Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Seattle ~ The Emerald City

on February 24, 2013

Seattle is “the Emerald City”. How much FUN IS THAT!!?? THE EMERALD CITY!  If Seattle was a tiny little town that needed aSpace Needle roadside attraction, it’d be the Horse of a Different Color, and hot air balloon rides.

But, we aren’t “off to see the wizard” or “following the yellow brick road” – we are following the I-90, to visit Brian and Taunya (with whom we visited The Grizzly Bear Encounters and Virginia City, mentioned in previous blogs.)

Some of our friends (Derek and Jessica) had to go to Seattle for business, so we managed to squeeze ourselves into their roadtrip.  I think it went something like: “OH! If you happen to go to Seattle, we would be willing to come with you and share the gasoline expenses.”  And, they were agreeable!

Seattle is my favorite North American city, and not just because I was born there, but it is just a beautiful, beautiful city.

Partly cloudyIt rains a lot, so everything is green all the time! and clean.  It rains so much, another one of Seattle’s nicknames is “The Rain City.”

Annually, it rains, on an average, 980 millimeters! (That’s about 38.6 inches.) Wikipedia says that it’s “cloudy 201 days out of the year and partly cloudy 93 days”… But, it turns out, that despite it’s nickname, it just barely cracks the Top 10 list for most rainy cities of the United States.  (Shockingly – to me – Atlanta, Georgia is the rainiest at an average of 48.6 inches (1234 mms) per year!)

On this particular trip, I thought it’d be fun to go to the Blues District for an evening.

Once upon a time, Seattle was known for its Blues scene.

Years ago (I guess it was a long, long time ago), we went somewhere, paid a cover charge at the first Club, got a hand stamp, and meandered all over the area, from restaurant to restaurant, under the first cover charge.  Many of the musicians also were going from club to club, and we kept running into the same  musicians, but playing in different groups – mixing and matching.

Once! we even got to see Bo Diddley play down on the pier, during a 4th of July Festival – for free!Lady VO and Tracy Neely

What I didn’t take into account is that Seattle keeps up with (and often is responsible for) the latest thing happening in music.  And, the latest thing happening, while we were there, seemed to be Indie Pop and Rockabilly… Blues could be found on Mondays, and at three restaurants (two in Tacoma, which was too far for us to take a cab) and one at New Orleans Creole Restaurant (Blues and Jazz, but Blues on Saturday nights).  (There were more options for Jazz, and we were going to go listen to Jazz, if we couldn’t find Blues.)

Music in SeattleSeattle’s music goes way back in history. Did you know that the first electric bass guitar was invented in Seattle? by a man named Paul Tutmarc, around 1930.  It was actually an electronic bass fiddle, but is attributed with being the first electric bass guitar – at least it kicked off the trend.

In 1942, Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle.  In 1958, Jimi’s dad bought him his first acoustic guitar.  And in 1959, Jimi acquired his first electric guitar.

If he hadn’t fully hit the scene before, in 1967,  The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their first album, “Are you Experienced”, which, to this day, remains one of the most popular rock albums of all time!  (I can’t decide if I’m surprised or not-at-all surprised that Jimi didn’t know how to read or write music…)

As for the rest of Seattle’s music history, Wikipedia summarizes it:  from 1918 to 1951, there were almost 2 dozen jazz clubs in the International district, launching careers from artists like Ray Charles and Quincy Jones.  It also launched “grunge” music in the 1990’s, known for music groups Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and many, many other bands. (Incidentally, the people we were travelling with on this trip had Pearl Jam about every other song on their iPod shuffle list – thank goodness we all like them 😀 ! )New Orleans Creole Restaurant

It seems that Jazz is always a staple, but Blues is harder to find.  For anyone “in the know” – PLEASE! tell me!  We saw Lady V.O and Tracy Neely, and we really liked them! But it’d be really good to have a selection!!

We weren’t there long enough to do any sightseeing at all, but Seattle certainly has sights to see!  I think I’m going to have a blog series just about Seattle… (As if that wasn’t my plan from the beginning 🙂 )

We did make absolutely certain that we could make time to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant. (If you’ve been reading my blogs regularly, you will see that I’m on a constant search for Mexican food, anytime we are travelling.)  THIS restaurant isn’t a “risk”. This one is a “sure thing”.  We have been to Viva many, many times, and it never fails to live up to our expectations!

Viva Mexican RestaurantWe talk about Viva so much, we started to be concerned that we’ve “oversold” it. You know how you imagine something to be so delicious, but then, you come back, and it isn’t quite as good as you remembered? NOT the case with Viva. It is so good, that Derek is already planning what he’s going to order next time.

My favorite thing is the enchiladas; Peter loves the chili rellano; Derek loved the flauta; and I’m not sure which entrée Jessica liked best, but I know she liked the margarita.  They do have THE BEST margaritas.

Oh, this is funny! I ordered a mango margarita – that’s my tradition.  BUT, we saw other people with a margarita glass full ofMango Margarita and...something blue something almost black, and “Blackberry margaritas” are on the menu. Intrigued, we decided we need to order those! When our margaritas came, I was SHOCKED to see that my margarita was more of a light purple color… so I said, “Ummmm… I totally thought this was going to be a darker color… what do those people have?” … The server said, “ummmmm those people are drinking Coke.”
Blackberry Margarita

(Our favorite place is the location in White Center – well, we haven’t been to the other two sites..I’m sure they are excellent, too, but we can vouch for the White Center location.)


Well, I didn’t even talk about the things that obviously identify Seattle, like the Space Needle, and Pike Place Market, and Puget Sound, and the Pier, and Boeing… But, like I said, there’s more to come… after all, it IS my favorite city.

Seattle has another nickname – “Gateway to Alaska”. Since my next blog, on Wednesday, is going to be about our first trip to Alaska, this is really appropriate!!

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2 responses to “Seattle ~ The Emerald City

  1. Maryann says:

    Chili rellenos. Peter has great taste. Wish we could get them in Calgary.

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