Walking down my street was like smashing into a rainbow this morning. I had to run back with my camera to capture it before it ran away - like most rainbows do.

(I couldn't help but throw these colors in here)


Les Amis & Le Pichet

Every Tuesday night, 3 lovely girlfriends and I have “Girls’ Night,” which simply means we get to talk for hours, uninterrupted, about absolutely everything. Or nothing.

(Emily, Jessica, Kellie, and I, 2009)

Sometimes we are in sweats on the couch,

often we cook for ourselves,

(Emily wearing her "onion goggles" while making a soup, 2010)

or take a picnic,

(The view from a picnic at Gasworks this summer, 2009)

but more often than not we venture to a new restaurant or an old favorite to soak up the atmosphere. It’s been 5 years now, so we’ve tried a few places.

Although I love most types of cuisine, this group tends to find itself in warm, European environments; maybe it’s because Europe feels wise, carefree, or comforting to us; maybe it’s because I am obsessed with cheese.

So many of our recent Tuesday finds really are worth mentioning (How to Cook a Wolf, Cicchetti, Boat Street Cafe, Bastille, to name a few). Some are old favorites, some new gems: Due to time restraint tonight, I'm only going to mention one: a golden nugget.

5. Le Pichet:

Le Pichet has the best French Onion soup in the city, in my humble opinion, and they make chicken you dream about. Who make chicken to dream about? Le Pichet does. And butter lettuce salads that make you smile widely and clap your hands.

IT's French-countryside-away-from-France at it's best, with all the cheese and wine and French rustic baguettes to fill you to your hearts content. The simple wood, blue and blackboard decor, petite waitresses - all welcomes you to live the life you dream of here in Seattle. (Her sister restaurant, Cafe Presse, will come up soon, I'm sure)

Tonight is a BIG "Girls' night" - bigger than chicken and butter lettuces and aged gruyere - because one of the ladies just brought home her new baby boy from the hospital. We get to meet Bennett for the first time; and really, who cares about cuisine when there's a precious little bundle of life to savor.


Here comes the champagne

(Bess Arnaud Young - soon to be B.A. Friday)

There’s nothing better than finding out one of your dearest friends is going to be married; married to the right guy.

(Bess and I a few years back, after we were college roommates at Pepperdine)

Of course I had to see her, so I joined a few girlfriends this weekend in San Francisco to hug her and celebrate, which we did with gusto, and with more than one glass in hand :

(Stephanie & Kelia lounging at Chateau St. Jean, 2010)

a champagne flute to toast, a mug of dark coffee from her corner roaster, more than one cocktail glass, and a plastic wine glass in Napa:

(Bess pouring a fabulous Syrah from Chateau St. Jean, 2010)

Her fiancée, the talented Peter Friday, set up a family game of Corn Hole, and we spent the afternoon training for the next summer Olympics.

(Corn bags: so close, 2010)

The best friends are ones who don’t require a plan or activity; in fact, you would rather plan nothing to make as much space as possible to talk about each others lives. However, those friends tend to be explorers; they reach for life like a drunkards for a bottle of Jack, and you typically find yourself exploring electrifying nether-regions of the world together.

(Napa Valley, 2010)

Together, you breath loudly at yoga:

(Bess and her yoga studio, 2010)

You pile pulled pork onto your plate at a place called “The Bounty Hunter,”

(Photo compliments of this blogger)

You sample James Beard Award Winning grugeres at not-so-quaint bakeries,

You find yourself in old 1910 saloons with bowls of Green Chartruese punch,

(At the Barrelhouse, 2010)

You notice water droplets on the faucet,

(Rain on the roof of the B.A.Y. flat, 2010)

And you get to share an umbrella with the bride-to-be.

(Bess, Blake, Kelia, Stephanie, 2010)


Camping in the living room still beats camping in the rain

There are holidays and then there are holi-weeks.
This was one of those; one where everything feels like some sort of celebration; each detail is an event building towards something. For example, today is President's Day, but I don't think it will get a full weeks worth of attention, let alone a happen-to-channel-surf-my-way-onto-the-parade-today acknowledgment.
This holi-week was not necessarily all about yesterdays Valentine's Day. Let me explain:
This week included

# 1: a celebration of homemade apple crisp while watching the Biggest Loser with our friends, Emily & Jeremy C. I admit it's easier than it seems to sit on the couch eating hunks of butter and brown sugar while people are working off half their body weight.

# 2: a celebration of the Orrico family's love of Jack Bauer, and watching dad do the same thing with mama's homemade oatmeal pancakes he's done for 25 years: stack them with apple sauce, strawberry yogurt, peanut butter, and maple syrup. Divine comfort.

#3 : A celebration of our cozy, everyday friends, the Andrews; they came over for some fresh salmon and classic cocktails. We wandered in the Capitol Hill rain over to the Pike/Pine Corridor to browse a few creepy bars trying to be galleries and watch some late night soccer.

(The beautiful Mrs. Andrews, at The Tamarind Tree last week)

#4: A celebration of Canadian mediocrity! No, the opening ceremonies were beautiful...but if I wasn't chatting with Kellie and Jessica, snuggling with the Non-Scotsman in the comfort of the Andrews basement, and sipping a glass of Columbia Valley syrah...well.

#5: A final luncheon at Cafe Presse with Emily J. and Mrs. Andrews before Emily has her 2nd beautiful baby!

(Waiting for dear Emily J. to have Baby Boy #2!)

#6: A celebration of Chinese New Year on Saturday with the Chengs and the Butterworths. It was a complete and raging success, thanks to hours and hours the Chengs spent in the kitchen. I think this year is going to be full of wealth and health after that bean curd dish...

(Joe Cheng removing the nipples from the pork belly. ugh)

That really was just the beginning of this weeks events; so by the time we came to Valentine's night we were feeling full: satisfied: loved. I made some homemade pizza, the Non-Scotsman crafted us a few cocktails.

(Salami pizza for him, arugula/pear/gorgonzola and lemon salad for her)

And at 8:00pm we decided we had to go camping.
So we did, in the comfort of our 425 sq/ft, murphy-bedded home.

Our campsite was complete when we brought into the tent a few children's books about monsters being scared of people at night. And read them, of course.

Love is acting like kids in a tent in your living room, and then pretending to be adults and doing your taxes. Love is when the every day is a celebration of simply doing it together.


Chinese New Year

I guess it's my birthday tomorrow! I didn't know I had something going besides Valentine's Day. Oh, by the way, you do too. Happy Birthday. The Year of the Tiger has arrived...

I have a darling girlfriend (who happens to be a fabulous architect and photographer) who's husband is Chinese. Around Thanksgiving she was saying that the turkey-stuffing-fall-pumpkin thing was never a part of his family's tradition, but Chinese New Year was one of the best days of the year. I agreed to show him a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (still pending), if she would show me how to "do" Chinese New Year. She was game; to be clear, she's going over the top to host the event of the year tonight.

In preparation, we met up to grocery shop (I love Uwajimaya, especially their seafood department) and discuss the event over steaming bowls of Ramen from their counter. Her mother-in-law stocked her with ingredient lists and even pictures of the packaging, since this is Amy's first time hosting this dinner. We grabbed Red Envelopes for the kids, lanterns, and big plastic golden apples for candy dishes. I got lost looking for Black Vinegar, but found her in the beef aisle using the hand sanitizer.

We're going to be cooking together in a few hours: noodle dishes, buns filled with goodness, and a gelatin dessert of some kind. I think we'll wait to venture into the whole roasted ducks next year.

I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes.


A Cafe that Makes You Charming

I had the best date with The Non-Scotsman a few nights ago. Really, I don’t know if it gets much better than this, only a mile or so from my doorstep.

Boat Street Café.

I'd been here a few nights ago for a glass of wine (during Happy Hour) with some girlfriends and immediately fell in love and had to go back for more. Lights are strung on the patio outside, windows are yellowed with candlelight, and you know even before you go that you are going to leave a more charming person than when you arrived.

They've been open for some time now, have a private dining area, cater, etc. They know what they're doing. The cocktails are French and delicious, the bread is from Columbia City Bakery, and their homemade preserves are to die for. You step off Denny Ave. and onto a backstreet of Paris; Nothing is tastier than easy conversation, with the person you love most, over artisan cheese.

The decor is a mix of rustic and bohemian French. The frames for most of their photos are old window frames, and I immediately rushed home to recreate it (think Earthwise and the Restore make this easier than pie - or, in this case, quiche). Give me a day or two to report the results.


A Good Man...

You know you’ve married a great man when he takes you on dates to Earthwise and the Restore, actually makes stuff out of potential you find there. A man like this has no reason to desperately resort to bad milk chocolate and roses on Valentine's Day.

Earthwise and the Restore: these two places are like monasteries. They are sacred, religious places in Seattle because of their eco-responsibility. I, however, like a pilgrim, journey there to be revived and inspired; to rest on one of the pews for sale...wishing I had more than 425 square feet so this could be part of my dining room...

(Fir bench, Earthwise, 2010)

In these cloisters search our souls; we find broken and discarded leftovers of the world, the hidden beauties, the one-of-a-kind design. Each piece has a powerful story to tell, and with a little imagination can become new again.

We have pulled butcher-block kitchen islands, blown glass lamps, tables, and art out of what we've found there.

This is a lamp in my window cut from a forgotten jar:

This is a coffee table The Non-Scotsman restored from a discarded factory cart left in the basement of a building by the Alaska Way Viaduct: we have seen them sold for 10x what we paid)...

(Factory Cart coffee table, 2009)

(Beautiful details)

This discarded mailbox is happily hanging in our entry-way:

These are two tall tabletops in Epulo Bistro that we built out of massive discarded doors (I apologize that this photo is difficult to see):

(Epulo Bistro, 2009)