Tag Archives: travel

Poppy Restaurant

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Walking into Jerry Traunfeld’s ‘Poppy’ Restaurant on a chilly November night, whilst in Seattle I was greeted warmly just like an old mate.  This is a great feeling when travelling alone and having not spoken to a soul all day because of solo independent pursuits.  After a little chat with the hostess she sat me close to the window so I could take in the restaurant layout and feel the delicate ambiance.   But most importantly warm up.

I had read about ‘Poppy’ a few months back when starting my research for my time in Seattle.   I was staying in Capitol Hill and saw that ‘Poppy’ was just up the street from my accommodation.

Jerry Traunfeld opened ‘Poppy’ at 622 Broadway East (at Roy) in 2008 appropriately after his mother, Poppy. “Food will still be inspired by herbs, and will delve deep into spices. Rather than the rarefied Herbfarm style, it’ll be food we can eat on an everyday basis — and with Traunfeld’s track record of deliciousness, we just might.”   This sounded incredibly intriguing to me.

The restaurant serves Traunfeld’s local and seasonal-emphasized cuisine in a pattered small dish tasting format, inspired by Indian Thali.  “Thali,” is a platter served to each guest holding a variety of small dishes.  Poppy’s menu borrows the idea of the Thali to present Jerry’s own style of northwest cooking, highlighting seasonal ingredients, fresh herbs, and spices. It’s a modern northwest tasting menu served all at once.

I noticed that the space was full at ‘Poppy’ the night I chose to dine with them.  I glanced at my menu but felt distracted by the northwest meets NYC upper west side stylings.  It was a stunning space.  The staff was bustling around and I observed them to be attentive with guests but not overly.  I instantly felt comfortable and was eager to eat as I saw steaming dishes with meals being delivered to just as eager patrons on the floor.

To Start

The Friend Mussels with Lovage Aioli is a must try on ‘Poppy’s’ menu.  The Fried Mussels were simply prepared and ached of its original essence.  They were boisterous, tender and required a slice in half to eat them with as much grace as they suggested.  I had texted my sister at the time as I ate this gorgeous dish to tell her that the mussels were the size of Silver Dollars.  Immense!  This dish should not be shared but needs to be eaten slowly, deliberately to truly appreciate its delight.

The Grilled Smoked Trout with Fennel Salad and Salsa Verde was the recommendation of my server Benedict.  I was a tad nervous that perhaps the Grilled Smoked Trout would be too big a portion but it was perfect in every way.  Portion, preparation, taste and texture.  The Trout was not overly smoked but had a slight accent so you could enjoy the fish for which it was.  A perfect marriage between the Fennel Salad and Salsa Verde.  Their notes brought out the flavouring of the Trout without letting you forget that the Trout was the headliner.  I enjoyed the sweet and savouriness of the Fennel Salad and Salsa Verde.  The overall dish made a perfect introduction to the entrée that followed.


The cocktails I ordered to sip throughout my meal were again great recommendations by the hands of my hostess.  They were allies but did not take away from the purity of the food.


Gin, Chartreuse, St. Germaine, Lime, Orange Bitters.

The Loveless cocktail was certainly not Loveless.  This lady was all romance.  It took me awhile to finalize my menu choices because of the love this drink was extolling onto my heart.

Wild About Saffron

Vodka, Brandy, Rose Geranium, Saffron, Lemon, Angostura.

The Wild About Saffron was a tad strong but a nice way to transition my meal from Starters to Entrée.


Thali is a perfect choice if you are looking to heighten your senses while trying a little bit of everything.  What you may not realize at the time is that each segment on the Thali stage is speaking to one another as soon as it is placed in front of you.  I was taken by the colours, textures and gentle voices I heard coming off my Thali platter.

My server, a young fellow who at first wanted to quickly tell me everything on my Thali and get out of there warmed up to me when I asked, ‘Hmmmm…where should I start?’.  He cracked a smile and simply replied ‘Anywhere you like, Miss’.  Thank you for the permission I thought.

Indeed I started with the Red Pepper, Apricot and Walnut Soup.  The soup was resplendent.  It washed down my throat easily and its warmth opened up my belly.  I felt instantly recharged and reawakened for what was to come.  I was present.  The Soup was fresh, thick and it could stand alone as a mate on a Saturday afternoon at home with a simple spoon and large soup dish in bed with a book.

The Satsuma, Pea sprout and Fennel Salad was next.  Even though I had some Fennel salad before with my Trout – I was not ready to let it go.  Again, fresh, beautifully curated and a perfect bonjour as I began to deconstruct my Anderson Ranch Lamb Osso Bucco with Malay Flavors.

So began the dance.

The Anderson Ranch Lamb Osso Bucco with Malay Flavors was the genius.  I was ready for protein and this was my star in the sky for the night.  The Anderson Ranch Lamb was humble as it was dynamic.  Fall off the bone moist, tasty, and delightful.  I could feel my legs twitching under the table.  This is kind of lamb you want for your Sunday dinner, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.  It is posh and it has all the makings of, ‘Now that you’ve had it prepared this way.  You can’t go back to any other way.’  Transcendent.

There was a few back in forth between the Winter Squash with Rosemary, Chili and Lime, Pomegranate Red Cabbage and Carrot, Lemon, Ginger Pickle.  These characters were the jewels on my plate.  Think about rubies, emeralds and canary diamonds on a “The Royal Maharaja”.  It was all decadence.  I think if I was sat with my Indian Mom at the table that night she would have been cajoling me to ensure I was having a relationship with my Nigella-Poppy Naan.

The Nigella-Poppy Naan was bountiful, poofy and the smile on my plate.  Indeed I tore into her gentle consistency as I added the lamb and variations of the Winter Squash with Rosemary, Chili and Lime, Pomegranate Red Cabbage and Carrot, Lemon, Ginger Pickle onto her.  They were each vying for my attention and not at all upset as I took my time with each.

There is the odd time you eat a meal at a restaurant and feel transformed.  In a sense taken away to another place and time.  I don’t mean this in an overly verbose sense.  But what I do suggest is that this meal at ‘Poppy’ educated me.  This meal was perhaps one of my best meals that I had captured whilst travelling in a long time.  I felt satiated, enlightened and also deeply appreciative of the finely curated plates.


Have you ever been to the Opera and needed a little sweet to get you into bed so you could reflect with ease?  Well I found the Lemon Verbena Cream Tart with Huckberries and Candied Ginger Ice Cream was my girl.  This dessert was sweet and yet stood on its own as it took a bow.  I enjoyed the lovely Lemon Verbena Cream Tart.  It had a homemade texture but with a wink of royalty.  The Huckberries and the Candied Ginger Ice Cream will be ceremoniously spoken about to friends and family as the dessert that kept on giving without any pomp or circumstance.

As I licked the last bits of my Candied Ginger Ice Cream off my spoon, I reflected on the space again at ‘Poppy’.  It was modern but also had some formidable northwest tones.  Sexy origami chandeliers, met with reclaimed wood ceilings and furniture, a statement brick wall by the bar that makes for a wonderful meeting place for friends, family, co-workers or just a solo meal and drink.  It was uptown meets northwest chic but all the makings of an authentic small town vibe.

I found the staff warm, inviting and eager to give suggestions which were proven to be trusted bang on choices.

I highly encourage you to check out ‘Poppy’ Restaurant on Capitol Hill.  Be it if you are travelling to Seattle or a local, you will guaranteed to leave this impeccable tucked away resto with not only  a full Buddha belly but some enlightened thoughts on your experiences.   Most importantly you will be wondering when you will be booking your next seating.

Poppy Seattle

622 Broadway East

Seattle WA 98102




Frye Art Museum

I had a long day and had limited energy.  But I was determined to trek up a monster hill (ok not really a monster hill) to get to the Frye Art Museum.

Entering the space I was immediately greeted with the Frye Art Museum’s #SocialMedium exhibit which recently opened on October 4, 2014 and will run until January 4, 2015.  I was being tasked to be a ‘curator’ of the space and I wanted to learn more.

“It’s that thing where you ♥ an image and that painting goes in an exhibition,” is the tag line under which the Frye Art Museum in Seattle crowd-sourced the curation of its exhibition, #SocialMedium, over a two-week period in August, 2014.

People all over the world were invited to vote online for their favorites among 232 paintings via social media networks Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. The voting process was extensively tweeted about and received wide national news coverage.

The challenge, “You are the curator,” went out and was met: 17,601 votes were cast through “Likes” by a diverse community of 4,468 curators. The global network spans Seattle, the US, and beyond, to Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, and Vietnam.

Every painting in the collection received at least one vote, but the clear favorite was Peacock (1907) by Julius Scheuerer (German, 1859-1913), which received 3,525 Likes when it went viral on Tumblr.

International news media picked up the #SocialMedium story and commented on the transformation of the role of curator the project embodies. The Istanbul newspaper Zaman noted that the Frye exhibition is “a critical look at the curator’s function and draws attention to the role of social media in the arts world.”

Paintings loved by the Seattle public since the founding of the Museum in 1952 were in a tight race for the top five favorites:

Die Sünde (Sin) (ca. 1908), Franz von Stuck – 210 votes

View of Königssee (1878), Dániel Somogyi – 208 votes

Moulting Ducks (1900), Alexander Max Koester – 206 votes

Gardeuse de moutons (The Shepherdess) (1881), William-Adolphe Bouguereau – 176 votes

Curators around the world not only voted for their favorite paintings, but also provided commentary and interpretations of many works. #SocialMedium showcases select comments and includes a unique short URL for each of the 41 paintings in the exhibition, enabling visitors to access a Facebook page with all comments on a painting.

Visitors can add new comments to any of the Facebook pages while in the galleries. Posts on Twitter and Instagram using #SocialMedium will appear in a real-time feed on a screen in the galleries.

The names of all 4,468 curators appear on the title wall of #SocialMedium, a collaboration with a team comprising the Frye’s Collections, Curatorial, and Communications departments and external partners Civilization, a Seattle firm devoted to design as a means of social change, and Dylan Neuwirth, an artist and social media consultant.

#SocialMedium is organized by the Frye Art Museum and curated by 4,468 guest curators. The exhibition is funded by the Frye Foundation with the generous support of Frye Art Museum members and donors. It is sponsored by Civilization. Seasonal support is provided by 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and ArtsFund. Media sponsorship provided by The Stranger.


The Frye Art Museum is indeed doing some game changing work by stitching in the popularity of social media together with classic and modern art and by asking for audience participation in curating the space.  A truly dynamic interactive way for people to research, study and immerse themselves in art at its core.  Hey, if Beyonce and Jay Z can take a selfie with the Mona Lisa and blow up Twitter,  it’s time we bring our game by ‘hearting’ otherwise not as well know art to the forefront with friends, family and the internet.

The space at the Frye Art Museum is ‘oh so casual’ but cohesive.  Even museum security staff was outfitted in comfy and relaxed jeans and tees.  I instantly felt like I was in a new kind of museum space.  The matching of the relaxed vibe and stunning pieces of art allowed me to shake off the stiff upper life I had been sporting earlier in the day at another well know museum down the hill.

The art will indeed move you at the Frye Art Museum.  Perhaps because I let my defences down I was just able to let go and really look at the art for what it was.  I felt very present.  I had a love affair with Julius Scheuerer ‘Peacock, 1907’.  The splendour of seeing such majesty even without his full plume exposed.  The contemplation in his stance got me thinking of how I stand, what am I putting it out there?  What do people see?  How do people approach and interact with me?

I had never heard of Otto Hierl-Deronco before coming to the Frye Art Museum.  But was entranced by his ‘Spanische Tänzerin’ (Spanish Dancer) piece. I had tweeted that this picture was reminiscent of J. Lo.  I loved the Spanish Dancer’s dress and the cockiness in her portrayal.  She reminded me of a can can dancer but there was a certain posh classiness to her.

My favourite piece had to be from Gustav Majer (also known as Schwabenmajer).  The piece was entitled ‘Stella’, 1989 and was Austrian, 1847–1900. Oil on canvas.    I was drawn to her for the beautifully ornate frame.  But as I stared closer she oozed Venus qualities in all her beauty and porcelain skin.  Stunning and romantic.  I’d love to have her in my home.  I don’t think I’d ever leave the house.

Another added neat element at the Frye Art Museum was the presence of artisans who approved by the museum were painting the works hung on the wall.  It was so neat to see ‘the process’ honoured at the Frye Art Museum.

Indeed the social medium presence is timely to get the word out, but I appreciated as a visitor to the space that the Frye Art Museum is involving our upcoming generations in appreciating art.  The homage to the artist and their talented painstaking work that brings us such joy and inspiration to our lives and work was a beautiful touch.

The Frye Art Museum – indeed was worth the hike up the hill.  A thrilling and interesting space with works that will leave you breathless and looking forward to your next visit.  Don’t forget to take a selfie for posterity and post it to your social media accounts.

Free admission and free parking

704 Terry Avenue

Seattle, Washington 98104

206 622 9250


Celebrate Bruce Lee’s Birthday with The Wing

‘Do You Know Bruce?’

Another trailblazer for Chinese Americans was the remarkable Bruce Lee.  The Wing has curated a tremendous exhibit, entitled simply ‘Do You Know Bruce?’ which chronicles Lee’s career and personal growth from newcomer to International superstar.  It opened on Oct 4, 2014 and will run into 2017.

In 1999, Time Magazine named Bruce Lee one of the most influential people of the century.  He inspired – and continues to inspire – millions of people, 40 years after his death, through his trailblazing work in martial arts, film and fitness. He was an international superstar but for Asian Pacific Americans, he was much more. While his one-inch punch raised the bar for martial artists, his skill, hard work, and determination to break media stereotypes of Asian Pacific Americans was game-changing in advancing racial equality.

In his film roles, Bruce Lee fought to be portrayed as a person, not a subservient or menacing Chinese male stereotype. Off the screen, he openly embraced his mixed race background, defied martial arts tradition with his willingness to instruct people of any race, and broke barriers with his interracial marriage. Rooted in his philosophy of personal development, Bruce Lee also spent as much time cultivating his inner character with ideas of intellect, socio-cultural awareness and education as he did on his physical conditioning.

A significant part of who Bruce Lee became was due to his life in Seattle.

In Seattle, Bruce Lee worked at the legendary Ruby Chow’s Restaurant, launched his first martial arts studio, formed his philosophical roots, and met and fell in love with Linda Lee, a Garfield High School graduate. For him, Seattle was a time of obstacles and sacrifices as well as growth and development… and would become his final home.

This special exhibition will feature interactive multi-media displays, never-before-seen personal belongings and collector memorabilia related to Bruce Lee’s time in Seattle and the Chinatown-International District, his relationship with Linda and family, his global influence and legacy, and his martial arts.

Items featured in exhibition include:

– Handwritten poems reflecting Bruce’s experience in Seattle

– Birth announcement for Brandon and snapshots of him as a baby

– Boxing glove and head-gear used by Bruce for training

– Original press kit materials from Fists of Fury, The Chinese Connection, Return of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon, and Game of Death.


The exhibit was deeply personal and had echoes of so much promise at the hands of Lee.  Even though I have not seen a Lee film to date I do remember catching flashes of his work on television in years past.  Even then having limited knowledge of him I was able to piece together that he was a man of determination, strength and immense bravado that to watch him was to marvel at his presence.

The exhibit, ‘Do You Know Bruce?’ is perfect for a fan or a newbie like me.  Being from a family of immigrants myself – I know about the struggle.  The struggle makes up my own personal fabric.  My core beliefs is to work hard, keep focused, keep aiming higher and don’t let anyone say ‘no’ or stand in my way.  Truths that have been passed down by own traditional parents.

Bruce’s journey from his early days in Seattle were dynamic but ached of the same duty to succeed.  I wondered if he was ever lonely.  What it must have felt like starting out in a different country as a minority?  What hurdles did he face on a daily basis and what was he able to overcome?  Was there racism?  What kept him going?  What kept him focused?

The exhibit may not reveal those questions for you but it will certainly wet you’re appetite to do some more exploring.  Which it did for me!  I joined the Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tour to learn more through The Wing.

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Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tour

Get to know Bruce better. Retrace his footsteps through the Chinatown-International District, his old stomping ground. His first practice space, his first martial arts studio, and his hangouts – see how he became a part of the local community.

Tour includes guided access of the Bruce Lee exhibit, a meal of Bruce Lee’s favorite dishes at a neighborhood restaurant*, and entry into all galleries at The Wing.


Talk about giving you another dimension in your discovery about Bruce Lee and his process.  The Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tour will immerse you in all things Bruce Lee in real-time while also letting you touch, feel and smell the historical streets and locales he once frequented.

There were moments where I felt the group and I were walking along with Bruce’s ghost as we walked around Seattle’s Chinatown neighbourhood in the November chill.  Our Tour Facilitator was eager to show us  where he socialized with friends in the Chinese community, his career changing points and most importantly where he became a worldwide phenomenon.

I felt the grit when we walked into the Northwest Wushu studio.  The incredible Sifu Tianyuan Li taught some Kung Fu few skills which clearly demonstrated to my tour mates and I that Lee’s craft was not an easy task to master.  Our time under Li’s tutelage brought our  tour group together where we were able to share some laughs and feel Lee’s legacy under some beautifully hung Chinese Dragons.

The food we shared at his fav resto was also delightful.  Images of his liking stared back at us with kind eyes as we dug into noodles, chicken wings and stir fried treats.

For a different flavour of learning about who Bruce Lee really was behind the posturing and tough exterior – the Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tour at The Wing will satiate your sight, limbs and taste buds.  Be sure to walk around The Wing at the end of your tour to see the fruits and success of Lee’s labour.  Lee was truly a talented man with stories and life lessons that will inspire you to strive even harder in your gifted talents.

The Wing

719 South King Street (between 7th and 8th Avenue South)

Seattle, WA  98104


The Wing: The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

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When I travel I like to check out the city’s great museums and galleries.  But I also like to check out those off the beaten path ones that inspire some educated growth.

I found the The Wing in downtown Seattle that would make a great fit for my travel adventures.

The Wing is a 60,000 square foot facility which offers three floors of stories, with contemporary galleries showcasing both temporary and permanent exhibitions.

The Wing tells the story of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. While economically challenged, it is a historically and culturally vibrant area. The Wing sees themselves as a neighborhood concierge and an economic anchor for the nearby small businesses. From restaurants to statues that you might not otherwise notice, there are layers of history and significance that are waiting to be uncovered.  The Wing offers guided neighborhood tours and events that will encourage you to discover stories and tastes both on- and off-the-beaten path.

Why The Wing?

The story behind the namesake of the The Wing is one we can all relate to regardless of our ethnicity.

The Wing is named after Wing Luke.   He was a Chinese American boy who dreaded going to school. He was tired of being bullied for being different, for being Asian. One day, he decided he couldn’t put up with it anymore. He had to stand up to them, to fight back somehow. So he decided to try his pen – and he drew funny comic strips. Before long, his classmates wanted to read them, and he became popular, eventually elected class president at Roosevelt High School in Seattle.

Son of a laundryman and grocer and an immigrant from China, Wing Luke went on to become one of nine high school students to consult for a White House conference on youth issues, earn a Bronze Star Medal for his Army service during WWII, receive a law degree from the University of Washington, and be appointed Assistant Attorney General for Washington State.

In 1962, Wing Luke made history, elected as the first person of color on the Seattle City Council and the first Asian American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest. His unique combination of politics, compassion and advocacy of diverse communities made him a powerful force for equal housing, urban revival and historic preservation of Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square and the Seattle Waterfront. Wing was a trailblazer of his time.

In 1965, his promising career was tragically cut short when a small plane he was riding crashed in the Cascade Mountains. He died at the age of forty. Despite the short tenure of his career, Wing inspired many. In his memory, the community created the Wing Luke Memorial Foundation and eventually built a pan-Asian museum based on his vision. The first version of the Museum opened its doors on May 17, 1967 in a humble storefront at 414 8th Ave South in the Chinatown-International District. Several decades later, the Museum continues to be an important place where the Asian Pacific American community looks to for engagement, inspiration and leadership – a legacy that Wing Luke left to Seattle.


My visit to The Wing was an emotional one.  The space was beautifully curated and solemn.  I appreciated that the exhibits had a nice balance between exhibits of historical relevance for Asian Americans and also exhibits that speak to a younger generation to wet their appetites towards future relationships with the museum.

I felt inspired by the ‘In Struggle Asian American Acts of Resistance’ exhibition.  It tells the story of how Asian Americans who have defied the “quiet” stereotypes and courageously stood up to injustice – as individual resisters or as part of organized movements for social change. From 19th century railroad strikes and laundrymen’s lawsuits to Japanese American resistance to their incarceration during WWII, from student sit-ins in the ’70s to ongoing anti-deportation protests, the tradition of Asian American resistance inspires each of us to recognize and confront injustice every day.

Indeed politically charged but an exhibit that will draw tears of pride.  We need to recognize that our blessings of today required sacrifice from those who came before us.  This exhibit does an excellent job of tipping its hat to those special folk while also giving a point of reference to inspire us to continue in promoting their message.

The ‘Art in Motion – The Evolution of Board Culture’ speaks to those Asian Pacific Islander Americans who have a long history in the boarding community, from 20th century pioneer surfer Duke Kahanamoku to skateboarder Wally Inouye. This multimedia exhibition examines the development and modern-day evolution of boarding culture.

I thought this was such a fun, lively and interactive exhibit.  Probably my favourites of everything I had seen in Seattle to date.  The photography displayed in the exhibit reminded me of something out of Thrasher magazine.  Stunning, raw and dynamic!  Kids, teens and hey adults too will appreciate the gorgeous artistry in the skateboards on display and ramp in the main exhibition space.  Fantastic!

I appreciate Wing Luke’s name on such an amazing space that is The Wing.  It is important to recognize that there are those who overcame to bring us such joy in art, politics, acceptance and inclusivity in countries like the U.S., Canada and abroad.

The Wing

719 South King Street (between 7th and 8th Avenue South)

Seattle, WA  98104


Ode to Sub Pop

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Do you remember the time when you were a teen when your musical landscape changed?  For me and most teens in the early 90’s – Nirvana was the catalyst for that change.  I was 18.  It was 1991.  The scene at the time for me was reminiscent of hanging out with teen boys who were into skateboarding whilst trying my best to keep up with the Benjamin’s with my girlfriends.  A weird time riddled with all things confusing and upsetting but music was also my grounding force.

In the midst of studying Nirvana lyrics, liner notes and photography (as you do as a teen) – an ominous label by the name of Sub Pop would say hello to me every day at the back of my CD case.

Sub Pop.  From Seattle?  Where was that?  For a girl from North Toronto – it was a world away.

Well if this Sub Pop label were putting out Nirvana; the other bands on that label must be just as cool (so I thought).  So started the love affair.  Many Friday nights were spent downtown Toronto at either A&A Records, Sam the Record Man or HMV (depending who was selling it cheaper) to see the latest releases from Sub Pop and spend hard earned part time job dollars with my friend Jakub.

We would scoop Sub Pop albums up after watching Much Music on Cable TV as research.   Once making our purchases we would convene at the local Taco Bell across the street from Record Store row on Yonge Street in Toronto.  We would rip the wrappers off those cd’s and immediately pop them into our cd Walkman for the long trip back to the suburbs all the while studying liner notes.  Those CD’s had the makings of Willy Wonka chocolate bars.  If they included stickers – even better!  Those were the brand labels of the day.

Bands like the Screaming Trees, The Melvins, Tad, Mudhoney and Nirvana gave us permission to do so much.  From busting out from our Catholic school uniforms, making informed decisions about our lives, being creative in our journey and defining our youth.

The EMP Museum exhibit ‘Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses’ does a tremendous job capturing the essence of that time and is worth checking out especially if you were and are still a fan of those bands at that time in music history.

I had the pleasure to take a tour of Sub Pop’s offices in Seattle whilst I was in town.  Small, quiet and full of memorabilia of the labels early days.  There were gold records, posters, art work and the whisperings of a true homage to a time that built the label that could.

The demure cubicled office is indeed just like any old office space.  But I took a moment to think about how a teenager like me was affected by the sound that out of the efforts of that early staff that put out those early CD’s from far away Seattle.

There is a sticker and poster wall at the Sub Pop offices.  Stickers that have been layered upon layered over time.  That in itself was worth taking some time with.  They could have made those skater boys I would hang out with in high school swoon.  Skate board worthy art on a sticker.

The poster wall had the likes of Chris Cornell in the midst of a ‘Loud Love’ throw down.  Constantine’s, Wolf Parade and Fleet Foxes all have their face time.

There is a Polaroid Wall lacquered in photos from bands that have come and gone during the years along with staff photos.  There is indeed a very familial vibe in those Polaroid’s.  Sub Pop takes care of their own.

As we continued the walk through the space, we made our way through the warehouse where there was a furor of activity.  There was vinyl and cd’s all nicely stacked up and being packaged to who knows which small town in the U.S. or abroad.

Even though the Church of Grunge has now ended their services, a new ministry is up and running.  The Shins and Fleet Foxes have secured their place in Sub Pop’s next generation congregation.   Cool, fresh, lazy beats yet full of promise.  Sub Pop is indeed here to stay.  As I continue to age and see generations come paying reverence to those early bands – Sub Pop will take on the vintage majesty of the likes of Motown and Apple Records with each passing year.


CityPASS Seattle: Space Needle

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I’m from Toronto and we have the CN Tower so really the Space Needle did nothing for me.  But if you are keen and have a CityPASS Seattle then the Space Needle is a must.

The Space Needle has great views that you can see twice within 24 hours – once during the day, once at night.  From 520’ the Observation Deck provides a 360° view of Seattle and beyond that commands your attention. See the snow-capped Cascade Mountains to the east and the majestic Olympic mountain range to the west with breathtaking indoor and outdoor viewing. For Pacific Northwest cuisine that is matched only by the views served with it, visit SkyCity, the Space Needle’s revolving restaurant.

Upgrades for CityPASS Holders

Chihuly Garden and Glass: Use the coupon in your CityPASS booklet to receive up to $5 off general admission.

Advice for Visitors

  • Visit before 11am or after 7pm when it’s less crowded.
  • Show your CityPASS booklet at the Needlicious Fudge Center and get 1/2 pound of fudge free when you buy 1 pound.

Seattle Center

400 Broad Street

Seattle, WA 98109

(206) 905-2100

(800) 937-9582


Open 365 days a year. Hours vary by season, and special hours apply for holidays and special events; see details.

CityPASS Seattle: Chihuly Garden and Glass

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I had never heard of  Dale Chihuly until I saw in my CityPASS Seattle booklet that there was a $5 off admission for his Chihuly Garden and Glass installation.   This had to be worth checking out.  CityPASS has not let me down yet.

Chihuly Garden and Glass is a long-term installation and contains 10 different displays, a movie theatre showing Chihuly’s team of artists at work, and a quirky café, featuring local fare served atop the artist’s favorite collectables.

Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Wash., Dale Chihuly’s work is included in 225 museum collections worldwide, as well as special installations in Venice, Jerusalem, London and Chicago. The new collection in Seattle samples some of his more famous works: Cylinders and Baskets from the 1970s; Seaforms, Macchia, Venetians, and Persians from the 1980s; Niijima Floats and Chandeliers from the 1990s; and Fiori from the 2000s.

The “Glass Forest,” one of Chihuly’s earlier works in collaboration with artist Jamie Carpenter.  It is eerie.  It reminded me of something that an Ice Queen would have installed in her castle.  The neon glow of this work was truly hypnotic.

The Sea life Room echoed imaginary glass waves from deep within the work.

The Mille Fiori, which is Italian for 1,000 flowers, is a glowing garden of glass set in the dark.   This room was truly mesmerising and made me wonder ‘is this installation as good as it gets?’  Nope.  There was more to come.

The Glass House is the piece de resistance.  This conservatory contains one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures.  It is 100-feet long; it’s an expansive explosion of Persian glass in reds, oranges, yellows and amber made up of 1,340 pieces.  It’s a true game changer.  I took a seat in the conservatory for a good fifteen minutes to take it all in.  Even then I couldn’t.  It was so wonderfully immense.

The day I was at the Chihuly Garden and Glass it was pouring outside but nevertheless I trekked out onto the grounds.  Catching the 16-foot Seattle Sun, a gorgeous, round tangle of yellow and orange was a true highlight even in the midst of the gloominess. Check out the Rose Crystal and Green Icicle Towers as well.

The great news was that I was able to get a discount from the $19 for general admission using my CityPASS Seattle booklet.  The CityPASS Seattle included a coupon for $5 off general admission to Chihuly Garden and Glass; however you will need to purchase that ticket separately because the Chihuly Garden and Glass is not a ticket included in the core CityPASS Seattle product.

The Chihuly Garden and Glass was the best $15 I have spent on an exhibit in a long time.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Address: 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, United States


CityPASS Seattle: EMP Museum

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The draw for me in visiting the EMP Museum in Seattle was definitely seeing my second Frank Gehry designed building up close.  It was tremendous.  How can you not be totally gobsmacked from looking up at such an amazing piece of architecture?

Other Highlights included:

  • Experience hands-on installations that include world building, mapmaking, and a life-sized animatronic dragon in Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic.
  • Be a star at On Stage, a virtual concert experience where you’re under the bright lights, in front of screaming fans.
  • Watch music performances and light shows in Sky Church, featuring a mammoth HD LED screen. To be able to watch videos from Lorde and Pearl Jam felt like I was truly paying homage in the church of music.
  • Explore the spectrum of cinematic horror in Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film.
  • Iconic sci-fi artifacts on display include an Imperial Dalek from Doctor Who, the Star Trek command chair, and Neo’s coat from The Matrix Reloaded.
  • See the Vince Lombardi Trophy and the Super Bowl Championship Ring in We Are 12™: The Seattle Seahawks and the Road to Victory.

My favourite out of the Special Exhibits Included with CityPASS was the Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses collection.

To be able to view the most extensive exhibition of memorabilia celebrating the music and history of Seattle grunge luminaries, Nirvana was a treat. The exhibit features rare and unseen artifacts and photography from the band, their crews and families.

Kurt’s striped sweater from the ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ video, In Utero memorabilia and Nirvana’s make shift Sup Pop record deal were delights to see up close.  It is extensively curated and full of fun and fascinating facts.

But the exhibit is not solely about Nirvana.  It also gives a fantastic snapshot of the early days of grunge with nods to the likes of the Screaming Trees, The Melvin’s and Mudhoney.

Advice for Visitors

  • Conveniently located at the Seattle Center alongside several other attractions including the Space Needle and Pacific Science Center.
  • EMP is easily accessible by many bus routes, or hop on the historic Seattle Center Monorail, which departs every 10 minutes from Westlake Center downtown and from Seattle Center.
  • Parking is convenient with a lot adjacent to the museum, and a multi-level covered garage across the street on 5th Avenue.
  • Check out Jimi Hendrix performance videos and more all day in JBL Theater.
  • Enhance your museum experience by purchasing an Audio Guide at the ticketing desk on your way in.
  • Get $5 off purchases of over $35 at EMP stores, plus a free set of limited edition EMP guitar picks; see coupon in booklet.


325 5th Avenue N.

Seattle, WA 98109

At Seattle Center, near Space Needle

(206) 770-2700


Summer (May 24-Sep 2): Open daily, 10am-7pm

Winter (Sep 3-May 23): Open daily 10am-5pm

Seasonal hours may apply; see details.

Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

CityPASS Seattle: Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour

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Learn about Seattle on this entertaining, one-hour, cheery live-narrated cruise of Elliott Bay and the Seattle Harbor. View the spectacular panoramic background of the majestic Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. See the city’s historic waterfront, sparkling Emerald City skyline, busy shipyards, colorful Alki Beach and breathtaking natural beauty.

The best part of the cruise was the behind the scenes views of the container ships as they came and left the port.  Plus, who knew the Washington State ferry fleet is the largest in the U.S.?

I was lucky I had wonderful sunny days whilst in Seattle.   It was a tad cold on the water but regardless made for great views and photography.  Talk about bang for my buck!

Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour

Visitor Center: Pier 56

Ticket booth and dock: Pier 55

Seattle, WA 98101

5-minute walk southwest/below Pike Place Market

(206) 623-1445


CityPASS Seattle: Seattle Aquarium

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I enjoyed my time at the Seattle Aquarium.  The Seattle Aquarium is a decent size, easy to navigate and has great exhibits both indoors and outdoors.

The Seattle Aquarium is the 9th largest Aquarium in the U.S. by attendance and among the top 5 paid visitor attractions in the Puget Sound region.

The Aquarium’s species collection is featured within six major exhibits: Window on Washington Waters, Life on the Edge, Pacific Coral Reef, Puget Sound Fish and Dome Room, Puget Sound Orcas Family Activity Center, and Marine Mammals.

My favourite part of my exhibit was the Puget Sound Fish and Dome Room.  Talk about a magical experience. To see fish swimming around up close in a room that looks positively spaceship like  – it is definitely photo worthy.

Seattle Aquarium

1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59

Seattle, WA 98101-2015

Phone:  (206) 386-4300


9:30am to 5pm daily

Last entry at 5pm,

Exhibits close at 6pm