Archives for posts with tag: seattle

Spring has finally arrived. I think. Not today, today is gray and damp and could very well be November. But. It was here, the sun, turning Seattle into an entirely different city; a shiny city full of people who own t-shirts and shorts and do things like smile. When the sun finally came, I swear, a darkness lifted not just from the city but from every single Seattleite’s soul. We are better people in the sunshine. We sing along  in the car and take on big hikes in the afternoon, we go to the beach (which we all forgot even existed in our lake- and sea-bound town) and bask in the still not-so-warm but we’ll-take-what-we-can-get-warm-enough sunlight. We stop needing to eat scones and muffins to distract ourselves from the gloom. We start coming back to life. Spring, thank God!

Mt. Si Hike with Madeline:

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4 miles, 4,000 ft = many many snacks.

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Dear Madeline.

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Rainier view, hiker chicks’ reward.

Madison Beach with Logie:

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Sweet Log.

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Cheap Uwajimaya deli sushi. I eat so much of this, statistically I am bound to get horrible food poisoning one day. But, till then, who cares!

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And we pray, not for new
earth or heaven, but to be quiet
in heart, and in eye clear.
What we need is here.

Wendell Berry (my man)

(Turkey post soon! Grilled anchovies. Doner kebabs. Unidentified lamb bits.)

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Bar Sajor, new Matt Dillon joint down the street from my office. I want to live in there. Have had: tuna on smashed avocado, beautiful buttermilk salmon with nettles, hutterite beans, patĂ©, lots of flatbread, greens, and other really good stuff that I can’t remember. It’s beautiful in there, I want to just live behind the bar. Also in Pioneer Square, which has been deemed hip and is indeed charming in a seedy, diamond-in-the-rough way.

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Kedai Makan, Malaysian street food, at Montana, the ginger beer bar. So spicy and sweet, the nasi goreng was appropriately caramelized with a runny egg on top. Made me miss Indonesia and Rus, nanny extraordinaire and nasi goreng master. I also had a beet juice cocktail so I’m basically juicing so therefore super healthy. And I also have to say that I tried their famous pickle-back, a shot of whiskey and a shot of pickle juice, and I didn’t barf and maybe even kind of sort of liked it.

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I’ve actually been, like, feeding myself, if you can believe it. I have two free afternoons now so I try to have a leisurely lunch and be mellow. Tortilla with broccoli rabe (of which I ate 2 lbs in 2 days) and knock-off eggs in camica because Fat Hen closed for a couple weeks and I was going to die without it. I also just read Wildwood, which is a illustrated young adult book by the Decemberist guy, and yes it is so Portlandia, but also yes, it was so good. I woke up early to read before yoga and that is saying something because yoga is at SIX THIRTY.

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And here is my sweet kitchen table in my hobbit/treefort house. It gets nice sun. And now that tree is blooming so there is some extra niceness.

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After some serious analysis, I’ve decided that it’s just more economical for me to go out to eat than it is for me to buy groceries. The only time I’m at my house, I’m asleep. I do eat breakfast at home (yogurt and apples and granola, going on every day for a year now) but other than that, I’m running around like a little Seattle rabbit girl, nibbling here and there. Nannying is ultra-conducive to grazing; someone else’s snacks! And in my new gig, assistant-ing for PR for restaurants (which is so far, so rad), there’s a lot of visiting the clients, aka: eating with the clients. And of course I need to know the product, right? And the competition, right? So I’d better go out every night, right? But really. Lunch, either cheese and crackers or sad salad, if I’m brown-bagging. Or a Clif bar. Blah. Rather have: pho. Or a quick sushi. Or PCC pizza. Quicker and easier to eat out than it is to go home and scramble scrabble something awful together. Ditto for dinner. Either eating with nanny kids (they’re eating mac n’ cheese, so I should too…solidarity) or going out. Aside from a entire crisper drawer filled with apples, all the lovely produce I so love to buy at the market withers away in my fridge. Cauliflower gets a strange maroon sheen, carrots lose their snap, lettuce becomes a sad soft version of its former self. (Beets somehow live on forever, never changing, glaring at me and guilting me about my failed cleanse.) So, better to just put my stomach in the hands of the good chefs of this great city. They cook better than I can anyway.

So here are some bites:

Pate with spicy peppers on toast, dates stuffed with goat cheese, and a pretzel with rarebit at Dinette, sweet little living-room-y Cap Hill place with Amanda. Snacks and freelance-life-whining/rejoicing. Then a second dinner (we are hungry chicks, okay) at Rione XIII: pasta with guinciale and fried (I just typed “fried” as “friend”…) artichokes.

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Dim Sum for dear Michelle’s birthday. Read the Chinatown issue of Lucky Peach on the plane to SEA, got picked up by Log & Michelle, ate dim sum. Perfect. Michelle has chopsticks skillz. And Logie Bear ate gluten. I love hum bao. Good times.

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A rare virtuous lunch at home.

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The Whale Wins, with Madeline. Sardines on toast with fennel (and curried tomatoes which sounds totally odd but I’m pretty sure this whole town is in love with it.) Culatello, which means “little butt” in my translation and is like extra-salty dream prosciutto. Roasted (seriously so roasted. I will now let my vegetables linger in the oven for ages, as they were black and amazing) carrots and fennel with harissa and yogurt. Marrow bones (three is too many for two people though…got mega marrowed out.) Pretty little salad with pistachios and parm. Beautiful braised pork (oh my) with stewed apples and homemade mustard. Yum. New restaurant service issues, but food: good.

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I moved! As usual. This time across town, not across country. Hipster boundary crossed, but no national boundaries. From Magnolia (aka “Mongolia”- and not because of a cool ethnic group with rad spicy food hole-in-the-wall restaurants, because it is the neighborhood that manages to be far from everything) to Fremont, home of Revel, Bluebird Ice Cream, the Book Larder, Paseo, and Dot’s. I can now walk from my house to a Neapolitan pizzeria. This is both good and bad. Mostly good.

Obviously I had to celebrate/refuel mid-move with a gigantic sandwich from Dot’s Delicatessen. Clearly. One of those times when you think, “Oh perfect, that’s a ginormous portion, I’ll have the other half later and that will be so great. Because I am a healthy person who certainly could not eat an entire baguette and 9 meatballs.” Then, voila, sandwich is gone. I was hungry. And then happy. And I’m pretty sure I’m about to become a Dot’s regular. And also fat.

 

I want every day to be just like this Sunday: chatting with Madeline over bowls of coffee whilst picking at beautiful French pastries, waltzing down to the market, grabbing my weekly bouquet, seeking out the sunniest little tomatoes, buying a weird little heirloom melon just to have an excuse to chat with the beautiful farmers market boy about the change of the seasons, going to four hours of heartfelt yoga, then, at the end of it all, making dinner with Logan, sweet sisterfriend. I want every day to be a Sunday.

Yoga and food have been my two true loves for a while, but Yoga and I just made it official. Come May, I’ll be a real-live yoga girl, certified to teach downward doggies the world over. After a false start this January (mistakenly signed myself up for semi-hot yoga training…there’s a reason I moved away from constantly-90-degrees-Florida…) I’ve embarked upon a nine-month training adventure with my beyond-beloved studio, Yogalife. And it is great. And big. And… big! Life is full. Life is good! Life is Sundays.

The amount that I work out has a direct relationship to the amount of ice cream I eat. Direct, not inverse. Running and yoga-ing, not part of a complete health package with lots of kale and brown rice, no. Just the necessary offset of a fancy ice cream addiction. Last week, a scoop of Molly Moon’s Scout Mint (aka, Thin Mint) with sprinkles. This weekend, an awe-inspiring pale green scoop of pistachio gelato on a cone, devoured while people watching on Ballard Ave. Yesterday, a scoop of mint stracciatella while my nanny charges were at swim team. They swim, I eat.

Other goods at the Queen Anne Farmers Market: a blueberry biscuit (saved for an addition to a picnic for an outdoor concert tonight), three pounds of apples (the apple addiction lives on), four yellow tomatoes (best color of tomato, fer sure), a bunch of teeny carrots, and multiple samples from anyone who’d give them to me and/or didn’t noticed I’d come by to sample peaches fourteen times. Then dinner on the lawn: naan with apricot-y chicken and rice, shrimp and grits, and ginger beer. Yum. And I’m at “work” during all of this, mind you.

Then, real dinner. Finally: Paseo. Mega-beloved Seattle Carribean/Cuban sandwich joint, which I’ve somehow never been to. I’ve stood in line and bailed many times, but never actually eaten a stinkin’ sandwich at the place. So finally. Paseo. I was doubtful that these West Coasters could beat the Florida Cuban sandwich, that flat, weird, mustardy, ham-packed delicious thing, but… maybe so. Very different: a delicious baguette filled with giant hunks of roasted pork shoulder, lettuce, cilantro, jalapeno, and mayo. Very messy, very good. Pros: the bread and pork were stellar. Cons: too much mayo (but I’ve never been a fan) and not enough jalapenos (but I am on the hot sauce crack rock.) Genia and I scored a table, which made it all the better; our sandwiches were definitely improved by the hungry, jealous stares of the dozens of people queuing up outside.

Even though Seattle is a fun, interesting, happening city, once you live somewhere it kinda becomes just where you live, where you get stuck in traffic and buy boring groceries and sleep. So you have to have your parents come visit every once in a while, so you can pretend that you’re on vacation in your very own city. M & D came over for the weekend and we went right into Larkwood travel mode. Aka: All meals out and much coffee drinking and pastry eating. Day One: obligatory Pike Place visit and lunch at Cafe Campagne. Much walking. Then. Dinner. It was tricky picking just two restaurants to take my beloved P’s to… pasta at a Stowell joint? Revel, my Korean favie? The winners: Walrus and the Carpenter and Sitka and Spruce. First up, Walrus. No rezzos, and I knew there’d be a wait. We showed up at 6. 2 hours they said. Not willing to give up the promise of a bowl of icy oysters, we waited it out at Bastille down the way, slowly slowly eating a little plate of rabbit pate and pretending that we were really still deciding if we’d stay for dinner. The call finally came for us and we scurried back to our hard-won table. First order of business, oysters. Yum. A dozen and a half, four different kinds. Yum. Briny bliss. Here we are, in blurry oyster-slurping form. (Are you supposed to use those dumb weensy forks? A good portion of the joy is the somewhat sandy shell slurp…)

And what else: bread and olive oil and butter and olives. A weensy wedge of Dinah’s cheese, which I have to say was good, but just in a regular ol’ buttery brie way. Then the real business: grilled sardines with a walnut gremolata kinda thang. Sheesh, sardines, where have you been hiding? Meaty and fishy in a good way. And I secretly love eating whole bony fish…something nice about that weird little calcium crunch. Speck with ricotta and candied pumpkin and balsamic. Candied as in pumpkin candy, not as in sweet-ish pumpkin. Awesome. A salad of watercress and lardons and fried egg. Egg yolk, extra points. My favorite dish: raw prawns with their roe alongside their deep-fried shells. Raw prawn? Yes. Fantastic. Snappy roe, just-tough-enough shrimp, ultra salty crunchy weird shell. Da bomb. And then, just for good measure, two more oysters each for Dad and I, just to make sure we really knew our favorite. (Treasure Coves from Case Inlet.) Then dessert, because, you know, we’re on vacation here. A cherry clafoutis, which was good, but erm… ours was better that one time we made it. Not quite custardy enough. But hey, covered in creme fraiche so pretty durn good. And roasted dates, which somehow remained about two trillion degrees for twenty minutes. Really yummy, once they cooled to the temp of just molten lava, roasted and caramely in salt and oil–definitely stealing that one. Walrus: worth the wait.

The next day: well, I’ll lay it out for you. Macrina for breakfast, Homegrown for lunch, Sitka for dinner. And Le Pichet for dessert. Ok, here we go. Macrina: I had a morning glory muffin and two perfect sunnyside up eggs. Dad had yogurt and fruit and granola. (He hadn’t realized that he was indeed, on vacation, and should take advantage by having french toast and bacon.) Mom got the salmon bialy, hands down the best thing on the brunch menu. We had a great waitress who kept getting cursed with whiny (“Are the eggs cooked with oil? Is the toast buttered? Is there sugar in the chocolate cake? Could you bring me just one slice of cucumber and an ice cube?”) tables and I tried my best to send her good vibes. After that we moved north to the Seattle Center for the King Tut exhibit which should in fact be re-named “The Exhibit of Egyptian Crap that does not include King Tut. Or his sarcophagus. Or his mask that is on every poster around the whole city.” Ok, there was some good stuff, but there were also a lot of brats running around and NO KING TUT. No mummy. Nothin. Some fans and wicker chairs from his crappy little cave-tomb. I might be bitter. But then we went to Homegrown for lunch and things looked up. Dad and I got turkey avocado bacons and mom got a killer Reuben. And we each got a really yummy pickle. And then I bought an old wood heating grate at the market, which is cooler than any dumb ol’ mummy anyway. Then we had to go home and take naps because we had a big dinner ahead of us.

So Sitka and Spruce. I have been dying to go for, oh, like, a year. And Matt Dillon, the chef, just won a James Beard. (He also has The Corson Building, my number one dream must go to resto at the moment, and a farm and a cute little bar. And everything good.) I was not on top of things and by the time I called, we could only get in at 6. Which was fine. Because the light is better at 6.

S&S has probably the most open kitchen on earth. I literally could’ve reached over and snacked on their mise en place. And I was tempted. The two chefs have a big deep sink where the cold ingredients are iced down and a nice big workspace, which is just a continuation of the long table we were sitting at. And a big wood fire. As you do. We kicked it off with bread (thanks to them, foccacia has a new place in my heart) and salami and olives. Shortly thereafter a salad of bright little lettuces and shaved asparagus and carrots and the best sheep’s cheese I’ve ever had. Ever. See ya Manchego, I have a new best friend. And farm-to-table, fresh, blah blah; that salad seriously had that magic taste that only things from your own garden has. (The Dillon farm/resto family is in fact the creator of the best CSA ever created…and the most expensive, but now I’m thinking it might be worth it…)

Then the mains. Rabbit leg, roasted on that fire, and sturgeon. Both with emmer (a grain…I didn’t know either) and turnip greens and yogurt and maybe a little hit of mustard with the rabbit and paprika with the fish. So simple and SO perfect. Lord. Thoughtful and homey and good. Nothing out of place or over-reaching. Everything all nested together and good. Didn’t even cross my mind that maybe it was sad that the dishes had the same sides. Cause there’s the cook, right there, making it for you. Keeping it as simple and just right as they would in their own kitchen, cooking for their friends. Then, lord almighty, the desserts. I’ll ease you into it. A simple little Basque gateau. Almond crust, pastry cream, Drizzled with caramel and salty (the salty was the crucial kicker) almonds. Good, lovely, yummy, great. Then. THEN. Wild ginger ice cream with honey. Ginger but not even ginger. It sung of ginseng and brightness and earthiness and sunlight all at once. Drizzled with honey and a handful of slivered almonds. The best thing I’ve tasted in a while.

Then a walk up to the Elysian Brewing Co, then a trip downtown in search of a view, settling (“settling”) for Le Pichet on First where we drank cider and ate delicious cheese at 11 pm. Because we were on vacation.

Did you think that was all? Then we went to Cafe Presse in the morning with Logie, where we all ate variations on the omelette and pastries and delicious housemade yogurt. And I ate almost an entire baguette with butter and rhubarb-vanilla jam. Because….I was on vacation! Stay-cation. Then we popped up to Taylor Shellfish where mom packed up a few pounds of clams and oysters to take home and we went for a walk at the beach at Discovery Park then they had to go home before the oysters got tired and next thing I knew the vacation was over, dangit. But how lucky am I, to have these parents who’ll take me out to dinner (around the world) and put up with my food rambling and even join in the rambling with me, wondering how, how!? does a raw prawn taste so dang good.