Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Little Bit of Sunshine

This weekend was all about reconnecting with a very dear friend. We go way back to the days when we were carefree and even reckless in Munich (although, really, not very) over 20 years ago. Could it be that long? We both are still young, of course!  Torsten came from Munich and stopped in Vancouver, B.C. for two days of shopping before arriving in Seattle. First stop: U-Village for some more shopping (and it poured rain the entire time - where was that little bit of sunshine for our guest).
Later that evening, dinner was take-out Indian food (after debating between Mexican, Thai and Indian).  We had Lamb Vindaloo, Butter chicken, rice, naan and vegetarian samosas.  I tried giving the baby some of the samosa but her bottom lip suddenly puffed out and curled down after we all realized it was too spicy!  (Warning: even "mild" was a little bit spicy for both girls, but mainly for the baby). 

Eggs Benedict, lecker!
This morning, Paul poached eggs the old-fashioned way and whipped up a hollandaise in order to make Torsten's favorite (which he cannot get in Germany) - Eggs Benedict. I have to admit, it was "lecker" as they say in Deutschland, but it's a bit too rich for me. So I had to stick to one and give the other one to Paul who obliged without hesitation.

We then headed off to Golden Gardens and spent time enjoying the fresh chilled air.  It is definitely Fall here!

Beim Spielplatz

And then it was time to say goodbye. The visit was too short. Komm' doch mal mit Peter das nächste Mal!  Wir vermissen Dich schon...

Torsten mit der RIESEN Gepäck!

This evening, Paul needed to head off to work while I was trying to figure out what to do for dinner. It wasn't too hard when I realized we had left-overs from our lovely dinner last night with Torsten.  Linguine with olive oil and Parmesan and a chanterelles, cream and bacon sauce. Sadly, I did the thing that probably kills all nutrients. I threw both plates in the microwave on 30 and Elle and I ate brussel sprouts and asparagus with our noodle dish. Lovely. Lily was already full from the fruit, avocado and noodles I put in front of her.

The girls had an eventful weekend - preparing for trick-or-treating on a Saturday afternoon (Paul took the girls while Torsten and I shopped).

Ich bin einer Marienkäfer!

Le coccinelle

Aren't we the cutest.

Friends dressed and ready to go!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Living in a Zoo (or Circus)

Sweet Pea in the Kitchen. We had to move the dog bowls...
Every day in the Olivier household holds adventure. Whether we are all madly rushing around to leave the house in the morning to get to school and work or we are rushing around at dinner time to get the cranky girls fed, there is 'never a dull moment'. I have a theme song that ties back to the multitude of people and animals in our house. Our dog and two cats fuel our chaos. "We live in a zoo, zoo, zoo. We live in a zoo, zoo, zoo." And so on.  (Sing to the chorus of Addams Family tune).
In August we were hosting four Germans (Garth, one of my best friends, is actually American but he has now lived in Germany longer so I think he counts there, too!) and spending time enjoying the sites and sounds of the market (Pike Place). After indulging in Jack's Fish and Chips which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND, we took our oldest to get some balloons. It was a long day and we were tired by the end. But now we have these cherished images to enjoy our zoo - and circus - life.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Flying Squirrel

It's just pizza, so how adventurous is it for a night out?  Well, that may be true, but the fact that it was girl's night out made up for the venue AND we were erring on the side of "cheaper" eats (although it's not quite in the "cheap eats" category). 
Glenna, Les, Liz and I were deciding between Tutta Bella and Flying Squirrel. We all love Tutta Bella so it's an easy decision, but Liz suggested trying this new pizza place in Maple Leaf. The service started out a little slow, but once they took our order for a pitcher of Kolsch and Anti Pasti, we were well on our way with good conversation and good food.  The pizzas were delicious, and my preference was the fig, goat cheese, prosciutto and arugula... Mucho bene, grazie.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eat Your Heart Out

Despite the fact that one of my old familiar hangouts closed in old town (Bad Alberts), I still love Ballard. One night on the town, Paul and I met good friends for dinner at Staple and Fancy Mercantile and had the Chef's menu ($45 per person). This is the lowdown. You select it. You commit to a surprising four course family style dinner. You eat things like Peppers with tuna hearts.
Holy Mackerel that fish was good!

You love it, and even your foodie husband loves it. You still pay an arm and a leg but at least you got more than what was served at the other damn French place in Madison. Rovers? Yes, Rovers. Where we had 2 whole scallops for $20 and hence ordered about 6 courses each AT that price. Dad-in-law bought (Pierre) and subsequently told Thierry (Chef) that this is not French (he said this all in French), because never had he experienced this type of dining in France. And then he proceeded to ask if the Chef if he only bought one crab to feed the entire restaurant. His disarming smile kept things amenable but I wonder if Thierry was cursing that damned Frenchman! 
Well, anyway, Ethan Stowe impressed us at Staple and Fancy (and once a long time ago at How to Cook a Wolf). So, we'll have to go back or try another!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Craft Night

Eliana, my friend and neighbor, invited me and my mom to a Mosaic party.  At first I was sort of dreading it.  I was thinking of about 20 other things I'd rather be doing when nodding my head in agreement to attend the event.  But I thought about mom and how much she might enjoy it, and so I started talking myself into it.  And then we drew names last weekend for our annual family Christmas home-made gift exchange (which we celebrate during Thanksgiving) and I drew Rick's name. I was imagining a fish-themed stepping stone or something either he would absolutely love or that his dog would just pee on.

Thankfully for him, I gave up on that idea when Laura, the host, told me the wood mosaics could not be stepping stones. So I chose to make something for my eldest daughter since she would appreciate it more than Lil'. 

Mom's mosaic masterpiece
I had to rummage around a few children's books before deciding on a giraffe
Eliana brought a halloween themed picture (a scary house). Mom knew immediately that she wanted to make a bird. We were all thrilled with our mosaics, (and the prosecco)! Upon our return around 9 pm, Paul offered mom and me some of his home-made yummy potstickers prior to cooking up a pot roast at 10 pm. 

Paul's gourmet masterpiece
Paul decides to make Pot Roast at 10 pm
What a fabulous and adventurous evening.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What's So Special About Exit 82?

Occasionally I need to drive to Portland (usually with a friend, thankfully) for a quick day trip. Client meetings tend to be a quick 1 to 2 hours, and it's the travel time that makes it a 10 or 12 or 15 hour day, depending on departure times and traffic.  Just two days ago my co-worker and friend, Christina, drove us to Portland via Interstate 5. We absolutely had to stop for a quick nature-break thanks to a syndrome called A-G-E (for me, not for Christina), and I had suggested we take exit 82 in Centralia where there is a Starbucks near the Safeway complex. A client once told me that 82 was the optimal exit every time he traveled to Portland from Seattle. Ideal for a coffee or gas stop, exit 82 is the half-way point to break up the monotony of I-5.  After heeding his advice, it's become a happy routine. So happy, in fact, Christina and I stopped there to and from Portland where we grabbed a cuppa and a bite and even did a little work. We had a great time with engaging conversation, almost no traffic (except for Tacoma on the way back), and the meeting was a success, too!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On the Road, Again

Food on the road can be an adventure. I was recently in NYC with a co-worker and friend, and we tried out a place called "Eataly". Clever way to say Italy like an EATALIAN. The specialty foods and eatery reminded me of some of my favorite places in the old country. Fauchon, Hediard or Galeries Lafayettes (on the 3ieme etage).
How was the food? I'd give it an 8. I'm not the foodie my husband is, so I'd be curious to know how he rates it. The company (and glass of rose) were fantastic. :)