Once we were finally free of those rental car keys, we debated about whether to get breakfast or not. We stopped by Sweet Iron in hopes of having some more waffles, but it looked pretty crowded, and the weather was even less appealing for sitting outside than it was the day before. Instead, we decided to get on with our plans and have an early lunch.
So we hopped on a bus to the Fremont neighborhood.
Fremont is one of the more, shall we say, interesting neighborhoods of Seattle. Their website describes it thusly: "Renowned as Seattle's most artistically eccentric community, Fremont wavers somewhere in time between the 50's, 60's and the 23rd century." In amongst some of the more normal cute boutiques, there's the Lenin statue (above) from former Czechoslovakia, there's an old Soviet-era rocket (below), and there's the Fremont Troll (more on that later).
Basically, it's a neighborhood with quirky stuff all over the place. Even the murals were cool. The work pictured below and this one nearby were done by Ryan Henry Ward. Oh, the whimsy...
The selling point for visiting Fremont was actually the Fremont Sunday Market. Chrissy and Kevin recommended the Los Agaves stand at the Sunday Market as one of the few places that has pretty authentic tacos al pastor in the Pacific Northwest. Since we had never tried them before, and I knew Steve would probably enjoy it, I added it to our itinerary for Sunday lunch.
The tacos ended up being kind of messy but really good. The meat was pork, marinated and then cut from the spit—the "al pastor" or "Shepherd-style" part. It was served with pineapple, onions, cilantro, salsa, and lime juice, as is traditional. Steve got the hot salsa and I got mild, but mine was plenty hot. The pineapple did a nice job of brightening the flavor and balancing the heat. We also got some horchata to drink, which helped too.
We walked around the market a little afterward, but we didn't buy anything else. There were several vendors selling crafts, artisan snacks, and lunch food. We were already full, so we didn't even get anything from the awesome pig mobile (pictured below).
From there, we walked over to the Theo Chocolate factory. We didn't want to take the time for a tour, but we had fun looking through their chocolate shop and trying some of the samples that were out. We came out with a box of rose caramels, a lemongrass milk chocolate bar, and a dark chocolate bar that had crunchy bits of bread in it.
Continuing on, we stopped at a store called Deluxe Junk. Similar to some of the stores in our neighborhood, they sold various antiques and random old stuff. They even had a nice selection of vintage board games. There was also a weird/creepy fry statue out front.
Then it was time to head over toward Gas Works Park to meet Steve's cousin Crystal and her family. We had to stop at the Fremont Troll on the way, however. We walked through a nice neighborhood, just off Fremont's main drag, and I took a picture of a random restaurant patio. I thought the light bulbs were cool.
As we got closer to the troll, I spotted a nice detail outside one of the houses under the bridge. They had three billy goats on their lawn.
When we got to the Fremont Troll, and we realized that there were actors rehearsing on it. Apparently, they were rehearsing for Shakespeare on the Troll. (Steve found a flier.) I wasn't sure which play it was, but it was obviously one of the tragedies, judging by the amount of "stabbing" and "choking" going on.
Thankfully, we waited around long enough for the actors to take a break. They cleared the area in front, and the little crowd of tourists that had gathered (me included) was able to take some pictures of the troll without getting the extra people in the shot.
Gas Works Park was next, and we hurried along the Burke-Gilman Trail by the water to meet Crystal and Zach at the appointed time.
The park has a nice hill and some rustic gas works from when the former Seattle Gas Light Company used it. The old equipment isn't the prettiest thing ever, but it definitely makes up for that in character.
We met Zach, Crystal, their daughter Julia, and their dog Muppet at the park, and then we headed up the little hill to check out the view. Mostly we just chatted, and I snapped a few pictures now and then. It was a little cold and started drizzling again, so we couldn't really sit and enjoy the park too much.
We got a group picture that a stranger was nice enough to take, which included the view of downtown and the Space Needle in the distance.
I took a few more shots before we left, including the one below. Sadly, I wasn't fast enough to get any pictures of the little biplanes or seaplanes that flew overhead. I had this great image in my head of one of them flying over the hill, but there were none to be seen when I was actually ready for them.
After the park, our plan was to walk up to Wallingford for a snack at Trophy Cupcakes. Crystal and Zach decided to join us, so we all trekked up the hill together. We each picked out a cupcake from Trophy, and we found a place that wasn't too damp outside to sit and eat them. Steve got Chai Cardamom, Zach got Triple Chocolate, Crystal got Chocolate Chip Mint, and I chose Chocolate Graham Cracker. Mine was basically a s'mores cupcake, with toasted marshmallow frosting and a graham cracker crust on the bottom of a chocolate cupcake. It was quite good, although it seemed a bit greasy, probably from the graham cracker crust. In any case, the flavors were more interesting than Cupcake Royale, and apparently their empty coffee cups make good teethers.
It was fun seeing Crystal and Zach and meeting Julia (and Muppet). Aside from being friends with Crystal on Facebook, I had only seen met them once before, when they were visiting SF in the summer of 2005. That was before they got married and before they had Julia.
We parted ways after a while, and Steve and I did a quick walk around Wallingford. We didn't have time to see much, but it seemed like a neighborhood with less to see anyway.
They had a pretty cool sculpture-totem pole-thing, which was fun to photograph.
We walked by Tilth, a restaurant that's on our list for next time. Coffee, gelato, and ice cream didn't end up happening though, what with the cupcakes and all. We didn't want to spoil our dinner.
Before long, it was time to catch the bus from Wallingford to Ballard for that dinner.