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Archive for the ‘Washington’ Category

We’ve been known to go to Naked City, a new pub in Greenwood. I wanted to add a review to Yelp when I noticed an interesting pattern in the other reviews. The reviews were almost all favorable, but quite a few complained how at Naked City you order your beer at the bar.

Some of my international readers may be confused at this moment. Ordering at the bar is bad? As opposed to ordering where? I have to admit when I moved to Washington state I found it a bit peculiar that almost all pubs have table service. I don’t recall that being the case in California. It may have been more like 50/50. In Britain of course you generally order at the bar unless you’re in a restaurant that also happens to serve beer. Ordering at the bar seems to be the case in most of the places I travel to.

Personally, I prefer it. If a pub doesn’t hire enough servers then you invariably will be looking around and waiting for someone to serve you. Which can be a bit distracting.

I liken it to Oregon where you are not allowed to pump your own gas. Oregon state law prevents you from doing this in order to save gas station attendant jobs. While this is a great idea in theory, gas stations are too cheap to hire the requisite number of attendants so you are invariably waiting for someone to do something for you that you are perfectly capable of doing for yourself. But I digress.

So what do you think?

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My local pub in Seattle is The George & Dragon. I’ve been going there for trivia night on Tuesdays for almost eight years now. It’s a British pub in the real sense of a British pub: sticky bar, greasy food and it’s low on the frills. Before Washington state passed a bar smoking ban, the G&D was the smokiest bar in town. The day after trivia we would toss our smoke filled clothes in the washing machine, and if we didn’t wash them right away our home would smell of dank smoke. Naturally this was quite an inconvenience.

After the smoking ban of 2005 our clothes smell like greasy french fries instead, and we can definately live with that. I’m sure I’ve added years to my life the last three years.

But now my favorite pub is in peril because included in the smoking ban was a twenty-five foot rule meaning that you are not allowed to smoke within 25 feet of the door. I thought the purpose of the ban was to get the smokers out of the bar. That of course has been completely successful. I’m not sure what more we can ask of these businesses. People do smoke and lest they want to smoke in the middle of the street they are going to have to do it somewhere.

According to the suit, the health department received 15 smoking-related complaints from June 2 through Oct. 1 about The George & Dragon Pub.

Health-department workers repeatedly saw customers smoking on an outside patio, and they could smell smoke from the patio while standing in a door to the pub.

Under the state law, smokers must be kept at least 25 feet away from business entrances to prevent smoke from coming inside.

Smoking is accepted as a bad thing that only bad people do, but what about all the other things that have similarly bad consequences. Pollution from cars? Do you read about people complaining about the traffic on their street that is causing them to be asthmatic. What about construction dust or paint?

I think I’m having a bit of a knee-jerk reaction because the G&D really is my favorite place. I hope that the owners find a solution that keeps the bar open.

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I first blogged about Leavenworth Washington to describe why there exist in America things like fake German villages.

A sawmill and a healthy logging industry eventually fell apart, however, when the Great Northern Railway Company pulled out of Leavenworth. The re-routing of the railroad and the subsequent closure of the sawmill sadly converted the town from a bustling, thriving hub of commerce into a hollow, empty community. For more than thirty years, Leavenworth lived on the brink of extinction.

But in the early 1960’s, everything changed. In a last-chance effort to turn their precarious situation around, the leaders of the community decided to change Leavenworth’s appearance, hoping to bring tourism into the area. Using the beautiful backdrop of the surrounding Alpine hills to their advantage, the town agreed to remodel their hamlet in the form of a Bavarian village.

Ironically Leavenworth, the Bavarian holiday town and not the saw mill town, is so popular that the train will be returning to Leavenworth once a station has been built. Leavenworth lobbied and received a federal grant for the station. The station will be part of the same line that I took to Glacier Montana, the Empire Builder line, which travels from Seattle to Chicago.

Life can be quite funny sometimes.

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One of the great things about the Leavenworth Marathon is that you run on Saturday morning leaving the rest of the weekend open to spend in the beer gardens. This is Patty who won a costume prize for the run two years in a row. She actually ran the race with at stein in her hand. That’s dedication.

Here is nice barn with a tiny speck of fall colors in the background.

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Damn, Oregon beat Washington. Then again they do make fine tasty beers. If I had to name my top favorites I’d say:

1. Scuttlebutt Blonde Ale – Everett, Washington

2. Manny’s Pale Ale – Seattle, Washington (Georgetown neighborhood)

3. Mirror Pond Pale Ale – Bend, Oregon

Via wikipedia.

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Back in Seattle

I think it’s fairly appropriate that I return to 60 degree weather and rain. Seattle, I hardly missed you.

A lot of people who come to Seattle say that people here are not as friendly as other places. I’m from California and I’ve never really noticed this observation, but I must say that people in Chicago were incredibly friendly. For someone who was new to town and only stayed there a week, I had some exceptional kindness directed at me by strangers. I didn’t really feel like I was in the city alone.

I guess I’m back to the hum drum of daily news which by the way is starting to depress me. If the Republicans win this year then America is just as depraved as everyone believes.

Here’s one last photo from Chicago.

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I thought I might talk a bit about why there exist fake German villages in America for McCain to do photo ops at.

The fake German village in Washington state where I live is called Leavenworth. And it’s history is as follows:

A sawmill and a healthy logging industry eventually fell apart, however, when the Great Northern Railway Company pulled out of Leavenworth. The re-routing of the railroad and the subsequent closure of the sawmill sadly converted the town from a bustling, thriving hub of commerce into a hollow, empty community. For more than thirty years, Leavenworth lived on the brink of extinction.

But in the early 1960’s, everything changed. In a last-chance effort to turn their precarious situation around, the leaders of the community decided to change Leavenworth’s appearance, hoping to bring tourism into the area. Using the beautiful backdrop of the surrounding Alpine hills to their advantage, the town agreed to remodel their hamlet in the form of a Bavarian village.

A lot of my friends refuse to go to Leavenworth because they say it’s too kitschy. So is Bavaria I say. Talk about garden gnomes.

One thing that strikes you when you go to Leavenworth is that everyone who’s in on the ruse is in their 60’s. It’ll be interesting to see if the next generation will carry on the tradition. Currently, it looks like the younger members of the town have an adverse reaction to wearing lederhosen. And who can blame them?

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