Skip to content

Bus Fare Blues

Exploring the hidden corners of Seattle

Monthly Archives: February 2012

I’d like to start this post by saying I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being from California. For ruining the Northwest by moving up here and telling everyone else that the weather isn’t that bad after all. I’m sorry for occupying one of the few affordable, non-rent-controlled apartments downtown. But most of all, I’m sorry for being from California AND Utah.

California is ruining Seattle. I know, I hear you loud and clear. But there’s one thing worse than being from California. It’s being from Utah.

Utahns are religious, and the only way you get away with religion out here is if you run a charity. Or if you’re from Africa, cause that’s cool and multi-cultural. Our state food is Jello — we aren’t generally recognized as cultural. We’re just religious.

We were walking out the door on our way to church a few weeks ago when a neighbor ran into us in the stairwell. He looked at me in my shirt and tie, clutching my scriptures, and said “Hey look, you got a Bible and everything.” How quaint. I felt like a museum exhibit: homo nedflanderus. “Look kids, there’s the endangered American church-goer.”

So far, when I tell someone I’m from California, more often than not they say “No way, I’m from California too!” Then we chat about how much cooler Seattle is, as if it’s the biggest secret in the world. This happens more often than it should. Maybe all the true natives are hiding out across the Sound, gearing up for an intifada.

When I tell people I just moved from Utah, however, there’s always a brief awkward pause in the conversation, as if I just mentioned my bedwetting habbit and skinhead relatives in Spokane. They just don’t know what to say. That, or they’re pissed about Prop 8. After awhile if I keep talking, they’ll realize I’m not Amish or a polygamist, and the conversation usually returns to normal. But I’m tired of feeling like a space oddity.

I’m going to try an experiment: I’ll spend a few weeks telling people I’m from California, then I’ll switch to Utah for awhile. I’ll let you know when I finally get my story straight.


Tags: , ,

Pike Market at NightPike Place Chowder is one of those must-see stops for anyone visiting Pike’s Market. It’s a tiny shop with plastic chairs, tucked into a picturesque corner of Post Alley, a few steps from the fruit vendors, fish hawkers, and hordes of camera-wielding tourists. The menu is fairly simple: five types of chowder along with a few salads and sandwiches that I’ll probably never get around to trying. The chowder! Oh, is it good. Alisha bought a cup of red Manhattan and I got the white. The broth is so thick it’s almost cheesy and the clams were incredibly tender; they almost melt in your mouth. At around $6 a cup it’s not the cheapest soup you can find, but it’s well worth the cost. We’ll have to go back and try the salmon chowder.

I asked the lady behind the counter where they get such delicious clams and she leaned in and said “I’ll let you in on a little secret: Washington clams are great flavor-wise, but if you want texture you have to import them from the Atlantic.” Maybe this Northwest classic isn’t as Northwest as I thought, but it sure tastes good.

Tip: go in the morning when the soup is fresh. After a few hours the clams will get tougher from sitting in the broth. They open at 11am, just in time for an early lunch.

Tags: ,