Thursday, 21 July 2011

USA 2011: Seattle Part 1

Sorry for the blog break. Apparently I drew the short straw in our house and got to get sick. Yay? So although I have been spending days lying on the sofa, I have not really felt up to the blogging process. Just tweeting on my phone. Anyway, I am starting to feel a bit better since I started some antibiotics, and apparently people want to see what else I ate. So let's get on with it.

I awoke in Denver at 4.45am (boo) to a cold and rainy day. And excellent day to be leaving Denver! Breakfast was what was left of the WF's stash. I caught a shuttle to the airport, so did not get wet at all! Hurrah! If I'd had to walk to the bus, everything would have been soggy. What is with the sidewalks in Denver? They were completely flooded. I was flying out to Seattle with Frontier again, and this time I had Carl the Coyote as our plane mascot (or maybe Col... it was hard to understand the accent sometimes). I landed in Seattle to a slightly chilly, somewhat overcast day. But no rain! I caught the light rail from the airport all the way to downtown, and it only cost $2.75! Try catching the airtrain one stop in Brisbane and see how much it costs you. Public transport in Brisbane is such a joke. But I digress. I stayed at Mayflower Park Hotel, which was right downtown and right near the Westlake Transport Centre, where the light rail stopped. I got there early, but was lucky enough to be able to check in early - bonus!

Then I hopped on the monorail out to the Seattle Centre, which drops you right off near the base of the Space Needle, but I had more important things on my mind - lunch! I made a bee-line for Bamboo Garden, a vegan (except for the fortune cookies) Chinese-style restaurant. They have an extensive menu, so I chose from the combination lunch menu, thinking it would be a good way to try a few different things. I chose Combination D.

It started with the Corn Chowder. This was delicious, especially as it was slightly cold (for me) outside. Thick and great flavour. I was excited for what was to come!

What was to come was this gigantic plate of fuds! Clockwise from the top: Mongolian Beef (it was quite sweet but with a spicy kick), Chicken Fried Rice (really yummy, but a gigantic serving!), a Fried Potsticker (yummy, especially with the sauce on the table) and Sauteed Mixed Vegetables (I had wanted to make sure I got a veggie hit). This really was delicious, but huge. Still, I totally nailed it! I declined the fortune cookie with the bill, because I knew it contained egg (why do they do this, I wonder?)and took my pretty full belly for a walk back to the Seattle Centre. Yeah, it is touristy, but I am a tourist!

The Seattle Centre is home to the Science Fiction Museum (so cool), and it happened that it was having a Battlestar Galactica exhibition (even cooler). For those of you who are non-geeks, for shame and go geek up. Or otherwise just scroll down until I get back to the food. Now, back to the geekery. I love Battlestar Galactica, the reimagined series. I have watched to original series, and it just seems like a farce compared to the amazing, compelling, gritty epic that the more recent series brought to our screen and our hearts. If you haven't seen it, see it.

The exhibit had many props and costumes from the series, including this - That Red Dress worn by Number 6.

The also had some models there. This is a close up of a cylon raider from the newer series, along with one of the old-school cylons from the old series. Talk about a toaster! The cylons in the newer series will scare the pants off you.

I took a lot of photos of things in the exhibit, but this is a food and cat blog, so the last thing I wanted to show you were these - the dog tags worn by the one and only Katee Sackhoff as Kara Thrace aka Starbuck. Yes, Starbuck as a woman kicks butt over Starbuck as a man. Did I mention the exhibit was cool?

Apparently they normally have a regular collection including cool things from Star Wars and Star Trek. However, these were sadly put away to make room for the Avatar exhibit. I say sadly because I thought Avatar was over-rated and was a pretty crap movie. Yes, I said it. Avatar. Was. Crap.

Once out of my BSG geek-fest, I thought it was about time to head up the Space Needle. I have to say, I was surprised at how smallish it was. My visions of Seattle had it towering above and dominating the skyline no matter where you were in the city, but it does not do this. Dark Angel has skewed my perception. It looks gigantic when Jessica Alba is crouched up on top of it. I actually suspect the Giant Drop at Dreamworld is taller, but I haven't been bothered to look this up.

Here is Francesca, my travel cat, at the Space Needle.

And here is part of the view from the top of the Space Needle. I spent some time up there taking photos and admiring the view, and reading about the history of the Space Needle. It was pretty cool, if not as tall as I thought. Don't get me wrong, I still would not want to be Giant Dropping from it! But it was good, because I could enjoy the view without freaking out about being up so high.

After the Space Needle, it was time to monorail it back to downtown to meet my dinner date. On the way, I stumbled into a Lush shop and met a lovely vegan girl who worked there who gave me a lovely vegan mini hand treatment, even though I couldn't really buy anything. I want a lovely vegan mini hand treatment every day! After this I was hanging out on the sidewalk at my hotel, waiting to jump into the car of another potential axe murderer/white slaver. The lovely Meg (Scooter Diva on the PPK and VeganRNMeg on Twitter) picked me up and we went out to dinner at that famous of places - Cafe Flora. There was a lot of decision making before I left as to if I would go here or to Plum for dinner. Opinions were divided, but I eventually chose Flora because it is a place I have heard about for so long, how could I not? Flora's menu is vegetarian, but with vegan options clearly marked.

Meg, who has been here before and knows about these things, ordered a Rosemary Lemonade for drinks, and I had to follow suit. It was delicious. Such a random but amazing combination. I could drink this stuff forever. It was probably my favourite lemonade variation of all the lemonades I tried during my trip. I love the real lemonade they have in the USA, none of this crappy clear, fizzy sweet stuff they call lemonade here. Old school lemonade is where it is at!

Meg and I shared the Coconut Tofu with Sweet Chili Sauce for our starter. This came with lettuce leaves, mint and Thai basil to make cute little wraps, and was very nice.

For my main, I ordered a Swiss Melt. This was the first case or order regret on my trip. Don't get me wrong, it was still good. It was the thought of the mushrooms that got me in. The original version is described as caramelised onion, portobello and swiss cheese on a herbed baguette with roasted mushroom jus and wild greens or yam fries. The vegan version just removed the cheese, but with nothing replacing it. It was good, and the bread was phenomenal, but it was a fairly monotone flavour without something else in the bread. The yam fries were good, but huge, and I was wishing for something green! I should have seen if they could have gone half and half.

Meg ordered much better than I did. This is her Caesar Salad.

And this is her Coconut Vegetable Soup, which was the special of the day. Next time I go to Cafe Flora, and for those who go there before me, I think the way to go is sticking to those items on the menu that celebrate the fresh, seasonal produce that Cafe Flora is known for, rather than my silly impulse of a mushroom sandwich (no matter how awesome mushrooms may be). Because I think those are what will make the experience memorable for such an iconic place. I don't know, it is just my thoughts. Please chime in with your own.

However, then there was dessert. Meg was clever, and new to keep it fresh and light before dessert. When you ask to see the dessert menu, they bring out a tray with each of the available desserts on it. So cute! This is the only place I have ever been in my life that has actually done this. The waitress pointed out which ones were vegan, we made out selection, the tray went away and then a bit later out came our orders, which looked delicious.

Meg ordered the brownie sundae. Looking at the actual menu, I think this sounds like the Chocolate Brownie Coupe: Bittersweet Theo Chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, cassis port reduction and chocolate crumble. I tried a little bit of it and it was delicious!

I spent a moment tossing up between this and the Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, but really I had to choose this towering beauty. This is not on the website menu (they have a different versionon there), but it was a four layer vanilla cake with chocolate icing and raspberry coulis. It was big, intense and heavenly. My belly was super full after this, but I was super happy.

After dinner, Meg took me over to West Seattle to see the famous Seattle skyline. This is the stuff that the movies are made of! See, the Space Needle looks so big!

And then she took me home to introduce me to her two adorable kitties, Laverne and Shirley. The girls were cute and always on the move - you can see Laverne trying to climb up my leg as I take the photo! I enjoyed spending time with the little bundles of kitty love. Especially seeing as these would be the last kitties I would get to spend time with on my trip! Thanks to Meg for letting me get some kitty cuddles, and for the great night out. :)

Then it was back to the hotel and off to sleep. Tomorrow was going to be a huge day of eating. A day that would at times threaten to destroy me, but triumph was mine... though I wish there could have been more triumph. And by more triumph, I mean more space for food in mah belleh! Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. When I lived at home we had teh sci fi channel. I miss that. Haha. I have the biggest crush on new Starbuck. Maybe I should just get it on dvd!

    I'm glad you're feeling better!

    I'd love to go to the USA one day. I must start saving.