Hello, Seattle–Day 1

“Hello, Seattle,
I am a mountaineer
In the hills and highlands…”

~Owl City, “Hello Seattle”

You’re going to hear more of that song.

Two weekends ago I had the awesome opportunity to visit Seattle, Washington!  My Dad had two separate business trips on the West Coast, one ending Friday afternoon and the other starting the following Monday morning.  So instead of him flying home on Saturday and flying out again on Sunday, he chose to just go straight from one destination to the next.  And I flew out to spend the weekend with him!

So, let’s dive right in.

This was my first time flying by myself.  I was nervous – particularly about taking off and landing.  I get a little nervous about that, and when I flew previously, I had someone’s hand to hold – usually my mom’s or my brother’s.  And unless I had some super nice person sitting next to me, I wouldn’t have anyone to freak out to.  But I did fine, and now taking off doesn’t scare me, but landing still does.  Just a little. 😉

So I flew out on Friday, at 11 in the morning.  I arrived in Seattle at 2-ish Seattle time.  Which put me at almost six hours since my last meal. (I had forgotten to grab some cheese sticks to take on the plane, and so had only had a banana.  And all the snacks that they had on the plane contained grains.  So no luck there.)

My first order of business after getting off the plane was food.  As I walked down the B terminal, I looked at all the restaurants:  Quizno’s.  A Mexican place that was rather small and had a bar – not somewhere I wanted to be.  McDonald’s.  As I walked by each place, I new that there wasn’t a whole lot that I could get at any of them.  So I continued to the main area of the airport, where there was a whole collection of restaurants.  And there they had a directory of all the restaurants in the whole airport.  I spotted, way at the other end of the C terminal, a restaurant that looked pretty promising – Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express.  The distance I had already traversed, from my gate to this directory, was about the same as the distance from this directory to the restaurant.  Which wouldn’t have been bad at all if I wasn’t hauling a camera bag and my on board bag, which was a backpack, holding my purse, three books (one of them over 1400 pages long), and my sweater.  So pretty heavy.  So I hauled all the way over to the restaurant, stopping on the way to look another restaurant that I was hoping I could get something at (they had local cheese), but all they had were awesome-sounding sandwiches with that local cheese.  I finally made it down to the Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express, where I got a Greek salad, and then hauled all the way back to the main area of the airport.

Only to then realize that I left my 1 liter water bottle at the restaurant.

And I didn’t realize that until I had sat down, mixed my salad, and gotten all settled in to eat.  So I packed everything back up and hauled back to the restaurant, where they had my water bottle.

*Sigh*

Once I had actually started eating, a young lady right around my age came over and asked if she could sit with me.  I said, “Sure!”  She sat down, and we started chatting.  Turns out she is in the army and was just stationed there, as she had graduated the day before.

After we had both finished eating and she had gone her way, I purchased me a White Chocolate Mocha at Starbucks.  It was pretty good.  I bummed later that I had had it, as I wish I had waited and gotten some more local tasty Seattle coffee.  Oh well.

I sat and read for awhile, drinking my coffee, until it was time to go meet Dad.

Once Dad and I had met up, collected our luggage, and picked up our rental car, we drove out to Bellevue.  (Dad would be staying here for his business trip, so that’s where we stayed.  It’s about a 20 minute drive outside of Seattle.  And beautiful!)

After checking in at our lovely hotel, unpacking, and video-calling Mom and the rest of my siblings, it was time for dinner.  Dad had made reservations at a seafood place, Seastar, that he and Drake had visited when they were in Seattle several years ago.

Dinner. Was. Amazing.

First we had an heirloom tomato salad, which had heirloom tomatoes, pine nuts, Walla Walla onions, buffalo mozzarella, greens, and an awesome pesto vinaigrette.  Dad had a Thai lemongrass shrimp soup, which he really liked, but I didn’t care for.

But that salad.  Oh, that salad.  It was out of this world.  The flavors blended perfectly, and it was the right balance of everything.  That was probably the best mozzarella cheese I had ever had, or at least the best that I had for awhile.  I believe it was actually made from buffalo milk (traditionally, that’s what mozzarella is made with, or so I’ve heard).

For my main course I had pancetta-wrapped grilled white shrimp with garlic aioli and this awesome bacon-y salad.  Again, awesome.  And that’s about all I can say. 🙂

Dad had prosciutto-wrapped grilled scallops with thinly-sliced melon (the melon had a fancy name, which I can’t remember – it was watermelon and cantaloupe, if I remember correctly).  He really liked it, but, again, I didn’t care for his so much.  Which was great.

For dessert, Dad had black and white crème brulee.  He said the chocolate part wasn’t that good, but I believe the vanilla part was great.

I had sorbet – a scoop of lemon and one of guava passion fruit, I think.  It was GOOOOOD.  The lemon was OUT OF THIS WORLD.

And they gave use some caramels, one for each of us.  I ate mine, and it was really good.

(Do I sound like a broken record?  It was really good.  It was awesome.  *Sigh*)

And that was Day 1.  Tune back (hopefully) soon for day 2!

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My Greek salad

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In Seattle!

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With Dad on the way to Bellevue

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Bellevue straight ahead!

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In Bellevue

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There were several walkways like this one across the streets in Bellevue (I saw maybe two or three)

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Dad and I were going to walk to Seastar, but it was pouring rain (we WERE in Seattle), so we ended up having to go back and get the car.  But I did get a few cool pictures!

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(Remember the sign to this restaurant)

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A (cool) walkway

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Remember the sign to the Chinese restaurant?  These guys were making dumplings or wontons.  The man with the rolling pin the left corner would throw each wrapper up as he finished it.  (You can forget the sign now.)

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Chihuly glass sculpture

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Dinner at Seastar – the heirloom tomato salad

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(Excuse the bad pictures – it was dark.)

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My entrée

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Dad’s entrée

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My sorbet (Mmmm…)

By the way, check out Cowgirl Dirt for a cool giveaway!  http://www.cowgirldirt.com/  (I don’t know how to do a hyperlink in WordPress).

Water Kefir

When I first tried water kefir at a friend’s home a few months ago, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  I wanted to make it myself.  I currently can’t have much dairy, which includes dairy kefir and yogurt.  Water kefir would be a lacot-fermented drink that I could have!  Although I have made and enjoyed a lacto-fermented berry drink (based on the Raspberry Drink in Nourishing Traditions), it is slightly time consuming, especially if you want to have some all the time.  Now water kefir wouldn’t be quite as time consuming, and it doesn’t use nearly as many ingredients (it just has water, Sucanat, and the water kefir grains).

So when, this past Sunday, a friend of mine gave me some water kefir grains, I was so excited!  I couldn’t wait to start some water kefir.

So on Monday I started a quart of water kefir.  I sat it on the top of the fridge to ferment (this is a nice warm spot, great for such activities).  After a day, I strained out the kefir grains and put some frozen mixed berries in the kefir for a second fermentation (this adds some more color and flavor).  After another day (or was it 12 hours?  I forget), it was ready.  The next batch I made I let ferment for two days before doing a second fermentation with berries for 24 hours.

I am quite pleased with the kefir.  I have only tried the first batch, but I like it.  It actually doesn’t taste like a whole lot.  It smells fairly strong, but the smell is (surprisingly) not an accurate representation of the taste.   I have not tried the kefir that I fermented for two days (three, if you count the second fermentation), since I am still working on drinking my first batch.  I will be trying it in a few days, though.

So I have done a total of two batches of kefir.  I started with about a quarter cup of kefir grains (probably since they weren’t packed together, they filled a half-pint jar halfway).  Now I have a pint jar more than halfway filled with kefir grains.  I discovered this the other day when I was straining my second batch.  It really looked like I had more grains than I started with, but when I poured them in the jar, you could really tell how much they had grown!  I knew they would grow, but I was quite surprised with how fast they grew.  I currently have my little grains resting in the fridge, since I have plenty of kefir right now.  I will probably make some more tomorrow.

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See the line about halfway up the jar?  Everything below that is kefir grains.

Right now it is pouring rain outside.  It has been raining off and on all day today.  Currently, the sky has dropped 2 inches of rain on us.  I am so happy.  It’s been so dry this summer that we are glad for any rain that we get.  Hang on a minute.  We were just upgraded from a tornado watch to a tornado warning.  I and my laptop are going to relocate downstairs.

Now we are downstairs.  Everything looks pretty calm outside, but we’ll se how crazy things get.

So I have been enjoying the rain today.

In the past few weeks, I have been cooking all kinds of things:  Chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons, coconut milk ice cream, Arnold Palmer (half lemonade and half sweet tea, a drink that I was introduced to up at my aunt’s home), lots of dinners, and plenty of soups.  Oh, and on Tuesday I made grain-free chocolate muffins with chocolate frosting.  The cupcake part wasn’t all that good.  But the frosting.  Oh, the frosting.  It was basically melted butter and melted chocolate chips.  How much better does it get?  Maybe if I made it mocha?  🙂

I know I haven’t posted about any of the food I have been making.  Mostly because I have been busy.  And because I haven’t taken pictures of any of it.  But I will try to post more often now.  I should have time and plenty of food!  (Tomorrow Meiling and I may make some strawberry coconut milk ice cream, as strawberry is her favorite flavor.  She has to continue feeling better, though.  She’s getting over a bit of a stomach bug.)

Watching for tornadoes,

Allison

P.S.  We are no longer under a tornado warning.  Just thought you would like to know.

Life isn’t About Waiting for the Storm to Pass…

…it’s about learning to dance in the rain!

So says the blinkie on my sidebar.  I must have been thinking about it today, as when it started to rain, I went out to dance/sing/spin in the rain.  As I was having a lovely time, I kept thinking, “I wish my friend was here so she could take my picture!”

Well, while I was out there, I had a wonderful idea (or at least I thought it was): why don’t I set up my camera and tripod in the garage, put it on self timer, run to the designated spot, and take my own picture?

I went running inside to get ready and prepare my paraphernalia.  It was quite fun, pressing the shutter release, running to my designated spot, dancing, running back to the camera, trying not to slide on the garage floor, and setting up for my next shot.

Without further ado, here are my favorite shots from the day.

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Rain

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Spinning

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Aren’t full skirts just so fun?

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Dancing (not anything in particular)

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“I love the rain!”

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*swish*

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“I should jump!”

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You can see the rain a bit more in this picture

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Dancing