Go to a Distillery Tour

I am Proudly Flaunting My Hilliard’s Pint Glass in My Pink Souvenir Shirt.

Circa August 2013 Road Brewery Dogs Tour with Dustin, my world of beer upturned in 2.5 hours.


Jason S. was the Road Dogs Distillery Tour guide of the 5 guests including myself. First stop was the Old Ballard Liquor Company situated in industrial sector of Ballard:


4421 Shilshole Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

Monday to Thursday: Closed
Friday to Sunday: 3 pm – 7 pm

No cash. Only card transactions are permitted.


This was a wheat-free zone. Lexy’s “Cherry Bounce” follows Martha Washington’s 200-year-old all-American aged liqueur receipe with less than 5-hour preparation time handling the cherries.


I also sampled Riktig Aquavit, a classic Scandinavian pine-y, caraway-y liquor aged on local alder.


Near the pier, there was the emerging distillery known as Copperworks Distilling Company:


1250 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101

Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday and Thursday: 2 pm — 6 pm
Friday and Saturday: 12 pm — 7 pm
Sunday: 12 pm — 5 pm


The base of malted barley originates from Vancouver, Washington.



Despite its fairly recently opening in October 2013, Copperworks already holds the Gold Title in 2014 Annual World Beverage Competition for its 94-proof aromatic, full-bodied gin.

Lastly, the christmas lights welcomed us into Letterpress Distilling:


85 South Atlantic Street, #110
Seattle, WA 98134

Monday to Friday: 12 pm – 6 pm
Saturday to Sunday: 12 pm – 6 pm


Letterpress’ specialty was their limoncello (Italian Pronunciation: [limonˈtʃɛllo]) from Italy. To make this sweet and crisp dessert drink, the zest of 350 lemons is handpressed without the bitter white peels and is stored in their signature twice-distilled vodka. Because Washington State blackberry honey a.k.a. sweetner is added to this limoncello, it would be considered a liqueur not a flavored vodka.


The tour did not disappoint but being a lightweight, I still prefer my beers.

For the 2.5-hour duration of the tour, I parked in the Target parking garage. With $20 in-store purchase, you get the first 2-hours free parking and would pay only $8 for the 3rd hour. I settled for $12 for the 3 hours but thankfully, a security officer beeped a card and discounted my parking pass to $8.

I Saved $4.

Eat Escargot

For a taste of Escargot (IPA: [ɛs.kaʁ.ɡo], French for snail), my beloved high school friend and I raided Barolo Ristorante in Downtown Seattle: 


Despite the convenience of a neighboring parking garage, Barolo did not validate the parking passes which had a $4 base price with an increase of $4/hour.

We got ourselves situated on the bar stools, which were neither the most comfortable nor the warmest metal seats.

barolo seats

Our main venture to the restaurant was for the “Lumache – Baked Escargot” $14 $7 that translated into “Snail (Italian) -Baked Snail (French).” In case of palate emergencies, we additionally ordered the Organic Lamb Burger $16 $8 and each a glass of Rose.

“Escargot Has Been Served”


When the fork picked up the alien infant escargot, I had a momentary lapse of courage. Once it was in my mouth, I chomped away; its texture reminded me of an extra chewy mushroom. The raw scent was masked by the garlic buttery juice, which I recommend you use as the complementary bread’s alternative topping (if olive tapenade isn’t your thing).


For the organic lamb burger, the slightly toasted ciabatta bread hugged the slab of lamb patty, mozzarella caprese, 1 thick tomato slice, and 1 medium-sized romaine lettuce. It was moist but flavorless. Towards the end, I tossed the stiff bread and knifed the patty. As a Triple F (Fry Food Fanatic), I give two thumbs up for the fries.

Would I eat the escargot again?

Not Voluntarily. I Don’t Like Mushrooms.

I would definitely visit Barolo again for the other HH options though.

Learn to Blow Glass

I like deals and of course- new year, eager me.


At first, I did not relate the Rainier Glass Studio with the Rainier Brewing Company. Once I was near the footsteps of the monumental orange building with a neon red “R”, these street signs directed me to the heart of the factory.

little entrance

They surprised me with a balcony full of unexpected, refreshing graffitis.


entrance 2
The View Deserved a Panorama.


The entrance was difficult to find; the front desk was easy to find. So, here is how my session went:

1. Admired the Studio (Dumbfoundedly)

glass studio 2

Graffitis inside, too.

2. Picked the Glass Shape & Pattern


I chose from a Level One shape: a chili pepper. The options were hybrid swirl, two stripe swirl, and speckled spots; I chose the hybrid swirl.

3. Picked 2 “Frit” — Glass Shattered Pieces for Colors


I picked “Sunflower” and “Cherry” — golden yellow and red. The molten glass on a stick was rolled over the frit laying on the marver. The stick was weight-lifting-bar heavy.

4. Watched the 2,300 °F Glory Hole


I rotated the molten glass inside the glory hole. After double “frit-ing” and re-heating afterwards, the glass was left to “fine out” — bubble and expand. 

5. Waited by the Disco Ball

glass studio 2

I blew air through the blowpipe and my teacher manuevered the molten glass like she was handling viscuous honey. She used jacks, tweezers, and shears to respectively pear-shape, pick out the details, and cut off the excess glass off my glass chili.

6. Picked Up the Slip


Annealing is done between 700 – 900 °F in the final furnace called the lehr. I did the glassblowing on a Thursday; the studio asked me to pick up the glass late Sunday or Tuesday.

I’m not too thrilled about my pepper shape but I hope thermal stress does not shatter my creation.

Update: I never ended up picking up my pepper from the studio, but the memories of it will be with me forever.


Yesterday, I found myself at the local casino; I hovered around the roulette table to master the rules for my gambling début in Vegas.

I was failing miserably at speculating numbers but was fully enjoying the company nearby. One of my new pals thought I would learn best through hands-on training, so he gave me $20 of holiday poker chips to spend. I lost my beginning bank and the profits after about the 4th dealer change.

Once again, I was left gaping until another friendly patron offered a $100 black chip. I played and I came out with a net profit of $80.

I am not a professional but here are my 7 tips of those who want to get lucky:

1. Be Patient

Start bets only when you feel confident about the dealer’s throw patterns and when you are willing to squander your assets for fun. Guess the numbers inside your head to see if you can guess them correctly.

2. Start Big

If your bets cover more numbers, your chance of winning increases. Start with more chips but cover 5+ numbers betting the minimum on each number.

3. Interact with the People

Smile, chitchat, and make friends.

You could land yourself free poker chips and tips by befriending the other players. I also got pointers from the dealers. Dealers throw the ball. If they throw it consistently, your winning odds will increase.

Increase Is Good.

4. Be Patient

Don’t pick up your reward chips until the dealer removes the marker that looks like a clear stamp. I almost got my wrist cut off (metaphorically). Casinos prefer to curtail your wins with a frequent dealer change. I recommend you skip turns until you can predict the new dealer’s throw.

5. Where to Bet

Always check the previous throws on the display for it will help you make predictions for the upcoming rounds.

If Dealer Might Roll 00, Bet on 1 & 27 Too.

I played American Roulette, which apparently has an extra slot of 00 that decreases the winning chances.

Other than betting on the numbers, you can bet on the red/black, even/odd, columns, and/or other outer-box options. Outside bets do not have substantial returns but remember: steady wins the race.

6. Pocket the Starting Amount

Once you win more than you started with, don’t play your starting chips at stake. Don’t take them out.

Play only with the chips you’ve won.

7. Play with an Empty Heart

You should be gambling for fun, not for money. It is true that when you bet big, you win big but do remember that once you start getting greedy- you will lose your chips, your temper, and eventually your money.

Put Together a 1,000-Piece Puzzle

I got the puzzle with the artwork of Gustav Klimt for $10 at Target. Other 2,000-Piece puzzles were available but there’s no need to be overzealous.


Here is my suggestions for your speedy check-off:

1. Pick a Puzzle with Diversity

I was thankful that I found a puzzle that I wanted to keep.

Unfortunately- my jigsaw pieces were:

brown & orange splattered pattern 40%

black, white, and grey geometric pattern 40%

I Picked the Wrong Puzzle.



2. Find the Right Setting

I moved from the dinner table to the couch to the kitchen counter. Moving 1,000 pieces from a table top to another table top means time wasted. You’ll be sitting for an extended period of time, so find a comfortable seating.

Find a jam:

With no kids:

You don’t want to lose or damage any pieces.

3. Multi-Task

Flipping is a necessity to have all the pieces faced upright. Save yourself some time by sorting borders away from non-borders while you flip.


4. Reference the Given Pictures

Take advantage of the picture on the box. Figure out the approximate size relative to the jigsaw pieces; create a border with your border pieces and start!

The Actual Picture Is Much More Grandiose Than the Picture on the Box..

Bounce from one place to another on the puzzle. Make a patchwork.


5. Take a Break

When you start having neck and back aches, take a break. Don’t doubt your puzzle or yourself.

Why Am I Missing Pieces?

Meanwhile, admire your work time to time and be proud of how far you’ve gotten.

day 2b

6. Focus & Finish

Celebrate. You’ll feel amazing.


Drink a Boot

Because of our fondness for beer, my roommate and I wanted to commence our winter break with the infamous Beer Boot. There are plethora of bars on the Ave but only one offering Das Boot:

4114 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

bars on the ave

The history of Beer Boot (Bierstiefeln in German) is either:

1. A Prussian general promised to drink beer from his boot if his troops were successful in battle. A triumpant battle led the general to fashion a boot-shaped glass to avoid spoiling the beer in his leather boot and tasting his own feet.

2. During WWI, the lack of glasses had German troops drink from leather boots. Passing beer in boots was a symbol of good luck during WWI. Flicking the boot before and after a drink would ensure next soldier good luck.


Anna Anna recommended Maisel’s Weisse for our 1-Liter boot:

“Bavarian hefeweizen at its best! Aroma and flavor evocative of apple, banana, clove and nutmeg with a tart, refreshing finish. 5.2% ABV”


There was a $50 deposit per boot and only 2 boots per table were allowed at this location.

It was told that Das Boot cannot touch the table or any glassware until it is empty. The trick was to drink with the toe is pointed sideways; otherwise, the air build-up in the toes will get you looking like a fool.

A beer splash on your face means you drink again. Toes pointed at you whilst drinking means you drink again.

Prost! Zum Wohl!

Be a Blood Donor

On December 2012, I got my first tattoo.

A little after, I heard that the Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo has no tattoos because tattooing prohibits blood donation for the subsequent 12 months.

Sharing is Caring.

I had overlooked the extensive eligibility criteria to become a blood donor: 48-hour interval after an aspirin intake, 12-month wait after piercings, and a minimum of 110 lbs weight requirement just to name a few. Near the end of my 12-month wait, I was dosed with an antibiotic for Strep Throat that delayed my blood donation once again. My longing to reap positive karma for the upcoming final on Thursday had to meet its end soon.



I went 3:32 pm. There were 3 phlebotomists in the RV. I was 4th in line. I sat waiting after filling out the questionaires on a digital baby gadget with a stylus.


I entered a “confession room” in the RV where a dapper phlebotomist named Mark verified my questionaire answers. Verdict:


For my summer Comparative History of Ideas (CHID) study abroad program, I had traveled to Vietnam. Traveling by air was apparently innocuous, but our group moved from Hanoi to Hue, Hue to Da Nang, and Da Nang to Quang Tri via land on our own charter bus — exposing ourselves to possible risk of malaria.

Prepare and hopefully, this shall be my last deferment.