As I mentioned before, the next couple of Fridays were going to be a challenge for me in regards to getting a post done. As it turns out, I was prophetic. Although to my defense I was at a conference last week, and as at least one reader will attest it’s hard to accomplish anything at a conference.
In an odd switch, I started last week at home, well at least for the weekend. While I wasn’t home long Karin and I made the best of our time together. The theme of the weekend turned out to be “favorites”.
We started off by doing dinner at Cucina Urbana on Friday night, which is officially my favorite San Diego restaurant. Having not been home in a few weeks it was nice to be able to reconnect with Karin away from everything and everyone.
Saturday was a treat from start to finish. Karin and I did dinner at Parkhouse Eatery, our favorite breakfast place. Then we took in the San Diego showing of [title of show]. I’ve mentioned [title of show] in the past – it was a small Broadway production that was a semi-autobiographical story about how they went from entering a simple contest to eventually making it to Broadway. Karin and I happened to see it on its first preview night in New York and fell in love with the show. It is my favorite musical. The cast the theatre assembled for the show was nearly flawless; they hit not only the look of each original character but also their personalities and voices. Fantastic show and Karin and I were thrilled to have been able to make it.
That night we closed it off with a simple dinner party at our house. It was a shame that I wasn’t able to spend more time with my friends while I was home, but it was still good to share some good times, good laughs and good food. And yes, dinner at home with good friends is probably one of my favorite ways to spend an evening.
The weekend could have set me for the week, but the hits just kept coming. That Sunday morning I flew up to Seattle for a conference. I may have mentioned it before, but I do love Seattle. Downtown is very accessible, plenty to do, and a great vibe. No less than two of my favorite cocktail bars are there, and my favorite (bar none) restaurant is there. It’s also a great chance to catch up with friends I only get to see at conferences. The week wasn’t quite what I was expecting (see the restaurant review below), but it still turned out to be a fantastic time.
At the end of the week Karin made the trip up to Seattle. While she was there we were able to make a trip down to Tini Bigs to meet up with Shane. For those of you who’ve read the blog in the past you may remember Shane – he’s the one who made Karin the Blue Dolphin at the end of the night last time we were there. There were four of us the first night (Neil, Susan, Karin and myself), and just Karin and I the second night. And yes, Shane took great care of us, and every cocktail he put in front of us was a homerun.
The week was capped off by a trip to Pike Place Market and Elemental. Karin loves Pike Place Market, and was more than happy to stop by nearly every stand and, of course, walk into the dog store. That night we met up with our friends Matthew and Ren for dinner at Elemental. Again, I’ve mentioned Elemental in the past. Elemental does a prix fixe menu all of the chef’s choices, and the chef is just brilliant. The company was almost surpassed by the food, which is a statement about how great the food is and not an indictment of the company.
Because this is my life, that Sunday Karin flew home and I boarded a plane for New York City. Have I mentioned before how much I’d love to live there? In case I haven’t, I’d love to live in New York City. This trip in particular was an absolute blur. I was able to meet the newborn of an old college couple friend and enjoy a great dinner with Megan, an good friend from San Diego.
In the middle of the week Abram came down for a visit. When Abram visits there’s a couple of trips that must happen. The first is to Lombardi’s, which makes the best pizza in the world. The second stop that must happen is the Pegu Club, which we visited both nights he was in town. They still do the best manhattan I’ve ever had. The bartender that took care of us was Scott, who’s a bit young and inexperienced but shows great promise.
And really, the above doesn’t begin to capture what an amazing two weeks it’s been.
The Travel Note
Two items this week.
One – I’m still a firm believer that if you don’t see a weirdo in your subway car then you’re it. On one of my trips I had a guy next to me shucking corn on the train. I figure I’m in the clear for that trip.
Two – I’m just fine enjoying a good beer from time to time. But I don’t know that I’m all that comfortable with a pilot in full dress uniform advertising a beer on his luggage. Or at the very least, he could have picked a better beer.
Susan, my “conference wife”, and I have a standing date for every conference. At least once every trip we go find somewhere to have a great dinner, which affords us many things – the opportunity to enjoy a great dinner (we’re both foodies), the chance to get away from conference food (ugh), and the chance to escape the bustle that is a conference. We got a recommendation from someone to visit a place called Avila. We were both very excited to visit, right up until the point when we arrived at the restaurant to discover it had closed not 5 days before our reservation.
Because of the way the day had gone we laughed the experience off and roamed over to another recommended restaurant a couple blocks away named Joule. Joule is a Korean fusion restaurant. We wound up sampling a good portion of the menu, including the lamb dish, the shrimp, and a corn bread with gouda. We found most of the dishes good but not great, although the lamb was dynamite.
This will not be making the list of must visit restaurants. There’s a very good chance we were still a bit disappointed with Joule because we weren’t able to go to Avila, but I think we were disappointed just because we were disappointed.
I know I’ve already spoken quite a bit about the last two weeks, but there’s still plenty more to tell. Here’s a list of five things that didn’t make the cut above but I really wanted to mention.
- I met Murray. Outside of a couple people that probably means nothing to anyone. Murray was recently voted the best bartender in America. Having met him I can say I can understand why. In fact, it was amazing the amount of respect every Seattle bartender had for Murray.
- The location I was teaching at in NYC is right at the southern tip of Manhattan and on the 23rd floor. It offers an amazing view of The Statue and Ellis Island.
- I had dinner at a great vegan place called Blossom Cafe on Columbus between 81st and 82nd.
- It’s not the best hotel around, but the Club Quarters by Wall Street is very affordable for Manhattan.
- Next time you see me remind me to tell you the story about the gyro guy.