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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

February 6, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Get outta town: 3 quick ideas for your weekend

Have you finally had enough of frozen Seattle? Does any place else sound good about now? Here are three ideas to help lure you out of town.

1. Woo-hoo for yo-yos in Portland

Portland's Lan Su Chinese Garden celebrates Chinese New Year this month. (photo by Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden celebrates Chinese New Year this month. (photo by Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden with a colorful demonstration by the Portland Chinese School Yo-Yo Team. The Chinese yo-yo, also known as “pulling bell,” is an old toy first documented in a Song dynasty book. Chinese yo-yo is a type of palace art, which uses two small handles, one in each hand, pulling the strings to roll around the axis of the yo-yo. When the yo-yo is rolling quickly you will be able to hear a buzzing sound; the faster the yo-yo player pulls, the louder the sound. At the end of your garden visit Saturday, see live miniature horses on display and talk with  experts from the Northwest Miniature Horse Club to learn more about the breed during this Year of the Horse. Yo-yo demo noon-1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, Lan Su Chinese Garden, 239 N.W. Everett St., Portland; garden admission $7-$9.50, age 5 and younger free.

2. Off-the-grid hot chocolate in Vancouver, B.C.

Twenty-six local chocolateries, coffee shops and bakeries are participating in this year’s Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, through Feb. 14. And if you’re envisioning a plain cup of brown with a marshmallow on top, your fantasy hasn’t

photo by Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times

photo by Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times

yet begun. Visit all the spots around town and you’ll find more than 60 flavors and recipes to choose from. Is the old standard what you crave? You’ll find it. But if adventure is your watchword, here are a few of the flavors featured this weekend:

  • Banana Split:  Bel Cafe makes it from 36 percent Valrhona Caramelia chocolate, topped with walnut marshmallows and served with banana pound cake.
  • Put De Lime in De Coconut: Chocolate Arts combines Venezuelan chocolate with organic coconut and kalmansi lime.
  • Parmesan, anyone? Cocoa Nymph combines cheese, nutmeg and dark chocolate in “Phaun’s Fancy.”
  • Curry: Cocoa meets Bollywood at Koko Monk Chocolates.

Find a complete menu and links to locations here.

3. Cozy up with fresh films in Victoria

It’s good weather for being inside to watch a good movie. Hop the Clipper (it has a nice, cozy cabin) and catch the 20th anniversary year of the Victoria Film Festival.  This year’s festival includes 58 films by filmmakers from Canada and beyond. Sample from Canada: “Tide Lines,” a tale of two young brothers and a friend who sail around the world and make it their mission to publicize the pollution of the world’s oceans by plastic. Find a full directory of festival films here. Feb. 7-16, various venues around Victoria, B.C. Feature film or short film programs, $10.

0 Comments | More in British Columbia, Oregon, weekend getaways | Topics: Chinese New Year, hot chcocolate festival, vancouver getaway

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