Winter 2007-08 Taste of Anacortes

As the non-tourist season settles in to sleepy old Anacortes, the excuse to get people out on the town known as Taste of Anacortes is afoot again and I couldn't be happier. Last year, I attended 2 Tastes and thoroughly enjoyed them both. (Read about them here and here).

This year, I hope to attend each month's Taste. Good food in small portions ain't something to be scoffed at. If anyone is going to be around Anacortes during one and is looking for a date, I'm totally free.

For those content hungry*, I present you the menu for this latest Taste, at least for the Knife Route, which I took.
    Flounder Bay Cafe: Prime rib with mashed potatoes, and wine if you so desired (two out of the two times our route has included Flounder Bay, it has been the best stop on the route.)
    Il Posto: Bruscetta topped with a chicken meatball sauce. It was pretty good but the atmosphere in that place is about 8 degrees too fancy for me.
    Randy's Pier 61: Crab pot which is a cheesy, creamy crab dip served with festively colored tortilla chips.
    Rockfish Grill: Shrimp salad, which we would have enjoyed way more had we done it as the first stop. The big bonus at the "Rocker" was the Spoonshine Duo was playing. Good times.
    Johnny Picasso's: Carmel drizzled, pumpkin, cream-cheese cake with coffee. I've been wanting an excuse to go in there for the past couple years and I'm glad I finally got the chance. The owner is super nice and, if that cake was any indication, the desserts are out of this world.
Thursday November 29 2007File under: Anacortes, food

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One Angry Man

Last week, I got called in to serve jury duty. As anyone who has been called in knows, the process between being called in and actually sitting on a jury is somewhat complicated, although very interesting. It turns out I have a lot to say on this, so I've split it into three sections below for your reading convenience. Click to read my blurb on each.

About the process:

About my experience:

Observations:
Sunday November 18 2007File under: Anacortes, misc

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Quiz Night - Crisis of Doona

This past Friday was another fun and successful Quiz Night at the Back Porch Cafe. The categories fell in our favor this week (for the most part) and at the end of two rounds, Crisis of Doona* was in a three way tie for first place. The tie breaker question was about Shakespeare. It turns out that wasn't our strongest subject so we again got narrowly edged out for the win. Next time, though. I can feel next time is going to be the time.

Anyway, as has become our habit here, I thought I would go ahead and post the visual round. Category: Wrastlers. How many can you name? (As always, hover for answers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

(Previous Quiz Night posts (with scans of the visual questions): Return of Quiz Night, Filler, and Quiz Night!)
Sunday November 11 2007File under: Anacortes, games

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A Night at the Drive-In


As much hot air as I spout against driving (vs. public transporation, biking, etc.), there is one situation where a replacement for a car is practically out of the question. While I've heard of people biking or walking in, carrying their own lawn chairs, blankets, and battery powered radios, the drive-in movies just aren't the same unless you drive in.

After keeping an eye on my schedule and the schedule of the theatre all summer long, I finally found a match this weekend: two movies that didn't look terrible with a weekend where I was free and had access to a car. The experience was well worth it. The movies may not have been awesome, and we had a little bit of a car door issue*, but the experience was almost exactly as it should be completely with giggling teenagers running around willy nilly and a foot-long chili dog from the concession stand.

For those of you in the northwest washington "viewing" area, check out Blue Fox Drive-In (open weekends until at least early December). For those of you outside of said viewing area, check for drive-ins in your area here

Oh, and if I can't convince you with the ambience and chili dogs, maybe this will do the trick: two movies for only $6, at 65%* savings over your nearest cineplex.
Sunday October 21 2007File under: movies, Anacortes

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Beat the Heat

This past Monday was blog action day!, a day where bloggers around the world unite to give coverage to a certain topic. The idea of a group call to action for bloggers doesn't sit extremely well with me (like so many memes), but this year's topic was the environment, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Because environment and environmentalism are such huge topics, I abandoned my original idea of listing all the environmental blogs I read, lists of tips and tricks to lessen your environmental footprint, and maybe even post my reflective essay It's About More Than Carbon, Silly. Instead, I decided to cover just one thing, which happens to fit in with what I've been doing recently.

Beat the Heat is a community group here in Skagit County (which meets in Anacortes) dedicated to working to "slow global warming through public awareness, personal action, and political advocacy." I've attended a few of their meetings to see what they are all about. It was great to see people self-organizing to work towards a goal they believe in. Many of the projects are closely in line with interests/goals of my own*. Their website has some great resources including a calendar of upcoming environment-related events including sponsored movies and lectures.
Wednesday October 17 2007File under: environment, Anacortes

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Return of Quiz Night

After a longer than normal hiatus, the Backporch Cafe's Quiz Night returned this past Friday evening. A lively crowd* battled it out for the fame and prizes. With my regular team absent, I recruited a crack team of first timers to help with the pursuit. Through round one, we held our own. It turns out our knowledge of indigenous plants, world rivers, classic literature, and Antonio Banderas is above average. Round two was a bit of a suck fest for the Imperfect Ladies*. Out knowledge, or lack thereof, of current events, (post?)modern literature, the Clash, and starlets took us from second place to second-to-last. In a quiz tournament so heavily topicized*, you live and die by the topics.

Anyway, as always, it was a good time made even better by the other folks who played. Keep an eye out for the next go round. After all, the more, the merrier.

And for all of you who enjoy playing along, I'll share the two identification rounds. Above (click for larger image) are starlets. How many can you name? Or try your knowledge of indigenous plants. I'll post the answers in special hover code in the comments.

The Backporch Cafe's Quiz night has been covered before here and here.
Sunday October 14 2007File under: Anacortes, games

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Whale Watching

If I told you that I have lived in the San Juan Islands for 18 years and have only seen Orca whales twice in the wild, would you believe me? Well, it's true, and I consider myself lucky to have seen them that much. Once was at WaPa where 60+* cruised by no more than a stone's throw from the beach. The other time was off the head at Rosario. Both were pretty spectacular.

This past weekend, I increased my orca sightings by 50%! Emily, who used to work at Island Adventures, managed to score us tickets to go out whale watching. Although it is on the top of some people's list when they come to Anacortes, I have yet to be out on a whale watching boat. I knew that I was in for a real treat.

The weather was quintessential for fall in the northwest. There was a chill to the air, wind gusts here and there, and non-rain moisture coming out of the air somehow, as it so mysteryously wont to do. I was afraid the weather would curtail the adventure, but, at least in my eyes, it only added to it. (Plus, it gave me the excuse to drink a whole thermos of hot chocolate!)

To read more (and see pictures!), click here.
Tuesday October 9 2007File under: Anacortes, pics

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Chuckanut Dr.

As summer is coming to an end, that also means an end to the [comfortable] scooter season. Time will tell if I am still able to use it as my prime form of transportation. It's been a fine run with the little guy. I often think back on some of the wonderful roads we've taken together (e.g. 395 and 1 as covered here before.) Recently. I was reminded of another spectucular road we have right here in the northwest, almost perfectly suited to Scoot Scoot. I've had occasion to ride it a few times recently, and I didn't think it was fair not giving it a shout out after calling attention to those other roads.

Chuckanut Dr. from the Skagit flats to Fairhaven has got to be one of the best roads of all time. I happened to hit it as the sun was going down on a beautiful autumn day. Returning on a clear night with the moon reflecting off the water was just as spectacular. While traveling via a scooter immerses you in the environment all the more, the road is worth driving in a car as well.

It's a road I recommend to friends visiting from out of town who are headed up to Bellingham, and it is a road to I recommend to all of you who might be passing that way.
Saturday September 29 2007File under: transportation, Anacortes

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www.peoplesGuideToAncortes.com


In hopes of making the People's Guide to Anacortes more accessible, I've recently acquired the domain name www.peoplesguidetoanacortes.com. Hopefully, this will make it easier for everyone to spread the word.

For those of you who don't remember the original post, the people's guide to Anacortes is a list of non-commercial activities on Fidalgo Island with an easy to use interface. It is geared towards travelers and residents alike who want to pass a day (or a week) enjoying the non-commercial (which also all happen to be free) things Anacortes has to offer.

I hope you have checked it out already or will do so soon. If you think it is a helpful service, spread the word to your friends and family who might be traveling this way.
Tuesday September 25 2007File under: Anacortes

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Starbucks Startbucks Everywhere


Image found on Alien Loves Predator
Starbucks are everywhere. I've been around the world and seen them in some unexpected places (like the Forbidden City (although it looks like they are about to be banned)). While on the one hand, I think it represents a company that has found its niche by creating a product/service that people really want, I have a hard time getting behind some of their other business practices. Those with similar reservations might be interested in this tool, created by a friend, which helps you find alternative local coffee shops*. But I digress....

If you stand at 15th and Commercial Ave. in Anacortes, WA, you will be within 3 blocks of 3, count them, 3 Starbucks; two of them are within 1.5 blocks of each other! To be fair, 2 of the 3 are inside grocery stores, which, I guess, makes it a little easier to understand, but still...

Anyway, in all my travels, I haven't seen quite this density anywhere else. Does this make Anacortes an anomaly in that way? Can we start adding that to our travel brochures to entice those SUV driving, suburb dwellers (or whomever it is that keeps Starbucks going) to visit Anacortes?* Tell me, have you ever seen a higher number of Starbucks stores nestled together?
Sunday September 23 2007File under: Anacortes, misc

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