Friday, May 17, 2013

Downtown Seattle and the Best Hot Chocolate Ever


A day off to explore Seattle. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Actually, it does. I get to come back tomorrow and have a whole day here again!

We just left the Space Needle and are set to walk back towards downtown Seattle.

There was lots of construction going in this city, which is something foreign to my hometown. Phoenix still hasn’t recovered enough from the Recession to start building on this scale.


I was on the north side of downtown, looking south towards some of the buildings.

Sheesh, another building crane?

Now they’re just showing off!


My very first time staying in Seattle was about three years ago with my old job. I found a crummy hotel that was affordable enough to allow us to stay in the city instead of south by Boeing Field, where we landed.

I had been to Seattle several times but had never had enough time to leave the airport. This was my first chance to really explore a city that has been on my love list since I was little.

Sight-unseen?! Yes! It’s true! I have had a soft spot for this lovely city even before I had a chance to visit it in person!

This elephant car wash sign wasn’t too far from that hotel, so I have great memories of it!


And, come on…it’s cute!

Pink elephants always remind me of Dumbo.


Speaking of the devil, here was the affordable hotel in which I stayed so long ago.

I even found that post, if you want to read it. Here is the post from that trip!

As you can tell from the title, I already really liked Seattle.

Now I’m just plain smitten!


Anyway, speaking of Seattle, let’s get a little closer to all the action, shall we?


I must be stuck on reflections for this trip. Isn’t this beautiful with the building reflected? The lighting is finally getting really wonderful for some pretty shots, too.

Oh man…wait until you see the sunset on the harbor!


This building looks like it is straight out of the late seventies. Seattle has lots of younger skyscrapers, too, and lots of older ones (which is what I love, though I am no respecter of buildings).


Speaking of mixing old with the new…this building was literally added to after it was built long ago. Can you see the newer section to the left, while the wonderful old section also still shines on the right?

This building reminds me of something from Vegas, actually.


I neared the shopping district of downtown and loved every step that got closer.

Lots of cities have skywalks connecting the shops. Isn’t that cool?


Any store that you could possibly want is located in downtown Seattle, though I promise that this isn’t the only reason that I would love living here.

But it doesn’t hurt, either…


I’ve passed this cupcake shop several times but have never gone in. I didn’t go in today, either, even though this sign had my name written all over it.

I love red velvet anything!

Out of sight, out of mind. I left it in my dust today.


I turned west to intersect with 1st Avenue. Just another block away was Pike Place Market yet again! We had so much fun there earlier today!


But rush hour was nearing for the city. Traffic increased quite a bit as I walked along on this beautiful evening!

Orange cabs, huh? They were hard to miss!


One of my favorite stores recently opened in downtown Seattle. I was happy for everyone involved, since this fine establishment only makes Seattle that much cooler.

Congrats, you guys!


As I walked along downtown, I caught a peek of the ferris wheel near the harbor. It’s so dang tall!


As is this building, which has businesses in the first few floors and condos in the rest. My only complaint is that I wouldn’t have a balcony or patio to enjoy all summer long!

Sorry, Building. You wouldn’t make my potential-housing cut today.


I passed an art studio that had these nifty little birds in the window. Aren’t they cool?

I bet that they are pretty expensive, too. But one can admire from a distance.


The setting sun made for some beautiful light to capture these stately buildings in downtown Seattle.

One of the million Starbucks in the city is peeking out from the bottom-right of the picture, too.

Since their hot chocolate is awful, I was on a mission to find a place that serves the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted!


No, it’s not Potbelly Sandwich Shop that makes great hot chocolate. I’m sure that it would be delicious if they made it, though! Everything else is in that place is heavenly!

I’m happy to see that Seattle is now treated to the likes of Dream Bars. It’s one of the best desserts that I’ve ever eaten, and that ain’t no lie!


This top-heaving building was gorgeous.

It never ceases to amaze me what architects can do.

This is why math is important, kids!


Finally! I found what I was searching for!

They are harder to find these days…apparently, lots of the stores are closing to transform them into drive-thru shops. I’m so bummed.


My ignorance took Borders Book Stores for granted when they had Seattle’s Best Coffee shops inside. I had no idea how incredible the Triple Chocolate Hot Chocolate really was until the Borders stores here in the Valley were already shut down.

My hot chocolate treat can now only happen when I’m in Seattle itself.

And maybe that’s a good thing…

Hot chocolate isn’t exactly known as a health food, you know.


Especially with shaved white chocolate and milk chocolate chips on top of the creamiest, frothiest, sweetest hot chocolate in town.

This was a treat indeed at about four-hundred calories. But I justified it by calculating all of the walking that has taken place today as I explored Seattle.

And I can’t get one of these every day, you know?

Treat justification process complete!


With a warm belly, it was time to walk back towards the harbor to explore before the next ferry left for Bremerton in about an hour.


I passed underneath the freeway on my walk towards the pier. I can hardly wait to get some pretty sunset shots of my favorite city!

Happy weekend to you!

I’m at work today (yay!)…and with any luck, we are installing sod tomorrow morning.

By ourselves. Cue the doom music!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chocolate Caramels and Space Needles


It was a wonderful walk through Pike Place Market. I love this entire city and sure do enjoy spending time here on a day off.

You can see the market down below, with the beautiful ocean right behind.


But just one block up from the market are even more adorable shops. I had never really wandered through these streets before, but you’ll soon see why I was particularly glad today that I did.

They call all of these tangents from the main Pike Place Market “Post Alley.” And there are lots of them!


But, for some unknown reason, one wonderful little shop in particular really drew me in. Any idea why?

“Tractor beam. Sucked me right in.” (Name that movie)!


I have been so good on my new eating-healthy goals that I decided that a treat could happen. A mini splurge, if you will. So I walked into this chocolate shop to see what all the fuss was about.

Stamp of approval here, folks. But I usually always get the same thing in places like this!


I was a little daring by having the sea salt added on top of this milk chocolate caramel. It was so delicious and sweet and salty.

What a treat indeed! I grabbed a chair and ate tiny bites to make it last forever.

Five minutes later, it was time to be on my way!


I decided to walk back towards the north side of Pike Place Market to visit one of my favorite parks. There are always tons of people here on a nice day, and, as you can plainly see, it was a very nice day!

Goodbye, little ferry!


The park, which is called the Victor Steinbruek Park, is just north of Pike Place, which is how so many people find it.

It used to house an old National Guard Armory before it was torn down in 1968. The land was then purchased by the city and transformed into a park in 1972.


I had a lovely bench that I enjoyed while watching some very interesting people.

It was a nice afternoon to sit outside and enjoy some sun.


The three kids (maybe twenty years old and not productive members of society, obviously) next to me had been talking about pot the entire time I sat there. Then, to my utter shock and horror, they lit up right next to me!

In broad daylight!

In a public park!

I couldn’t believe it.

So I kindly asked them to leave, and they did.

But, unfortunately, I now know what that awful stuff smells like. And it smells terrible, like a skunk. Who would want that in his body?!


After they moved far, far away from me with their stupid drugs, I once again enjoyed the view of the shipping harbor and ferris wheel.


As you can see, graffiti artists have even managed to climb this sign to leave their magical touch.



This keyboard guy was hilarious. He wasn’t very good, but he was very intensely into his music.

Apparently, he had some fans. Look at that cute little couple in the background enjoying his tunes!


If standing next to the park near the freeway, this was the view when I turned around to see towards the east. Lots of shops and condos.


After leaving the sunny park behind, I decided to head next towards the Space Needle. I always visit it on every trip. It’s a fun place.

As I walked, I passed a little bar that had these strict requirements for what their guests wore. I thought that it was very comprehensive and funny.

Boy, am I glad that I left my dew rag at the hotel!


One road was completely torn up. They are always improving this city, which I love. It’s very well-maintained.

Seattle is just so nice. Please go.


I try to walk a different route every time to the Space Needle. This particular day, I passed this cute little bakery.

Next time that I’m in town, I think that I will grab lunch here. For the rest of my day, I saw people carrying Macrina Bakery bags, so it must be quite a popular place!

Don’t look at their menu if you’re hungry!


I continued plunking along 1st Avenue and passed some pretty residential buildings that had recently undergone a facelift. It would be so much fun to live in this part of town!

And the street was surprisingly quiet for such a busy place just a few blocks away!


But oh these blossoms that were in bloom!

And they smelled so good!


When I was here with Hubby last Labor Day, we passed this Lucky Diner after eating at the Steelhead Diner near Pike Place Market.

We decided that next time that we are in town, we will eat here for a meal. So I’m going to wait for him to do it!


Their menu was adorable and looked pretty tasty, too.

Now I can’t wait!


I think a high-rise would be just perfect here, to take advantage of the awesome views all around. The Puget Sound on one side, the Space Needle towards the north, downtown Seattle just to the south, and Pike Place Market just in front.

Can you imagine? I do all the time.


My suspicions were confirmed! They did paint the Space Needle since last I came here!

It used to be orange, but I love this bright aqua mint green much more! I wonder how often they paint it?


What a gorgeous day to explore the Seattle Center area today!

In fact, I made a graphic to hang up in the guest bedroom. Want to see it?

Seattle Center

Poor things. Like you have any choice!


Chihuly Garden and Glass is such a beautiful building. I’ve seen his work on display here in Phoenix before at the Desert Botanical Gardens.

Dale Chihuly does some pretty incredible things with glass!


I walked past the glass museum to see the rear entrance to the Pacific Science Center.


They made it look like giant orca whales were swimming in the courtyard. What a cool idea!

And totally believable, with a little imagination!


I also loved the surrounding gardens, which were immaculately maintained, with this bronze whale fin sticking out for all the world to see.

Shouldn’t he be a little embarrassed?! That’s not the best angle for him.


There was a little park back in this area, too, which provided a beautiful view of the Space Needle.

But, let’s be honest here. Every view of the Space Needle is beautiful!


I kept seeing people walking around holding giant sticks of chocolate-covered strawberries. And then I found this.

It’s a strawberry trailer! Isn’t that cute?!


And they make any flavor imaginable of chocolate-covered strawberries. What a brilliant and healthy idea!


Their menu was cute, but my favorite part was this disclaimer: “All calories have been extracted from Shiskaberry’s utilizing the latest in wishful thinking technology.”

Dang! They’re on to me!

Can you believe that I didn’t purchase one of these babies? I had already had my treat with that incredible sea-salted milk chocolate caramel.

I’ll come back tomorrow to enjoy one of these, though, so don’t you fret!


How have I missed all of this previously?!

There is a gorgeous park with a giant fountain! I’ve never even come back this far before, and it seems that I have been missing out for sure!


Aren’t those houses cute behind the park? I would never turn down a chance to live here.


I even plopped down on a bench to watch a skate park in action!

Ironically, these were all grown men. Or, at least, they looked like they were in the mid-twenties.

Who knew?


Some little kids showed up later with razors and skateboards, and these guys were all nice to them. So that made me happy.


Though I’ve never been inside, this little shop just across from the Space Needle is one of my favorite sights. I think that it is so cute!

I’m afraid that if I go inside, I’ll buy something.

So I admire from afar, thankyouverymuch.


This building is pretty stinkin’ awesome. If you come to Seattle, it’s a must. Of course.


There are more museums at the Seattle Center. They are so pretty from the outside, too!


I started walking south out of the park today and passed the usual totem pole. I love how much the local culture sneaks into to so many aspects of Seattle landmarks!


I got so excited when the monorail went overhead!

I waved and smiled and waved some more.

And then I realized that I wasn’t at Disneyland. And that it wasn’t the Disneyland Monorail.

But guess what?! We’ll be there next week!


What are some of your favorite spots in Seattle?

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