It’s that time of year when I take every chance I can get to leave town to explore other parts of the state. It was mostly sunny when I woke up and it seemed like a good day to ride bikes on to the ferry and spend the day across the Puget Sound on Bainbridge Island.
The Washington State Ferry service is the largest in the country and most of it leaves right out of the port of Seattle. The pier is maybe a mile downhill from my apartment. I checked the schedule online and coasted down to the terminal. Bikes load with the cars on the below decks. The roundtrip fare to Bainbridge is $5.40 with a $1 surcharge for a bike. You can lock your bike in the below deck and go upstairs to the lounge and the upper deck. It’s a bout a 35 minute sail to Bainbridge. The view of Seattle from the water is worth the price of the trip.
The terminal at Bainbridge is at Winslow in Eagle Harbor. I guess a former east coaster would say that Bainbridge is the Nantucket of Washington. It’s not all that touristy; it’s more of a Seattle bedroom community than a resort. Winslow isn’t that much to look at. I think they did a great disservice to the town when they decided to have angle-in parking along the main street instead of parallel parking. The parked cars act as a barrier between the street and the shops along the street. They would have been better off to sacrifice a few parking spaces in order to make the town more pedestrian friendly.
What makes Bainbridge a good destination for biking is that once you leave the dock you are out in the countryside. Two lane roads wind up and down hills and past tidal pools and beaches. Traffic is sparse and the few cars you encounter are used to sharing the road with bicycles.
We rode around the eastern side of the island and stopped at Murden Cove. The tide was way out exposing a huge tidal flat that was being ravaged by gulls, herons, cormorants, and blackbirds. The tide pools were filled with mussels, clams, and crabs. Seattle was right across the sound but it seemed hundreds of miles away. I can see the water from my apartment but I can never smell the ocean like you can at Murden Cove. It was so quiet you could almost here a bald eagle fly directly overhead. As I walked along the beach this recipe kept popping into my head:
ZUPPA DI COZZE
2 garlic gloves
1/3 onion (diced)
1 16 oz can Italian tomatoes
½ cup white wine
¾ pound Penne Cove Mussels (washed thoroughly)
Sautée the garlic and onions in a bit of olive oil. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about five minutes. Add the wine and bring up to a simmer. Add the mussels and cover. Cook until the mussels open (just a couple minutes). I like to serve this dish (not really a soup but merely a vehicle for eating mussels) with the bread cut up and in the bowls. Squeeze fresh lemon over dish.
The ferries run every hour so come back home whenever you want. I just like the idea that I can get this far away from Seattle without getting in my car. My next trip on the Puget Sound will be up to Victoria, British Columbia but that will have to wait until it gets a little warmer.
Back in Seattle you quickly remember that there isn’t much to do on a Monday night. I have to recommend the movie Bend It Like Beckham even though it was a little like watching a two hour TV sitcom. It is super-sweet and gives a good insight into life in a Sikh Indian family living in the London suburbs. I think what I like most about these sorts of independent movies is that I don’t recognize a single person in the cast. I just can’t do the Hollywood movies anymore. Period. If it has a star in it I won’t go see it. I may get around to watching the Hollywood tripe on DVD (I rarely watch all of the movie) but I won’t go see it at the theater.
After the movie I almost hyperventilated when I found the door locked to the Than Brothers Vietnamese restaurant in the U district. I could only start breathing again when I found another Vietnamese joint right across the street that serves a pretty good bowl of Pho—my latest favorite dish. Pho is really nothing more than glorified top Ramen. You would think that anyone who was poor and went to college could never eat another bowl of noodle soup but I guess time has healed my wounds inflicted by too many nights eating top Ramen at six packages for a dollar.