Thursday, December 8, 2011

Going out with a whole lot of class

For Sean's last stop in town, we headed to Seattle's oldest fine dining restaurant, Canlis (which is amazingly still in the Canlis family after 60+ years). Built on top of a hillside overlooking Lake Union, Canlis is known for its amazing service and atmosphere. If you aren't pleased by the service here, you are impossible to please (or maybe you don't like following a dress code). Andy and I had actually eaten here once before but not since they got a new chef who shook up the establishment and started serving some more modern dishes. Although we enjoyed a lot the last time around, I would definitely say the food was more memorable and delicious than last time.

As guests of Sean (aka Mr. Big Shot), we were served a fixed menu. For a couple of the course, they brought two of us one dish and the other two a different one, so we got to try extra dishes.

Here's the roundup:
Sweet potato two ways: soup with cranberry and cinnamon and sweet potato chip topped with shrimp and cranberry
Risotto with a duck egg and white truffles (OMG-YUM!)
Young Beets with Sheep's milk yogurt sherbet, pumpernickel, and blueberries
Smoked Sockeye Salmon with Yogurt, sorrel and lobster coral / Hamachi two ways: sashimi and tartare (these were two of the top dishes---the smoked salmon melted in your mouth, and well so did the hamachi....Mmmmm)
Foie Gras with a rabbit rillette served with warm brioche (fancy pants, rich but delicious)
Chicken: Prosciutto, salt-baked celery root, and matsutake mushrooms (Andy's favorite dish of the meal--this was not your average chicken dish)
New York Strip Steak - 28-day dry-aged with carrots, curry, and cauliflower / strip steak with black truffles and deliciousness (loved this---some of the best beef I've had)
Pineapple with White chocolate, passion fruit, and coconut
Crème Fraîche Custard with Oatmeal streusel, Granny Smith apple sorbet / Mille-Feuille (Banana caramel, peanut butter, and dark chocolate cake) (I skipped the peanut butter dish---luckily this was another split course---the custard was amazing and the apple sorbet had so much flavor)
peanut butter truffle / rosewater raspberry macaroons

As with the other two restaurants we visited, the head chef at Canlis, Peter Franey, seemed really nice and genuine (though less West Coast relaxed than the other two). I asked Sean and the photographer if all chefs are nice, and they both very quickly and unequivocally said NO! Maybe it's a Seattle thing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rustic and Homey

For our second stop on the Seattle Food Tour, we headed to Sitka & Spruce in Capital Hill's Melrose Building. I had never been to the Melrose Building and was excited to find a cheese shop, a butcher, a bar, and more located in the same space as Sitka & Spruce. The atmosphere is open and fun and really chill. I was worried that after eating at the Willow's Inn, I would be disappointed by all other meals (for the rest of my life??), and while the meal we had Sitka & Spruce does not live up to the amazing 21-course dinner at the Willow's Inn, it was lovely in a totally different way. The food is rustic and served family style, but is still creative and fun.

Most of the food comes from the chef's farm on Vashon Island, and the menu is constantly changing. I definitely want to go back and would like to try his other spot, the Corson Building.

Here's what we ate:
Bread with butter and duck pate-ish
Alsace style sausage
Sauteed leeks with egg and mustard (this was super delicious)
smoked manila clams with roasted beets
Salmon with some sides...can't remember b/c the rabbit was so good...
Rabbit with chard and potatoes (loved loved flavorful and amazing)
Hot chocolate and cookies (Mexican wedding, almond, buckwheat with cocoa nibs, chocolate chip, ginger) (super fun, and I loved the almond cookies which happily did not have any almond extract in them)
persimmon bread with goat cheese sorbet (Sean was a big fan of this...I was too full of cookies to enjoy it)

After dinner, we spent some time talking to the super nice chef (how did I get here??), Matt Dillon (not that Matt Dillon!) and found out that he is a big Haruki Murakami fan (he was reading 1Q84). He even has a Murakami tattoo, but I didn't get to see it!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

But wait there's more...

I am positive I can't do this dinner justice in a blog post, but I have to try. Okay, before I start though, if you have the means, stop reading this post and go book a room (the only way to get dinner, except under unusual circumstances) at the Willow's Inn. You will not regret it. You can read this post after you book a room.

The Willow's Inn is not in's on the most accessible San Juan Island-Lummi Island, which is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours from Seattle including a very short ferry ride. For us, getting there added to the fun and excitement of the meal, especially the ferry ride, which was on a boat that held about 20 cars. We were right in the front, so I felt more like a captain than a driver. We arrived in the dark so I can't tell you what the view was like, but I have it on good authority that it is lovely. The Inn itself is cozy and had a nice fire going. We enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails while we waited for dinner to begin.

Here are the courses that were served to us during this amazing meal. Keep in mind that the menu we got only listed 5 courses (in bold below), so all of the other courses (yeah, all 16 other courses we surprises!!).

Smoked salmon served in a still smoking wood box
Salmon roe "crepe"
Black cod with homemade sauerkraut served on a potato chip
pickled oyster (served in a bowl of frozen rocks)
kale chip with black truffle and pumpernickel crumbs (this was fantastic)
veggies with hazelnut "dirt" and herb dip (the presentation on this was lovely---served in a basket)
light cracker with edible flowers (and other greens)
celery root with horseradish mousse (delicious)
grilled oyster (the best oyster I have ever had)
organic grains with pickled mushrooms
herring roe with kelp (traditional Native American delicacy)
fresh king crab with bread crumbs, kale, and a mussel foam
bread with amazing grass fed butter (seriously folks, grass fed butter tastes much better than regular was my downfall b/c I kept eating it and was so incredibly full by the end of the night)
pickled smelt
cabbages with apples
herb chicken jus for the bread (this was a little like crack)
slow roasted beef cheeks with cauliflower and celery
aged goat cheese with pumpernickel toast
pears with walnut ice cream, toasted walnuts, sugared lemon verbena leaves (if I saw this on a menu, I would never order it...but it was amazing...the walnut ice cream was so delicious)
roasted chestnuts with hot apple cider (spiked)
flax seed caramel

Another fun twist---in addition to wine pairings, they also offer juice pairings. As the DD, I was all about this and was very happy with my decision (Andy and our friend Heather did the same, while Sean wine'd it up). With our five scheduled courses, we got cucumber, carrot, granny smith apple, huckleberry, and elderflower juices, and they were all delicious. I am not sure if this comes across as a good idea, but it was really fun and definitely added to the meal.

During the dinner service, the whole team (waitstaff and chefs, including the amazing head chef Blaine Wetzel) serves the food. Although it is clear that Blaine is the head chef, they really do work as a team and the atmosphere in the dining room reflected that.

In an amusing turn of events, after a long, lovely, leisurely dinner, we ran out of the restaurant as if yakkity saks was playing. The ferries only run once an hour, and once we realized we were getting close to the 10 pm ferry, we started getting antsy. We paid our check and literally ran out of the dining room. I may have driven faster than the posted speed limit. And in the end, we got on the ferry with almost 10 minutes to spare!

I am sure I could go on and on, but I think that's enough for now.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Culinary Craziness

Whew---what a week! After indulging in a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with friends, I picked up our friend Sean who flew in from hipster mecca Williamsburg (Brooklyn) for some serious eating. Because he works for the book-ish Art Culinaire magazine, part of his job is visiting restaurants around the country and doing profiles of them. With only a little arm twisting, we got him out to Seattle to see what the PNW has to offer. It was great to catch up and hang out...and I am not complaining about the fantastic food we ate either! He (and his boss) selected three amazing yet very different restaurants: the Willow's Inn, Sitka & Spruce, and Canlis. My plan is to do a blog post on each, so I am going to focus this post on the restaurants we took Sean to prior to his official business.

After flying in Friday morning, we headed to the Junction to walk around our hood. Sean picked up a mini cupcake from Cupcake Royale and then we grabbed turkey and havarti sandwiches and chocolate croissants from Bakery Nouveau. Next, we walked around Capital Hill stopping at Elliott Bay Books, stopping for a quick taco snack at Marination Station. For dinner, we headed to our new favorite pizza place Bar del Corso. We had a pizza with chantrelles, speck, and caramelized onions that was out of this world. Oh yeah, and their fried risotto balls are heavenly (or maybe evil good).

Saturday started at Top Pot doughnuts, followed (not immediately!) by our first time at Uneeda Burger. After taking Ramona for a walk in Fauntleroy Park (in a desperate attempt to burn enough calories to be hungry again), we headed to Mashiko for some sustainable sushi (and my first geoduck---which I think makes me an official PNW-er!).

Up next---the best meal I've ever had...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Indiana is devastated by Oliver's departure

For those of you who don't know my brother, he is ridiculously creative and funny. After visiting us in Indy last summer, he determined (rightly so) that similarly to many indie rock bands in Japan, Oliver is HUGE in Indiana. When we moved back to Seattle, we received a series of post cards documenting the impact of Oliver's departure from Indiana. For those of you who don't know, the backstory behind the third postcard relates to our former next door neighbors in Indy. Let's just say that they were crying in their tea bags the day Obama won Indiana and the presidency. Then, the day Obama signed the health care act into law (Obama-care if you will), they turned their everflying American flag upside down and left it that way until Memorial Day. Yup, they flew their flag upside down for more than TWO MONTHS because we were expanding health care coverage!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Okay, so I haven't been so great about keeping up with this blog! It's been a busy month with our stuff arriving (no, we are not completely unpacked yet) and my parents visiting. August is going to be busy too---we have a trip to the Oregon coast, a visit from Andy's mom, and a wedding. Then, September comes in with a roar with another wedding and Andy's first day of school.
We are still loving our house. It's really great and in amazing condition. According to our next door neighbors, the original owners (who were here until 2003) had weekly cleaning tasks that included wiping down all of the windowsills and mopping the garage! Apparently, the walls in the dining room had mauve fabric on them for a while!
I thought I'd post a few pictures of our kitchen, partly because I just spent a long time cleaning it today and partly because I want to show off the new, more appropriately sized knobs. Oh yeah, and I am thinking of replacing all of the appliances. The oven is really small, and I need to be able to make copious amounts of cookies!! Any thoughts on whether stainless appliances would look okay with the 1950s style cabinets?? We may be upgrading to a taller, slimmer fridge in order to accomodate the wider oven, which in addition to more $$ means stainless may be the only option. I can live with our current appliances for a while (although the ~25-year-old dishwasher and I frequently have words). Andy and the microwave aren't on good terms because the beeping sounds it makes are incredibly loud. It really is crazy loud---it's not good to be standing next to it when it goes off. Not sure who needs that...
Here are the old, large, white ceramic knobs:
And here are the new, smaller, metal knobs:
My tiny wall oven

Friday, July 8, 2011


So, we've been slacking about posting pictures of the new house....partly because we didn't have our stuff yet. With our stuff finally moved out of a warehouse in Indianapolis and theoretically moving westward, I am finally motivated to post some pictures of our partially furnished house.
Our bedroom with our 1950s/60s bedroom set
The Hallway (check out our kickass floors!)
Our elevated an seemingly small oven
Our 80s-tastic mirror by the front door
In lieu of having lots of personal belongings, I have been spending time on Etsy and the West Seattle Antique Mall shopping for 1960s glasses. We have this glass cabinet that needs cool glasses on display. I found amazing Seattle World's Fair Glasses on Etsy (set of 4, apparently, there are 8 of them total...hmmmm...). I found some more cool glasses and pretty turquoise bowl at the West Seattle Antique Mall.
Seattle Worlds Fair Glasses
The glass cabinet in all its glory
Indiana and Yellowstone glasses
Indiana is known for....wait for it...a turnpike!

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's good to know that you can drive from Jackson to Seattle in one day

We have a history of running out of patience towards the end of our drives, so it's not a major surprise that we decided to go straight from Jackson Hole to Seattle on Sunday. We didn't leave super early either, hitting the road about 9:30 am. We got to our new house just after 11 pm. Ramona was not amused for the last few hours of the ride standing up and giving us dirty looks periodically. But when we got to the new house, she seemed to know right away that she was home!

In Wyoming

Really guys? Still in the car?

Since then, we've been visiting with friends, exploring the woods behind our house, hitting IKEA, ordering a new couch, buying a used elliptical (to help balance out the dangerously delicious Bakery Nouveau).

Our IKEA-furnished living room

The woods behind our house

Monday, June 27, 2011


i am posting from the phone, so this will be short and sweet. for some reason it will not let me add symbols or capitilize...annoying. anyway, we decided that taking two days to drive from jackson was entirely too reasonable. instead we did it all in one day arriving at our new house just after eleven last night. ramona was super pleased. pictures and more details soon.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Snow After the Solstice

With Andy and Ramona taking a post-hike nap, I thought I'd take this time to blog about the last couple of days. We drove through most of Wyoming yesterday ending up in Jackson Hole. We decided to spend the weekend in our dog friendly hotel (a ski resort building built in the 1970s while mostly updated still has some amusing 70s touches like this weird fiber optic chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the lobby).
If you haven't been to Wyoming, there are two things that stand out: 1) the natural beauty and 2) the impressive lack of people. The whole state has about 500,000 people, and after driving through Gillette, we were shocked to learn that it was the 4th biggest city in Wyoming!! This wasn't our first rodeo, so we made sure to stop for lunch in Casper (the 2nd biggest city in Wyoming). We found this great little coffee shop on yelp in a bizarre little strip mall. The skies were threatening, but we decided to eat outside so that Ramona wouldn't have to wait in the car. Our food definitely exceeded expectations: my tuna melt was light and flavorful and the cold couscous sald that accompanied it was just plain delicious. Andy's ham and bean soup was not your typical cafeteria fare containing three types of beans and high quality ham. Perhaps this was more information than you needed, but I do love food!
Most of our driving was on US highways and we saw some spectacular scenery.
Driving in Wyoming
We drove through Shoshoni National Forest where Ramona encountered her first snow of the summer (but not her last...). We got spectular views of the Tetons especially as we got closer to Jackson.
For dinner, we checked out the Snake River Brewpub (no pets on the patio, so Ramona had to wait in the car). We both got beer and burgers and left incredibly full but pleased.
Andy with his beer sampler
Today, we headed into Teton National Forest for a dog-friendly hike. The plan was to end up at an alpine lake and even let Ramona swim, but snow got in our first, snow periodically appeared on the path, and then the whole path was snow covered, and when we decided to turn around, the snow was thigh deep! It was a beatiful hike with mountain views plus forest, and we were bummed not to finish, but we definitely made the right decision. We were only about halfway to the lake, and the snow was crazy deep! We were not expecting to encounter so much snow in late June.
This was near the beginning of the snow covering the trail
Deeper snow farther along
Three of us on the way down
Views of the Tetons along the hike
On the way down, we stopped and ate the box lunches we brought with us. They came from a bakery called e.leaven that oddly has locations in Jackson Hole and Chicago! The sandwiches were delicious and huge and came with yummy homemade (!) potato chips and a brownie. This place is definitely worth checking out whether you are in the Windy City or near the Tetons.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Driving Across South Dakota

***Advance Warning: I am going to bury the lead.***
We got the heck out of Mitchell without stopping for even a glance of the Corn Palace. Driving westward, we stopped for a tasty lunch at Rapid City's Bully's Blends. Afterwards, we entertained ourselves by wandering around Rapid City checking out the president statues that dot the town.
Here I am with my presidential obsession
We then checked out the touristy casino trap that is Deadwood. We were glad we stopped but have no plans of returning (unless accompanied by Sol Star, Calamity Jane, or of course Swearengen).
The Gem Saloon in Deadwood
We then headed to Spearfish to our hotel in time for Andy's phone interview. Ramona and I checked out the town while he wowed the seven-person interview team. Next, we drove to Black Hills National Forest for a 6.5 mile hike up to Mount Baldy. It was a nice (though not spectacular) hike through Ponderose Pine and Aspen trees. Much to Ramona's surprise and entertainment, we saw a number of deer and cows. We (Andy and I...not our obtuse Ramona) spotted a fawn sleeping by the trail!

Andy and Ramona along the hike

Ramona among the Aspen trees

Ramona at the summit
A teenage cow we met along the way
After the hike, Andy checked his voicemail...and it was the principal of the school offering him the job!! Amazing! What a fantastic couple of days. We are off to Jackson Hole tomorrow---we are going to spend a couple nights and hike and/or recreate all day Saturday!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The First 900 Miles

Well...if I had to sum up the last two days in a word, it would have to be over-the-top!

A quick recap of the last two days:
  • We moved out of our house.
  • We drove 900+ miles.
  • Andy had a preliminary phone interview for a job and scheduled two interviews (one is a second phone interview with the same school for tomorrow)!!
  • We sold our house!!
  • We visited an old friend that we hadn't seen in 6+ years.
As you can imagine, the last two days have felt more like three or four. It's hard to believe that yesterday morning we woke up in our Indianapolis house and this evening, we are 900 miles away in Mitchell, SD and have sold that house!

Tuesday, June 21st
So, after the movers came and took away all of our stuff, we left Indy around 3 pm yesterday and decided to drive west and see where we ended up. We drove past numerous flat corn fields and blew past our initial goal of Bloomington, IL. At some point while I was driving, our realtor left us a message letting us know we had gotten an offer on our house!! So we decided to stop for the night in the college town of Iowa City, where we knew we would have internet access. We faxed our counter offer back and went to bed.

Corn field in Illinois

Wednesday, June 22nd
From Iowa City, we headed off to Des Moines to meet up with my friend Sarah [we met in college at Environmental Science Field Camp in Montana.] She suggested meeting at La Mie for coffee and yummy pastries. If you are ever in Des Moines, we highly recommend this place. We drove onto Ledges State Park, which numerous websites claimed to be the best hiking in Iowa. We didn't explore the whole park, but for Iowans sake, I really hope that this is not the best hiking that Iowa has to offer. I must say that it was really nice to stretch our legs and hike around though. While on our short jaunt, we got the call about the second counter offer, and we decided to take it! Hurray for only owning one house!!

Cool-looking barn in Iowa

Andy and Ramona enjoying Iowa's best hiking

We stopped for the night in Mitchell, SD, the home of the world's only "corn palace". Andy, Mike, Ryan, and I actually stopped at the corn palace on our drive out to Seattle the first time. Let's just say we were underwhelmed. There was surprisingly little corn and it wasn't all that palace-like.

Tomorrow, it's onto the Black Hills and some more hiking!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Here's our tentative planned route for our drive across the country. We plan to hike as much as possible along the way! I am sure it will change somewhat as we go.
Tuesday, June 21st
3 hours to Bloomington, IL (at least)
Wednesday, June 22nd
5 hours to Des Moines: Ledges State Park
(hope to visit with my friend Sarah from IU!)
3 hours to Sioux City, IA
Thursday, June 23rd
7 hours to Rapid City, SD: Black Hills National Forest
Friday, June 24th
9 hours to Jackson Hole, WY
Saturday, June 25th
Shoshone / Bridger-Teton National Forests
Sunday, June 26th
6 hours to Boise, ID
(visit with our friend Cynnie!)
Monday, June 27th
8 hours to SEATTLE!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Last Day in Indiana

Tomorrow is the big day---the movers come and we head northwest back to our home! We have to drop off Oliver today at Andy's mom's today. She's watching him temporarily while we drive across the country. Andy will fly back and pick him up in a few weeks.
We are going to miss our crazy orange kid
We are both really excited to be heading back to Seattle, but we are definitely very sad to be leaving our family and friends here (ahem, we demand visitors!!). A quick list of Indianpolis favorites that will be missed (hmmm....they are almost all food...):
1. Chocolate milkshakes from Traders Point Creamery
2. Goose the Market: especially the Goose sandwich and the bacon of the month club
3. frites and carbonade from the Brugge
4. The Monon trail
5. being around the block from the Broad Ripple Farmers Market (our picture is still on the front page!)
6. the Broad Ripple Brewbub (sick 'chos bro)
8. Yats
Luckily, we have these favorites to look forward to!
I'll post our planned route tomorrow and updates from the road as we go.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bringing back the blog for the trip

Facebook has really ruined blogging for us, but I really enjoyed it when we moved across the country last time, so I am brining it back. For those that missed our first trip accross the country, it starts here.
We leave next Tuesday for Seattle. It's my fifth(!) time moving (and driving) across the country. It's Andy's third time moving and fourth time driving. It's also the first time I'll be doing it without my faithful Civic. I sold it last week to our friends Doug and Becky, so it will live on for hopefully another 125,000+ miles!
Andy planned our route---it's going to have numerous stops in National Forests for hiking including a couple nights in Jackson Hole.
Here's my Civic on our last drive from Indiana to Seattle