Category Archives: Viator

Seattle: Pike Place Market

As I mentioned in my last blog, I just recently visited Seattle for business trip. Of course it could not be all work and all play! I’ve decided to start my series of blogs about my travels with the historic Pike Place Market. Naturally, I’d like to give you a little history: Pike Place Market was originally started back in the 1907 as an outcry to the outrageous prices that the middlemen were charging for fresh fruit and vegetables. Basically they were acting like greedy Americans, purchasing the produce and marketing it up to make big bucks on the margin. Umm…I wonder where they learned that?! Anyway, luckily these farmers wisened up [and listened to the people], and Pike Place Market became the bustling mecca that it is today!

The famous "Public Market" sign

Sure…we all know Starbucks began in Seattle and seriously, for someone who doesn’t even LIKE this java chain (sorry!), I still had to get a picture of the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market. Yep – we all know why their house blend is called “Pike Place”.

I would never wait that long for a coffee!

Of course I’ve heard of the “flying fish” at the Pike Place Fish Market and I quickly learned that the reason why the owner began this policy of encouraging his fishmongers to throw around the fresh catch and chant along with each other was to inspire a business that was on the verge of bankruptcy – who knew? You can read about the story in John Yokoyama’s book entitled When Fish Fly. If you’re really ambitious, buy some fish to take home because they guarantee no leaking or stinking for 24 hours (though I’d hate to be sitting next to the person on the plane if that claim failed).

Walking through the market was quite a zoo and filled with slow moving tourists, so I recommend getting there early to browse the unique wares. Among the items for sale were paintings, scarves, jewelry, honey, lotions, flowers and so much more!

Beautiful flowers!

Naturally you must take a pit stop to rub the nose of the golden pig for good luck!

I didn’t even know about this infamous gum wall until I checked in on Foursquare (thanks tipster!), but I stumbled onto this colorful wall of ABC gum, which is simultaneously disgusting and breathtaking at the same time.

It's the Space Needle and an Argosy ship!

Wandered onto this European-inspired cobblestone walkway

Seeing as it was 80 degrees the whole time I was there, I didn’t know if I could handle the heat from the Pike Place Chowder, so I am saving the pleasure of indulging for the next time I venture up to The Evergreen State. I did, however, enjoy a cup of the “World’s Best Mac ‘n Cheese” from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (definitely best I’ve ever had) and devour an Onion-Potato-Cheese Piroshky from Piroshky Piroshky (there’s something about the carb-carb-cheese ratio that just gets my engines goin’).

Mac 'n cheese with a glass of vino

Massive, warm piroshky

Another culinary treat I indulged in? Ice cream. But not just any….Pomegranate Cheesecake from Snoqualmie Ice Cream, a local purveyor. They did have some ice cream from a San Francisco vendor up there, but I just had to get the local stuff, yaddamean! I was glad to see SF representing to the fullest, though.

I tried to capture a photo pre-lick, but it was already melting!

Last but not least, I’ve got to include the random tidbit in here. Sure, it’s not in Pike Place, but Top Pot Hand Foraged Doughnuts had to make it in somewhere, right? I held off for 2 whole days, which was a struggle given that this outpost of sugary goodness was only 1.5 blocks from my hotel. The build–up came to a finale with the Raspberry Old-Fashioned, which satisfied my cravings and effectively made the happy places in my brain *sing*. If I ever go back, I would bring a friend (or 5) to break bread with and share in these doughnuts as featured on the Cooking Channel!

Top Pot is in top form!

Pike Place Market felt like a huge version of San Francisco’s Ferry Building, so I felt right at home and in my element. Rich with history and filled with tons of vendors, this is a must on any Seattle itinerary, and plan on spending AT LEAST a few hours browsing and exploring!


Filed under Seattle, twenty-somethings, Viator, Weekend Warrior

What I’ve learned about business trips

Not every twenty-something is fortunate enough to go business trips for their job. Some types of careers do not afford the luxury of travel as part of the job description – and that is completely normal! Especially in the recent economic downturn, many companies have been slashing budgets and being more frugal with their spending and expenses.

That being said, with Viator I’ve have the opportunity to take a few business trips — most notably to Las Vegas! Though it may not be the “Viva Las Vegas” or “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” approach of a leisure vacation, I quite like being there in a work mindset. Once you step off the plane, the hot air hits you and while a lot of people go to party at the nightclubs or play the poker tables, when you are there for business — well, you mean business.

Where you stay always matters, but the last two times I’ve been to Vegas I have stayed at hotels without casinos. Let me tell you, this also adds to the relaxed vibe because you don’t have to spend miles walking through the slot machines AND you aren’t subjected to the patrons’ cigarette smoke. If you are a budget-minded traveler who likes to live life on the edge, try Priceline‘s name your own price feature.

Here are some tips that I’ve learned while on the road (pun intended):

  • Take advantage of amenities. Aveda hair products, plush white robes and fresh sheets every night? Yes please!
  • Go with the flow and accept that there may be delays. ESPECIALLY when flying back to San Francisco
  • Learn to chat up others if you are a solo traveler
  • Ask for recommendations from friends on where to go in your down time — it’s a great opportunity to try new restaurants and bars
  • Carry on luggage is a MUST (if you are a chronic over-packer like me, try to change your habits!)
  • Soak in the bath. I don’t know about y’all, but I am not afforded this luxury at my apartment in San Francisco!
  • Televisions in the mirrors are an awesome invention, but might slow you down in the morning

I can’t wait to learn more tips and tricks as I start down the path to becoming a seasoned traveler. And if you are not already, than you will too!

At the end of the month, I will be going on my first solo trip to Seattle…eek! Wish me luck! If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

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Filed under Tips & Tricks, twenty-somethings, Viator

San Francisco Ride The Ducks

Recently myself and a few co-workers were invited to participate in an event showcasing San Francisco’s Ride The Ducks and Classic Cable Car. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to become a tourist in your own town, so I gladly jumped at the opportunity to “ride the duck”.

We all met in Union Square where our white amphibious chariot vehicle was waiting patiently. While boarding, we were handed the namesake quackers, our name tags, and a bag of nuts. “Why nuts?” you ask. I did too – apparently it was because the San Francisco Giants were playing a home game. After some light safety talk, we were off in our duck boat, quackers in mouth, quacking along to the music. It was quite the scene! I never really realized how many people look at you oddly from the sidewalk when they hear that strange sound combined with blaring music, but it was so much fun to laugh and giggle along with everyone else. After all, you can’t always take yourself too seriously!

Us with the quackers

We quacked on over to the Embarcadero and “dove” head first into the water behind AT&T Park. I can’t believe how close you come to the Pacific Ocean! After some cruising around the bay and photo opportunities, we waddled our way back onto shore and boarded the Classic Cable Car for a ride over to the event venue The Box SF. (Fun fact: did you know that the Classic Cable Cars were made by the same company that built the legendary Cable Cars, which are still in use?)

Classic Cable Car

At The Box SF, we were greeted with refreshing cocktails by the mobile mixologists at Tonic, along with delicious noshes and nibbles from Choice Catering, Organic Chef Catering, and Blue Heron Catering.  The evening could not be complete without the Glass Coat Photobooth — and they would be a fun addition to any event with wacky props and silly friends.

This was an awesome, well executed event and I would highly recommend experiencing your own city the way a tourist would. Not only do you get out of your comfort zone, but it makes for fun stories and it’s a great way to meet new, interesting people!

Click here for the full Flickr album of my photos.


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Filed under Culture, San Francisco, Social Butterfly, The Giants, Things to do in sf, Viator

Adventure Cat Sunset Cruise

Last week my company, Viator, was fortunate to take advantage of one the “perks” of our job – we took a San Francisco Bay Sunset Catamaran Cruise with one of our suppliers, Adventure Cat. The weather has been so beautiful in San Francisco for the past few weeks and luckily this evening did not disappoint.

The company was so accommodating and the cruise was absolutely fabulous! We started with some typical safety speak from our captain, then we were off, passing by Pier 39 and the sea lions. The sun was reflecting off of the deep blue ocean as we enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Some of us braved sitting on the front of the boat to chat while we bobbed up and down across the bay. We passed close by Alcatraz Island on our way to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was amazing to look around and see how calm and smooth the water was.

Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge was absolutely brilliant – I’ve never seen the underside of the bridge!

Once we passed the bridge, it was time to turn around and head back. I couldn’t believe how fast the time flew by! Luckily we had a beautiful sunset at our shoulders which was the perfect end to the evening.

We even raced with some brave wind surfers!

P.s. Here’s a tip: booking with Viator, you receive 2 complimentary drinks. Booking with competitors, nada 🙂

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Filed under San Francisco, SF, Things to do in sf, Tips & Tricks, Viator


Is it sushi? Is it a burrito? Why no….it is a Sushirrito! Founded by Peter Yen and Ty Mahler of Roy’s, this little Asian-Latin fusion shop landed smack dab in the middle of downtown – perfect for the lunch crowd! Now I’ve heard that the line has been known to snake around the  block and I’m sure when your tummy is growling, it will test your patience. So consider yourself warned!

Since my office recently moved to the Mission and New Montgomery area, I figured I had better try a Sushirrito of my own. Luckily I picked the perfect day to stop in because a) it was the Friday after St. Patrick’s Day so I don’t think the hungover bunch was craving fish, and b) it was rainy and dreary out.

Now these burritos made of sushi (?) are made fresh, right before your very eyes. But once you tuck into your handmade fist-full of yummy goodness, you will know the wait was well worth it. I chose the Crispy Ebi – complete with crispy tempura shrimp, shredded crab, melted pepperjack cheese, avocado, plantain, avocado, cucumber, green onion, shredded cabbage and Sriracha crema sauce, all wrapped up in rice and seaweed. Yum! It was a little bit of a splurge with the tempura shrimp and cheese, but I just had to. I’m sure you are thinking “ew – pepperjack cheese in a sushi roll?!” but trust me, it is delish. Every bite that I took was good as the last, all the way to the very end!

My sushirrito

These things are HUGE so 1 is definitely enough. If you are feelin’ extra hangry, get some rice chips with salsa. Side note: they are gluten-free! Do I plan to eat at Sushirrito again? You bet! Should you try to it? Duh! Here’s proof that sushi can be fresh and fast. Also, I love that their vision is founded on ocean sustainability.

¡Buen itadakimasu! (my own little Mexican-Japanese fusion byproduct – thanks Google translator).

Click here for the menu. Sushirrito located at 59 New Montgomery Street, next to Crunch Gym.

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Filed under Food Wars, San Francisco, Viator


I just wanted to say a quick “hello” to my colleagues at Viator.

Up until now, I have been a bit lax in updating this blog lately — hey, looking for a full time job is, well — a full time job! I hope to continue blogging more frequently as the search has come to an end upon accepting the position with Viator.


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Filed under SF, Viator