Museology Master of Arts Program

February 3, 2022

Student Voices: Exploring Seattle 

By Chin-Yun (Claudia) Cheng

As I began my year-long journey of developing a thesis project about art museums’ participatory experiences, I started to explore different art museums in Seattle to see what’s out there. So far I’ve explored Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Frye Art Museum, and Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Instead of talking about my museum experiences, I’d like to highlight the food I had during my journeys, because good food is always the best!

Prior to my visit to the SAM, I went to the Taipei Economic Cultural Office nearby to hand in some paperwork. I passed by a cafe called Cafe Migliore on my way from TECO to the SAM, and it immediately caught my eye. The word Migliore means “the best” in Italian, so I had to try this as an ex-Italian studies major. I had a latte and a chocolate croissant. The chocolate croissant was a bit sweeter than those I’ve had in Italy, but the warm pastry was still so good that I’m still thinking about it. One thing that I remember was that most of their customers were office workers from nearby and their conversations sounded so professional that the experience made me a little stressed (lol).

It was my birthday when I went to the Seattle Asian Art Museum! I met up with my friend at U-District and had food at the Kong Tofu House near campus, and then took a bus to the museum. There are so many tofu houses on the Ave! I once ordered tofu soup for pick-up from another tofu house, but went to Kung Tofu House by accident. It was so embarrassing, I tried to explain to the  staff that I was just trying  to pick up my food and later decided to revisit someday to finally try their tofu soup! However, the soup was too salty for me, and I couldn’t finish it all.  

My solo journey to the Frye Art Museum was unforgettable (in a bad way). The Frye was really welcoming, however I felt scared at several different points when walking there alone, as strangers made racist comments to me in an area I would consider a bit dangerous. It was the first time that I experienced racism in the U.S. and I would offer a word of warning to other Asian students, especially women, to avoid walking alone out there. However, my lunch at the Menya Musashi Tsukemen & Ramen in Capitol Hill compensated for my bad experience and made my day. I love spicy ramen and I’m so glad to find a ramen restaurant that I like in Seattle! Though I can’t remember whether it was spicy miso or Tonkotsu ramen, the soup was so nice and flavorful! I heard others saying that their Tsukemens are also good, so I’ll have to revisit sometime.

My most recent art museum experience was in the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA). It was so cool taking the ferry to the island! That day was also Sarah’s in-person meeting with the potential host site, so  Lydia and I went with her as her cheerleaders. We had the classic Seattle rain and the gloomy vibe, but the food we had was so nice that we could  neglect the bad weather for a while! Most restaurants were filled with people, so we decided to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant called Thuy’s Phó House (now called Thuy’s). I knew that I was going with congee because that’s always my favorite. The interior design reminded me of Raya, the Disney princess. The congee contained minimal  spices, with ginger shreds and chicken (I added that). It definitely boosted my energy on such a gloomy day. (And Sarah did get her host site, so yay!)

I’m really missing Cafe Migliore’s chocolate croissant and the spicy ramen I had. I hope to visit them again soon!