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Playing Tourist in Seattle

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I just dropped Tessa off at the airport, but we were already discussing when we can manage to get together again! It was so much freaking fun to have her here for a few days, especially because I used her visit as an excuse to play tourist in my new city. Tuesday night, after her arrival, I dragged her to get pho. What can I say? I have an addiction. She enjoyed it. Well, she said she did. She really had no choice. I think I spent 4 days talking it up to her and going on and on about how amazing it was. I’m known for doing that kind of crap.

Actually Tessa and her husband came to visit us in Fort Wayne once and I spent the entire month before they arrived telling them about my obsession with Cindy’s diner in downtown Fort Wayne and more specifically, how they had The.Best.Buttered.Toast.EVER. When Tessa and Greg arrived, I woke them up at 6am and forced them to go eat greasy, trans-fat filled, margarine-covered toast. Yeah, that actually happened. Being friends with me IRL is totes awesome.

Moving on to Wednesday, we were busy! We started off with breakfast happy hour at Toulouse Petit, where I had a delicious Croque Madame. After a bit of putzing around I talked Tessa into going to yoga with me (fun fact: my first studio yoga experience was an intro course with T like 7 years ago). The rain and wind were kind of crazy at this point so we debated back and forth about going to Pike Place Market. The sun came out and we convinced ourselves we had to get out. We braved the winds to explore the market, where I subsequently lost my mind over a stand selling dried fruit with no added sugar. Seriously guys. No.Added.Sugar. I repeated that like 28 times and then bought 2 bags. I regretted not buying 4.

We stopped for lunch at Beecher’s and dove into some flagship grilled cheese while sitting on rather uncomfortable milk bottle stools.

Hmm… This sandwich is melty cheese, pesto, and tomatoes between crispy bread. There was nothing inherently wrong with it, but it just didn’t totally float by boat, you know? I probably wouldn’t go back for a sandwich, but Beecher’s cheese curds and flagship cheese are both A-OK in my book.

We had both already eaten lunch obviously, but we were lured into Piroshky Piroshky. Anthony Bourdain is a fan, and the smells were intoxicating. Unfortunately our microwaved cinnamon raisin cardamom braid was not all that. It was bland, with no cardamom flavor to speak of, and it had a weird texture. I’m not saying don’t go to Piroshky Piroshky, but I am saying maybe try to go savory rather than sweet. I’d go back to try a potato, onion and cheese piroshky.

Oh, before we move on, please look at the awesome thing T and I found at some random toy store in the market. They were corn dog and broccoli action figures who are also apparently archenemies.

Umm, yeah. We nearly died laughing while repeating “flimsy tube of meat” and “stinky side dish.” For some reason when we tried explaining it to Brent that night at dinner, he did not find it as hilarious as we did.

Thursday, Tessa proved her rockstar status as best friend by going shopping with me. No easy task. I am a total freak when it comes to shopping. Honestly. I wander aimlessly into stores, get overwhelmed, and usually leave in near tears. As a result of my inability to shop and the cross-country move, my wardrobe has consisted of a pair of yoga pants, a pair of ill-fitting skinny jeans, 3 t-shirts, a tank top, and a fleece jacket. If that didn’t require an intervention I don’t know what does. T was a trooper and we made a lot of progress at the clearance racks at Macy’s and Nordstrom Rack. Thank God she was here to help!

Our touristy dinner of choice for Thursday was dinner at The Crab Pot. Featured on Man vs. Food, The Crab Pot is a ridiculously popular restaurant on the Seattle Waterfront.

I was not joking when I called The Crab Pot popular. They do not take reservations and there was a 30-45minute wait when we arrived. On a Thursday. In March. Ugh. I was starving and really did not anticipate much of a wait. We distracted ourselves in the bar, where I consumed a ridiculous drink.

That was called the Tsunami and it was blue and delicious. And served in a giant glass carafe. Hey, no judging. We were celebrating. Thursday was our five-year wedding anniversary.

Brent, party of 3! Dinner time! The Crab Pot is known for their “Seafeasts” which are buckets of seafood dumped on butcher paper on your table. Sounds classy, no? To complete the theme, they also give you bibs and wooden blocks and mallets, with which you are expected to beat your dinner into submission before consuming it.

Our bibs were donned. Our mallets were ready.

Brent was looking pretty serious as we waited for the arrival of our bucket o’seafood.

And it has arrived. We ordered the Westport Seafeast, which contained Dungeness crab, Snow crab, Mussels, Clams, Shrimps in their shells, Andouille sausage, Corn on the cob, and red potatoes. Let the madness begin.

In attacking our dinner, I went straight for the dungeness crab. It’s what I came for and it did not disappoint. I wasn’t actually all that interested in any of the other elements, but I did have a bit of the snow crab, mussels, and clams as well. I would definitely go back to The Crab Pot, but I would probably just get the whole Dungeness crab. It’s a fun place to take out of town guests!

And this morning I rode the lightrail with Tessa to the airport, snapped one last picture and said good-bye.

I can’t be too sad though. We leave for our anniversary trip to San Francisco bright and early tomorrow morning at 6am!!

Amazing Thai Cuisine

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Guest Post from Victoria’s husband, Brent.

After four years in staid Fort Wayne, Victoria and I were excited to experience the cultural thrills of cosmopolitan Seattle. So, the day after arriving, what did we do? We went to the mall.

Now, metropolitan Seattle is surrounded by water. Even after only a few days, you realize that this quite effectively segregates the residents; the side of the water you live on correlates well with the restaurants you frequent. We live south of the bay. Visiting the mall, north of the bay, had the happy side effect of exposing us to a new restaurant.

Around lunch time, after a little light internet searching, we decided to eat at Amazing Thai of Seattle. The restaurant lived up to its name. I thought it was the best Thai food I’ve ever had. Admittedly, I have no frame of reference; it’s possible that this was an average Thai restaurant in Seattle. By Fort Wayne standards, it was five stars.

We started with some soup. I do not know what was in it.

We then split some spring rolls:

Victoria had the Pad Thai. Kind of a boring choice, but it had amazing wok hei. The restaurant lets you choose your spice from 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being the spiciest. Victoria had the 2, and claims she could’ve gone 3 (but I have my doubts).

I had the gaeng phet ped yang, which was BBQ duck in a red curry sauce (4 stars of spice). It was amazing (at least to my Fort Wayne taste buds).

We highly recommend Amazing Thai:

5210 Roosevelt NE Suite B

Seattle, WA 98105

Smoked Salmon & Sweet Potato Hash

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Today was the first day we had nothing real planned. No errands to run or shopping to do. I remarked to Brent last night that we still had some of that amazing smoked salmon leftover and that we should make a breakfast with it. Apparently Brent took that to mean that he should make breakfast, (which is sort of true because he makes most weekend breakfasts around here), so he did the grunt work this morning.

We also had a pile of sweet potatoes and half a red onion, oh and some delicious aged gouda. He parboiled the potatoes and then browned them in a skillet with the onion. He threw in some salmon, cheese, and scrambled eggs and breakfast was done.

Pretty good-looking breakfast, huh? This is why Brent does breakfast. He is much better at it than I am. After a hearty meal, I was feeling a bit restless (plus we have no couch, and thus vegging out at home is less appealing), so I persuaded Brent to practice using the bus with me (I’m trying to familiarize myself with it) and head to the year-round farmers’ market in Ballard. We caught the bus 2 blocks from our apartment and 15 minutes later we were dropped off 2 blocks from the market.

I was impressed with the selection, though it was too bad I was kind of over smoked salmon by this point becasue I felt like half the vendors at the market were selling it. I love that everything at the market is produced in Washington.

After doing a lap to assess what I wanted to get, I went back to a few vendors and got my haul:

    • foraged chanterelle mushrooms
    • organic smoked ham hock – I’ve been craving some split pea soup
    • organic kale
    • organic fingerling potatoes
    • organic turnip
    • 2 organic leeks
    • organic cylinder beets
    • 1lb. brussel sprouts

    I also felt compelled to purchase some mini cinnamon-sugar donuts being made by one of the vendors because the smell was intoxicating.

    After walking around Ballard a bit more and stopping to get a cappuccino to warm up, we hopped the bus back to our neighborhood (lower Queen Anne) and went across the street to a pub to watch some football: the Chicago Bears for her, and the Indianapolis Colts for him

    I love that there are several year-round markets in Seattle and the bus is so convenient. Love it. I like to tell Brent that I’m “living the dream,” and in return he usually likes to mock me. :) I definitely think I’ll be back to the Ballard market, but there are a few other weekend ones I want to check out as well.

    Larry’s Day Out

    The weather has been absolutely gorgeous since we arrived. A bit chilly yes, but absolutely clear and sunny. We know that this is the exception rather than the rule for Seattle winters, so we’re trying to take advantage of it. Larry is an active dog, and he’s pretty used to very long walks and running around in a backyard. I don’t want to deprive him of that, so I’ve been on the lookout for a great long walk route for the two of us.

    I look out my window and I see a green park with a walking path running through it, but there are also train tracks in front of it, so I wasn’t sure how to get to it. Well, I finally found the answer. Olympic Sculpture Park which is free and open to the public is a five minute walk from our building and if you walk through the park, the path connects you to Myrtle Edwards Park, which is the park I see from my apartment. There is this gorgeous running, walking, and biking path a few minutes from my front door!

    Brent and I took Larry on an hour and a half walk through both parks this afternoon, and judging by the way he’s passed out on our living room floor right now, I’d say he got enough activity in for the day. Here are the photos from our walk.

    Brent and Larry walking through OSP

    OSP: Bunyon's Chess, 1965 Mark di Suvero

    OSP: Eagle, 1971 Alexander Calder

    Heading down the path connecting OSP to Myrtle Edwards

    The perfect running/walking path

    A pocket beach along the Myrtle Edwards Park path

     

    I feel so grateful to live in such a beautiful place

    Larry, living the dream

    View of our building from the park

    View of downtown from the park

    Port of Seattle

    We ended up walking up the path past the port and back home through OSP, covering about 4 miles total. To have a gorgeous place so close is wonderful. I was having a real “I can’t believe I live here!” moment as we were walking. I can’t wait to go for some runs along the water too! I’m pretty sure this park is going to be a regular in Larry’s walk rotation. Oh, and it’s not that I love Larry more than Lucy, but she has a bad hip and can’t walk very far without majorly limping, while Larry needs a ton of exercise.

    We’ve got no real plans for tonight, other than to relax and veg out. I hope you all have a happy and healthy start to the New Year! See you in 2011!

    Brent turns 29

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    Today was Brent’s 29th birthday. I make a big deal out of birthdays. Brent thinks of them as just another day, but I like to make them special. I started out waking up early so I could make Brent’s breakfast before he got up. I made some biscuits with bacon gravy. The biscuits were delicious. I’m not sure about the gravy because I do not get down with gravy, but Brent seemed to enjoy it. I just ate a plain biscuit and some coffee because I had plans to run later in the morning.

    While Brent was at work, I made use of my time off and made a ton of stuff in the kitchen, including Brent’s birthday cupcakes. I love to bake – especially for birthdays, so I basically insisted Brent find something for me to bake for his birthday. He skimmed through Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and decided on Lemony Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream. He’s really been into citrus flavored sorbets this summer, so he wanted something that would taste “refreshing” when he bit into it.

    These were wonderful, and I thought they looked pretty cute too! Brent really seemed to like them, so I was happy.

    Of course, we had to have dinner before dessert. I’m slightly ashamed to say, Brent actually made his own birthday dinner. He decided he wanted Steak & Frites, and I’m not great with cooking meat or frying things, so he chose to do it himself. He made steak au poivre from Alton Brown and french fries from Serious Eats. The fries were a production. He started them yesterday! They involve frying, then freezing, then frying again. I do have to say these were some freaking amazing french fries, so if you’re looking for a salty, crispy, stick of potato goodness, I recommend these. The steak was good, but it was probably my least favorite part of the meal. I was just too enamored with the fries and the arugula, beet & goat cheese salad I threw together to add color and veg to the plate. I LOVE this salad.

    An impressive looking plate, right? Enjoyed every bite! :)

    After dinner we went out for a drink with some friends and it was way more trouble than it was worth. We got there at 8:30 and they were out of the first 4 types of beer Brent tried to order, and then when we finally got a drink, the bartender told us they were closing in 3 minutes at 9pm. The bartender felt a little bad for us, so he let us hang out a have a drink with our friends while he closed up. It was very nice of him, but what kind of bar runs out of most of their beer and closes at 9pm?!

    We’re now ending the evening watching Futurama in bed… it must be Brent’s special day, because I can’t stand this show! I’m making freezer jam with my friend tomorrow! :)

    Pickles

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    I have eaten so much good food the past few days, but tonight’s dinner takes the cake. Brent was entirely responsible for all the deliciousness, so I’m letting him tell you about it. Guest post from Brent below – Enjoy!

    I love a pickle. I picked up a jar at the grocery on Friday and they were gone by Sunday. Victoria saw this as a problem with my consumption patterns; I saw it as having too few pickles. To paraphrase a popular meme:  disregard female, acquire pickles.

    Pickles can get a little expensive when you’re eating them by the barrel, so I decided to make my own. This turned out to be much easier than I expected. There are a few pickling methods, but I chose the easiest one, described here. I had to pick up a few spices and bell jars, but the cucumbers themselves were only a buck a pound. You can make a boatload of pickles with a small initial investment. Right before parking them in the fridge:

    This afternoon, sitting on a mother lode of above-average pickles, we decided cheeseburgers would be the best way to convey pickley goodness. I would’ve eaten them straight from the jar, but whatever. We bought some bison meat (no added hormones, I guess? (I don’t know. Apparently it’s important.)) at the store and cooked up a couple burgers:

    Victoria lost her mind over these. Every other bite was punctuated with her praising the burger. She thought about constructing a small alter to the burger in the living room, but we don’t really have the room since moving to the new apartment. Probably for the best; I would hate to anger the pickle gods now that I’ve discovered their delicious secret.

    Date Night

    Earlier this week Brent suggested we make Saturday night “date night” and he was going to cook for us. I was shocked because I didn’t realize date night was in his vocabulary, and I was also surprised Brent was willing to do something so nice, given my complete craziness as of late. Occasionally I catch myself acting crazy and realize how hard I must be to live with sometimes. Only 3 more weeks or so in the semester!

    Anyway, back to dinner. Brent used our “fancy meals” cookbook to come up with some meal ideas. He decided on a “simple” soup and salad combo.

    First up we had Frisee Salad with Baked Goat Cheese and Bacon. Goat cheese… on bread!! This salad course was all kinds of amazing. A wonderful pick by Brent. The man knows what I like.

    The goat cheese was a necessary and delicious addition for cutting the tartness of the vinegary dressing. The bread was an artisan Bread dough baguette I made this morning. The only change Brent made to the recipe was to use canola oil in place of walnut oil because (his words), “walnut oil is balls expensive.” I support that decision. Salad was delicious regardless.

    The second course was equally, if not more delicious. Brent and I tend to enjoy a lot of the same foods, but I think he’s more adventurous than I am when it comes to cooking. He often picks out recipes that I might not pick, assuming they may not turn out well if I made them at home. I’m glad he choose this Portuguese Clam and Chorizo Stew.

    For the stew, Brent made a few substitutions. Fort Wayne isn’t a super foodie-friendly town, so we had to make due with what Brent could find:

    • In place of smoked chorizo, he used some type of Boar’s Head spicy Italian sausage with paprika in it.
    • He couldn’t find 4 dozen little neck clams, so he used half fresh clams, half canned clams.
    • In place of piquillo peppers, he used roasted red peppers with a pinch of cayenne pepper.

    Everything was wonderful, and I greatly appreciated Brent’s suggestion for date night. Now we’re resting on the couch watching some Netflix movies.

    I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

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