All Posts Tagged “tacos”

The Meat I Eat #29, #30, and #31

I have three meat eating incidents to report this week.

Saturday, June 21st, 7:00pm:

The absolute highlight of this past week was going to Danni and Curtis’s wedding. These are two of the kindest, coolest, grooviest people that I know and celebrating their wedding with them was delightful. In addition to all of the lovely people in attendance, there was a wine/beer bar and a taco bar (chicken tacos!) and a sundae bar and a boatload of dancing and laughing and general jubilation… it was one big, wonderful party.

Andrew+Danni WeddingTired, but happy, from so much dancin’.

Tuesday, June 24th, 5:00pm:

On Tuesday, one of our friends invited us over to her condo (which she just BOUGHT, because she’s an ADULT) for drinks/desserts. Before we went over, Stephanie and I swung through Ballard and grabbed a bunch of $1 tacos at El Borracho’s. (I’ve written about going to this place previously.) This time, I made sure to try one of every variety (they have nine different kinds of tacos!); I still think that their carnitas taco (Coca-Cola braised shredded pork) is my favorite, but the cochinitas pibil (orange achiote pork with pickled red onion) was very good, too.

El_Borracho_TacosTacos as far as the eye can see…

Saturday, June 28th, 1:00am:

Finally, last night we went to… Taco Bell! We had an impromptu night out (i.e., deciding to meet up after 10pm), with a couple of our friends at King’s Hardware over in Ballard. We each had some cocktails and then we split a pitcher of cider. It was fun, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been out at a busy bar on a Friday night… there were so many drunk, boisterous, LOUD, happy people! Anyway, Stephanie and I go to Taco Bell maybe once a month (it’s the only fast food place we go to, unless you wanna count Subway), but I usually order all veggie options because it’s easy and they’re sufficiently tasty (crispy potato taco!). But last night I had a hankerin’ for a cheesy gordita crunch (with beef). So I ordered one. And it was glorious.

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Miles run in 2014: 162.8
Books read in 2014: 42

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 #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

Taco Party!

Stephanie’s birthday is this week (the 23rd), so we had a small party for her on Saturday. It was a birthday party. But it was also… a taco party!

A taco party, of course, is a party that revolves around preparing and eating tacos. We set up a buffet and let folks go nuts. Stephanie and I made yellow rice and crispy(ish) potatoes coated with taco seasoning and black beans and roasted poblanos as the main fillings for the tacos. Someone also brought a rotisserie chicken, which was simply shredded to produce a delicious meaty option (which I indulged in – meat #19!). We also had flour and corn tortillas; homemade salsa and guacamole and a radish/carrot/cilantro jalapeño pickle; and tortilla chips, cilantro, avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, and sour cream. I even pulled out and shared my stash of Taco Bell sauces (hot and verde) because I’m just such a good host.

taco party chopping

Stephanie taco party tacos

Chopping radishes for the pickle (left) and a couple of Stephanie’s artfully constructed tacos (right).

In addition to the tacos, there was also sangria and some Mexican beer (with lime!) and tequila and even some presents for the birthday girl. In total, seven people + one puppy came over, so while it wasn’t particularly big/rowdy (only one broken piece of furniture), it was still a lot of fun.

taco partySuper interesting party conversation.

Also, since Saturday, I’ve had approximately five more tacos/burritos. And we still have so many leftovers! It was a good party.

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Miles run in 2014: 132.7
Books read in 2014: 26

Southwest Vacation: Day One

Today we flew down to San Diego to attend the wedding of one of Stephanie’s cousins (the wedding is tomorrow). We’ll be hanging out in Southern California until Tuesday (3/18) at which point we’ll drive to Tucson with Stephanie’s parents. Then we get six more days of vacation (so much sun!) before heading back up to Seattle on March 25th. I’m excited!

We woke up early this morning (~6 am) and hopped a bus and then a train to get to the airport for our 10:20 am flight. The light rail in Seattle actually makes it super easy to get the airport via public transit, which is much better than paying the ~$40 cab/shuttle fare. We had a 2.5 hour layover in scenic Sacramento along the way. While we were waiting in the airport, I had the biggest, cheesiest, greasiest quesadilla of my life. It was good in that it was stuffed with green chile and came with a heaping serving of guacamole, but bad in that it had lots of onions and likely clogged several of my arteries. We also hung out at a bar in the airport and watched some of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament (Ohio State beat Nebraska). It was probably ~the most pleasant two hours a person could spend in Sacramento.

Sacramento Airport DrinksLemonade and Monkey Knife Fight (American Pale Ale) from Sacramento-based Rubicon Brewing.

We got in to San Diego a little before 4 pm. It was warm (71 F!) and sunny and sooo different from the weather we’d left behind in Seattle. Stephanie’s parents picked us up and drove us to our hotel. We’re staying at the Embassy Suites which was a little old but HUGE. It probably has ~400 rooms. We get to stay on the top (twelfth) floor, which provides a pretty nice view of the surrounding city.

For dinner, we went to the Liberty Station location of Stone Brewery. This place was incredible. The architecture and the landscaping were amazing. Inside there were vaulted ceilings and interesting light fixtures and miles of exposed beams and outside there were winding waterways crossed by bridges and Adirondack chairs constructed out of old whiskey barrels. There were also a couple of complimentary bocce courts. It was a pretty magical place; the food/drink could’ve been terrible and it still would’ve been worth the trip… fortunately, everything we ate and drank was very good, too. They had 40 beers on tap, which made choosing what to drink quite difficult, but I ended up getting a cup of Matt’s Burning Rosids Imperial Cherrywood-Smoked Saison and a pint of Smoked Porter with Toasted Hazelnuts (a cask beer). Both were good, but the saison was particularly tasty.

Stone Brewery Bar40! tap bar.

The Meat I Eat #12: They didn’t have many veggie options, so I ended up ordering their poke tacos for dinner (spicy yellowfin tuna, sesame-soy vinaigrette, wakame, and smashed avocado). These were VERY good. I also tried a few quail knots (fried quail quarters with a Sriracha-honey glaze – almost like a spicy quail version of a chicken wing) and some of their baby back ribs. Normally when we go out, it’s just Stephanie and me, so there aren’t other people offering to let me try their meaty dishes. As such, while we’re in San Diego, I anticipate indulging in meat a bit more often than I would otherwise…

After dinner, we went and grabbed a couple more drinks with the wedding party. They’re staying in a moderately swanky hotel down in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. We hung out in the rooftop bar and enjoyed the warm weather and the stars. Cities are definitely prettiest once the sun goes down. I got to meet some more of Stephanie’s family and everyone seemed genuinely nice and friendly. All in all, today was a lovely way to start my vacation. Woo!

Note: Although I’ll be writing/finishing most/all of these posts after I’m back in Seattle, I think I’ll pre-date these to the date on which things actually occurred.

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Miles run in 2014: 96.4
Books read in 2014: 21