Category Archives: eats

Dinner Parties and New Friends

This evening was the first of (hopefully) many dinners with friends in our new home.  Two friends from work came home with me and had take-out with us.  They surprised us with the loveliest gift of blessings on our home!  I nearly cried when they presented it.

One read this aloud as the other presented the gift.

It's too pretty to take apart and use any of it!

Thanks so much to these wonderful new (and quickly becoming “dear”) friends!



Filed under a visitor!, eats, Seattle, Tanya

Culture Shock (Or… The day Google forgot to Doodle!

Okay, I took a much-needed day off today, and it just so happened to be St. Patrick’s day.  I was mildly excited about this fact.  I say mildly, because I’m from Kansas City, where St. Patrick’s Day is probably the biggest holiday next to Christmas. EVERY restaurant in town will have a St. Patty’s day special with corned beef and cabbage.

It’s not uncommon to have folks take the day off work and head down to Westport and watch the parade (And drink inordinate amounts of green beer and whiskey).  Everyone dresses in green and pretends to be Irish, even if they’re not.  The term “Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!” probably started in KC.  We practice that mantra with great, fake-Irish pride (As well as a lot of authentic Irish pride)! The Irish community in KC is pretty active.

So, imagine my shock and wonder when I woke up on St. Patrick’s day in Seattle and saw no festivities taking place in my neighborhood (Ballard).  I was determined to find some corned beef and cabbage, but the best I could get in our neck of the woods was corned beef hash with my eggs.  Everyone was nonchalantly walking around in brown, navy, red even!  It felt like the twilight zone.

Google didn’t even have a St. Patrick’s Day doodle for us!  I looked at two different calendars to see if I was just smoking crack. Our server at the restaurant sort of nodded to the fact that we were wearing green and said, “Happy St. Patty’s Day… or St. Patrick’s Day… or whatever.”  I couldn’t believe the lack of enthusiasm.  It was negative enthusiasm!  It was de-thusiasm.

The funny thing is, in KC, I’m not one of the paint my face, dye my hair, wear a shamrock antlers and green and white striped knee socks Irish enthusiasts.  In fact, I’m one of the wear green and smile at the freaky people and go about my business sort of people. I have generally preferred the Irish contact high as opposed to smoking it myself.  (I did work in Westport one year during St. Patrick’s Day… Whoa… That’s all I can say… Whoa…)

After experiencing this utter lack of Irish on this great holiday in this mostly Norwegian town, I may have to invest in a green wig and some ridiculously huge shamrock glasses!!!

Here's to you, Ballard!


Filed under eats, in the city, life imitates humor, Tanya

Day to day to day…

Nothing much to talk about. Life is settling in and I’m seeking out routine. So here are some random pictures of various items of interest from the past couple weeks.

This is the theatre I work for... That mural was painted after a fire last year. The new offices will be built where the mural is now.

Yeah... It rains a lot here...

Did I just blow your mind? Thought so...

Senor Moose... This is a "mole". The sauce on the meat is made with cocoa. Really good!

Senor Moose!

Current Obsession/Spending reduction plan... Watching dvds doesn't cost monies.

So far in Seattle, I've experienced sun, rain, clouds, fog, snow, sleet, and sun again... practically all in one day!

I designed that! Pretty, huh? :)

And then there were three!

I've become infatuated with original pottery! Look how beautiful they are!

I FINALLY picked up some flowers in the market. This is a bouquet of dried flowers. So pretty!


That about sums up the goings on in my life right now… Stay tuned!


Filed under eats, home cooking, in the city, misadventures, Seattle, shopping, Tanya

birds of a feather flock to fremont

My lovely darling baby sister who lives in Portland and who I have seen so very rarely and hardly even at all in the last four years had the last minute didn’t even know it was going to happen opportunity to come to Seattle for a day. So, of course, I told her she had to come.

We barely even had 24 hours together, but we made sure every one of them counted. This trip included such sisterly things as eating cold macaroni and cheese and cold chicken strips (bought from the 24 hour Safeway down the street) at 2 in the morning while sitting outside in front of our apartment’s front door (so as not to wake Tanya while we whispered long into the night), wandering around Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle getting hit on  (“Can I get witch you?”) and bummed off of by interesting characters (“Happy new year, girls! Can I have five dollars?”), telling each other our deepest darkest secrets, missing buses because of erroneous bus schedules, hopping wrong buses because of completely absentee buses (I have a big issue with the frequency and reliability of Seattle transit, but I digress), and then wandering all over Ballard and Fremont to see statue-like-things and spend more time together while we still had some left.

We saw a rocket:

a rocket

We saw a drawbridge in action:

vertical street

We waited for the interurban too:

Jugg Life

We watched tv:

sister vision

There were clowns:


And bridges:

Aurora Bridge

And trolls:

Fremont Troll

Oh my.

The funny thing about the Fremont Troll is I first learned about it back in my architecture school days when one of the guys who created the troll came and guest lectured a design build studio I was in for a week. I guess he was buds with my professor. I don’t really remember. He mentioned this troll of his, I remember thinking, “Cool.” And never did I realize that some day I would live a couple miles away from it. The road of life, huh.

I think they're making eyes at each other.

Howdy, Lenin:


Then we went to the beach. I love the beach.

again with the beach

no shortage of beach pictures, ever

beach beach beach

We were happy to practice random acts of cupcakery.

cup.cake. period.

At some point in the day, Melissa mentioned burgers. Four hours later, we were still salivating over the thought of eating burgers. It only took us a few seconds to track down a burger joint. It actually said that on the window: A Burger Joint. We went in.

a burger joint

Best. Burgers. Ever.

I'll take four more please.

I’m going to eat here every day and become a gross greasy slob, but I’ll be a happy one who eats these burgers every day. I won’t really do that. But you eat one of these burgers and you consider that option.

Sadly my sister had to leave shortly after that, but she left her hot sauce in the fridge. I’ll think of her fondly every time I see it.


Filed under a visitor!, Ames, eats, in the city, neighborhoods, Seattle, to do, to see


Grocery Outlet? My new best friend. I spent 24 dollars there today, and I walked away with over 50 dollars worth of name brand goods. I feel like a thief. I got two coffee mugs (I live in Seattle now, I must have mugs) for .99 each. There’s nothing wrong with them. In fact, they’re awfully cute.

coffee requires mugs

I also got a bag of Seattle’s Best ground coffee for 4.99. You know what I’m talking about – that coffee that costs no less than 10 dollars in a regular grocery store. There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with this coffee either. It just happens to be ridiculously cheap. (Side note: I know, I know, Tanya gets free coffee every week and I’m welcome to help myself to her free Bux goods, and I will, but I also want to buy my own Seattle coffee once in awhile too and feel like a proper grown up.)

First thing I did when I got home? I brewed up some of that coffee in my free coffee maker a friend gave to me. Score. I then put it in one of my new .99 mugs. Delicious. Cheap. Double score.

I also got two zucchini for one buck. I was going to buy zucchini last night at a regular grocery store but they were asking 2.49 a pound and it was all beat up zucchini. I love my zucchini. I love my zucchini to not be beat up and over priced. So I passed on that zucchini and found perfectly good zucchini at GO for a buck. I bought it. And I bought some Paul Newman’s pasta sauce for 1.49.

I also got a snickers bar (it was .50! I haven’t seen a candy bar so cheap since I was 10 years old!), some Ben and Jerry’s, lots of pasta and tortilla chips and canned goods and salsa and Sabra Hummus and can you see why I’m thrilled I only spent 24 bucks? The Sabra alone would cost 5 or 6 bucks in another store. I can’t complain. I do sort of wish the store was about ten blocks closer to home, but really, walking 20 blocks to save 25 bucks is well worth it. Okay, make that 23 blocks. I timed myself. It took 20 minutes to get there (uphill) and 15 to get home (downhill and carrying three bags of groceries.) I’ll definitely be going back and going back often. And I know I’ll be burning off a good chunk of the calories I’ll be consuming when I see more great deals like 1.50 Ben and Jerry’s. Oh yeah.

A few days ago, a friend gave me a spaghetti squash (or two) from his garden, so I’m cooking myself up dinner right now. I’m using the Paul Newman’s and the zucchini I bought today for the sauce (plus some leftover onion and garlic and a bit of olive oil).

chunky, vegetably, awesome sauce

I spent a whopping 2.49 on this meal, and that’s actually not even entirely accurate because I only used 1/5 of the pasta sauce (although we’ll be generous and assume that the garlic, onion and olive oil make up for that cost a bit.)


And to think I’ll have leftovers. What a great healthy cheap meal.

I love today!

I do wish I had a desk or a table to sit at though while I type this blog post. Oh well. Soon enough. Soon enough.


Filed under Ames, eats, home cooking, Seattle, shopping, the monies

Week One – Discoveries

Things I have learned about Seattle/Ballard in the first week of living here:

1. Buses are always early when you are running late.

2. Buses are always late when you are running early.

3. If you can walk there, do it… Unless of course you are buying large items. Then you should probably drive.

4. Ballard is a great little neighborhood!

5. Cupcake Royale is delish… but also the devil.

6. Hi Life is great for $5.55 breakfast and meeting new friends. (New friends aren’t on the menu, however.) Also, it’s in an old firehouse, so the building is awesome!

7. There are at least 3 discount/thrift shops in the main shopping area. (This may end up being the devil later… As I have no money to spend, currently, they are a fun diversion.)

8. Fred Meyer is grocery/Target/Home Depot all-in-one… and on crack!

9. Mr. Gyro is delish.

10. THERE’S A BEACH NEARBY! (Which I have not seen yet, but Amy has explored a bit. She says it’s lovely!)

11. The Pike Place Market Starbucks is really fun, and really busy! Eesh! It’s cool to talk to so many people from all over the world though. Lots of people from Japan, China, Korea, etc.  Also have met a few Aussies and at least one Scot, who lives in Vancouver.

12. The food in the Market is great! (Yep, the devil again.)

13. Dressing for the weather is somewhat difficult here… Winter coats are often too warm. Light jackets are usually too cold. I’m not used to this in-between type weather.

14. In Seattle everything is artsy looking.  If there’s an open area available, someone will fill it with something pretty and/or cool.  Sculptures under bridges, murals on walls, etc.  Totally my kind of place!

15. Feeding the birds is kinda cool, except then they won’t leave you alone. (I didn’t experience this. I’ve just seen and heard some things.)

16. The big mountain (Mt. Ranier) likes to hide in the winter.  But the Olympics like to come out and play all the time!

17. Sharing a twin-sized air mattress with two small dogs is a challenge.  You pretty much have to demand space.

18. Seattle is a bit like KC in that people don’t seem to like to have to cross the water to do anything.  In Seattle it’s Lake Union or Lake Washington. In KC, it’s the Missouri River.

19. I really don’t know what this Seattle Freeze is all about. Everyone has been really great!

20. This really is a nifty place.  I’m so excited to be here!



Filed under eats, in the city, neighborhoods, Seattle, Tanya

Wandering on a Sunday…

What does a newly converted Seattlite do on a Sunday? She goes downtown to hang out of course. It’s touristy, and it’s bustly, but it’s fun!

I took the link from the hotel (which is near the airport) into the city.  The train fills up pretty quickly you hit the various stations along the way, so you end up sitting next to various people as they hop on and off.  Today, I was sitting by the window, and a nice man came and sat down beside me.  As we headed into the city, I discovered that he likes football (the Cowboys specifically) and he’s from Virginia (I can’t remember where exactly).  He said I have an accent (I don’t think I have an accent…), and he could tell that I wasn’t from here.  He also said that people on the West Coast don’t say hi to you.  I could see that this would be a problem for him, since he was kind of chatty.  He said he’d lived in California and Seattle, and people just don’t say hi.  A shame really… We parted ways at Westlake station.  He wished me a nice day.  I returned the farewell and made my way to Pike Place Market.

First view of the market as a resident!

My new job is at the Pike Place Starbucks.  It’s the original store location, and it’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be.  I don’t know why I thought it would be big.  All the shops in the market are small.  I met my new boss, who seemed very cool, and a couple of my new co-workers. (At Starbucks we are called “partners”. I like this.)

A smidge blurry, but I'll get a better one soon.

Armed with my work schedule for next week, I headed out to get some lunch.  There are a million places to get good food in the market.  I couldn’t decide, so I ended up with… a hot dog… (It was a good hot dog!) from Taxi Dog.  Next time I get lunch in the market, I think I’ll go for something a bit more exotic, perhaps from one of the fresh fruit and veggie venders there.

As I was walking by one of the venders, a nice-looking man offered me a slice of orange.  (They give samples like that all the time, cutting slices off of an apple or pear and handing them out to random people.)  Well, this guy smiled and asked if I would like a slice of orange.  I said, “Sure” and I took a slice.  As I was taking a bite, he said, “It’s as sweet as a first kiss without that awkward feeling afterward.”  I giggled at this of course and said, “Thank you! It is!”  He was cute…  I could get used to that.

There’s some renovation going on in the market.  A number of the shops were boarded up.  No worries though, signs say they’ll be back Feb 4th.  I hope so!  I want to see them throwing fish!  (I did see a Starbucks partner throw a cup today though!)

I took my lunch down to the park and sat at a table munching away while watching the ferry boats come in and out of the dock. (I don’t know if that’s how you say it, but that’s what they were doing.)  Also, there were two adorable, little girls running around the grassy area, chasing fat pigeons.  It looked like a fun game.  I might have joined them if I was 4…

The park by the market

Lunch with a view

After lunch, I went to the library.  The downtown Seattle Public Library is amazing!  (Although, it does smell of old books – awesome – and body odor – not so awesome – from the homeless people that hang out there.  There are actually rules about how much area your personal belongings can take up when you are in the library.  I’m assuming that’s to keep the homeless people from bringing everything they own inside and camping out for a long time.)

Now THAT is a library!

The building itself is cavernous, with an entire ceiling of diamond-shaped skylights, which is brilliant!

Best place to study. EVER!

I can’t wait to be in there during a rainstorm.  From the ground floor, you can take two long, lime green escalators up to the top floor.  As you ride up, you see floors and floors of books.


I couldn’t figure out how people got down to those floors as there was no way off the escalator.  When I got to the top, I figured it out though.  There’s a series of ramps and stairs that lead down to each floor.  It’s really odd and strangely complicated.  I’ll definitely be going back to wander the stacks (once I have an address and can get a library card)!

After the library, I hopped on a bus and headed up to the University District to have coffee, at a place called Trabant, Coffee and Chai, with my good friends Nathan and Letitia.  (I had a spicy chai. Delish!)  Before my friends arrived and while I was standing in line, the barista asked if I was related to the gentleman standing next to me. The two of us looked at each other.  I said, “No.” He said, “Not even a little bit.”  I could see how they might think that.  We both have curly, dark hair…  At that point, it was just a little awkward, so I held out my hand and introduced myself.  He was very nice and said his name was Elliot (which is a very nice name!). The barista seemed quite pleased with himself and said, “Ooo, matchmaking in Trabants!”  Elliot revealed at this point that he was actually there on a blind date. Oh well… But man! Nothing in KC for years and I’ve talked to three guys in one day here!

The coffee date with friends was great as well.  They’ve been in Seattle for two years now, and they love it!  I’m excited to have friends with insider knowledge, so that I can pick their brains about stuff.

A bus and a train back to the hotel after that, and Denny’s for dinner with the roomie.  All in all, a really nice day.


Filed under eats, in the city, Seattle, Tanya