This week the site has been running basically on autopilot as I was away on business in Seattle Washington to present a paper and attend the SAS Global Forum 2010. Aside from a layover at the Seattle/Tacoma Airport I had never visited the Pacific Northwest before and I was looking forward to doing some outdoorsy stuff, eating some great seafood, and being a total nerd at a conference with 3000+ other nerds.
I arrived on Sunday and found the weather in Seattle be much better than the forecast claimed it would be. Sunny and mid to high 60s greeted me as I had lunch at Pike Place Chowder (I had the seared scallop chowder and it was awesome) and then proceeded to go geocaching around the area seeing some amazing sights and doing some great hiking. Dinner was Ethiopian at Pan Africa and was a ton of food for very little cost. Loved the food, the staff, and the entire restaurant. We came back later in the week to sit at the bar (the bartender used to be a SAS geek) and my coworker had one of his famous Bloody Mary’s which include a homemade berbere recipe (basically a spicy paste) which they offer up to you on their website. Sunday night I attended the SAS Seattle Tweetup at the Tap House which prides itself in having 160 beers on tap (the tweetup had two free beers on tap both were pretty decent).
Monday I presented my paper and then attended a bunch of the other presentations scattered throughout the day. My coworker and I had a pretty below average Thai lunch at Mae Phim on Pike which can be summed up quickly in this one sentence from my review on Urbanspoon: “The only good things to say are the beer was almost cold and the food, as awful as it was, came out quickly.” We had dinner at Umi Sake House which consisted of rolls and sashimi. I wasn’t a huge fan of either but they some parts were decent. After that we headed back to the conference to tour the Demo Area and drink free local Pike Pale Ale (which I had tons of during my visit).
Tuesday found more presentations, including one by Stephen Few, and lunch at the completely boring and basically awful Blue Water Taco Grill. I nabbed a messy and unofficial torta and my coworker got a shrimp and a steak taco that were runny and gross. Boo. Dinner was at Long Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant which was quite good. Large portions, appropriately priced, with some absolutely incredible spring rolls and unbelievable prawn satay. Afterward we headed back to Pan Africa for drinks (as mentioned above) and then on to the SAS party at the Washington State Convention Center. More Pike Pale Ale and a live 80s cover band played until 1:30 AM before we headed back to the hotel for a night cap.
Wednesday was my travel day back home. I got to ride Seattle mass transit (light rail) which runs underground downtown, through many tunnels, and on a lot of elevated track into ostentatious stations to the airport. I believe the total cost was about $2.9 billion and it showed. Overall I had a blast at SAS Global Forum 2010 and I’m already scrambling around to find something worthwhile to present at next year’s event in Las Vegas.
Have you ever been to Seattle? If so where did you eat, what did you drink and what did you do? Aside from my raving recommendations that you try both Long Provincial and Pan Africa, what places do you recommend for others who may plan on traveling there in the future? Whatever you have to say about my completely nerdy trip to a SAS conference in Seattle go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say!