Sunday, June 25, 2017

an exhaustive list of stuff i'll miss about arlington

i'm moving in just about three weeks, and i've been getting strangely emotional about it. granted, i'm only moving across the river -- from arlington to jamaica plain for you boston locals -- but it might as well be another universe. i've long joked that "there be dragons" in JP and have only spent approximately a few hours in the area ever, so naturally it was time for me to end up there. anyways, i realized that i've been in my current apartment 4 years, which is the longest i've lived in any place with the exception of my childhood homes. i've laughed here, cried here, entertained friends here, passed out from an edible here, hosted suitors of various levels of quality here, and danced around my living room frequently here. i'm excited to explore my new 'hood, but there's definitely quite a bit i'm going to miss about the old one (mostly food-related). so, for posterity ...

- lucas at the dunkin' donuts next door who starts making my coffee as soon as i walk in/always puts my iced coffee in one of the hot cups so it doesn't sweat
- the dunkin' donuts next door in general
- my off-street parking spot
- getting pizza from andrina's/just walking by andrina's and inhaling pizza parlor smell
- the revolutionary war puns at my trader joe's:

- the hippie man with long white hair that has a beautiful white husky that he always lets me pet when they're walking down mass ave
- turkey subs from d'agostino's deli
- the cute old middle eastern man who works at the citgo and smiles/yells hello to me every time i pass by
- this gorgeous red victorian house on the street behind me:

- the leg lamp at the bar at common ground
- saturday mornings at kickstand cafe
- the view of the boston skyline from robbins farm park:

- fish tacos from la victoria taqueria
- walking through a sketchy underpass to get my scorpion maki from sono
- the 77 bus to harvard square (specifically, the fact that the bus stop is a two-minute walk from my apartment)
- the dude with epic blonde dreadlocks that lived next door when i first moved in, who i creeped on constantly
- buying shellacked decorative gourds and apple cider donuts from wilson farm in the fall
- the cross-breeze in my apartment
- my weird, dirty, inexplicable crush on the white trash guy who works at blue ribbon barbeque
- leisurely strolls on the minuteman path
- paul revere road, solely because of its name
- the now-defunct brigham's ice cream shop which probably hadn't been updated since the '60s
- related: ice cream sundae delivery from the scoop and scootery  
- saying/thinking "i see old people" every time i pass by jimmy's steer house
- the all-caps, music-themed graffiti on the sidewalk (i.e. "LED ZEP" and "ABBEY ROAD")
- getting a massive moussaka plate from the greek festival at the church around the corner every year

what are the neighborhood quirks you'd miss if you moved away?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

pacific wonderland: seattle & portland!

despite taking my first solo trip to san francisco a couple years ago, i was still a bit nervous to tackle seattle and portland on my own for some reason. yet, once again, i was reminded of how empowering, exciting, and just plain fun it is to travel sans companions. i met a ton of great people, saw & did a bunch of cool stuff, and didn't have to answer to anyone! hiiighly recommended. now let's get into it, shall we?



i decided to go the air bnb route on this trip ... mainly to save money, but also to get a different and possibly more authentic local experience since i was essentially renting a room in someone's apartment. this spot in seattle's first hill neighborhood was adorable, and everything i was hoping for from my space in the city. my host, molly, should be an air bnb spokesperson because she was so sweet, and we spent an hour on my last evening chatting, watching netflix, and hanging with her two cats, hank and will. more importantly, can we talk about this decor? it's like anthro had a party with a vintage store. LOVED IT.

pac 4eva


pike place market

if you haven't been, i assure you that this place lives up to the hype. it's bustling, fun, and completely insane.

 not only are there 10 billion stalls with fruit, veggies, produce, cheese, eggs, etc., but there are artisan craftspeople and vendors as well (like the ones that apparently travel in this amazing grateful dead van). buskers also set up shop to play all kinds of music.

i did a short market tour on my second morning since it's pretty overwhelming, and we got samples of the best smoked salmon i've ever had in my life, pears, half-popped corn, and other treats.

of course, it wouldn't be a visit to the market without a stop at pike place fish co., where they famously throw the fish. it had long been on my bucket list to catch one (thanks, real world: seattle), but i soon discovered that you have to actually BUY the fish first. and like, what the hell am i going to do with a big smelly fish? so instead i just lurked around for like 20 minutes to witness a toss in the flesh. at least i got a sample of dungeness crab while i waited.

oh, and here's the first starbucks. whatever, i didn't go in because who really cares? IT'S A STARBUCKS.

seattle coffee works

around the corner from the OG starbucks, i discovered some really good coffee (and more importantly, outlets) at this cafe. in fact, it's entirely possible that i visited about 75% of the coffee shops in seattle and portland during the trip while looking for places to charge my phone. on my second visit here, i started chatting with a guy from mexico, now living in denver, named javier who was staying at a nearby hostel. he regaled me with a tale of the night prior, which involved something called "tequila suicide" (think: tequila slammer, except you snort the salt and squeeze the lime juice in your eyes). you learn something new every day!

the pink door

delicious italian food, tucked away in post alley. i had dinner there too early to catch the live entertainment, but they apparently host trapeze artists and burlesque performances and such.

white horse trading company

popped in here for a nightcap on my first evening and immediately fell in love as i strolled through the saloon-style door. half-tiny bookstore, half-tiny dive bar, white horse is dark, quirky, and completely at odds with the touristy establishments that surround it in post alley. i was one of five patrons, and two of the others were surly old men. one was known as "the scat king" for reasons i didn't explore, and the other ominously slurred "don't have too much, or you'll drown!" as the bartender refreshed my water. anyways, i gleefully sipped a white russian and delighted in the strangeness of this hidden gem.

yes, that's a "seat taken" wooden block.

market grill

lunch here was definitely one of the most enjoyable experiences of the whole trip. market grill is a counter-service spot right in the middle of pike place. shortly after i sat down and ordered, this couple rolled up, saying they were from new york and had heard about the place on a travel show. "i'm from a place that doesn't like new yorkers," the dude behind the counter (middle one in the photo) said to blank stares. "think sports," he added. "massachusetts!" i shouted. "i'm visiting from arlington!" "i'm from stoneham!" he yells back, promptly fist-bumping me. as if that wasn't enough, they were playing a soundtrack that included the raveonettes and interpol, and my salmon sandwich was phenomenal. sold.

quinn's pub

four words: WILD BOAR SLOPPY JOE. actually, seven words: WILD BOAR SLOPPY JOE WITH DUCK EGG. it was delicious, and quinn's is a solid neighborhood joint in capitol hill that's the perfect mix of casual and cool.


you know i couldn't read about a bar called "unicorn" and not put it at the top of my list immediately. kitschy and carnival-themed, this place is just a good time. you probably can't see it in the photo below, but the first cocktail listed is called "unicorn jizz." i steered clear and opted for the "adult root beer float."

then the guy i'd been chatting with there told me he knew a great place to watch the sun set. i was thinking we were headed to a park or something, but we definitely ended up on the top of his apartment building as nightmarish memories of my first tinder date came rushing back. it did provide a great view and he didn't chop me into little pieces before i escaped for the light rail though, so win/win! 

starbucks reserve roastery & tasting room

what do i look like, an amateur? every savvy tourist knows that this is the place to go if you must have the 'bucks in seattle. not only is it incredibly instagrammable and snapchattable, but the vibe is really warm and cozy, and you can do tasting flights and all sorts of nonsense if you're a coffee snob. i'm not, so i just got a latte and a chocolate croissant.

owl & thistle

best $5 happy hour fish and chips and a bunch of wild soccer hooligans! also, the smooth-talking bartender known only as "jersey johnny" invited me for a drink after his shift. but he had a wallet chain, so... :(


seattle great wheel

the ONLY thing i felt weird about doing by myself, and on a friday night no less! but i fuckin' did it, man. and promptly realized as the wheel started to turn that i'd never been on a ferris wheel and was a little scared? i was still able to get some dope pics, at least.

gum wall

i could seriously take pictures of this disgusting wall all day, because it's not just random gum. talented gum artistes spell out important messages with their bubblicious, like "SEND NUDES" and "LIT AF!" what a treasure.

museum of pop culture

unsurprisingly, i loved it.

no joke, i snapped this pic of elliott smith's piano as "baby britain" played in the background.

so many geetars

video game nirvana
there was even a special jim henson exhibit!

capitol hill

i actually spent more time than i was expecting in the capitol hill neighborhood, but it was just so much fun and had such good vibes.


elliott bay book company. shh, don't tell anyone, but i liked it better than powell's in portland.

all of the crosswalks are painted with rainbows to support LGBT rights!

underground tour

multiple people recommended this tour to me and i guess it's cool that current seattle was essentially rebuilt on top of old seattle, but to be honest, i thought this tour was boring af and a waste of money. it's just a basement!


hit up a fun sunday flea market here, and obviously had my picture taken with the famous troll. 

movie/tv/music/random sights

the sculpture that inspired the soundgarden song "black hole sun"

site of the paintball scene from 10 things i hate about you!

real world seattle house, site of the "slap heard 'round the world"

"zoinks! seattle makes me so stoned. like, let's go get some PIE scoob."
loved this juxtaposition
my favorite random dog of the trip

mystery vending machine

nobody knows who stocks it, and each press of a button is a gamble as to what will roll out. i was too scared to try (and i don't drink soda), but i had to find this oddity for the photo opp. 

then, i hopped on the train and headed for ...



i stayed in an airy loft in portland's goose hollow neighborhood, just across the street from the providence park stadium for any of you soccer buffs.

i was all about the exposed brick and weird art throughout, which included a large chicken painting and purposely-cracked mirror.


picnic house

 lovely little lunch spot downtown. i went with the shaved turkey sandwich with aged white cheddar, tart green apple, and arugula.

voodoo doughnut

i just had to, y'know? since i went on a monday afternoon, i only waited about five minutes in line.

i ordered the "maple blazer blunt" doughnut, which -- you guessed it! -- mimicked a lit blunt. it was actually pretty delicious, but my favorite part of the entire experience happened as i was sitting at one of the picnic tables outside with my fellow tourists. a car rolled by, and someone screamed out of the window, "IT'S JUST A DOUGHNUT!" i burst out laughing.

deschutes brewery portland public house 

i forgot to take a picture of the inside of this place, but it was massive and there were lots of wood carvings and neon signs and cool shit. i also experienced my first elk burger, which paired wonderfully with my "pacific wonderland" beer. aww yeah.

teardrop lounge

a small, sleek cocktail bar with strong drinks and friendly bartenders. sorry, "mixologists."

 food carts 

portland is home to food cart "pods" that line the streets and offer cheap, tasty meals that range from grilled cheese to ramen. i met a fellow from the netherlands on my mount hood day trip, and after some ruby ale on the patio of ringler's, we grabbed dinner at an asian fusion cart. i decided to be a bit evil and let him get a spam fried rice bowl because he didn't know what spam was and i really wanted to see his reaction (he loved it!), while i went with black pepper shrimp. then, we sat on the sidewalk and chowed down.

multnomah whiskey library

soooo painfully portland, but so much fun. post-food cart, we met my new friend's couchsurfing host at this hipster haven where you have your own personal bartender and little guys and gals in bow ties scale ladders to retrieve your whiskey. i was into it.

(our bartender)
then we took a selfie, obviously.

salt & straw

known as one of the best ice cream shops in the whole country, i couldn't leave portland without hitting up salt & straw. i ordered the "toasted baguette pb&j" flavor, and i'm still thinking about that damn ice cream three days later. 

portland city grill

fantastic city views and surprisingly delicious sushi for a place that feels more like a steakhouse. i felt like it was the perfect place to have my final portland meal. plus, it was happy hour.

tasty & alder

before i headed for the airport, i grabbed one last drink here (the "13th precinct" with bourbon, clear creek apple, benedictine, byrhh, and bokers bitters) and immediately became BFFs with this woman sitting next to me at the bar who was traveling on business. it was one of those conversations where you're suddenly like "oh, shit, i definitely need to leave or i'm going to miss my flight." but it was the perfect end to a great vacation. and she paid for my draaaaaank!


powell's city of books

i came here like three times (mostly because i had a crush on the long-haired barista in the cafe), but world-famous powell's does not disappoint. as i mentioned, i preferred elliott bay in seattle, but it was lovely to visit this landmark and browse its amazing selection.

japanese garden

cool trees. cool fish.

waterfalls & mount hood

such a beautiful day trip! we did a loop through the columbia river gorge, past several waterfalls (including multnomah), and up to timberline lodge on mount hood.

latourelle falls

the tiny post office in the town of bridal veil (where lots of brides send their invites from, lolz GET IT)

multnomah falls!

an old-school dr. pepper machine at a farmstand where we stopped
mount hood
outside of timberline lodge
inside of timberline lodge!

hood river

THIS TOWN. we stopped for lunch during the day trip here and i fell in love. i had one of the best sandwiches of my life at boda's kitchen (it involved gourmet ham and salami, olive tapenade, and smoked mozzarella) and wandered for a bit on the main drag, which was everything you'd picture from a cute lil' mountain village. i was just about ready to set up shop and move into a tiny house there.

portland farmers market

i've never wanted to purchase and eat vegetables more in my entire life. 

portland art museum

it had both traditional & contemporary art and was pretty cool overall, but i mainly just wanted to share this weird michael jackson piece.

n mississippi ave 

while i liked seattle better than portland, this neighborhood that i visited on my last day started to change my mind. between its quaint coffee shops, funky secondhand stores, and hip bars and restaurants, it was definitely what i pictured when i first thought of portland. it's been the setting for a bunch of tv and movies, including portlandia and wild (the concert scene is shot at the red venue below, mississippi studios). i snagged a cold brew at fresh pot, bought a vintage top at animal traffic, and a hand-drawn and screened portland t-shirt at the bohemian boutique wanderlust and wildhearts.

random sights

cute house #1

cute house #2


until we meet again, PNW!