I am terrible in the kitchen. What I do in there can hardly be described as cooking. Usually, it’d be more accurate to call it heating and stirring. I don’t cook – or heat and stir – very often, but in these strange coronavirus times, the world’s home kitchens are seeing more use.

Today I made a simple lunch. I wanted to use some newly bought garlic. Let me start with the garlic. It’s the longest I’ve ever walked for four cloves of garlic.

Yesterday I went out for a socially distanced walk to get some fresh air. A Saturday in Seattle. The weather was beautiful, and in normal circumstances, Seattle’s tourism-related industries would be eyeing the start of their busy season, a chance to make up for the quieter months in misty, drizzling darkness. But Seattle was quiet.

I walked through Capitol Hill, down Olive Way, to Boren. If you’re familiar with Seattle, you might be picturing the Paramount Theatre. There’s a building going up there, its bones reminiscent of an Erector Set creation. A few workers were high up on the beams practicing extreme social distancing. I don’t know how they do that.


Building going up near Boren and Pine. I think it used to be a major bus terminal. I can’t remember what’s going in there.

Building going up near Boren and Pine. I think it used to be a major bus terminal. I can’t remember what’s going in there.


Dog run in the age of social distancing.

Dog run in the age of social distancing.


Seattle.

Seattle.


Plague Walks-003.jpg

Pressed on to Pike Place Market. Normally I’d stop in at The Yard House to see if my friend Tony was bartending. The restaurants are all closed, and Tony fled to California to beat any stricter lockdowns. He’d already been planning to move, but the coronavirus accelerated his schedule.


A very quiet Westlake Park, Seattle, 21 March 2020.

A very quiet Westlake Park, Seattle, 21 March 2020.

I think I made it to Pike Place Market at about 1630 (the 24 hour clock is better folks!). It was the emptiest I’ve ever seen it on a Saturday. Some businesses were open. Others might be running reduced hours. Pike Place Market is a small city with a powerful economic engine. I hope we get through this quickly so people can return to their livelihoods.


Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.


Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.


Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.


Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.


Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.


Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.


Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, 21 March 2020.

So what about that garlic? I stopped at one of the produce stands at the market. A worker was busy giving what sounded like tourist tips to a man. Recommendations for cool bridges in the area, I think. Must be very odd to be a tourist anywhere right now. I ordered four cloves of garlic. I wanted to buy a ton of fruit and vegetables, but I could only buy what I was prepared to carry. I might have to sign up for Imperfect Produce.

I heated up some pasta. I forget which kind. I threw the box out after I dumped the pasta into an airtight container thingmajig that I have carried around from one apartment to another but only seem to use during global pandemics. The pasta might be anelli, or similar to it. If any Italians stumble upon this they’ll probably roll their eyes. A description I read of anelli said it’s usually used for soup. But that’s a question I’ve always had about pasta – aside from the shape, is there much difference? (I go to the grocery store when it’s quiet(er) and grab a box or two of whatever’s there to replace what I’ve eaten. I don’t go very often, but it’d probably be better if I could avoid the store for two or three weeks. I might drive to the grocery store tomorrow morning and do a big stock up.)

I waited until the pasta was about half-way al dentified and chucked some garlic into a skillet with oil. I should have used more garlic. For a few wonderful hours my apartment smelled like garlic.

I combined the pasta and garlic, drizzled a bit more oil on top, sprinkled red pepper flakes on top, and then added what was left of my Los Roast New Mexico Green Chile. That was going to be it, but I called an audible. I opened a tin of sardines and mixed those in there. It was a delicious quarantine meal. Yep, I eat simply.

I’m not great at writing chronologically. Here are a few more photos (slideshow if you’re on a laptop) from the walk back to Capitol Hill.

I love ghost lettering or ghost signage. I’ve stopped and looked at the Wintonia Hotel building many times, but I’ve never dug deeper. I love those old buildings from Seattle’s frontier days. The Wintonia could easily be plopped down in Pioneer Square and fit right in.

I did a quick search and found an old Seattle Times article by Stuart Eskenazi. In the early 2000s the city refurbished the Wintonia and allocated many of the rooms to chronic alcoholics. The article is really interesting. I’ve always liked reading about urban planning, and the quarantine has reminded me again how fascinating public policy is in general. That reminds me – I should watch Singles soon. I haven’t watched it since moving to Seattle. Campbell Scott plays an urban planner / public transportation evangelist in a fantastic movie set in Seattle’s grunge days.