That title.  Ridiculous.  But it was the (again, Ridiculous) phrase that kept going through my mind today post-Happy Hour at Pacific Grill.  More on that in a minute.  It is also an appropriate phrase for how long it’s been since I’ve written here.  And for how long it took me to even figure out how to access this account.  Oh, and also for how awesome it is that my box of Trader Joe’s Less-Guilt Brownies has instructions for a microwaveable, 45-second single serving.  OMG all over the place today.

Back to Pac Grill.  Yes, it really does have the BEST happy hour.  I can’t remember the last time I truly looked at a menu and wanted to order 10 things.  Maybe more.  Luckily I had 3 on-purpose friends along to help, and even more luckily, 2 more walked in by chance, enabling us to order and order and order again.  Can’t say enough good things about the oyster shooters.  Also love the cheese toasts with melted tomatoes and the “snake beans” (tempura battered green beans, which Tim ate and loved despite his disdain for green things).  New picks:  takoyaki (shrimp fritters, sort of), dragon wings (ridiculously big and meaty and carmelized and spicy and yum . . . and actually from a chicken, truth be told), mac and cheese, beef sliders, chilequiles, laquered bbq ribs, blue cheese tater tots, asian slaw.  Possibly other things.  And though quite against our will, a bread pudding topped with cinnamon ice cream arrived, and was demolished in under a minute.  We appeared to be training for a team extreme- or speed-eating competition, and actually probably should consider throwing our hats in the arena, if such a challenge exists.  Dreamy, fabulous, wonderful.  Next up: chicken bahn mi sandwich, some seared pepper thing, tuna poke, and some repeats from above.  Can’t wait.

In other OMG news, we walked down the street to Dorky’s after our meal.  This great little spot on Pacific is packed with the original ’80s arcade games I grew up on.  I suck at Donkey Kong and Frogger.  I’m kind of great at Pole Position (7th and 8th places, thank you very much).  And you really have to try the arm wrestling game.  Trixie’s a beast, let alone the competitors that follow her.  (Tip: sure, the game can’t see if you use two hands, but keep your elbow on the pad or you lose!)

Feels good to be back.  I’m looking forward to more days and adventures that inspire me to be here.


Garlicky Fingers

Dinner last night was damn good.  Cooking on-the-fly with little plan is always so much fun when the finished product turns out well.  I cooked some chopped garlic and some onion slices in heated olive oil and butter.  Added a can of salmon, then some romanesco florets.  Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, then some bloody mary mix.  Cooked until the romanesco was tender, but still had a bit of crunch.  Added more oil and mary mix to keep things saucy.  Topped perfectly al dente spaghetti with the sauce, and feasted!img_3385

I’ve never used romanesco before, and it was just a guess that it would work with my salmon tomato sauce.  It really did!  Whereas broccoli would have been too big a flavor, and cauliflower would’ve been too bland, romanesco hit just the right midway note.  Plus, it looks cool and crazy.  We picked this up at Pike Place market on Monday, if you want to try it!

How do they do it?

Okay, so I’ve determined I ought to be doing more writing.  I’m so impressed with my blogging role-models, the ones I check in with daily for laughs and inspiration (RhubarbSky,, The Blogess, and Orangette).  But as I don’t have children and no real discernible hobbies, what the crap am I supposed to write about?  The cooking is good, but it happens so rarely.  The home improvement projects are VERY inspiring and impressive, but they exist only in my imagination, awaiting some gumption and a lot more money.  I could talk about my attempts to trim down, strengthen up, but then, in the interest of full disclosure, I’d certainly have to tell you I just downed a huge glass of white wine and two Trader Joe’s veggie corndogs (DELICIOUS).  Oooh, the restaurant work.  I certainly do have some things to say about that.

From tonight:  If you and your buddy each have enough money to drink 5 beers (each) and 3 shots of whiskey (each)and eat dinner (nevermind you know another employee and leave to go for a boat ride with him in the middle while we save your table), you need to tip more than 10%.  Period.  The end.  Similarly, if you use a $100 bill to pay your $50 tab, you need to leave more than 10%.  If you know me and you read this, you know these people got great service.  I’m pretty freakin’ good at what I do.  If you don’t know me, you might suspect that I’m not so good at my job.  I can’t do anything to convince you otherwise, really.  But, even if I were a mediocre waitress, you waited awhile to get refills, whatever, unless I outright insulted you, 10% on those tabs is ridiculous.  Have one less drink next time, and treat people right.  Ever heard of karma? 

My comparison, to make it relevant to the average Joe-office drone’s life is this:  How are you going to feel if your employer informs you that, although you did your best on that recent project, the customer (in these tough economic times) decided to just go ahead and pay a little less this time around?  Or that you’ll only be paid for 4 out of every 5 hours work?  (That one goes out to you, Campers–you know, the ones who sit at a valuable table for hours on end, and think the measly tip they left is appropriate.  Pay for your table and time, people!  You are alotted about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, after that, you need to be tipping more.  Otherwise, you’re basically taking money out of your server’s pocket.  And we all have rent, medical bills, mouths to feed, etc.)

Rant done.  For now.

Small, thrilling accomplishments.

For someone who admittedly doesn’t do a whole lot of anything in the winter (except for sleep, I do a LOT of that), any small task ticked off my “list” (which is in my head, because making a real daily list would set me up for failure) feels major and thrilling.  Including doctoring up a frozen cheese pizza to really delicious results, and making cinnamon rolls from (almost) scratch.

Thinking we didn’t really have any toppings at home, and resigned to plain cheese, I ended up sauteeing some onion awhile, then adding some shallots (the textures together were soft and melty mixed with slight crunch), then adding in a meager handful of black olives.  A few globs of goat cheese, topped with this hot mixture and a sprinkle of Italian Seasoning, salt, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil made a fantastic, and surprising, late-night dinner.

As for those rolls, the cheater bit was that I bought a box of Pillsbury Hot Roll mix. Which only saves you the step of mixing the dry ingredients.  It also comes with a packet of yeast.  Make sure you read the cinnamon roll directions on the side of the box.  I didn’t, until halfway through, when I realized the recipe on the back is for regular rolls.  All that changed was that I left sugar out of the dough, which I’d do again.  Also, I kinda mucked up the order of mixing things, used to as I am of adding yeast right into water first.  Turned out fine–great, really–anyway.  I highly recommend trying these!  Very satisfying.  Infinitely more satisfying and better tasting than the “pop tube” style.

Just to toot my own horn, while I’m at it, here’s the photo of my Christmas dessert.  Looks fancier than it tastes.  img_32421

It’s layers of a thin homemade cake, soaked in a berry syrup, with pistachio and strawberry ice creams, topped with loads of fresh whipped cream.  Glorified ice cream cake.  Stupidly difficult recipe.  Soaking the cake layers in the syrup made them instant mush, but the recipe suggested a soak of 20 or 30 seconds for each side of each slice of cake.  Impossible.  Luckily, I altered the method enough to salvage it.  The cake part was very good alone.  Samantha (my 5 year old niece) proudly “cleaned up” all the scraps.  The thrill here was in the duplication of the picture.  My recommendation for you:  Put some ice cream on a piece of good cake, add berries and whip cream.  Ta-da!

Let’s try this again.

Happy New Year!  Though getting back to writing isn’t exactly a “resolution,” it sure beats “exercise,” which is.  Pretty sure at this point anyone who may have briefly checked the blog last year has given up on me and this is now just a socially acceptable way for me to talk to myself.  I hope I leave inspiring, encouraging, and insightful comments in response to my own posts.  And maybe something scathing every once in awhile, just to keep myself on my toes. 

I faithfully read a couple of blogs, and have found them to be a constant source of entertainment.  Thank you Carrie at RhubarbSky, and the greatest friend I’ve never met (but adore and speak of with great fondness, making me, of course a huge nerd) Heather at  If I can return the favor to even one person (probably my mom or best friend Cami, or maybe Pam) I guess skipping the elliptical to slave away here will all be worth it.

On the resolution front, I’ve vowed to (really try hard to) bite my tongue, gripe less (mostly about shitty tippers/mean people) and be thankful for my “First World problems.”  I can’t remember when or where I first heard that phrase, but it certainly resonated with me.  I am blessed with problems many millions of (Third World) people would probably cut off a limb (or two or three) to have.  I’m certainly not going hungry, thank God I’m not unclothed (seriously, nobody needs to see that), and even with this tricky housing issue (more later), we’re not going to be shelterless, ever.  Most likely.  So I have it pretty good, and I’m going to try to live like I know that more often.

Happy 2009.

It was bound to happen eventually.

“You know what I love?” I asked Matt as I strolled into our bedroom around 12:30 last night, just back from a fun night out in T-Town (dinner at Pacific Grill, then beer with Matt and a couple of good friends at Doyle’s).  “I love new experiences.  Like, for instance, being ripped-off by a crackhead.  That’s never happened to me until tonight!”

So, I pulled into the gas station at 12th and Sprague, and the moment my car came to a stop, there’s this body right outside my window.  It’s late, and it’s The Hood, so I was startled.  I cracked my window.  There’s a woman, apologizing for startling me, saying she’s out of gas and has been hassled four times already, and she’s “terrified.”  I ask how much she needs to get home, she says ten bucks, I hand it over and she jogs inside to pay, thanking and God-blessing me.  She hollers “Thanks!” as she’s filling up, and I say, “No problem.  Just do something nice for someone else sometime.”  “Always,” she says.  Then she abruptly says thanks again, and hops into her car.  I realize that was awfully quick for ten dollars, even at these prices.  I step out and look at her pump.  She sees me.  I say, “You only put one dollar in.”  She mouths, “I’m sorry.”  “You ripped me off?”  “I’m sorry.”  Then she pulled away.  I went into the store and mentioned the event to the counter guy.  He said she’s a crackhead and he’s called the police on her.

So, I lost ten bucks.  I don’t mind that, really.  I think my responsibility is to be helpful and generous.  That enlarges my soul and makes me a better person.  I can’t and shouldn’t try to assess the validity of every plea.  It doesn’t hurt me to hand over some pocket change.  I don’t like that I’m responsible for supplying her next fix, but someone would’ve eventually.  And that moment of looking her in the eyes as she mouthed her apology was striking.  She could’ve just squealed out of the station.  But, she paused, and honestly looked sad and distressed that I caught her.  I can only pity someone who lives such a desperate life.  I have it good.  Really good.

Sex for Fifty Dollars!

Matt and I went to see Sex and The City at the new theatres a couple of nights ago.  It played at 10pm in the VIP theatre.  VIP?  What’s that all about?  Well, let me tell you.  It’s about drinkin’ while watchin’ the show.  Tickets are stupidly expensive ($3 more per) and beer is CRAZY expensive ($5.50 per) and when all was said and done, 2 tickets, 4 beers and one box of Hot Tamales cost us FIFTY DOLLARS.  On the upside, I got to drink beer while watching the girls!  And you can schedule drink deliveries throughout.  And, they accidentally brought us an extra beer.  We didn’t speak up.  And the seats are big and roomy.  Loveseats, actually.  Which was lovely with Matt, and would KICK ASS without him, because I’m pretty sure that gives me enough room to lay down and really get my VIP on.