Experience Music Project and Mistral Kitchen

Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Oct 14, 2011

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Where I stayed
Travelodge Sea-Tac Airport North Seattle
Read my review - 2/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Washington
Saturday, August 20, 2011

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I went to the Experience Music Project (EMP) today.  I had wandered around the outside of the building yesterday taking pictures of the unusual architecture so I thought that today I'd see what's inside.

Most or all of the exhibits at EMP either seem to be temporary or like they were once temporary and they decided to keep them around.  The first exhibit I saw was Avatar: The Exhibition.  They had a lot of props and models from the movie as well as interactive exhibits that let you experience first-hand how some of the technology developed for the movie operates.  It was an interesting exhibit but it seemed a strange choice for a music museum.  The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame apparently no longer exists so it seems now the EMP puts on some science fiction shows.

The next exhibit I saw was Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses.  Nirvana started relatively nearby so it seemed like an appropriate show for the EMP.  It was a fairly extensive exhibit with stage props, pictures, instruments and stations where you could listen to music by various Punk bands from the era.

They don't seem to publicize the other exhibits and they seem like they may be permanent but it's really not clear.  There were exhibits on Jimi Hendrix:An Evolution of Sound, Guitar Gallery with an extensive collection of guitars from the 1770s to the present, Battlestar Galactica with three large prop airships as well as other props and costumes from the series and then a few miscellaneous things scattered around the building.  There's also a room called the Sound Lab where you can try out a variety of instruments yourself.  I was there on a Saturday so the Sound Lab was quite crowded,  noisy and chaotic.  I didn't try anything myself.

I bought a ticket for the Space Needle yesterday that would let me come back today as well.  The point of the ticket is to be able to see the city both during the day and at night.  Since I wound up staying from before sunset until after dark yesterday I wasn't going to see anything new but, since I was in the neighborhood and had the ticket, I went up to look around one more time.

I had done some research on Seattle restaurants but hadn't made any reservations.  Several reviews considered Mistral Kitchen to be the best restaurant in town.  It's not too far from the Space Needle so I gave them a call to see if they could fit me in; they could.

I was seated at a counter facing one of the areas where they cook.  The chef, William Belickis, introduced himself.  I decided to get the 8-course tasting menu, which has no set items.  I discussed various options with the chef.  It didn't seem as though they could have easily accommodated a vegetarian tasting menu so I opted for a few non-vegetarian courses.

I had a very good meal and it was interesting watching and chatting with the chef.  I asked him if he knew Nathan Myhrvold who lives nearby and is seriously involved with cooking; he does.  A little later he wandered off briefly and returned with a copy of Modernist Cuisine, the huge, multi-volume cookbook written by a team lead by Nathan Myhrvold that was released earlier this year.  I had heard about the book and I had even attended a lecture by two of the team members at Maker Faire a couple months ago but I hadn't seen a copy before.  I spent much of the rest of the meal reading.

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