Special Time in the I.D.

On Sunday afternoon, Amy and I ventured to the the International District in Seattle to take a look around.  After checking the bus schedule, we ran for the number 28 thinking we might miss it.. we didn’t miss it.  Safely on the bus, we listened to the ambiance around us.. the lady who spoke sailor’s words, the bus driver who dutifully announced the stops to the three (including us) people who were on the bus.

As we approached the 3rd and Union stop downtown, we asked the busdriver how close to the ID we could get on this particular route to which he replied, “Get off here and transfer to the 7.”  Whee!  We were getting close!  We stepped off the bus, checked the nearby bus schedule and, as we scanned, realized that the 7 did not only not go where we wanted to go, but did not run on Sundays at all according to the listing.  No problem, we headed across the street, checked another stop for the 7.. not for 15 minutes.

Eager to keep moving, we ditched the bus, got some yummy-sweet coffee and started walking.  It wasn’t far, and we arrived in the ID shortly.  We knew we had arrived when we were greeted with a big smile from a stranger who apparently only knew one word in English.  “hi”  He repeated it three or four times.  “hi” to you too mr. stranger.

We spent the next while wandering and trying to decide on a place to get some food.  Perhaps Bush Gardens?  Nope, doesn’t open until 5.  How about this place?  Um.. the place that guy just walked out of?  oh.. um, nevermind.  Ooh, let’s try that place.. oh wait, they don’t have food, just bubble tea.  After a quick trip through Uwajimaya and a stop at the International Children’s Park, we consulted yelp on Amy’s trusty phone for some help in finding a place to eat.  After walking by a few places on yelp’s list, we got disracted by the Purple Dot Cafe.  As we read the menu posted outside, a girl that had just picked up her order (obviously sensing our desperation..) notified us that the food was good here, and she suggested the dim sum.  She didn’t have to twist our arms.. we had looked at so many places.. some had looked yummy (and some had, well.. not) but we were unable to settle on where to get fed.  The Purple Dot Cafe it is.

As we walked in, the first thing I noticed was that the decor was strangely bowling-alley-birthday-party-room-esque.  Maybe it was the faded confeftti carpet, the royal purple, sunshine yellow, and silver walls, or the primary-colored chairs.  Ironically, all the dots I saw were yellow.  Anyways, after aquiring the dim sum menu we ordered pork shu mai and barbecue pork steamed buns.  We deciced against the phoenix claws with spice (what?) and the deep fried stuffed eggplant (are you sure that’s eggplant in the picture?)  As we waited for our food, the patrons a couple tables down (the only other patrons in the rather roomy dining room) entertained us with their snooty foodie rudeness.  One woman insisted not to pay for an extra helping of something by pointing, shaking her finger, and saying (loudly) over and over to her server, “NO PAY.”  I’m pretty sure he would have understood, “Will I be charged extra if I request more of this please?”  The rude foodie continued to complain loudly throughout her entire meal..

After a while (longer than we expected for fairly simple selections) the steamed buns arrived and were pretty straightforward.  Barbecue pork in a sweet fluffy steamed bun.  There were three of them, so each of us ate one and we split the third.  They were warm and enjoyable.  After another while the pork shu mai came.  I took a healthy bite and my smile (and appetite) rapidly faded as I realized that pork shu mai is also known as shrimp-flavored-vomit-balls.

Okay, maybe I was just caught off guard.. apparently pork shu mai always has shrimp in it.. we just didn’t know.  In my defense, though, Amy likes shrimp and she said these were gross too.  She believed them to be fished off the bottom of the not-too-clean tanks of various (still alive) food options this establishment displayed.  Upset, we looked for our waiter to walk by so we could flag him down for the check.  After waiting a(nother) while, we gave up, headed to the cashier’s desk at the front, and paid for the food that we had only eaten half of.

Feeling like we needed to redeem our food experience for the afternoon, we headed to Unicorn Crepes.  Displayed in the window were perfectly presented plastic replicas of each variety of crepe they offered.

There were a couple dozen sweet options, as well as some (really creepy looking) savory options.

Although funny/plastic/gross, the colorful window display was effective in luring us in, and we each ordered a crepe.  Intrigued by the mysterious white orbs atop the model of the Banana Daifuku crepe (that sort of resembled eyeballs according to Amy), I ordered it.  Amy chose the Banana Whip.  The crepes come folded ice cream cone style so we took our portable goodies and headed back towards downtown.

Halfway through what was supposed to positively reclaim our food adventure, however, we both started to feel a little over-sugared and dumped the remainder of our treats.  Hopping back on the bus, we headed back to Amy’s house.  All in all, an interesting (even if culinarily disappointing) trip to the I.D.

October 8, 2008

-Jen Pride