Tuesday, July 7, 2015

50 Shades of Green

Seattle Summers, there is no more magnificent place to be. Sunshine drying out the rain that  has been falling for the last nine months and perfect temperatures that range from 70 to 85 in the heat of the day. The sky is brilliant blue with the occasional white fluffy cloud that looks like a giant popcorn kernel and there is a light breeze keeping the air fresh and clean. Looking south east over the Puget Sound you can clearly see Mt. Rainier in the distance sparkling in the sunshine like a giant pointed ice cube. Everywhere you look is greenery. My friend Connie on her last visit stated that she had never seen so many colors of green.
The neighbors have ended their winter hibernation and are out walking around town. The lawnmower army is marching around every lawn on the street and all is good with the world once again. Here in Burien, about ten minutes south of Seattle it is now the most bustling time of the year. Activities abound all over this quaint small town that features a glorious Puget Sound shoreline and the quiet pleasures of small town living. Summer brings about all kinds of activities to enjoy in the great weather, from outdoor concerts and festivals to the annual Fathers Day Car Show that takes over the entire downtown area.
My personal favorite summer event is the weekly farmers markets. When you think of Seattle, the Pike Public Market is one of the first things that visitors want to see. It is spectacular and the seafood and produce are unmatched anywhere. All of the very top restaurants in the area shop the market daily.And it is the only place that I have ever found fresh monkfish.  The entertainment value of the fish mongers tossing the giant salmons and the street entertainers make it a very full day to stroll through the market area. And of course the original location of a mega giant coffee chain that will remain un-named is right outside of the market.
That takes care of the tourist experience. For everyday living there is no match for the local weekly farmers markets. Every corner of the metro Seattle area has one. In Burien, Thursday is our day. From 11AM until 6PM the Town Square Park is filled with all sorts of vendors and treats. The array of organic and pesticide free fruits and vegetables is amazing. Peaches that are so sweet and juicy that they drip down your arm as you try to eat them, crisp Washington apples of a million varieties and every sort of vegetable that you can think of and some that are new and surprising. Like my new favorite, Kohlrabi.
You will also find an array of flower vendors. Forget about the flimsy bunches of flowers that you find at your grocery store. For five or ten dollars you can get a huge bouquet of just cut flowers of some very unique varieties. I especially enjoy the few weeks that the peonies are in bloom. I had never seen such large and beautiful bouquets as you will find in Seattle at the farmers markets!
One of my must haves from the Burien weekly market is the marinades and Balsamic Vinegar from one of the vendors. A company called OMG sells a barrel aged balsamic that is the best I've ever had. Grouped with the fresh tomatoes, basil and some fresh buffalo mozzarella, you end up with a Caprese Salad to die for.
Down the road in idyllic seaside Des Moines (Washington, not Iowa) in a park right at the marina is their weekly market held on Saturdays. It's not only a huge market complete with food trucks and entertainment, but a beautiful setting as well. As you stroll along the boardwalk and gather your produce and all other sorts of merchandise including a wine tasting booth with the sea breeze to cool you off, you'll find a nice place to sit and watch the weekly entertainment and see the yachts come in and out of the harbor. It's a fantastic way to spend a Saturday.
Cherries and more cherries!
These bouquets were $5.00 each
Lots of yummy eats and treats
You can get more information on the neighborhood markets at www.seattlefarmersmarket.org

Monday, July 6, 2015

Small Town Fourth of July

There is nothing like the Independence Day celebrations in a small town. From community picnics in the town square and baseball games down at the ball field, small town America really steps out on the 4th. Houses strung with bunting and flags waving in the breeze, it's a sight to see. Here in my town of Burien, Washington we take the holiday very seriously. In the Three Tree Point neighborhood, they get started early with a community pancake breakfast and a flag raising ceremony near the beach. The neighborhood celebrates the Fourth with a fun, kid-friendly parade featuring funky homemade floats and stars-and-stripes costumery. The kids decorate their bikes and scooters and lead a parade down the beach road.  We opted to stroll into town for the morning cycling races, the 40th Annual Joe Matava Memorial Classic takes over downtown Burien in the morning hours of the 4th. Since the streets are already blocked off for the big Independence Day Parade, it makes a great cycling course. The races speed along a flat four corner route that is about a mile long. The racing goes from about 7AM and ends just before the parade lines up at 3PM. When they get to the Pro Classes it gets very exciting to watch.
It was a glorious sunny day for a parade. A bit warm though for these parts, in the 90's towards the heat of the day but dry. We found an empty sidewalk table at a new in town restaurant the Kayak Bar and Grill and enjoyed an ice cold beer in the shade as the parade got going. Also a great vantage point to snap some photos. Our parade, like the ones going on in small towns all over the country consists of the high school marching band and the boy scout troop, the police and fire departments, clowns and politicians and to cap it off the Seafair Pirates to close the show. All in all it runs for about an hour and everyone in town has come to line the streets.
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Then it's back home for a little Bar-B-Que. A nice marinated London Broil with some potato salad and other side dishes and a cold beverage or two to enjoy the evening before the fireworks started. We have the perfect vantage point for that on our elevated back porch. Our closest fireworks exhibition was only about two blocks away in back of us at Lake Burien. No traffic to deal with and we could put our feet up and enjoy the show. A great day to celebrate the freedoms that usually get taken for granted the rest of the year. I hope your day was as great as ours!