Friday, October 31, 2008

Lunch, Minnesota-style! Plus, a voting PSA

Apparently, my last restaurant review was too detailed...therefore, this post will not really be a review of the Olive Garden. But I still want to mention it, because their breadsticks are garlicky and delicious.

Anyways, I flew to Minnesota on the red eye on Wednesday night, got my Pricelined rental car, stopped by the Chaska Bakery for some doughnuts, then went to my parents's house, where I promptly fell asleep. It was nice to get some sleep that wasn't in an airplane seat.

I met up with Beth and Erin Jane for lunch at the Olive Garden...the food was good (see breadstick comment above), but the company was great! It was nice to see both of them. If EJ will send me her pictures, I will post them on this "highly read" blog for all to see. That's incentive to send those pics to me.

After lunch, I ran a few errands, of which the most important was voting. Yes, I have voted now! I asked the election people at the courthouse if they had more absentee voting this year, and they have seen a lot more people voting early this year than ever. Carver County already had over 5,000 votes. I wonder if this election will change that average percentage of eligible Americans who actually make the effort to get registered to vote and then vote. I hope so, it makes me kind of sad that less than 40% of eligible people go out and vote.

Whoever you support politically, please go vote. It's a civic right and a civic duty. So go out and do it!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Review of Daniel's Broiler Leschi - Delicious!

Travis and I just enjoyed a fantastic meal at Daniel's Broiler - Leschi, which is right on Lake Washington. While it was already dark out when we went to dinner (we had 7:30 reservations), the view from the window at our table was still great! We had a great view of downtown Bellevue, all lit up.

Everything about Daniel's Broiler was top notch. I will start off by saying that we will definitely be returning. I had made reservations this morning after a man at work highly recommended this place as the steak place in Seattle. (More on that later.) The woman who took my reservation was extremely helpful, and when she learned that we had recently moved to Seattle and that we were celebrating Trav's birthday, she was very excited that we had chosen Daniel's. I recommend mentioning if you are celebrating a special occasion when you make your reservations.

When we arrived at the restaurant (after a neat drive along the waterfront), we were promptly greeted by the manager as the hostess was seating another guest. (Way to step in! :) ) Our server was Austin, and he was a great help to us as we were deciding what to order. He also helped select a wine for Travis that would go well with his steak. He also reminded me how much I like sparking water, and I ordered some of that for me.

Because it was a special occasion, we went all out with our food choices. (Well, we didn't get lobster...) We started off with bacon-wrapped scallops as our appetizer, and Travis loved them. I can't say I am a huge fan of scallops (it's a texture thing), but the bacon wrapping did give them a nice crispy texture. The hot bread and butter was also delicious and very fresh.

While the restaurant had several seafood daily specials, Austin strongly suggested we go with steaks for our main course, as that is the real specialty at Daniel's. It's 100% USDA prime corn-fed Midwestern beef...youm. Travis ordered a 16 ounce (yeah, that's a pound) rib eye, and I ordered the 9 ounce filet mignon. I really liked that Austin didn't scold me for ordering my filet well done. I just don't like pink meat, and I am not "ruining" good steak by ordering it well done. So there. Along with our main courses, we also got mashed Yukon gold potatoes (very creamy, quite tasty...they also brought out toppings for the potatoes, which Travis used, adding fresh bacon bits, chives and butter to his mashed potatoes) and an order of broccoli to share. Plenty of food all around!

The steaks were awesome. They apparently broil them first at 1800 degrees, which puts a char on the steaks and seals in the flavors. Then they grill them to the preferred temperature. My filet was great - I'd say it's in the top 5 steaks I've ever had. I also really enjoyed the potatoes, though if I had known they'd have a Parmesan cheese garnish on top, I would have asked them to hold off on that.

After our meal, Austin brought out a special treat for Travis: an Alaskan silk cake tartlet thingy (I don't remember what it is really called, and it isn't on their menu online, so "Alaskan silk cake tartlet thingy" is what I call it.) It was a chocolate silk swirled with white and milk chocolate on a graham cracker crust with white chocolate shavings around the side. And the plate said "Happy Birthday" in chocolate, and they had put a birthday candle in it. So Travis blew out the candle and went to town on the ASCTT (see above). I secretly wanted some Key lime pie, but decided I was full, and I could just sit back and watch Travis enjoy his birthday cake.

Before we got our bill, Austin's manager (I'm sorry, I didn't get his name, he was also quite nice) came to our table and told me that he heard we had been referred to the restaurant by a colleague. He gave me a gift certificate to pass along to my coworker as a thank you for recommending the restaurant! This is a really interesting marketing move. I mean, sure, I could hold on to the gift certificate myself, and never tell this coworker. (I wouldn't do that.) But from the restaurant's perspective, it's a win-win. If I use it myself, it means we liked it enough to go back. If I give it to my colleague, he'll be excited that his recommendation had benefits for him, and might be inclined to recommend it again. Win-win.

I definitely recommend Daniel's Broiler. It's on the expensive side, but...we really enjoyed the atmosphere, the service, the food and the location and thus we were okay with spending the money. It is a really great find for us; we will bring people who visit us in Seattle to this restaurant in the future.

Happy birthday to my other half!!

In case you didn't know, today is Trav's golden birthday!!

The gift I got him (a watch) will arrive late. The irony of that astounds me.

I am taking him out to dinner tonight, to a place called Daniel's Broiler. It's apparently been rated the best steak in Seattle for the past six years. I am looking forward to it!

Anyways, happy birthday to Travis!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Irish 33, Washington Huskies 7

First of all, I'd like to say thank you to the University of Washington for providing such a great experience on their campus for visiting fans. Dad and I were wearing ND clothes, and literally not one Huskies fan said anything bad about it. The only time I was actually sad to be an ND fan was when this idiot kid who was REALLY drunk stumbled into our section (of course wearing an ND hat and backpack) and essentially passed out. Not cool, kid. Not cool.

So after showing Dad around the Seattle-land area (checking out the house in Kent, visiting our PO box, partaking in some Target goodness and then eating at RAM Brewery), we headed back downtown. Dad and I then hopped on the very convenient express bus up to campus, which was free for ticket holders. (Side note: Seattle public transit continues to impress me. Yes, I know that the bus has its flaws, but seriously, free transit in the downtown area everyday? Free transit to and from major sporting events? Come on, people, it's not that bad. Suck it up and hop on.)

Dad and I spent a little bit of time wandering around campus, and we were very impressed. The campus is beautiful, and the weather this weekend was gorgeous; the combination was perfect for a football Saturday. (We're going to Notre Dame this weekend, hopefully the weather will be just as nice...) I took some pictures of campus - there seems to be a neat European influence on the areas we were in, with a big fountain, a palazzo-type area and even a cool amphitheatre deal complete with columns.

After checking out some of the campus, we headed into the stadium. It's actually rated one of the top 25 stadiums to see a college football game in the nation. (So is Notre Dame Stadium, in case you were wondering.) Husky Stadium was great! The tickets I snagged on Craigslist were on the 20 yard line, about 35 rows up - our view was great. I had worried that it might rain this weekend, but not to worry. Not only was it a beautiful sunny day, even if it had rained, the seats we had in the stadium were totally covered. We had a pretty view of Lake Washington from our seats as well.
We had the guy behind us take our picture. He kind of gave me a funny look, but still took the pic. Thanks, dude!The band made the flag!
Within the first nine minutes, the Irish had scored twice. They looked really good at the beginning, but then had some terrible looking drives as well during the rest of the game. By the way, Dad just loved the HuskyTron - I admit, it really is pretty impressive. That screen had awesome clarity. We should get one.
By the end of the game, the Irish emerged victorious, and it was pretty evident that Husky coach (and former ND coach) Tyrone Willingham was going to be out of a job soon. (And he is.)
All in all, this was a fantastic first experience at an Irish away game. Getting to and from the game couldn't have been much easier (or cheaper!), the game was fun, the stadium was a great venue and Dad and I had a great time.
Here's to enjoying another ND game this Saturday - hopefully the Irish can pull off a win against the Pittsburgh Panthers, who have something to prove after getting their butts handed to them by Rutgers this weekend.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My first Irish away game is today

Did you know that I have never been to an away game for Irish football? Not during my four years at school, and definitely not in the five and a half seasons since I graduated.

The streak is ending.

Somehow, by some stroke of luck, Notre Dame is playing the University of Washington out in Seattle this year. I finagled some tickets on Craig's List, and convinced Dad to come out to see the the game with me.

We're decked out in some ND gear, and we are sitting in the UW alumni section, so I am a bit nervous about how their fans treat away team fans. Hopefully we won't be hit with rotten eggs.

Now we're going to show Dad around town, and show him the house we are (hopefully) buying.

Yay for visitors!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Newsweek is really trying to capitalize

So I see today that Newsweek has launched four new e-books via the Amazon Kindle, apparently compiling some of their existing coverage on the candidates as well as adding some new content. The compilations will only be available on the Kindle, and here's the kicker: they are each $9.99! (For those that don't know, that is about the highest priced product on Kindle, brand new NY Times Bestsellers - generally only available in hardcover physical format - are typically priced at $9.99 as well.) These compilation pieces could be really interesting, and a good way for people to get a fairly full picture of the candidates, but I am not about to spend $40 to get a compilation from Newsweek.

Check it out:

Do you think these are each worth $9.99? I probably would have paid $9.99 for both of the Democrats or both of the Republicans or perhaps just all 4 together, but not for just one.


Monday, October 20, 2008


Well, Seattle is living up to its name today. And according to the weather lady on the news, this is a "typical fall day".



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Both Hensches are in Seattle

Can I get a woot woot?

I've been in Seattle for seven weeks, but Travis wasn't able to move out here until this weekend. He and our buddy Andy spent two and a half days driving out here in the Durango, towing the boat behind. (I'm glad I didn't have to be on that drive, yuck.)

Travis is now here! We're still in temp housing (and moving to our next temp housing next weekend), but at least I'm not out here alone. (Of course, Travis' complaining about everything from the weather to the mattress on the bed is a whole other story, but perhaps that's for another time.)

We're going to bring Andy to the airport now, and then probably just spend the rest of the day chilling.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yay, we won't be homeless!

Travis gets to Seattle this weekend, and we only have two weeks left in the current place we have downtown. Well, two weeks that would be covered by my company, then we'd have to pay the exorbitant rent at Harbor Steps.

We've been waiting (not patiently) to hear from the bank on the house we're buying in Kent, but it doesn't look like it would be possible to close by October 27th. (Yes, that's in two weeks.) Thus, we needed to find another temporary living place that didn't cost $4500 a month. We've been doing a ton of research online, and let me tell you, it's hard to find a furnished place in Seattle that allows pets! We found some, but they were in the mid $3,000s per month, which is just more than we want to pay. We considered doing an extended stay hotel, but finally, something popped up in the University Village neighborhood.

I went and looked at the place today, and we FINALLY have our next temporary housing lined up. Yay!! It's really close to the bus line for me, and close to the freeway for Travis. Yay! To top it all off, it's actually pretty nice. :) I snapped the place up for at least November, and we'll see from there.

I have made it back home, and am making some homemade chicken noodle soup. Mmmm.

Good day!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Flying, fish...though not at the same time

I've spent the last five days traveling for business. I spent Sunday-Tuesday evening in Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley, CA at one of our offices there. They have a beautiful facility - there's even this gorgeous park right outside their door. I had no issues with my flights, rental car or anything.

I spent all day Wednesday traveling to Charleston, South Carolina. I left my house in Seattle at 5:30 am and didn't get to my hotel at almost 10 pm. (Yes, there is a three hour time difference, but still, the entire day was essentially wasted.) Why did it take so long, you ask? Let me tell you. When I got on the first flight in Seattle, I didn't get to board until the last group (thanks, United), and by the time I got to the door of the plane, they had run out of overhead space. Since I am only going to be in Charleston for a few days, I was traveling with only a carryon. Alas, they took my bag at the gate, and required me to check it through to Charleston. Anyways, other than that, the flight to Washington, DC was fine. We were shown some hilarious comedies (ala 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory and one more that is not coming to mind) as well as the movie Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. It was surprisingly good. We landed in Dulles about 40 minutes early - the flight is actually supposed to be nearly five hours.

My Charleston flight was unfortunately delayed by an hour, so I had several hours to kill in DC. We finally arrived in Charleston, and awesomely, no luggage. Turns out, they had randomly removed bags from the flight in DC to meet a weight limit. However, they didn't tell us this for about 75 minutes after landed. By the time I filled out the form for them to deliver my luggage to me, rented my car and got to my hotel, it was already 9:30. I then had to locate and visit an area Target store and pick up some toiletries, socks, underwear and a shirt, just in case my luggage didn't get here. I got a phone call at 1:30am...yeah, they called at 1:30. Nice. Thanks, United.

Anyways, after very little sleep, I got up and went into our Charleston office and worked a long day. Then, several of us who had come into town went out to dinner downtown at a place called Fish. Not surprisingly, they are a seafood place. Well, I decided to dive in (get it?) and I ordered one of their daily specials, red grouper. Over the past few weeks, I have eaten several different kinds of fish and seafood, and quite honestly, most of it wasn't bad. I'm apparently broadening my horizons!

I'm back at the hotel, and depressed that I missed both The Office and Grey's Anatomy. Now I will have to get them both on demand. I'm getting ready for bed, tomorrow will be another long day. Saturday, I have a really early flight, and then I need to go down to Kent to get a PO Box. Travis moves out here next Friday! Who's excited??


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Seattle Thunderbirds

Travis was here visiting for a few short days (just Wednesday-Friday, I brought him to the airport really early this morning). While he was here, he picked up our season tickets plus two jerseys for the Seattle Thunderbirds, which is a WHL hockey team. (No NHL here in Seattle, which is a bummer.) Anyways, the home opener is tonight, and I am going with a buddy of mine from Amazon. I'm kind of excited to see how these games compare to NHL games.

The first half of the season is being played at the Key Arena in Seattle Center, and they are moving to the Kent Events Center in December - that will be their new home. They've loaded their front half of the season with away games, so there will not be that many games played at Key Arena anymore.

In other sports news, I am watching the Irish win against the Stanford Cardinal. What kind of team mascot is a color? Weird. Uh oh, ND just had a turnover! It's the fourth quarter, and the Irish are up by two touchdowns, but weirder things have happened...I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an ND win.

I've got some house news. As I mentioned, we took our offer out of the Goat House last weekend. During the week, an inspection was performed on the Renton house (not on our dime), and foundational issues exist, so that is off our list as well. I think we've finally found the right house - Travis found it on Wednesday, and we have an approved offer in front of the sellers' bankers (yes, it's a short sale...bah) The place is beautiful, it's in Kent, near Kent Station and the Kent Events Center, and we really like it. We may not be able to close on the place as fast as we want, so I went to visit an apartment complex in Kent today to discuss a very short term rental. So that's a possibility.

It's been raining for the past few days. Travis always brings bad weather with him. Yuck.

Well, it's thus far a busy Saturday, and it's only 2:45. Tomorrow I leave for San Jose for a few days, then it's off to Charleston for a few days, so I will be out of town all week. I hope all of my faithful readers have a good week :)