Tuesday, January 14, 2020

secrets of Seattle

Two small improvements introduced in the last few years on life in Seattle have come to my attention, but few other people's. I took advantage of them on my just-concluded trip.

1. Commercial air flights to Paine Field. Paine Field has long served as the runways for the big Boeing plant in Everett, and I think it also handles general aviation. Just a couple years ago a small commercial terminal was opened, and now Alaska Air runs an active service there, including two flights daily from San Jose. (United also runs a few flights.) Hardly anyone knows about this; my flight in was only about 1/4 full. I only discovered it by accident while browsing booking sites for flights. But it's so convenient to the north side of Seattle, which is where I'm usually going: no further than SeaTac, less difficult a drive, and as a tiny airport it's far easier to handle. There's just 2 or 3 gates and one baggage claim.

When I got home, by the way, I was accosted at the gate by anxious passengers of the return flight to Everett. They wanted to know how bad the snow was. I'd awoken on Monday morning to find everything gone white. (Many of the morning flights had been canceled in terrified anticipation.) But the roads were quickly cleared by plows and/or the heat of traffic, and despite a few subsequent flurries and a brief hailstorm, everything was fine. Air temperature was at freezing all day, but even in a light jacket I found that no bother at all.

2. Rachel's Ginger Beer. My trips to Seattle always include a few regular foodie stops at Pike Place Market. The highlight is Pike Place Chowder, which has the best soups of the kind you've ever had. (My favorite is the seafood bisque, but they're all good.) The problem with Pike Place Chowder is the shop is tiny, and it's fantastically popular, so getting a seat is difficult, and when you do you're bumping elbows with everybody else.

That's where Rachel's Ginger Beer comes in. It's a newish tenant a couple doors down at the end of the same building, and serves an exotic variety of ginger beer flavors on tap. (I had spicy pineapple, how about that.) And it's roomy: lots of seating and no crowds. So take your cup of chowder, which is served adequately sealed, and a compostable spoon from the counter, walk to Rachel's and buy a glass of ginger beer as the drink for your meal, and dine in peace. I saw I wasn't the only person doing that.

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