Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club In Seattle

I haven’t really researched much, but I can only imagine there are few places around the world where you can rent a kayak and then fill your belly on Mexican food and drinks all in one location. That’s exactly what you can do at Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club in Seattle, and that’s what makes the place so special. Some would even argue that Agua Verde has the best fish tacos in the city!

Agua Verde Seattle Sign

Agua Verde

My friend Tove and I checked out Agua Verde (located on Portage Bay between Lake Union and Lake Washington) during our Seattle staycation. My mom insisted that we try their fish tacos. Right when I got to Agua Verde, I realized I’d been there before. My mom took me there for a paddle and some food when I was a kid. I remembered the eats being pretty darn good, so it got my appetite all revved up.

Tove and I didn’t take part in the kayaking this time around, instead we just went for food (which is made fresh from scratch daily). We got there on the early side of happy hour (Monday-Thursday from 4pm-6pm), so we were seated immediately. We wanted a table outside, but we were told those were only for people taking part in happy hour (having drinks/eating chips and salsa). That was a little disappointing (because it was a beautiful summer day), but the rules are the rules.

Since the Agua Verde fish tacos came highly recommended, I honestly didn’t look at much of the menu. I asked our server which fish tacos he liked the best, and he quickly said the catfish (‘Bagre’ on the menu). I have a tough time making my own decisions, so I took his advice and ordered the catfish, while Tove went for the fried cod (‘Bacalao’ on the menu).

Agua Verde Fish Tacos

Catfish (Bagre) Tacos

The food was as good as advertised, but I can’t go as far as saying Agua Verde has the best fish tacos in Seattle (only because they’re the ONLY fish tacos I’ve had in Seattle so far). The tacos (there are two of them) are served with a side of rice, and black beans and cheese. Tove couldn’t finish both of her tacos so I was able to compare the fried cod and catfish. I think the catfish was better, but just because it packed a little spice.

I wish I would have known this when I was there, but Agua Verde makes its own home-made drinks (including margaritas) from scratch too. In fact, the Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club only serves local and sustainable food on their menu. The fruits and vegetables are all organic, the meat comes from farm-raised animals without growth hormones or antibiotics, and the seafood is caught or raised using eco-friendly techniques.

Again, Tove and I didn’t rent kayaks at Agua Verde, but my mom and I did years ago. I remember paddling to Gas Works Park on Lake Union. From some of the reviews I’ve read, it sounds like the prices are a little steep at the paddle club, but I honestly have no idea how much it should cost. The happy hour deal at Agua Verde sounds pretty sweet though. You can rent kayaks for three hours for the price of two hours, and since the boats need to back by 4pm to get the deal, you can then walk right into the cafe for the start of happy hour there (again, Monday-Thursday from 4pm-6pm).

Since I just moved back to Seattle, there are several new restaurants I’d like to try before I head back to Agua Verde. There’s no doubt I’ll be back again though. I’ll definitely go for a paddle, and then come back for some fish tacos next time. That sounds like an awesome summer afternoon to me!

Have you ever been to Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club? What did you think of their food? How about the kayaking? I’d love to hear from you. You can simply leave a message below or you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on Seattle, sports, music and more!

Taking A Trip To The Top Of The Space Needle

I’ve seen the Space Needle a million times in my life. The deck off my office at work literally looks right at the Seattle landmark. I’m not talking about from a distance either — we’re right across the street from the Space Needle. Whenever I go outside to soak up some sun or take a quick break, I see the tourists buzzing around the attraction. Just a few weeks ago, I became one of those ‘tourists’ too.

The Space Needle in Seattle, Washington

My view of the Space Needle from work

As you might already know, I just moved back to Seattle after several years away. To help me get acquainted with the city again, I planned a four-day Seattle staycation last month. I did as all the tourists do when they’re in the Emerald City. I rode The Great Wheel, went to Pike Place Market and visited the top of the Space Needle — something I hadn’t done since I was a little kid.

On the first day of my Seattle staycation, my friend Tove and I marched around the city during the day, and waited until night to visit the Space Needle. We finally made it to the 50-year-old, 604-foot structure at 10pm (it closes at 11pm Sunday-Thursday; 11:30pm Friday and Saturday). It was a Monday, so there was no line at all (even during the peak tourism season). We just walked up, bought our tickets ($19 apiece — you can buy tickets online to avoid extra lines when its busy) and took the elevator to the top.

I was torn on what time of day to visit the Space Needle. Should we go during the day or at night? It was a tough choice, but like I mentioned, we finally settled on the night. I’m not sure that was the best decision though. Don’t get me wrong — the view of Seattle from the top of the Space Needle at night is incredible. There were clear skies, so it felt like you could see lights for miles. On the other hand, Seattle is famous for beautiful mountains, the Puget Sound and its greenery (that’s why it’s called the Evergreen State). At night, you can’t see the mountains, the Puget Sound just looks like a black blob (the awesome lakes in the area look the same way too), and there’s no green to speak of. With that said, I did hear one person on the observation deck say, “The view is much better at night, that’s for sure.” I guess I need to see the view during the day to compare it, but knowing the area like I do, I just feel like the daytime would be better to visit the top of the Space Needle.

You can take a look for yourself! This is a quick video I shot from the top of the Space Needle. Again, the view is still incredible at night — this clip doesn’t even do it justice:

I don’t care how much it costs or what time of day it is — the Space Needle is a must-see tourist attraction when you visit Seattle. I’m not just saying take pictures from the ground level; you need to go to the top. I even encourage a trip to people who live in the area and haven’t seen the view from the Space Needle observation deck in a long time. It’s always good to be reminded what a beautiful city we live in.

Have you ever been to the top of the Space Needle? If you have, what did you think of the view? I’d love to hear from you! Simply leave a message below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. And don’t forget, if you can’t travel the globe; experience the world with me at http://allaroundtim.com!

Space Needle Seattle Washington

The Space Needle from the ground up

‘The Great Wheel’ | Seattle’s Newest Attraction

You don’t always have to go far for a travel adventure. Sometimes you can find plenty of fun in your own backyard — just like I did last week. I spent four days playing tourist in Seattle — where I now live and work. I grew up in this area, but it’s much different to scout a place as an adult than it is a kid. I hit up Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and now no ”staycation” (or vacation) in Seattle is complete without a ride on ‘The Great Wheel’.

The Great Wheel Seattle Sunset Ferris Wheel

‘The Great Wheel’

‘The Great Wheel’ (or technically ‘The Seattle Great Wheel’) is Seattle’s new Ferris wheel (it opened in late June). You can find the attraction on the waterfront on Pier 57 (near the Seattle Aquarium). It’s not like you need directions though — ‘The Great Wheel’ is easy to spot. That’s because it stands 175 feet tall, making it the largest year-round Ferris wheel in the United States.

Modeled after the London Eye in England (but much, much smaller), ‘The Great Wheel’ is an awesome addition to the already spectacular Seattle skyline. The Ferris wheel can fit as many as 252 people in its 42 enclosed gondolas (which have air conditioning and heat if needed). ’The Great Wheel’ provides unique views of Seattle and the Puget Sound (it literally extends 40-feet over Elliot Bay) that you can’t find anywhere else.

This is video I captured on ‘The Great Wheel’ last week. I was on the left side of the gondola with my back toward the water, so that means I was looking at the city. Enjoy the ride!

A full ride on ‘The Great Wheel’ consists of three revolutions. It’s a little slow to get started just because of the time it takes to get everyone on and off the Ferris wheel. That’s not a complaint though — I think it’s a good thing. The slow start allows you to soak up the views. The entire ride (including the time it takes to get people on and off) lasted 25 minutes, and I’m told that’s the average time for a cruise on ‘The Great Wheel’.

View from 'The Seattle Great Wheel'

A view of Seattle from ‘The Great Wheel’

The wait time to get on the Ferris wheel is a much different story. There are actually two lines you have to wait in: one to buy tickets ($13 + tax for adults, $11 for seniors, $8.50 for children 4-11, while kids 0-3 are free (although they still need a ticket)), and the other to get on ‘The Great Wheel’. I highly recommend buying your tickets online to save time (that way you can skip the ticket line and just wait for the ride instead). I rode ‘The Great Wheel’ on a Monday (after buying my tickets in advance — allowing me to skip at least 70 people in the ticket line) and only had to wait about 20 minutes to get on the ride.

I want to pass along one small warning, especially to those of you who want to ride in a gondola alone. If ‘The Great Wheel’ is busy (which it has been since it opened) and you don’t have a group large enough to fill a gondola (they seat eight), you likely have to ride in a cabin with other people. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing (I rode with a nice family visiting from Houston); I’m just letting you know that’s how it works.

I’ve heard mixed reviews on ‘The Great Wheel’. Some say it’s overpriced and/or the ride isn’t long enough, while others rave about their experience. I’ll say this — if you’re a local you might not enjoy the Ferris wheel as much as a tourist, but ultimately, I think everyone should take at least one spin on Seattle’s newest attraction.

Have you been on ‘The Great Wheel’? If you have, what did you think? I would love to hear from you! You can leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget that if you can’t travel the world; experience the world with me at http://allaroundtim.com!

Meeting, Watching Allen Stone Perform Live In Seattle

I can’t say I listen to a ton of soul music, but Allen Stone is definitely starting to push me into the soul scene. I was already a big fan of Stone before this week, but after meeting him and watching him perform live, I’m a huge fan of Allen Stone now.

Allen Stone Easy Street Records SeattleI just caught Allen Stone at a free in-store performance at Easy Street Records in Seattle. Even though it was a hot, crammed, little music store, it was an awesome atmosphere for a show. There were honestly no more than 350 people in the building, and Stone treated it like any other large venue he’s rocked. The store apparently told Stone he could only play for 30 minutes, but Stone says he told them “f%#@ that” and played for more than an hour and twenty minutes.

Stone played most of his own stuff  from his rereleased self-titled debut album (‘Celebrate Tonight‘, ‘Sleep‘, etc.), but he also strayed off the beaten path a couple of times. The first time Allen Stone covered ‘Six Years’ by Tingsek (a song that’s actually on his vinyl album), and the second time he rocked ‘Is This Love‘ by Bob Marley. Aside from the end of the show, Stone received his biggest ovation after ’Is This Love’. The crowd literally brought (or nearly brought) Stone to tears.

This is video I shot of Allen Stone rocking ‘Six Years’ at the performance…

I’ve listened to Allen Stone’s album too many times now (because it’s rad), but I honestly think Stone is even better live than he is on CD. You don’t lose anything in his live performance (the guy still has killer pipes) like you might with some musicians. In fact, I think you gain a lot watching Allen Stone live. His music has tons of feeling (as does most soul music — hence the name), but you can really see the feeling when Stone is on stage. Plus, it’s cool to see such a quirky dude rock a microphone.

Allen Stone keeps the crowd jamming throughout his show as well. Whether it was asking you to be background singers for ‘Say So’ (Say so! Say so! Say so!), grabbing a loved one for ‘Your Eyes’, or even forcing you to dance (he says it’s something he does at every show), Stone keeps you active during his performance. The best word to describe it — fun.

Tim Lewis KOMO Allen Stone Tove Tupper SeattleAfter the show Stone met with fans for pictures and autographs. He said he wanted to meet everyone — whether they wanted to hug him or slap him in the face. I didn’t wait for him after the show, because I actually ran into Allen Stone on the streets of Seattle. My friend Tove and I were strolling down 5th Avenue when we spotted Stone outside of a store. I’m not one to make a big deal about celebrities, but I have a mutual friend with Stone, so we went up to say hello. The guy is awesome. He’s just a normal dude who loves to sing. He’s definitely getting more popular though, because several people approached him on the street before and after us.

I have a feeling a year from now Allen Stone won’t be this easy to access. He’s now signed with Dave Matthew’s record label ATO Records, and his career is ready for take off. I can’t imagine Stone will be playing too many more music stores in Seattle anytime soon. It’s fun to meet/see a guy before he gets big — and BIG is definitely in Allen Stone’s future.

Are you an Allen Stone fan? Have you seen him perform live? What do you think of his album? I’m curious to know what your opinion is. Leave a comment right here or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+. Don’t forget to check out more of my music posts right now on http://allaroundtim.com!