Early Birthday Dinner

15 01 2011

The conundrum of living in a different time zone is that birthdays can get a little confusing.  Especially when, as is the case for Mark today, it’s his birthday today in Australia, but not until tomorrow here in America.

The perk is that if you’re clever you can drag your birthday out for two whole days.  Regardless, we decided to go out for dinner tonight, and probably will again tomorrow night.

Tonight’s restaurant Tilth, was one that we discovered when we saw it’s Owner and Chef Maria Hines on the Top Chef television show.

Our only complaint of the evening was that the interior temperature of the restaurant was a little tropical, enough so that on more than one occasion I wandered outside to cool down a little.
That aside, the food, and the wine were AMAZING.  There were so many options to choose from that we were unable to make a decision on any one item, so we opted to have the Tasting Menu.

Eight courses of deliciousness, with a bottle of French Chardonnay, followed by coffee.  The Chef even allowed us to customise the menu to take into account that Mark doesn’t eat shellfish, and I wasn’t too enthused about the prospect of eating tongue.

Here’s an idea of what we had, all of which are local, sustainable and organic:

Baby Lettuces, baby beet, feta cheese, sherry vinaigrette

Sunchoke Soup, dungeness crab, preserved lemon, sorrel

Skagit River Ranch Beef Tongue, horseradish mousse, salsify, green onion

Pan Seared Alaskan Sablefish, celery heart, celery root, granny smith apple

Penn Cove Mussels, yukon potato, lardon, grilled bread

Oxbow Farm Potato Gnocchi, butternut squash, swiss chard, preserved orange

Wild Mushroom Plin, hedgehog mushroom, dandelion green, parmesan

Grilled Dakota Beef Sirloin, collard green, sweet potato, cocoa nib demi

Northwest Artisanal Cheese

Oh, and it was all finished with Blood Orange Creme Brulee, and Mark’s had a candle in it, then coffee, and some house made Limoncello.

It’s quite possibly a blessing in disguise that we’re both starting a 12 week gym program as of Monday. Winking smile

Jam Packed Full-o-Fun

22 11 2009

To say today was busy would be an understatement, despite a slow start, I managed to get to the gym, then home, shower, change, in the car with Mark, Alex and Randy and off into Seattle to visit a house that is being remodelled by the Designers we’ve been meeting with.

The renovation was amazing, but there are a lot of things I’d personally do differently, but most importantly, their other client is immensely happy with the work, a good sign.

From remodels it was off to the Ballard Locks, where the large lock is currently empty for maintenance.  The last time I was there was with my parents, and both Locks were operational, and kept my Dad mesmerised for hours.  To see the large one empty is bizarre.  It’s enormous, and it boggles the mind at how fast it’s filled and emptied with water when it’s operational.

From Locks, to Archie McPhees a novelties store, where you can buy any sort of gag gift you’ve ever imagined, and some that you haven’t.  I came home with 2 back scratchers (practical, not gag), some Cappucino flavoured mints, some Bacon flavoured mints, and some Cupcake flavoured mints.  Bizarre but novel.  The Bacon mints taste weird, which really isn’t too surprising.

From there it was off to a Burger restaurant called The Counter where you’re given a check list of items to build your own burger, you simply check mark everything you want and they bring it to you.  Also amazing!

Then off to Smash Putt mini golf.  A game of mini golf that involves air cannons on the first hole, you shoot your ball at targets to score.  Other holes had moving parts, catapaults, and some even had power tools such as Plunge Routers, Drills, Circular saws etc.  At the end of the evening your ball is literally destroyed.  Mine now has saw marks along the side, and a big hole drilled in it.  Great fun!

Then we all grabbed a hot drink, since it’s so cold out, and now we’re home where I’m exhausted and ready for bed.

Hope you all had great weekends!

Oh No She Didn’t!

14 11 2009

Oh yes she did!

We’ve not long arrived home from an evening out with friends for dinner, and then seeing Lisa Lampanelli, a comedian, perform at the Paramount Theatre.

Her humour can catch those with delicate sensibilities by complete surprise, but I think she’s hilarious.

A lot of the enjoyment comes from hearing the shocked nervous laughs from people in the audience as some of the jokes.

Really people.  They’re just words, they have no power unless you react, and given that America is such a politically correct country, in my mind, to the point of being ridiculous (Australia is well on it’s way to reaching the same level of “correct stupidity”) there were many, many, many, MANY reactions.  I even overheard the woman behind me trying to explain that the laughter she was hearing over the use of the “N” word, that it was all nervous, uncomfortable laughter.

Sorry lady.  My laughter was genuine, the joke was truly funny, and it was just that, a joke.  Even the people in the audience who should or could have been offended by the word thought it was funny.  You, my caucasian friend didn’t.  No surprise, that seems to always be the case.  The majority decide the climate for the minority.

Ah well, we minorities probably laughed the hardest, and the most genuine, and definitely with the least discomfort and nerves.

The evening was fun.  Of course it started off perfectly when the restaurant we went to beforehand appeared to have finally gotten their act together.  The last few times we’ve been there, the service has been atrocious, the food lack lustre.  Not so tonight.

Firstly, the restaurant was Palomino’s in Seattle, there’s another one over here in Bellevue, our server was a lovely middle aged woman, named Gracie, she was Amazing.  Apologies to my, and Alex’s Mum who are both named Grace and are also Amazing, but not such fans of being called “Amazing Grace”.  Apparently it gets repetitive… 😉

Needless to say the meal was great, as were the accompanying cocktails, and for those that had them (not me), dessert was great too.  Good work Gracie, you definitely earned your gratuity.

Ok, I’m outta here now, it’s time for sleep.

The skies on fire

8 06 2008

Great Gods!  The sun was out today.   It was such a shock to see so much light and the big bright fiery ball in the sky that I had to fire up Google just to see what it was.

Apparently it’s the Sun.  Not often seen in Seattle, but today was one of those rare days.

Makes for a nice change, especially since it’s been warmer back home in Australia.  During Winter!!

Speaking of good things though.  We found a new Sushi Train Restaurant, well new for us anyway, in Bellevue today called Sushi Yama.  The best part, it’s the best one we’ve found since we’ve been here.  Even better, we get 20% discount there.

Gotta love that!

So sun, sushi and a discount!

Sunday is officially a happy day.

Time to go though, heading off to continue watching Cloverfield.  Which up until 15 minutes in was pretty tedious, now the action’s started I need to pay attention.  The Jury is out for the time being on what I think of the film.  Let’s see how it plays out.


It’s been a huge day!

11 04 2008

As has been the pattern so far, today has been another hectic day of visiting with family and friends.  Of course it goes without saying that we’ve enjoyed every moment, but it is certainly very tiring.

The morning started with breakfast with Mark’s Uncle, then a spot of shopping at the Direct Factory Outlets, then off to my parents to spend time with my folks, sister and nephew, before heading over to the hospital to visit with my Nan, who is quite comfortable and enjoyed all the tales of my holiday so far and accompanying photos.

Then it was back in the car and across town to our favourite, and much missed Chinese restaurant; The Gold Leaf, for dinner with Jamie and David.  Poor David is ill with a cold, so hope he gets better.

Of course there was also the birth of a new niece.

So, as you can see, a VERY eventful day for us over here.

Now, it’s bed time, and it can’t come a moment too soon.

G’night all! 🙂

Pooped Pups

3 02 2008

Wow, what a day.  After a slow start, we met our friend Ken at a fantastic little breakfast spot called Beth’s Cafe, and after a HUGE breakfast, my omelette consisted of 6 eggs, and it was the smallest one available on the menu, as there are also 12 egg omelettes, we headed across the road to Green Lake for a leisurely stroll around it’s perimeter.

Oh, and certainly not as an aside.  As far as breakfasts go…  This one was brilliant!

My initial plans were to run around it, but after such a big breakfast I decided it was a safer measure (I didn’t want to puke) to walk it.   Probably for the best as by the time we were almost half way, the dogs, who until that moment had been straining at their leashes, started to slow down.   It’s been a while since they’ve been on such a long walk.  Quite a while.  In fact I’m sure the last time they did have a decent walk, it was while my parents were visiting and my Dad was walking them.  That’s when they had all their adventures.   Like the one where they were all brought home in the back of the Sheriff’s car…

It was a pretty awesome day actually, despite it being so cold I had to pull my sleeves down over my hands to keep them warm while we walked.

We’ll definitely go back, either to run, walk, or perhaps even rollerblade around it.  My trainer; Aaron wants me to to run around it next weekend in my first 5k run, the Valentine’s Day Love ’em or Leave ’em fun run.  Although I’ve not yet committed to it, I am seriously thinking about it.  We’ll see what happens.

However, it is getting late now, and I’m exhausted, not quite as much as the dogs, who have been pretty much asleep since they got in the car post walk, and arrived home.  In fact they may even be comatose.  😉

Hope you had a great weekend!

Week ending

30 11 2007

It’s been yet another busy day here today, and I’m astounded at how fast the week has flown by.  It seems it was only Monday yesterday, but here it is, Friday evening already.

Gym this morning, followed by an hour of racquetball, shower, and 50 pushups (we were doing 100 at the gym, but ran out of time), and I’m exhausted.

But, not enough that Mark and I couldn’t go out shopping this evening.  Primarily because we had a $20 voucher that had to be used this evening before it expired.  Of course the nature of the beast is that you go into a store with $20 to spend, and come out having spent a whole lot more.  But, they were awesome bargains. *laugh*

We’ve purchased truly ugly Christmas decorations, which are to be gifts for our friends Richard and Jason.  Each year we try and give each other a truly ugly decoration that MUST be displayed on the tree.  Last years was a doozy, this years stands to be in the same class.  😉

Oh, and we found an Asian Fusion restaurant called Yama in Bellevue which was pretty fabulous for dinner.  If you get the chance you NEED to go there.

But, now we’re home, the pets are all inside, and it’s time to unwind.


Buff bods, boobs and burlesque

18 11 2007

Last night was an evening and a half.

My ex-Personal Trainer Milla celebrated her 23rd Birthday earlier in the week, so to celebrate invited a group of her friends to join her in Seattle.  So aside from us, Milla, and her partner, Roberto, there was probably about a dozen people comprising Milla’s friends, and co-workers from the gym.  One of them being my current trainer; Aaron, and his wife (also a trainer) Mary.

Guess how much drinking I did last night surrounded by trainers?  That’s right.  None!
Not because they were there though.  I’m back “full steam ahead” on my eating and exercise regime.

It was amusing to see some people full of “birthday cheer”. 😉 It was also interesting seeing all of the Personal Trainers in “going out” clothes.  But then it was no stranger than them seeing me in clothes other than sports wear as well.

Moving on.

The evening was spent at Can Can an intimate and unique supper club, built directly under Seattle’s Pike Place Market.  Now we’ve walked past this place dozens of times, but until last night had no idea it existed.

We’ll definitely be going back though.

It’s a big taste of the Parisian nightlife, all within 20 minutes drive from home.  The venue is built in the historic underground of Seattle.  If you look up at the ceiling you can even see the skylights that double as a portion of the pavement above.

It’s crowded, it’s hot, but even with the minimal standing room that we had we had a pretty good view of the show, and the performers.  Who, and I won’t get any arguments from those who were there with us, are exceptionally fit, and attractive.

Belly dancers, Acrobats, contortionism, burlesque, etc.  There’s also traditional Can Can dancing, but it had already “been and gone” by the time we made it there for the 10pm showing.

I’d love to share more of the events with you, but I’ve got stacks to do.  You’re just going to have to check it out for yourself, and if that means you have to come and visit me.  Then so be it!

Mark and I have been inspired enough now that when we visit Paris next year we’ll be finding ourselves some authentic French Can Can.

Hooroo and Happy Sunday.

Oh… not yet.

Mark and I are off this evening to see Kathy Griffin LIVE in Seattle.  Can’t wait! 😉

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

15 07 2007

I have to preface this posting with:  I loved, loved, LOVED this movie.

Apparently the critics and many people weren’t so kind in their reviews of this film, but as has pretty much always been the case.  If the critics hate a film, I generally love it.  So I’m either rebellious by nature, or simply polar opposites when it comes to what I find entertaining.
I know I’m not alone though, there will be literally millions of people out there that agree with me, and I’m sure the number of people who loved the film will far out weigh those who don’t.

We caught the 10pm session of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the Seattle IMAX theatre as a portion of the film was being shown in 3D.  We’d purchased our tickets almost 2 weeks in advance, so all we had to do was arrive at the cinemas early to queue for seats.  Unfortunately in most cinemas here seats are not allocated.  So if you want a good one, you get there early.  If you’re really clever, you get there early, and split up.  One of you goes and grabs food and drinks, while the other stakes out decent seats and then waves like a crazed imbecile to let the other person know where those seats are in the dimly lit cinema.  😉

Of course, as is always the case, we certainly weren’t the only people there with that theory.

We’d left home around 6pm, to go and grab an early dinner in Seattle at Benihana Seattle a Japanese Sushi and Teppanyaki style restaurant.  An awesome dining experience where the food preparation is also entertaining, as the chef throws knives, ingredients, spins condiment containers, and then presents beautifully prepared and sensationally tasting food to each of the diners sitting around the grill itself.  If you get a chance go and see for yourself.  Yummo!

By the time dinner was over, and we arrived at the IMAX it was nearly 9pm, and the queue for tickets was a good 200m long.  Fortunately when the doors opened the line moved very quickly.

Anyway, the point is, as far as I’m concerned, the movie was brilliant.  Certainly worth going to see, in fact I do believe we’re going to see it again sometime soon, this time without the 3D portion.  Why you might ask?  Well, I’d have to respond: Why not? 😉

One word of warning though, it’s a long film.  If you’re going to have a large drink during the movie, plan on missing part of it for a toilet break.  If you’re a little more radical, have yourself fitted with a catheter first. 😉
You really don’t want to miss anything.


My name is Craig. I’m an addict.

9 06 2007

It’s horrific, but it’s true.  I’m a veritable Imelda Marcos, I had no idea, the disease until relatively recently has lain dormant.

I love shoes.  No, I LOVE shoes.  I’ve always liked a good shoe, but never have I had the opportunity to buy a decent quality/brand shoe for the prices that I’m able to here in America.  As an Australian, who until moving here, had never lived outside the country, I was completely and utterly oblivious to just how much we, as Australian consumers overpay for good quality merchandise.  The markups are ridiculous.

Example:  Levi 501 Jeans in Australia:  roughly $140 AUD, the same jeans in the US; roughly $40 USD, take into account the exchange rate and that’s still a huge difference.  Even Steve Madden shoes (soooo comfortable) retail for over $100 back in Australia, and I now own 3 pairs and paid less than $100 for all of them together.

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s pretty easy to overspend here too.  Fortunately though, I’m a relatively thrifty shopper, and love the thrill of hunting for a bargain.  Hmmm, really it should have come as no surprise that the family tree showed Jewish ancestry, it was inherent. *grin*

I have to be honest though, aside from buying gym clothes in increasingly smaller sizes, I’m avoiding clothes shopping at all costs, until I’ve finished losing weight.  I’ve already gone through my wardrobe 4 times in the last 4 weeks, and have increasingly less clothes to choose from.  One bonus though, is off the clothes I DO have to choose from, some of them I’ve never worn before anyway, as I used to have a bad habit of buying things before I tried them on.  So often they never fit, and being too lazy to return them to the store, I collected them.  Bad at the time…  Yes, perhaps.  Now it’s a boon.  I’m literally shopping in my own wardrobe.  It’s so exciting to be able to wear clothes I’ve never worn before, and get back into old favourites only to find they’re too big.  The donation pile is growing rapidly.

It’s a little upsetting that the new jackets I bought a couple of months ago for $79 down from $250, no longer fit, but since they’re brand new, well, one has been worn once, I think they may just go on eBay, that or I’ll be having a Garage/Yard Sale.

Despite the downsizing, one thing that I can rely on not changing too drastically are my feet.  So it’s all about shoe shopping right now, and this is something I’ve found I’ve a real penchant for.  According to a couple of my closest female friends, aside from my charm and dashing good looks, they love me because I “speak fluent shoe”.  It was these same friends who I channeled yesterday when faced with 3 pairs of shoes and the decision of which one to buy.  By the time I’d narrowed it down to 3 pairs of course, I’d easily have tried on at least 40.  I tend to walk around the shoes aisles in one particular store, who’s name rhymes with Yordstrom Yack and is where all the bargains are to be found, with one shoe off while I try on all the different styles.  Having channeled my friends, the decision was easy.  I bought all three. 😀

In hindsight, it seems I always buy shoes in sets of three, if not on the same day, within a few days of each other.  I now have the boots I’ve been hankering after for a while, and some other groovy shoes to wear out and about.

Oh, there were also 2 pairs of sports shoes, 3 pairs of street (skate) shoes, 2 pairs of thongs and a pair of reef sandals that aren’t in the photo.

Mark hates the boots, I love them.  His not liking something is usually the deal maker anyway.  Everything of mine he doesn’t like, everyone else does.  Besides he’s only ever shown good taste once…  Me! 😉
Not 30 seconds after he’d told me hated the orangey coloured boots (they’re not as bad as they sound – see photo), a complete stranger came up and told me I had great taste, and then admired my other selections.  Sorry Mark, but you no not of what you speak…  Stick to your computers.Shoes

The back 3 pairs I bought in Australia, and are my favourite brand; Aquila, the middle 3 I bought a few months ago, and the front 3 are the ones I bought yesterday. 

On that note, my wardrobe is clean and much roomier, my shoes are all stacked neatly, and I’m off to have a rest.  I’m absolutely knackered.   After shopping, dinner at an AWESOME Greek restaurant; Kafe Neo in Edmonds, and being out bowling until 2 am this morning, and just quietly, wiping the floor with my two American friends who have in the past bragged (altered the truth) to claim they beat the Aussie, they have a couple of times too. But not so last night, it was a slaughter.  Go Aussie Go! 😉

Hooroo, 2 hours of sleep does not an alert blogger make,  apologies if I’ve rambled, and I’m sure I have..

Have an awesome weekend.