Southend draws tourists for the food, fun, interesting sites

Kristina Thorne of Seattle Southside Visitor’s Center considers herself more of an eater than a cook, but offers this as one of her go-to recipes for all seasons.

Kristina Thorne of Seattle Southside Visitor’s Center offers up her chicken and vegetable curry with rice.

Kristina Thorne of Seattle Southside Visitor’s Center considers herself more of an eater than a cook, but offers this as one of her go-to recipes for all seasons.

This versatile recipe Thorne said can go with anything one might find in their kitchen.

“So for the flavor profile and simplicity of the recipe, it’s impressive for guests and I enjoy it too,” she said.

Summer is almost here and it’s the busiest time for the Seattle Southside Visitor’s Center, located just east of International Boulevard at 3100 South 176th Street.

“People come from all over to visit Seattle and then the surrounding areas,” said Ashley Comar, marketing and communications manager for the center.

The largest number of tourists visiting cities south of the Puget Sound come from Canada and Australia, according to Thorne.

She calls them “roadtrippers” and said they rent recreational vehicles and pass through the area driving down to Portland, Oregon and California.

So where do people like to visit on the southside?

The Museum of Flight, Westfield Southcenter Mall, the Thunderbirds hockey team at ShoWare and the iFly sky diving experience are all very popular attractions, according to Comar.

“Last year visitors to our area spent over $592 million just in the Seattle southside region,” she said.

That doesn’t include the rest of King County, Comar said.

The visitor’s center is involved with the local community by hosting a volunteer and intern program that works with Highline and South Seattle Community Colleges.

People come from around the community and volunteer in the visitor’s center.

The center offers maps, attractions brochures, restaurant recommendations, and help with hotel reservations free of charge.

Thorne, who lives in Renton and grew up in the area, said she didn’t know how awesome the Des Moines waterfront was until she started working in the visitor’s center.

Another southside hidden gem is the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent.

The Seattle Southside Visitor’s Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, starting Memorial Day through Labor Day.


Chicken and Vegetable Curry with Rice

1 cup brown rice

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 chicken breasts

4 carrots, cut into ¾ inch pieces

2 Yukon gold potatoes cut in ½ in pieces

10 button mushrooms cup into quarters

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup coconut milk

½ cup torn fresh basil leaves



Cook the rice according to the package directions.



Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, tossing occasionally until golden, cut into ½ inch pieces transfer to plate.



Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften. Mix in the curry paste.



Add the broth and coconut milk to the skillet and bring to simmer. Add the chicken and cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with basil and serve with the rice.



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