post Westward Trip Part II: Vancouver

August 9th, 2011

Filed under: art,check this out,travel — nics @ 6:47 pm

OK. Part II. I’m getting lazy on the writing end, so here are a bunch of photos.

At the beach! The first thing we did upon arriving (no arguments here!!!). I think the only shot I got of everyone, unfortunately.

Rest stop in a park after biking through Stanley Park. My universal “come here, doggy” gesture.

Are we in Vancouver or a tropical island paradise? (the beach in Stanley Park)

The daily view and sunset from John and Heather’s balcony. They have it rough, eh?

Awww… Brothers. (And my forced tourist shot in front of the olympic torch.)

Public art in Vancouver: pixel whale

We gave Kira an ostrich puppet which she named Chewy. (Kira is an AWESOME name-giver. She named a snail puppet that Ben gave her last year Ostranomus.) On our night of babysitting we made Chewy a costume (the red ear/hair headpiece) and a passport (around her neck).

Salmon spawning! I remember learning about spawning salmon at some point in school but I didn’t remember how morbid it is. They basically transform into disfigured monsters and proceed to swim through such treacherous upstream rivers that their bodies are beaten to bloody pulps and then they reach their destination and then they die. This has led me to believe that you should actually feel guilty if you DON’T eat salmon. By eating them, you are saving them from a horrible death. And they are delicious…

post Westward Trip Part I: Top 10 in Food and Drink

August 3rd, 2011

Filed under: food,travel — nics @ 9:27 pm

Ben and I just returned from a trip out west to Seattle and Vancouver. We went to visit Ben’s brother John and his family (his wife Heather and Kira, their daughter) in Vancouver, but with flights being much cheaper to Seattle decided to fly in there and spend a couple days exploring the city before taking the train north to Vancouver. Being the gluttons we are, of course my first post about the trip is food and drink. To thank for all of our wonderful finds are Design Sponge Seattle and Vancouver guides, word of mouth by both friends who have visited and people we met, and just random places that we walked past and couldn’t resist.

1. The Corson Building, Seattle
Wow. I don’t even know how to describe how wonderful this experience is. In every way. Truly magical. If you are going to Seattle, check out the link and make reservations. Just do it!

2. Salt Tasting Room, Vancouver
This restaurant is almost strictly charcuterie based. The best thing to do if you go here is pick some meats and cheeses you want, tell your server what you like and don’t like in general, and let them pair wines and condiments with everything. We had a wonderful server which seems
particularly important at this restaurant. We relied on her artistry to pick perfect taste pairings/sensations of meat/cheese, condiment, and wine. Both beautiful and delicious.

3. The Harvest Vine, Seattle
We were lucky enough to have perfectly beautiful weather for our entire trip and this was one of our many outdoor dining experiences. This was another instance where wonderful service played an important role in our happiness. While on that topic, I would like to add that people in Seattle are so NICE! Whenever we asked questions or mentioned we were visiting from out of town, everyone was so happy and excited to recommend their favorite spots. Even the bus drivers are nice. Seriously. I cannot tell you how many times after speaking with a stranger that Ben and I just looked at each other with crinkled brow and open mouths with the expression “that person was so NICE. and HELPFUL.” on our faces. I liked it!

4. Le Pichet*,  Seattle
I forgot to take pictures here, ugh! But… I found this photo online of the dessert I had. Dark dark thick hot chocolate (that’s what they called it, though I found it to be on a completely different level and can’t bring myself to call it hot chocolate) with heavy whipped cream. Oooooh… Amazing food, cozy atmosphere, and great service.

5. Floata*, Vancouver
We had dim sum here (in Chinatown) with John, Kira, Heather, and her family. I love dim sum and couldn’t remember the last time I had it. There’s nothing quite like sharing small delicious foods (and often not knowing exactly what you’re eating) and spinning them around the table with a large group of people.

6. Sha Lin Noodle House*, Vancouver
John and Heather introduced us to one of their favorite neighborhood eateries. They like it not only because the food is wonderful but also because they make noodles in the back where you can watch. And oh so many different types of noodles! Cutting, pulling, dragging, chopped… and maybe more… those are the ones I remember. Yum!

7. Brouwer’s Cafe, Seattle
We stopped here for a beer as we were wondering around the Fremont neighborhood. And I’m so glad we did! They have a huge selection of beers on tap and their smoked nuts (which come out warm, fresh from the oven) are very tasty and go perfectly with a belgian style beer.

8. Street Donuts*, Seattle
Bowls of fresh hot mini donuts with your favorite toppings (we had ginger cardamom caramel) from a food truck. What’s not to like?! And they have an awesome logo.

9. Seattle Coffee Works, Seattle
We knew nothing about this coffee shop and because Seattle has sooo much good coffee, it was hard to decide where to go since we didn’t have time to try every coffee shop in town. But we saw signs as we were walking by describing coffee preparation in ways we had never heard and we wanted to try something new. So we did. We went to the slow bar (a small quiet section of the coffee shop set up for people who want to sit for a while and watch their own private barista perform) and had a vacuum pot. Ahhhh. (And I also like saying “oh, I just had a vacuum pot”.) As she was preparing it, our barista was explaining that the process creates a very “clean, pure” flavor and I was imagining these things would probably be too subtle for me to notice, but no! I could taste the “real flavors” in the coffee and it was velvety smooth. It’s kind of hard to explain…

10. Bastille Cafe*, Seattle
We had brunch here which was delicious. My favorite thing was the homemade scone with lemon curd (also homemade, of course). Because we went to Bastille on a Sunday, we caught the Ballard Farmers Market. I wanted to cry for all the things I saw and knew I couldn’t take home with me! Ben got all worked up about the giant morel mushrooms and then got really sad when he realized there was no practical way to get them home in a decent state. Either of these places is well worth the trek out to Ballard.

Whoa. This is a long post. If you are still here reading this you are quite a trooper. Or maybe you just like food and drink as much as I do?

*Sadly, I forgot to take photos at some places. Locations marked with a * are not photos I took, but are images I found online.