Thursday, January 29, 2009

Great times, great eats at Chai's in Charleston

I'd like to state for the record that Charleston has great restaurants.

I went to a place called Chai's Lounge & Tapas last night, and it was AWESOME. I was there with several fun people from the Charleston office, and we shared something like eight dishes, all of which were delicious. I particularly loved the short ribs - it's enough to make me want to come back to Charleston.

The people I was with know the executive chef Derek Falta really well, so we got a few special items from him as well, including this awesome bourbon pecan ice cream. Mmmm. Thanks, Derek!

Off to Blossom tonight!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Upcoming visitors? Sweet!

I've been a bit of a bad blogger, but I have an excuse! (Well, a bit of an excuse...)

I meant to post last night, but lo and behold, our cable is out at home. Yep, all of our cable things - TV, internet and the never-used phone. This means no internet at home :( It can't be fixed until at least Saturday. Comcast did offer to come out today or tomorrow, but couldn't give a time window that was shorter than four hours. Since I can't actually work from home without having the internet, that really doesn't work for me. Travis is leaving for Minnesota today, so he was also not available to be at home during the Comcast schedule.

Anyways, here's some big news: we're having more guests! The Lisa and Beth Suite will be seeing some more use. :) Here is our guest schedule:

February 5-8 - Erin Jane in Sea-town (and yes, she is welcome to stay with us)
April 9-13 - Dad
April 9-19 - Mom (she gets to stay longer!)
April 11-18 - Jessie and Mary (Easter is going to be fun)
May 20-24 - Luna and Cat Wrangler (we'll likely be taking a day trip up to Vancouver)

Who else wants to come visit???

I also have big weekend plans with people who actually live in Seattle. I'm going to a hockey game on Friday with a coworker, I have coffee on Saturday with another Minnesota transplant and I am seeing Rachel Getting Married this weekend with another coworker (I think).

Then next week, I am spending three days in Charleston (for work), and a few days in Charlotte (for fun) - I am going to get to meet my new cousin Spencer! (I need to find a Seattle-related gift for him and for my aunt and uncle who are hosting me in!!!)

Busy times for me :)


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Washington resident?!

Holy Hannah, I am a Washington state resident now.

I got my license in the mail today. (That was fast, I just went to the DMV on Saturday to file all of the appropriate paperwork!)



Sunday, January 11, 2009

On a food mission

Well folks, I am on a food mission. I am trying to find some new dishes to add to our old standbys that are tasty, easy, fast and relatively healthy. I usually make dinner at home 4-5 times a week, and we don't generally eat leftovers here, so I am going to try to be as careful as possible to make only enough for just Travis and I.

I am accepting all idea submissions :) Keep in mind that I will generally want to make these on a weeknight, where time and energy are both in low supply. To give you an idea of what is on our "old standby" list, here are some of the things I make at least once or twice a month:

-stovetop lasagna (this is Travis' favorite)
-porkchops sauteed in cream of mushroom soup with stuffing and veggies
-stir fry (any kind of meat, some stir frying sauce, and any kind of vegetables, served over's never the exact same flavors, but it is fairly close each time)
-grilled meat plus flavored rice (sounds original, doesn't it?)

Yesterday, I started my mission by preparing halibut in spicy squash and tomatoes. I know, crazy, Samantha making fish at home? And it wasn't tuna casserole?! People, I am trying to branch out here! Here are a few pictures of what the halibut dish looked like while in process as well as the end result:

I thought it turned out pretty darn good - the jalopeno pepper give the overall dish a bit of a kick, and I enjoyed it. I told Travis that I would order it in a restaurant!

Tonight, I am going to try to make risotto, which I have never prepared at home, but generally love in restaurants. I am pretty excited, the recipe I am going to try is a garlic asparagus risotto, and I am going to make garlic chicken breasts to go along with it. (Travis wouldn't be too thrilled if a meal didn't have some form of meat in it, so that is why I am making chicken, too.)

If you have any suggestions or ideas, let me know! Wish me luck on the risotto :)


Monday, January 5, 2009

Seattle weekend rundown

So as you probably know, Lisa and Beth spent a long weekend in Seattle. Wahoo! I don't have all the photos that we took (we all did different shots on our cameras), but here is a weekend rundown and some of the photos. (I'm trying out Flickr, we'll see how I like it as a photo storing site.)

Wednesday: Because we closed on the house on Tuesday (yippee!), I was able to go to Macy's Furniture gallery and finalize the purchase of our dining room set and a great enormous armoire for the bedroom. After I took care of that, I headed over to the airport because Lisa and Beth arrive!

Sadly, the first thing Lisa and Beth saw in Seattle (after the airport) was a horrible car accident! This crazy pedestrian decided that he was going to impress his friends and walk across a busy highway against the light, in the rain, in the dark, while wearing dark clothes. He made it three quarters of the way across, but then got nailed by a car going over forty (the car wasn't speeding, the pedestrian was just in the wrong). Yikes!!!

So after that hullabaloo, I brought Lisa and Beth back to our house, or as they call it "McMansion". It was New Year's Eve, and we considered going to Seattle Center to watch then shoot fireworks off of the Space Needle, but it was raining, and Lisa wasn't feeling awesome, so we decided to stay home and resurrect Wandering Bront!! (John, Tracy, EJ - we missed our other bandmates.) I also made us some stir fry for dinner, and it was delicious.



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We celebrated the New Year by watching the fireworks on TV - I think Lisa and Beth were unimpressed by the Seattle TV reporters...they were fairly terrible.

Thursday: On New Year's Day, all four of us headed down to the Seattle Center, and we hit up the Space Needle and Experience Music ProjectScience Fiction Hall of Fame. While it was too cloudy to see Mt. Rainier, I think that Lisa and Beth still got a pretty good view of the city. EMP/SFM was decent, but I had already been there (back in September), so it wasn't as cool.

For dinner, we went to a local restaurant at Kent Station called the Zephyr Grill and Bar, which was terrible. Seriously, it wasn't good. Travis and I will not be going there again, but it was worth a shot. Now we know!

Friday: On Friday morning, Lisa's cold had come on in full force, so she had to take a little break and try to get some rest. Beth and I drove over to Silverdale, which is on the western side of Puget Sound (about 60 miles away from Kent) because I needed to finalize the purchase of our kitchen table and living room set. All of the furniture will be delivered this week - sweet. On the way to Silverdale, we saw some really pretty landscapes, because it had snowed the night before and all of the trees were coated in snow.


Beth also got to go over the Tacoma Narrows bridge. While we were in the middle of the bridge, I think Beth realized how she recognized the name Tacoma Narrows. Yikes. Anyways, they rebuilt the bridge, and we made it over safely (twice) and we got some pictures. Well, Beth took the pictures, I drove.

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After getting the furniture all taken care of, Beth and I were famished, so we went to this Mongolian Grill (like Khan's, but clean!) I don't remember what it was called, but it was delicious. Beth got her food, then proceeded to make a mess of their counter with the sauces. 100_1633 100_1634

My food was great:


Beth has now been from Phoenix, Arizona all the way to Tacoma, Philadelphia, Atlanta, LA. In case you were wondering. And yes, we did sing that. :)

On Friday afternoon, after we came back from Silverdale, we spent "five minutes" (aka forty minutes) helping Travis install our surround sound in the living room, and then we headed downtown Seattle to go to Pike's Place Market. We got there around 4 pm, and got to see a beautiful sunset on Elliott Bay. I think Lisa and Beth enjoyed the Market. They did get to see the fish, and took quite a few pictures of the Market decorated for the holidays. (Sadly, I don't have those pictures on my Flickr...maybe Lisa and Beth should upload their photos to Flickr too, then I can post those pics in here.)

We indulged in some incredible crepes while at Pike's Place. I had a strawberry creme one, Lisa had a Nutella and banana one, and Beth had a cinnamon one. 100_1654

They were good, and we polished them off:


We had Chipotle for dinner, and somehow, by some weird cosmic influence, the Chipotle at Kent Station literally did not have the food to make burritos. (How can Chipotle be out of tortillas AND salsa?!) We had to drive back to Tukwila to get the delicious Chipotle that we had planned on. (I just realized that we had crepes and Chipotle on the same night, wow. Impressive.)

Saturday: On Saturday, we slept in and I made the crew a scrumptious breakfast of thick, fluffy waffles, bacon and Beth showed me how to make these great (and easy!) potato slices. (Yes, they are pretty much as easy as they sound.) Lisa, Beth and I headed downtown Seattle again because we wanted to go on the Underground Tour. After we bought our tickets for the tour, we had about an hour to kill, so we walked up the hill (sorry, Lisa, it was hard for sickie McGee to breathe!) and I showed the ladies my office. No Rainier view on Saturday, it was too cloudy. (I had Lisa and Beth on the lookout for Rainier for the entire trip, it's really an impressive site when it is visible!) We also went to the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, and I picked up a book for my friend Luna because it made me think of her. (Luna, expect that to come in the mail sometime this week... I hope you don't have this one yet!) Mom would really love this bookstore; we'll have to go when she is in town for Easter.

After the excellent tour, we went over to Magic Mouse Toys and played with all sorts of great toys. I ended up buying Ninja a squiggle ball, and a game called Smart Ass, which we played at dinner and at home.

For dinner, we went to a restaurant in Pioneer Square called DeNunzio's. Our waiter was hilarious. He literally made Lisa spit out her gum into a napkin (which he held while she spit and then carried away). He made our dinner very fun. The most hysterically funny portion of the evening was definitely when Beth literally spit her gulp of water all over me. And Lisa's arm. Apparently, I am funny (I don't even remember what made her spit up, actually.) I laughed so hard it hurt.

All in all, the weekend was really great. I'm sad that Lisa wasn't feeling well, but I hope that she still enjoyed visiting and seeing Seattle. I was really glad to have company here, and it was just a ton of fun. I can't wait for their next visit!

Whew, I am tired after just writing about all we did, and I didn't even post pictures from everything (because I don't have them as of now)! Hope you enjoyed learning about our escapades in the Seattle region!!