Archive | November, 2010

Happy Ho-Ho-Holidays Seattle!!!

26 Nov
Seattle Revealed: First snow of 2010 Winter Season

This was a familiar sight all over Western Washington

 

Geez louise Mother Nature! The first day of winter doesn’t actually begin until December 21st this year but you’d never know it based on our lovely snowstorm earlier this week. Although the snow was just as much of a headache as it was beautiful, it marked the unofficial start to the 2010 holiday season. While taking pictures with Santa is great and all, there are loads of other things you can do to get you into the spirit.

Here’s are just a few of the upcoming events kicking off the holiday season:

11/26 | Macy’s Holiday Parade

11/26 | 22nd Annual Westlake Center Tree Lighting Ceremony

11/26  | Opening day of A Christmas Carol

11/26 | Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker

11/26 | A Christmas Story: The Musical

11/26 | Seattle Center Winterfest

11/27 | Magic in the Market

12/09 | Opening day of Black Nativity

Seattle Restaurant Week: Juno

24 Nov
Seattle Revealed - Seattle Restaurant Week October 2010

My First Seattle Restaurant Week!

 

These days, people seem to take tremendous pride in their frugal ways. Terms such as “recession chic” are thrown around with reckless abandon. Well I am here to tell you that despite the rough economic climate we’re in now, a good deal has always been a Good Deal! Case in point – Seattle Restaurant Week. I first heard about SRW about 2 years ago but for the life of me cannot figure out why it took me that long to experience it myself. If you haven’t heard of it, SRW is a “dining celebration” that features over 100 top restaurants in the Seattle metro area and Eastside all of whom offer a 3 course dinner menu for only $25 (some places also offer a 3 course lunch for only $15!).

Entrance to Juno on 3rd Ave.

Since this was my very first SRW, it was crucial that I tried a restaurant I’d never been to before. I guess I kind of felt like I would be cheating if I went to a place I’d already visited or even worse, one of my favorite haunts (similar to how this writer felt about using his Groupons at his fav spots). With over 100 restaurants to choose from you would think it would be difficult to make a decision but it wasn’t really that bad considering I don’t eat beef or pork (there goes about half the list), I couldn’t select a place I’d already been to (there goes another 3rd) and I had to find a place that still had open reservations (SRW is VERY popular! Make your reservations early). Even though my requirements were pretty limiting, I finally chose Juno and boy am I’m glad I did. Juno is located in the Artic Club Hotel on the corner of 3rd Ave. and Cherry St. in downtown Seattle. I’d definitely suggest finding a parking lot nearby because street parking is tough to find and cars aren’t allowed on 3rd at certain parts of the day so it can be downright confusing driving around down there.

Seattle Revealed - Juno's Bar

Juno's Bar Area

I am no “foodie” so I won’t bore you with lackluster details about my dining experience but I will say it was delicious. My favorites were the the Blood Orange Martini (don’t judge me) and the Gambas Al Aijllo (Garlic Shrimp). The ambiance inside of Juno has a very sexy vibe. Most of the restaurant is dimly lit which makes for a nice romantic dinner but then the bar area is a bit brighter with its yellowish backlighting. It’s definitely channeling Sex and the City but only in the best sense of the movie title. The final thing I’d like to note about Juno is that it has both a street entrance and one inside of the hotel lobby. This may seem like a minor detail but its importance was not lost on me. There is just something odd about walking into a hotel that where you’re not staying, wandering around like a lost puppy just to find the restaurant or bar. Thank you to Juno for not being one of those places.

Although Seattle Restaurant Week won’t be back until the spring of 2011, you can still catch some great deals through Dine Around Seattle through the end of the month (11/30 is the last day!). Got cabin fever? Tired of Thanksgiving leftovers? Like to eat out? Then check out Dine Around Seattle before it’s over. You’ll thank me later.

Rated: Cool, Sexy

Reminds me of: Sex and the City Theme Song

Great For: Sexy Singles, Date Night

Chinatown’s hidden gem: the Wing Luke Museum

20 Nov
Letters from Asian immigrants carrying home messages of hope

The experience: A delight for all 5 senses

Immediately upon stepping inside the Wing Luke Museum, I was engulfed in nostalgic memories and community history. Straight up the stairs from the main entrance, my curiosity was piqued by what I later learned was the Letter Cloud – original letters from Asian immigrants with messages of hope fluttering just below the skylight with faint sounds of the ocean in the background, reminiscent of the journey across the water. Even further upstairs, I went into the original hotel where immigrants first found family, friends or familiar last names. The Mahjong tables with unfinished games, the kitchen with a sizzling wok, the sleeping quarters with sheets turned back and shoes on the floor – everything about this place made me feel like I was experiencing part of the immigrant journey.  Wall art alone won’t typically evoke these feelings. But the combination of art you can touch, sounds you can hear and stories you can feel makes the Wing Luke one of Seattle’s most powerful museum experiences.

Mahjong table in the historic hotel

 The history: Before there was Costco, there was Yick Fung Co.

Imagine you’ve just arrived on a boat from China. You have relatives somewhere in this region, but after immigration the next stop was often the Yick Fung store. An import-export store at the ground level, the store also had short stay beds for rent on higher levels. Immigrants, residents and restaurateurs would come to the Yick Fung to buy hard-to-find Asian items and chat with Uncle Jimmy. While the family run Chinatown institution closed it’s doors in 2008, it was another captivating element of the Wing Luke Museum. The smells, the toys, the beds, the running video of Uncle Jimmy – I walked into the store and felt like I had travelled back into Seattle history.

The Yick Fung store was often the first stop after immigration

The art: A community-based museum, it really does take a village

Boasting at least six special exhibits right now and other non-rotating exhibits, the Wing Luke is the only other community-based museum in the region outside of the Northwest African American Museum. There is no curator. Stories are collected from the community. Art is gathered by family and friends. The community comes together and they decide what stories they want to tell. A glimmer of the tremendous communal support, both from families and businesses, is reflected in every exhibit. I had a special appreciation for the exhibit highlighted the refugee journey during the Japanese internment. This exhibit brings the intense journey to life through photographs, art, family heirlooms, and my personal favorite: a handbag, a vintage bag belonging to a mother leaving her home in Seattle with her child in one arm and handbag underneath. If handbags don’t ignite the same excitement for you like it does for me, also imbedded in the exhibit is a looping video of Japanese-Americans discussing what internment was like for their family.

Mother and child forced to move during the Japanese internment

This is only a snapshot of what you’ll find at the Wing Luke. It is more than a museum, it’s a collection of life stories and community experiences. No wonder it was just voted #1 Best Museum of Western Washington. The website boasts that this unique museum experience is dedicated to sharing the sharing the “stories of survival, success, struggle, conflict, compassion and hope,” and it has done exactly that.

PS – if you’re wondering about the 5th sense, taste, be sure to stop by the gift shop with great teas and other Chinatown books, treats and trinkets.

Rating: Cool
Reminds me of: Mahjong of The Joy Luck Club & Traditional Chinese dance
Great for: Trying something new, rollin solo, dose of culture

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