Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Family Weekend Getaway in Seattle

My sister's birthday was back in March, and my family wanted to visit her... Except my brother-in-law took her out during that weekend. So when the time finally came (approximately two weekends later), we made a road trip south of the border, and into Seattle where we could do what families do best: celebrate birthdays no matter how late they are... Let's take a look.

The scenery from the room was spectacular!

March 21st & March 22nd

I believe we left at around 10AM, and managed to get there roughly before 2PM (perfect time to just beat the traffic). We got settled into the place, which was conveniently a few doors from my sister's place, with an incredible view of the water. Not to mention, the sky was clearing up from such awkward weather that couldn't set its mind. Here's a small piece of the outdoors:

A little bit cold, but not enough to stay inside

In terms of layout, I think where I stayed made more sense compared to my sister's place, as when you enter her apartment, you walk right into the kitchen, whereas the rental has a lead way before entering into the space.

Regardless of the bedding issues and whatnot, the more important question was: where are we going to eat? With much heated debate and restlessness, we decided for Pike Place Market to get us some clam chowder. Since the distance was close enough, we walked into Pike Place, and managed to get in line (something my father isn't particularly fond about). By about half an hour, not only was there clam chowder on the table, but also pizza; my parents went on their own and couldn't wait long enough for the chowder. But after eating, we were pretty good, and went for a stroll into the market.

There were a lot of people, considering it was roughly about an hour ago that the rain had stopped? A variety of quark surrounded the area, but the most intriguing one was a place where my father had wandered off. It was a supermarket, and there were shelves upon shelves of hot sauce. Here is the view of part of the hot sauces:

It's quite the collection up in here, and this caught my father's attention

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

After the little walk, we went back to the dog (yes, we brought him along!) to feed him, and take a little break from the outdoors. Later that night, we planned on meeting up with my uncle for dinner, but what is a vacation without one good old family tradition: house shopping. My sister and brother-in-law are looking for a place, and there are quite a number of homes up for sale within the area. I must say, the houses in Seattle are structured differently from the ones back home. From the outside, majority of them looked very small or the illusion of having only one floor. But really, the backyard slopes down, having an open space with an incredible view of the city. I didn't manage to take photos of the houses that looked into, but the house across from the selling point was hard to resist. This is what their neighbour would have been:

Absolutely gorgeous, I have garden envy

Didn't really look into that many homes, but all of the homes that we saw had a common structure to them. I think all of them used metal, it's similar to those shipping container homes that have been getting popular within Vancouver. Is that something everyone is looking into these days? That's something I'm not sure of...

Since dinner was still roughly an hour away, we went to the mall for some shopping, and potentially a pre-dinner snack? I think you would be tempted too if there was Jollibee within the mall too. But I resisted, and instead got myself some much needed pants. Although they didn't have my size lengthwise, I still went and bought them, as they were on sale. I was doing good on my own until I stopped and saw this beauty:

Pokémon Vending Machine!

Of all the 151 original pocket monsters, Pikachu still remains as everyone's favourite. Much as I wanted to buy one, I resisted and walked away... very slowly. That was much about it for shopping at the South Centre. The only thing that could have made it better if Seafood City was open! But they were going under maintenance after some sort of destruction happening within the store. Sigh, oh well, on the next trip perhaps? Dinner was on its way, so I didn't even have time for Jollibee - my brother however, just went in for the kill. He got himself some chicken strips, and we were on our way to dinner.

Located in Capitol Hill is the Café Lago, an Italian restaurant filled with Hipster servers. The inside looks very cozy, and spacious considering the restaurant was busy that night. Here's view of the sign:

I think the logo is a man serving bread

The girl who served us has a lot of spunk, and is very smooth with her responses. From thick rimmed glasses to the hairstyle, it was reminiscent of 1989's Taylor Swift - uncanny comparisons if you asked me. There were a lot of choices on the menu, but I was too focused on the drinks. Let me show you that menu:

So many decisions, which one to pick

I chose The Verve, which was not the best choice for a drink, as it felt like I was putting rubbing alcohol directly into my mouth. But not to worry, dinner made up for that drink. I ordered the ravioli, while my sister got the risotto. This is what it looked like:

Tasty, ain't it?

If there is a reason to go back to the restaurant, it would be for the ravioli. I don't know if it was the butter of the mushrooms inside, but I ate that thing so fast, I was shocked when I saw there was nothing left. Fortunately, my parents ordered a pizza, and I took a bite off of their picking, also delicious, while my sister couldn't finish off her risotto; it's never a bad idea to select risotto when you're hungry. After dinner, we said our goodbyes to my uncle, went home, and got ready for bed.

Sunday was pretty interesting. It was a little short for my liking, but still filled with lots of fascinating places to see. To begin, we went to church, which was located in downtown Seattle. The most interesting part of this church was the format of the place. Once a hotel, the area transformed into a sanctuary with an ever flowing pond of water right in the centre. There were a lot of people in such a small space, I had to stand up with my brother. It felt like there was a sense of togetherness in this small space, that there were no concerns of people's backgrounds, as I believe even the homeless attended mass when I was there. It was wonderful, and easy to follow. Something about that mass that I did enjoy, but I can't quite tell you exactly what it was. Much as I wanted to take a photo, I felt awkward, especially when the ushers are telling you to leave the space when the mass ended.

Along our walk home, we found a little pet shop to find a little gift for our dog. Although the variety was endless with products that lead to questions I never thought of, there wasn't anything that we really need for him. I did however spot this map showing where their products are made. Here's a view of all of the products, according to geographical location: 

Support Local

Went home to feed the dog, and then got ready for lunch... That included questions about where are we eating once again. For some reason, I find myself picking the place, or suggesting something. As it was a rather cold Sunday, I thought about going for Vietnamese food (I was craving for pho!) So my sister and brother-in-law were looking on their favourite website, Yelp, for the best Vietnamese food. They found a place with good reviews, and so we decided to give it a try.

While on the ride to the restaurant, I rode with my brother-in-law, and we started talking about school, my future prospects, and what I wanted to do with it. He gave me suggestions and examples of what people have been doing in terms of school and work, and it was insightful. I appreciated that time we had, even if it was short.

When we arrived to the restaurant, it was not what we expected. It was a small restaurant, and it was in a not so nice area of Seattle. Despite its look, it was crowded. Every table was full, and we had to wait. The rest of my family couldn't quite find the place, so it worked out well as they came in time just when we were grabbing a table.

With all of the selections on the menu, I went for the classic: Beef ball and beef flank with noodles. When we were ordering, we asked for spring rolls for a side dish, except with was the salad roll. Turns out, it's actually called an egg roll, that deep fried roll of goodness. Now I know that an egg roll is fried, while a spring roll is a salad roll (good to know!) Afterwards, we were getting pretty full, and so we decided to go home since we couldn't make up our minds in terms of the next destination. Being curious, my parents went into the grocery store next door while waiting for my brother to get the car in the pouring rain. Like most Asian grocery stores, there are white floors, bright lights, and a lot of hustle and bustle. There were a lot of common foods that one could find at Asian grocery stores, but this fruit is not always typical:

What is it called? It's very appealing

Originally, I thought it was lychee, but I think that's wrong. My brother got the car, and off on our way back home. After about half an hour of going back and forth, we decided to go home (which meant taking a pitstop at the premium outlets). Too short of a trip, but it was filled with lots of great memories. Hopefully we get to visit sister and brother-in-law soon enough! And I'll leave you now with this photo:

And up-to-date family photo, with the baby!

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