If you hadn't already heard, PAX is the annual video game conference put on over the Labor Day weekend by the creators of the insanely popular web comic, Penny Arcade. You're thinking, "Oh that's quaint, how nice to have a little event so people can play video games and dress up in superhero outfits made of old sheets." Maybe twelve years ago it was quaint, when PAX used to be held in Bellevue's Meydenbauer Center, but since then, it's an anime-spherical-slo-mo-explosion-blast that has created an exponentially larger expo. It attracts all the mega PC and console game companies like Nintendo, Microsoft/XBox, Sega, Ubisoft, Konami, along with numerous smaller, but no less popular game companies, which thereby cause an attendance swarm of around 60-80 thousand people. Yes, that number is fo' reals. It's an epic nerd army descending upon Mordor for three days to get precious playtime on as-yet-unreleased games, attending panels of game industry experts, and one of the rare times you can bust out that handmade Yu-Gi-Oh! costume and not get beat up for wearing it. Granted, I have yet to make it through all three days of PAX -- I made it to the opening day on Friday and was completely overwhelmed by The Great Wall of PAX Attendees. I spent most of Saturday there, but skipped out on Sunday, due to the nearly 14 hours of sleep my body desperately needed.
|Revenge of the Nerds - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Torchlight II - highly anticipated by humans and Mutant X carriers alike - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|The most important rule of PAX: DON'T BE A DICK. Or this guy will cleave your ass - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
|It's a world of pure im-a-gin-ation... - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Six Arms Pub - It's a McMenamins brewpub with tasty grub. Sandwiches, burgers, wraps; very casual with funky-cool interiors - great for lunch. Spicy tater tots and a microbeer = primo. About a 10 minute walk uphill from the Con Center, not a typical PAX spot, so not usually crowded. Mentioned in a previous PAX WP post.
Victrola Coffee Roasters - Located near Six Arms along Pike, it's the much-needed upper after a sleepy microbrew downer, as you make your way back down to PAX. Incredible coffee with the strength and power to see you through the rest of the day. If you're coming all the way to Seattle, you absolutely have to get a luxurious latte, topped with a pretty foam design. Mandatory! Mentioned in a previous PAX WP post.
Blueacre Seafood - Off of 7th, barely a stone's throw from the Con Center, you've got a great place for seafood. Don't let the delicious creatures of the sea be reduced to greasy fish n' chips or an excuse to stuff your face with chain restaurant cheese biscuits. The ocean is tasty, and you'll learn to appreciate oysters and shellfish in a new way, as I did at a dinner with friends a while ago, which has continued to bring me back to Blueacre. They also do box lunches, so FYI to PAX booth workers who wish to break free of their soggy club sandwich fate.
Vessel - Cocktail hour just got more awesome. Just reopened on Olive/7th, it's the famed cocktail bar that will up the ante of spirit-drinking in the main downtown area. Cosmopolitans, no more! I visited Vessel on Friday night, which was comfortably filled with locals and PAX-goers in the know who wanted a damn fine frosty beverage. I need to go back, I spent far too little time here. Will definitely be on the Mister's hit list for post-work cocktail hour and I'll have to join them!
Urbane - Located in the Hyatt, maybe a block away from PAX, they've got a beautiful menu that's deliciously local. I was there Friday night during dinner rush, and while every place was packed, their bar was open and a welcome calm from the PAX storm. You can stick with comfort zone favorites like a hamburger or ooey-gooey mac n' cheese, but give their lamb meatballs and fried chickpeas a try. A just-right amount of food that leaves room for a cocktail (or two). Their Little Negroni is a smoother variation to the classic Negroni, using Aperol instead of bitters.
|Bar snacks and cocktails at Urbane - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Seattle Coffee Works - Yes, you could see the first Starbucks in the Market, but why not go to a one-of-a-kind coffee shop with powerful brews and a chance to taste and appreciate different beans? Before making the trek back towards PAX, get your favorite coffee drink or wait a spell and have one of their unique cold press coffee drinks. It's worth the wait; the flavor is smooth and less bitter, as heat is what tends to draw out the bitterness of the bean.
|Cocktail hour at the Market - get out from behind that computer and get drinking! - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Steelhead Diner - Also in the Market, near Chan, this diner is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Beautiful view of the water and the menu is a perfect way to appreciate local flavors, whether you're a visitor or a local. As for me, I indulged in the Canadian favorite, Poutine (fries, gravy and cheese curds from nearby Beecher's), and a summery gin gimlet because it was such a sunny, beautiful afternoon.
|Steelhead's Poutine - comfort food done right! - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Local 360 - A longer walk, 15-20 minutes, but worth the trip north, towards the Belltown neighborhood. Incredible way to taste the Northwest, as the majority of its menu is regionally sourced and perfectly prepared. Fantastic hamburger and the bacon Bloody Mary is a kick, as seen on a previous PAX post.
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|Keep eating all that junk food, you'll wind up looking like these guys - Photos by Wasabi Prime|