Monthly Archives: January 2011

Win a Book: The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle

Hot off the press, The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle by David Volk reveals all kinds of secrets for living the good life – for less – in Seattle.


Did you know you can get free passes to advance movie screenings by signing up for the JW Film Club,

Or that selected appetizers are free at Oliver’s at Mayflower Park,, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday?

Or you can take a free beginning yoga class on Saturdays at Samadhi Yoga,

Okay, that’s all the info I’m giving away. The book’s pages are packed with deals and discounts, plus it’s an entertaining read because David is a very funny guy.

David says, “Even though the book is all about free and cheap stuff you can do in Seattle, it isn’t about badgering merchants to save 5 or 10 cents on a purchase. Instead, it’s all about quality of life and finding ways to do things you would already do, for less.”

If you win the book, David will be happy to sign it at his next reading at Third Place Books in Ravenna, 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 15th.

At his readings he always offers a prize to the person who brings in the best cheap bastard deal (as determined by the audience). You could be the proud owner of a screaming monkey doll, a carabener calculator, a mooing cow flashlight/key ring or something else.

Lastly he mentions deals almost daily on his Facebook fan page, The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle. You can also subscribe to a daily deal e-mail list at or go to his blog at If there’s more than one good deal a day, you’ll find the additional deals only on his blog.

To win a copy of The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle, make a comment on this post and the winner will be announced on Thursday, February 3, 2011.

Award-Winning Hotel in Unlikely Place

Guest room at Cedarbrook Lodge, courtesy Richmond Public Relations.

If you were dropped onto the property by helicopter, you wouldn’t know it was only five minutes from the bustling SeaTac Airport. Nestled in a woodsy setting (18 acres of restored wetlands), Cedarbrook Lodge offers guests serenity and luxury at an affordable price. They also get top-of-the-line amenities like terry-lined spa robes, soaking tubs, contemporary art work and a spacious, modern lobby. Plus it’s dog-friendly.

Canine guests receive a welcome amenity that includes a bed, bed sheet, food bowl and a tasty treat. For Fido’s other dining needs, he can order off the “Puppy Pantry” menu and have it delivered to the room.

TripAdvisor readers have found this gem because they gave it four top ratings in the 2011 Travelers’ Choice Awards. Cedarbrook was rated No. 1 Hotel in the United States, No. 2 Bargain Hotel in the U.S., No. 6 Best Service in the U.S. and No. 17 Hotel in the World.

Outdoor seating at Cedarbrook Lodge, courtesy Richmond Public Relations.

That’s not too shabby considering these awards come from real people who really travel, not paid PR people.

One guest from Idaho said, “Cedarbrook is one of those places that is so wonderfully unexpected you can hardly wait to return.”

A favorite amenity of mine is their 24-hour grab ‘n’ go snacks. You can go down the hall anytime of the day or night and grab some malt balls or Haagen-Dazs to cure the munchies. No getting in the car and driving to a convenience store.

Let’s not forget the Copperleaf Restaurant where Executive Chef Mark Bodinet prepares farm-to-table local and regional treats. Bodinet spent five years working at the French Laundry Restaurant in Napa Valley.

Unbelievable that this is just around the corner from the airport, courtesy of Richmond Public Relations.

If you’re not into quiet and relaxing there’s plenty to do just around the corner including shopping at Southcenter Mall.

This just in:  (And you don’t have to wait until the 11 o’clock news to find out what it is.) Copperleaf, a 30-seat quintessentially Northwest restaurant at Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle, has been recognized as one of the 2011 Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S. by Gayot for its farm-to-table cuisine and commitment to locally sourced ingredients.

New Pick-Quick Opens Soon

Have you ever eaten a Pick-Quick hamburger from the iconic drive-in in Fife? People say that should be on your bucket list. I know, firsthand, just how yummy they are. 

Rendering of the Auburn location, courtesy of Richmond Public Relations.

In USA Today, Jay Friedman, a freelance food writer and gastronaut, named the Pick-Quick burger the very best in the whole state of Washington. I would have to agree. The food sends waves of delight from my tongue to my brain. But, there’s one problem with the Fife location – I don’t really like sitting outside in the rain to enjoy my meal.

In three weeks that problem will be solved. After 49 years of having only a single location, Pick-Quick will open a restaurant in Auburn.

“The time was right and we found the right people to oversee the new facility,” said Greg Burgi, one of the owners.

Not only will the Auburn location be larger and also have a drive-through window, but it will also have both indoor seating and covered outdoor seating.

What makes Pick-Quick’s burgers better than the rest? 

Burgi says they make 2-ounce patties and you can have up to four of those on a bun.

“You get more flavor from multiple patties. Everything is fresh, from the hand-cut tomatoes to the onions and we don’t have frozen meat,” said Burgi. “Adding cheddar or American Cheese and bacon to the burgers and hot dogs is an option.” 

Fife location of Pick-Quick, courtesy Richmond Public Relations.

Hungry yet?

The menu also includes: hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, garden burgers, chili, twenty flavors of milkshakes made with fresh fruit (when in season) like blueberries and strawberries, and of course, fresh-cut fries and onion rings.

Currently the Fife location is closed through the end of January for their usual maintenance, where they refinish and paint their picnic tables. The Auburn Pick-Quick will be open year round.

Okay – I’ll tell you where the new place is:  1132 Auburn Way North.

Sign up to “like” their FaceBook page at and check out their weekly contests.

More Top Travel Trends for 2011: The Washington State Version

More of Thomas Stanley’s predictions and the Washington State destination that matches.

Train display at Freighthouse Square made completely out of Legos

  • Ride the Rails:  We have train travel covered here – from short 45-minute excursions to crossing the country on Amtrak – it’s all available for travelers in Washington State. My favorite short rides include a stop at the train museum and a jaunt from Snoqualmie to North Bend ( and the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad ( that departs from Mineral.


Longer excursions are available on Amtrak ( going north/south or east/west. But the best news of all is Amtrak opened a new stop at the Icicle Station in the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth last year. Daily service is now available.

  • Experiential Family Travel:  A simple definition of experiential travel says it is travel we live through, instead of look at. That can mean dining where the locals eat like Downrigger’s in Friday Harbor ( or drinking coffee at Undertown in Port Townsend. Staying at a Bed and Breakfast also qualifies. States Inn and Ranch (, also in Friday Harbor, ranks as one of my all time favorites. The locally cooked breakfast from scratch was so delectable, I couldn’t eat regular food for a week afterwards.

Hurricane Ridge, courtesy of the Olympic Peninsula Visitors Bureau

If you want an all-inclusive experience, try hiring a Native American Guide to tour the Olympic Peninsula ( Highlights of these tours include dining on salmon cooked the Indian way, which is by far the most delicious way of cooking salmon, speaking with the elders of the tribe and hearing their stories, making your own hand drum and much more. This tour has now taken a spot on my Bucket List.

  • Bucket List:  Just a few suggestions here – The Space Needle, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, snowshoeing, winery touring and The Museum of Flight.


  • Top Picks for 2011:  These are my choices. Whether they turn out to be trends or not, you can’t miss with visits to the San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island, Lake Chelan or taking the North Cascades Scenic Drive.