Short Forays: The Seattle glass scene and a great free museum about Seattle and gold!

From now until the end of July you can (and, you should) see the exhibit Glass at Pilchuck: The History of Making Glass, at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) (lots going on there now that seems interesting as well). Sign up for the open house at the Pilchuck school for a very special, short foray to Stanwood, Washington (July 10th) and catch the Emmy award winning documentary – Pilchuck: A Dance with Fire on PBS or KBTS (no listings now but soon to be shown).

This is a trinity of activities that bring you local and international art, history and beauty! Pilchuck has celebrated its 50th anniversary becoming the preeminent school of glass internationally. Arguably, the best place to learn, practice and develop the art of glass in the world surpassing even Murano, Venice.

We caught the documentary at SAM last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. Director/producer John Forsen‘s Q and A was interesting and informative. Early members of the very artistic Pilchuck family were present to give insights.

Pilchuck is largely responsible for the studio glass movement and has established the Pacific Northwest as the place to be learning and practicing the art of glass from glassblowing and solid of hand sculpting (hot shop) to etching and engraving (cold shop) work. Dale Chihuly was the spark that lit the furnaces and Anne Gould Hauberg and John Hauberg kept the fires burning with vast donations (including the campus) and much monetary support.

The genesis, journey and juggling that made this institution a phenomenon is a well-told story in the documentary. The bits of animation interwoven (Monty Python style) to tell the history of glassblowing are fun and fascinating. The music captures the eras of the school’s developmental ages. Wonderful archival video, clever use of slides, relevant and interesting narrators who were in on the school from its inception in the early hippy days of the 70’s, through its growing pains through and to today’s prominence weave the tale well and enjoyably. Gary Gibson wrote the screenplay. Jeff Bridges narrated (he and Chihuly are old friends). Amazingly, nearly everyone connected with glass nationally and internationally has entered these doors as students, glass workers or instructors and this film documents that claim-to-fame well.

Added Bonus: Another short foray, I enjoy is the Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Center. Heard the Collections Café is a fun sight and good food but haven’t tried it. The tickets are a bit pricey (less if you are a King County resident); but, worth it. Be sure to see what is playing in the movie theater on site. They have daily events and talks. The Seattle Center is a good spot for some summer time away – sit by The International Fountain and watch the kids dodge the water and on most weekdays it is uncrowded. It is the site of many cultural festivals some you may want to attend! Here is info on parking. Travelzoo has a special on The City Pass for $47 offering entrance to several great places for Seattle’s top attractions Chihuly Garden and Glass is one of them – worth checking out!

The National Park’s Klondike Gold Rush Museum in Pioneer Square is a solid gold nugget of free and fun education. Its interactive displays are great, the passport etching and stamp book a wonderful hands-on activity and the films shown are well done and really give you a great feel for the amazing history and times. The Klondike Gold Rush was short-lived, only two years; but, its influence on Seattle’s early history and future as an urban center was immense. John Nordstrom used monies he got in the gold rush to start the famed Nordstrom’s shoe store.

We spent an hour browsing and could have easily spent more time enjoying the well displayed history and exploring the small gift shop. Parking is on the street where curbs can be nearly 10 inches high so watch your car doors and step. Homeless are prevalent in this area so be prepared to encounter some pan handling.

Bakery items at Grand Central Bakery are worth a stop.

Grand Central Bakery was where we ate lunch. I had so many great memories of this restaurant – its huge cinnamon rolls and hearty sandwiches, cozy brick sitting area with fireplace, great shops like the Paper Cat Stationary, David Ishii’s book store and the corner flower shops (which changed hands several times but was always interesting) brought us here often with our young kids.

Unfortunately, now the cinnamon rolls are a lot smaller, the Paper Cat, Davis Ishii’s books and the flowers are no longer there. The hearty sandwiches and cozy setting are also now not the same. There is another book store in the Ishii space and most of the shops are vacant in the building. I would not recommend you go for lunch; but, I would pick up their baked goods and breads to take home! Their seeded bread is excellent!

We did stop and browse the beautiful inventory and watch some glass blowing at The Glasshouse Studio…which brings me to a very symmetrical end to this blog post!

Mark Your Calendars Now: July and beyond…

New at the Frye: Exhibits – “The Frye Art Museum is honored to present masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershøi, one of the Denmark’s most distinguished Symbolist painters, on the one hundredth anniversary of his death. ..A master of atmospheric and psychological interiors…” and events.

New exhibit Museum of History and Industry: July 2
through September 22ndToys of the 50s, 60s and 70s! FUN! “Take a time-bending journey through hundreds of playthings and their rich veins of nostalgia, memory, and history within three living rooms and one garage. At the very core of the exhibit are reflections on the significance and silliness of childhood passions from published sources and first-hand personal accounts.”

AAA Journey Magazine’s Northwest Summer Fun: a “roundup of unique, intriguing and just plain fun destinations, attractions and activities sets the stage for warm memories”. What’s going on this summer. And, more.

Let me know of your short stays and forays in the comment section!

Some rants and raves on my recent short forays…

In between having family here for Jon’s 65th and my Dad’s memorial we have surprisingly been able to get out and about some.

Here’s a wrap-up of a few of the short forays:

Mostly Rave and a Little Rant: 5 Spot Café – this is where we went the night we saw the opening of Paint Your Wagon at the 5th Avenue Theater. (Review below in last blog post.) I had sworn off this restaurant twenty-some years ago. A bad meal began a 3-4 year stretch where my brother and sister-in-law and we decided to take turns hosting dine-in meals and save money for short forays instead of suffer lousy restaurant fare. We have since paid for two short forays: Sun Mountain and Victoria, BC and are back to dining out. Because of the location we decided to give it another try (on the way – top of Queen Anne Hill going to Downtown).

This place is crowded almost all day with a lull at 3ish…when about then they do the first happy hour – the second is a late night nosh. Nice! Especially if you do go to theater and want a little something after the show. Also, check out their Sunday fried chicken family style dinners and their not so early bird breakfast menus.

Its menu is based on a fun idea…five spots of the US and the world: always the Pacific Northwest, South, South West and New England and a featured region or country which changes quarterly including special drinks. This time we ate in Charleston, South Carolina. We enjoyed many things about our selections: they came quickly, were generous, and each dish we shared and had left-overs. The food was from good to great! The plating is not fancy.

Cafeteria style plating of good food and lots of it!

The plating here is secondary to the food. The salad was generous but nothing very special, the Honey Drizzled Fried Chicken a thigh, drumstick, wing and breast was deliciously crunchy on the outside and so moist and flavorful inside with a little cayenne kick and honey on top and to the side. Rustic mashed potatoes with gravy and sweet cooked carrots were all very good. But, the stand out (and I can’t stop thinking about them) – were the fried green tomatoes. Now, I have had them before, made them from scratch. I don’t even love the movie of that name and could never see the attraction (except to use up the still green tomatoes of summer and that was not even a good enough reason to for me prepare this dish.) But…But…this was so delicious. I said to Jon, “we are going back tomorrow night again just to make sure!” The boycott is officially over for us.

These are those fried green tomatoes…this plate I did not want to share!

The batter is crunchy and delicious (cornmeal?), the tomatoes were so flavorful and like nothing I had had before…with the side sauce the resultant piquancy was scrumptious; and, the spicy greens a strong hint of a great Dijon made an already great dish even greater!

Our waiter Edward was helpful and informative and helped us navigate this enormous menu. His service was with a smile and he had a sweet way about him that made the dinner even more special. The rant: noisy…maybe it is my aging ears…but, this is more the case these days with popular restaurants…so noisy, we could not converse – which for this meal was happily unnecessary since we got distracted by the food and who needs to listen to yummy noises…we could still witness each other’s eye rolling well enough! And, trying to get my seconds before it disappeared took concentration – the competition between us was on. I had a slight advantage coming from a childhood dinner table of 12! To top it off, with our Arnold Palmers (oddly sour but good), salad, main and side dish the bill was just over $30…a bargain…I would have paid $30 for the fried green tomatoes!

Cute on the outside and very Irish on the inside!

Rave: Mulleady’s Happy Hour (on Magnolia) 4-6 everyday! This is a cute traditional Irish Pub on the outside with a true Irish Pub atmosphere on the inside. Dark woods, good food and darts! On sunny days you can be outside. But, this seems to me to be a place for cloudy days and dark nights for typical Ireland weather (and, Seattle in the winter!) They have a fireplace. They do events and we had Jon’s party there at happy hour, cozy on that cloudy day…it was a good time…and affordable!

The happy hour menu is $6 dollar plates of fun food (their Pub Mix for $2 bucks is great!), several bar drinks (an Old Fashioned if you are a fan!) for $6, wine pours $5 and Seattle made pints $4, it is an Irish Pub so pints are important here. The sharp white cheddar cheese and whipped cream with a sweet drizzle and currents on toast is outstanding. Not sure you can get it… But, if you can, do! We ordered from the events menu for the party, the vegetable plate with huge watermelon radishes, broccolini and traditional veggies was beautiful. Very good service and hearty food. They serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday as well as lunch and dinner. The menus have Irish favorites and traditional Pacific Northwest food – I am going back for the Shepard’s pie! They sell farm fresh eggs and growlers of beer!

Day Trip to Winslow, Bainbridge Island – you know I love this short foray…it never disappoints!

Rave: Breakfast at the Streamliner Diner…fun and great food! Homemade biscuits w raspberry freezer jam! The day’s special huevos rancheros (and, I seldom love this dish!) as was the generous and tasty veggie omelet. We sat at the counter and watched the cooks squabble and get out really great food!

Courtesy of the good cooks at the Streamliner Diner on Winslow!

Walking the main street was as interesting as usual. Did not get to Mora Ice Cream…you should, summer flavors are in. There are lots of places to dine and pleasant spaces to explore you can just pick and choose as you wander! On a sunny day there are outside sitting spots galore. This is a relaxing way to spend your day. More
Rave: Candles at Paraffin…a great deal! Their teas are special as well!

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) had a great display with an Open Book Tour on in the hand-made book room: The Shirley Grover Gallery. This exhibit never disappoints. Activities here. Open Book Tours first and third Saturdays. The world of hand made and hand bound books is a special and diversely artistic one. Cynthia Sears is the owner and lover of the collection and she does some of the book tours – she is a great lady and the woman behind this amazing little gem of a museum within a museum.

Close up look, with a docent, of Angler “a fishy pop-up book” by Linda Costello.

Rant: We were off to the Bainbridge Gardens and that was a disappointment…not a lot of veggie starts and expensive. I love to stop here but the last couple of stops were not exciting.

Rave: The Ace Hardware is always worth a stop…their kitchen wares are very cool and their holiday decorations always unique. Pricey but sometimes their one-of-a-kind things are so great you pay the price! This time it was little flour sack cloth kitchen towels…designs clever and cute.

Ferry lines will be long now so check the schedule before you go.

Day Trip to Marysville and Maltby:

Rant: traffic…it just gets worse! As a proud Seattleite, I even have to finally admit: it is bad out there! Day trips turn into stress-filled obstacle courses with traffic revisions, repairs, so many cars on the road, and dodging bicyclists – what cities are all these people coming from? And, the texting going on by drivers while driving! Yikes! Transportation planners of Seattle and the greater Seattle area…get it together! And, who is in charge of growth management around here? I am saddened.

Now, before you go, you have to check the traffic! We got up and took off for a spontaneous day away and traffic was torture. Do not do it. There are also real time traffic apps to guide on your short forays. Just Google and find one that works for you!

Rant and Rave: Sunnyside Nursery – this is an extensive nursery that has expanded and there is lots to see. Prices are average and again the veggie plant selection was fair. It is a nice place to wonder…but, the over 80 degrees had us standing in the mister to cool off! There was a bit of upselling and sales persons, though friendly, were a bit overly so. They have free classes.

Rave: Signature Sandwiches at Safeway: These are a standby for us when we do not want to dine out and want to save some money. Sandwiches (6 inch subs or regular bread sandwiches) are made to order (I always get sourdough roll, lettuce, tomato, Havarti, extra cheese please – mayo on one side and horseradish on the other). You can make it a meal and get chips and a drink…we buy our own fruit, a juice or water on sale and sometimes cookies and chips in a bigger bag and share. We pull into a nearby park or along a river to relax, eat and sometimes wade in the water.

Rave: Flower World I have mentioned before as a short foray. We went this week-end on the Marysville day trip. Highway 9 (is enjoyable with lots of scenery, nurseries, local produce stands and this is the season for that!). Flower World can get warm and it is large – acres and acres of plants. Get a map. The veggies were ok and plants were plentiful…they have a good seed stock…their house plants are a great bargain…healthy and very reasonable.

Olympia Farmer’s Market is one of the largest and most diverse and interesting local farmer’s markets around! I mentioned it before in a post and I got to visit when my youngest daughter was in town. We took a field trip to the Lacy area. This is a place full of plants, produce and one of a kind products. From homemade artisanal soups, to paper art, to fresh off the beach oysters. They have a great apple selection – so many varieties and in the fall there are even more and the fresh crop has arrived. Live music entertainment and different kinds of food add to the experience. Percival Landing is a beautiful waterfront area across the parking lot worth a visit. And, if you must (we did) there is Anthony’s Homeport Olympia. We had a wonderful fresh strawberry muddled lemonade and the clams and chowder. And, 2 baskets of sourdough bread with fresh rosemary butter…lots of butter!

Remember to check traffic – Tacoma can cause problems as can rush hour!

Soup, seeds, fresh seafood and more at the Olympia Farmer’s Market!

So who says travel is good for you? Well…if you really needed a reason here are six of them.

Bonus: I just wanted to share with you the song we played at the end of my father’s memorial in case you have not heard of it…I so love it! Joyful and sad at the same time! Spoiler alert – almost guarantee you will get an ear worm that will last for days!

This is for my Dad…now somewhere over the rainbow with my Mom!