The Best Kind of Weekend

I just had one of those. For the 2nd year in a row, Oliver and I were lucky enough to be invited up to our friends’ cabin on Hood Canal for the 4th. The trip consisted of 12 kids, 14 adults, food, lots o’ booze, and an all around great time had by all. These gals are 3 of my best college friends, a tried and true little foursome (plus one awesome little sister and a few parents). We have been together for the past 20 years and have gone through it all. Lots of good times, some not so good, but we’re still together and there is so much love between us. We laugh over things I’m not sure others would find as funny (I’m actually pretty sure they wouldn’t), we talk about everything. This is the kind of weekend that fills me up like nothing else.

Now we get to mix in all of our kids which just raises the awesome level significantly. They run around and play on the beach, happily occupied with each other. 2 of the gals also have 4 year old boys, Oliver had a blast with them. His favorite toy of the weekend was a weapon, made out of 2 sticks, taped together. Love it honey. No TV, just good, old fashioned, fun with nature.

It is such a luxury to get out of town for a holiday weekend, and when we’re there, we just hang. No one cares what they’re wearing, there’s really no agenda, other than the eating and drinking, pulling up crab pots, cooking, cleaning up, boating, tubing. Repeat. And we eat really, really well. The best ribs I’ve ever eaten one night and the next night was clams. Oh, those clams. I dream about them. Butter, garlic, shallots, white wine…mmm. I am allergic to crab and I don’t even care because of those clams and the delicious broth that I could dip an entire loaf of bread in and devour. We made s’mores on the beach and did our own fireworks show. I am pretty sure there is no better 4th of July to be had. Best time ever.

I feel so lucky to have these special ladies in my life and love that we are making this family trip a tradition. Love you Rob, Farrah, Pickle, Fizzy!

 

 

 

 

 

I Heart NY

My sentiment may be unoriginal, but it’s just the plain truth. I have been lucky enough to have friends in NYC for the past 15 years, which has always given me a reason to go and a place to stay. This has been the best way to experience the city – lots of little visits, shopping, eating, walking, drinking my way through the neighborhoods and simply taking it all in.This past weekend’s getaway might be one of my favorites yet. The trips have evolved from staying in various apartments in the West Village in our 20’s to Brooklyn Heights now. One of my oldest and dearest friends from college, Clare, and her family live in a lovely building in Brooklyn Heights, facing downtown Manhattan. I love Brooklyn Heights. Brownstones galore, diverse and interesting young families, and space to move! The restaurants are just as good, schools are fantastic, Manhattan is a quick (depending on traffic, that is) car ride away. If I lived in NY (a girl can dream), no brainer, it’s where I’d be. Don’t get me wrong, I loooooove going into the city and we did each day, but it was nice to escape back to Brooklyn at the end of the day.

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Manhattan view from Brooklyn Heights with my lovely host Clare

Thursday night – dinner with our friend Beth at Colonie in Brooklyn Heights. A quick walk from Clare’s place, cozy comfort food. We sat at the bar and ate cheese and crackers, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Monkfish, and Hanger steak, but the highlight was spaghetti squash with pancetta, egg and parm. So, so delish. I have also really been into spicy margaritas since my Mexico trip, and Colonie served a Grapefruit chili version with habanero-infused tequila, Cointreau, fresh ruby red grapefruit and lime juice and agave. Refreshing and tasty!

Friday – lunch at one of my fave Brooklyn Heights spots, Iris Café. This is one of the places that introduced me to Avocado toast last year and inspired my Eggs & Avocado toast breakfast routine. I obv had to had the toast, plus a sandwich to boot.

Friday Night – We got prettied up for Friday night with a blowout, although the shitty rain was threatening to ruin them! One of the best ways to treat yourself is to get your hair done, by someone else. It is so relaxing and feels like heaven, plus you walk out with awesome hair.

We hit the West Village for dinner, to a spot neither of us had tried, the Beatrice Inn, (same owners as the Waverly Inn, which I have always wanted to check out). Reviews have not been kind, but I thought it was fabulous, everything we ate was really good. Burrata on toast with sautéed mushrooms, kale salad with figs, milk braised pork shoulder with hen of the woods mushrooms, (amazing), seared scallops, roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts. And lots (and lots) of drinks. It was still so awful outside that we ended up sitting at the bar after dinner rather than venturing out in the rain. We had a few more cocktails, enough to fuel a dance party back at Clare’s, including some slow dances, and a video performance of me singing and dancing to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”, which will never be seen. By anyone. Ever.

Saturday – I will admit, I was hurting after Friday night. It didn’t feel good to sit in the cab going into the city and get dropped off in the sea of people in Times Square. We don’t normally come here (not since the days when I insisted on going to see TRL being taped from the street), but I haven’t been to a show in a few visits. We got tickets to First Date, starring the adorable Zachari Levi. Our seats were perfect, the show was fantastic, although sadly closing in January. It was about a first blind date, so funny and relevant. Loved it. We were lucky enough to get to stay for a small Q&A with the cast post show. And I even got that cute guy to sign my playbill afterwards.

Saturday Night – dinner at Gran Electrica in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, so cute. The food was fantastic. Fresh cevice, guacamole, Carne Asada and black beans. Yum. It was the perfect end to our day. Wait, scratch that. The perfect end to our day was Saturday Night Live. I need to back up by saying that it is one of my ultimate dreams in life to see a taping of SNL. I have a few connections, I tried them, nothing panned out. The closest we got was being in Rockefeller Center earlier that day. It was so painful to be in NYC with just about the BEST POSSIBLE CAST OF A SHOW, EVER. Kristen Wiig made an appearance and opened the show as Doonese, with the baby hands. Anchorman 2 costars Will Ferrell and Steve Carrell joined host Paul Rudd (couldn’t love him more. not possible). And the musical guest was One Direction. Crying. But at least I got to watch with my bf, who may be the only person who appreciated it as much as I did.

All in all, one of the best trips I have had in a long time. I laughed so hard, ate and drank so well, and felt so loved! Thank you Clare for being the best hostess and friend!

¡Viva México!

Hola! I’m back, yay! We flew in last night and I am still basking in the vacation glow. My house is a mess and there is a huge pile of laundry I am avoiding. It is worth noting that I completely unpacked both of us last night, after getting home from a 10 hour travel day at 10pm. Thanks OCD! You come in real handy some days. I was determined to cook something healthy today and the cold Seattle weather meant one thing – soup. I’m making chicken stock and Tyler Florence’s Chicken Noodle Soup, but other than that, I don’t feel like doing anything.

Oliver and I went with my parents to quite possibly one of my favorite places on earth, Punta de Mita, Mexico, about a 4.5 hour non-stop flight from Seattle. Seriously, if you are looking for a new vacation destination, I cannot say enough good things about this place. The Four Seasons & St. Regis both have hotels about 10 minutes away, so you know it’s a prime location, but the actual town where we stayed is quaint and quiet and undeveloped. Punta de Mita is about an hour outside of Puerto Vallarta, a sleepy little town, and it is absolutely lovely. We rented a huge 3 bedroom condo, all of the amenities, gorgeous pool, right on the beach, it was perfect. You don’t need a car and it is a quick walk on the beach to about 15 restaurants. For only $400/night, it’s a pretty sweet deal, especially compared to somewhere like Hawaii, where you could never get this much for your money and be right on the beach! (Note – my parents treated us to this vacation, I never could have swung this on my own. I’m a lucky, but very appreciative, lady.)

Food – Mexican is my favorite ethnic cuisine, hands down, I never get sick of it. We made a huge grocery store run and got the essentials – tons of fresh fruit, avocados, eggs, tortillas, chips, cerveza, etc – my family definitely likes making breakfast and not eating all of our meals in restaurants. Every morning began with fried eggs on avocado toast or on top of a quesadilla (I am obsessed with Oaxaca cheese, I can only find it there and it is so mild and perfect for quesadillas) with some papaya or mango. Ceviche or fish tacos for lunch with chips and guac/pico. Dinner consisted of fresh fish or or some version of meat/tortillas/guac/beans. And drinks, oh the drinks. I also never seem to get sick of margaritas!

Restaurants

  • Serendipity Restaurant & Mezcaleria
  • Casa Teresa Ristorante Italiano – fantastic Italian, a really nice change of pace
  • Si Senor – my favorite, we ate there twice, traditional Mexican, so good!
  • Rosa Mexicano
  • Blue Shrimp
  • Sufi
  • Sea Breeze (at the St. Regis) – the best red snapper ceviche I have ever eaten
  • Oscar’s (best fish tacos ever!)

Books (full post to come, but here is the list) – I read voraciously when my parents are there to watch Oliver.

  • The Light Between Oceans – ML Steadman (thank you for the rec Katie Peterson, this was one of the best I have read in a long time!)
  • Dr. Sleep – Stephen King
  • Me Before You – Jojo Moyes (thank you Joanna Beals!)
  • Mary Coin – Marisa Silver
  • The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

Swimming in the warm, clear ocean is one of my happiest joys in the world, nothing is better. Read, eat, swim, relax, REPEAT. That’s what I did for eight glorious days and now I’m back, re-engergized and ready to blog!