From the monthly archives: "September 2009"

Wisdom on Fugitives at MSP
Early this morning, I flew out of Seattle to get to New Orleans via Minneapolis. My first time in the land of ten thousand lakes, long overdue.

It was my favorite kind of flight: uneventful. I worried heading to the airport since I couldn’t figure out which airline would actually be my carrier. The Alaska/NWA/Delta info was ambiguous. I couldn’t get pre-assigned seats. Turned out flights weren’t full and I scored aisles and half empty rows.

After I arrived, we stopped for dinner in Ascension Parish at Sno’s. I went for the stuffed softshell crab.
Sno's

"Will you love me as much as my owner?"
After work, I walked to Brouwer’s to meet up with Mr. T and his soon-to-be-former teammates (he’s staying put mostly, just migrating). I spotted this along the way. I love this convertible! I already have the Karmann Ghia, though, and that’s enough of the antiques for our household.

If you’d like to get it, the digits are here.

I’m packing to head to Louisiana in the early hours and wondering if the sun will be out by the time I leave for Sea-Tac.

When Good Brocc Goes Bad
Time to till down the garden. This is our Broccoli, spent and overgrown.

(Yeah, when the Blogher pics goes up, I’ll link on the latest entry.)

Let's go to SFO!
Up bright and early to head back to Seattle.

Tonight, book club. This month: The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. I give it a C+. I was pretty proud I finished, but it was a slog. Reading shouldn’t be that.

I might’ve enjoyed something from this rack, better.
fresh out of my TSA holding pen! Time for Seattle again.
Re: the Diana story — what is this, 1995?

Back to SFO
Last month, I took my first Virgin America flight. Tonight, I returned to SeaTac to fly to SFO for Blogher Food 2009. I wish this flight went as uneventful, sadly there were hydraulics issues. The crew on the plane handled it well and the mood wasn’t bad, just delayed.

After hours on the plane, we got off to hang out at the gate for a few more hours. Eventually, 5 hours later than anticipated, I arrived in San Francisco. My night and plans were completely shot, but I wasn’t livid until Virgin America agents Claudio and Lani in San Francisco completely fumbled the ground transportation situation and didn’t live up to Virgin’s alleged service credo. The more they talked, the worse it got. Promises earlier in the conversation completely unraveled by delivery time.

My favorite potshot from Lani to a fellow passenger, in response to denying a request for a cab voucher (BART was shut down, it was 1:30 AM):
“Hey, be grateful we got you here alive.”

Stay classy, Lani and Claudio!

Marination Today
One of my favorite discoveries of the year: using my lunch hour to its fullest, scheduling with friends a few times a week. Also a fave: spending time with Ian, Best Roommate of All Time. Y’all already know how much I love Marination Mobile’s Wednesdays in Fremont. Lucky me, Ian was available for lunch today, so off we went.

I was ready to dial it in and just order my usual (tacos), then I noticed the Special: Spicy Pork Sandwich. Y’all. Y’all. Y’aaaaaall. SO good. I loved it even more than any of Paseo’s offerings which are fightin’ words around these parts. If you see it on the menu, you HAVE to get it. It’s spicy, with a little kick of ginger, jalapeno, and held together perfectly with Columbia City bread. The bread makes it all work.

Tonight is a final dinner with the Other Rachel, before she takes off to live in Japan. She’s one of the Muffin Top Trio. Let’s not focus on her leaving. Let’s think of my favorite sandwich of all time.
Marination Special: spicy pork sandwich

Marination Mobile (locations vary) on Urbanspoon

The new view
Relocated over the weekend. It’s only for a month in temp digs, so I’m holding my breath. Hope I don’t pass out.

So many adventures. An all day food photography conference (Friday), another class the next day that turned into an all-day affair, including a photoshoot (Saturday), and Return to DimSumCouver (Sunday) – a whirlwind 18-hour food tour. (I am just now realizing I never wrote about August’s DimSumCouver trip. For shame.)

I’ll post the better pictures soon after they’re released as hostages on my memory cards.

But first, sleep.

As Seen in Wallingmont
On my commute home, up Stone Way, I spotted this character.

I met up with Cynthia at the Kingfish Cafe. I’ve been craving perfect fried chicken for months. This wasn’t it as it was missing some jzhuzh, but a decent effort. We capped dinner with Strawberry Shortcake (Mr. T warned me that alone would be dinner enough) and C had Red Velvet. The leftovers will last the week.
My Strawberry Shortcake.
Spoon in the back, for scale. Sorta.

Cynthia's

Both great desserts, but bread pudding’s not gonna be there for at least two more weeks. FYI.

Kingfish Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wheelson & Artgirl's Flowers
Wheelson and Artgirl had a housewarming today. Believe it or not, my first time on Beacon Hill, home of Amazon. I love their new place. It’s spacious & light-filled & full of cool things they’ve gathered along the way.

Later, we watched Mad Men with friends. I love comparing notes. This week’s episode’s also deconstructed on Sepinwall’s here: Mad Men, The Fog: Waiting for my Real Life to Begin. This season has been seemingly slower-paced…thanks to Sepinwall, I figure out so much more meaning in the stretches.

The View of the Bay

Citizen - Lower Queen Anne
We were in serious need of some downtime so today was slow-paced. In the evening, I met up with girlfriends Sara, Natala, and Sarah at Citizen Coffee in Lower Queen Anne.

We got to chatting with the owner during dinner. I love the neighborhood feel to this place. People can stop in to get coffee, crepes (savory & dessert, with a side salad or and egg on top!), vietnamese sandwiches, and wines. The crepes were delicious. Reasonable prices — especially the wine list. Natala picked up extra bottles of the sparkling Shiraz to take home. We followed Citizen with Laredo for Sangria and crazy-addicting chips and salsa, then Crow for Bellinis. Perfect evening with friends.

Citizen on Urbanspoon

He brings all the good stuff.
Backstory: we’d made plans with Rocky for Salumi’s backroom lunch. I’ve heard about it for years, but neither Naomi nor I had been. Rocky set it up weeks ago.

Last night at Korean BBQ, Naomi asked,
“GUESS who’s coming to lunch with us tomorrow?”
“Who?”
Frank Bruni.
“NO. Really? Get. Out.”

He’d be in town for an Elliott Bay book talk and two Kim Ricketts events for Friday night. I loved Bruni’s 5-year stint as a down-to-earth critic in the New York Times, and when running, regularly listened to his podcasts. But things came up & I had plans elsewhere.

So. He joined our group for the epic backroom lunch. My favorite — the lardo lollipops on grissini. We had sweet-and-sour cippolini onions, pasta with spicy pork, spicy pepper stew, pork loin porcetta, culatello on gnocco fritto (fried gnocchi puffs)…that’s only a sampling of dishes, as I wrote nothing down and took few pictures so I’d take it all in.

Just a day in the life, y’all.

Leslie's Birthday Treat
Salumi graciously commemorated a birthday (Leslie‘s) in our party with these.

Korean BBQ
Gastrognome, Rachel, and I (the Muffin Top Trio — it’s a story) reunited for Korean BBQ tonight. Sure, the grill was great but the unanimous favorite was the raw beef appetizer. If you go to Kaya, keep in mind the portions are huge. We ordered the BBQ for 3 people, when there were actually 6 at our table, and ordered more dishes to complement, like naengmyun and dduk sam. We were stuffed. The space is as gorgeous as the Seattle Weekly article on Korean in Seattle suggests.
Kaya Asian BBQ & Grill on Urbanspoon

Oh, and in case you were wondering about the Kites from yesterday, I did catch some of them late afternoon.
Kites over WA

Gasworks Park
I pulled into Gasworks this afternoon to take some quick pictures in honor of Worldwide Moment for 09/09/09, 9:09 AM Tokyo time. I realized I’d arrived upon the artists setting up the 121 Kite art installation for tomorrow.

Gasworks Park - Kite Practice

Gasworks Park - Kite Installation

Gasworks Park - Kite Installation

For my mom & brother’s last night visiting, we took them to our neighborhood fave – India Bistro for dinner.

M$
Mr. T’s parents invited all of us over for a perfect fall dinner. Mr. T’s comes by his gardening bug honestly — his father grew the potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, and lettuce for our dinner.

Since we were on the Eastside, Mr. T took us on a quick drive near his company’s new Eastside campus before dinner. After dinner, I reminded everyone it would be convenient to show my mom & bro an opposing, more famous campus in Redmond. You wouldn’t need 3 guesses to figure out who thought this idea was silly. We drove over there anyway.

Behold the Giant Pi
Behold: the Giant Pi. At the lavender farm on San Juan Island.

Last night during the UW-LSU game, Mr. T’s Dad suggested we take a daytrip up to the San Juans. I like to take visitors on a ferry ride while they’re here, since it’s one of my favorite things to do. I’d been thinking Bainbridge, since I’m familiar – I’d never been to the San Juans though have always wanted to go. I envisioned making elaborate plans for a first visit which seemed to stall efforts…see? Spontaneity is the way to go — without any over-planning, this morning, my mom & bro, Mr. T & me, and his parents headed north for a 10:55 Anacortes ferry time.

I’d heard of the Pig War over the years, but once arriving realized these Islanders seemed as reminiscent as some Confederate reenactment enthusiasts are about the Conflict between the States. (Or the War of Northern Aggression, depending on your ancestry.) As we settled into the Front Street Ale House shortly after noon, I noticed a poster soliciting participants in the “Pig War Re-inactment” (sic). So, you know, if you’re into that, head on up.

San Juan Brewing’s Front Street Ale House is great. Perfectly situated near the ferry terminal, with unique spins on pub menus and quirky proprietors. We sampled their Bacon Beer, but the swine was subtle to the point of being invisible. I had their Ale Braised Bacon Caprese Grilled Cheese. House-made bacon + caprese ingredients, all in a sandwich = it made my day. Most everyone else in our party had delicious tempura fish and chips. Mr. T & his Dad raved about the beer.

Front Street Ale House and San Juan Brewing Co on Urbanspoon

After lunch, we walked Friday Harbor then piled back into the van to check out the original American Camp, a lavender farm with massive sculptures installed throughout the grounds, Lime Kiln Point State Park for possible whale-watching, English Camp, then finally Roche Harbor. More pics are here.

We take crap from anyone.
They take crap from anyone. (Nice!)

We made the 6:55 ferry back to Anacortes. We tried to patronize Anacortes’ Greek Islands Restaurant once on the mainland, but they close at 8. Instead, we hit up Esteban’s. I wouldn’t send anyone out of their way to a place that’s not exactly authentic but boy did this place nail its genre. Amerimex cuisine with good service, newly painted Autumn scenes in the windows, and unlimited chips and salsa. It was the perfect small-town end to a day reminiscent of my childhood road trips. We were home by 10:30.

Anacortes Mexican

Esteban's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

23-31 Final
Today was the big LSU vs. UW game at Husky Stadium. My mom, bro, me & Mr. T bussed it down and met with Mr. T’s Dad. He was wearing all Husky gear, while I was in my LSU cap. The guys behind us saw us walking up at one point and laughed, “Y’all are one confused family, huh?” Mr. T’s Dad & I just laughed right back.

Thanks to the ESPN media timeouts, the game lasted over 4 hours. Nonetheless, our team won. 43-31, Tigers!

Richard Simmons Doesn't Sweat to the Huskies
This dude was funny.

Garden - Black Krim
We invited Mr. T’s parents over to grill steak & meet my mom and brother for the first time. Mr. T is awesome at the grill so I took over the side dishes which came directly from our garden.

We have four big tomato plants this year — my Black Krim heirloom is prospering right now. I have about a dozen off one plant alone. They are HUGE. Each is about a pound and equivalent to 3 supermarket Roma tomatoes. It’s all caprese salads all the time around here right now. Hooray!

Elliott Bay
For my mom and brother’s first full day in Seattle, we headed to Pike Place Market. I’d never been to the Athenian, but heard it was good to watch the ferries come and go. I loved that they served their fries as the Greeks do. Their Uli’s Gyro wasn’t shabby either.

Crabby.

Pike Place Fish Dude

Original SBUX

We spent several hours amongst the mob where I finally realized Seattle would be overrun by Louisianans visiting for the game. I enjoyed chattin up all the folks from my hometown, though. I even spotted tiger tails:
Tiger Tail

Mid-afternoon, we visited the Space Needle. I’ve got an annual pass right now. For every trip, I can bring along a guest and get breaks on the rest. I’ve had it for six months and today’s the first time I made the visit…I’ll be going again soon.
Lake Union

Invader Alert

In line at the ticket booth, Tiger fans were chanting in rounds for their team. Everyone on top of the Space Needle seemed to be from Louisiana.

Once Mr. T got home from work, we decided waterfront dining would be best with the spectacular weather. We headed to Lake Union and watched the ships go by until the sun set. After dinner, we decided to show my brother Husky Stadium & went to a bookstore. I found a gem “Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals” — I’d have picked it up, but the only copy was falling apart.
Witness:
It's Only Sunny Cause...Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals
Great first day.

This week's little slice of heaven
I’ve given up on most other mobile food trucks, but I just love the folks at Marination Mobile. Before a lunchtime meeting, I dashed over to pick up my weekly fix. Kalua Pork Slider, kalbi beef & pork tacos.

Tonight, I’m headed to the airport to pick up my mom and brother. They’re visiting Seattle for the first time since I’ve moved here nine years ago.

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