Friday, February 29, 2008

Backyard Day!

I forgot I had a backyard! Yesterday while I was in class Bunny cleaned up the backyard so we could enjoy the nice weather out there. I came home and it looked completely different! We haven't gone back there much during the winter, so it was really nice to enjoy. Good thing we did because after hanging out there this morning and afternoon it started pouring rain! That's Portland for you! I welcome the rain, though because that just means it will be more lush and pretty for spring. I cannot wait for sakura (cherry blossom)this spring. Portland has so many pretty fruit tree blossoms.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Last Day in Seattle/Unicorn crepes

What a great time we have been having! I woke up with a mild hangover our last morning in Seattle, but it was nothing. A little orange juice, coffee, and sunshine quickly took it away. We went downstairs from our hotel for breakfast to a place called Cyclops. It had Seattle awards all over the front for "best breakfast in Seattle." Well, they must have paid Seattle money to get those awards because it was nasty and expensive. If I would have ordered this breakfast at a dive diner or bar I wouldn't have cared as much, but this was gross. So I tried not to eat too much and save my appetite for were we were heading.
We walked to the International District/Chinatown after breakfast. Another heavenly morning. The sun was beaming and there was a lot of people out and about.
The walk to the International District is quite hilly, sort of like the streets of San Fransisco. By time we reached the gates of Chinaown I was hungry again! There was a lot of cute Asian produce and herb markets that I found to be more interesting than Pike Place Market, but they are both cool in their own way.
Here is a shot of a Produce Market, I loved the cute old men shopping there.

Chinatown was very busy on this day and there was a Chinese gentleman crusing the streets in his souped up black and gold Trans-Am blasting Chinese love ballads/Pop Music from his car. A lot of people found this to be really amusing, including us. He seemed to follow us all over, so it was like he provided a soundtrack to our morning! I really wish I would have thought to get a photo of him in his car! The car was really awesome!
Anyways... Seattle has Uwajimaya's, my favorite Japanese grocery in Portland, but the one in Seattle is HUGE! I had read a review in the Seattle Asian Weekly of a placed called Unicorn Crepes in Chinatown and I REALLY wanted to go. We found it, and boy was it worth the trek! So cute, bright and cheerful. They are brothers and sisters in their early 20's running the little cafe and they make the BEST crepes ever. The were all so cute, they looked like they belonged in a Japanese sitcom/drama. We had bluebery and strawberry yogurt whip crepes and the were AMAZING!!!!

We had them with a Matcha Latte and it was Perfect! We walked around Chinatown a little bit longer and decided that we had to have more crepes, so we went back. Bunny had a Teriyaki Crepe with chicken and hard boiled egg. The place was so cute, I wish I would have taken more pics. They blasted Jpop and Japanese Reggae (I LOVE Japanese music, almost as much as I love the Rolling Stones) It was such a cheery way to spend the afternoon. There were cute kids in Karate uniforms enjoying crepes, the whole atomosphere was delightful.
So we ventured back to our hotel to check out and head to the train station. We were sad to go home, but also we felt so good about our little trip. It was what the doctor ordered for us, we could have used the money we spent on this trip to get our van fixed, but we really needed this! I feel totally refreshed and so does Bunny.
Our walk back to the train station I felt bad because Bunny had to carry my huge adidas bag full of Daiso goodies. I brought this bag empty just for my Daiso stuff, and I couldn't fit everything in it!!!!! Here he is, not too happy!!!!
I took some pictures on our way to the station, saying goodbye to Seattle.

Our train broke down on the way home, I mentioned earlier, and it was sort of awful. We had terrible seats, facing another couple and I had bought bentos at Uwajimaya for our ride home and they seemed repulsed by our food, they also had stayed at the Ace and hated it, so they were like the opposite of us! Here is Bunny in the dining car, ready to get home!

Andrew was sweet enough to pick us up from the station and when we got back I showed him all my Daiso stuff, then passed out in a deep sleep!

Seattle Day 2

The next day was great, we went to Zeigeist Coffee House for breakfast and had espresso shots and these cute and yummy breakfast sandwiches. Anything, to me, tastes better when it's served on a doily!!!!! I know that is a little crazy, but for I am a sucker for paper doilies.
We were amazed on how beautiful the weather was. We took a bus to the Capitol Hill district, the bus system is really nice in Seattle and everytime we used it the drivers were really nice.
We had gone to Capitol Hill to look around and also go to Remedy Teas. A few weeks ago I had posted my Matcha Shortbread cookies and talked about how excited I was to go here. It is a really cute tea bar, and they have almost 200 different types of tea, plus homemade goodies, organic cocktails and beer,etc. We ordered a Matcha Latte (So good, I cannot wait to make one today, I have had green tea lattes at Starbucks, and I thought it was kinda foul.) and a Matcha Smoothie. That was excellent as well. I bought a tin of matcha to take home and it smells so good. This matcha is like gold to me. having drinks at Remedy Teas was one of the highlights of our trip. The people were so nice and the atmosphere was so relaxing and we don't have anything like this in Portland.

We walked around Capitol Hill afterwards and then took the bus to Daiso for our second trip. I didn't spend nearly as much time in Daiso this time around(trying not to torture Bunny) but I did feel a little weepy when we left, knowing that it will be a long time before I can come back (we are thinking of going to B.C. soon, and there is a Daiso there!!!)

But we had a lot to look forward to.
We went back to the hotel and hung out for awhile, then got ready ready for dinner #2

We had asked the front desk where a good place to get Sushi was and he was filled with ideas. He gave names of different trendy places, but his highest suggestion was for Shiro's, which he said was the most authentic Japanese sushi place in Seattle, and that Shiro himself is quite the celebrity.
So, we chose Shiro's, and it was only about 3 blocks from our hotel.
I didn't et any pics at Shiro's, because it was a small, quiet, and quaint place. I felt that it would be rude to take photos there. But, we had such a good time. The host spoke to us in Japanese, and the sushi here beat out the sushi from the night before!!!!!!
They had fatty tuna, and it was better and each piece was only 3.50!!!! So we ordered a vast amount of fatty tuna(Otoro in Japanese), not worrying about money!!!!! If I would have ordered that much the night before, I would have spent 150 dollars just on Otoro!!!! .
We had so much sushi, my pants were really tight by time we left. We also split a bottle of Nigori Sake before our food arrived and then with dinner we split a 22 ounce of Japanese beer, Kirin Ichiban. I normally don't like light draft beer, but I like light beer with sushi, because it is crisp and light and just goes well with sushi.
it was a nice, intimate dinner. Everyone there was so pleasant and it was a simple place. It was nice to get away from the trendy stuff for a minute. (I do like the sleek places we had been going to though, but it was nice to take a break) They were so polite there that the host even put Bunny's coat on for him. Now, we don't at all expect to be treated like that, but it felt really good!
We went back to the hotel, but we weren't ready for bed yet. We didn't feel like going to a nightclub or bar, so we decided to go get dessert somewhere. The front desk man at the hotel suggested Marjorie's, and it was right by us. He told us to have the bread pudding.

It was a candlelit, cozy place, but they were playing hip-hop, which we really liked!!!! We ordered cocktails, I had the L'amour Parfait, which was Lavender infused vodka with orange essence. I loved it. Bunny had a drink called the Trenchtown.
We had our drinks, then had bread pudding! Sooooooo tasty! It was unlike any bread pudding I have ever had. Sort of tasted like flan, but not really. Very hard to describe. I love bread pudding, and my mother rocks the bread pudding, but this was on it's own level! It had this lovely caramel sauce pooled at the bottom. The caramel was not too rich and I would like to try and and replicate it someday. By this time we were both pretty drunk! Drunk, but more just feeling really good and happy. We walked home people watching and repeated the night before by sitting by the window watching everyone. We were a little cooler this night and stayed up until around 1:30! We ended the night watching the AKC dog show on cable! I really don't like sports that much, dog shows are like the superbowl for me!!!! We don't have cable, so it as been many years since I have been able to watch one. I had

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Seattle Day 1/Ace Hotel/Umi Sake House/Daiso

I have to start out this post with a little side note about school, I got my 3rd essay back and I got an A+!!!! It was about cell phone etiquette and it was a little hard for me to write, so I am overjoyed. I haven't gotten anything less than a A in this class, so I feel really good. I am a little worried about how I am going to feel when I break this winning streak. Oh well, I feel really good right now!
So, back to Seattle. The train ride there was fun, and once we got into Seattle we had a two mile walk to our hotel. We checked in the Ace and loved our room.

We headed out and had a terrible lunch at a place called Ohana's. It was supposed to be Japanese-Hawaiian food, but was just garbage. Won't even waste more time talking about it. We were just starving and pretty much went to the first place we stumbled on that was open. Then we walked to Pike Place market and had Lavender-Honey-Vanilla homemade frozen yogurt waffle cones. They were so so so good! The market was crazy and I was itching to get to Dasio, which is right up the road from Pike place, in the Westlake Mall.
Here are some things I bought, many many more pics to come,sorry to overwhelm anyone with Daiso posts!

Then we went back to our hotel to chill out and get ready for our dinner later that night. The Ace is a beautiful hotel in an old brick building. The whole hotel is wired with stereo speakers everywhere, including the bathroom. They play beautiful music 24 hous a day everywhere except your room. Downstairs in the basement is a kitchen where they have gourmet coffee brewed 24 hours a day. That made me really happy!

They served a simple breakfast every morning: soymilk, O.J., toast, and granola. It was nice to have a little snack before we actually had real breakfast every morning, because we usually ended up walking about 2 miles or more before we ate. I really love the Ace, it is even pet friendly, but I was happy to have Andrew watch the dogs for us. That night we had reservations at Umi Sake House, a trendy Japanese place that was really nice, but very loud and a bit pretentious, but the sushi was totally amazing and the sake cocktails were very good as well. The building was a similar style to our hotel. I really loved Umi, but I would have to say, it is not exactly the best spot to have an intimate date. It was so loud that the waitress could not hear me order. But I am not complaining, because it really was the best sushi I have ever had. I snuck some photos in of our food, but I was shy taking photos, so they are really poor quality. I wish I would have been less ashamed to do it, so I would have had better memories of the wonderful sushi. We had fatty tuna, the underbelly of tuna fish.I have never had it before, but I had heard wonderful things about it. Once, in Portland, I tried to order fatty tuna and the waitress laughed at me, and pretty much told me to head to japan for it! So I was thrilled to try it, but since it is such a luxury, it is 10 dollars for one piece! This isn't too crazy, I know in Japan I could spend much much more on superb sushi, but I would like to wait until I am a little older to order fatty tuna without thinking about the bill. Maybe after college! We split the Chef's choice sushi platter, showcasing the freshest fish availible at the time. Woo boy, I have never ever tasted sushi that divine in my life! Even fish I am not extremely found of normally, such as Octopus, was amazing. We took our time savoring each piece, trying not to gobble the sushi away.
Here is what the platter included:

We also had a tempura platter, but it was nothing to rave about. I think they used Panko instead of tempura batter, so it tasted like greasy vegetables. Oh well, I cannot tell you enough, the sushi was AMAZING and it quickly erased the terrible lunch I had and the forgettable tempura from my memory.
The drinks we had were great, as I mentioned, I started off with a Pomergrante Sake Martini. It was made with unfiltered sake. Delicious! It took me this cocktail to have the courage to take a few photos. The next cocktail I had was a Cucumber Daiquri,and that was so refreshing and yummy. I would really like to try and make this this summer, not too sweet and not to bitter. Bunny had a Lychee Lemonade cocktail, it was excellent, and a Dragon's Toe, which was Maker's Mark, Ginger sake, and ginger ale. It was great, but it kicked our asses! I could handle bourbon a lot better in my early 20's. We shared our cocktails so we could get a variety of tastes.
For dessert(at this point I was pretty full and pretty buzzed!) we had Green Tea Tiramisu.It was made at a local Japanese bakery, that I wish I would have been able to go to. This tiramisu was so great, and I have had good and bad tiramisu. I think it is kind of a hard dessert to master? But this was amazing, heavenly, and every bite I took had so many different flavors and textures. I tried to savour as much as possible, but I had to keep up with Bunny, I was afraid if I took too long he would get too much! The meal at Umi was Totemo Oishii (Japanese highest compliment after an excellent meal)
We walked back to the hotel, pretty tipsy. Nowadays two drinks really gets to us! Thankfully it was only a few blocks away. We went to our room and sat by the window, drinking coffee and watching all of the drunks. It was so much fun! We are getting old and boring, and we were in bed before midnight!!!! It was a perfect evening!!!!!!! One funny thing happened after bed time. I woke up in the middle of the night and had to use the restroom really badly. Our bathroom was not in our room, but right outside the door, I ran to the bathroom and forgot our room key and got stuck in the hallway with nothing on but my robe. Bunny thought I was still in bed with him and the knocking was another room. There were people partying still all over the hotel. He finally answered the door and I was instantly back to sleep!