Cruising the Chuckanut

Imagine it's Memorial Day again. It's sunny, family is in town, and you have a three day weekend. Doesn't that sound nice? Well, I can tell you, it was nice. 

My in-laws, Don and Nada, were in town in May. Two bookend weekends since Nada had work down in Tacoma for a week. The second weekend was Memorial Day weekend. We decided to show the Browns some Washington beauty and cruise down Chuckanut Drive. It's sort of like Hwy 9 for you Californians. You may remember Josh and I cruised this drive previously and really enjoyed it. 

And guess who joined us for the ride. This little pup. She was ready to ride!

We started our drive in La Conner, which is a cute little town near where all the tulips bloom each year for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  We didn't see tulips, but we did see some beautiful flowers. Oh wait, one of those photos is not flowers - eh, close enough.

The Rainbow Bridge is near La Conner, which connects you to Fidalgo Island. We did a little jaunt over the bridge and back just to see what the other side was like. There were some nice waterfront houses over there, but we didn't explore too much over there. There was much more cruising ahead of us. 

But before we left La Conner, I had to get one shot of the pup because she's the cutest. Don also got a similar shot - plus some others - check it out.

After La Conner, we jumped in the car and headed up to Edison. Yes, it was named for the inventor, but I'm not sure why. It is a teeny, tiny town but super cute.

While in Edison, we enjoyed lunch at Slough Foods - tasty sandwiches and soup. We had a great time...

We grabbed some cookies from Breadfarm and then headed on our way - back on the Chuckanut Drive. I don't know what the next spot is called, but to me it's the start of Chuckanut Drive. I think it's what you see on some of the Chuckanut Drive brochures, and if not, it should be. We just pulled over, so you just got to be careful with the traffic zooming by with other Chuckanut cruisers. 

We hopped in the car and cruised some more and hit Taylor's Shellfish. While I don't like oysters, it's fun to drive out to Taylor's. You have to cross over some unprotected train tracks. A train came and freaked out Asha. And not surprisingly, there are lots of oyster shells on the ground out there. 

I must have gotten tired since my photos stopped after Taylors. But we did continue to drive (sorry, I should say cruise) up the drive some more. It twists and curves and has some awesome sites. and ends up in Bellingham. We didn't spend too much time in Bellingham since we needed to head back. The road back was just the 5 - nothing too special there. 

It's really a great drive. I've done it twice now and enjoyed it both times. I tell ya, you can't beat Washington's natural beauty. Now, cruise on my friends!

Win or Lose - Seattle is still 12th Man Fans

The city of Seattle has been in mourning this past week. Sadly, the Seahawks lost in the Super Bowl last Sunday. It sure was a close one, though, and it definitely was sit-at-the-edge-of-your-seat at the end. It was a good run, and a great way to end the season. Win or lose the city will continue to love it's Seahawks. 

It's all really inspiring actually. Here I am, a girl that barely understands the game, wearing a Seahawks jersey and eating Skittles. The excitement that oozes from Seattlities is totally infectious. A years ago I didn't even know who Seattle's football team was, and now I know a few key players. Of course, it helps that we made it to the Super Bowl the past two years, but still you can tell the city bleeds blue and green. Heck, we even got the title 12th Man. 

Now that the end of the week is here, you can tell it's settling down. There are less posts on Facebook, my co-workers are more cheery, and the city is moving on to other sports. But before it all goes away (okay, it never will) let me share some fun football stuff!


This Bad Lip NFL reading pretty much had me in tears. Oh, and here's another one. I die.

There was a Twitter smackdown between Captain America (Chris Evans), a Patriots fan, and Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), a Seahawks fan. The stakes? If the Patriots won the Super Bowl, Chris Pratt would visit Christopher’s Haven as Star-Lord and wear a Tom Brady jersey. If the Seahawks won, Chris Evans would have to visit Seattle Children’s Hospital to wave the Seattle’s 12th Man Flag in his Captain American outfit. We lost, but we also won because got Chris Evans followed through and came to Seattle's Children Hospital.

The game that got the Patriots to the Super Bowl had some controversy around it..Deflate-gate. But, don't worry, it was all Matt Damon -- I am the Locker Room Guy.

Did you miss the commercials? Here's the top 10. The Nissan one almost had me in tears.

This is a bit graphic so beware, but Conan with Marshawn and Gronkowski was pretty hilarious. Marshawn also shows Conan how to do his touchdown move.

I follow the Everywhereist and she gave some tips on how to overcome the sadness of losing. 


And here are some photos from the season of the 12th Man Fans! 

Oracle Office - Blue Friday

Hey, I'm In! 

Seahawk Rally

And now...

Go Mariners! 

Go Sounders!

Go Seahawks! (next year, I feel it!) 

Smart Dogs in Action

Let me tell you dogs can be pretty dang smart. With just a whistle and a command, a dog can run 40 yards (come on, that's far! without glasses, I bet you have to squint) to where a small herd of sheep graze. Then this dog rounds up the sheep, brings them back down the field, circles through gates, and ends with the sheep inside a pin. Gosh, I don't even think I could manage herding sheep with such skill. These dogs just amaze me. And every year the world can see them in action at the Vashon Sheepdog Classic.

This was our second year in a row going to the sheepdog trials, and we were equally impressed. I convinced my co-worker & friend, Shweta, to join us as well. Look at those smiles. 

This year it was in August instead of late September, so we were pretty warm sitting on in the sun. But we still enjoyed walking the dogs do their thing. I caught this border collie on video for you. if you listen, you can hear the handler's whistles. Go dog go! 

You got to hand it to them, they are pretty smart. Mostly it's Border Collies and Australian Shepards out there herding. And no surprise, they are on almost any smartest dogs list you can find (like this one). 

It makes for a great day. Plus you get to take a ferry. Who doesn't like the ferry? It's Seattle, you gotta take a ferry. The way to Vashon it was sunny and blue, and on the ride back we saw a gorgeous sunset. I don't think you can end your day any better. 

Local Spotlight: Best Pizza Places

Happy Labor Day weekend! I hope you're out doing something totally awesome. Josh and I are having a lovely, lazy Saturday morning (with a drizzle outside). It feels awesome (even though the weather doesn't feel totally Labor Day-ish).

When I think of Labor Day food, I usually picture hamburgers & hotdogs. Bad news for you: I didn't go eat at hamburger joints and take pictures (please note: I did eat at hamburger joints, though). BUT, I did eat at pizza joints and took pictures. Pizza is in the same food family as hamburgers, right? That's a rhetorical question. Don't answer it.

That was my entirely-too-long lead in to tell you how this is list of my favorite pizza places in Seattle. Since my opinion is everything, that means this is the list of best pizza places in Seattle. You're welcome. Here we go (not in any particular order):

The Masonry

Josh and I stumbled upon the Masonry quite unexpectedly. We had just been to an event (honestly, I can't remember what event. I think maybe the winter Urban Craft Uprising). We were hungry and didn't know where we wanted to eat in Lower Queen Anne. We decided to just walk around and see what we could see...and we saw the Masonry. It was it's fourth day being open, so it was brand spanking new. We sat at the window and enjoyed a squash pizza with a spiced ricotta with a scrumptiously chewy crust. I fell in love.......with the pizza (people, duh, I'm already in love with Josh). I was thrilled to see it was featured in Sunset magazine last month. Just remember, Josh and I found it first. 

Delancey (and Essex)

This is a well-known pizzeria here, and has a rep for being one of the best already (even New York Times noticed it). So this isn't anything new. However, I'm here to tell you all the hype about it is valid. I like this pizza so much that it's where I had my birthday meal this year (it was a mid-week birthday, wahhh). They usually have seasonal toppings on the chalkboard, which you can add-on. The crust is thin, but not crunchy; a lovely chew that doesn't destroy your jaw. I love the white pie (minus garlic) with kale (when it's on the chalkboard). Yum. Better yet, Essex is next door (same owners). When you wait for your table at Delancey, just have a cocktail. Good things come in twos, eh? 


This is our pizza delivery go-to, and it's delicious. It's no Round Table, or Papa Johns delivery. It belongs up in the big pizza leagues with the others on this list. It has great flavors options, and great crust, too. It's not really the wood-fired, thin crust neapolitan pizzas, but more traditional pizza with a thicker crust (but not crazy thick). I enjoy the Chicken & Spinach pie and add ricotta. The have stores all around the great Seattle area, hence why the delivery is so great. 


You'll usually find Veraci at most of the farmer's markets here in Seattle. They bring a wood-fired oven with them and cook up pizza for all the farmer's market goers. You can purchase a whole pie, or just a slice (or two). It's very thin and sometimes has a bit of a crispiness around the edges. I love their florentine pizza Again, with ricotta (but it comes with it). I love ricotta on my pizza. If you haven't tried it, please do. Anyway, I like this for a on-the-go / quick bite since they are at the markets or have their small store-front in Ballard. (Sorry, just have this one photo).


Have you watched Gordon Ramsey's show Kitchen Nightmares? This restaurant was NOT on it. But when Gordon was running an episode at a nearby Greek restaurant, he apparently ate at Cornuto. According to the waitress, he said this pizza was true, Italian style and delicious. I don't think this waitress was lying; the pizza is great. And the ambiance is dark and romantic. It's a cozy place in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood. Josh and I usually split a pizza and get a salad. We tend to vary it up, but the margherita is to die for. However, the gnocchi is also melt-in-your-mouth good. We haven't gone yet, but I hear the happy hour is great.

Via Tribunali

Via Trib and Cornuto are sister restaurants, so it's no surprise that we like them both. The menus are somewhat similar, but each does have something different to offer. This is also a cozy restaurant and it's just up on top of Queen Anne, but there are a few more locations around town. We love to get the Via Tribunali Specialita della Casa, which is more of a calzone pizza. Perfectly chewy, fresh and delicious toppings. It's one of those pizza where the first few slices are so hot and fresh that you usually need to fold the slice sandwich style to get it into your mouth. (Sorry, it was dark when we ate there so the pictures weren't great).

Serious Pie

If you're a foodie, then you know Tom Douglas is the chef de la chefs of Seattle (along side Ethan Stowell and Matt Dillon). Serious Pie is Douglas' answer to pizza pie and it's pretty dang good. I really enjoy the pie with yukon gold potatoes - simply delicious. There are two locations, and both mostly downtown. I prefer the Westlake restaurant, which is also a biscuit place in the mornings (Serious Biscuit). You really can't go wrong here.

Kylie's Chicago Pizza

If you know me, you know my extended family lives in Chicago (or nearby). My parents were born and raised Chicagoans. They love Lou Malnati's and Ginos East, and I was raised up eating this upside down, deep dish pizza (we'd visit Chicago most summers). If you haven't had Chicago deep dish, then let me tell you's filling and delicious. It's pizza you need to eat with a fork and knife, and a slice or two will do you (oh, sure you can eat more but  you'll feel that food baby later). So, we aren't in Chicago (obviously), but let Kylie's transport you. Note: Patxis just opened in Ballard and is also a good Chicago style pizza (we first tried this in the Bay Area). 

Tutta Bella

This was the first pizza we tried in Seattle. Our good family friends, Vince and Jonita, brought us along with Josh's parents. We haven't been to it in a while because we usually end up at one of the above places, but this is solid, wood-fired pizza. It's good for kids, too. Plus some great salads. It definitely deserves a place on this list of bests. This is my parent's favorite Seattle pizza, too. (Sorry, no pictures).

That's it. There are still many places to explore and test out. In fact, here's a place I'd like try: Mio Posto. And/or eat through this list. Hungry now? Go get pizza.

PIZZA PIZZA. EAT IT. (and enjoy).

Chuckanut Drive

We just watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty last night. It didn't get rave reviews (although, not bad ones either), so I wasn't expecting much of it. However, I really enjoyed it. It has a relatively simple plot, but it's really well done. And I loved seeing the scenes during Walter's adventures. He just takes off on this adventure. Like Cheryl says, "Life is about courage and going into the unknown." 

Josh and I like to just take off and go on our own mini adventures, too. Not quite like Walter, but it's fun to drive and see where we end up. We headed out last Saturday to Chuckanut Drive. We would just stop and explore when something caught our eye. We lived on the wild side. Well, for me it is a bit wild since it's totally a different way of travel then how I grew up (with everything being planned out...not that this a bad way to travel, I think the combo we have is perfection - partly planned, partly adventurous). 

We headed up the 5 freeway, and took exit 231 towards Chuckanut Drive (aka Route 11). We knew we were in for some scenery when we came to the first bridge. I was so ready to be spontaneous that I pulled into a gravel road that maybe in retrospect I shouldn't have - we survived (and so did the car). But it got us some good view.

Turn slightly to the left, and you get this:

Or cross the road, and look at this:

We hopped back into the car and continued down the road to see what else we could see.

And we came upon a side road to Taylor's Shellfish Farms. Oh, so this is where Taylor's oysters come from! (They're in many Seattle restaurants). By the way, oysters...yuck! I hate how the slither down your throat. No thank you. But apparently Josh likes that. 

You can buy oysters and some other shellfish in the little store. There are oyster shells all over the ground, and you can look out and see them out in the water/mud. 

We also got a good view of the bay. Thanks iPhone for your panoramas! 

Driving back to the main road, I had to pull over and snap a shot of the train tunnel. It made me feel like James Bond.

I think we got more of a kick out of the train, though. How do you hump a train? Did you mean bump? Or did you really mean hump? 

Of course, we had to take a few selfies and photos of each other.

The journey continued and we pulled over to pretty much every view point. I loved the little island on this view. Do you wonder, what's on that island? What animals? Any homes? Can you just boat over to it? So many mysteries. 

We ended up in Bellingham for lunch at Boundary Bay Brewery. Then we roamed around the Farmer's Market that was happening next door. We also strolled around Fairhaven, a historic part of town. 

Fairhaven, Bellingham

But then we were back on the road. And we decided to take Chuckanut Drive south, too. On the way back, though, we made some more side trips. The first was in a tiny town called Edison. There are really only about 8-10 businesses there - a gallery, bakery, a couple funky stores, and a couple places to eat. We grabbed a cookie at Bread Farm, and then a drink and rest at Sough Food


From Edison, we went out to Samish Island, which isn't really an island but a long strip of land that juts out into the water. We stopped for a whiskey tasting at Golden Distillery. There were some nice houses here with some great views. I could take this for a view; not too shabby.

Next we made a random stop at Japanese Zen Gardens (and fed some Koi). Then we noticed paragliders coming down from the hillside, and landing right by us. Now there is an adventure! Not sure if I could get myself to do paragliding; me and heights have a tough time together. 


We drove along and passed through Bay View, for a final view of the bay before heading back to the 5 and back home.  

What a fantastic drive! This sort of day always reminds me of what a beautiful area we live in, and it helps to reminder when we're going through some of the gray & rain...because after the rain you get green. You can't beat this!

So I'll end with the Life motto from Walter Mitty: 

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.

Under the Sea

"Life under the sea is better than anything they've got up there..." 

You sing it Sebastian!  

Okay, now I've got you in the spirit for my post about the Seattle Aquarium. Unfortunately, there is not a hot crustacean band to play for you, sorry.

Josh and I went a few weekends ago to check out our local aquarium. We were lucky enough to score a Groupon, so we got in at a discount...booya! 

I went into the aquarium with a certain mindset. The truth is that I grew up pretty much only going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. That or to Sea World (hello, I'm from San Diego). I felt that anything less would just be boring. Plus, lots of friends say Seattle's aquarium its more for kids than adults. So I decided it would just be an "eh" aquarium. All this is probably why it took us 3-1/2 years to finally make our way to the Seattle Aquarium. 

But...I was wrong. The Seattle Aquarium is great! Sure, I went in with my snooty Monterey and San Diego mindset, and sure there were kids, but it was a fun afternoon activity.

Inside there is a pool where you can reach in and touch the sea urchin, anemones, and star fish. Of course, I rolled up my sleeves next to the kiddos and reached in. The water was freezing, but it was neat to touch the different creatives. I learned if you wiggle your finger between the spikes of the urchin, it'll give your finger a little "hug." 

When you first walk in, there is huge exhibit with all sorts of fish. We caught the feeding time, so we saw the scuba driver swimming around. Then there are all sorts of other other exhibits full of different sea creatures. The jelly fish were psychedelic, the octopus was crazy with all it's arms and serious face, and the fish colorful. 

Some of the colors astound me. All these great colors under the water. Who would have thought?

Then we reached the outdoors part of the aquarium. There was some crazy bird that was flapping all around. I caught just a bit of it on video.

Next we reached my favorite is the otters, sea lions, and seals. How can they not be your favorite? They are just too cute. I seriously think otters have the most fun. They're always playing together and joking (okay, maybe not joking, or are they?). 

And the sea lion was getting some grub. And the seals just swim, swim, swim. I am pretty sure the one stopped to say "hello" to us. 

So don't be like me and judge a place before going. You might just find it's a great time. (But seriously, you should still check out Monterey Bay's freakin' awesome). 

P.S. More photos on my Spring 2014 page.

Strolling through Gardens

A few weekends ago, Josh and I checked out Seattle's Japanese Gardens. Luckily, it was one of Seattle's more sunny spring days. We'd worked hard during the work week, and we needed to seek out some tranquility. And we found it. 

We'd been to Portland's Japanese Gardens years ago and we were impressed. These were not quite as large, but still very beautiful. It was so peaceful walking around enjoying the gardens. One of my favorite moments was resting on bench and just soaking in the sun for a few minutes. So pleasant.

When you walk into the gardens, a few feet in and you come up to a large pond. The path takes you all the way around the pond. 

When you cross over the bridge, you can see all the koi fish - these were big guys. They'd bop up to the surface and look at you. I feel like they are frowning at you. Like they are saying, "stop looking at me, and get off my pond you silly human." 

Frowing Koi Fish

Whereas the turtle was more stoic and looking out upon his pond. He was definitely staking his claim as king of the pond. I wonder how the koi feel about that. 

Mr Turtle, King of the Pond

As usual, I enjoyed the flowers. These little red ones caught my eye. It's neat how the moss is on the branches. I feel like it was the spring flowers breaking through the mossy winter. 

Or this bright white flower. This one reminded me of Hawaii. I think I have a very similar photo of this flower there...must mean something about me. 

And what's a Japanese garden without some stone lanterns. Guess what, there are pennies in the lantern. Is that like throwing a penny into a fountain?

I took a few photos of the lantern and bridge. I could decide which photo and angle I liked better. The one that shows more of the bridge, or the one that shows more of the lantern. What do you think? 

All in all, it's a great afternoon stroll. If you find the sun shining, go for a walk. Trust me, you'll enjoy it.