There is always something going on atop Captiol Hill. Sounder is drilling tunnels to connect the Puget Sound region's light rail with the University of Washinton, there are excellent restaurants serving interesting food, there are unique exhibitions, there are strange characters everywhere, it's a short cab ride to downtown, it's the home of our favorite Seattle B&B, and there is plenty of entertainment . . . if you know where to look.
Peg and I checked into the 11th Avenue Inn and waited for our granddaughter, Vanessa, and our friend Al Burrage to join us. We gave them a choice of eateries and settled on the Americana, which has many "comfort food" selections.
Although the mac 'n cheese came recommended, I thought it only okay. I had the wild boar enchiladas, they were a little too spicy for everyone, but me. I really enjoyed Vanessa's pear and cheese toasted sandwich with bacon. Also, I really enjoyed Peg's Swiss chard served on a bed of cheesy grits. Peg also enjoyed the grits. Her fried Cornish Game Hen was good, but I didn't find it all that compelling. The coconut ice cream was excellent, however.
I'm not a hard liquor fan, but the Americana's jar of fig bourbon on a shelf above the cash register was calling to me. I plugged my ears. But, we did try the espresso milk shake instead. I think next time Peg might just order that and be done with dinner. As it was we sampled more than we ate.
The Americana, like many other Capitol Hill restaurant has movable walls between the restaurant and the sidwalk, to let in the fresh air on a hot summer afternoon, or soft fall evening.
Haley the one waitress and cashier was helpful and efficient, but had too many duties. The Americana is housed in a building that contains several other restaurants as well. We never made it back for "papuses" from Central America, but Peg and I love those little flat tamales. Another trip, perhaps.
After dinner I wanted to visit the Human Rights Violation Exhibit on Broadway. As we walked up to it, there was a confrontation going on between an individual who was insistant that he had been helped by drugs for a mental problem, and members running the exhibit who probably thought not. Soon the gentleman moved on to us and tried to convince us that drugs had helped him. The jury is still out.
The exhibit was presented by The Citizens Commission on Human Rights. Their viewpoint is that psychiatry is an industry of death. "The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a nonprofit mental health watchdog, responsible for helping to enact more than 150 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive practices. CCHR has long fought to restore basic inalienable human rights to the field of mental health, including, but not limited to, full informed consent regarding the medical legitimacy of psychiatric diagnosis, the risks of psychiatric treatments, the right to all available medical alternatives, and the right to refuse any treatment considered harmful."
The exhibit hall had a nice layout of displays, materials, and video presentations. Chairs were set up for easy viewing. The DVD available at the exhibit contains over 150 interviews with health professionals, attorneys, educators and other experts; both historical and modern-day.
One of the first displays contained images of almost every celebrity you've ever heard of that died after they seemingly received psychiatric treatment. My only qualm is that the CCHR was formed in 1969 by the Chruch of Scientology. I did like quotation by Jan Eastgate, the president of CCHR International: "Psychiatry is the greatest fraud of all time. It is also the most dangerous." Something to think about.
Capitol Hill sidewalks are full of people that either need some drugs, need some psychiatric help, or need some sort of help with their disabilities. "Full of" might be a little harsh, but nearly every block has people that look like they could use a handout of something.
There are so many different kinds of people on the hill, that it is a fun excursion at almost any time of day. On this trip I had occasion to visit the QFC at four in the morning. As I came out of the grocery store I handed some money to an individual I had seen asking for change earlier in the trip. A saving grace is that I had also seen him help other people who were even less fortunate than he was.
After the exhibit we all grabbed a cab. Al and I went about seven blocks to Theater Schmeater to see Is He Dead, Yet?, while Peg and Vanessa continued on downtown to see Memphis at the 5th Avenue. We had a great time.
The next morning Peg and I had coffee at our favorite Seattle pastry shop, Belle Epicurian with our friend Amy Wigstrom of Seattle Opera. Amy works in fund development. I think she was been working with them for about three months. We like her attitude. She visits with donors in their homes to find out what opera means to them. She puts a face on the donors and most of the donors are happy and surprised that the organization takes the time to even recognize them. Amy invited us join her for a tour of the costume and prop departments in October. I think that will be fun. I was once asked to play the part of the drunken jailer, a non-singing part, in Die Fledermaus. I should have done it to flesh out my résumé.
We already have reservations at the 11th Avenue Inn for the Seattle Opera tour. We'll be seeing a new Seattle Rep production the following night. We booked a non-breakfast room at the Inn, so I'll miss the excellent coffee and breakfasts at the B&B. However, the Americana has brunch seven days a week, so I am sure I can find something there that I will enjoy.
The off-street parking is a definite plus at the 11th Avenue Inn. Parking at the downtown hotels can run forty dollars a night. We mostly park our car once we arrive and then cab wherever we need to go. Cabs actually save time AND parking fees. We wouldn't cab to Bellevue, but from Capitol Hill to anywhere downtown works out financially and time-wise.
On Friday night we cabbed to the Space Needle, where we saw the Dale Chihully blown-glass works. At the B&B the glass had been a topic of conversation by out-of-towners. I tried to tell them that if they were interested in Chihully, he was giving a special exhibition in Tacoma on Sunday. Evidently people wanted just to see the glory of his works and not the work that goes into them. It's probably a good thing that no one was interested, I think his exhibition, also attended by other working glass artists, was completely sold out.
For me if I had been around anywhere that Picasso gave an exhibition of him working, I would have been there to watch and learn . . . or at least just watch.
At the food court at the Seattle Center Peg and I tried out the new pie booth. We bought two savory pies and one sweet pie.
Unfortunately, the asparagus, which would have been the healthiest pie, was not only bland, but featured tough asparagus. The meat pie was tasty, if perhaps a little salty, and the key lime pie was excellent. The crust was decent on all three pies, but only two were eaten. We threw away the asparagus savory pie in disgust. For $5 they should be able to do better than that. I would have returned for a healthy pie next we were at the Center.
After the pies we went downstairs to see the Book-It Theatre production of a favorite book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. My book club read the book, about young love and the Japanese internment during WWII, and we all loved it. Peg also read the book after I finished it.
After the play, we did have to wait longer than expected for our cab, but it was a very nice evening. On Saturday we visited the Seattle Fringe Festival.
The festival re-appeared after an absence of nine years. We really enjoyed each of the three productions we saw. All three plays were within a block of each other. Each production was excellent. Admission was only $10 each and the plays ran for about an hour each. There were many places to grab some food or a beer between each production. A big bonus was the fact that the theaters were all on Capitol Hill and only about four blocks from the B&B.
For our three night stay on Capitol Hill we saw six plays, ate some excellent food, had a relaxing weekend, and talked with some very nice people. It's so easy to return and enjoy this Seattle community.