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Evil, but cute & gay about it
...ramblings of the imperfectly innocent
All kinds of awesome 
13th-Jun-2009 08:51 pm
I love maps, and I love this city. It should not be a large surprise, then, that as part of a recent, ongoing effort to personalize my living quarters, my wall now sports a lovely, huge street map of Seattle.

I <3 it to pieces.

Ranging from lower Queen Anne down to just past Safeco Field, and from the waterfront out to parts of Cap Hill and First Hill (bizarrely calling them "Broadway" and "Minor", respectively), it is not just a work of art, but also a guide to an ongoing project.

I've lived here for roughly five years now, and while I have my share of haunts in the area, a lot has been changing, and I never really did any in-depth exploration of Belltown.

That's going to change.

Today I started with a 4 block area, spending several hours just walking around, slowly, carefully taking note of things available, both at ground level and rising above, and not shying away from all the dark corners and alleys.

It was amazing.

There were a lot of familiar places, sure, but it was a great experience to really take the time to admire them. And since my phone has Intarwebs, if there was some unmarked building I came across, it was a simple matter to find out what it was. Sometimes it was boring (a lawyer's office, or a marketing firm), sometimes it was something I already knew about (the massive Qwest central office), but sometimes it was interesting (a rehab center). I also found out the name of the huge condo tower on this block (which I might have to investigate further when looking for a place to buy), and marked off several interesting bars and restaurants to try in the near future.

But there were were some truly great, great things. In the alley over in the next block, I found what I could best describe as an urban art installation. Several framed photos and collages, with various scribblings on them, in varying states of decay.

In the same block, just up from the alley entrance, there's a new cheesesteak place (Calozzi's). Literally a hole in the wall, there is no seating. You stand on the street, and get your food through a hole in the bars of the metal door. The owner is from Jersey (mostly Cherry Hill and Atlantic City, as I found out today), and makes a fine cheesesteak. A little too much bread for the meat, but very tasty.

The *best* find, though, was Bedlam Coffee (photos and more). They just opened two weeks ago, so I don't have to feel bad about not having been there before, but they are going to be a regular stop from now on. I don't have adequate words to describe the awesome: fantastic art, a wonderful, cozy feel, great-looking desserts, some of the best (real) iced tea I have had in my life. There is even a room in the back with a huge table. I just might have to start up a Belltown game night (they are open all night on weekends!). cow, I could not stop thinking of you when I was here. When you visit, check it out; I suspect you will love it as much as I do.

I can't stress how great Bedlam could be. Belltown just does not have a place like this. Cap Hill, or the Pearl District in Portland? Sure. Here? Not until now.

AND!!! Since they're on the corner of 2nd and Bell, I found out from an article they had posted that Seattle is for sure going ahead with their plan of turning Bell Street into a boulevard park! OMG! Belltown is going to get even better!

Exploring the area like this has been my plan for a while, and the map was the first concrete step. There's also a box of red pins so I can mark off where I've been. It occurs to me that I need a second color to mark off all my great finds; I see a trip to the map store in the near future.

I better get the big box.
14th-Jun-2009 04:59 am (UTC)
Very cool. I did not know about the cheesesteak place. Now I do. I hope you will post other nifty finds.

When I first moved to Seattle, I found series of mystery books featuring a cop (who lived in Belltown). The book described various neighborhoods around Seattle and on weekends, I would get on the bus and check the places out. For years, the only way I could get around much of Seattle in the car was to follow the bus routes.
14th-Jun-2009 06:13 am (UTC)
Did you also know about Yellow Leaf cupcakes? You could make a trip of it! I have not visited them yet; will have to get to their block soon!

I will definitely post about all the places I find on my neighborhood walks. Count on it!

That reminds me of the newspaper story about the retired guy who is taking a complete trip on every Seattle-area bus route, in numerical order. I was so jealous! Wish I had that kind of time, because that's exactly what I would do.

Also, I do love hearing about all the places you go, especially with your new GPS.
14th-Jun-2009 01:58 pm (UTC)
I had not heard about Yellow Leaf!! They just got moved to the top of my todo list. Thank you!

I remember that story about that bus riding guy and loved it.

I have more time now and I need to do some of my own exploring. You have inspired me.
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14th-Jun-2009 06:13 am (UTC)
It is wonderful! Pretty *and* functional.
14th-Jun-2009 06:49 am (UTC)
Are you also doing the GPS-breadcrumb thing with your phone?

I think I might have to visit this coffee shop to check out their iced tea. What are you doing tomorrow afternoon? :)
14th-Jun-2009 07:43 am (UTC)
I do have some plans for tomorrow, but they are all local, so I'm *sure* we can make time to stop by Bedlam. After 3pm would probably be better than before, but I don't have specific times to worry beyond that. Give me a call!
14th-Jun-2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
Let us most certainly plan to do something this afternoon after 3pm then. I'll most likely catch a bus into town around then. Maybe we could catch dinner somewhere interesting as well?
14th-Jun-2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
Sounds good. I would rather have dinner in, actually. I'm waaaay over budget recently, and have a lot of the Eat Local meals in the freezer. We could pick up salad stuff at PPM, and I have some wine that would love to get consumed as well.
14th-Jun-2009 07:57 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a plan to me! I'll catch the bus that comes between 14:30 and 15:00, should be downtown sometime before 15:30ish at a guess. (I, obviously, haven't checked the schedule today :)
14th-Jun-2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
That does look neat. We'll have to check it out sometime. :D

I got this thing at Chapters, which is 50 walks in and around Vancouver; a lot of them are "go check out this block of the West End", or "go wander around the small town of Horseshoe Bay". There's lots of neat stuff in there. Each is on its own cardboard card. I want to hang them on strings and on days like today just randomly pick one and go do it. Or just start at 1 and work my way to 50.
14th-Jun-2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
It is awesome! I did not even mention the sidewalk chalk or the menu board with integrated Twitter feed and upcoming bus arrivals.

I know *exactly* the thing you're talking about! I almost bought it for you one time. Let me know how it goes!
15th-Jun-2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
Very cool. I'll even forgive them the Twitter thing. >:3

It is a neat little set of cards! I am kind of amused at how many of them I've done already, but even the ones I have done have additional "but did you see this?" and now I have to go back. :D
14th-Jun-2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a fun book. We should do that :)

But there's also the little boats and ...
15th-Jun-2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
Pretty much. :) It's summer, so there's plenty to do. I guess we'll see what sounds fun when you're here.
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