All Posts in “The Meat I Eat”

Portland Vacation 2014: Day Three

Today was our last day in Portland. After we woke up and checked out of our hotel, we went and got breakfast at Blue Star Donuts. Stephanie had walked by this place (in the evening, when they were closed) the last time she was in Portland doin’ some job interviews, and she wanted to be sure and check it out during this visit.

The place was pretty cute and fairly busy; there was a consistent line of 8-10 people the whole time we were there. They had a nice selection of ~15 donuts to pick from ranging from traditional old fashioneds to ultra-fancy blueberry+bourbon+basil cake donuts. After we received our donuts, we went across the street to Heart Coffee Roasters to get some coffee to pair with our sweets. Their espresso had some really strong chocolate/fruit notes. It was a little different, but very nice to drink. The donuts, on the other hand, were somewhat lackluster. My cake was pretty greasy, and Stephanie’s frosting was a touch too acidic/metallic. But we ate everything and were happy to have tried some place new.

Andrew Blue Star DonutStephanie Blue Star Donuts

I had dulce de leche hazelnut donut and Steph had one with passion fruit frosting and cocoa nib bits.

Once we finished stuffing our faces, we drove up to Washington Park. This is a massive (400+ acre) public urban park just a few miles southeast of downtown. It contains a zoo, a sprawling arboretum, a forestry museum, a children’s museum, a rose garden, a Japanese garden, and a ton of sports fields/play areas/walking trails. First, we visited the Portland Japanese Garden. Opening in 1967, it has been widely recognized as one of the best, most authentic Japanese gardens in the world (even including gardens in Japan!). I really appreciate traditional Japanese aesthetics, so I was really excited.

Portland_Japanese_GardenThe Upper Pond in the Strolling Pond Garden reflects the vibrant foliage.

This garden was really beautiful and probably my favorite part about our visit to Portland. If you’re ever in the area, I would heartily recommend checking it out. Upon entering, we were immediately afforded an amazing view of Mt. Hood as it seemingly rose up out of the Portland skyline. I think this was my first trip to Portland where visibility was good enough to enable a view of Mt. Hood. It’s quite dramatic.

Anyway, at almost six acres, the garden contains five! different varieties of traditional Japanese gardenscapes. They each have their own aesthetic and section of the grounds, but everything is so artfully arranged that they blend into one another almost seamlessly. Because it was SO sunny today, all of the colors were extra concentrated; everything felt especially fresh and verdant. Although I wish that the average person had a better sense of how they should act in a public garden/space (hot tip: it is NOT okay to squat down in the middle of a narrow, one-way footbridge to take crappy pictures of koi with your camera phone for 60+ seconds while other people are waiting behind you – also, DON’T pick flowers/leaves!), Stephanie and I were able to find lots of little “hidden” benches to sit on and enjoy some fleeting moments of serenity. I would definitely be interested in visiting again – especially during a different season.

Andrew torii Japanese gardenExploring the shadowy paths of the Natural Garden.

After we finished touring the Japanese Garden, we went down to the International Rose Test Garden. The Internet tells me that this garden contains over 7,000 rose bushes of approximately 550 different varieties. “Peak bloom” generally occurs in mid-June, so we lucked out and timed our visit perfectly. There were hundreds of people slowly walking up and down the gently sloped hill between beds of roses. Most people carried cameras, but a few held parasols above their heads to keep themselves cool. The fragrance of sooooo many flowers, combined with the sunshine, created a particularly festive atmosphere. If everyone had been dressed in their best formal wear, it wouldn’t have been to hard to imagine that we were all attending some elaborate garden party. There was even a harpist performing in the amphitheatre!

Stephanie_Rose_1Stephanie with one of her favorites.

Before we returned to Seattle, we stopped and grabbed an early dinner. We found a taqueria with a nice outdoor patio area in the Alphabet District and ate in the sunshine. I got a taco combo plate with one barbacoa taco (my favorite taco fillin’), one carnitas taco, and one pescado taco (meat #27!). These were a little small, but pretty tasty. Traffic wasn’t too bad on our drive north and we made it home safely without incident.

Thanks for the wonderful weekend, Portland!

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Miles run in 2014: 145.5
Books read in 2014: 37

The Meat I Eat #26

Instead of going and playing Ultimate Frisbee today (like we would’ve done had we won on Tuesday), a few of us decided to go over to Fremont Brewing Company for some sunny, almost-summertime drinks on the patio. It was warm and festive and we had a lovely time.

Danni+Andrew+Fremont BrewingCheers! With a black bean burger and a saison.

They don’t actually serve food at Fremont Brewing, but they do allow/encourage folks to bring in anything they wanna eat. With this in mind, Stephanie and I stopped at Paseo, which is a happenin’ Caribbean sandwich spot just a few blocks north of the bar. Stephanie got a tasty lookin’ tofu sandwich, but I opted to go for their most popular sandwich: the Caribbean Roast. This sandwich comes on a lightly toasted baguette and has slow-roasted/marinated pork shoulder in addition to fresh cilantro, pickled jalapeños, crisp romaine lettuce, caramelized onions, and a garlic aoili sauce. It was delicious.

Andrew+sandwich Fremont BrewingBailey at Fremont Brewing

SANDWICH! (left) and lil’ pup Bailey, whose presence necessitated going to a bar with a patio (right).

I probably would’ve rather been playing some Frisbee, but hanging out and eating/drinking in the sun with a bunch of friends is certainly a great way to spend an evening.

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Miles run in 2014: 142.3
Books read in 2014: 34

The Meat I Eat #24 and #25

Thursday, May 15th, 8:30pm:

As I’ve done for the past four or five years, I’ve been playing on a co-rec intramural Ultimate Frisbee team this spring. Our regular season finished last week, and our first playoff game was Thursday at 6:15 pm. It was pretty hot out (~83 °F), so I didn’t eat much food during the day because my stomach is fairly sensitive to eating+exertion and I didn’t want to feel gross while I was runnin’ around. Because I’d had such a light lunch, I was super hungry once the game was over (we won 14-6!). I didn’t feel like fixing dinner, so we just went to Subway and got sandwiches. Instead of my usual veggie sub, I opted to get the Subway Melt (which has turkey, black forest ham, and bacon). It was good and filling, but probably only about 10% better than the meat-free sandwich.

Saturday, May 17th, 7:30pm:

One of our friends is celebrating her golden birthday this year (she turns 25 on May 25th) so she threw a party on Saturday to commemorate the occasion. Folks were encouraged/instructed to dress up a little bit and to incorporate something gold into their attire. (I went to Goodwill and picked up a swanky, golden, $4 tie.) At the party, there were also tons of golden balloons and origami cranes folded from metallic golden paper and marigold (maybe?) flowers and Werther’s candies in shiny golden wrappers… the theme was artfully embraced and helped make things feel particularly festive. Our hostess cooked up a big ol’ slow cooker full of carnitas and we stuffed ourselves with tasty tacos. There were also tons of handmade desserts on hand including an apple-crepe birthday cake, sriracha+orange+chocolate truffles, cupcakes, and so much more. Everything looked and tasted delicious! It was a truly wonderful birthday party for truly wonderful individual. Hooray!

Golden Birthday dessertsAndrew Golden Birthday Party
Fancy dessert spread (left) and enjoying some delicious carnitas nachos (right).

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Miles run in 2014: 139.1
Books read in 2014: 31

The Meat I Eat #21, #22, and #23

I had a buddy (Bryce) from out of town come and stay with me last week. As such, I ended up going out to eat a bit more often than I would’ve if I hadn’t been entertaining. This resulted in the consumption of some meats.

Monday, May 6th, 8pm:

For dinner, we went and tried Mio Sushi up by Green Lake. Stephanie and I split some veggie rolls (tons o’ avocado!) and Bryce and I split some fishy rolls. The veggie rolls were good, but the fishy rolls weren’t quite right… it’s probably because we ordered stuff that was a bit more exotic (e.g. the Banzai roll  which had shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, spicy tuna, tenkatsu, and a sweet chili sauce). They didn’t taste bad – they just didn’t really taste anything like sushi. Anyway, I didn’t love this place, but I’d be willing to go back again and try some more traditional rolls before I dismiss it entirely.

Wednesday, May 8th, 3:30pm:

After a nice afternoon spent walking around Magnuson Park (where we saw some bald eagles, quail, a naked sunbather, and three million puppies), we headed down to The Ram at University Village to watch some baseball (the Mariners were playing a doubleheader in Oakland). While we were hanging out, we ordered some buffalo waffle fries and some hot wings. Both of these make excellent sports-watchin’ snacks. They were also both spicy and salty and delicious.

Friday, May 9th, 12:30pm:

For lunch, we swung by the Ave and got some Indian food (at Shalimar). I ordered their chicken tikka sandwich (one of my favorite lunch dishes in Seattle) which is a big ol’ piece of naan covered with jasmine rice and curried veggies (peas, chickpeas, and carrots) and lettuce and tomatoes and spicy chicken all drizzled with some spicy ranchy sauce. It’s delicious. After eating, we went downtown and mosied around the market for a couple hours because Bryce wanted to get some touristy souvenirs to bring home to some loved ones. We also got a dozen of those little, freshly made donuts (if you’ve been to Pike Place, you know the ones). With cinnamon sugar! Once we finished eating/digesting, we walked down to the stadium district and hung out at the Pyramid Alehouse until the gates opened at Safeco Field.

Bryce and Andrew baseballEnjoying some pre-game sunshine.

I managed to stay away from any more meats inside the ballpark; I got a slice of wild mushroom pizza and some fried pickle spears. (Safeco has some fancy snacks.) Despite the fact that the Mariners lost 6-1, it was still a fun evening.

Mariners+Royals baseabllThe (briefly sun-kissed) view from our seats. The center field bleachers aren’t bad for catchin’ a game.

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Miles run in 2014: 132.7
Books read in 2014: 29

Mariners Game: Beard Hat Night!

Last night we went down to Safeco Field and caught a Mariners game. It was College Night, which meant we were able to get tickets for only ten bucks (hooray for student IDs without dates on them!). They were also giving away Mariners Beard Hats to the first 20,000 fans, so we were super excited. We went down about two hours before the game started to enjoy the ballpark and the (fleeting) sunshine.

pre-game beerCollege Night meant that beers were “only” $5 until first pitch. I got Elysian’s Hombre Lager – it was tasty.

Before the game started we hung out in Edgar’s Cantina, which is a small restaurant inside the stadium. It’s just beyond the left field fence underneath the manual scoreboard. Edgar’s is a neat place to take in a game because it has such a unique view; you’re very close to the field (only ~8′ above the playing field) and there’s also a window that looks right into the visitor’s bullpen (providing an up-close view of the catcher’s backside). Every once in awhile someone will even hit a home run right into the restaurant. Also, the food is tasty and relatively reasonably priced (especially for a ballpark). Four of us split a huge serving of chips and gucamole (for $4), and the carnitas torta (meat! – #20) I got was on a big ol’ hoagie and had so much avocado and only cost $9. Waaaay better than eating a hot dog and only a couple bucks more.

pre-game tortasMid-chew, pre-game tortas.

After the first inning, we wandered up to the 300 level and found our seats. We were waaay up there, only three rows down from the top. Fortunately, every seat in Safeco Field has wonderful sight lines, so we still had a lovely view. As the sun set, the clouds behind the stadium were highlighted with a mix of electric pink and deep dark purple, providing a pretty dramatic backdrop for the game. While a bit windy/chilly, it was a nice night for baseball.

view from our seats - Mariners April 25 2014The view from our seats.

Seattle was playing the Texas Rangers. The Mariners have been playing terribly so far this season, and Texas was leading the division, so the likelihood of an M’s win wasn’t particularly high. True to form, the Mariners soon found themselves down by two runs, but then they battled back by scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a three run lead! Their new ($14 million) “closer” came in for what should’ve been an easy outing… and promptly gave up two hits, hit a batter, and walked in two runs. However, despite his best efforts to lose the game, the Mariners first baseman made an extraordinary diving play to snag a hard-hit line drive and execute a game ending double play. Mariners win!!!

beardhatsBeard hats!

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Miles run in 2014: 132.7
Books read in 2014: 27