It is that time of the year again, PAX Prime! Being from Seattle it is great to see such an event in my home town and it is great fun being the local when having tons of friends from out of town coming to visit. One thing I noticed is how majority of people at PAX don’t really venture very far from Washington State Convention Center. With 20,000 people each day going to PAX, many of the places become slammed with long lines, poor service, and poor quality food. Last year I wrote the first Seattleite’s Guide to PAX Prime to help all the visits of Seattle learn about what was just a couple short blocks from the convention center, and there is A LOT of stuff if you are willing to walk just a couple blocks. So let’s get to it!
Nerd Flu! Help Prevent It!
This has to go in every year, but it pains me to say this but sadly gamers aren’t the most hygienic people out there. From odor to just plain old germs. Do yourself a favor and pick up some travel hand sanitizer. Take a shower. Wash your hair. Put on deodorant. This will make it better for yourself and those around you.
Seattle is an awesome city with tons to offer and everyone should just venture out a couple blocks to see some of the things the city has. All of which are just blocks away from the Convention Center. Here are some suggestions on where to go and how to get there.
Did you know that you can ride the bus in downtown Seattle for free until 7 PM! North and South from Belltown to Pioneer Square and east all the way to 7th Ave in most spot, you can ride for free. This makes getting around downtown pretty quick and opens up TONS of places to check out!
I’m always shocked how there is a line of 50 people at the Subway on the 4th floor and at the entrance, but walk a block to Olive & 8th, and it is empty. Seattle has some amazing food in the downtown area and you can probably walk, eat, and walk back in the amount of time it would take to stand in line.
Sweet Iron on 3rd and University is DELICIOUS!! They make waffles! I don’t think I need to say more.
If you are up way too late and are hungry The Hurricane Cafe is a good spot. One of the rare 24 hour restaurants in Downtown Seattle, The Hurricane will fill you up. A total dive, but if you want pancakes, grilled cheese, or a burger at 3:30 Am or 3:30 PM. It will hit the spot.
If you have are needing a sugar shock, then I’d suggest Top Pot Doughnuts, which just happen to open a new place on 3rd and Columbia!
For quick food during PAX just walk down Pike Street a couple blocks down to 4th. You will remove yourself from the huge crowds and there is a Georgio’s Subs, Chipotle,
Qdoba, and Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Keep going Pike and you will walk into Pike Place Market, which has too many delicious foods to list, but if you do make it down there go to Beecher’s for Mac & Cheese!
Well just as important as food is drinking and Seattle has no shortage of bars within walking distance to PAX!
Six Arms is just a short walk up Pike and is great. Craft beers from McMenamins and some great food, Six Arms is well worth the walk up the hill. I’d also suggest getting the Cajun Tots!
Pinball & Booze? Yes please! Shorty’s in Belltown, while a little bit of a trek, is a staples of PAX. Shorty’s is a Coney Island Pinball Bar, with hot dogs, tall cheap beer in cans, and PINBALL. Hopefully Adams Family is working.
Nitelite is a nice dive on 2nd Ave. Cheap mixed drinks makes it worth the walk to 2nd. Also might be a great place to get away from the PAX crowds.
Sun Liquor Spirits. There is a full service distillery just up the street from PAX. Yes, get drunk on hand crafted booze!
It is kinda gaming related, but Seattle is home to the Seattle Pinball Museum! Yes museum! $10 will get you in the door and then it is free play!
I’ve told you some resturants to eat at, but what about a supermarket? Yeah, I’m really telling you to go to a supermarket. Uwajimaya isn’t your normal supermarket though, it is a huge asian supermarket with everything you can imagine. A full food court with everything you can imagine from pho to burgers, as well as a full book store. Uwajimaya is really easy to get to as well, just a short trip in the tunnel to the International District Station or walk the 10 or so blocks.
Out of batteries? Lose your copy of Halo Reach? Need an iPhone charger? Well you are in luck! Target just opened up a brand new City Target on 2nd and Pike, just a couple blocks from the Washington State Convention Center. This is a great place to grab things that you might have miss or forgot and not get ripped off by FedEx Kinko’s or some other random corner shop.
Football! Baseball! Football!
Sports and PAX might not go together, but I love sports and the weekend of PAX you have Seahawks, Huskies, and Mariners all going on. Seahawks play on Thursday night, so if you are in town early and don’t mind watching pre-season football, it would be worth checking out. Mariners open a three game series with the Los Angles Angels, and the Mariners are hot right now! If there is a King’s Court going on, you should really go! If you like college football the University of Washington Huskies open their season at Century Link Field. All venues just a short walk or bus ride away from the Convention Center!
PAX isn’t the only HUGE event going on that weekend! Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival is going on! Bumbershoot (slang for umbrella) is going into it’s 42nd year. If you want to get away from nerd crowds to music crowds then you should stop by Bumbershoot at the Seattle Center. This year includes Jane’s Addiction, Skrillex, M83, Passion Pit, Keane, Best Coast (Beth is so cute), and tons of other bands, comedians, films, and stuff. Bumbershoot is tons of fun!
Well that gives you lots of places to go see while you are in Seattle! Hopefully everyone has fun and a great weekend!
Part of losing weight is changing your diet and I needed to shake things up with mine. I love food and I eat when I get bored, which is common. What I needed to do was control the things that are bad for me and add more healthy options at home. I don’t mind cooking, I actually enjoy it, so I just needed to get rid of most of the snack foods in the house. So what is out?
Soda. I love soda. In my younger years, which probably contributed to my weight increase, I could drink four to six cans a day. Not anymore. No soda in the house at all. I still drink a Diet Mt Dew with my lunch, but that typically lasts from lunch to when I leave work. While at home I now drink Gatorade G2, which has 20 calories for 8 fluid ounces, compare that to a 12 ounce soda which is 150. I have been drinking more water, but still need some flavor. I’d probably drink more if my ice maker in my fridge worked. Perhaps at the new place.
Red Meat. This makes me sad. Red meat has always been part of my diet. I love steaks. I love cheeseburgers. The price is reasonable. You can make all types of stuff with it, but really isn’t that great for you if it is a major part of your diet. I have just gone cold turkey from red meat. It wasn’t that difficult.
Cheese. This one breaks my heart. I love cheese. When I moved to Boston it killed me that it wasn’t a cheese town. After returning to Seattle and being able to buy all that tasty Tillamook Cheese again and gaining some weight as quick as I could eat it, I knew I had to stop. I’ll miss you cheese. Perhaps I’ll treat myself once in a while with some tasty extra sharp.
Snacks. As I said above I tend to eat when I get bored and living in Bothell can make a person really bored. To get around this I have ditched many of my favorite snacks and replaced them with Dill Pickles, which are a favorite of mine. I’d always have some type of snacks in the house. Cookies, buttered microwave popcorn, chips and salsa, and cheese. Not all together, but these were the things that were just a few steps away in the kitchen. Bored during a commercial, grab some chips. Ready to start a movie, pop some popcorn. It was easy, but if it isn’t here I can’t eat it.
With all these changes, what has taken its place? Well I have made an effort to eat more fish. Living in the Seattle area, it is easy to find fish at every store I shop at, and if you keep your eyes open you can find some great deals. I was at Fred Meyers today and they were selling fresh half/whole wild caught Coho salmon for $5.99 a pound. The fish weren’t cut, but you could ask the butcher to cut it into fillets and remove the bones. A great deal for $5.99. They also had Alaskan Cod for $4.99 a pound. I’m hoping when I move downtown, I’ll be able to make it down to Pikes Place Market and actually shop down there.
Portion Control. While this isn’t really something to replace, I have started to pay attention to how much I eat when I cook at home. I started eating on my small plates more often. I attempt to size out my meals with greater detail now. It is amazing when you actually portion your meals you see really how much you have been overeating.
Well these are just some of the changes to reach my goal by the end of the year. Now I just need to keep at it.
Many many years ago I was very skinny, about 140 pounds. Skinny and lean. My friends joked if I could gain weight, cause I never could. And then I started working at Microsoft. Between moving out of Lower Queen Anne to Bellevue and starting at Microsoft with all that amazing free soda, I gained about 40 pounds over four years. Over the next five years after that I gained another 40 pounds from just a relaxed inactive lifestyle. One Christmas I was around 220 pounds and needed to do something. Small changes to my diet helped me drop 20 pounds, but the lack of real activity slowed down any real weight loss.
Upon moving to Boston, the mixture of being poor and playing soccer weekly I dropped another 20 pounds and got down to 180 pounds, which was great. But after returning to Seattle I gained those 20 pounds back fairly quick. I’ve been hovering around 197 to 200 for a couple months now and it is time to really drop some weight!
Setting goals for something like this is important, so I’m setting a goal now. 170 pounds by January 1st, 2012.
I’m 199 today and that leaves 111 days to lose 29 pounds. I think it is more than possible. A couple changes in my life will help as well, including playing soccer again, moving to Downtown Seattle with tons more to be able to walk to and take Scout for longer walks, and hopefully bike or take the bus to work. The ride to work is right about 10 miles each way over I-90, which sound reasonable. I might have to try it over a weekend, no idea of the elevation. If riding my bike doesn’t work, taking the bus might be a good alternative as well. It is about a mile walk to the I-90 transit center. While a mile doesn’t sound like a lot, just something is a nice start. Going to attempt to eat more fish, less red meat (sad), and cut down on soda as much as possible.
I think it is a totally realistic goal. I’ll keep you posted.
Since moving to Boston one of the things I crave most is good Mexican food. There is a typical ‘Family Mexican’ place right by the office, which is alright, but not great. So I did some hunting on the interwebs for best Mexican food in Boston and Anna’s Taqueria was listed by a number of places for having the best burrito’s in Boston. Just happened to be in Sommerville with one of the many Anna’s Taqueria locations and decided to try it out. I got a steak burrito with rice, cheese, salsa, hot sauce, refried beans, and lettuce. One thing that surprised me is how small it was. Not the massive burritos I am accustom to back home in Seattle or some I got in L.A., got some chips and a coke as well. The burrito itself was great. The steak was well seasoned, the mixture of the salsa, cheese, and refried beans made for great filler. Overall it really hit the spot and made me think that Boston does have some good Mexican places to eat. The chips were tasty too!
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I went out to the Middle East Underground for the Bishop Allen and Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band show on Friday night. The bands were going to take the stage fairly late, so my friend and I wondered around to find a place to eat. We decided to grab some Indian food at Shalimar of India right on Mass Ave. I haven’t seen very many Indian places in Boston yet, so it was nice to grab some tasty Chicken Tikka Masala. Pretty good chicken, the sauce was a little thick, but still pretty good. I got medium for spice, and it wasn’t too bad at all. The portions were a little on the small side, but enough to hold me over until I got home after the show. I need to find more Indian places in Boston.
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My first week in Boston it happened to be one of my co-worker’s birthday, and being new I decided to go and hang. I took the T into downtown and met up with everyone at a bar, and then we moved on to Good Life. Good Life is a trendy little place with a live DJ spinning and booze and food. Fairly good combo. There are countless places like Good Life in every city, so nothing really new here. Mood lighting, pretty wait staff, hipsters in and out. The menu was pretty varied with hummus dish to start, awesome looking burgers, salads, and a bloodly amazing looking steak. I went a little out of the norm and ordered Mac & Cheese. It sounded good, and it didn’t disappoint. The cheese was so rich and creamy. Large pork meat balls, strong bacon flavor, and good hearty pasta. I was kinda shocked how good it was, I could hardly finish it because it was so rich. Good Life isn’t the place I typically go, but I am happy I went out and was pleasantly surprised how good the food was.
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When I arrived in Boston I had a day or two to wonder around town before I started work, so I took the Red Line up into town and just started wondering. Via the wonders of Facebook and Twitter updates, I got the message to go to Spike’s Junkyard Dog and get a Junkyard Dog. Since I was on my way to Fenway, there happen to be a Spike’s on the walk there. Spike’s is a Burger and Hot Dog place with a junkyard theme, so car parts and crash signs are on the walls. The menu is pretty standard with various options of burgers, hot dogs, and chicken. I prefer my dogs plain, so I got a hot dog and a fried buffalo chicken sandwich. Hot dogs are one of those basic foods that when done right can be amazingly good, and Spike’s didn’t disappoint. The chicken sandwich was pretty good as well, but I am not a fan of chicken stripes used as sandwich inners, but it was alright. There are multiple Spike’s in the Boston area, and well worth grabbing a bite there if you have the sudden urge for a good hot dog.
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Moving put a clamp on your spending especially at lunch. Constantly going home for a turkey sandwich and some puppy time was getting a little old, so some of my co-workers suggested Schoolhouse Pizza, which is a short walk from the office. It is your typical pizza place with sandwiches and pizza whole and by the slice. The pizza is thin, sparse on cheese and toppings, but HUGE slices. I ordered two slices before I knew what I was getting into, and the slices are more like quarter slices of a whole pizza. Well worth the $2.50 or something per slice. For a quick bite at lunch the Schoolhouse is a good place to grab it.
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Last week my boss took me out to lunch and we went over to Four’s Restaurant in Quincy. Four’s is a well known sports bar with another location just a stone’s throw away from The Garden. Four’s has your typical sports bar quirks as well. Lots of televisions with all your favorite games on, probably Sox or Celts, and a pretty nice staff and full bar. The place where Four’s gets a little confusing is the menu. All the sandwiches are named after athletes. So if you want a steak sandwich, then you are going to order a Bobby Orr. Made for a long review of the menu the first time I was there. Sadly I didn’t get any of the named items. I was lame like that. I got some pasta, which was good. I want to go back to Four’s for sure. The Bobby Orr sounds really good! It is on my list!
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So moving to a new city I have found the need to start recording what places I enjoy eating at and others I don’t. So I’m going to attempt to provide a nice quick review of the places I go and eat at as I explore Boston. First up is The Half Door in Quincy. The Half Door just happens to be across the street from where I work, so it was one of the first places I went to when I wanted something more then microwave mac & cheese. The Half Door is a standard pub with a light Irish Bar look. Menu is typical bar fare with burgers being the primary item. I ended up getting the Buffalo Fried Chicken Sandwich with fries and a coke. Overall it wasn’t a bad burger at all. Nice large chicken breast deep fried then dipped in buffalo sauce with lettuce and mayo on the burger (hold the tomatoes please). A little messy to eat with the hands, so I wimped out and ate it with a knife and fork. Overall I was please with the burger. The waitress might have been a little more prompt at time, especially considering how slow it was, but whatever.
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