Thursday, June 30, 2011

Adventures way outside B-Town

This weeks adventure takes place outside of B-Town. Roger and I traveled to sunny San Diego for the Mission Trails Mens Golf Club Classic that Roger participated in. We jumped off the plane and the festivities started with the Derby. A fun jump off to the tournament that consists of all of the golfers teeing off at the same time on hole one.

Whoever gets a bogie or better moves on to the second hole and so on. It went seven holes and my horse won the race! Roger is the 2011 Derby winner! Now if that luck continueus on to the main tournament.

Now which one is my ball?

We got to see some really great friends, Mark and Tamala Cerff were terrific hosts and opened their home to us. Many thanks for your hospitality. Newell and Cheryl Bowen were up from Belize. Cheryl was the event Photographer and did a terrific job. Alongside her trusted assistant Cooper! So great to see them all.
My bestie Alisa and Russ came up to the club and there were adult beverages after the Derby. Too much fun was had by all. We really miss the guys from the mens club and the comraderie there.

Will and Leslie with Tam and Markie at Mountain Mikes Pizza to end the evening.
Tam and Cheryl, pimpin those tickets.
On to day two and the start of the main tournament! Our job was to sell raffle tickets for the awards dinner that would be held at the end of the tournament. Amd to watch for a hole in one on the tenth tee for this prize!
Alas I don't have a new Ford Edge in my driveway.
The sun was shining and the weather was great all weekend. The tournament was a success and everyone had a great time. However, Rogers luck didn't go through the weekend and he didn't win the car or the tournament. On to the Ceremonies!! The prizes for our raffle were lined up and ready to be won.

Mumbles did a super job of putting together the prize baskets.
We won a foursome of golf at a San Diego course and a golf club of some sort. I am told it's a good one.
After the prizes was dinner and the usual BS sessions that include mass quantities of beer.

MC Newlie B

All in all we had a most fabulous time in SoCo, and got to see alot of our very much missed friends . Unfortunately we did not get to see everyone we wanted to and I apologize to those we missed. I got to spend most of the day Saturday with my cousin Candace and drug her along to the golf course.  Our friend Scottie just opened a great sports bar in Santee that we visited on Friday for lunch and Saturday for Dinner, Landres. The food and service were superb and the place is set up beautifully. They are just getting off the ground, so give them a visit and try it out. I recommend the pulled pork sandwich, yummy.
I will be giving them more space in the next blog, but for now they are located at 70 Town Center Parkway at Mission Gorge in Santee. Link to their site here for info and menus:
Ask for Scottie and tell him Rog and Denise sent you.
Til next time, let the adventures continue, the Fourth of July is right around the corner and Three Tree Point will be rockin.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Cup of Culture

Seattle is coffee crazy and I guess the reason Seattle is known for coffee is because Starbucks is based here and the weather is so gloomy. There is nothing better on a cold and rainy day than a nice hot cuppa Joe! I have always been a fan of good coffee. I remember the smell of the percolator at my grandparents house as a child. My Poppy was a coal miner and worked the overnight shift and the smell of the coffee in the morning meant he was soon to be home. That was the highlight of the day for my sister Connie and I. He drove a VW Bug and would take us for a ride around the block before breakfast, which was always bacon and "dippy" eggs with toast. I can still smell in my mind the combination of bacon, coffee and cigarette smoke in that long ago kitchen in Rowes Ron, Pennsylvania. On rare occasions he would make us our own cups of coffee that were comprised of 9/10 milk and a splash of coffee. That was a very special treat and only when Grammy was not around! Which made it all the more special to us, a shared secret. And so began my love affair with the bean.

Starbucks epitomizes the funky coolness of Seattle. There is one on every corner, sometimes 2 or 3. You can't swing a dead salmon in Seattle without hitting a Starbucks! And there is enough business for all of them. There is also a plethora of Tullys, Peets and Seattles Best. With that being said, they are not quite the novelty here that they are elsewhere. Locals do not go to Starbucks, unless you are at the mall and there is nothing else. Or when traveling and you need something at the airport while you sit and wait.  Most people that are serious about coffee here have a local coffee house or stand that they become devotees of.  In B-Town there are three that I have visited on more than one occasion. My favorite is 909 Coffee and Wine, in olde Burien. A great place to relax and meet neighborhood folks and a have wonderful coffee concoction. Or a great glass of wine and tapas in the afternoon. An all purpose hangout. Where decor is a big factor with the big chains (consistency of brand, yada yada) the small coffee houses almost embrace a lack of decor. Just comfy places that are more about the coffee and the fellowship than the upholstery.

Another place I like is the Burien Press. Fine Coffee and Fine Print, their slogan sums it up nicely. The perfect place to sit and read the Sunday paper and have coffee. A family owned shop in the Town Square district of Burien. They have wi-fi and indoor seating or outdoor on a nice day.  They serve delicious Caffe Vita coffees and fabulous pastries and PIE! Very hip and the service is great, the drinks are awesome and you can hangout there all day if you want.

My third regular coffee place, is one of those Seattle phenomenons, the espresso hut.

Bikini Barista Controversy

Every parking lot in the state of Washington, has some kind of espresso hut.  Even the gas stations have a mobile espresso stand or hut. Remember the old Fotomat Huts?  Mine is at the top of the hill going into town after leaving Three Tree point, before you get to Burien. Right across the street from the Seahurst Post office. I don't know if it has a name, but they make great coffee and the owner always has a treat for Charlie when we drive through.

It's an old gas station, converted to a coffee and espresso drive through. There is also some plastic patio furniture for walk up customers. A couple of retired neighbors seem to meet there each mid morning. They also have pastries from Alki Bakery, yummy! One of the great things about spending my coffee dollars at one of these quaint establishments is that I know where it goes. Not to Howard Schultz (who is surprisingly unpopular here) but to my neighbors and the business owners in my town. Am I a more savvy consumer because I shun the marketing, or is a lack of marketing a marketing ploy? Discuss amongst yourselves. My backlash against the establishment is not going to Starbucks.

One of the most fascinating types of the Coffee House here in Seattle is the Bikini Barista. I had never heard of the concept before arriving in the northwest. But yes, we have strip club coffee stands here. With catchy names like Twin Perks, Java Juggs and Cowgirl Espresso, which is the largest chain in this area and pretty well known. Needless to say, they have caused quite an uproar in the areas that have them.  They range to actual bikinis and lingerie clad baristas, to topless servers. You drive through what looks like a regular espresso stand, and when you pull up to the over sized window you are greeted by your stripper/barista.  They are very controversial and there have been arrests for prostitution at several stands.Bikini Barista ControversyBikini Barista Controversy
Most of the stands are very respectable though and the girls love their jobs.  I happened upon this unique type of coffee stand by mistake, but the girl was awesome and made a superb mocha. She said that her job was no different than being a bartender, except that she didn't have to put up with the drunks. I recommend Peek a Brew and support these lovely ladies in their career choice.
So I don't know if we drink more coffee than the rest of you do, but we certainly have more options. If you find yourself in the Seattle area, don't run to Starbucks, find a neighborhood coffee house and support our local families instead.  I accidentally asked for a venti nonfat latte at my coffee hut recently. So Starbucks must be doing something right if they have me ordering in their language at my alternative coffee house. Then again, they didn't get my money. Then again, I am talking about them right now. I have to stop. I think I need another cup.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

The Junction

Well, it was a beautiful warm Sunday, so Roger took off to play golf. I decided to go up to West Seattle and visit the Farmers Market. I love the West Seattle area. It is where all of us Hipsters hang out. It is also the original downtown area, before Seattle moved across Elliot Bay. Settlers landed on the shores of West Seattle in 1851 making it the oldest neighborhood in Seattle (it is also the largest). West Seattle celebrates this heritage with a weeklong Seafair summer celebration that includes a reenactment of the original landing of the Denny party of explorers in 1851 on Alki PointWest Seattle’s downtown and bustling center of activity, excitement and culture, is The Junction.

Alki Point, West Seattle

The Junction got its name from two streetcar lines which crossed at the junction of California and Alaska streets in 1907, and Downtown West Seattle was born. In just a couple of years, The Junction grew into a destination-worthy business district—with a small town friendliness and neighborhood charm that’s still alive and thriving in it’s 275 area businesses today.

And though the streetcar made its last stop in 1940, The Junction pushed full steam ahead to remain West Seattle’s town center. Buses have taken the place of streetcars and the “walk all ways” foot-friendly pedestrian crossing system was established in 1952—becoming a Junction icon where people from all walks of life can walk all ways, together as neighbors. The Junction is also home to the West Seattle Farmers Market. One of the only year round neighborhood farmers markets.

Operating since 1999, the West Seattle Farmers Market features over 35 Washington State farmers and small food processors.  This popular market is “home” to countless enthusiastic shoppers who revel in the freshness, variety, and value available from local farms.  Fresh fruit from both sides of the state include berries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apples, and melons.

Awesome Tomatoes
 Market tables are also loaded with local organic produce, all kinds of seasonal vegetables, fresh farm cheeses, herbs, mushrooms, free-range chicken and eggs, seafood, pastured organic beef, ciders, honey, preserves, fresh baked bread and pastries, cut flowers, and plant starts.

The flower stalls have the most incredible blooms. These bouquets are only five to ten dollars, and they are huge. A sea of color. There is also live music at the market each week. This week was a reggae musician.

All in all, a great way to spend a few hours on a Sunday. I picked up some smoked salmon, farm cheeses, strawberries, pears, pickles, asparagus, and some yummy apricot jam! Oh, and a big bunch of fresh flowers.

Hauled it all home and made a nice little spread to enjoy with Roger. It has become somewhat of a Sunday afternoon tradition for us.
Seattle skyline from Gasworks Park
Seattle skyline from West Seattle

From the West Seattle bridge, the downtown Seattle skyline
 SHOES.COM you gotta have them!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Eagle Landing Park

The other day Roger, Charlie and I took a short trip over to Eagle Landing Park.  Eagle Landing Park is a small six-acre park, in a quiet residential neighborhood.  It opened on June 15th, 2005, and it is located at the west end of SW 149th Street, where it meets 25th Ave SW, in Burien.  The walk from the parking lot to the beach is about a quarter of a mile, dropping 275 feet in elevation. 
 The goal of the park is to provide visitors with an intimate experience of nature close to an urban center.  Instead of driving for an hour to feel at home in the woods, you can have this experience within walking distance of City Hall.  The park feels much larger than it is (it's roughly the same size as Lake Burien School Park) because the trees screen out the surrounding homes and provide the illusion of endless forest. 

Adding to the impression of untamed wilderness are the screams of the eagles, who have been nesting in a tree in the middle of the park since 1989.  The park is home to over fifty species of native plants, and volunteers are working to remove invasive plants such as ivy and reintroduce more species of native plants.  Visitors have seen woodpeckers, hawks, raccoons, otters and foxes, and you may see these creatures if you keep your dog on a leash and walk quietly along the trail. 

A pair of bald eagles began nesting in these woods in 1989, and according to reports have produced two offspring every year from '89 through 2005.  (In 2006 and '07, they don't seem to have had any offspring, although they still spend much of their time in the area.  One possibility is that they have simply retired after producing over thirty offspring, and are enjoying their golden years.  Wouldn't you?)  Their nest tree is located in the middle of the upper half of the park, and their perch tree is on the southern boundary of the park in the middle of the steep slope above the beach. They lay their eggs in late March or early April, and those eggs hatch in late spring. The first flight of the fledglings usually happens around mid-July. In late August, the parents and the young leave the area, and in late September the adults come back to the nest tree without the fledglings, having launched them on their own careers. Through the winter, the white-headed adults can be seen snapping off brittle alder branches for nesting material. We see them flying back and forth fishing along the sound quite often from the back deck of our house.
Bald Eagle on the perch tree at Eagle Landing
Coopers Hawk at the park
One of the things that we love here in the Pacific Northwest is the abundance of bird life in our area. From the majestic eagles to the bright blue Stellar Jay, we have a multitude of beautiful birds in our backyard on a daily basis. My morning routine always includes sitting on the deck with my coffee and listening to the singing birds. A great way to start the day!