Friday, July 18, 2014

Beer Friday


I haven't been out at the local breweries as much as I would like to. It's been busy and my energies have been spent in other places. Last week though, we were hot, I had been in a crowd for way too long, and we needed a break. The break came in the frosty, frothy form of West Seattle Brewing. In writing this up, I realized that I haven't given much of a nod to my favorite South Park Breweries! Those are added here too!

Burdick Brewing - South Park (Seattle)
You guys. I love this place. Max is a genuinely awesome guy and a great brewer to boot. I could stop here and just tell you to go, but I won't. Sadly, it's been a while since I have been, despite this gem being walking distance from my house. The space is large, with high ceilings and cool vintage lights. Local art curated by yours truly adorns the exposed brick walls. A giant projector screen rolls down to watch games. If that's not enough, there's even local musician events. This is a one-stop date night, rolled into a place that just feels like home. This, my friends, is my replacement for Baron Brewing. What's good? Yes. I loathe IPA's, but Max makes an IPA that is actually good. The Honey and rye, which was one of his first and a low alcohol beer danced in your mouth. The Pale was solid, as was the Stout. Ah heck. What are you doing still reading? Stop and go!
Parking? Street.
Noise level? Depends on what is happening. When local heroes Fluffer played, the place was packed! On a given Thursday, the vibe is super relaxed.
Beers on a scale of 1-10? 8-9.
Food? Nope, but you can grab something from Napoli or Muy Macho our local tasty food places.
Playtime? Max is baby friendly, as is the brewery. There's room for the littles to stretch out.
Website: http://burdickbrewery.com/

Lowercase Brewing - South Park (Seattle)

These new(er)-comers to the hood are genuinely sweet guys, too. And the best part? They share a wall with Burdick. It's not uncommon to see the two brewers comparing notes. The space is small, but looks super cool, with upcycled furnishings and pallet walls. You have to see it to get it. The Mexican Lager is darn tasty, and they also make a good root beer. The beers aren't hard core, and are lighter alcohol. The best part? They also show Game of Thrones! 
Parking? Street. Stay parked and go to or come from, Burdick.
Noise? Since it's small, it can get noisy, but it's likely to be South Parkers, so it's cool. We're a raucous group. 
Beers on a scale of 1-10? The Mexican Lager? A 9; The others? Nick says a 7. 
Food? They have snacks and mighty tasty hot nuts.
Playtime? If it's crowded, it's babes in arms level of space
Website: http://www.lowercasebrewing.com/

Tin Dog Brewing - South Park (Seattle)

Yet another local gem. Lisa and her hubby Erik are pretty darn awesome. They are friendly, fun, and brew some good Bavarian beers. Izzy loves Lisa, and Lisa is always quick to grab Izzy for us, so we can enjoy part of a pint. A few months ago, I got sick, and Lisa emailed to make sure I was ok. It's that kind of place! The brewing set up is pretty slick, and you can get a quick tour. The taps rotate pretty frequently, but a food good standby's are there regularly. Another upside? It's a few blocks away from the Lowercase and Burdick.
Parking? Tons! They are in the industrial plaza at the West end of South Park.
Noise? A good consistent hum of locals chatting and laughing, great background music, but it's nothing overwhelming.
Beers on a scale of 1-10? If you like hops, you'll have a happy day. If not, fret not-there's still more to choose. The beers also have a higher alcohol. The saison is super good, the Jaggery Belgian had tropical notes and the Hefe's are banana-y. The beers for me, range from good, to holy pants. I give the Jaggery a 10. 
Food? These guys do it right! They have small plates of snacks made from local eateries.
Playtime? Super kiddo friendly, but note that there's a garage door that opens to a parking lot by a busy main drag. Lisa is an awesome beer-Aunt. 
Website: http://tindogbrewing.com/

West Seattle Brewing - West Seattle

This place was great-tons of seating, both at the bar and at tables. There's big screens for great game watching, and the building itself is pretty great. It was an old quick-E-Mart converted into a funky new business. The guys that were pouring were friendly, and really loved the beer. They were happy to talk to us about it, and asked what we thought about them. All in all, a great joint. It was HOT that weekend, and so they were one-third of their beers, but as you can see in the picture above, there were still quite a few beers to try out. I liked the red and the American Wheat. Nick really liked the Imperial Stout and the Red.  So, what's the run down?
Parking? Plentiful, with a small shared lot, but a lot street parking available
Noise level? On a weekend afternoon, there's music and quite a few people, but you can carry on a conversation without raising your voice
Beers on a scale of 1-10? 8. Nick says 7.5, but he was distracted by our Tiny Beast.
Food? None, but they do have a BBQ joint right next door
Playtime? Fellow parents bring their kids, too.
Website? http://westseattlebrewing.com/


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Another Year More Awesome


Oh man, you guys...So far, 36 is pretty awesome. 

The whole time was amazing and it was a great long weekend with the 4th of July falling on a Friday.  I spent the 4th with great friends on a river, watching the fireworks. My birthday was spent in Port Townsend enjoying ciders at Finn River, gazing at amazingly bright flowers, and frolicking among tiny fuzzy critters. Finn River Cidery and Wilderbee Farms were by far my favorite spots-we were able to pet sheep and lovely tiny goats. I am pretty sure Nick is now sold on the idea of adding goats to our future farm-we fell in love with the Soay breed-noted as an elfin breed. They were fuzzy, and wooly, and wanted to play with Izzy and I. 

I. Was. In. Heaven.

Sunday was spent relaxing at The Hangar Cafe in Georgetown, with a lovely wild blackberry mimosa and that amazing crepe in the last picture. I had the Hangar, which from their site, says it was filled with "Egg, black forest ham, swiss, cheddar, slivered red onion, roma tomatoes, and baby spinach. Topped with our house made poblano basil vinaigrette and crème fraiche." I am pretty sure it was filled with amazing and love. And it was cheap and filling, to boot.

So that was it-food, drinks, and tiny critters (both my own as well as the furry, four legged variety) and it couldn't have been any better.

Here's to a great upcoming year!
Raina


Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Great Big Adventure!

It's hard to believe we've already been back almost a week - the time away, and the past few days have gone by in a blur. After a day of rest, we jumped right back into our normal lives-gardening, cooking, and of course going back to work. 

The (shy of) two weeks of was lovely, and I made a good decision coming back to work towards the end of the week. I am sitting here in a quiet house, it's close to midnight, and since kiddo and Nick are in bed, I thought I would update the blog's look-adding a new banner, and get to writing a quick blog here and over at blackberrysage.blogspot.com....

I had an amazing time on vacation-the sun. OH THE SUN!  It was so lovely, even when temperatures hit triple digits, it was still nice to get out in the sunshine and play. I can't say enough about how wonderful Yosemite and Mono Lake were, as well as the surrounding areas. If you have a chance, do check out Mariposa, Coarsegold, and Oakhurst-cute small towns with great shops and good people. Everyone we ran into were so warm and friendly-none of the Seattle Chill we're used to :) We met a fabulous couple in Coarsegold who ran Mountain Delights (an awesome shop, with a lovely sitting area under a giant fig tree)-they took us in and doted over Izzy. It's these kinds of stops that just make my heart happy!

It's late, so I won't spend too much time here, but here's a few pictures of our adventures! Things that these pics remind me: Everything was HUGE, my baby is growing way too fast (and has so many teeth now), and that we went on some fun hikes. Baby wearing sure helped, but an extra 25 lbs of weight kicked my butt!









I hope you are out and about enjoying adventures big and small! What do you have planned for fun this summer?

Best,
Raina

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Memorial Days





       

I am just outside of Yosemite National Park, wrapping up a week long vacation. It's been over two years since Nick and I were on a proper vacation. It's also been two years since my Dad passed away. It's still hard, and I still miss him terribly, but I am still so relieved that he's no longer in pain. 

We decided to take Dad on one more trip to the places that he loved the most-Yosemite National Park and Mono Lake. He and I spent so much time here while I was in high school, and it's been almost 20 years since I have been back. 

I'll post more pictures of our trip soon, but for now, I leave you with the above pictures - places where we spread his ashes. I chose some of our favorite places. I also leave you with my new favorite picture of Izzy, visiting Grampa at the Veterans Cemetery. Lastly, please consider supporting organizations that help support Veterans, PTSD treatment, and suicide prevention. 20% of suicides in the US are by Veterans. Some of my favorite organizations are the DAV and Wounded Warrior Project. 


Yours in love and peace and of course, adventure!

Raina

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earthly Desires

Happy Earth Day all!

The skies have been mostly blue here in Seattle, and that means it has been time for sipping cocktails and using the grill (without having to use all of the rain gear)!

Recently I had a chance to try three tequilas from Casa Noble-their Blanco, Anejo, and Reposado. As an added bonus to spur my culinary whims, they sent a gift card for Whole Foods. Tequila and food?! Yes, please!

With Earth Day in mind, I wanted to stay as sustainable, go organic, and stick with non-GMO products. The great news? Case Noble fits that bill.

So knowing that Earth Day is a great chance to live sustainably, as well as to get outside and enjoy the sun, I put together a tasty menu to celebrate spring and all that is good with Seattle:

Welcome Drink:
The Mariposa, made with Casa Noble's Anejo Tequila

Main Dish:
Gulf Prawns, sustainably caught, marinated in lime, cilantro, scotch bonnet pepper and Casa Noble's Blanco Tequila.

Main Course Drink:
Bloody Maria, with house made organic veggie juice and seasonings, local bacon, and organic house made pickles made boozy by Casa Noble's Reposado Tequila.

Do I have your attention? No? How about some tasty eye candy and recipes? There you go, now I have you!  Read on!





I know, right?

Lets continue with the recipes!
The Welcome Drink, the Mariposa, 
Combine 2 ounces of tequila- I used the Anejo
1.5 ounces of elder flower liquor
2 ounces of blood orange simple syrup
the juice of one lime
1/2 of a large, very ripe grapfruit
Add seltzer to taste
Gently shake to combine
Coat the rim of the glass in vanilla sugar, and pour this delicious cocktail into your pretty glass. Enjoy with a side of great company and sunshine!

Round Two-The Bloody Maria
2 ounces Tequila-I used the Reposado (more if you like a heavy handed drink)
2 cups (approximately) Veggie Juice (I blended carrots, tomato, kale, beets and celery, and garlic to make mine, but you can also make your own with whatever veggies you have, or go easy and get something pre-made!)
Horseradish to taste
Pepper to taste
Worcestershire sauce-two hearty splashes
Hot sauce to taste (I like tapatio)
Splash of seltzer to thin it out a bit
-Shake your main ingredients up
-Coat the rim of a glass with a combination of smoked salt and chili powder, and garnish with your fave treats. I used:
Pickles (I make my own, so I have them on hand)
Bacon, delicious bacon...there's no recommended maximum, but you should include it!

Oh yes...so good.

And for the main course: Spicy prawns, marinated with tequila blanco, cilantro, lime and garlic; served of whole grain wild rice with organic bell pepper and black beans.
1 cup wild rice (Bluebird Farms makes a great one), cooked.
1/2 cup organic black beans
1/2 organic bell pepper, diced-your choice, keep it raw, or saute lightly with garlic and olive oil
1/2 lb shrimp or prawns-our prawns came from Whole Foods, and were sustainably caught in the gulf (also tested for contaminants)
The marinade:
1 lime, juiced (about 2 Tbspns)
1 hearty Tblspn Blanco Tequila (and a drink for you, dear chef!)
1/4 tspn smoked paprika
1 tspn olive oil
1/8 tspn fresh ground pepper
1 pinch kosher salt
1/4-1/8 scotch bonnet pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
Directions:
Mix all the ingredients for the marinade, and add prawns, letting it all meld together in tasty goodness for 30 minutes. 
Sip one of your delicious cocktails and preheat your grill
Place the prawns on the grill and cook until they start to curl up and are no longer translucent.

Place shrimp over your rice, sprinkle with beans and bell peppers, topping with cilantro and hot sauce. Sit back, sip your cocktail and enjoy!

Thank you again to Casa Noble for the opportunity to try out the fun spirits!  Now, dear reader, it's your turn!

What are you cooking and drinking?
Raina




Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Beery Loves

I've been having a lot of fun lately-at work, at home, with South Park Arts. It's been keeping me busy. I'll write a full review soon, but to tide y'all over, I interviewed a brewer friend of mine!  You can read that interview here.

Read on, and if you're local, go check out Burdick Brewing!

Cheers,
Raina

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On Loss and Happiness


Oh, that face. That smile. This is Missy and I a few months ago at a bonfire. The same bonfire where we spent hours. The same bonfire where she supported me in my decision to be single, and the same bonfire where she pushed me to ask a young man out.

That mischievous smile, that when it flashed, you knew you were in for a fun night.  That is what I will miss most about Missy.  

Missy passed away this morning after a valiant fight against cancer. She died enveloped in the arms of those who loved her, and with the love of an entire community by her side. Dear reader, I am so sorry that you never had a chance to meet her. To know that smile, to know the livelihood that existed inside of her.

I'm sad. For myself. For those who lost her. 

Years ago, when I was going through a break up, I was at a crossroads and Missy and I went for a drive. The question came up, "Do I try to make it work or do I walk away?". In true Missy style, she asked if I was happy. Simple. "Are you happy".  The answer was no.  She retorted, "There you go, problem solved", and that was that. She smiled and patted my knee. That was really that.

If it wasn't for Missy, I wouldn't have met my partner Nick. I wouldn't have dated him at her urging, and I wouldn't have my baby girl now.

Life is short. You find amazing people in your life, and don't let them go. Do what you can to be loved and give love and when all else fails, ask yourself, "are you happy?". 

To you Missy. 

Raina