Some foods seem to taste so much better in the right season. Clam chowder on a cold, dark rainy day on the pier in Seattle, the smell of Burgers on the grill in the summer, but Skyline Chili is great anytime but especially in the fall! This is called comfort food for a reason.
Today is the last game of the season for my Seattle Mariners. A summary of this season was like finding out the homecoming queen wanted you to ask her to the prom but you ended up taking your cousin Thelma instead…who insisted her best friend Leslie come also…who talked awkwardly loud through her nose…who got car sick on the way…but didn’t tell you till it was too late…but in the end, like today, you’re glad it’s over. These are our seats for one of the games we were able to go to this year, in section 235, GREAT seats! We ate like kings– Garlic Fries, BBQ Nachos, the Mt. Dew flowed like water…got all kinds of free stuff like a bobble head, sunglasses, T-shirts, a head band (yes the kind that keep sweat from running in your eyes, popular in the ’70s)–my wife got a free sun hat and we had a blast at the game! Only 4 1/2 months until Spring Training!
This is the world-famous Seattle Space Needle that you see associated with anything Seattle or the Northwest. Actually, it is my view from underneath, looking up. I could give you boring details about how tall it is and yada, yada, yada, what you NEED to know is 6 parachutists have leaped from the tower, 4 had permission and the other 2 were arrested. Many brave toy army men (with parachutes) have also made the 605 ft jump successfully. You may also remember the Space Needle as the base of operations for Dr. Evil. (you know, Austin Powers…) Speaking of power, at age 11, Bill Gates won a contest and got to eat dinner at the top in the revolving restaurant for memorizing Matthew 5,6 and 7. (the Sermon on the Mount) It cost $4.5 million dollars to build in 1962 and $21 million dollars to renovate in 2000, which coincidently, Bill Gates has that much in loose change in his car. On a depressing note, during the Miss USA Pageant, Miss Washington, (name withheld) wore a Space Needle-shaped hat during the costume portion of the pageant and as you might have guessed, that was a bad idea.
Everyone in America knows what today is! And since Jim Zorn was throwing passes to Steve Largent I’ve been a Seattle Seahawks fan. Yes, I’m a part of the 12. For my non-American friends, today is Super Bowl Sunday! An unofficial holiday in the U.S., where about 100 million people will watch the National Football League championship. I, personally will tune in exactly 1.5 seconds before kick off because I cannot- cannot stand the pre-game hype and mindless media commentary… Even if you are not a football fan, people will be connected to the game in 3 ways; 1) The Game itself, 2) The commercials aired during the Super Bowl or, 3) The Food. Or, some variation of all three. The Super Bowl has the 2nd most food consumption after Thanksgiving. Except unlike Thanksgiving where it is generally a sit down dinner, the Super Bowl is usually served “buffet style” or help yourself. And a LOT of people will help themselves! On this one day, here are some Super Bowl fun food facts:
1. Over 1.25 billion chicken wings will be eaten.
2. Enough beer will be chugged to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool 2,000 times! (that’s a lot of flushing…)
3. 8 million pounds (3,6000,000 kg) of Guacamole will be eaten
4. 4.4 million pizzas will be eaten (I’ll have 2-3 slices depending)
5. 11 million pounds of potato chips. Gone.
I don’t think this is something to be proud of, but like it or not, it pumps a lot of money around for this one game, around $500,000,000 worth! And with a $4 million price tag on a 30 second Super Bowl TV commercial, it better be good! Clever and creative!
It does have its downside, however. Following the Super Bowl is a dangerous time to be on the road. More DUIs are issued than at any other time during the year besides St. Patrick’s Day…bet you thought New Year’s Eve like I did…So be safe out there no matter what! Also, more people call in “sick” to work the day following the Super Bowl than any other day of the year.
It’s sobering to think about how much this game consumes us and how much we consume. It’s still just a game. Quick! Who played in the Super Bowl 2 years ago? And few will remember much about this game in a year without looking it up. While I’m really excited about the possibility of the Seahawks winning a 2nd Super Bowl, I try to keep a balanced approach and remember that in the big picture in life this game doesn’t really mean that much. Tomorrow, single moms will still be trying to make ends meet and raise their children, many will battle another day of chemotherapy treatments, the fatherless children and the elderly will still be lonely. Most of us will be sick of all the junk we ate today while the hungry are on the streets. This is the real game. But win or lose, I’ll still be a happy man, thinking about how blessed I am.
There’s a coffee shop in Seattle down on Pike Place called Starbucks, you may have heard of it…What’s special about this particular Starbucks, is this is the first one EVER! Where it all started. The mecca. The birthplace. The temple. True coffee addicts anywhere in the world can be blindfolded, spun around 10 times and accurately point toward Seattle…but this Starbucks is always PACKED and a long line typically to the cash register because 99% of the visitors who come here are buying souveniers from the original Starbucks. (like I was…) Inside, it looks a lot more like a warehouse from 1971, with brown boxes everywhere, stacked along the walls, counters, windows, anyplace that doesn’t violate a fire code packed with every mug, cup, tumbler etc, etc, with “Starbucks Pike Place Market” on it you can imagine. One time I was there, waiting in a long line with my gift mug, it was crazy packed. I got to talking to an employee and she said it was a “slow day” (it was pouring rain outside) and the line usually goes out the door and down the street and they close the line down an hour before closing…Oh yea, there is a small area in the back, where you can actually get a coffee. But that’s not why most people are here.
While I’m not a big fan of Starbucks, it’s more of a convenience thing because they are everywhere, and I’ll stop there if there’s nothing else available and I’m getting it to go, and that’s ok, because they are usually really good at being consistent, so you know what you’re getting. It’s kind of how you don’t go to McDonald’s because the burgers are so awesome, you go because they’re convenient and you know what to expect. But this is truly an iconic historical place that birthed an entire culture in America and around the world with over 21,366 locations worldwide. Surprise! Starbucks didn’t invent coffee or espresso. Espresso had been in Europe for many years before Starbucks, around the 1880s. $tarbucks just figured out how to market it.
Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. Created in 1907 to connect the city’s citizens and farmers, Pike Place Market is a beloved Seattle treasure. Covering the nine-acre Market Historic District overlooking Elliott Bay, the Market remains the bustling center of farm fresh, local, and specialty foods. It’s a place where you can “Meet the Producer” (as seen on top of the building on the right…)—the farmers, butchers, fishmongers, cheesemongers, bakers, winemakers… The Market features one of the largest craft markets in the country, featuring all locally made handcrafted goods. (some very cool handmade sketch journals, too!) There’s over 200 small independent businesses and many different style restaurants, the Market offers endless opportunities to get lost in.
On just about any nationally televised sporting event taking place in Seattle, you’ll no doubt see the fish market guys throwing fish around and getting the ladies to kiss the fish… I sketched this from a photo that I had to take because for one brief moment, there were no delivery trucks in the way! This is one of my all time favorite sketches, because everything just seemed to flow the way I wanted it to, and because some of our favorite moments can be found here and around this area. I’m also working on getting some prints made of this sketch, somewhere in the 8×10 size range, the original is 10×14 and I like there to be a border for easy framing.