This was our last full day in Tokyo. Tear! There are so many things we didn’t get a chance to see yet – the Tokyo Tower, the Tsukiji Fish Market, Ginza, and on and on – but instead of seeing brand new parts of town, we decided to return to the Akihabara area, one of our favorite places on the trip. We wanted to pick up extra gifts and see a few things we didn’t have time for the first time around including a visit to the Pokemon Center in the Sunshine City Mall!
The place was decked out for Halloween with loads of specialty items. This place is like Candyland for Pokemon fanatics, so of course I picked up a haul of plushies, socks, hats, cards and other gifts for my Pokemon-crazed family back home. Love this place!
One of the things I sorely miss about living so close to downtown Seattle is the ability to get to Pike Place market so quickly and conveniently. The market is such a magical place to browse, even if you only need to pick up one piece of fish or a bunch of asparagus for dinner. After moving north of downtown, I’ve discovered what can only be described as a mini Pike Place called Central Market. Anyone who’s lived in the neighborhood for a while probably knows it well, and they might not find a grocery store as jaw-dropping as I do, but let me tell you… this place is amazing! Yes, I’m in love with a grocery store! I feel like I’m browsing around a wider, less crowded Pike Place.
So, what’s so special about Central Market? Well, let me take you on a little tour: 1. Extensive Asian Food Section
If you can’t make it to a traditional Asian market, this is the next best thing. The selection is incredibly extensive. Just about any ingredient you can think of his here: kimchi, seaweed, miso, tofu, a wide selection of sauces, noodles and rice – just to name a few. There are at least two full aisles of dry, refrigerated and frozen products. 2. Extensive Seafood Selection
This is where Central Market really shines. The only thing missing is the flying fish from Pike Place. You can pick up picture-worthy fresh fish on ice and in the case, live lobster and crab, and pack-your-own frozen scallops, shrimp and squid. They also have a fresh sushi counter if you’re in the mood for some rolls. 3. Deli Section
Central Market doesn’t skimp on the deli section. There’s an impressive selection of homemade sandwiches and meals (tamales, lasagna, salad, quiche, and pizza the size of a toddler!) Plus, check out the antipasto case…that’s just the olive side! You want cheese? They got cheese! Plenty of it.. stinky, brie, sharp, shredded. Welcome to fromage heaven. It’s a thing of beauty! And here’s a look at the homemade soups that are ready to buy. We picked up the Lobster Bisque and a pouch of Chicken Tagine. 4. Bulk Syrup and Honey
This is one of my favorite surprises. You can fill up on local honey, agave, maple syrup, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in BULK! 5. Locally Made Products
It’s the “Best of Seattle” in one place. CM draws from many of the city’s most popular bakeries and craft foodmakers including Macrina and Beecher’s. They even make their own tortillas in house! Soft, chewy… so good! 6. Fresh Produce
Like every other department, CM has almost any fruit or veggie you could think of… and some I didn’t even know existed. The veggie case was so long, I couldn’t fit it one picture (see below). If you’re a veggie lover, you will fall in love. If you’re not a veggie lover, you’ll have a change of heart. The vibrant colors and perfectly shaped food has me dreaming of making one heckuva stir fry!
Strap in. We’re blasting off to the “Center of the Universe” to spend An Afternoon in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood! Last month, I kicked off a new blog series by exploring some of the shops and restaurants on Queen Anne. This month, I’m taking you on a walking tour of the city’s funkiest, quirkiest corner. Where else in the world can you see a giant troll, a mammoth sculpture of Lenin – yes, the communist leader, a Cold War era rocket, and Saturn for Pete’s sake?
Fremont Fremont is essentially a neighborhood-wide, outdoor museum. There are kiosks that offer “Walking Guide to Fremont” brochures pointing out various art installations throughout the neighborhood.
Fremont has proclaimed itself The Center of the Universe, and why not. It has the cojones to give a home to a larger-than-life bronze sculpture of Lenin, which, intentionally or unintentionally, lends to an “everyone is welcome here” vibe. (By the way, the sculpture is for sale. You can read more about it here.) This community nurtures creativity, welcomes fun, and thrives on eccentricity (read: a Solstice Parade led by naked cyclists). So, lets take a walk… Getting Here: I drove and found street parking on Evanston & 35th. (Parking spaces can be tough to come by evenings/weekends)
My afternoon was caffeinated courtesy of the Fremont Coffee Company. This classic neighborhood coffeehouse offers artisan-roasted, Fair Trade, organic coffees as well as some of the biggest almond croissants I’ve ever seen! I am drawn like a moth to a flame to homes that are converted into coffee shops. FCC’s indoor seating area is sectioned off into several rooms, or nooks, that offer a homey atmosphere. You can also cozy up with a warm cuppa outside on the deck. 2. Lenin
Marvel at this towering sculpture of the Bolshevik revolutionary on the way down to the main drag, Fremont Ave. A placard details the unusual story about how Lenin landed in Fremont. To think, this gargantuan sculpture was just lying face down in the mud at one time!
Fremont is a hot spot for boutique shopping. Spend an hour exploring the unique clothing, vintage and curio shops nestled in the neighborhood. Here are a few of my favorites:
Dream – Adorable, unique and affordable dresses, sweaters, jewelry and scarfs abound in this dreamy shop. I’m in love with this plaid and houndstooth infinity scarf I picked up for $35. No shopping bag needed… I wrapped it around my neck and trotted on to the next store. Fremont Vintage Mall– From the mural of iconic characters greeting you in the entryway to the vast collection of vintage clothing, furniture, decorations and knick knacks, this “mall” is oozing with character. There are treasures around every corner. The nooks are separated by similarity, style and era. You can get lost exploring in here! Burnt Sugar – This boutique has beautiful bags, boots, jewelry, home decor, and cards – seriously, the cards! 4. The Rocket
When you leave Burnt Sugar, head to the corner of the street (Evanston & 35th) and look up. You’ll see two of my favorite attractions in Fremont: A rocket and Saturn!
Foodie alert! Fremont has loads of delicious food. Some of my favorite restaurants are tucked away in this neighborhood. This time around, I had to satisfy a serious Pork Banh Mi craving at Fremont 1AM.
I also recommend: Pie,Homegrown,Hunger,Blue C Sushi, and Agrodolce.
6. The Troll
End your Fremont tour by meeting a questionable character under the Aurora bridge. The Fremont troll lives on Troll Avenue. If you look closely, you’ll see the colossal, beady-eyed troll is clutching a car. It’s an icon of Fremont that’s not to be missed!