November 15, 2010

Trolling Seattle

Where do you go when you only have one day to show out-of-towners around your Seattle neighborhood? They'd already explored downtown and visited Pike Place Market, and though there's lots more we could show them in that locale, we decided to stick closer to where we live, and show them some of the funkier Seattle landmarks.

Before we left the house, I stoked them with a nice bowl of hot oatmeal with all the trimmings. Everyone wanted something different — cashews, maple syrup, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, almond milk ... etc.

me in my new hat.

After breakfast, while my husband was at work, I took Judy (and Michael though this wouldn't have been his first choice) to one of my favorite Seattle Goodwill haunts. This was in honor of Judy's and my history of resaling together. She's way more dedicated to the art than I, but I'm always up for a little second-hand-store surfing. She found a dressy rayon shirt, and I found a cozy new hat.

Spring rolls, steamed veggies, peanut sauce, spicy soup, sweet black rice.

When we finally finished shopping, it was past noon — time to meet my husband for lunch. We went to Araya's Vegan Thai restaurant lunch buffet. Araya's is vegan except they offer cream for those who want it in their coffee. The buffet is not quite as great as ordering from the menu at night, but it's pretty satisfying. It was crowded with eager eaters so I only photographed a few of the many tubs of food available at the buffet tables. The buffet starts out with two kinds of pickled vegetables, and continues with at least two different green salads. Then comes fresh fruit. It continues with fried spring rolls, steamed veggies, peanut sauce, soup, and sweet black rice with coconut milk topping. I like to fill my soup bowl with steamed veggies then ladle in spicy soup.

The next section of the buffet has coconut curry, fried rice, and pad thai. At least that's what I think is there. I'm probably leaving things out so I suppose, in the name of accuracy, I really should go back and get it right. :D And there's usually a mammoth bowl of sweet, fried skinny noodles. Of course there are lots of sauces and toppings.

This is what my plate looked like after my (first) trip to the buffet. Just looking at the photo tugs my memory and stomach, and makes me want to go back.

Michael with Lenin.

After lunch we needed to walk, so we headed to Fremont, the center of the universe, to take in the sights. Fremont has many more strange and unusual attractions, and events, than most neighborhoods of its size, and you can read about some of them here. In the photo above, you can see Michael striking a silly pose with the 16-foot statue of Lenin. (No, not John Lenin.) Many of the sights in Fremont are so unexpected that they cause tourists (and others) to become silly. Who would expect to find a statue of Vladimir Illych Lenin, rescued from Slovakia by a local Seattle art lover? After the fall of the Communist government of the former Soviet Union in 1989, Lewis Carpenter took a second mortgage on his house to bring the statue, found mud-covered in a dump, to Fremont. By the way, the statue, which is controversial as you might imagine, is for sale, if you are interested.

Photo credit: Michael

We traipsed for a couple of hours from one end of the neighborhood to the other. Judy and I bought scarves from the outdoor bargain rack of a very cool shop. (Did I mention that all the stores in Fremont are "cool?") We posed in front of the outdoor sculpture, Waiting for the Interurban, but the photo was too weird to share. The public sculpture is kept dressed by neighborhood residents, who choose themes related to the seasons, newsworthy events, political statements, or whatever they want. In the above photo of a section of the sculpture (with us removed), someone is in the process of wrapping the figures in crepe paper. Sometimes, though, the figures are dressed in actual clothes, and look just human enough to require a double-take.

Judy and Michael with The Troll.

No tour of Fremont would be complete without a visit to The Troll under the Aurora Bridge at the base of Queen Anne Hill. The Troll is clutching an actual Volkswagon beetle with a California licence plate, in its hand. Even the most jaded tourists are taken aback at the sight of The Troll, and want their pictures taken with it. After The Troll, we finished out tour with a stop at Theo Chocolate factory, where you can sample fair trade organic chocolate to your heart's (and stomach's) content. It's pretty hard, after trying all the flavors, to walk out empty-handed, and we all bought chocolate to take home.

The most famous event in Fremont is possibly the Solstice Parade, which begins with a nude bicycle ride through the streets, but we had to settle for the more stationary weirdness for our little tour. Next time you're in town, be sure to visit Fremont!


  1. I love walks around the neighbourhood! Rhank you for taking us on tour with you.

  2. I want to come visit! Thanks for the visit!

  3. Troll under the bridge! That is cool.
    Seattle is a great city and the pike place market is fun. We got a sock puppet there one year :)

  4. When I used to live in Seattle I would get the lunch buffet at Araya's to go. such a steal. I'd be pigging out on pad thai & spring rolls for days.

  5. I like the Araya lunch buffet too, I haven't been there in a while though...must go back soon.

    Looks like a fun day around Fremont! And bonus: it looks like the sun was actually out! :)

  6. You sound like an amazing tour guide :-) That buffet sounds amazing and makes me want to visit Seattle even more than I already do!


  7. Mihl,
    Your welcome. It wasn't the beautifully historic environs of Dresden, but it was fun!

    Well, of course you should come. :)

    You'd think by now I'd be tired of seeing The Troll. But, nope.

    My son told me the same thing. He and his girlfriend both stuffed themselves on one order!

    When I first went to the buffet, several years ago, it only cost $6.00. Can you believe that? ($9, now.) The sun WAS out. I like it here a lot more on sunny days.

    I'm not so sure about my talents as a tour guide, but the buffet is a pretty good deal, if you're really hungry.

  8. A vegan Thai lunch buffet? I am green with envy:)))

  9. I love Araya's. A little too much. I have to use too much restraint there. We recently went back after we hadn't been there in awhile and they still knew our "numbers", meaning which items we usually order. Heh.

    Fremont is a lot of fun. I need to head over there soon. I love Capitol Hill so much I try to never leave.

  10. Sounds like a great time! I'm gonna check out that Thai place when I visit Seattle next spring!

  11. Aimee,
    I know. Crazy, isn't it?

    I'm learning how to stay within my eating capacity instead of going overboard there. I always want seconds but my body doesn't. :( There's so much happening in Capital Hill I can understand your wanting to stay there.

    There are so many vegan places here, it'll make your head spin.

  12. This is such a cool post! I don't even know what I'd do if I only had a day. This place is pretty boring, though. I could probably hit the spots in a few hours. Haha.

  13. That area sounds and looks like a very cool place. And a vegan Thai buffet! How awesome is that? The only thing vegan at the buffets I've been to are the salads. :-)

  14. Wow!!! So wonderful to see Judy and Michael!!! (And the trolls. And your new hat!)

  15. Next time we're in town we will definitely check out Fremont. I so want to see that Troll under the bridge. Hopefully by next football season we can take our son to go see the Seahawks play. It's been a few years since we've been up.

    Thanks so much for sharing the info. Oh and the buffet looks great.

  16. Mo,
    Well, you could just have a tea party. That would work for me.

    Chow vegan,
    I don't want to upset you, but there's also a restaurant with a vegan Middle Eastern buffet.

    That could be you and A in the picture, if you came to visit! It's not China, or Florence, but still ...

    Fremont is a fun place to wander around, and The Troll is an eye-catching sight, for sure.

  17. It's awesome that you have an all-vegan Thai restaurant near you. I am a huge fan of Thai food (I had it for dinner last night actually). It looks like you showed your friends some cool sites. Love the hat!

  18. Having vegan restaurants makes going out to dinner so much easier. I hate worrying about fish sauce and stuff like that.


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