There's no way to fully write out my full experience the last few months in one blog post, so here is a brief synposis:
- Birthday weekend visit by my sister who was giving a talk at the University of Washington. First opportunity to buy her a drink since she turned 21 in March.
- Surprise trip to DC for work. Even got to do a school visit in Maryland.
- My first (and possibly last) attempt to drive in Washington, DC, including conquering my worst vehicular fear -- Dupont Circle. And THREE times no less.
- Scoring a seat at Jose Andres' Minibar in DC, apparently one of the hardest reservations to get considering there are only 6 seats. Incredible 30+ course dinner. Molecular gastronomy just fascinates me.
- Other DC culinary highlights: Ben's Chili Bowl, Cafe Atlantico, Penn Quarter Farmers Market, and Tangy Sweet (frozen yogurt)
- Inventively convenient, and delicious dinner with the Spence ladies (paella and smores to be written in a future post some day)
- Northwest Totem Cellars Vintners Dinner - an all-vegan affair at Russell Dean Lowell Catering.
- Brunch at the Brown Bag in Kirkland. Worth the drive to the Eastside, especially for Yonatan, the most affable waiter ever.
- Ice cream at Theno's Dairy in Redmond. Who needs a 45+minute wait for ice cream in Seattle when you can drive 30 minutes to Redmond.
- Amma's visit
- Anthony Bourdain & Mario Battali show and after-party. Actually favorite part was partying til close with Armandino & Marilyn Battali. No, make that reuniting with Tracey, an old high school friend and fellow foodie whom I hadn't seen in -- well, since high school.
- Month-long personal sabbatical including solo retreat and caretaking opportunity at a retreat center in Idaho. My duties: creation, meditation and prayer. My hobbies: cooking, cooking and more cooking.
- Hour-long drive to farmers markets in Lewiston and/or Moscow were bliss
- Cougar Creamery/Ferdinand's Ice Cream at Washington State University
- Dinner at the Corson Building (back in Seattle)
- Trip to Southern California for brother's graduation. With pit-stops in West Hollywood (lunch at Tender Greens) and Malibu (dinner at Nobu)
- Back to DC including 4th of July on the National Mall
- Dinner at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, VA (so worth the commute)
- Announcement of Top Chef Season 6 contestants, including Robin Leventhal from Seattle. The combination of one of my most favorite people on my most favorite show was just so incredible to bear.
- Since I was in DC during the day of the announcement, had dinner at Zaytinya where fellow contestant, Mike Isabella serves as chef. Food was extraordinary, especially the Seasonal Mushroom dish which brought me to ecstasy.
- Dinner at Sonoma in Capitol Hill, great way to spend a beautifully warm summer's evening
- Back to Seattle and Burning Beast. Sorry, but what happened at Burning Beast should stay at Burning Beast. You'll just have to go next year.
- Dinner at Branzino to check out Seattle's other Top Chef Season 6 contestant, Ashley Merriman.
- Not just one, but TWO Outstanding in the Field Dinners. Chef Seth Caswell at Full Circle Farm and Chef Matt Dillon at UW Botanic Gardens (benefitting Seattle Youth Garden Works). Great food, great friends, great chefs in great settings. Full Circle Farm offered the most unique experience with the scratch & sniff field trip through their herb garden and giveaway bags of super-fresh produce we could pack up.
- Weekend in New York and picnic in Central Park with H&H Bagels and whitefish salad from Zabar's Deli.
- Back to DC and casual dinner at Himalayan Heritage. Preceded by drinks at Tabard Inn.
- Ballard Seafood Festival and bacon-wrapped scallops sales guy.
- Back home and back to yoga. Had to work off all the food from the past few months!