Granola, Munchin’ on Raw Pasta and Alternate Realities – Our Weekend in Seattle (Part 1 of 2)

1 06 2011

Yair and I are now en route to Phoenix after an incredible week in Seattle.  I apologize for the temporary slow-down in posting, but I was having way too much fun over the past seven days to stop and write something for the blog.  I will take advantage of this flight to catch you up with a two-part post on our very first and very awesome visit to Washington state.

Seattle is very green, lush and beautiful.  There are lakes everywhere and many suburbs look like they were built in the middle of a forest.  The colors are bright and the place feels alive.  Our first hosts were cellists who live in a beautiful home on Mercer Island.  Janet and Ricardo spent the first year of their marriage living in Caracas (Venezuela) and playing in government-sponsored orchestras at a time of curfews and riots.  Janet and Ricardo regaled us with fascinating stories and treated us to our first taste of Pho on Thursday afternoon.

Yair and Janet Enjoying Their Pho and Vietnamese Dishes - A Shehechiyanu / First Taste

Yair and Janet Enjoying Their Pho and Vietnamese Dishes - A First Taste

Gorgeous Green Plants That Sprout Up Everywhere... Everyone Else Thinks That They're Weeds, But I Like Them

Gorgeous Green Plants That Sprout Up Everywhere... Everyone Else Thinks That They're Weeds, But I Like Them

My Faces of Israel program on Thursday went well but was really nothing out of the ordinary… until we left the building.  The event started at seven in the evening and when we left the temple around 9:15 pm, it was still light outside!  The sun hadn’t yet set and it was bright as daytime.  It took a moment to adjust to sunset times way up north, but the extra daylight was a welcome surprise.

Every now and then, my mom asks if I have visited any places where I could see us settling down.  The answer has mostly been ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’ though Yair and I are both interested in experiencing Austin (Texas) and Portland (Oregon), cities that are known for their quirkiness and granola vibe.  Within the first day or two of this trip, I realized that Seattle is a pretty crunchy city itself.  Private homes and public streets house not just one or even two disposables containers, but at least three containers: trash, various recyclables and compost.

Three Options on Every Corner: Trash, Compost or Recycle

Three Options on Every Corner: Trash, Compost or Recycle

Seeing compost bins on street corners threw me at first, but experiencing environmentally-friendly and waste-saving practices on a municipal level and not just a personal one is pretty awesome.  The city charges residents based on the size and quantity of their trash bins, providing an incentive to recycle and compost whatever possible.  As you quickly learn, a lot is compostable.  On a different – but not too different – note, we spent one morning at a senior center where I encountered an interesting sign.  Between the men’s restroom and women’s restroom in the lobby, a sign noted that a gender safe bathroom was available on the 2nd floor.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to see this sign on a college campus or at a GLBT center, but at a regular senior center in Seattle – wow.

Bike Lanes and Water Fountains Line Seattle City Streets

Bike Lanes and Water Fountains Line Seattle City Streets

Storefront Sign in Seattle's Capitol Hill Neighborhood: If you are racist, sexist, homophobic or an asshole... don't come in.

Storefront Sign in Seattle's Capitol Hill Neighborhood

A Local Store in Seattle's Capitol Hill Neighborhood: Rent a Sewing Machine by the Hour

A Local Store in Seattle's Capitol Hill Neighborhood: Rent a Sewing Machine by the Hour

Yair and I spent the weekend in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, which is home to large grunge, hipster and gay populations.  Hundreds of Lindy Hoppers roamed the streets of Seattle this weekend as well, but I’ll get to that in the second post.  Yair and I managed a quick visit to the Pike Street Market, an open-air market located right on the water with tons of fresh and innovative produce.  We tasted fifteen different types of aged balsamic vinegars, five types of honey and we were even handed raw pieces of pasta to munch on that came in flavors like chocolate, banana and rosemary where the flavorings had been baked into the pasta dough.

Dipping Bits of Bread in Delicious Spiced and Aged Balsamic Vinegars at Pike Street Market

Dipping Bits of Bread in Delicious Spiced and Aged Balsamic Vinegars at Pike Street Market

Chocolate and Raspberry Pasta? Yes, Please!

Chocolate and Raspberry Pasta? Yes, Please!

A highlight of our weekend was spending time with my college friend Yoni, his wonderful wife Michelle and their family.  Yoni was known as the “Jewish cowboy” in college, a nickname that he earned as a practicing Orthodox Jew who embodied an extra large dose of patriotism and wore a cowboy hat, belt and boots to match his southern personality.  Yoni is now a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and regaled us with stories of his training, his buddies and the mega-planes (“heavies”) that he flies.  Spending time with Yoni and his family was very surreal.  I hadn’t seen him in three years since his wedding and he seemed so grown up – a husband and father of two with a house, car, mortgage, dog and – oh yeah – C-17 military plane.  In a strange way, visiting Yoni and Michelle was like seeing an alternate version of my own life – a life that I could have had but chose not to.  Has anyone shared this feeling before?

Yoni, Michelle and Adina at their Memorial Day BBQ - Note the color-coordinated, patriotic outfits!

Yoni, Michelle and Adina at their Memorial Day BBQ - Note the color-coordinated, patriotic outfits!

Yoni Putting the Finishing Touches on His and Michelle's Patriotic Memorial Day Cake

Yoni Putting the Finishing Touches on His and Michelle's Patriotic Memorial Day Cake

All in all, it was wonderful spending time with old friends, making new friends and exploring the beautiful city of Seattle.  A post on Camp Jitterbug will come soon!

PS-  Today is Yair and my six-year anniversary.  We’ve been together since we were nineteen and, my G-d, does time fly!  We’ll be going to a restaurant called Hula’s with friends tonight for a different occasion, but it’ll make a great anniversary celebration as well.  🙂

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posted by ayo

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10 responses

1 06 2011
Stumpy and Cyndi

Choclate Pasta??? My dream just came true!

I haven’t been to the PNW since 1989 and can’t wait to return….more than ever after reading this and enjoying your piictures!

Cyndi & Stumpy @ RVly Ever After

3 06 2011
ayo

That must change! Let me know when you hit the road and head in that direction. The chocolate pasta is on me. 🙂

1 06 2011
Matt

Hi from Sin City and Super Duper Happy Anniversary from the OTH crew (Me, Bree, Henery, and Cali)!!!!!!!!! Lots of love and safe travels.

Tally ho…

3 06 2011
ayo

Hey beautiful people! Ooh, I SO want to be in Las Vegas. Yair has never been and I only made a quick trip there for the first time this past spring.

Have way too much for us, and go cream those losers at the poker table!

2 06 2011
Shira

You guys it sounds great! Happy anniversary, and so glad to hear that you are enjoying yourselves. For the record, Austin is amazing and you guys would love it there. Only downside is that it gets hot, hot, hot. Seattle temp is probably much nicer. Love the garbage cans and signs.

3 06 2011
ayo

Right, I forgot you were in Austin! How hot is hot? I just checked the weather averages and it doesn’t seem TOO crazy (lows of 40 in the middle of the winter and highs of 96 in the dead of the summer).

Anyway, hope you enjoyed fleet week and we are overdue on a catch up for some time soon. xo!

2 06 2011
Roxanne

You’re making me a little homesick for Ithaca. No one will confirm it here in Florida, but I think neighborhood prizes are awarded based on sheer mass of garbage presented on the curb.

Roxanne

3 06 2011
ayo

Oh goodness, that’s crazy. Do you have any plans to wander west or will you be sticking around Florida for a while?

3 06 2011
tiffany

first of all.. congratulations on six years!! time flies, this july will be 13 for us and i really can’t believe it!! i LOVE the capitol hill sign and wish more stores had this attitude AND such an interesting realization that you get to “view” one avenue that could-have-been-you. i think it is always such a good thing when this happens, even if a part of us wishes that might have been the path we took, better to glimpse it than not to at all and usually we come away (well hopefully..) with the realization we are on the path we should be on.. great post!

13 06 2011
ayo

13 years?! That’s incredible. Congrats. How’s Montana treating you? 🙂

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