Archive | eating out RSS feed for this section

foodie & the chocolate factory

22 Jun

Or: How we took on Fremont.

When my guests were here last week we made a trip to a very special part of Seattle… Fremont. If you’ve never been there, you really should go. It’s a little zany, kinda hippie, and just generally adorable. Here are some snapshots of our day, which most notably included a visit to a real, live, bean-to-bar chocolate factory.

The adventure started right outside our car with weird hieroglyphic-type drawings on the wall… Apparently there was some miscommunication regarding whether we were posing like them or pretending to carve them. Cue me looking ridiculous.

As we walked along we almost instantly stopped into PCC to get lunch. PCC is probably my favorite place ever; it’s the local and possibly slightly cheaper version of Whole Foods. I didn’t snap a pic, but I DID get some pictures with the super-cute puppy outside…

No I’m not making out with the dog

Yes my nails are all different colors, and yes I love Zevia.

We of course had to stop at the Fremont Troll. I got to thinking about it and I’m honestly not sure if I’d ever seen it in person before. Why yes, I have lived in the Seattle area for 20 years…

My friend Tiffany was also interviewed on the news about the graffiti on the poor Troll… so I’m famous by association?

After meandering around a bit and trying to go to a cheese shop that was converted into a skate shop (disappointing, I know) we finally wound back up at Theo chocolate factory for our afternoon tour.

Theo, short for theobroma cacao (aka cocoa plants) and not the name of the owner, specializes in delicious, organic, free-trade chocolates.

The tour itself was super fun. I wish I hadn’t been so brain-dead and had been able to retain some of the information, but it was an experience nonetheless… an experience quite enriched by the stunning headgear.

And oh, the vats of cocoa beans. Eventually to be hulled and ground to nibs. I love cocoa nibs. Plain, 100% chocolate? Yes, please.

Poor worker unknowingly subjected to my photographic whims… There were lots of machines but I forget what they all do, it was hot in there & I was just in awe…

Also, look at how much sugar they have. Can you imagine what I could BAKE with that much sugar?!?

Even so, the “confections” they make by hand on-site are not exactly anything I would turn my nose up at.

I opted for the most adventurous of the three: salted & chili-peppered caramel. It was pretty good though I really do prefer chocolate.

Luckily for me there were ample opportunities to sample, well, every single kind of chocolate you can possibly imagine in the main foyer. My favorite was probably the 70% dark chocolate, or the dark with orange, or with chili. (Sneak preview: There may or may not be Theo chocolates involved in a giveaway I’ll prob announce next week… ;) ).

Overall, it was a really fun experience. It was also really cool to see a company that seems really committed to sustainable and ethical practices putting their dreams into action. And while my friends were a bit chocolate-d out, it was kind of awesome to be able to sample so many different kinds!

Have you ever visited a chocolate factory? What’s your fave kind of chocolate? :)

tourist-ing: pike place market

16 Jun

Or: I am the worst tourguide ever.

I told you earlier in the week that I had some friends staying with me. Of course, this meant getting in some of the Seattle essentials… particularly Pike Place Market.

We literally left their luggage with my mom, hopped on the lightrail, and headed straight downtown from the airport…

Lightrail shenanigans.

And didn’t even get lost on the INCREDIBLY long (sarcasm) way from Westlake to Pike Place!

Here’s the thing, though. I’m kind of a little country bumpkin. Okay, not really, but I live on the Eastside for those of you who know Seattle, in a teensy little suburb about 30 minutes outside of the city. And there just aren’t that many occasions for me to go to the city. So when I actually DO take friends tourist-ing, I typically end up learning as much as they do.

Hard to tell who’s more of a tourist…

Fortunately it’s hard to mess up Pike Place… except when you go the wrong direction to Starbucks.

Yes, visiting the first-ever Starbucks was essential. As a former barista I’m kind of a groupie. Don’t judge.

Me, friend, camera, phone, & Starbucks… perfect :)

Of course, the plethora of delicious foods at Pike Place more than made up for my relative lack of knowledge. I distracted them with samples so they wouldn’t realize I had no idea what to do or where to go.

First stop was “Sotto Voce”, home of ridiculously delicious balsamic vinegars and oils. Oh, and bread. I love bread.

Then, as we waited for my other friends to join us (read: waited for my friends who actually live in Seattle to help me navigate) we took pictures of the beautiful water.

This (and a few pounds/my love of carbs) is why I will never model.

After they got tired of taking obviously flattering pictures of me (ha), we moved towards the market & loitered there while sampling many other goodies.

As my friend pointed out… I WOULD take a picture of the sign that says “produce”

Not sure what in this picture is nuttier…

FINALLY my friends arrived and directed us towards lunch: CREPES.

We weren’t terribly hungry after eating far too many different flavors of hazelnuts and almonds so we all split a salmon crepe and a peaches & creme crepe. Both were absurdly delicious.

And apparently my guests still had room for the infamous mini-donuts…

Personally, I didn’t want any. Unfortunately, I had no say in the matter and had powdered donut shoved in my face.

Again, model status…

We then wandered down to the gum wall. It’s super amusing, and I realized when I was there that I’d actually never seen it in person. Seattle-ite failure? Yes, yes I am.

There were also some fun beer names…

I always liken Seattle to that one homely girl in high school who pulls out all the stops for Prom and somehow looks like a princess. 90% of the year, my little city is covered in clouds and rather homely. But when it’s sunny? There’s nowhere that’s quite as beautiful.

After a little jaunt along the waterfront we arrived at the entrance to the sculpture park and my dear, sweet friends nearly pushed me into a fountain.

Laughs & smiles were had. Probably at my expense… Oh well.

All in all, ’twas a good day… followed by a few more good days (including a visit to a chocolate factory) that will be documented later :)

Ever been to Pike Place? Tell me your stories! :)
Are you a good tourguide? Slash when can I come visit? ;) I’ll bring cookies… Promise!

catch-up seven-up

13 Jun

Oh hi… I think I’m late to the party.

Let’s pretend I’m “fashionably late” instead of “two-weeks-gone-without-notice” and then I can make an awkward segue into a tag I just got for the “stylish blogger”. Along with a promise that I’ll, you know, pop in a bit more frequently (for some details on my prolonged absence, check the list-of-seven below!)

Thank you to the lovely Vivianne (isn’t that just the most beautiful name?!) for tagging me! :)

The rules of the Stylish Blogger award are as follows:
1. Share 7 things about yourself.
2. Tag some fellow bloggers.
3. Contact bloggers and let them know you tagged them.

In lieu of sharing 7 things about myself I’ll tell you 7 things about the last two weeks of my life that seem to have mysteriously disappeared.

1. Finals. I don’t have a picture to accompany this one because I was a little bit crazy trying to cram study in advance for all of them. I think I’ll just include a picture of one of my fuels-of-choice…

Not my fave flavor, but I mean, it’s still Kombucha!

2. Packing. I alluded to this earlier, but remember my desk? Eventually it became this…

And my bed? Became this…

And my name disappeared from the doorway as if I’d never been there.

I also enjoyed a last meal with my floormates in our dining hall… please excuse the quality!

This was a weird, overly sentimental transition for me. I’m not living in the dorms next year, though I will be living in campus housing of a different variety (more on that in number 3!). I definitely won’t miss having to make cookies in the dingy dorm kitchen though… here was my very last batch (made from a mix, because all my flour, etc., was packed away!)

While I’m excited about my living situation next year, I’m not going to have the same access to tons of different people at any time of day… it’s just a different chapter and I’m notoriously awful at letting things go (as much as I do long for variety!)

3. I visited my digs for next year! Here is my kitchen, most important thing, right?!

My school just built these new townhouses as an on-campus housing option. I’m not quite organized enough to figure out leases and houses and all that jazz, so this was perfect. I GET A KITCHEN. And…

a full sized bed! I have never had anything bigger than a twin! So that’ll be fun… lots of room to spread out. Or lots of space for pillows.

4. Finally came home last Wednesday after a whirlwind of a day… my last final, working for a storage company, checking out of my dorm room, and finding a ride to the airport. Then, of course, my flight was delayed 3 hours… which by the way is more than the amount of time I spent asleep the night prior to this excursion, and more than the plane ride actually takes!

It involved a lot of these crackers… they plied us with food, and I’m not capable of saying no to free food even if it’s processed junk. Sorry I’m not sorry ;)

5. The morning after I arrived (after sleeping a solid 11 hours… bliss!) the first thing I did was bake scones for my friends who were coming over later. I’m predictable, I know. I did try to branch out of the cookie-ness though… Does that count?

These were amazing. They were the pumpkin scones from Veganomicon… you can check parts of the book out here and get the recipe, but really you should just buy the entire book.

They were definitely softer than normal scones but they were so tender and pumpkin-y and the cranberries were PERFECT. Out of season? Perhaps. But that’s how I roll.

6. Gathering with my best friends!!! I didn’t take a picture of all of us, but we really mostly just chatted, ate entirely too many pita chips with hummus, and walked a few miles to Jamba Juice.

And made a delicious salad, featuring avocado & goat cheese & raspberries & balsamic vinegar.

7. Having some friends stay with me this weekend which involved the typical tourist-ing with a combination of home-friends and school-friends.

The school friends/guests

Pike Place is always where it’s at. Foodie post about Pike Place will be coming since I realized I took tons of pictures of the samples & crepes ;)

Also some gum-wall action…

Pretty Maya :)

And I got a blurry picture taken by my friend and felt the need to post it just so I don’t feel so bad about always posting pictures of everyone else. I’m clearly apprehensive about this photo-taking situation…


Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to! I also made some muffins and, well, cookies, and cake, and yeah. My oven’s getting a workout ;) Oh, and I went on one run but as I’m entertaining guests exercise isn’t my highest priority. We’ll see how that changes!

Sorry for the wordy-pictury-newsy-recipe-less post but I figured I’d do a little catch-up then get back to the usual. ;)

Oh and you are ALL tagged because I’m a little too lazy to tag people after that monstrously long post ;)

I realize I’ve asked this as a question a million times, but how is your life? Tell me what’s new! :

If you’re out of college, how did you transition from dorm to non-dorm life? Did you like living in a dorm? I loved the constant people but am excited to have a single where I can sleep whenever I please, and of course to have a kitchen… I suppose it’s just bittersweet, as are most things. :) 

let’s get lost.

16 Apr

Or: A spontaneous Saturday.

I keep telling you I want to work on my spontaneity. But I guess sometimes spontaneity just has to happen. Here’s a few snapshots from my adventures to the farmer’s market and beyond this morning.

My school has the most beautiful rose gardens, and they’re just starting to bloom…

At the market!

At the farmer’s market itself, I sampled probably more than my fair share of oranges and apples and delicious hummus but didn’t end up buying anything (which made me feel a little bad, but…). I did, however, get lunch.

This was the menu board for the delightful Oaxacan Kitchen Mobile stationed at the farmer’s market. I’ll bet you can’t guess what I had…

It may have been 60+ degrees outside but this soup was still delicious. Not overly salty, just slightly creamy without cream (totally vegan and gluten free!) and with a slightly spicy kick. I LOVE carrots & butternut squash… soooo good. :)

These birds made the more seasonally-appropriate choice and languished in a fountain to cool off…

I wound up getting lost on the way back. For once, this didn’t faze me too much… I ended up walking the exact wrong direction on the street my dorm is on for awhile, which I realized once I hit some industrial buildings. However, I also stumbled upon a Mission Cemetery.

It was seriously beautiful and dripping with history. It also looked exactly like the scene from Phantom of the Opera where she’s singing about her father, with palm trees instead of snow…

I’ve never really been to cemeteries. I know some people visit them regularly, whether to visit loved ones or as a calm place to think. I think I just have never had one within walking distance from me, but I rather enjoyed this little jaunt. The only trouble was I desperately wanted to know the stories behind each and every headstone. Because everyone has a story, and these people lived out their entire lives…

Who did they love? What did they love to do? What made them smile? There were also a number of Italian and Irish immigrants; I would LOVE to know all about that! Luckily, I have a fantastic friend who has since promised to return with me so we can make up their stories ourselves in lieu of true answers. :)

By this time I had already somewhat figured out where I was supposed  to be headed; I called my mom to ask her to check online but thought better of it. I knew my anxiety was what was driving the phone call; I didn’t like not knowing where I was heading, or if what I was doing was right.

But as I said to her on the phone: I’ll never know if the direction I’m heading is right. I can only guess, go by feel, go by the signs around me and my own intuition. And maybe there’s beauty in not knowing.

And maybe there’s beauty in being just a little lost sometimes.

Have you ever gotten lost and stumbled upon something wonderful? 

Do you get lost a lot? I honestly don’t; my mom is notorious for her lack of direction, but mine is usually okay… with a few glitches, obviously. ;)

How do you feel about cemeteries?

spring break in review.

26 Mar

As you can tell by my general blog-absence, it’s been quite a hectic spring break. My first post about my shenanigans told of the first few days of touristing with my friend Jackie… while we didn’t do as much truly “touristy” stuff the next few days, we did have some adventures…


We woke up with the best of intentions to just be completely and totally lazy (to the tune of Bruno Mars’s “The Lazy Song”, which we decided should be our inspiration). It didn’t entirely work out. Muffins were baked in a leisurely fashion, then we wound up going out to meet some friends for shopping in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle.

We perused a few small bookshops, in particular one that had a bunch of puzzles.

This one was infuriating.

And, of course, drank more coffee.

Then we went to my friend’s home and jammed. By which I mean I played Scrabble Flash (um, most addicting game ever? yes.) while my friends showed off their musical talents. Then we watched Sleeping Beauty. Yes, we’re in college. Don’t judge.


After a similarly slow start, Jackie and I went off to a foreign land in search of crazy beverages.

We’d read in the newspaper that Taco Time was now featuring the Coca Cola Freestyle and just haaaad to try their millions of flavors (I know, I’m supposed to be recovering from my diet soda addiction, but I couldn’t help it…)

It was pretty awesome, I’m not going to lie. I tried Diet Coke with Orange (I know, right?!), and Peach Sprite, but ultimately settled on a combo of Vanilla & Cherry Coke Zero.

Then I left Jackie at a friend’s house for them to go pick up a friend at the ferry about 30 minutes north. Unfortunately their directions somewhat failed and they wound up in Tacoma… 40 minutes SOUTH. not sure how that happened, but I went to save my poor friend at the ferry terminal, then we all went to Marrakesh in Seattle for a delightful Moroccan meal.

The dim lighting made getting decent photographs kind of impossible (if only I were good with photoshop!)… But definitely added to the ambiance.

Vegetarian Breka. Deeeelicious.

Aside from the insane fun that is eating with your hands, my favorite part was probably the light milk-pudding thing we had for dessert. So. Good. Reminiscent of rice pudding but with a fluffier texture. And coconut on top. Hooray for coconut!

This all ended at around 9PM, but the fun was just beginning. We drove out to Pike Place in the dark of night…

Then went to a park in Queen Anne for the most spectacular view of the city.

Do you remember all the city lights on the water? Ohhh Tay-Swift…

We were also serenaded by some male friends and they sang A Whole New World which basically made my life. Unfortunately I don’t have a recording, but really, look at that view. Could that + Disney music get any more magical? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Then we went for some midnight coffee. Good thing my friends aren’t coffee addicts like me or anything…

And we closed off with a little bonfire & smores action. My camera ran out of batteries, sadly.


This was Jackie’s last day with us! After sleeping off the excesses of the night before, we went on a leisurely journey to drop my friend back off at her ferry… but of course we stopped for coffee on the way.

The coffeeshop was one of those homey, independent types that are so common here in the Seattle area. Incidentally, I sat in that very corner with my best friend writing college apps a few years ago. Ah, memories…


At the ferry dock we ran around a bit on the “beach” (I’m a beach-snob, so I don’t entirely consider it a beach, but whatever) for awhile…

I covet her lens. And her photography skill… sigh.

And then had ice cream. :)

Then wound up going for an impromptu and totally delicious home-cooked meal at a friend’s house, and wound down the evening with some more music.

Most notably this included a massive Disney sing-along session. I’m fairly certain that was more effective than caffeine at keeping me awake past midnight that night.


For starters, I did everything in my power to avoid thinking of that damn Rebecca Black song. If you don’t know it, don’t watch it. I don’t want her to get ANY more views on YouTube. Anyways. Off my soapbox. Took Jackie to the airport, went home, lounged about a bit, baked amazing Reese’s Pieces cookies, then was coerced into volunteering at my high school’s “rummage sale”.

Which mostly involved me looking at and snapping pictures of old things while trying to keep kids from playing with a drum set.

I also definitely bought an old book (I LOVE old books)… “The Little Train That Could.” I’m hoping it will inspire me, I’ve been feeling a little low lately. I definitely loved that page up there about the fruits & veggies… too cute!


And that finally brings us to today! I’m going to be honest, I definitely was in my pajamas until about 6 PM. I basically baked cookies, read blogs, and slept all day. Oh, and roasted a butternut squash and ate half of itm myself. Totally necessary.

Also necessary: cuddle sesh with my real live teddy bear, Lily.

Phew. That was a whole hell of a lot of updating… Probably bored you to tears but I felt like I needed to share! ;)

Tell me about your week! I want to catch up on everybody’s lives as things calm down a little around here… then again, school’s starting again, so who knows about that whole “calm” thing.


19 Mar

I’m free. And have been for two days, but those two days have been busy! But well-photographed. And a picture’s worth 1,000 words, so… Here is what freedom is.

Freedom is baking tons of cookies & muffins immediately after leaving your last final (I have such good friends…)

And licking all the dough out of the bowl.

Freedom is when you finally get home, take a nap, then have one of your best friends come over… and bake more cookies.

… then going to another best friend’s house to make sushi.

Freedom is waking up without an alarm to a beautifully sunny Seattle day and watching your brother’s first rowing regatta of the season.

I miss crew…

… and taking lots of pictures of him completely against his will.

He’s in the front carrying the boat. I’m such an embarrassing sister. :)

Freedom is picking up a friend from the airport and bringing her to stay at your house for a week… and celebrating with Thai food!

Jackie is so elegant ;)

And freedom is going to sleep at 10 PM on a Saturday to the sound of crickets chirping outside your window.

What does freedom look like to you??

how not to study for finals, part 2.

14 Mar


So I had my chemistry test (after thinking it was at 1:30, then discovering it was in fact at 9:10 in the morning… whoops?). It went okay, I was running on about 3 hours of sleep (stupid nerves), so I definitely crashed afterwards. And then awoke to a dream (oh melodrama…)

The lovely Alex of Veggin’ Out in the Kitchen happened to be in my general vicinity vacationing and visiting colleges… so we e-mailed, chatted it up a bit, and decided to meet up! I gave her a tour of my school and rather talked her ear off.

But um, if you think she’s adorable online? She’s about 100000000000 times more adorable and amazing in person. And her dad was so kind as to pay for a lovely meal for us at a local Thai place, and to put up with my incessant chatter.

I had my usual Tom Yum vegetarian soup… I’m sort of obsessed with Thai soups, I loveee this stuff! I really ought to find a recipe and try it at home…

The flaming bowl!

Alex opted for the green papaya salad. It was also really good, with a light and fruity dressing (I may or may not have stolen some…). Her dad’s dish was non-vegetarian and thus not photographed ;)

We somehow managed to talk for a solid 3 hours. And by we managed to talk I mean I babbled and these kind souls listened. It was an absolute joy to meet up with her! And I hope we meet again :)

I hate flash, but we’re kind of adorable… and yes, I’m the short one. Sigh.

It’s generally so exciting to meet blog-friends. I wish I could meet all of you, somehow… party at my place? I’ll bring cookies. ;)

Have you met any of your blog-friends in person? Did you LOVE it?