My adventures in Seattle

This weekend, I took an adventure up the Pacific Northwest to the lovely wet city of Seattle. My friend Monique is getting her MSW (Social Work – isn’t that awesome?!) at the University of Washington, and I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time! Matt was supposed to be going with me, but his company just had to go and win a technical achievement Academy Award, so he was schmoozing with stars while I ate freshly fried mini doughnuts and posed with trolls. I flew in Saturday morning with my long underwear ready to go (I had been egged on by other Southern Californians about how cold I would be.)

Yummy things at Pike Place Market

Monique and I dropped my stuff off at her place and headed downtown via bus to the world famous Pike Place market. This place is a foodie’s dream, with stalls heaping with colorful fruit and glossy-eyed fish draped on ice. We shopped around, sampling the various goods and stopping for lunch at a Japanese stall. I got the vegetarian yakisoba and it was delicious – hot and sweet with fresh, crunchy cabbage and thin peels of carrot. We had dessert of mini-doughnuts – powdered sugar, sprinkled and cinnamon sugar.

Miss Monique samples a dougnnut

I also had to buy some dark chocolate pasta, just because the idea was so novel to me. I’ll be making chocolate pasta for dessert the next few weeks – I’m thinking chocolate linguine with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. I’ll blog it! I posed for a picture next to the famous Pike pig, and then we headed back to the bus so we could check out one of my favorite novelty stores, Archie McPhee. If you haven’t heard of Archie McPhee, I highly recommend you visit their online store. It’s a great place to buy all kinds of things you don’t need, like pickle finger puppets and potato guns.

Bronze pig appreciates bag of freshly fried doughnuts in hand!

After Archie McPhee, we walked a mile to the Fremont Troll. The troll is a piece of community art commissioned by a Fremont resident. The troll was a popular attraction and we had to get our picture taken a few times to make it troll-gawker free.

TROLLLL!

After the troll, we headed back towards the Northgate area and then had dinner at Taste of India. This place was awesome because they gave us free chai and pakoras while we waited for our table. I had the butter paneer masala and it was amaaaaazing – so creamy, tangy and rich over the basmati rice. We sopped up the sauces with piping hot garlic naan. When our bellies were full, we headed over to the local $3 movie theatre and watched Midnight in Paris. The plot of the movie was charming but I thought the ending was poo-poolicious. After the movie I passed out on Monique’s lovely futon. We woke up Sunday morning and picked up a sandwich at Jimmy John’s, where I was delighted to order a giant dill pickle. Sadly, my pickle had a hair on it of mysterious origins (discovered after my first bite), so I lost my pep for pickles, but my sandwich was still deee-lish.

Moments before I discovered the hairy pickle.

We drove 30 minutes to Snoqualmie Falls, where the air was frigid, wet and cold. The view of these giant manmade waterfalls was breathtaking – the water crashed angrily onto the river below, and rocks broke the surface among the crystal blue water. We explored the park area around Snoqualmie falls for a bit, shopped in the gift shop, (I scored a cast iron bumble bee – yeah!), and then went back towards Monique’s house for some more local adventuring of my favorite kind – shopping!!!

Breathtaking Snoqualimie Falls

We shopped till we dropped and then swung by Cupcake Royale, where I picked up a “Dance Party” cupcake, with vanilla frosting. It was pretty amazing with a glass of wine! We also got ingredients to make homemade tacos! Here’s a sneak peek – but tune in next time to learn how to make flour tortillas that are a million times better than the packaged ones.

Yummy homemade tacos

On Monday, I ventured to the university district to see my Uncle Daniel, who works downtown. We had a good time eating lunch and bantering back and forth about why California was the superior state. Okay, fine, we never agreed on that, but I have decided that although Washington is lovely, California wins with its sunshine and perpetual blue skies. It was fun to see him on the west coast, as I usually only see him in Minnesota on short family vacations when we’re visiting my grandmother.

My Uncle Daniel and I

This weekend was exactly what I needed – a long weekend to decompress, enjoy some girl time, and do fun things instead of laundry, thesis writing and errand-running. I definitely did not track my meals which will probably get me into trouble this week at the scale, but I’m taking full responsibility for my actions and can say with very little regret…damn, I ate well and enjoyed it! Cest la vie.

Tune in soon to see us get our tortilla on! I hope you had an amazing weekend and are having an even better week!

Grad students DO smile! See?

Midwestern Magic, Part 1

Wisconsin Dells in October

Matt and I began our trip by flying into Chicago… and then renting a car and driving four hours away. DOH! Here’s why. My grandmother and lots of other family members live in Minnesota. Airfare was considerably higher to fly into St. Paul, for some reason, than it was to fly into Chicago. So – we rented a sexy Nissan Sentra and hightailed it to the Wisconsin Dells (halfway to my grandmother’s house in MN), where we spent the night in a seedy Super 8 and then woke up to to do some tourist stuff – including nomming on delicious Dunkin’ Donuts!

I touched the rocks as we squeezed by!

First up: An Original Wisconsin Dells Duck tour! Ducks are amphibious vehicles used in World War 2 – they’re half boat, and half truck, so they can journey on land or in water. We started our tour by splashing into the Wisconsin River – marveling at the changing leaves and awesome rock formations. The duck crawled out of the water and into the woods – through narrow rock crevices and trees like these. The tour guide was a sarcastic college student no doubt used to pleasing the more elderly of the group, so he had a good time ribbing me about my “Elton John Sunglasses” and why Matt and I weren’t hard at work unlike all the retired folks on his boat. It was fun!

Moo-ve over Wisconsin, we're comin' thru!

After our duck boat tour, we were on our way to Minnesota – but not without a stop at the “cheese factory”. Proving once again that my career in marketing communications has no effect on whether or not I fall for traditional marketing tactics, I told Matt we HAD to stop at the advertised “cheese factory” off the highway. Cheese Factory? More like tiny cheese store with no aforementioned factory and lots of cheesy (har har) tourist tsotchkes. There was, however, a chance for me to fulfill a life long dream of posing for a photo with three very mild-mannered Holstein cows. And by mild-mannered, I mean fake – because come on – what sane person ¬†would really sit on a cow?

Bringing the bib back in style - one fried cheese curd at a time.

We picked up a bag of cheese curds for the hell of it and we were off again, with one more stop to make at the Norske Nook to pick up a blueberry pie to bring to the family. Norske Nook is a Norwegian bakery and eatery based in Osseo, WI – a tiny smear of a town with wide roads and beautiful old farm houses. As a little girl, my grandfather would take us to the Norske Nook and my sister and I would press our faces against the glass of the pie display case, oohing and ahhing over the many delicacies that lay before us. We got our giant blueberry crumble pie – and with one last stop at Culver’s for a quick lunch of butter burgers and fried cheese curds, we were off to Minnesota!

Check back on Friday to read all about our time in Minnesota – including tales of my unfortunate diet coke-butt-bump and late night adventures with Top the Tater!

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