12.31.2016 by Andrea
I live for experiences and milestones. I love documenting, talking about, and setting goals. My bucket list, is a wee bit long (278-ish items) and there are few things more gratifying to me then to cross an item off from a list.
2016 started off with a bang, HELLO French 75s, and it never quit me. I thought I was going to be better about setting fences, saying “no” with more grace and nesting. It turned into a year where I said “yes” a TON, and regretted nothing. If I have one thing that I am zoomed in on for twenty seventeen it’s to set intentions. My PIC, Mrs. W, and I were purposeful about a few line items in the last portion of the year, and with unwavering focus nailed some major items on the life list. We are rollin’ into ’17 with unwavering hope and flying high on living the good life.
Since I love sports, and today is a BIG day for my favorite college football team (Go Dawgs), I figured it would be appropriate to highlight my top 16 eats for the year (in no particular order). It’s a mix of savory, sweet, and succulent, along with indulgent memories of delightful eating experiences with friends and family.
A year to the day, the Big Guy introduced me to a drink that has permeated my palate and I’ve introduced to a multitude of folks. I think it made me feel like an adult (insert eye roll here: mixing gin and champs). But something about this effervescent beverage felt bright and hopeful and set the standard for cocktails all year long.
My favorite to date was at Bacon & Eggs in Walla Walla. They use a lavender simple syrup, which is crisp and clean. My friend L and I imbibed outside (at their new location) while enjoying a leisurely brunch and easy reading.
15. Altura’s sorbet.
Okay, I get it, of ALL the things that I should be lauding about Altura. I just have to say it, twice now … this transitional sorbet was a true highlight for me. The olive oil is decadent and then the little sampling of icy fresh plum, wow! So good. I wanted an entire plateful.
14. Avocado toast.
Let me just sing their praises! If you have have an urge to take a cooking class in the greater Seattle area, HSS is amazing (as is the Pantry). Most recently, I had a team building session there, and enjoyed a Cuban menu that was jam-packed with flavors. I’m still licking my lips thinking about the avocado, pineapple salad we built and the fact that I enjoyed fried bananas mixed with pork.
But, nothing can take away this little starter. Avocado toast, is just a tasty indulgence that is worth wanting to eat every day.
I’m doing it again, back on the Whole30 train. Today is Day 6, and for some reason I enjoy torturing myself during holidays and starting this program right on or around a big day. (Truly is there ever a “perfect day” to start Whole30?) I’ve got to say the enjoyment of this eating style has been the community it’s built with friends, family and colleagues. It’s fun to share recipes, and feel good too. I love pasta, and so spaghetti squash and spiralized noodles have been a godsend for my craving fixes.
And if may be candid, the cilantro lime dressing from Whole30, is the bomb. I called it soulful, mind you, not soul food, but it’s got soul. I treasure making it every chance I can get.
I never thought I would be such an evangelist of an eating lifestyle, and certainly have let some snacking habits creep back into my life (hence the reboot) but I truly LOVE Whole30. It’s approachable, maintainable, and healthy. #teamwhole30.
In stark contrast to being all-in for whole30 (I prefer to call it Whole30-ish), I didn’t say no to anything when I was on a whirlwind trip Down Under. Quite honestly the breakfast buffet at the hotel was something my friend D and I made sure we blocked out a couple of hours for, each day. Oops. #sorrynotsorry
I always want to try local eats (+brews) and vegemite was no different. It tastes a lot like soy sauce in a solid form. Thankfully the guests dining next to us were gracious in instructing us in the proper way to layer vegemite on toast (add butter).
11. Handmade pasta.
I think I’ve extolled the praises of what I think is the best handmade pasta in Seattle. Spinasse’s pasta with brown butter and sage. I ate it for the first time in January, crave it every week (put down the phone … you don’t need a 10pm reservation on Friday night), and was inspired to learn how to make pasta myself after sampling theirs a few times. Eating fresh pasta, has really turned the tide for me on how pasta should taste.
Spinasse moved me to committing to eating only fresh pasta this year. It was well worth the commitment. Now, I am on the hunt for a gently used pasta maker to make it myself. (Craigslist, I’m eyeing you to come through for me again.)
Big ups to Eat Local, they offer a great course on pasta making, and an ever understanding instructing team when a person (me) has a couple fails (shocker, I know).
SFO. Your food scene is legit. There are a ton of places I enjoy eating, Tacolicious, Cowgirl Creamery, the list goes on. My friend K introduced her mom and I to Plow early in the year, and I’ve wanted to eat there at least once a month since. It’s just a stones throw away from her new apartment. We have mastered the art of walking down, putting our name on the wait list, and then walking back to her casita until our name has neared the top of the wait list. Every thing they have on their menu is delicious and this plate was no different.
Sidenote, another goodie to taste and try in SFO, is Bellota. Beautifully styled, and then goblets of gin and tonic.
chori-pan: chorizo on pan bread, topped with the most delicious spreads. Hands down the best street meat I’ve ever eaten. This was my most favorite meal in Buenos Aires. Umm, yum.
8. Bacon maple bars.
I don’t usually go for sweets, but in San Diego at Great Maple, when the the waitstaff marches out with a board 6 feet long FILLED with their housemade sweets, you indulge. Like Alaska Airlines and Virgin America proclaimed a few weeks ago, different works. Bacon maple bars, when they are hot and fresh, are a great way to kick off a breakfast.
7. JW’s Test Kitchen.
This kitchen is home. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time then you know that my dear friends Mrs. W and JW love to cook. They continue to push their dishes to new heights and have elevated their style of food to new levels. This year alone: bolognese, Korean street food, a myriad of succulent meats cooked on the Big Green Egg, chicken pot pie, and the list goes on. The laughter, clinking of glasses, and memories created and shared are what makes eating at Casa W so divine.6. Market fresh.
This summer I ventured over to Bainbridge Island to see the childhood home one of my co-workers grew up in. Bainbridge has great restaurants and bakeries but I have to say that this meal on the deck of my friend’s home was the true winner. Everything was hand selected from Pike Place Market in Seattle. Fresh king crab legs, pan seared scallops, and salad. This plate makes me think of simple summer days, and the cool Sound breeze.5. Rosé & macarons.
As I am writing this, it seems like I am bit hypocritical when I usually state/proclaim that I don’t like sweets. Yet, here is another sweet treat popping up on my list. To clarify, I don’t crave sweets. I truly could mow down a back of potato chips, or a plate of truffle fries without a second thought. Sweets, for instance at the office, don’t tempt me as much. Pizza does. But, I have to say when in Paris, a girl and her lady friends have to have rosé and macarons while sitting under the Eiffel Tower. This sweet indulgence in the park is really enriched by the memory of being on holiday with two girlfriends and baby M. Traveling with friends, walking around a city, and having no agenda so you can stop anywhere, eat anywhere, and drink anywhere is how travel should be.4. Post race tacos.
My older brother always worked in fast food restaurants during the summer when he was in high school. I remember being in the car, picking him up after shifts and he said the only restaurant he still wanted to eat at after working there was Taco Time. For whatever reason, over the course of the past couple of years TT has had a resurgence with my eating habits. This picture was taken after I had completed yet another half marathon that I hadn’t trained for. THE only reason that propelled me across the finish line was realizing that that there was Taco Time in North Bend, and the faster I finished, the sooner I could consume these two goodies (and score some extra house sauce).
3. Star Noodle.
If you’ve watched Top Chef, then you, along with my friends and I, might have found Sheldon Simeon quite endearing. While he has gone and started his own restaurants, one of the stops that my friends and I wanted to hit in Maui was Star Noodle. I’ve been twice in the past couple of months and it’s a LITTLE difficult to say “no” to any of the share plates. Go with a large appetite, and then anticipate having a bit of a food coma afterwards. Filipino “Bacon & Eggs” are a must order. Truly an affordable and filling eating experience when you visiting the Hawaiian Islands.
Bonus tip, those crab wontons at Hula Grill, with the dipping sauce are worth a gander too.
It might be that I just like to say the word, but the most fun surprise & delight of 2016 noshing was enjoying a delicious cassoulet in Spokane. Mrs. W and I met up with her sister-in-law for a night of bro country music, (read here: Florida Georgia Line). While I might have trampled over young children to brush the bicep of one of the lead singers (we had floor seating people), dinner at Casper Fry was a major highlight of our quick overnight. Spokane, you keep winning with your charming ways.Travel tip – earlier this summer, enroute to Schweitzer, a bunch of us stayed at the Davenport Grand, it’s a spectacular property and they have an awesome rooftop too. Check out Wild Sage and Clover, if you ever have a chance for great local dining. Double bonus, Va Piano just added a tasting room too.
1. Garlic schmear.
I miss NY. I love NY. NY is the place that tugs at my heartstrings, beckons me back and will always be near and dear to me. When I can’t go back to NY, a quick fix of delish schmear from Eltana fills the hole in my heart.
Confession: sometimes I want to eat an entire tub of the schmear.
People often think I am joking when I say that my favorite hobby is eating. Quite honestly, it’s something I truly enjoy, and feel that I excel at. There are a whole host of meals that I ate throughout twenty sixteen that were joyful and didn’t make the cut. That certainly doesn’t discount all the good eating I got to partake in.
Here’s to taking on ’17 with ambition and lofty goals.
Until the next bite.