Pike Place Public Market

Even though I was just there a couple months ago for the Penny Arcade Expo, I decided to spend a few more days in Seattle last week. Instead of spending money on a hotel, though, I thought it would be a good idea to crash at John Chow’s guest house.

No, despite what the picture above may seem to indicate, John doesn’t own Pike Place Market and that’s not where I stayed. As you may already know, John Chow is a good friend of mine and he happens to have a place in Bellevue, just across the bridge from the heart of Seattle. In addition to the main house, there is a guest house on the property. It’s basically a bachelor suite with a three-piece bathroom. There’s no kitchen, but there’s enough space for a bed, desk, and other basic furnishings. It’s bigger than most hotel rooms, at the very least, without the mint on my pillow.

So, what can one expect when one decides to crash at Casa de Chow? I put together a quick video tour, which you can see embedded here.

I wouldn’t say that my trip to Seattle was particularly eventful. It was more about getting a change of scenery and doing a little bit of shopping. If you were following me on Twitter, then you’ll know that I bought a new digital camera while down there, for example. Before I bought and opened the camera, though, I was relying on the Nokia N8 smartphone as my camera; I received a review sample just before I left.

Based on my brief experience with the phone so far, I’d say the picture quality is even better than the Nokia N97 mini that I tried earlier this year. The Nokia smartphone boasts a 12-megapixel camera and offers quality and functions that rival many entry-level standalone cameras. It really is pretty good. All the photos in this post were taken with the N8.

Kona Kitchen, Seattle

You may also know that I like to eat. Based on seeing the place in a YouTube video by Freddie Wong, I decided to give Kona Kitchen a try. It’s a Hawaiian eatery a short drive outside of downtown Seattle. We had breakfast there one morning.

The breakfast itself is relatively normal and par for the course when it comes to an “American” brekkie, but I did enjoy the “Hawaiian” French toast. It’s made with Hawaiian sweet bread and had a little extra “chewiness” that you don’t normally find in French toast.

Breakfast is Served

We also visited Pike Place Market, of course, as well as Chinatown, Fry’s Electronics in Renton, some other shopping areas, and downtown Bellevue. Pike Place is a really interesting place with both fresh food sold on the upper floors and all sorts of kitschy stores in the lower levels.

Inside Pike Place Market

I particularly like the comic book store there; they had a great Darth Vader helmet replica on sale, but it was $1000. I’m not as enthusiastic as Sheldon Cooper about these kinds of things, so I didn’t buy it.

After cruising around in the northern part of Seattle, we ended up at Saffron Grill for dinner. The big sign outside said that it combines Indian food with Mediterranean cuisine. On the menu, you’ll find everything from tikka masala to gyros… they also have an “American” section with burgers and such.

Giant Garlic Naan at Saffron

While the masala and tandoori were quite good, the highlight for me was the naan bread. When I go to most East Indian restaurants, I end up with an order of naan that’s about the size of a side plate. Not so at Saffron. A single order of garlic naan, shown above, is about three bucks and it’s about three times the size of what I normally expect.

When you’re self-employed like I am, there really is no good time to take a vacation. You just have to convince yourself to do it, because you deserve the time off. After working nearly every day for the last four years or so, I’ll admit it felt odd to take a couple days off in a row (though I did put in a little time in the evenings). I should really go on another holiday that isn’t a working vacation.