October 18, 2016

Sleepless in Seattle

I love documenting my personal trips on my blog, 
not only as a means to record my memories,
but also to share some recommendations for things that I truly loved about my experience.
I know that when I'm planning a trip I draw a lot of inspiration from other bloggers out there,
so I like to pay it forward. 

This wasn't my first time to Seattle, and I hope it won't be my last. 
My girlfriend and I spent a solid 48 hours in this lovely city,
and honestly had the best time. 

We fell in love with the Thompson Seattle,
which was just so refined and perfectly chic. 
It's located just a  block from Pike Place Market, 
which was convenient for morning walks to grab some coffee and piroshki.

We got extremely lucky with the weather (not a drop of rain during our October visit!),
so we took advantage and did a lot of sightseeing by foot. 
~Of course the first thing we did was wander through Pike Place Market,
checking out the produce and seafood,
trying to blend in with the locals to avoid having a fish tossed at us. 
~Strolled through Post Alley and found the Gum Wall,
gross but entertaining. 
~One of my favorite attractions was the Chihuly Garden & Glass museum,
which was just very different. 
Perfect for selfie ops and visual stimulation. 
~Although we didn't go to the top of the Space Needle,
the landmark can be seen from all around the city, 
including my favorite vista point - Kerry Park.
~Obviously I couldn't say no to checking out the Fremont Troll,
just so I can say we went trollin in Seattle. 
~Last but not least, we took a ferry to Bainbridge Island and had such a good time that I decided to dedicate a whole separate post to it. 

You already know... my favorite part about planning a trip is deciding which restaurants we're going to eat at. 
Seattle gave me a run for my money with its plethora of options,
but I think we chose wisely, 
because every single place we visited did not disappoint our high foodie expectations.
~First, a trip to the Pacific Northwest wouldn't be complete without some oysters,
so we got right into it with a traditional happy hour at Elliot's Oyster House.
It's a classic, my friends, so slurp up.
I like my oysters topped with some lemon, mignonette and a dash of tabasco,
chased by a sip of chilled crisp Prosecco. 
Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

One of my go-to sources for restaurant recommendations is Bon Appetit magazine,
so when I saw that there were TWO Seattle restaurants on their 50 Best New Restaurants List,
I was beyond excited. 
~We made reservations at Bateau weeks in advance,
knowing it would be worth the wait. 
I've been borrowing recipes from Renee Erickson's cookbook for months,
so it's no surprise to me that the newest member of the Sea Creatures family would offer a smooth sailing experience. 
If you don't eat red meat, I'm sorry, this place probably isn't for you. 
The "boeuf", butchered and dry aged in house, 
comes directly from Erickson's Whidbey Island farm to your plate, 
served alongside inventive sides, thrice fried frites, iconic cocktails, and a smart bottle list.
My friend and I kicked the evening off with some veal sweetbreads, 
which were tender and delicious, 
but the real star of the evening was the 28-day-aged ribeye, 
topped with bone marrow butter, of course.
So rich that I just wanted to slather myself in all the fatty goodness. 
Is that weird?
~You know what makes me smile?
When tiny, hole in the wall establishments receive accolades for serving up damn good food. 
Isn't that what's most important?
Yes, the ambiance is key to an overall dining experience, 
but sometimes, all I need is a hot bowl of noodles that is infused with so much flavor that my taste buds nearly buckle. 
Little Uncle is not the first Thai restaurant that has received accolades despite its casual demeanor (Pok Pok anyone?),
setting a new standard for the term "fine dining".
Again, sharing is caring when my friend and I try new places,
so we decided to split the Khao Soi Gai and the Beef Noodles

~The Seattle Times described the Brimmer & Heeltap as a cheery bistro and bar in Ballard,
that "is as comfortable to slip into as your favorite jeans". 
I couldn't agree more. 
You can't go wrong with a restaurant that seeks to celebrate the moments that exist between the first sip of one’s libation and the last drops lingering at the bottom of the glass. 
The cocktails are great, but honestly, the food is even better. 
Teasing the concept of Asian fusion, the menu offers something for everyone. 
We were pleasantly surprised by how tender the charred octopus was when it arrived,
and blissfully happy while we alternated between bites of the grilled pork shoulder and the duck fried rice
Khao Soi Gai from Little Uncle. Just LOOK at that bowl!! You can almost taste the flavor through the picture.
The happiest of hours at Elliot's Oyster House. The only downside? They cut you off after a dozen!
Oh just a perfectly cooked, 28-day-aged ribeye, bathing in bone marrow butter. Boeuf boner at Bateau
Views from our hotels rooftop bar, the Nest.
Picking up little treats to go along with some fresh brewed coffee at Amandine Bakeshop.
Shareable options at Brimmer & Heeltap: duck fried rice and grilled pork shoulder.


October 5, 2016


Hey guys, just stopping in to tell you about a new Italian restaurant that recently opened... in Little Italy. 
But it's not just an Italian restaurant.
It's an homage to the Busalacchi family's Sicilian heritage,
and if I've learned anything about Sicily, it's that they play in a league of their own.

I stopped by Barbusa for lunch a couple of weeks ago, 
and mentally bookmarked the place as a new go-to restaurant whenever I need a carb fix.
The pasta is all housemate, and tastes incredible!
I tried out the daily special, thin cut spaghetti doused with crab and vodka sauce, and was not disappointed. 
Of course if you are disciplined with your diet, there's options for everyone.
Seafood is plentiful, and if you like it straight from the ocean,
I suggest you snag a seat at the crudo bar and order up some fresh urchin. 

If you're in a pinch, or don't feel like stuffing your face with a full course meal,
this place has an awesome bar area, and quite a selection of small apps. 
The ambiance is lovely.. modern and romantic at the same time. 
Next time you're planning a date night, or want to impress someone with a business lunch,
request a table by the window. 
I love me a green wall, and Barbusa knows how to swoon me. 


September 17, 2016


Have you heard of KAABOO
If not, you're missing out!
KAABOO is a three-day “mix-perience” curated as a fully immersive live music experience without the rough qualities of a traditional outdoor event. 
Ahem, I'm looking at you Coachella, Lolla and Burning Man. 
It combines a diverse mix of music, high quality culinary offerings, the very best craft libations,
visually inspiring art exhibitions, hilarious comedy, dancing and all of the indulgent amenities you could hope for, 
together in one place. 
KAABOO takes place at the historic Del Mar Racetrack + Fairgrounds, 
and it's going on NOW (October 16th-18th). 

 I was invited to kick the party off on Thursday,
at the Meet Me at the Spa Indulgences VIP event.
I got to enjoy complementary beauty spa services from some of the best brands in the beauty industry such as Pave Nails, Paul Mitchel, and Ritz Carlton Spas (just to name a few). 
It was a perfect way to relax and prepare for the festival.
After the event, I got to check out the grounds and even take in a  private performance by Chris Isaak and Macy Gray.
So fun!

The lineup of artists for this weekend is incredible, 
and I'm sure it's only going to get better each year. 
So if you didn't make it to KAABOO this year,
make sure you add it to your "must do" list for 2018!