Did I really use that as a post title?
It’s been two weeks since I’ve been back in the UK, and I am still bummed about being back. Coupled with the fact that I was straight onto a late shift, the day after I got back, I definitely needed the three day weekend from last week and these two days that I just got off. Good food, good vibes and good friends. Check ✔
As you know, I spent two weeks in the US and I, honest to God, had the most amazing time. I cannot wait until I get the opportunity to visit again. Here a few highlights before I delve more into my travels:
- Reuniting with my Filipino family – I can’t wait until I visit the Philippines in November!
- Discovering new cities – Seattle, Vancouver and LA were all amazing in their own right
- Visiting the Space Needle – honestly, the views are beyond breathtaking
- Meeting Nancy for the first time – I was ecstatic when I we finally met and did my usual spiel of “I can’t believe it’s you!”
- Going to Disneyland California – Disney is a magical place ❤
Did I have an opportunity to get drunk on my flight? Yes, I did. Did I take it? Perhaps. I didn’t go overboard, not to worry kids, but when someone offers you free white wine, you can betcha ass I’m gonna take it. My flight was delayed, but Delta were kind enough to offer me a refreshment voucher of £10, which I used to order myself a hearty English breakfast. Can’t go wrong with a bit of bacon and sausage.
If you’re ever in Terminal 3 at Heathrow Airport, I would suggest The Bridge Bar and Eating House, because their breakfast is to die for. I can’t offer my opinion on the rest of their menu, but it is most likely a place I would visit again just so I can try the rest of their menu.
Check in was smooth and we were given snacks and drinks before we had even boarded the plane. I don’t mind long haul flights, having been on plenty going to the Philippines, so the 8 hour journey was a piss in the park compared to some flights I’ve taken. I slept, watched some movies and even managed to squeeze some writing in. Go me!
I landed in SeaTac Airport around 3PM, and where is the first thing my cousin, Doreen, takes me? FOOD. We drove over to Nikos Gyros, located in Magnolia, and if you love Greek food then you’ll definitely love this place. They have plenty of seating and picnic style tables outside, which is where we sat as it was really nice weather. You just have to order at the counter, and they gave you number and you just wait. Service was quick, and the staff were friendly 🙂
We ordered Greek fries topped with feta, and I had the lamb souvlaki in a wrap and my cousin went for chicken. Absolutely amazing.
After feeling our stomachs to the brim, we did a quick pit stop at home to drop off my bags and say hello to my Tita. We then headed over to Chinatown – International District where we would be meeting my older cousin, Tonette, for dinner later. We parked and Doreen showed me around a little. We ended up at the José Rizal Bridge, renamed in honour of the Filipino patriot José Rizal in 1974. After walking around what seemed like forever, would you look at that? We ended up eating again! I’m going to be straight with you – I ate a lot on this trip. I mean, so much. #noragrets.
We went to Tamarind Tree, located in the heart of Little Saigon, a Vietnamese restaurant. I don’t eat a lot of Vietnamese, or Thai food in fact, because they use peanuts in some of their dishes, but I managed to go for Bánh mì tôm bột chiên ~ Crispy prawns baguette – Deep fried Pacific prawns and fresh baguette coated with seasoned batter served with hoisin and chilli sauce for my starter, and for my main I went for Thịt bò xào xả ớt ~ Chilli beef lemongrass – Beef slices stir fried with fresh lemongrass, freshly chopped chilli peppers, white onion, and green onion. They gave me such a big portion, though, that I had to take it home. Ha.
After dropping Tonette off at work, we drove over to Washington Park Arboretum. An absolutely beautiful park, which is a absolute must visit if you ever go to Seattle. We didn’t stay long, mostly because we were full and partly because I was getting tired having not slept for nearly 24 hours (yay, time zones). Our last stop was University Village, located just north of downtown Seattle, which is an upscale shopping mall and just wandered around for a bit. We popped into the Amazon bookstore (something we don’t have in the UK), and I’m so glad my cousin shares my passion for my books 🙂 And because we clearly hadn’t eaten enough, we bought ice cream from Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream! They have several locations around Seattle, and the queue was long by the time we joined it, but it’s definitely worth a visit. I went for Spring Berry, which you can either get in a pot or a waffle cone 🙂
Finally, having tired ourselves out, we drove home where I managed to say a quick hello to my Tito before crashing straight into bed.
That was a pretty chill day. Doreen had work, so after filling up my belly with spamsilog for breakfast, I chilled until Tonette came to pick me up. Our first stop was Storyville Coffee in the Queen Anne neighbourhood. I got an iced latte. Tonette is a nurse, and she does crazy shifts, so coffee is like her life line. Can’t blame her, though, because Seattle has some damn good coffee. How do you make a Seattlite go crazy? Give them Starbucks, ha. We wondered around all the little boutiques, where they had some cute clothes and homeware. I am a sucker for homeware, but I didn’t end up buying anything.
As it was a glorious day, we went to Kerry Park, located on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill. The view encompasses downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay, the West Seattle peninsula, Bainbridge Island, and Mount Rainier. One thing I love about Seattle are the views; they are pretty much breathtaking and, not going to lie, make you really think about life. Had some real peaceful moments looking at views in Seattle, man.
Afterwards we went to pick up Tonette & Doreen’s cousin, Chris, and then Doreen and we went to Señor Moose Café. Be sure to order chips, salsa and guacamole before your meal if you ever make it to this place. The plate was demolished before you could even say, “Olay!” Also, don’t even think about NOT ordering tacos de carne asada, if you’re into tacos and steak. Let me tell you a little something, once you squeeze the lime over the tacos then it is game over.
For my main, I went for Carne De Res En Adobo – Chunks of beef simmered in an adobo of fresh orange juice and guajillo chiles served with mashed potatoes and refried beans; mine came with rice, however. I’m not a fan of refried beans, but I must say the rest of the meal was perfection. The sauce was hearty and warming and left me fully satisfied. We were also given tortilla wraps, as well.
Another day ended with so much food, and me crashing into bed.
My Tito had a day off, so he took my Tita and I out for lunch. We headed over to House of Hong, located in the China Town – International District. It was Dim Sum service, so the carts float around and the waitresses ask you what you would like. My Tito hounded them for the chicken feet ? The food is good, but nothing to write home about. I really enjoyed their shumai, pork dumplings, and literally ate two whole plates of them. They go great with chilli sauce and soy sauce!
After lunch, we visited Uwajimaya Deli, which is an awesome grocery store for all Asian foods. They had rows upon rows of kimchi, which made me die inside. Obviously had to get some, and we also got some mangoes and other bits.
We then headed over to the famous Pike Place Market. I’m warning you know, that place is always busy no matter what time of the day it is. I revisited several times whilst in Seattle, at different times, and it was always busy. I love that market, though! The market looks over Elliot Bay waterfront, so you get some nice views if you ever decide to have lunch there. It is one of the oldest public farmers’ markets in the US, and it so cool wandering around the different stalls seeing everyone’s wares.
My Tito had a seminar later in the evening, so he dropped us off back home and I just chilled until Doreen got home from work. We actually ended up back in Pike Place Market again that evening, because we went to see a film and had some time to kill before it started. We obviously took pictures with the Rachel the Piggy Bank (yep, she has a name!) and at the infamous Gum Wall.
We actually went to see Me Before You. I ended up reading the book afterwards, and I must say the book is definitely better. You get more of a feel for the characters, than in the film. The film was okay, and I’ll admit I’m a sap and cried, ha. I really fancy Emilia Clarke, man.
My first day in Seattle by myself! Doreen’s house is located right near a bus stop, so it was only a 20 minute journey to get Downtown. Travel is pretty easy to navigate, as they have the same system as London with a travel card. You can just load up money on your ORCA card, and away you go.
Per Doreen’s suggestions, I ended up in Pike Place Market and promptly made my way to Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. They have massive windows, so you can see inside and actually see them making the cheese. Definitely recommend that you head here if you’re a fan of mac’n’cheese. My God. Absolutely freaking delicious.
Seattle is also the home to the Original Starbucks! My original plan was to grab a drink from there, as well, but as the queue was too long and I was super hungry I just headed over to a little park overlooking the waterfront and enjoyed my mac’n’cheese.
After my fill of mac’n’cheese, I wandered a bit more around the stalls and then headed to Post Alley where Rachel’s Ginger Beer is located. They sell handcrafted ginger beer in a range of flavours, and I went for pink guava which was so refreshing. I love ginger beer, but had never tried it in different flavours before. Would definitely revisit RGB, when I go back to Seattle. Their flagship store is in Pike Place Market, but they also have a store on 12th Ave and there’s coming soon to SE Portland 🙂
I then made my way to Westlake Center Mall to catch the Monorail to Seattle Center. The monorail gives you a great view of Seattle at fast speed, and is the quickest way to get from Downtown to Seattle Center, which is home to the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, EMP Museum, and a variety of other things. The ORCA card does not work on the Monorail, but you can easily buy a roundtrip ticket.
First stop? The Space Needle, of course. I’ve spoken about this with several people, and it’s funny how we never really do the touristy things in the place that we live. For example, Doreen has never been to the Space Needle despite living in Seattle for a long time, and I’ve never been to Buckingham Palace despite living in London for a long time. Funny that.
Anyway, the queue for tickets wasn’t too long so I got mine relatively quickly and just in time for the next lot to go through at 2.30. It is quite a wait, but the views definitely make up for it. One of the workers ride up in the elevator with you, and tells you facts about Seattle and you can see the different parts as you’re zooming up, as well.
Honestly, the views are breathtaking. You can spend as much time as you want up there, as well. I also grabbed a Seattle hot dog and a drink whilst up there. Price was a bit of a bump, but it was really tasty. The difference between a normal hot dog and Seattle one, is that they put cream cheese in theirs. Whoever decided to do that is a genius!
My next stop was the Pacific Science Center. I had to be really quick, though, as they were closing, but I managed to make my way around a few exhibits including the High Rail Bicycle, which was 15ft above the ground and on a rail only one inch wide! I also got to touch a sea anemone at the Saltwater Tide Pool, which was weird because they don’t actually feel like an anything, but they’re super cute. I attempted to go to the Tropical Butterfly House, but I can’t do insects and the thought of butterflies actually landing on me freaked me out, haha.
I hovered outside the Insect Village too, but didn’t go in that. They have a massive animatronic of a praying mantis, that is all too real. They also have a massive illuminated sphere of the Earth which shows animated images of the atmosphere, oceans and land.
Just before I left the Seattle Center, I visited the EMP Museum. I didn’t actually go inside inside, as I had to leave but it was pretty cool inside. They had a massive screen showing a Bruno Mars music video when I went in and the gift shop was nice. And just before I went back to West Lake, I had to take this…
After exhausting myself, I headed back home to meet with Doreen who then drove us to West Seattle where we ate at Marination Ma Kai, a Hawaiian-Korean fusion restaurant. I got to try spam musubi for the first time, and omg. Rice, spam and wrapped in seaweed? HELL YEAH. I was going to order one, but I know myself really well, and ordered two instead. Demolished in like 10 seconds. I also had lychee shaved ice, which gave me the most delicious brain freeze.
The place where the restaurant is located has a really nice pier, where you can witness the beautiful skyline of Seattle. Honestly, Seattle knows how to do skylines, man.
Last day I shall be writing about because the post is already so long! My next post will be about my stay in Vancouver, so stay tuned.
I was on my own for this day, as well, and my first port of call was the Seattle Great Wheel. Pretty much like the London Eye, but I had a lot of fun anyway. You go around three times, and the weather was amazing that day so the views were top notch.
Then came the favourite part of my day… the Seattle Aquarium. I’ll be honest, I only went for the otters, but I really enjoyed myself there! I know that otters are primarily predators and they could f**k you up if they wanted to, BUT OMG LOOK AT THE CUTE BB OTTERS. HUUUUU~
I also got to view a giant Pacific octopus, moon jellies, different varieties of birds, seals and other animals. The aquarium also had a tide pool, so I got touch some anemones again. Hee. Before I left I bought myself a toy otter that is holding a starfish from the gift shop. I named him Benedict Cumberbatch, ha.
I popped into Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, a little museum full of weird and wonderful things. You can also buy stuff from there. It ranges from mummies (yup!) to taxidermy treasures and other curious bits. They have those massive puppet things where you put in a coin and it tells you your fortune. Creepy, ha.
I keep walking, and eventually ended in Pioneer Square with the help of Google Maps. Pioneer Square is Seattle’s original neighbourhood and it has this natural beauty about it. Some of the old signs are still up, so you can see old coexisting with new, but it’s a nice little place to explore.
I stumbled across Occidental Square, a little park where you can play ping pong and other games. I stopped here for a bit to read, because I was tired from all the walking and the weather was nice to just chill as well.
If you get the chance, I would definitely recommend Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour. It’s a guided walking tour around and underneath Seattle. We actually went underground and got to explore forgotten ruins from where previous Seattlites had built everything. Dean, the head tour guide, was freaking hilarious! He spoke about the Great Fire of Seattle, and other interesting facts about Seattle. He was also full of toilet puns when it came round to talking about Seattle’s plumbing situation back in the day, haha.
Our tour guide, Jacob I think his name is if I remember correctly, was also hilarious and kept us entertained for the 75 minute tour. We started off inside Doc Maynard’s Public House, a restored 1890s saloon, and ended up in Rogues Gallery, the Underground Tour gift shop. It was an interesting insight into the history of Seattle!
Doreen and I had planned to go out on the town that night, but we couldn’t be bothered so we ended up getting a bag of Dick’s and watched Sherlock instead. Dick’s as in the burger joint, FYI. Hahahaha.
Stay tuned for my Vancouver post, that’ll be coming soon 🙂
PS. Thank you to everyone that commented on my post. I’m glad I was able to open up a discussion like that, and I’ll definitely be looking to write more posts like that one!