August 2012September 2012 October 2012

09/27 - Seattle Update

On our latest lightning trip to Seattle we went to one of our favorite places in the city, the Ballard Locks. We just love the early 20th century Army Corps of Engineers style, the botanical garden and the amazing fish ladder viewing area. There were plenty of salmon, and though there weren't a lot of boats, we still got to see the locks cycle. We definitely got our civil engineering fix this trip.

We also tried out the cupcakes and ice cream at Cupcake Royale and were pretty impressed. We aren't big ice cream people, but we did enjoy the mix of caramel cupcake chunks with partially crystallized caramel smooshed into sea salt ice cream. The whiskey bacon crack ice cream was pretty impressive too with a good clean whiskey flavor and good use of the salty bacon. If ice cream is just too sweet for you, this might just be close enough to savory to please. The chocolate cream cheese cupcake we tried, however, was the real treat. They are serious about their cake and crumb, and their icing expertise is excellent.

Ballard seems to have a number of pretty good bakeries. The Great Harvest Bread Company down the street smelled pretty good, and they had seriously sticky looking cinnamon rolls, but we were also booked for dinner, so it will have to wait until next time.

In fact, we went to two restaurants for dinner. First, we went back to The Walrus and The Carpenter for some oysters. They only had four types, including some lovely little Olympias, but we still had a nice tasting. Then, we went down the hall of the bicycle shop and checked in to Staple and Fancy Mercantile where we had a great charcuterie plate with some of the best speck we've ever had with some coppa to match. (The octopus salad was good, but not great.) For our main courses we had their wonderfully tender pork shank with an eggplant puree, grilled padron peppers, and oil cured dried tomatoes. As usual, some of the padron peppers were mild, while others were quite spicy. We also had some wonderful penna full of rich melted cheese. Staple and Fancy is definitely a restaurant we have to get back to.

Cupcakes royale

Sprinkles at Cupcakes Royale

A ship coming through the Ballard Locks

Serious civil engineering style

Botanical garden

A fishy friend at the fish ladder

A passion flower

We'll check out the cinnamon rolls on our next trip, if we're feeling thin.

Staple and Fancy Mercantile

Keywords: oysters, restaurants, salmon, seattle

09/20 - Carrot Season

These are some Nash Huber carrots in a variety of colors. They taste as good as they look.

Pretty colors

Keywords: nash huber, farmers' market

09/17 - Klahane Ridge and Beyond

Whenever we climb up to Klahane Ridge and find ourselves with a tiny bit of strength in reserve, we like to continue our climb another ten or fifteen minutes exploring a particularly beautiful area that one hiker we met called the "kick in the ass". The views are amazing from the ridge with Port Angeles, Vancouver Island, the San Juan Islands and the Cascades all visible to the north, and the full glory of the Olympic Mountains visible to the south. In fact, it can be a bit overwhelming. That's one of the charms of heading on and climbing another 100 or 150 feet.

The trail heads across the usual sloping alpine field until you get the rocks, the gateway to a series of rooms, each with its own carpet of ground cover and its own arrangement of rocks and wind twisted, stunted trees as furniture. We think of them as rooms, though often the walls are transparent, presenting fabulous views north and south, but framed by the presence of the space. We almost always explore the first few great hallways, but sometimes we continue until the trail starts its descent to Lake Angeles in earnest and then turn around.

If you ever do make it up to Klahane Ridge and find yourself with a tiny bit of strength in reserve, walk on a bit and see something very special.

A typical view from the ridge

The view north and east, and a bit of snow remaining

The Olympic Mountains

One of the magnificent carpets

Late lupines

Another room dominated by a great stone

One of the portals

Another view, another carpet

Alpine summer

More of everything

Mysterious stones

Keywords: klahane ridge, summer

09/04 - Obstruction Point

Obstruction Point Road has been open for a month now, but we finally made it out there today. The scenery was stunning. We managed to catch the last few lupines, but already the vegetation is drying and the great red fields of Mars are appearing. It's quite a sight. (Our apologies for the date stamp. We were resetting something else on our camera, and it got turned on somehow.)

We even had a great marmot sighting on our climb up the staircase. The first glimpse was of the marmot racing up the stairs and around a bend. We figured he or she would be safely hidden under a rock or bush by the time we labored up the steps, so you can imagine our surprise to find the little guy right on the steps relaxing and enjoying the shade.

Lupines and scenery

More scenery

Red foliage and even more scenery

It can be overwhelming at times.

Last year's snow is still melting.

More lupines

More lakes

The fields of Mars beckon.

The foliage here turns a brilliant red.

A marmot enjoying the shade

The land is dry already.

Keywords: obstruction point

09/03 - Store Brand Popcorn

We aren't sure who designs these boxes of store brand products, but someone must be having fun. We've already posted on the various cereal clones, but now the house brands are taking over the popcorn shelf with horrible puns. You'll notice the packages are shaped just like the major brands, but the labels are quite distinctive.

That container looks like Orville Redenbacher's, but the label says Corn to be Wild and Lieutenant Kernel.

We aren't sure of who does the artwork here, but it was probably done pretty late at night.

It's like something out of Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend.

Keywords: art, kale

August 2012September 2012 October 2012