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Seattle on Foot: Fremont

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Another part of Patrick and Smitha’s itinerary included a walking tour of some of the other neighborhoods in Seattle. I was definitely game to join them for that because my experience outside of the downtown/Queen Anne area is pretty limited. Plus, I had been wanting to see the Fremont troll since we moved here.

Our firsts top was Waiting for the Interurban, which residents frequently dress up. I have no pictures, but that’s alright – the sculpture had no fun accessories that day.

Next up was the highlight of the tour: The Fremont Troll. To find the troll, hike up Troll Avenue and you’ll find him lurking beneath the Aurora Bridge.

We all took turns climbing on him for various photo ops and then went on our way. We got about 2 blocks away and Pat and I convinced ourselves we needed to go back for one specific photo opportunity: nose picking. My fam is super classy like that.

More meandering, including a stop at Pie, where we got to sample the gluten free huevos rancheros pie and the apple pie. I love these tiny pies and I plan on dragging Brent back soon!

More sights to see. When Pat initially mentioned seeing the Fremont Rocket, I had no idea what he was talking about. It was pretty damn random, but that’s kind of Fremont in a nutshell.

We also saw the Lenin statue.

Apparently they put lights and a star on his head for Christmas. We’ll have to go back and check that out in December.

The other highlight of the tour was stopping at Theo Chocolate. We were hoping to take the factory tour, but it was sold out. We consoled ourselves by sampling nearly every type of chocolate they produce. Seriously, if you’re ever near Fremont, I would hit up the Theo Chocolate factory and store front. I have already informed Brent we have to go back to take the tour.

To complete the tour, we needed to check out the dinosaur topiaries. Fun story: we were all looking in the guidebook figuring out where to look for the dinosaurs when a nice gentleman asked us what we were looking for. We said “the dinosaurs” and he pointed 8 feet away from us. I think the fact we didn’t know we were staring right at them gives you a clue as to the disappointment we felt. This was definitely the dud of the tour.

As you can see, one of them is still missing his ivy head. After stopping for a beer and some frites at Brouwer’s, we headed to Capitol Hill to see the Jimi Hendrix statue and St. Mark’s Cathedral.

There’s been talk of relocating the Hendrix statue and I can see why. It’s in a bizarre location on the sidewalk in front of an art supply store. We also stopped to take advantage of happy hour at Quinn’s. Love that place. We had such beautiful weather and it was a really fun day. It definitely inspired me to get Brent and I out and about exploring more of this awesome city.

 

 

Seattle on Foot: Downtown

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Oh man, have I been busy! My cousin Pat and his girlfriend Smitha came to visit Seattle this past week and I tagged along and had myself a vacation in my own city. Yep, unemployment sure has its perks! Pat and Smitha came prepared with a list of things they were interested in seeing, and of course restaurants they wanted to try – people after my own heart. After a delayed plane arrival on Wednesday night, they woke up Thursday ready to go, go, go.

A walking tour of Seattle’s downtown core followed. We headed from my place to Pike Place Market, stopping for breakfast at Le Panier, which is one of my favorite places for a cappuccino and pastry in the city. We explored the market. I ooohhhed and ahhhed over a million things as usual, AND Smitha caught a fish! She wanted the fish mongers to start throwing the fish and they told her she had to catch one. She has more confidence than I did, because she did it. It took two attempts, but the second one was a success.

Pat actually took a great video of it and we were dying laughing watching it. More wandering ensued, including a stop for a beer at Pike Pub & Brewery, where I greatly enjoyed the Tandem Double Ale. We stopped for lunch (#1 of 3!) at The Pink Door, and got to sit outside. I am so excited about spring and summer in Seattle!!

Pat and Smitha split the Pink Door Lasagna, which was a veggie lasagna and it was amazing. I had a bite and I would love to come back for me. I ordered a glass of wine and some steamed mussels and clams, which I ate about half of.

We moseyed on over to Pioneer Square, which is super adorable and took a look at all the public art in Occidental Square. Eventually we made out way to Salumi. Obviously we weren’t hungry, but I had been wanting to try it (and their hours are lunch only Mon-Fri) so I used their visit as an opportunity to do so. We split the cured meats plate, which made a nice snack (we didn’t quite finish).

Ok, no way to beat around the bush here – we continued walking, so that we could make our way to Serious Pie. Yeah, a third lunch. I have history with Serious Pie. Brent and I went there over a year ago on our first trip to Seattle. To say it didn’t live up to the hype would be a huge understatement. We kind of swore we would never go back. But, I’m known for exaggeration, so when they suggested it, I decided it was time for a second chance.

We hit it up for their happy hour. Mini pies for $5 and cheap beer and wine = redemption for Serious Pie. While I still think their pizza is a bit overhyped, I enjoyed each of the three mini pies I got to try.

Yellowfoot chanterelles and truffle cheese:

Guanciale, soft egg, arugula:

Sweet fennel sausage, roasted peppers, provolone:

While I still feel hesitant to head back for dinner due to the much longer wait time and the higher price, I would definitely come back for happy hour. We definitely ate quite a bit during our walking tour, but we split everything so it was not near as much as it seems.

After Serious Pie, we started the trek back to Lower Queen Anne so we could take the trip to the top of the Space Needle. This was another attraction that I didn’t think would be worth the price ($18/person), but the views were pretty gorgeous so I guess I was proven wrong again. 🙂

I’ll be back later with more of my vacation at home.

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!!

Seattle Food and Wine Experience

Experience, right? That really sets an expectation. Not just a tasting, not just a festival: an entire experience. Brent and I made our way to Seattle Center for the Seattle Food and Wine Experience on Saturday. I’m not sure I would call it “an experience” but it was a lot of fun! We ate and drank a ton, so there’s way too much to include here, but I’ll just post some photos and recap some of our favorites.

So much food!

Our favorites of the food:

  • Braised Waygu short ribs with sweet yams mash on crostini from Andaluca.
  • Hot smoked Neah Bay black cod with powdered chorizo, pickled red onion & crispy chick peas from Blueacre Seafood.
  • Kona crusted petite tender with shallot butter from The Capital Grille.
  • Charred flank steak and chimichurri pesto with udad strips from Cedar’s Cafe.
  • And I had a serious love affair with the donuts from Frostology.

And so much to drink too!

Our favorite drinks of the event:

We had such a good time. Between work and his commute Brent is gone a lot more than he used to be so it was a lot of fun to be able to hang out for a few hours without tv and internet distracting us. 🙂

Scenes From the Top of the Hill

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So the thing about our great neighborhood is that we live at the bottom of a hill. I’ve mentioned that before, I know. What that means is that to get to a lot of the cool, commercial things we have to “climb the hill.” Brent and I will occasionally come across restaurant ideas, and then talk ourselves out of them when we’re feeling lazy because they’re “all the way up the hill.” You may think I’m exaggerating, but it’s hard work! It’s a mile long and fairly steep. Totally worth it though. Best view in the city is from Kerry Park less than a mile from my place. You can see the skyline and the water, and you feel like you’re on top of the world.

I was feeling a bit gloomy today (the job outlook does not look that fab), so I got myself out and about and took a 5 mile trek around the top of the hill.

Stairs and hills leading to more stairs and hills

The skyline. I live 3 blocks to the right of the space needle.

I love when the sun comes out here! Totally worth the drizzle the rest of the time.

Upper Queen Anne is known as a "rich area." I drool over the cute houses.

I also took myself out to lunch at Macrina Bakery. Love.

Cobblestone streets are too cute, right?

My walk was a great escape and very much needed today. I even stopped at the library and got a library card. I was then able to check out a copy of the Macrina Bakery cookbook. 🙂

 

Wild Mushroom Risotto

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I had planned to use the wild mushrooms I bought at the farmers’ market in either some sort of pasta dish or risotto. Brent voted for risotto, so 3 days later, there I was sweating over the risotto pot, stirring until my arm about fell off. Or not. Risotto is not difficult at all, and the stirring is always made to sound worse than it is. Once you get the technique, you don’t really need a recipe. I threw this together to have ready when Brent got home from work today.

Wild Mushroom & Leek Risotto

  • 2T olive oil
  • 2T butter
  • 2/3 c. arborio rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, sliced thinly
  • ~1/3 c. dry white wine
  • ~2.5 c. vegetable broth
  • 2 c. wild mushrooms, chopped
  • 1-2T fresh thyme
  1. Poor broth in small pot and keep on low heat (don’t boil it).
  2. Heat 1T butter in a saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add mushrooms and 1T thyme to saute pan and saute until browned and softened.
  4. Set aside mushrooms.
  5. In a medium sized pot, heat 2T olive oil over medium heat.
  6. Add garlic and leek to the pot and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add rice to pot and stir until translucent.
  8. Add wine to the pot and stir until liquid is absorbed. (I totally take breaks from stirring here and there, just don’t let the rice get stuck to the bottom of the pot).
  9. Add 1/4-1/2 c. warmed broth to the pot and stir until liquid is absorbed.
  10. Continue adding liquid in small increments and stirring until absorbed. After I’ve added about 1.5-2 c. I start taste testing to monitor the texture of the rice. You don’t want mush, but you don’t want crunch.
  11. Once the rice is the texture you want, break 1T butter into a few pieces and fold in butter and mushrooms into rice mixture. Place a lid of the pot and let stand off the heat for about 5 minutes.
  12. Garnish with more fresh thyme.

I know that totally looks like a lot of directions, but it’s no big deal, especially if you’re listening to Pandora and drinking a glass of the wine too. I made this to serve three, but Brent has a big appetite, so it was enough for just the two of us. I served it with a big arugula and roasted beet salad.

Don’t you think beets are the prettiest vegetable? I said that once to Brent and he talked seriously about having me committed, but it’s very true I think. They’re gorgeous.

Anyway, I took Larry for a long walk today, mostly because he needed it, but also because today was our first day here without sun (which apparently happens an average of 270 days a year), so I figured I should make sure I get used to it. Here is that same park cloaked in grey (or silver if you’re a look on the bright side kind of person).

I didn’t think the grey drizzle was too bad, (but talk to me in 6 months) and it won’t prevent me from doing any of my outdoor activities. I actually think the water looked gorgeous today. Larry did, however, manage to cover himself (and my legs!) in mud, which was less than stellar.

For now I’m off to talk Brent into going out for some gelato. 🙂


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.