Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 Memories/Dreams/Discoveries for 2010

As 2010 draws to a close, I'm taking a look back at some of the year's great experiences, a few lessons learned and a few changes in life.
  1. Service work with indigenous Mayan people (January) - a long-time dream of mine that I hope to expand in the future.
    Tulum, Mexico
  3. The cross-(2)country drive from Washington state to Washington, DC (August) - Special shout-outs to Wyoming, South Dakota and Alberta. I'll be back.
  4. My high school reunion (October) - 20 friggin years!!!!!!!! I had such a wonderful time, not only that evening, but getting to collaborate with two amazing women whom I didn't really know back then, and am glad to know now. Getting to see my old best friends and the after-party at Denny's, also highlights.
  5. Moving to DC (April/May) - While the process was as painful as could be (physically, mentally, emotionally and especially financially), I made the decision last November while working here that whatever it took, I was going to move in 2010. Gratitude to Bill & Melinda for the job and JS for the home. Of course, thank you to the very dear friends I have here, this place would be nowhere near as wonderful without you.
  6. I really do love New York (September) - A couple of magical weekends that included The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, UN General Assembly, Clinton Global Initiative, Climate Week and one of the most best parties I've been to in a long time courtesy of Kimpton Hotels and the Eventi Hotel. Another reason why I love New York? It's an easy and cheap bus ride (or a super-fun drive with a friend). 
  7. Racquel's College Graduation (June) - I'm so proud of my little sister (and brother who graduated last year). It was a great reason to venture to Southern California and see my family. Even prouder she's now studying at one of the top graduate schools in the country. Added bonus: she's just a couple of hours by plane, so I look forward to a few flights between the two of us.
  9. Waking up the artist within (all year) - I'm finally writing more, got to "act" in my first indie, explored photography enough to get a piece of work displayed, and interior decorating (still a work in progress).
  11. Mis nuevos amigos (March) - Definitely one of my biggest highlights of the year was getting to Los Amigos Invisibles show at the Black Cat in DC, and even hang out backstage for a bit.
  13. An evening Avec Eric (May) - Hanging out with Eric Ripert, the sexiest man in the culinary world. 
  14. Ta-ta to T-Grrr (September) - The most bittersweet of all, I had to bid farewell to my most beloved and devoted companion of the past 11.5 years. I'm so grateful for the time we had together and that I could be with him when he made the transition.
T-Grrr and my sister, Racquel

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Starveless in Seattle

Yay! I'm back in Seattle and I'm excited to see dear friends and visit a few old haunts. A popular question while living here, or when I have friends coming to town, is where are my favorite places to eat. I often have difficulty answering, mainly because I hate having to compete for a seat and second, I appreciate a certain level of anonymity, especially for breakfast spots when I just want to be able to roll in casually without having to primp myself, just hiding under a baseball cap. But since I no longer live here, I will happily share a few spots that I've been craving, aside from the usual suspects listed in all the "top lists" and guidebooks, including a few of my secret spots that for some reason tend to fly under the radar.


Voula's Offshore Cafe (North Lake Union/Wallingford) - Not exactly a secret, especially after it was featured on the Food Network. This family-owned institution has a special place in my heart. The guys behind the counter and the waitresses running around all treat me like extended family. And Niko's hash browns are both plentiful and wonderfully crispy. My main issues with the place are figuring out whether to dive right into my usual Smokey the Salmon, indulge in a Chinese Pancake or try one of their tasty specials.

Bay Cafe (Fisherman's Terminal/Magnolia) - This place is the culmination of just about everything I want in a restaurant: good food (including hash browns!), great view, excellent service, easy parking, and decent prices. If it's in season, I usually go for the halibut & eggs. The prime location where the Alaskan fishermen dock (including those on Deadliest Catch), gives the restaurant prime access to fresh halibut, and other seafood. If not, the California Scramble is a solid choice. Many of the staff have worked at the restaurant for over a decade, and some over generations including a mother-daughter waitressing team. The decor is really no-nonsense. It's about the food, silly, but you get so much more. Sometimes super-quickly, too.

Dahlia Bakery (Belltown) - The casual darling of the Tom Douglas empire. I stop here as often as I can for one of the best breakfast sandwiches in Seattle. Their housemade English muffins w/ organic eggs and artfully put-together combinations that change weekly make this place so irresistable in the morning. And if I feel even more indulgent, I grab one of their famous Triple Coconut Cream Bites -- ok, two.

Le Fournil (Eastlake) - Home of my favorite chai in Seattle and their Croque Fournil Special (ham, egg & swiss on a toasted croissant) make this a dear spot to stop and sip for breakfast. They also have a delightful selection of pastries and sandwiches, so it's good for lunch, too.


Art of the Table (Wallingford/Greenlake) - Quite possibly, my ideal dinner spot. A quaint, tucked away restaurant with some of the most clever dishes I've ever had that is truly dear to my heart. I love Chef Dustin Ronspies' cooking, especially his creative Monday Happy Hour. You never know what you're going to get, but rest assured, it'll be good. My recommendation: get one of everything.

Tidbit Bistro (Capitol Hill) - I fell in love with this darling place when it first opened in the sleepy part of North Capitol Hill, but so did everyone else, and it had to expand into a larger space in the more bustling Pike/Pine Corridor of Capitol Hill. The food is still wonderful and the owners still dear. I still love their food, especially the divine grilled Cesare Salad (actually better than mine) and Mushroom Crostini. One of the best happy hour deals in town, before 6:30p.

There's more, stay tuned . . .