Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tulips, La Conner, and the Eels

Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley on Saturday. It was eighty degrees, beautiful blue skies, a nice breeze, and tulips/daffodils for as far as the eye could see. Also, a parking ticket but that comes later.

I'm not a huge fan of flowers on their own, but my camera loves them. And it was an incredible day for a walk. Lots of traffic to drive the 60 miles to the farms -- seems like it's always stop and go through Everett. We arrived late in the day, around 3:30pm and followed the Internet map I'd printed, then followed the herd and parked on the side of a road to wander through a field of tulips - red and purple - and then acres of alarmingly bright yellow daffodils.

Unfortunately where we parked was a no parking stretch of dirt, which was "clearly" marked along each end, but we were in the middle and the scene was a madhouse of cars and lookie loos. Great idea, by the way. Don't provide any parking and then hand out tickets. GREAT public relations right there. Seriously though, if we'd seen the signs we wouldn't have parked there. How about exerting some effort on traffic control instead of parking enforcement? I haven't gotten a ticket in years...

Anywho. I took some great shots which will make their way into the photo blog over the coming weeks. With luck one of those shots will pay off the ticket.

After the ticket discovery, we drove to La Conner and ate dinner at La Conner Brewing. We immediately grabbed two seats at the bar and ordered a couple of drinks and huge glasses of water. Jer and I both had pizza. The crust was excellent. Definitely worth a visit. It was crazy because we hadn't been there very long when someone Jer knew sat behind us. Small world.

After dinner, the sun was making pretty gold light all along the already picturesque town, so I whipped out my camera and snapped some more. When we arrived in La Conner, I hadn't realized it was on a stretch of water (river) and I was surprised to see boats docked and seagulls. (I really should look at a map sometime) So we had the added benefit of going from farms to cute water-side town in minutes.

The ride back was mostly uneventful -- still traffic but less of it. We ended the evening with a couple of episodes of Torchwood.

Friday night was fun and busy as well. It was time to see the Eels!

Jer met me downtown after work and we ate dinner in Pioneer Square at DeNunzio's Trattoria. Excellent. It's in the basement, or Seattle Underground, rich red walls, green table cloths, brick walls and archways, and strands of white lights for ambiance. Beautiful atmosphere. Also, we were the only ones there (I blame the beautiful summery weather) but it didn't feel weird. The level of service was perfect.

We sat down and the server handed us menus and then took them away to improvise. He served us an incredible multi-course meal with a tasty bottle of Chianti -- Caesar salad, Insalata Caprese, garlic bread, a gnocchi dish, spaghetti with spinach leaves, roasted potatoes, and maybe the best flank steak I've EVER had with Gorgonzola and roasted peppers on top. I personally thought it rivalled or exceeded anything I've had at Jak's Grill, which is saying a lot.

For dessert we split a slice of spiced pumpkin cheesecake and each had a coffee drink that "involved a bit of show." The server dipped the rim of the glass in sugar then caramelized it with a blowtorch. Then he set some rum on fire and we had that and peppermint schnapps and coffee. My stomach nearly exploded. It was a legitimate concern.

We walked from Pioneer Square up to Pike Place Market and watched the sun set from Steinbrueck Park, where the crackheads were on their best behavior.

From there we walked over to the bar at the concert venue, the Green Room, and had a beer. The huge benefit of drinking at the Green Room, is if you're going to the show, they let you in earlier than the crowd waiting outside. So we were able to sit and enjoy a beverage instead of stand for an hour. We finally got inside the Showbox and I bought E's book, "Things the Grandchildren Should Know." Then we saw folding chairs set up in front of a big white sheet and chose a seat in the first row, about 5 feet from the stage.

At showtime, a movie played about E's father, Hugh Everett, who created the multiple worlds theory and was a rock star of quantum mechanics. The film ran for about an hour, and then shortly after they began to play. And it was awesome. We were roughly 10 feet from E and the Chet all night long -- and since the audience had all been lulled into obedience by physics and beer, everyone stayed seated and we were able to watch the show completely unobstructed, from the first row.

Later I collapsed into a heap and slept until I had to go to the gym to work off some of that delicious Italian food.


KikiRiki said...

Is it just me or does this post read backwards? Sounds like a grand weekend!

Christy said...

Hey, I think I did pretty good for a pre-6am recap. :)

Melain said...

Wow, what a great time! I wish I'd come along, if only to see well behaved crack heads!