Winding down in Seattle

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington

WEATHER: Another sunny day with highs in 60s

We walked Oscar around the neighborhood, then went to a northern suburb to visit our daughter Alexis who is housesitting in Shoreline. The home overlooks Puget Sound, so we sat outside, soaking in the sun, and snacking on cheese and bread for lunch. How nice!

On the way to Shoreline, we passed a car with a lot of political bumper sticker. There were several stickers for various Democratic candidates, like “Klobacher for 2020”. Then, I saw this one which gave us a chuckle….

Back home, we played with our charges. They are telling me that it is supper time….

They really play nicely together….

DINNER: Split pea soup over a baked potato. Salad on the side.

Finding Seattle’s Best Watering Holes!

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington

WEATHER: Another spring-like day. Sunny. High 60s

We spent the morning chillin’ with our charges, and taking Oscar for several walks in the neighborhood. He doesn’t seem to mind (as we do) the steep hills.

Then, we visited the University of Washington campus to look at the cherry blossoms. The trees were a gift to the university from the mayor of Kobe, Japan many years ago. We were so lucky – the blossoms are at their peak today.

Lots of other people (mostly Asian) were gazing at the trees, too. All we needed was some haiku poetry and a bottle of sake’ to think we were in Japan again!!!

It is a beautiful campus. We found a brewpub in the heart of the University District. We sat at the bar and chatted with the owner. We learned that it is the oldest brewpub in Seattle, and the oldest still-operating brewery in the state. We shared some beef stew that was some of the best I’ve ever had.

Back home, we played with our charges, then strolled around Lower Queen Anne, the neighborhood where we are staying. We stopped in a Creole/European bistro called Toulouse Petit, only 2 blocks from our apartment. Trip Advisor voted it one of the “Top 10 Happy Hours in the World”. George had some oysters on the half shell.

DINNER: Leftover rice with added Italian sausage and beans. Salad on the side.

Up and Down in Seattle

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington

WEATHER: A beautiful, spring day. High in 60s; sunny

We took our charge Oscar up a very, very steep hill to Kerry Park which overlooks Seattle. It is one of the most popular viewpoints in the city.

George continued up the hill to Upper Queen Anne, but daughter Alexis and I took Oscar back down to our apartment in Lower Queen Anne. The plan was to have lunch in Upper Queen Anne, and George didn’t want to tackle the hill again. But – Alexis and I did….

It was about a mile straight up. Then, when we were close to the top…..stairs to climb!

We found a cute, neighborhood pub in Upper Queen Anne for lunch. We shared a muffaletta. It is appropriately named “The Hilltop”

Then, we accompanied Alexis to Shoreline, a suburb on the north side of town, where she will housesit and dogsit for a couple she knows who used to live in Rochester.

We gave their dog, Molly, a walk on the beach. George and I returned via Ballard. The homeowner is an author and pointed out to us places that are featured in his book that is being published soon. Very interesting….we are anxious to read it.

Back at the apartment, we played with our charges. They both like to eat. Here is Lucy the cat giving me a forlorn, hungry look, even after she just ate!

DINNER: Grilled halibut with sides of rice and salad.

Decadent drinks and dogs in Seattle

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington
WEATHER: Another nice day. Mostly sunny. High in low 60s

After playing with our charges, and taking Oscar for a nice walk, we headed out for the afternoon. At the recommendation of several blog readers and friends, we went over to West Seattle. It is its own neighborhood, on a peninsula jutting out into Puget Sound. We had lunch at a waterfront restaurant near Alki Beach, and enjoyed the views of downtown Seattle.

We had planned to take the water taxi back to downtown, but it was not running. So, we figured out the bus route. We had to climb a huge hill to get to the bus stop, but were rewarded by beautiful views from above.

Downtown, we did a very Seattle thing – stopped in a coffee shop to rest a bit. Then, more buses and climbing toward our way back home.

We stopped at Amazon headquarters. It encompasses 10 city blocks. One of their buildings is called The Spheres…

Our purpose for coming here was to check out one of Seattle’s newest, swankiest bars. It is down under the Sphere, and has a dark, aquatic atmosphere.

While the focus is on cocktails (all described in a leather-bound 25-page menu), they also serve some food, including a wild hot dog we had read about…This is how it is described…

The most attention-grabbing item on the menu is Erickson’s extravagant take on the inexplicable cream cheese- and sauteed onion-topped Seattle dog. Deep Dive’s version is a grass-fed and hazelnut-smoked beef hot dog topped with pickled jalapenos, red onions, whipped cream cheese, and, rocketing the price to $18, a dollop of pink salmon caviar. It’s a ballpark snack fit for Amazon owner Jeff Bezos.

Of course, we had to try it!

Back home, we played with Oscar and Lucy.

DINNER: Shrimp with the leftover gnocchi and tomato sauce.

Seattle’s Waterfront

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington

WEATHER: Another day when weatherman was wrong. Sunny and pleasant – 60

Our daughter Alexis is visiting us and some friends from Minnesota who moved here. She arrived late last night, and is staying in an AirB&B around the corner from our housesitting assignment. We met her at her place, then took a walk UP a big hill to one of Seattle’s parks with a great view. Oscar enjoyed the walk, too.

We dropped Oscar off at the apartment to rest (as he was tuckered out) and we took the bus to downtown Seattle. First stop was the famous Pike Place Market – busy, crazy. We saw the obligatory fish-throwing fish market…

The original Starbuck’s had a long line of customers coming out its door.

We found a brewpub near the market for lunch. George and I split a salmon and crab BLT. It came with an unusual, and tasty, Indian-spiced carrot soup.

We took the Monorail back from downtown to the nearby Seattle Center. It was built as part of the 1962 World’s Fair.

We walked home via the Olympic Sculpture Park, then chilled at the apartment in the PM with our charges Lucy and Oscar. Our feet needed a rest!

For dinner, we met up with Alexis’s friends at a pizza place in our neighborhood. He is an author and is getting ready to publish his first novel. Watch for it – Author Jeff Briggs.

Chihuly magic

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington

WEATHER: Mostly nice. A bit overcast. High 60

We have a great alarm clock…Lucy, our cat, lets us know it is time to get up and eat at 7:00 sharp each morning. Whenever I go into the kitchen, both Oscar and Lucy follow me with hopeful looks in their eyes.

We walked over to Seattle Center/The Space Needle to visit the Chihuly Gardens and Museum also located there.

It was just breathtaking. Photos don’t do the artwork justice.

Some of the installations reminded us of Chihuly’s artwork at Mayo Clinic, where we used to work. Chihuly was a patient there due to issues with his eye. His signature look now includes his wild hair and eyepatch.

We were thrilled to see a 1962 Airstream converted to a glass-blowing exhibit. Lots of Chinese tourists were taking photos everywhere…

Views of the Space Needle with glass sculptures in the photo shot were particularly popular..

Someone had recommended the museum’s cafeteria, which did not disappoint. We shared a lox bagel and a cup of clam chowder. The cafeteria tables had inserts with various Chihuly collectables.

We spent the afternoon with Oscar and Lucy. They both like lots of love and petting.

DINNER: Potato gnocchi with sausage and a tomato sauce. Side was salad.

A Day on the Lake

LOCATION: House-sitting in Seattle, Washington
WEATHER: Again, the weatherman was happily wrong. Rain and cold predicted; Sunny and nice (60) actual

Our daughter had somehow found out about free boat rides on Lake Union on Sundays, and sent us the info. Since it was a nice day, we thought we would check it out, and boy, we are glad we did!

Lake Union is a very large lake in the central part of Seattle. It connects via a canal to Puget Sound, so there are some very large yachts and ships on the lake.

The free Sunday boat rides are offered by volunteer boat lovers through The Center of Wooden Boats.

It was a good thing that we arrived early, as a long line started forming immediately.

We signed up for this little boat. Our boat captain told us it was built in the 1950s as a “picnic boat”. Ladies would take it out for a picnic.

The captain told us a lot of interesting things about the lake as we circled it. We saw hundreds of huge, beautiful yachts. He said that many are never used; the ultra rich people in Seattle buy them just for the prestige.

Then we passed several sections of floating homes. All unique and cute. The glass artist Chiluly is from Seattle. He owns one of these houses.

This floating home was used for filming the movie “Sleepless in Seattle”. Recently it sold for $3.3 million.

We saw a lot of seaplanes taking off and landing. The lake is actually classified as an international airport. Boeing got its start here by building small seaplanes used as mail carriers to Vancouver, B.C.

One of the strangest sites was this floating hot tub, available to rent and cruise around the lake.

On our way back home, we stopped at a wonderful oyster bar for lunch. George had this huge Pacific scallop topped with flying fish eggs.

In the afternoon, we played with our charges.

We (correction – George) are figuring out the bus system. Our homeowners had recommended an Italian restaurant/lounge called Vito’s that was popular among the Italian mafia. We figured out to get there by bus, followed by a hike up a HUGE hill. It still has a mafia “vibe” and is very dark inside. We had drinks and an appy at the bar, listened to a great jazz piano player, then figured out the bus back home.

DINNER: Using some cooked rice the homeowners had left, I made a shrimp/veg stir fry.

The homeowners, a young couple, don’t have TV, but they have an ipad loaded with Netflix, so we are watching some programs each evening.

Happy Anniversary To Us!

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington
WEATHER: Beautiful – sunny. High 70 – even though rain and cold had been predicted

We shared a breakfast casserole with our returning homeowners. I always like to have something prepared for the homeowners, thinking that if I had been traveling, I wouldn’t want to deal with grocery shopping and cooking right away. They told us about their trip to the Yucatán. I was there about 50 years ago, and am afraid that it has become very touristy.

Then the homeowner drove us a few miles to our second Seattle housesit. This is in the Lower Queen Anne District. It has a more urban feel. Our new homeowners gave us an orientation and then we said goodbye to them as they head off to Amsterdam for a week. Our charges are a Boston bull terrier (Oscar) and a sweet kitty (Lucy). It is a studio apartment in a 1950s building which has retained its old fixtures and charms.

After taking Oscar for a walk, we strolled around the neighborhood. We are very close to the Seattle Center, home of the 1962 World’s Fair and Space Needle.

The fairgrounds have been converted to theaters, ballets, concert halls, museums, and science centers. It still has the feel of a World’s Fair. George and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary. Forty-three years ago we were married in Japan, where we were both working and living at the time. In keeping with the Japan theme, we discovered this pavilion, a remnant of the World’s Fair.

The weatherman was wrong today – it turned out to be a beautiful warm and sunny day…

For dinner, we discovered a sushi bar – Shiki, which means Four Seasons. It is very authentic – cozy, but not hoity-toity. The sushi master, the owner, chatted with us as he busily made lots of sushi and sashimi. He is the only sushi master in Seattle licensed to cut and serve fugu – poisonous blow fish, or puffer fish. Coincidentally, the town where George and I lived in Japan (Shimonoseki) is the sushi capital of Japan. When we told the sushi master, he was impressed that we had lived there. There are only certain parts of the fugu that you can eat safely, and if the sushi master cuts in to another organ, the entire fish will be poisoned. When we lived in Japan, it was fairly common to hear about periodic fugu deaths.

P.S. – Just in case you were wondering…..We are still alive. We did not eat the fugu….you have to order it a few days in advance. Maybe later in the week?…..

Last day at this housesit

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, Washington

WEATHER: Cooler -high 60 and spotty rain

The weather forecast was for rain in the late PM, so we took Dundee for his walks earlier in the day.

We headed out to this “chili parlor” that we had seen in Ballard. We had researched it a bit and found out that it has been around for about 100 years, all in the same family. It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives— check it out by Googling “Mike’s Chili Parlor”.

One of the reviews described it this way: “Mike’s is a dive bar with sports on the television and that comforting smell of a workingman’s armpit

We shared a bowl of his chili. There are 2 kinds – with and without beans. And, an order of fries that turned out to be a mountain.

Typical Seattle- even though it is definitely a workingman’s tavern, and not a hoity-toity microwbrewery, it still had great beers on tap

The afternoon was spent digesting all of the grease!!!

We did some packing-up and tidying of the house.

DINNER: Not wanting to eat much, we shared a crabcake on a slice of toasted baguette and a spinach salad – much kinder to our bodies than at lunch!

The homeowners arrived late – about 1:00 AM.

Winding up first assignment

LOCATION: Housesitting in Seattle, WA

WEATHER: Cooler, but still very nice. Rain (more typical) predicted for next week

The day started with more long walks with Dundee. It is interesting to see that the trees and flowers have turned even prettier each day during the week we have been here. Today, we saw blooming tulip trees and azaleas.

Then, shopping. It is nice to have markets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s nearby. We also stopped at the pet store to restock Dundee’s food and treat supply.

In the afternoon, we checked out another microbrewery. It is called The Rooftop. Unfortunately, the view was only over the industrial shipyard, but still nice.

We checked out Queen Margherita Pizza for dinner. Located in Magnolia’s village, it is a cozy neighborhood spot, just 3 blocks from our house. Some of the reviws call it “the best pizza in all of Seattle”. They do thin-crusted pizzas in a wood-fired oven.

We sat at the counter so we could watch the pizza makers work.

We arrived early, in order to get happy hour prices – off food, drinks and appetizers. We started with a platter of olives…

Then, ordered a proscuitto pizza…

Would highly recommend this place. It is tiny, though, so I think it gets super busy.

Leftover pizza will be tomorrow’s breakfast with an egg over-easy on top. Our favorite!