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July 25, 2003
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Utilikilts, Sushi, and Victor's

I woke up to the sound of George singing in the shower and then I heard Jet start singing, too. Turned out that Jet had found Grandpa in the shower and insisted that he join him. Hee. So Jet's good and clean, too, along with Grandpa. That seemed like a fun thing for Jet to do.

Today was shopping day for John and I. When Jet went down for his nap, we left the house and headed out to try and hit all the spots we wanted to hit before we left the area.

The prime objective was Utilikilts, in north Seattle, but we had a few things we wanted to do afterwards, too. On the way out we got caught by the carpool lane on I-90 and got dumped out in the International District, rather than getting on I-5 to head north. So we took advantage of the fact, and stopped at Uwajamaya Village.

WE shopped the store, and then hit the food alley in the back of the store for our lunch. We both ended up eating food at the deli, which seemed modeled for the deli at the 99 Market. Lots of interesting foods, and I got a bunch of steamed bao, vegetarian and a "pork hash" that turned out to be more meat than hash. I had been hoping for more vegetables in it.

I also got a pearl tea. With pearls and tea, good strong tea with a bit of lychee flavoring and fruit in it. It was really excellent. The big, chewy, fragrant tapioca pearls were wonderful. The tea was really strong, the bottom of the cup still warm from it being fresh-brewed, and it was scented with lychee. I think that they may even have used a lychee black tea, something where the leaves are infused with lychee essence before it's oxidized and dried. Yum. It was very much worth the small extra effort to do that.

I also got two peeled, roasted chestnuts. I asked for one as a sample from the street vendor when we went in. Then, on the way out, John asked for one, and instead of eating it, he popped it into my mouth! I love roasted chestnuts, but I couldn't justify buying a whole bag of them when I knew that there were so many other things I wanted to eat before we left. The two was just right, though.

From there we headed north, on city streets. It was fun to just drive through the city and see what had changed since we'd been around. Even the north end of town was fun to just see. It's all industrialized and everything, so it's a strange place to like seeing, but we'd been by this area of town a lot when we were playing soccer on the fields that dot the area. It's cheap land.

We finally got to 15th NW, and found the big white sign with black lettering that said, "Utilikilts." It was a very strange parking arrangement, though, having to go through two garages under the building to get to the lot at the back of the building. The Eurovan *just* fit under the rather low roofs. We then walked back around to get into the show room for the kilts.

Utilikilts makes modern kilts. They're made from poly-cotton fabric, have the pleats sewn in so they can just be thrown into the washer, and they're in all kinds of cool colors and fabrics. One of the styles is a workman's utility belt in the form of a kilt. It has all the loops for hammers, tap measures, and other equipment, along with a modesty catch for when the guy has to climb ladders or construction. It's made out of super heavy-duty cloth that work overalls are also made out of . So they're pretty heavy duty. Though I would wonder at any construction work that would be caught dead on a work site in a kilt.

Of course, as we're getting our introduction, three guys come bounding into the store in kilts. It turned out, however, that they worked there, so I think that doesn't count. Both John and I tried on kilts. I ended up liking the black camouflage pattern, in a medium length kilt. John looked wonderful in a postal blue kilt in the more traditional small length. The sales lady and I both admired him happily. I had to order my kilt, as they didn't have the size and color that I wanted. John wore his out the door. Hee.

So his mom got to see him in his kilt when we got home. Hee. George was very impressed by the utilitarian aspects of the kilt. He liked the craftsmanship and how easy it was to care for it. What I really liked what how much interest he showed in John's new purchase.

John and I went to I Love Sushi in Bellevue. Seattle was having it's Sea Fair this weekend, and the waterfront and all the bridges would be mad with people. Instead of braving all that, we just stayed on the Eastside and enjoyed a quiet little dinner at a place we both loved. Soft-shell crab, the usual assortment of rolls and nigiri, and some entertainment. I don't remember that many kids being at this restaurant in the days we came here, but I guess all the yuppies that loved sushi in the nineties are having their kids now and bringing them with them to dinner. It was pretty fun. The table next to us had three boys and an exchange student girl from Japan, who had to show them how to drink their miso. That was nearly as interesting as Dad's lectures on how to use yoshiburi and what was in the miso.

We enjoyed our meal immensely, and then went into Redmond, proper, to get gas for the Eurovan and get something from Victor's for dessert. It was fun to see John hop out of the van in his kilt, and then he filled up the tank while ignoring all the people that were looking at him. Then, when he came back into the car, he grinned and said, "The station guy said, 'Man,, that takes a lot of balls to wear a kilt to work!'" Hee. While being on vacation, the days have lost some of their significance, other than for anticipating traffic patterns. It being a Friday, I guess the guy could assume John had just gotten off from work (at 7?). Still, I agreed with the general sentiment and I'm still sure that John will wear his kilt to work when we get back.

We then went back to Victor's. Nostalgia is a fun thing. There were two very hip young ladies behind the coffee bar, and they got us our drinks and desserts while discussing a friend's love life. Hee. We sat out on the porch and ate and drank and watched people wander in and out and by. All kinds of people, including members of a band that was going to be performing later tonight. I think kids phase shift you. I know that I used to drop in here only when the bands had started playing, instead of feeling like it was already pretty late now that it was 9.

The drinks were good, as usual. My mango 'tiramisu' was just cream and mangos on egg sponge. I didn't taste any mascarpone or espresso in the cake. I guess I had to supply my own espresso... so it really didn't seem like a tiramisu to me. Ah well, but it was tasty enough with my coffee. Maybe it's just the memories that make it taste good. This isn't the shop that remmebered my name, my drink preferences for so many years, anymore. The coffee isn't roasting in the back room any more, and we don't get to see Victor or Jane anymore, all the reasons we used to come. So maybe it was just the memories...

We headed back to George and Isabel's after that, and they said that Jet had been asking for us, so I worked at getting Jet to bed, and it didn't take that long. It was so nice to be able to have the time away, so much, but I guess Jet's suffering a little anxiety from all the departures. We'll be together soon enough, as we're going towards home on Monday, but Jet can't know that.

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