Bakery in Olympia changed my mind about bagels

Bakery in Olympia changed my mind about bagels

I was never fond of bagels. That didn’t mean, I didn’t eat one when it was offered to me.  Now that I am writing this I always thought bagels never reached its potential but it always had possibility.

No, you are not it, bagels

Yes I have tried the plain bagels with salmon cream cheese, the plain bagesl with chives cream cheese, the cinnamon raisin bagel with the plain cream cheese, and the everything bagel with plain cream cheese and locks on top.  But none of those whet my appettite.  When I was going through my sugar detox couple of years ago,  I learned few non-nutritional qualities about bagels and I was glad I never cared for them anyway.

Bagels never made it to my top breakfast list, but that all changed one day when I was visiting Olympia, Washington. There I went to a bakery because my friend was fan of bagels.  My friend ate bagels as much as I ate cereal, countless times.

Maybe bagels are not so bad with some good cream cheese

It was raining hard the day we went.  We parked on the side street and ran to the bakery without an umbrella.  From the road, the bakery looked like a house, probably because it was tucked in the residential neighborhood area. As soon as I ran inside the shop, a waft of smell hit my nose –– the toppings on the bagels, the chives and the smell of fresh bread, and the sweet aromas of a warm bakery.  It was a small place that offered a few seats by the window.  Luckily a table by the window became available.

The rain came down. I tried their fresh bagel and their homemade cream cheese. Hmm?  Not what I was expecting.   Though the bagel and cream cheese have an equal partnership in providing a hard and creamy experience, I never tasted one like that before. It was that day I learned that the good cream cheese makes the mediocore bagel better.  Please, can I have one more bagel and a pint of cream cheese to go, I said ordering at the counter.

Since Olympia I have become fond of bagels. It is a good thing I allow myself a desert a day after my sugar detox because a good bagel with good cream cheese is like a good dessert.

Too bad Olympia is little miles away from where I live, which means I had to learn how to make my own cream cheese.

Now that I am hooked on you bagels

So I tried to make homemade goat cheese cream cheese one day. It tasted a little zingy but it was acceptable.  Then one day I was assisting with a party.  I was debating if I should make homemade cream cheese or bring some store bought cream cheese.  Since we wanted a variety for the party, I said why not do both?  I‘ll have the goat cream cheese with vegetables and the store bought cream cheese with bagels.

There I stumbled up on what was called a whipped cream cheese.  My same friend who was a fan of bagels mentioned a few times about whipped butter before. I thought I would give the store whipped cream cheese a go.

Let me tell you that whipped cream cheese was so good; it came close to reminding me of the cream cheese that was served in that little bakery.

I know the headline said, bakery in Olympia changed my mind about bagels.  Now, I am really thinking that it should had been, cream cheese in a bakery in Olympia changed my mind about eating bagels.

If you are in Olympia stop at the San Franciso Bakery, and try one or two.   At the time we went, they had different flavors of cream cheese: Pesto, garlic chives, walnut and olive, salmon, and plain.

Disappearing bagles

Disappearing bagles

 

Pictures of a winter wonderland

Pictures of a winter wonderland

We recently had a snowstorm here in the Northwest, and the grounds looked like a winter wonderland.  I, for one, was glad it did snow because my characters in my novel play in the snow.   And this snow storm gave me the opportunity to do firsthand research.

I read that the Eskimos have at least 100 words for snow.  I can understand why they would have hundred words for it.  I don’t know what their words were, but let me give you a handful from my day in playing in the snow.

All the different types of snow

Playful snow

Snow that doesn’t stick to the ground

Pure white snow

Snow that sticks to the ground

Crystal cold snow

Powdery snow

Feeling the lightness of powdery snow

Feeling the lightness of powdery snow

Snow that is light that I felt like I stepped inside a cloud

Crunch, crunch, crunch snow

Snow that is hard that I felt like it was gravel

Crisp snow

Snow that turns to slush when the rain falls

Cold numbing snow

Snow that doesn’t melt when the rain come

Snow that that melts went the sun shines

Happy snow

Snow that makes bare trees look dressed up

Snow falling, winter wonderland

Snow falling, winter wonder land

Snow that breaks twigs

Snow that keeps coming down

Snow that buries the chairs in the patio, making it disappear underneath the snow

Snow that makes ducks still swim like ducks

Snow that makes me want to build a snowman

Snow that makes me want to have snowball fight

Snow that makes me slide down the hill

Snow that makes me want to drink hot chocolate

Snow that makes warm memories

Snow that makes bring people outside

Snow that is quiet

Snow that is beautiful

Snow that is still magical

If you enjoyed this and want to see more pictures, please visit pictures posted at my pinterest site.

 

 

Snowman posing pictures

Snowman posing pictures

Snowman Poses

It’s winter and I am learning how to do photography.

I am always looking for good subjects to capture photos, though I like to shoot causal pictures best.

Since it is the winte time,I started taking pictures of the snowman.  I didn’t realize how many different types of snow faces are out there. What I do see is that they are smiling at something or someone. I can’t help but snap one of those pictures.

Snowman with a carrot nose and black hat pose

Snowman with a carrot nose and black hat pose

Happy snowman waving hello

Happy snowman waving hello

More on at the Pinterest site.
Visiting Gas Works Park in Wallingford

Visiting Gas Works Park in Wallingford

Wallingford is a neighborhood located in North Seattle. The main drag on Wallingford is 45th street.  Filled with shops, restaurants, and coffee shops, you could spend half a day just meandering.  I visited the Gas Works Park once, and haven’t been back there for ages.  Because I was near the area, I thought I would do a quick stop.

History of the Gas Works Park

This time while standing on top of the grassy hill, I wanted to know the history of the park.  I found little history. So I called the Seattle.gov number to get some history on the park. Gas Works Park was a former site for an active gas plant that manufactured coal into gas operated by a private company.  If you want to know more history, watch this video, “10 Parks that changed America,” hosted by PBS.

The City of Seattle brought the site in 1962.  With the help of landscape architect Richard Haag the site has been recycled to a public park.  The rustic towers of the plant are still fenced off due to safety concerns.

The music man tells me that back in the day, there was a Seattle joke that “if you dropped any food in Gas Works parks, you better not eat it.” Now annual and seasonal events take place, inviting musicians and kite connoisseurs to play in the park.  Walkers, joggers, bicyclists, dog walkers roam the area to catch a good view of the skyline while getting a dose of their daily exercise.  On Fourth of July, people gather with their friends and families to see fireworks launching from the barges at Lake Union.

Gas Works Park in Wallingford

Gas Works Park in Wallingford

Getting to the park from the parking lot

Walk up the pathway that winds around the big green hill.  The cemented winding path takes you all the way up to the top.  Halfway through the hill, you can see rustic gas plant from where you stand. As you walk your way up to the top, you can see a great view of Lake Union, a decent view of the Skyline of Downtown Seattle (even on a cloudy day), a skinny view of the Space Needle.

Morning walkers visiting Gas Works Park in Wallingford

Morning walkers visiting Gas Works Park in Wallingford

 

There are couple of benches on top of the hill. You can sit there and see small to midsize boats coming in or going away.   Rowers navigate the waters, too.   Yachts and other water vessels are moored in the marina.

View of the marina at Gas Works Park in Wallingford

View of the marina at Gas Works Park in Wallingford

 

Overall, I think this is a good place to take pictures, but I wouldn’t go out of you way, if you are not already in or near Wallingford.  I would recommend other parks to go in Seattle.

If you are in Wallingford and wondering what else is there to do in Wallingford, here are few more activities:

 Go have coffee on 45th street

Pick any coffee place and go sit down and sip on your coffee.

 You can shop

A string of boutique shops line 45th street. If you are looking for funky gifts, Archie McPhee is a fun place to shop. They carry inexpensive toys that no one carries anymore in brick and mortar store.  For some,this store is walk through a memory lane.

 If you are hungry stop at a pub or a bakery

If you like Sushi there Kisaku Sushi Restaurant, If you like Pizza, there is Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria (though I like the one in Columbia City more), If you like Afghan food, there is Kabul Afghan Cuisine.  Note: my friend plays music in Kabul few nights a week.

Parking:

The park has a decent sized parking lot

Driving around Wallingford: Most likely, you would be parallel parking on the street. Some shops do have parking lots but you can only park there while you shop at the store.

Bus:

You can also take the bus from downtown Seattle. The buses do run on the weekends too, but not as frequently as they do on weekdays.

Walking:

If you are a walker, you can also walk from Gas Works to 45th street.

Tidbits: Recently when I went, there were Canadian geese poop. I guess they know where they best views are.  Please do look down where you step.

Candian Geese taking a break at Gas Works Park

Candian Geese taking a break at Gas Works Park

 

Autumn in Seattle (and all over Washington State)

Autumn in Seattle (and all over Washington State)

I love how the trees change colors in autumn in Seattle.

The autumn trees

The trees start changing around late August and early September turning soft yellow advancing to brown or to a rich orange or red color, peaking sometime in October.  It’s really hard not to see fall colors in Seattle or all over Washington.

Aspens, Katsura trees, and variety of maple trees can be seen as you drive on I-5 North or South, I-90 East or West or 405 North or South 520 East or west,US 2 or on residential streets.  On the sides of the road, you can see the pretty leaves, growing on think and thick branches.  Some branches even stretch out to the road, like weeping branches. Yellow, orange, or red leaves all glowing under the sun with such brillance.  Even when cloudy, the colors look happy.

The leaves on that tree made me stop and wonder

The leaves on that tree made me stop and wonder

If you want to spent more time around autumn trees, you can also walk to any number or Seattle parks to see the change of autumn.

Pictures of autumn trees

Some of these pictures were captured on a drive to Jones Park at Renton to see the salmon spawning, which happens during autumn, too.  At Jones Park, from the cemented walkway, you can see the salmon.  It’s colors change too when they return to the freshwater.  The ones in Renton I have seen turned red. The red ones were swimming against the current or holding still against the current.  They have come back from the ocean to their birthplace to mate.  In one of my salmon spawning tour I learned that the Pacific salmon only mate when they return to the freshwaters, right before they die.  Dramatic, romantic, and traumatic is what I want to say.  Their journey to the ocean from freshwater and back is a wonderful triumphant story on the few we do get back now.

If you do go visit the salmon spawning sites, try to not to scare them, as they are very vulnerable during their spawning cycle.  They stop eating once they get back into fresh water from saltwater.

I would like post some pictures of the trees changing colors that I have taken from all over Washington.

My friend took this shot

My friend took this shot

Autumn in Seattle (and all over Washington)

Autumn in Seattle (and all over Washington)

Standing under the autumn tree

Standing under the autumn tree

If you want to spent more time around autumn trees, you can also walk to any number or Seattle parks to see the change of autumn or go to one of the city gardens.

More pictures of autumn trees can be seen at Pinterest.

 

 

What do people do in Seattle when it rains?

What do people do in Seattle when it rains?

“What do people in Seattle do when it rains?” I asked a Seattilite.

“They get wet.”  Ha ha.

I learned in school that just because it rains in the Pacific Northwest that people just not go outside.  No, they get on with their lives.

Here are some activities people do in the rain:

If they are swimmers, they go swimming.

If they are bikers, they go biking.  I have seen bikers pedaling their bike pedals during  pouring downrain in Downtown Seattle and on the Burke Gilman Trail.

If they are readers, they curl up and read a good book at home.

Or, they bring their electronic device to the coffee shop to be “social” and read.

They go play darts at the taverns, watch Sea Hawks at bars, and eat a salmon burger at the pub.

They shop at upscale stores like a few flagship stores or or go bargain hunting at Goodwill or shop at kitsch stores in Wallingford or stroll through funky boutique stores in Capitol Hill or Downtown or Fremont.

Rain doesn’t stop them from getting dressed to go see a play on 5th Avenue Theater or a Paramount Theater, or any number of the other theaters that put on a good play.

They go see a classical concert at the Benaroya Hall.

If their venue of the day is to seek laughter, they go to any number of the comedy clubs in Seattle and near Seattle.

They meet up with friends in restaurants in the very many eclectic Seattle neighborhoods.

Or hang out at one of the dozens of museums.

They go to The Seattle Public Library, the central library in Downtown Seattle to admire its architecture or hear an author speak, or take their kids for book reading at their neighborhood library.

A large some stay indoors to write, attend to their garden, watch TV, or sleep.

Upwards of many go to coffee shops and order a great cup of coffee or tea, or hot chocolate.

And when it’s still raining

A few go hiking even in the rain. Can’t wait for the sun to show up in Seattle? Hate to tell you this.  There have been number of days, even the weaterman wasn’t right.  Always carry your Parka, that is your best protection from the rain from October to June.

Some go and shop for the rainy weather.  Buying jackets with hood and boots so that your feet is drenched from the water that is pouring down from your jacket.

A quite rather some stay indoors to write, watch TV, or sleep.

Uncountable number stay in and cook, like French toast with friends, families, or by themselves.

Some go to the local hardware store to buy a new door, a new window, parts of a sink to fix up their quaint homes or known as “fixer upper” to the rest of the world. .

Some take photography while friends are cooking.

They hop on a Seattle Ferry for a get away to one of the islands.

Most work, go to school, or enjoy a hobby even in the rain.

It's raining in Seattle

It’s raining in Seattle

If you are new in town, get out and go and explore. Are you going to let the rain stop you?

What is your favorite thing to do in Seattle when it rains?