat for China

Look carefully between the bush and the pier and you'll see Mount Rainier, another northwest ghost mountain.

Pike's Place Market - pretty good for a handheld shot

The future as seen from 1963 - Cinerama and the Space Needle

Another shot of the Space Needle ...

... and the Seattle Science Center

Keywords: seattle, shopping

11/11/13 - Seattle Conservatory

Whenever we climb up to Volunteer Park we make a point of checking out the conservatory.

Something like a pineapple

More exotics




The reflecting pool at Volunteer Park

A community garden

Keywords: flowers, seattle

11/08/13 - Seattle Band Signs

We always love the ragged, colorful look of those Seattle band posters that plaster various light poles and the like. They're a real part of Seattle. We aren't big music people, but we can appreciate their energy and their testamony to the vibrancy of the local music scene. Of course, they can look a bit messy and cluttered, so we're sure that one day the gentrifiers and improvers are going to do something about them. Until then, we're going to enjoy them.

Keywords: seattle, art

10/26/13 - Seattle Fog

We went into Seattle to see Gravity in 3D on an iMax screen. It was a pretty good movie with much better writing and acting than we had expected from a movie where the real stars were 3D and IMAX. The physics, on the other hand, had us laughing, but that's because we played a lot of Spacewar back in the 1970s so we know some orbital mechanics. Still, they avoided a lot of the cliches, and, as noted earlier, it was a very gripping and entertaining movie, as long as we ignored the physics.

It was foggy in Seattle, so we took some nice foggy pictures, and Halloween was on its way, so we took some Halloween-ish pictures too.

Is this a comment on bicycle safety?

Foggy Space Needle

Foggy Seattle

Some Halloween themed art

Did we pass the smell test?

Keywords: halloween, seattle

09/21/13 - To Seattle By Sea

Whenever we give directions to people coming to visit the Olympic Peninsula, which is pretty often, we always tell them about the land route via Tacoma and the water route via the Bainbridge Island Ferry. While the land route may be faster, particularly when starting from the airport, the water route gets one into the spirit of the Northwest more quickly. It's what they used to call a "sea change", a change of attitude, focus and mind induced by the crossing of water.

We recently took the journey in reverse and had some wonderful views of the city from the bow. Despite the softness of vision, we could see far, up into the Cascades and north to Mount Baker. We were reminded that Seattle's harbor is a working harbor when the scenery snapped into bright industrial focus as we moored at the ferry terminal. It was quite a transition, and we were suddenly, like the air, sharpened for urban adventure.

A quintessential view of Seattle

The city from the water

The snow capped Cascades

Mount Baker

A working harbor

Keywords: seattle

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