Frugal Finds, West Coast Roadtrip – Seattle, WA (Part 1)

Oregon was a great state to visit (click on the hyperlink for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 for those entries) with fresh air and the slightly off the wall quirky culture, but I was ready to explore a new territory. I met up with a native Californian who recently moved here to explore this part of Seattle and suffice to say there’s a ton to do and see!

Welcome to my #SleeplessinSeattle series! where I’ll be hunting for my frugal finds and visiting some of the cities best hot spots. First destination is the Pike Place Market- home to a bazaar, the first Starbucks, and the Gum Wall!

img_6327The Pike Place Market is similar to many bazaars. There were various stalls selling food and souvenirs, but it was a nice covered area to take a nice stroll. It rains often in Seattle and while I wasn’t use to random sprinkles, I noticed that virtually no one brought umbrellas or seemed to care that it was misting. I guess I’m a fish out of water 😛

The offerings in this market showcased many local vendors and I appreciated the spirit of the entrepreneurs here. After walking through the area my stomach started to growl. Looks like it’s time to eat!

I saw a crowd of people in front of what looked like a bakery. It was called Piroshky Piroshky, hmm. What’s a piroshky? I figured with a long line that it was worth checking out. While perusing through my phone I found out that that this Russian bakery specializes in savory pastries. My friend and I decided to split a Beef and Cheese piroshky and you know it sorta tastes like a Chinese beef bao but with an American bread. Ha! I enjoyed it but was eager to try some other items.

Next we waited in line for the first Starbucks. I think the line spanned across 2 stores, but it moved relatively quickly. With the popularity of Starbucks there’s actually another nearby with zero line, but as a tourist it was obvious that a visit to Seattle is incomplete without a visit to THE Starbucks. Now I can cross it off my bucket list 🙂

With bellies relatively full we decided to further explore the area and found the gum wall, which you guessed it is a wall chalked full of gum.

Some tourists and locals would be completely grossed out by this site and as a teacher I should probably discourage what could be conceived as vandalism on the property, but I’m off duty and *gasp* I even bought a package of gum to add to the artwork. I’m such a rebel, lol

The tradition of sticking gum on the wall started around 1993 – I’m actually shocked that it’s a relatively new attraction. Personally, I think it’s a pretty cool place to leave your mark and take selfies, but each his own.

After enjoying the novel attraction my friend and I decided to try a local restaurant for Happy Hour. I did a quick search and found Chan Seattle – a local Korean and American fusion bar only a few streets up Pike’s Market Place.


Happy Hour is from 5:00pm-6:30pm and we just made it to enjoy their offerings. We sat at the bar and sampled four dishes: Fried Rice Cakes ($3), Bulgogi Beef Sliders ($6), Chicken Wings ($6), Fried Pacific Oysters ($6) to tantalize our taste buds. Flavor wise it was on the more salty and spicy side, but with a glass of beer I can imagine many patrons enjoying these tapas.

Have you visited Pike’s Market Place? What’s your favorite attraction there? Comment below.




Frugal Finds, West Coast Roadtrip – Portland, OR (Part 3)

Next on the Oregon Trail series (Click Oregon Part 1, Oregon Part 2 – if you missed those entries) we drove up and to the Pittock Mansion, a French Renaissance-style chateau and home of the The Oregonian newspaper owner Henry Pittock.

Located in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon, this mansion has 46 rooms estate and is situated on 46 acres. It’s now owned by the city’s Bureau of Parks and Recreation and open for touring. You can check out the interior of the home for a $10 general admission fee, but we decided to just enjoy the picturesque skyline.

My goodness, just look at this stunning view! The photos don’t even do it justice!


img_6232 We then drove back to Downtown Portland to check out a punk-rock theme restaurant called Killer Burger, a local Oregon franchise that serves up a mean burger. Made famous by their Peanut Butter Pickle Bacon burger we bit the bullet and ordered one – mind you we ate at two restaurants 2 hours ago, so we were not prepared for another full blown meal lol

With a 1/3 lb of 100% Angus Beef, Bacon, house sauce, mayo grilled onions, sliced pickles this burger was massive and heavy. Top it off with some bottomless fries, and this baby could easily fed me for two meals.

I’m actually not a huge fan of peanut butter, but this burger just might make me convert. The ratio of meat and the other ingredients was perfect and the flavor just explodes in your mouth. Mmmm…

They also offer a Crazy Hour (aka Happy Hour) Monday- Friday from 2:00- 5:00pm where they offer a discount on their popular items.

  1. Classic Burger or PBPB with Bacon with bottomless fries $6.95 (reg $9.65)
  2. Micro Brews $3.50 (reg $5.50)
  3. All Soft Drinks $1.00 (reg $2.50)

Would you try the peanut butter and pickle burger? Comment below!




Frugal Finds, West Coast Roadtrip – Portland, OR (Part 2)

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream – and you know Portland’s going to be cranking out some really amazing exotic flavors as it’s the birthplace of Salt and Straw, an artisanal ice cream shop that’s made headliners as one of the nations best ice cream shop!

*For my readers just joining me on my “8 Day West Coast Roadtrip” you can click the hyperlink to see the list of cities I visited, or if you missed my “1st Oregon entry” click the hyperlink.

Salt & Straw is well known among the foodie community as having creative and tasty creations. Some of their standout flavors include “Pear and Blue Cheese” and “Strawberry Balsamic and Black Pepper.” Although these pairings may sound unusual they do allow customers to sample different flavor profiles before making a purchase. Personally I think I sampled 10 or so and had a really difficult time choosing one.

For the indecisive foodie, one can consider getting the taster tray, which no only photographs well, but also allows a guest to get 4 different flavors. This is a great option for $9 and because it’s in Oregon – no sales tax, yes!


I think one reason why it was so difficult for me to choose because I wanted to pick four very distinct flavors to keep it interesting. Here are the four that I ultimately chose.

Freckled Woodblock Chocolate – This was a pleasant chocolate ice cream. It’s more of a classic choice, but still distinct with the bits of chocolate flakes.

Sourdough with Chocolate and Strawberries (Limited Edition Flavor) – This flavor was a huge surprise to me. I would never have thought to put the two together. Definitely my favorite and I hope they’ll consider making this a permanent flavor!


Pear with Blue Cheese – It’s very subtle when you first try it, but leaves a very potent aftertaste. I would say that among the four this one is more of an acquired taste, but I appreciated how it does have an explosion of flavor.

Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons – A bit salty, but it’s a great balance with the sweet caramel

For my Los Angeles Readers they have a branch in Studio City – so you can get your fix too!

With so many rich flavors nested in my tummy we decided to head to one of Portland’s most beautiful locations and take a stroll down the International Rose Test Garden – one of the best FREE attractions in Portland.

Open year-round from 7:30 am – 900 pm, this park is a fantastic place for everyone to enjoy – horticulture enthusiasts, families, couples, and singles. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous and backdrop is perfect for engagement, graduation photos, or tourists like myself 🙂

img_6209Even though I visited in the summer time, the roses were in full bloom and it smelled amazing there. I wish they developed smell-o-vision so you can experience it too.

There are over 10,000 roses in this 4.5 acre land and while I did not get the opportunity to attend a tour they do offer them. From June 2 through September 19 trained volunteers led tours at 11:30 am on Tuesdays and 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

img_6219For a gal for always loves to be on the run, I couldn’t help myself but soak in the calmness of this environment. If I lived near this garden I could definitely see myself taking a stroll on a weekly basis. It just puts you at ease and really allows you to just appreciate the simple beauties of this world. I guess it just reinforces the ideology that we ought to “stop and smell the roses” – literally 🙂

Do you have a favorite rose? Comment below!





Frugal Finds, West Coast Roadtrip – Portland, OR (Part 1)

Still following my Oregon Trails (Check this link for the 1st Oregon entry)? Hope you’ve packed a voracious appetite because we’re going to be eating a ton of food for the next few entries 🙂

Portland is a quirky city known for their eclectic and creative food scene so naturally we checked out a few of the city’s hottest places to eat.  The first spot was Tasty n Alder, a local bar serving American fare with a twist. We sampled three items at the bar from their Mid-Day Menu (2:00pm – 5:30pm) and thoroughly enjoyed the offerings.

We started out with the radicchio, a salad mixed with lardons, manchego, six minute egg and gratted cheese. In some ways it’s like a caesar salad with a bit of a bite. A large is $7 and the portion is very generous. I definitely recommend trying that out! We also a side of fries ($3), which were adequate and ended with a panna cotta – which was extremely creamy and topped with Oregon rasberries soaked in vanilla. Yum!


A few streets down we headed to our next foodie spot – Lardo‘s, a restaurant and bar that specializes in pork sammys. Our meter was running so we called in (during our happy hour meal at Tasty N Alder) and ordered our sammy to go. We picked up our Korean Pork Shoulder sammy ($10) with house kimchi, and chili mayo so that we could grab and go, but I couldn’t resist and took a quick bite. It’s spicy for the sensitive eater and the meat is also on the more fatty side thus oozing with grease but I did enjoy the flavor combination.

If you’re at Lardo’s during Happy Hour (3pm -6pm) they do offer $3 pints daily.

With so much food in our belly we decided to take a stroll around downtown and check out the famous Powell’s Bookstore. With over 3000 Yelp reviews and a 5 star rating I couldn’t fathom what could make this bookstore worthy of  such an honor so I went to check it out myself.

Wow! Just by size alone I was completely floored by the space and number of books. Powells is enormous! With four floors filled with books of every genre and category this store is a bookworm’s dream house. They sell new and used books and also have handwritten staff recommendations (just seemed like a nice personable touch). I casually walked through a few aisle’s and was completely captivated by the different book offerings and easily could have stayed in that aisle for an hour or so. In a way I felt like Belle in Beauty and the Beast and lost in an adventure (although to be fair, I was drooling over some recipes in the food aisle lol).

I found the rare-book-room where limited edition and hard to find books are located. Guests need to check in their items and attain a pass from the info desk, but it was quick and simple process. They have a $12,500 book for sale (obviously behind glass for good reason!) The De Bello Judaico translated as The Jewish War is a  book bounded by parchment sheet from 1480. Considering how old it is it’s actually in pretty good shape!

I will have at least two other Portland entries coming up, but until then which aisle would you be venturing through at Powels? Politics? Religion? Food? Fashion? Comment below!