Christmas eve, we slept in. And made breakfast: sausage patties, bacon and eggs! And then discussed our plans for the next few days. TCB discovered that the Museum of Flight was going to start tours of their SR-71 (A-12, M/D-21 setup, really) on the 26th, so that day was set. Sara had suggested a tour of Theo Chocolate factory when we saw her Wednesday (while TCB was nomming a Theo Chocolate-flavored ice cream.) I looked at their schedules, and the only available tour slots were that day or on the 26th, so I made us reservations for 2pm, and we headed up to Fremont.
The directions we had were fine, we just weren’t used to the roads, so we missed our turn into Fremont but, because we were trying to get back to the route and TCB was diving down alleys, we happened to find the Troll Under the Bridge!
I wanted to see it, but wasn’t going to send TCB on a wild goose (troll?) chase to find a piece of installation art. Was really glad we found it! We then drove around Fremont for a while, looking for parking. We found plenty of 2-hour parking, and 90-minute parking (with payment expected for additional time), but we weren’t sure how long the tour would take, we had an hourish until the tour, and didn’t have the right bills for paid parking. So, we finally found a spot with no indication of parking time limit, and bought coffee at the shop nearest to it. (I got my usual small americano, which was prepared as a long black. Again. I like the americano preparation better, I don’t know why, and I’d think that Seattle would be a place where I could get a coffee drink prepared correctly.)
We walked back to the heart of Freemont, stopping by the Center of the Universe (rocket) on the way to Fremont Place Book Company (where I got books, predictably.)
By the time I’d finished my transaction, it was time to head over to Theo Chocolate to check in for our tour. TCB started sampling the pieces and the cashier told me that he should stop, so as not to ruin his tour experience. The tour was pretty fascinating- started with a explanation of the source of the cocoa beans, the process they go through before arriving in the US, and sampling chocolate sourced from different locations in the world. Then we headed into the factory, where the smell… I wish I could take the smell home, it was amazing. Like melted chocolate, but better. Like… chocolate without the sugary or milky smell. We saw all the parts, from when the cocoa beans get cleaned & sorted, get roasted, get cleaned again, and all the other processes that occur before bars are made (all mixed by hand.) We tasted truffles and chocolates in varying concentrations, and different mixes. I tried them all except the “sugar cookie” variety, and had to laugh when the one I’d picked, lemon curd, contained white chocolate made in Atlanta.
We had a hard time leaving the gift shop, though we were very inspired by the shop closing. After picking a few bars (and restraining ourselves from getting more than mint chocolate, orange chocolate, cherry-almond, peppermint and chile), we headed back to the cottage, stopping by a Whole Foods to finish out our shopping list. We needed ibuprofen and … something else. It was important. We got gf bread crumbs, gf macaroni & cheese, beer, wine, and that important something else. I explored the whole “not food” section and found that, if I wanted to imagine away inflammation with olive oil and vitamins, I was all set! But because I wanted actual drugs, I was out of luck. (We stopped at the gas station near the cottage on the way home from there for Advil.) The cashier suggested Sound Spirits as a hard liquor, local distillery place to go.
We cruised home via a “scenic” route, then got started cooking breaded pork chops. Interestingly, I’ve never made them. I also cooked the smaller of the two giant potatoes in the oven. I do really like the giant (!!!) potatoes available here. I mixed in some of my spice weasel with the breading, fried in vegetable oil (surprisingly unopened), and didn’t burn them much. The potato: too huge, even though we split it. Finally, we settled down to watch Santa’s tracks on NORAD’s Santa tracker.
Coffee filters! We needed and found coffee filters.