Wednesday, April 23, 2014

the cajun word for 'fat' is?

Last week I went to New Orleans and ate all of the things.

This included but was not limited to:

Frito pie from a dive bar. Because on our first night, it rained and we didn't have jackets or umbrellas or anything. So we tried to wait for the downpour to stop so we could walk back to the hotel. Which meant we kept drinking. And drinking. And drinking. Which then resulted in a truly genius decision involving a lot of nacho cheese.

It tasted better than it looked, I swear.

(In case you were wondering, the rain never did stop that night. We ended up taking a cab back to the hotel. And it was only five blocks from the bar. Wimps.)

Oysters the size of my face. Dear Atlantic Ocean: Steroids much? (For the record, this dinner at Restaurant R'evolution was my favorite of the whole trip. And the manager was from Seattle. No, I did not ask her if she was a Seahawks fan because I wanted to still like her.)

Bone marrow. Again, from R'evolution, which I cannot praise enough. If you are in New Orleans, go immediately. And also make sure you order the black truffle beef tartare (which made me want to roll on the floor with joy), sweetbreads, roasted beet salad, scallops with foie, and a custardy dessert. And wine to pair with everything, of course.

Go big or go home.

A shit-ton of shrimp. The ones in the photo below were from Sylvain, which also had a whiskey selection that made me swoon and a gorgeous courtyard with lots of dark corners. 

(And yes, in case you are wondering, pretty much every restaurant we went to was dimly lit, which clearly contributed to the quality of these food photos.)

Pork rinds, non-stop. God, I'm so Filipino.

These were from SoBou, which was where we also found ...

Terribly embarrassing 25-cent martinis. That's right. My drink was blue. It was like my 21st birthday all over again. But with -- you guessed it -- more shit-tons of shrimp!

Pecan pie in a jar topped with -- wait for it -- a PORK RIND. Dear god, who knew deep-fried pig skin and powdered sugar were a match made in heaven?

A fancy-pants gluten-free take on the Key lime pie, from John Besh's August. I still recall the very first wine-pairing dinner I ever went to -- at Justin in Paso Robles in 2004(-ish), and Besh was the guest chef. After the meal, I hung out with him and his team, smoked cigars and drank Port. My mind was blown then; my mind was blown again. Funny how life comes full circle.

A bacon Bloody Mary from Cafe Fleur De Lis. Also known as the breakfast of champions. It made having to stand in line next to a random dude wearing a shirt that said "I love beaver" totally worth it.

Eggs Florentine with creamed spinach. Because I needed a side of something to go with that Bloody Mary.

Everything on the menu at Cure, except for one sandwich (you know, gluten and all) and two cheeses. And by everything, that meant more pork rinds (squee!), beets, maitake mushrooms, steak tartare, the ham plate, a cheese plate, the chocolate cake, and these awesome (but poorly lit) deviled eggs with housemade mayonnaise:

You know you have issues when the bartender says: "You guys really like to eat." And then gives you an extra piece of chocolate cake for the road.

Other food highlights sans awkward photographs: Crawfish nachos in bed (yes, that's exactly why there is no photo), vegetable soup with a side of WiFi at Merchant, the lunch buffet at Dooky Chase's (where I ate so much fried chicken, andouille sausage, collards and red-beans-and-rice that I thought I was going to need a crane to lift me out of my chair), all of the pralines (but especially the rum-flavored ones) from Leah's Pralines, and the token McDonald's hashbrown that saved me from a terrible hangover one morning.

God, it was an incredible trip.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Ha. Just kidding! That's not what this post is about. Though I'll admit the coincidence is uncanny. Because the number 12 has been popping up everywhere. 

For example, last night I met a bartender whom I not-so-secretly hope will become my gay boyfriend. We are both from L.A. and recent transplants to the Pacific Northwest. We are both Tauruses. We both hate the Seattle passive-aggression, especially when it comes to drivers and flaky people who tell you they want to hang out but they really don't. (Seriously, people: Just be honest. I don't care!) And his birthday is May 12. (The number 12 and the day after my birthday!)

I also got together with friends and saw Alvin Ailey tonight. The last time I saw Alvin Ailey was 12 years ago, when I was in grad school.

Kate came all the way from Jersey to be my date tonight.

Pre-show dinner: Whiskey and steamed clams.

The performance was incredible. I can't explain just what it is about movement -- something so joyous and beautiful. I'll confess: I cried a little. The show was just that good.

Similarly, I seem to be resurrecting a lot of things from grad school. (Besides debt, of course. Years and years later and I'm still paying for that shit.) That old, dorky artistic side is rearing up again. I recently wrote the beginnings of a short story. (Now we just need to see if I actually finish it -- that's the real challenge.) And I signed up for my first creative writing class.

I'm also going to New Orleans on Monday. And the last time I was there was 12 years ago for the AWP conference. I remember sassy-walking down Bourbon Street, a hurricane in one hand and a clove cigarette in the other. God, I was a classy bitch. (I also remember seeing someone literally rolling in the gutter. I honestly never realized the gutter was an actual place until that trip. And I remember eating so much fried food that by the end of the weekend, all I wanted was a piece of lettuce.)

I'm not sure what all of this means and where it's going to lead and why it's coming up now of all times. But at least when I see all the stupid "12" flags flying around the city (Dear Seattle: Did you know football season is over?), I can give them a new definition.

Monday, April 07, 2014

back to life. kind of.

Still basking in the glow of bike camp.

Yesterday -- the third, and sadly last day -- brought a 24-mile ride on tired, tired legs. With more climbing.

But this view!

And this view too!

I've decided I can deal with large hills because they mean bombing down later. And I love flying down a hill with no brakes. It might be my favorite thing in the whole entire world. Dear god, bombing down hills is better than sex. (This is the part where my friends who are normal people and not masochistic triathletes threaten to stage an intervention.)

Anyway, now I am trying to get used to the real world again. Oddly, summer has arrived early here in Seattle -- 70 degrees today -- which means I've transitioned from bike paradise to some kind of floaty blue dream with lots of vitamin D.

I spent the afternoon at Green Lake, lounging in the sunshine and reading. And then Annie and I went for a long, meandering walk around the park.

And then -- just as I was getting ready to settle into an exciting evening of more laundry (I swear, they should just call it quadrathlon and make laundry the fourth event) and cleaning out the refrigerator (this is what happens when you are in a deep depression for an entire month and get absolutely zero done at home -- so many chores to catch up on and moldy food to throw out) -- Heidi invited me to the drag races.

I found myself yelling at a large screen and waving a whiskey around when local queen BenDeLaCreme almost got booted off the show. Apparently drag queens are the only Seattle sports team I can truly get behind.