Browsing Cities

A blog/photoblog about places I go

Photos from my triumphant return to seattle August 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiesmillie @ 4:31 pm

It had been 5 years since I had lived in Seattle and 4 years since my last visit when, last month, the city and I were finally reunited.

Thats a damn good lookin Latte!

That's a damn good looking Latte! Tasted good too.

Verite Coffee is the quintessential local Seattle coffeehouse. The best part is the cupcakes – branded under the name Cupcake Royale.

Boat ladder and raised drawbridge at the Ballard Locks

Boat ladder and raised drawbridge at the Ballard Locks

We saw some salmon circling in the water at Ballard Locks but only one big guy in the fish ladder.  June and July are the best months to visit,  but apparently tide and water temperature also play a factor so my advice would be to do some research before heading there.

The always popular, Kerry Park

The always popular, Kerry Park

There is a reason this place has a nearly perfect 5-star review on Yelp out of 98 reviews. It’s breathtaking. Just try to ignore the tour buses.

Delicious dinner at Tilth, an upscale organic restaurant in Wallingford, my old neighborhood

Delicious dinner at Tilth, an upscale organic restaurant in Wallingford, my old neighborhood

The food was REALLY good at Tilth. What I appreciated most was the simple menu – each dish had a large and small version so you could order as entrees, appetizers, or tapas. Also we sat in their cute outdoor patio and they brought us blankets when it started to get cold.

Eating a Young Coconut at the Bite of Seattle

Eating a "Young Coconut" at the Bite of Seattle

We were lucky enough to visit during the Bite of Seattle which takes place each summer at the Seattle Center.  We had Thai spring rolls, Italian ravioli, fresh strawberry shortcake, young coconut, Indian samosas, and wine tasting — all in one event. We also watched a cooking demonstration and wine pairing demonstration.

Seattles new light rail

Seattle's new light rail which takes you to the airport (almost).

The weekend we visited was also the grand opening of Seattle’s new light rail which starts downtown and goes to the Seatac airport.  They were offering free rides over the weekend and when we took it to the airport on Monday morning we became among the first paying riders to use it.

View from the now fireproofed monorail

View from the now fireproofed monorail

Another lame claim to fame regarding Seattle Public transportain happened back in 2004 when I was one of the last riders to use the Monorail before it was decommissioned for 6 months due to a fire. At the time I  was waiting in the station trying to use the second half of my round trip ticket when firemen started coming through the building. I was refunded my money for the second part of the ticket and when I emerged from the station I looked up to see people being evacuated  by ladder from the train that I had been waiting for. The monorail trip this time around? Not so exciting


More from Lake Tahoe, 4th of July: Five Lakes Hike July 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiesmillie @ 5:03 pm
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So I did do more than just glare at people in their high back chairs on the Fourth of July. We also did an amazing hike earlier in the day on the Five Lakes trail.

This hike is on a mountain that sits right between Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley ski resorts.  It was REALLY cool to see the place we spent all winter, in the summer.

Five Lakes Trail Map

Five Lakes Trail Map

View from half way up

View from half way up

The best part was at the top of the trail (about 3 miles) were five beautiful lakes. We brought our swimsuits and took a dip in one of the lakes to cool off.  Then sat on a rock while we dried off next to a huge pile of snow. Snow on the ground in 80 degrees weather = awesome.

One of the 5 Lakes

One of the 5 Lakes

I took the photo below of Alpine Meadows ski resort on our hike down. There is quite a bit of snow in the top right corner – I believe Alpine Bowl is in the middle and the corner of Wolverine Bowl is all the way to the right.

Alpine Meadows in July

Alpine Meadows in July

The next photo is one of the the most interesting. There are a series of chair lift towers running up this mountain with no cables connecting them. This is actually something that we noticed from a distance last season while skiing at Alpine Meadows and we referred to it as the “creepy abandoned lift towers”.

To our delight, the Five Lakes hike took us right by these towers and we got to check them out up close. They look very new and later a quick online search provided some background on to why they are there:  Troy Caldwell’s dream of an Alpine-to-Squaw route lives on at his White Wolf Mountain.

Creepy abandoned lift towers

Creepy abandoned lift towers

As an Alpine Meadows season pass holder, it would be pretty exciting if the two resorts were one day connected. But I guess that’s probably why the Squaw crowd doesn’t seem so into it…


What is a high back chair? The importance of expectations July 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiesmillie @ 11:28 am
Tags: , ,

Last fourth of July — after picking a prime spot on the top of Lafayette Park in San Francisco — we failed to see a single firework through the thick fog. So this year we decided to finally use the tent we bought last summer to go camping at Lower Little Truckee Campground near Lake Tahoe.

Lower Little Truckee State Campgroung

Lower Little Truckee State Campground

With four fireworks shows in Lake Tahoe to choose from, we headed to Commons Beach in Tahoe City to check out our winter stomping grounds in the summertime.

Like any responsible millennial, I used my “advanced” computer skills to find a website featuring relevant information on the fireworks show.


The website states “low back chairs only”. So we decided to leave our fold out camping chairs back at the campsite. We got to the beach around 2 pm to hang out for the afternoon and secure a spot to watch the fireworks. There were a smattering of these types of camping chairs around, but I was naively thinking “I’m sure they’ll put them away before the fireworks” and “I bet someone will come around and ask them to fold up their chairs”

Now the definition of “low back chairs” is a little vague. But we are on the beach so presumably this refers to beach chairs.

To me, low back beach chairs look something like this:

low back chair

And high back beach chairs look more like this:


As time passed more and more of these high back chairs popped up all around us. By the time the fireworks began we were surrounded by hundreds of them in different shapes, colors, and sizes. But luckily it didn’t matter, we had no problem seeing the fireworks. And it was a fantastic show.

The sad thing is that I still walked away disappointed with the experience. Perhaps it was the crick in my back from sitting on a beach towel for seven hours to follow the rules, while others enjoyed the comfort of their high back chairs.

So I have a few simple requests for Tahoe City and anyone else who possess the power to make rules:

1. Don’t be vague. This gives people wiggle room to be asshats. And they will take advantage of it.  If you want to say “low back chairs only” please provide a definition of what is and isn’t a low back a chair.

2. Don’t make seemingly pointless rules. The fireworks are pretty high in the sky and the high back chairs that were crowding the beach that night posed no viewing problems so I’m not sure why you thought this was a good rule. Clearly people aren’t going to do something just because you told them to do it,  so  please provide a logical explanation as to why this rule is important.

3. Enforce rules. If rules aren’t enforced, people lose faith in being a part of a society with rules and they won’t follow other more important ones, like only using the left lane to pass..… oh wait hmmm.

Thanks Tahoe City, really we do love you. And next year we’ll be bringing our chairs.


That’s why people move to California June 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiesmillie @ 2:15 pm
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“That’s why people move to California”

From the time we decided to move from Boston to San Francisco, until 10 months later when we did it, this was our mantra. We repeated it again and again for very inconvenience in the city, every mass-hole driver, every wind chill that whipped below 0F, every bathroom with a light switch outside the door.

Now it’s been over a year since we moved into our 1 BD/ 1 BA apartment in lower pac heights.  As it turns out our sardonic comments were mostly justified.

Here are some of the highlights (mostly all improvements over Boston):

  • There are at least 6 convenient bus lines within 4 blocks to take us nearly anywhere in the city. There is one that goes straight to the beach. They actually come on time too.
  • Our apartment has a year round heated outdoor pool and hot tub, and a gym. And it’s not falling apart from being a million years old. It was built in the 80’s – as in the decade I was born, not the 1880’s.
  • We easily park two cars on the street no hassle, no cost, no snow emergency zones.
  • We haven’t had to turn the heat on once, not even in the winter. Not only is this awesome it also saves money.
  • The sushi is the best I’ve ever had.
  • We can easily get tickets to MLB and NFL games (ok so the SF teams aren’t as good as the Boston teams, but sometimes I just want to be able to go to a game).
  • Snow on-demand. Some of the best skiing in the country is only a 3.5 hour drive away. We went a lot. And then at the end of every weekend we got to go home to SF.
  • Wine country and with it, a bounty of delicious California wines.
  • A year-round farmer’s market two blocks away with live jazz every Saturday and delicious California produce. And I have a year-round garden on my balcony.
  • We can easily walk to hundreds of great restaurants, a dozen different interesting neighborhoods, and at least 4 parks with amazing views.
At our Tahoe Rental (we only deal with snow BY CHOICE now)

At our Tahoe Rental (we only deal with snow BY CHOICE now)

View from Alta Plaza Park (4 blocks away)

View from Alta Plaza Park (4 blocks away)

View from the other side of Alta Plaza Park during the day

View from the other side of Alta Plaza Park during the day

My year round balcony garden

My year round balcony garden