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sē·ăt′·əl

March 9, 2010 2 comments

Back from a much-needed mini-vacation to the Pacific Northwest.  Seeing family and exploring the city was marvelous.  With me I brought back 1. a cold, 2. some pretty cool photos, 3. a crackbrained idea that I too can win the jackpot at the penny slots, and 4. an unhealthy longing for coffee and triple coconut cream pie.

…and pizza, and crumpets, and Greek food, and salumi, and brioche breakfast buns, and coffee.  Did I mention the coffee?  Ya, it’s cliché, but they make outrageously good coffee in Seattle.  Maybe overcast weather is conducive to good coffee.

The afternoon we arrived, cousin Roxy and her fiancé Joe took us for lunch to Dick’s.  Dick’s, they described, is Seattle’s version of In-n-Out.  The menu is pretty purist – burgers, burgers with cheese, fries and drinks.  Dick’s was pretty good, but it ain’t no In-n-Out!  I’m biased, sue me.

Trying to get some sightseeing in before meeting up with the rest of the family that evening, they took us to a park in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle which had a spectacular view of downtown.

Roxy and Joe!

We went and paid respects to the master and his son.  The buried at Lakeview cemetery have the most rockin’ view evah!  Visit sometime, you’ll see.

They took us to the Pike Place Public Market.  I vaguely remember visiting this place when I was younger.  This time around, we came with a laundry list of food to try.

I wish we had something like this close to home.  And looking at the photo above, I wish I had more of an upper lip, but I digress.  Back to the food.

Beechers.  Great cheese.  That is all.

Piroshky, Piroshky… I was not impressed.  But maybe it was because we ordered the wrong thing or was just too full from breakfast at the Crumpet Shop.

Speaking of…   They are sort of like English Muffins, with nooks and crannies, but are made with a batter instead of a dough.  The crumpet-maker dude at The Crumpet Shop was so awesome.

Behold, the first Starbucks.  This is the first one – of 16,635 stores in 49 countries.

Brioche buns and a Caffé Vita soy latte at Belle Epicurean just a block down and over from our hotel.  The best breakfast known to mankind.

We spent most of our money on food at Tom Douglas’ restaurants.  We ate at…

Lola.  Greek food.  Late night menu is awesome.  I ache for their pork honey-harissa kebabs.

Dahlia Bakery.  Things to try:  house-made donuts, fried to order with dipping sauces and the triple coconut cream pie.  That pie will make you think you’ve died and gone to heaven.

And Serious Pie.  And they are exactly that.  Seriously.  Good.  Pie.  That there is a guanciale, soft egg and arugula pie and their cherry bomb peppers and sweet fennel sausage pie. Excuse me while I wipe the drivel from my chin.

Over at Pioneer Square, we made a pilgrimage to Salumi.  People, believe me when I say that you’ve never tasted salumi until you’ve tasted Armandino’s salumi.

The made us a Moffo.

And it made our tummies happy.

Then we went to Zeitgeist and had another latte.

A trip to Seattle would be incomplete if you don’t stop by the Space Needle.

And you should definitely visit the Experience Music Project.  That there is a tornado of geetars.  And I guess a keyboard accidentally got sucked in.

And since Jimi Hendrix was a Seattle native, they had a bunch of his stuff.  This is his address book.  Crazy.  Jimi had pretty good penmanship.

We had an absolutely wonderful time there.  More [non-food-related] photos here and a video here.  Now off to find a good latte in LA.  Ta ta for now.

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Categories: here and there Tags: , , ,

Great Expectations

September 15, 2009 Leave a comment

There is a rumor circulating that our church wedding will be held at some point next year.  I am not completely sure who has been suggesting said canard but I have my suspicions (dad!).   Although John and I are planning on it at some point, next year is a real stretch. We were thinking down the line.  Like a few years down the line.

We’ve been flooded with well-wishes from family and friends, near and far, since our announcement – thanks everyone!  Below is the card my Grandpa and Grandma sent us.  I’m not sure if you can read it since the writing is very small (clicking the photo will load a larger image).  It’s very subtle, I almost didn’t catch it, but see if you can tell why I think it’s awesomeness is beyond words.  I love them very much.

grandparents rock!

My Baby Turns 30

April 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Every year he still gets “Your birthday is on April Fools Day?!?” from someone.  It’s pretty amusing because I suppose having your birthday on April 1st is somewhat of a novelty.

This year was unlike any other year because in the few days before April 1st, I was  given a daily play-by-play/countdown of sorts:

John:  “Hey guess what?”

Me:  “What?” (expecting him to say “chicken butt” which is his usual answer)

John:  “Today is the last weekend that I’ll be in my 20s.”

The next day on the way to work:

John:  “Hey guess what?”

Me: “What?” (too busy watching the road, hoping he doesn’t brake too late even though the car in front of us clearly has, to really notice what he just said)

John:  “Today is the last Monday that I’ll be in my 20s.”

Yesterday:

John: “Hey guess what?”

Me: “What?” (you think by now I’dve caught on to the daily “guess whats”, but no, I still ask “what” with all sincerity)

John: “Today is the last day I’ll be in my 20s.” (followed by the sad stick-your-lower-lip out look)

I turn to him and say it’s okay.  I tell him that most people I know who are in their 30s have told me that it’s a wonderful time in one’s life – where things “start to make sense.”

In anticipation of things “starting to make sense” we had a low-key celebration at home by disposing of a mini Tiramisu cake and then trying to do a “hella crispy stunt” or “shred the gnar” or whatever the hell, playing Shaun White Snowboarding on the new Wii Fit, because unfortunately, in addition to things starting to make sense, we’ve also been told that your memory and your metabolism just go straight to hell.  This weekend, we continue the celebration with a visit to Mastro’s Ocean Club in Newport Beach to truly test the metabolism theory.  I hear that have a great butter cake.  And I guess their steaks are supposed to be good too.

john30

Categories: family, john, milestones Tags: , ,

Home Sweet Home

January 12, 2009 3 comments

As promised many, many moons ago, here are some before and after photographs of our little home.

Our living room has this awesome coved and tray ceiling  – it was a pain to paint, ask John.  Our fireplace is faux as of now, but not for long as we plan on opening it back up – hopefully the chimney is still in good shape.  Windows are still naked, besides the blinds, and it’s something we have to address sooner rather than later – the little gato has taken a liking to climbing them and has successfully ripped numerous little holes with her talons.

not the Sistine Chapel but we think our ceiling is pretty cool

not the Sistine Chapel but we think our ceiling is pretty cool

One of our first major purchases for the house was this dining table.  We tried to find the largest extendable table we could afford for those big family gatherings.  We all fit – sort of.

mmy dad calls it a "picnic table".  what's the song say?  parents just don't understand.

my dad calls it a "picnic table". what's the song say? parents just don't understand.

We painted the kitchen walls a bright happy blue, painted the cabinets white and the fixtures black.  Holy Jebus those cabinets too forever to do!  We were worried they were going to come out looking less than great but all those late weeknights of painting after work paid off – everyone tells us that they came out looking awesome.  We splurged on the fridge and stove but they are definitely money well spent.

stainless steel splurge

stainless steel splurge

The coolest room in the house, in my opinion, is the one below.  The previous owners used it a laundry room and we think their dog used to sleep there too.  We weren’t about to waste all the nice morning sun coming in from those windows on dirty laundry, so we turned it into a breakfast nook.  It also houses my baking bench.  A room dedicated to baking – eff yeah!

lookie lookie at our breakfast nookie

lookie lookie at our breakfast nookie

And last but not least is the office.  I let John do this room.  He picked the paint color, painted the walls and changed his mind – twice.  See what happens when you leave men to their own devices?  And they say women are indecisive!

office1

There are still a few rooms in progress, so stay tuned.

Categories: family, home, john Tags: , ,

A Very Happy Holiday

December 31, 2008 1 comment

Christmas at home.  Is there a better present than that?

The answer to that, my friend, is a resounding NOPE.

We hung our stockings on the mantle – one more added to the bunch this year for Wednesday.  Picked out the bushiest tree and wreath from Home Depot, as is tradition (tradition is not to get it the weekend before Christmas but we were just so busy that we couldn’t seem to find the time to get it any sooner, good thing there were still quite a few good ones).  Interestingly enough, the dogs didn’t seem to care much about the tree this year – no chewing of branches or plucking of ornaments from it’s boughs.  Winnie on the other hand, was a different story.  Damn that girl can climb – she got up pretty high on the Christmas tree and somehow managed not to electrocute herself whilst she played with the Christmas lights.  Luckily, she’s still light enough not to topple it over. John secretly wished she would hang out in there on Christmas Day and scare the bejebus out of whomever looked too close at our “new ornament.”

We hosted both Christmas Eve (with my side of the family) and Christmas Day (with the Nguyen clan) which I think makes both of us clinically insane.  It was a mad-dash to get the house presentable for company, but I think we did pretty well considering we had no help from the boos whatsoever.  The cool thing about being under the gun to get stuff done is that, well, you get stuff done.  I think that this is really the only way – at least from our past month’s experience of home-ownership, that certainly seems to be the case.  An impending flood of guests is a great motivator indeed.

The sound of family chattering and the banging of the Rock Band drum post chow-down, made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  We even got to spend some time with John’s niece Stephanie and nephew Stephen, whom we haven’t seen in a while.

christmas_081

the kids

presents

food_coma

my future mother-in-law in a food-induced stupor

When everyone left after the merriment and we cleaned up, John, me and the boos got to cozy up on the couch with steamy mugs of hot cocoa to spend some quality time with the boob tube.

It was definitely crazy but well worth the effort.  And a very happy holiday.

Categories: family, holidays, home Tags: ,

The First-Family Dog

December 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Look who’s looking for better digs?  Bradley’s in the hot seat and Macy’s next in line.  Why you ungrateful little…..

img_0717

Wednesday!

October 30, 2008 1 comment

We’ve added to our family!

Her name is Wednesday, after Wednesday Friday Addams of the Addams Family.  We were inspired by her color and the fact that she was found mewling, alone and hungry, outside my mom and dad’s house so close to Halloween.  Bradley sniffed her sufficiently when we met her on Saturday evening, and has deemed her harmless and nonpoisonous.  John thinks he’s upset though because I’ve chosen to yet again bring in another source of competition for mama’s attention.  I’ve repeatedly assured him since then however, that he will always and forever be my favorite beaggie.  She is already very attached to Macy – must be their mutual love of the space heater – and likes to follow John around the apartment.

Here she is playing with the dog’s stuffed rat we call “Ratatouille” – he’s bigger than her!

UPDATE 11.03.2008 – Took her to the vet this past weekend.  Bad news is that it put us in the poorhouse – I don’t know why, but I am always surprised at how much these visits cost; I should’ve been a vet!  Good news is that she’s healthy and and weighs a whopping 1 lb. 2 oz.  Dr. Jacks estimates her to be about 5 weeks old and at first, she thought Winnie might have been a boy, but with closer inspection it was confirmed that she is indeed a little girl.

Categories: family, john, the boos Tags: , ,