Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mukilteo and Everett

Early last week, my sister-in-law called from Guam, wanting to know what I knew about Everett. Nothing, as it happens. She was asking because it could be a possibility for their next assignment. So I figured it was a good idea for a day trip.

I tried to look it up in my DK travel guide, but there is nothing about Everett in it. Then I looked in The Dog Lover's Companion to the Pacific Northwest. Bingo! There was a lot about Everett, in addition to Mukilteo, which is right next door. So we brought Reece along, since it is so dog friendly.

It took slightly under an hour to get to Mukilteo from Kent. We had a small cooler in the back of the car, so we stopped at a Subway once we got there and grabbed some sandwiches. Then we headed to our first stop.

1> Mukilteo Lighthouse Park: The area around the lighthouse is owned by the U.S. Coast Guard, but it's open to the public from 12-5pm on weekends and holidays from April - September. We were there too early, but dogs aren't allowed at the lighthouse anyway. Even when it's closed to the public, you still have great vantage points for photos. The lighthouse, by the way, was built in 1905. The beach is really unique. Overlooking Port Gardner Bay (with views of Whidbey and Camano Islands), the rocky beach is completely covered by driftwood logs. There are also fire pits. This is a popular boating and fishing spot, and there is a boat launch. The park also offers a playground and plenty of picnic tables. If you didn't bring a picnic, I would recommend the Ivar's restaurant right next to the park.

We walked along the beach for a bit. It was foggy (although we could still see the islands) and a bit chilly, but we enjoyed the beauty of the area for a bit and then headed toward Everett, via Mukilteo Boulevard.

2> Harborview Park: This park was right along Mukilteo Blvd. and we nearly drove past it without stopping. But Lance pulled in and it was relatively empty. It has stunning views - still foggy when we got there, but clear by the time we left (they had a few picnic tables, so we stopped here for lunch). We could see several islands and Naval Station Everett from there. There isn't much to this park except for the view, so it's definitely worth stopping, especially if you have a picnic.

3> Forest Park: This was also along our route, but didn't merit a stop for us. It is, however, a great family park. Huge playground, public pool and animal farm. There is also a meeting hall, a couple of walking trails, a horseshoe field and tennis courts. We just drove up into the park, took a look, and drove out.

4> Grand Avenue Park: Perhaps the most scenic park in Everett. This park is on a street lined with gorgeous, stately homes. It's on a hill overlooking Everett Marina and Naval Station Everett. It's a small park - a narrow strip of land that spans 3 blocks, but it has a couple of picnic tables and benches so you can sit and enjoy the amazing view. The marina was busy today and I was tempted to go down and check it out - there was a Sunday Farmers Market. It didn't look like there was any pedestrian access down to the marina. Grand Avenue Park is beautifully landscaped.

5> Loganberry Park: We stopped here because it's an off-leash dog park, but we disliked it almost immediately. It was nothing but trails, trees, and brush. No wide-open spaces for Reece to run. We never once let her off-leash because it would be too easy for her to get separated from us. But she got to meet a few other dogs.

Overall, my assessment of Everett is that it seems like a great place. I would live there in a heartbeat (preferably in one of those gorgeous old homes). The naval base is really nice too.

Click here to view the slideshow.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fee Free Weekends

Sadly, I was just at Mt. Rainier two weeks ago, so this is a bit too late for me.

This weekend is the last weekend of the summer that you can get into 100 different national parks for free.

Here's the info:

And a couple of pictures of summer at Mt. Rainier National Park.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Perfect Lunch

How do I love thee, Duke's Chowder House? Let me count the ways...

1> Your lobster chowder is perfection. PERFECTION. Creamy and sweet and insanely delicious.

2> Your wild mixed greens salad with bleu cheese, candied pecans, orange and grapefruit wedges and tarragon vinaigrette...Heaven on a plate. Seriously.

3> The bread. I just love bread. Warm from the oven with soft butter. Mmmmm.

4> FREE APPETIZERS! Coconut prawns with honey chili sauce and steamers (fresh local clams steamed with garlic butter, roasted garlic, fresh herbs and Mac & Jack's). The shrimp was especially tasty. I could've easily polished off the whole plate myself, but I shared it with friends.
(Multiple Seattle/Tacoma locations)

And if that wasn't enough, we went to Cold Stone Creamery for dessert, where I had their limited time only Jello butterscotch pudding creation: butterscotch ice cream mixed with Reese's peanut butter cup and Butterfinger and swirled with caramel.

My tastebuds have exploded. (And so has my waistline...but I am a happy, happy woman today.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

2 Local Restaurants

We just had a houseguest - my sister-in-law - who left yesterday, and since we revisited places that I've posted about previously (Snoqualmie, downtown Seattle, Mt. Rainier National Park), I'm just posting a couple restaurant recommendations this time.

Naan -N- Curry
709 S. 3rd St.
Renton, WA 98057

This is a discovery of my husband's, who is an extremely picky eater. So when he suggested this place, I think I nearly fainted from surprise. I'm not super familiar with Indian food, although I have had a few very good Indian meals, so I was game to try it. This restaurant, by the way, specializes in both Indian and Pakistani cuisine.

Our greeter charmed me immediately. He told us there was nothing good on the menu at all, which made us laugh and feel immediately comfortable. This is obviously a place that doesn't take itself too seriously (except for the food), and this was also evident by the television above the entrance, which looked to be playing Indian soap operas and possibly scenes from Bollywood films.

Lance ordered chicken tikka masala. I ordered chicken korma (as did my sister-in-law). We got a platter of rice to share and a side of garlic naan. You can order any level of spice you desire. I can't stomach spicy hot food, so I ordered it with 0 spice. It was still spicy, but not hot.

All in all, a fantastic and very filling meal. I thought the portions were just right. Not too much food. And a great meal for a good price.

Highly recommended. I definitely want to come back and try some of the Pakistani dishes.


Ivar's Acres of Clams
Pier 54 - Seattle Waterfront

Ivar's has been a Seattle institution since 1938, and consistently voted as the city's best seafood.

They have several seafood bars around the Seattle area, which specialize mainly in fish and chips, although they have a few other dishes. Acres of Clams is a wee bit fancier - a nice sit-down restaurant with a good beer and wine list. And the view obviously can't be beat. This restaurant provides stunning views of Elliott Bay.

But aside from the ambience, Ivar's has bar none THE BEST CLAM CHOWDER IN THE UNIVERSE. My sister-in-law agrees. We ordered the soup and salad combo, which included a cup of chowder and a 3 oz. blackened salmon fillet served over caesar salad. Fantastic. As were the sourdough rolls.

Lance, not being a big fan of seafood, ordered a cheeseburger and was pleased.

If you just want chowder, you can pick that up at any Ivar's. If you want atmosphere...get thee to Acres of Clams.