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It’s been a bit busy lately–we went to Seattle and have been ushering a lot. (seriously, yesterday’s play, which I liked, and the transportation to and from it basically tanked our day). Andrea‘s astounding picassa show was up way before my lazy ass could post this pile of words! up later, but in the meantime here’s a foodcentric rundown of last weekend:

  • Broke fast at tilth, wonderful tilth (our waiter’s tourette’s led to about 30 dollars worth of heirloom bloody mary’s)
  • At a new ice-cream place in Wallingford, I attempted to eat the strangest sundae ever: chocolate ice cream, bergamot-infused olive oil, sea salt, and whipped cream. Will stick to the basics next time.
  • For a bus tour of Seattle, bought some lemonade, tequila, and sunglasses. One should never ride a hot bus in Seattle without a thermos of faux margaritas.
  • Arrived at the Madison Park beach in the mid to upper 80’s, which inspired Andrea to jump in the lake.
  • Landed at Green Leaf, a terrific new Vietnamese place in the ID. Andrea doesn’t like Vietnamese food usually, but she dug Green Leaf (maybe it was the blood cube in her soup).
  • Watched Mariner’s beat the Pods, danced with the little one, and had one more beer at the best bar on Phinney ridge.
  • Woke up, shook off hangover, walked to Senor Moose and ate some fancy beans.
  • Hit the Ballard farmer’s market and walked away with some frozen blueberries, four pounds of rhubarb, and lot of green garlic, mint, and #2 heirlooms.
  • Had a leisurely afternoon making a prosecco sangria (with mangos, canteloupe, grapefruit and the rest of that pomegranate lemonade), blue-cheese/chipotle turkey burgers, roasted potato/garlic salad, a big green salad with the market’s bounty, and a giant rhubarb/blueberry crisp.
  • Proceeded to feed a lot of people this food. Had a contest with Natty to see who could expand their belly the most. Unexpectedly, I lost.
  • Luckily, this boring list comes to life in Andrea’s pictures!
  • Retired to Silver Cloud stadium, which had been billed as ‘close to pike’s place market’ on Hotwire. I noticed afterward that the highlighted portion of the map had a small strip that extended several miles south to include this place. Did Tom DeLay end up working for hotwire?
  • Met with folks at UW, did a little work.
  • Dinner at Jerry’s where I got to meet Ida, who is so cute that she makes buttons look like shit.
  • Post-dinner at Micah’s. Had such a good time talking I never even thought about getting out their wii.
  • The next day, after several aborted meetings, we went to Salumi. It’s a Seattle institution that I’ve never paid my respects too. It’s sort of like being the only guy to have not seen Star Wars, but for foodies. (that’s a little more tasteful than the ‘lost my meat virginity’ phrase that I was originally going to toss out)
  • Attended the department’s awards banquet which had a nice spread and the vundervul Andreas handling mike duties. Andrea was a little overwhelmed by the sea of nerds. Fortunately Paul C. lightened the mood with tails of dropping stuff (beds, etc) on people when he was at the top of one of Columbia’s student towers.
  • Andrea stayed out way late with her ‘reans. I was not invited to their karaoke party at China Gate Great Wall, but should’ve crashed it in retrospect. I guess calling and asking if a “group of Koreans” are at the asian restaurant is a version of crashing. Andrea also apologized for getting carried away and making me worry which I appreciated. What a sweetie!
  • Took a bus to the airport and returned to Chicago. As a reminder to the fact that we were, indeed, back in Chicago, there was a gang-related shooting about 30 feet from our apartment. Yee haw.

Ok, kids, I was going to wax on about my new garden at Argonne, but apparently I’ve rambled too long so I’m waxing off.

1. Our hero cut chunks out of two fingers yesterday while trying to slice some galangala. I think that’s what he called it, but google had no pics to share with you. It looks a little like fat ginger with rings. Anyways, he may be absent from his blog since yesterday he could only moan about how little he could do with only 8 operable fingers, and then dribbled blood about the house.

(tim: it’s that goddam galangal, see image on right.)

2. We saw a wonderful play last weekend — Dead Man’s Cell Phone at the Tony award-winning Steppenwolf. Lots of great scene changes and creative uses of light and props, which capped off great acting — including acting drunk! Laura’s mom tipped us off to this little treasure, the Saints — a volunteer usher org that allows you to see plays all around chicago fo’ free!

3. We’re headed to Seattle tomorrow! Our hero is being honored for stellar dissertation-writing and we are all proud. We hope to see you there! And, we hope to have some nice pics to color this increasingly bland site. If our hero is too gimpy to take some, perhaps he can flash his pearly smile once or twice.

I had a chance to go back to Seattle for a few, so I jumped on it last weekend. Compared to the christmas activities it was nice and lazy with lots of fine eating and heavy drinking. I didn’t take too many pictures aside from the obvious ones at the beach.

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I was inspired by a trip to senor moose and made a gringo version of huevos last night (picture here). Tonight I made ‘shorba’ (spelling?), which is a noodly, cilantro-y, beefy soup that my mom used to make when we lived in Algeria that was inspired by the local fare. I threw the book at this one–two bunches of cilantro, long peppers, lemon, dill, cumin, cinnamon, smoked paprika, cayenne, … with a rich 6-hour beef broth I made from a bunch of shanks last night. Hit the spot with our current cold spell.

update: I made the recipe from what I remember from mom’s soup, but it appears that shorba appears in Indian and middle-eastern, and Algerian food with vaguely similar seasoning to what I used.

updated update: Apparently shorba translates to soup in numerous languages, explaining its ubiquitousness.

I had a lovely time in Seattle.  I didn’t take too many pictures, which was unfortunate since it was sunny and fall-like every day I was there over thanksgiving.  I put a couple below, one from Ballard and another from a nice new restaurant in Wallinford name Tilth, which serves what I think is the best breakfast in Seattle now–hands down (but only on weekends).  I also threw in a picture of a light from a Turkish bar Diane and I went to in Andersonville yesterday, some simple bread I made loosely from this recipe (while incorporating whole wheat flour, honey, and milk for richness), and a trainer I got for getting some exercise when it’s snowy and icy out like it was this weekend.

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Quite the eventful day!  Andrea planned out a day stuffed with: an immersion blender, brunch, hours of kayaking around lake union, grabbing crabs at Pike’s Place, eating them on the top of Capital hill, swimming (briefly) at Magnuson Park, eating German chocolate cake, and capping it off with pool and drinks at the College Inn.  I only had the camera for the kayaking part.  It’s going to be hard to top it for Andrea’s big day tomorrow…

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What could possibly drag me out of my hole to put something on my website? Why my new music crush of course! That would be Rodrigo y Gabriela! (that’s rodgab for those in the know) I guess folks around here knew about them already since their upcoming showbox show (April 24) is already sold out. Pity, they’re supposed to amazing live. I guess I’ll just have to get my fix elsewhere…and maybe even I can learn how to play their brand of thrashmetalfolk. (yeah, right!) I think I ran into them vi Kottke. Otherwise I’ve been trying to learn how to pop (get to 0:45) and lock (the ending is soooo cool)

Quite the productive day.

In food news–made some type of ragu-on-polenta thingy last night and did it up at the stumbling goat over on Phinney ridge. Both were good. I also did my produce run on my bike today for the first time in a while. Ended up getting a watermelon, which was probably not the smartest idea. I also noticed that the U-district farmer’s market is up and running again–no one told me! I thought it was coming back in May!? Time to get me some cheese and greens.

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I think spring is my favorite season in Seattle. Despite being gray 90% of the time, there are so many blossoming trees and daffodils opening up this time of year. I’ve always been fond of the buds and leaves that make trees look sort of translucent this time of year too. I dropped by cherry tree mall today on the way back from the ima and it was pretty spectacular. Lots of people taking pictures for such a rainy, gray day.

Things here are going ok. This week was a little slow after two weeks away on job interviews and conferences…it can be tough to get back into the grind, but the end is near…I also got an invite to ESRF! That’s the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and it’s nestled in Grenoble with the Alps near by. (it’s not the LHC at CERN–so quit asking!) Pretty neat–but I don’t know if I’ll be on the market on April 23 when I’ve been asked to give a talk. I’m also intimidated by the sizable trip back and forth. On vera…

crumpets.JPGNew topic: popovers! Walking home, I was wondering what I was going to make for dinner..and I realized taht popovers are always a good last-ditch option. Never had a popover? They’re pretty yummy: it’s like a savory little souffle thingy, but a lot easier to make. There a lot of recipes online, but it’s basically one part milk to one part flour with two eggs per cup of milk. Season how you wish (at least salt), wisk it up a bit, and pour it in a hot muffin tin in a 450 degree oven for twenty minutes, before turning it down to 375 for 15-20 minutes longer. I stuck some dubliner cheddar and rosemary in it–which was ok, but I think Andrea’s suggestion of green onions would’ve been better. These don’t keep very well, but that’s almost never an issue.

If you don’t know where to go, consult this ridiculously small-printed list. (via)

In the U-district, this appears to be closest.

Since the two party system is spending 2.8 billion (assuming 50% turnout, that’s about $20/voter), you owe it to yourself to get there.

…on second thought, those kinds of figures make me a little queasy about democracy-in-action.

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Andrea got back on Sunday night and we spent her first day back at Bumbershoot. I can only be brief, but it was tons of funs. There’s captions on the pictures, in case you need an explanation.

Nubia is one of Andrea's BFFs I liked their vests at least... Qui moi? (at a one-reel fest) SKINNNNERRR!!!time to go home...that's going to take a while to clean up.. Posers...It turns out they're in the optical regime... Tribe takes the stage for the first time in eight years... ...and Andrea is quite excited. Coco Rosie wins best band of the night (surprisingly) hack on old man, hack on

Well cross one off the list…I rode critical mass with Rory tonight. It was a blast, like a big party that slowly wound through downtown Seattle. It didn’t seem to piss off people that much (well most people), most folks took it in stride as if it were some makeshift parade. Surprisingly, the real city cops (not the sheriffs office from the fiasco a couple months ago) seemed to be cool–several even laughed at the buck naked bicyclist in front of me. I’m not 100% sure what the point of critical mass is: most folks are trying to bring awareness to bicyclists, some want to get back at cars who can be a little bossy (especially downtown), but I’m in the last group that’s just there to have fun and enjoy a gloriously meandering tour of Seattle and Capital Hill before summer’s gone. Rory and I hit Linda’s and Honeyhole afterwards to cap an awesome night. Highly recommended fun. (Kudos to the guy who dj’ed the whole thing with a boom-box wired to his trailer–that guy had awesome taste in music. Also, everyone was really nice and there was more diversity in the age, gender, and amount of spandex on the bikers than I anticipated.)

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