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Friendsgiving

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i cant believe it’s already mid-december already! thought i’d finally share a few photos from our friendsgiving this year! (i know, so delayed).  this is our 4th friendsgiving, which we co-host with a couple of friends. we get pretty excited for this and spend  weeks (lots of them) planning it.

we ended up going with gold glitter yellow/white pumpkins for our name cards! (thank you pinterest! we combined these two ideas:  here and here)  we used these pumpkins to determine the rest of the decor: flowers, table covers, etc.  beige, browns, golds was the base with bold flower combos.

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the pumpkins – we were obsessed with these little babies.

  • pumpkins – vons – $1 each
  • modge podge – $7 at michaels
  • gold glitter – $10 for a large bottle at michaels (martha stewart).  i didn’t know how much i needed so i went with the large bottle.
  • bow raffia – $4 for a large bag at michaels
  • small tags – 20 pack $2.5 at michaels
  • gold pen – set of 2 for $2.50 at michaels
  • painter’s tape – $5 at target

the flower boxes – we found rectangle boxes in downtown on the cheap and ended up using them for our centerpieces.  we stained them ourselves and then painted a gold strip for a pop.

  • box – $13 each in downtown flower market
  • wood stain tube – $13 at michaels.  i will note that this was extremely easy to use.
  • gold paint – $5 at michaels.

the table

  • beige table cloth – $9 on amazon (this is a crazy deal)
  • burlap runners – $4 each in downtown flower market
  • bag of pine cones – $5 in downtown

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anyway, friendsgiving has come a long way from the first one we had 4 years ago (costco chicken, stove top stuffing, and extremely garlicy mashed potatoes (inedible)). now it’s a way for jess and i to be creative once a year (sometimes we joke because it feels like we plan a wedding once a year) and work on our cooking skills. at this point, we are pretty good at the stuffing, brussel sprouts, cream corn, and pumpkin pie!

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happy sunday!

 

By |December 15th, 2013|Friends, Holidays, Photography|1 Comment

Mendocino Farms Grand Opening | Sherman Oaks, CA

Mendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks

congratulations to mendocino farms on their brand new sherman oaks location!! mendo, which started in downtown los angeles, has now expanded to the westside, mid-wilshire area, and now the valley!

mendo is my absolute favorite place to eat lunch in downtown!  i have been going to mendo when there was only one location (california plaza)!  i am so happy that there’s more than one location now! (3 in downtown alone).  this place is a major hot spot for lunch!  i will admit that i eat here at least 3 times a week.  sometimes i’ll come here for lunch and then also order for dinner if i stay late at work.

anyway, this is my favorite sandwich place and here are my favorite things to order:

  • kurobuta pork belly banh mi – my absolute favorite sandwich (in the world)
  • “not-so-fried” chicken (as a wrap) – i choose the bbq sauce but hear the buffalo sauce is very good.
  • prosciutto chicken – on the lighter side.
  • market roasted vegetables salad – great salad.  roasted veggies, nuts, grape tomatoes with a basil pesto-balsamic vinaigrette… i die.
  • curry cous cous – delicious!  lovely kick to it.

we were so lucky to have been invited to the pre-grand opening of sherman oaks location!  this is a great spot since it is on ventura blvd!

Mendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks Mendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks Mendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks Mendocino Farms | Sherman OaksMendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks Mendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks Mendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks Mendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks Mendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks Mendocino Farms | Sherman OaksMendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks

soda fountain is always fun.  the pork belly banh mi is a must.  a little twist on a traditional vietnamese sandwich… epic.

Pork Belly Banh Mi | Mendocino FarmsMendocino Farms | Sherman OaksMendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks

kyle got the steak blt.  hearty and packed with delicious flavor.  he got extra blue cheese.

Mendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks

nat got drunk ‘n goat on highway 128.  goat cheese, brie, cranberry chutney, green apple, greens on cranberry walnut bread.  she was a fan.  she also got the kale salad.  i’m not a huge fan of kale but i did like this salad.

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ty ordered the carved steak pretzel melt since it was featured on thrillist as a sandwich everyone must eat. i didn’t try it but he thought it was pretty good.

Mendocino Farms | Sherman Oaks

  • parking: since this location is located on ventura blvd.  you will have to find metered parking.  good luck!
  • service:  mendocino always has amazing service.  everyone is super friendly and working extremely hard to get your food out as fast as possible.
  • ambience:  i love the open, airy decor of this place.  they have a tree in the middle of the restaurant and a foosball table!  very casual, happy atmosphere.  i love everything about it.
  • food:  you cant go wrong with any of the sandwiches here.  quality is what they strive for and sandwiches are their niche.  they are pretty much the bomb dot com.

Mendocino Farms
14141 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Neighborhood: Sherman Oaks

Mendocino Farms on Urbanspoon

By |December 1st, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants|1 Comment

Things To Do in Seattle

when were planning our trip to seattle, we were googling and emailing our friends for recommendations on what to do, where to stay and what to eat.  thought i would share the wealth.

hotel / location:  we chose to stay at the renaissance hotel in downtown seattle since it was less than a mile away from the stadium.  anything closer was a lot more expensive around game day.  it ended up being a great location because it was approx. 15-20 minutes walking distance from everywhere we wanted to go (pikes place, stadium, happy hour, space needle, etc).  the only downside was that the hotel was on 6th and madison…up on a hill.  so every night (after long, long days), we had to walk uphill.  we didn’t mind this too much since we were trying to get a lot of steps in with our new fitbits! the hotel looks older on the the outside but relatively renovated on the inside.  great lobby.  one thing to note is that the concierge lounge has very different hours and is not open on certain days.  overall, really liked this hotel and would definitely recommend this. on the tail leg of our trip (after we got back from vancouver), we stayed at the courtyard marriott because it was less than a mile away from the train station.  we ended up walking from the train station with our luggage since the cab line was horrendous. this hotel is older… a lot older and undergoing renovations.  rooms were on the smaller side.  no concierge lounge.

things to do:

  • centurylink field – go see a seahawks game! we loved it.
  • gasworks park – beautiful view of lake union and all of downtown from the top of the hill (grassy hills reminded us of lord of the rings.  but the old gas plant reminded the guys of a map in call of duty). it was suggested that we go to paseo, get a sandwich and walk to this park to enjoy it on the hill.  better idea is take a cab/uber/lyft to paseo ($12-15), eat it there or close by and then walk to gasworks park since it is a good 17-20 min walk from the sandwich shop.  you will run into the troll under the bridge!
  • troll – under bridge in fremont. ask any taxi, uber, or lyft driver.  fyi – on our way from paseo to gasworks park, we passed the troll! since we didnt know this, we got to see it 2x.
  • pike place market – where we got chowder and a piroshky.  fish market where they throw the fish.
  • seattle center/space needle – we went to see this but when we saw the lines… we opted not to go up.  instead, we just took photos of it.
  • chihuly exhibit – $18 admission.  glass art (featured in the lobby of bellagio) small exhibit.
  • r.e.i. flagship store – it was a little bit of a trek but worth it!
  • seattle art museum (SAM) – we wanted to go here but did not make it.
  • ballard farmer’s market (on sundays only) – if you like donuts, find the vendor who makes fresh mini donuts at the north end of the market
  • olympic sculpture garden
  • discovery park – if the weather is nice, take a long walk on the loop trail and see awesome views of puget sound
  • tons of beautiful hikes as close as 45 minutes outside of the city.  since we did not have a car, we couldn’t do this easily.  next time!

gaswords park:

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space needle.  there is a $2 monorail that takes you from westlake center (where the malls are) to space needle!

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rei flagship store! beautiful and rugged.  we ended up buying some rain jackets for the game.

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here are recommendations on what/where to eat (combination of our list with our friend, ezra’s list!).  we were only here for 5 days and knocked out 26 places (only 16 photographed and blogged)… pretty good, we think. can’t wait to go back to seattle and polish this list off!

places to eat for brunch:

  • top pot doughnuts: famous
  • dahlia bakery: donuts! get them here!
  • skillet diner: modernized take on american diner food …started out as a food truck, known for their bacon jam
  • café presse: french… this was ezra’s fav breakfast place.  the croquet madam in very good
  • barrio: mexican, big portions
  • tilth: local, organic food (kinda pricey for brunch but good…)
  • monsoon: vietnamese brunch (only on sundays)
  • tilicum place café: american brunch

places to eat for lunch:

  • paseo (cuban/carribbean sandwiches):  one of the most popular places in seattle…there are 2 locations in ballard and fremont and it’s cash only. there’s always a line so be prepared to wait… agreed that this was our favorite place in downtown seattle (ezra’s favorite place in all of seattle).
  • pike place market: mac & cheese at beecher’s, clam chowder at pike place chowder, pastries at le panier, piroshky at piroshky piroshky
  • tat’s deli: delicious sandwiches! kyle and i loved the pastrami sandwich.  amazing sauce.
  • salumi: famous italian cured sandwiches… long line… you must get here before they open… hole in the wall… thought this was just ok although very popular.
  • honeyhole: hot sandwiches
  • rain shadow meats: sandwiches in pioneer square
  • woody’s: wide selection of burgers… ezra’s fav burger place in seattle
  • marination ma kai: korean-hawaiian food with a nice view in west seattle
  • international district: this area has a lot of amazing hole in the wall asian places… thai food, vietnamese food, chinese dumplings, chinese bbq (bbq pork is amazing…. kau kau bbq)

places to eat for dinner (casual):

  • serious pie: good pizza! if you can, go to the one in south lake union (on westlake) since the downtown one is small.
  • skillet diner: same place mentioned above…good for dinner too
  • ezell’s fried chicken: really good fried chicken, take-out only.
  • maneki: 100 year old sushi place…really good and affordable. you have to make reservations though. always packed
  • tsukushinbo: small japanese place in international district… ezra’s favorite japanese place in seattle
  • samurai noodle: good japanese ramen. the one in capitol hill (on broadway) is much more spacious than the others.

not-so-casual (but not super-fancy)

  • dahlia lounge: delicious dinner!  one of our favorites.
  • walrus and the carpenter: great local oysters and small plates. located in ballard. doesn’t take reservations and there is usually a wait.
  • the whale wins: same owner as walrus .. good food
  • revel: korean fusion.. not bad
  • lark: small plates for sharing. lots of local, organic ingredients.
  • momiji: good sushi in capitol hill.
  • how to cook a wolf: italian located in queen anne…same owner/chef as tavolata and staple and fancy, which are also good.
  • tavolata: one of ezra’s favorite italian places. they have a good happy hour every day until 7pm…
  • sitka and spruce: small plates in capitol hill

ice cream:

  • molly moons: multiple locations

drinks/happy hour

  • rob roy: spicy mango drink is amazing!
  • elliot’s oyster house: go early!
  • tavern law
  • zig zag café
  • canon
  • artusi
  • list
  • hardrock café: roof top bar
  • yardhouse: the only place we could find who had thursday night football on!  relatively new location! awesome tvs!

coffee

  • starbucks – find one with a clover!
  • espresso vivace
  • caffe vita
  • stumptown

Seattle

late night

  • hot dog stands in capitol hill: these hot dogs were amazing!! they had cream cheese in it! i repeat. uh-mazing!
  • dick’s (multiple locations): old fashioned drive-in burger stand

bakeries

  • dahlia bakery: good bakery in belltown. good coconut cream pie, donuts, and éclair.
  • honore: if you’re in ballard, you should definitely go…best macarons in seattle.
  • fresh flours bakery: nice place to sit and take a tea/pastry break if you’re at the ballard farmer’s market.

honestly, i know this is a huge list and you probably will not be able to do everything on this list.  but still a good guide if you are spending some time in this beautiful city.  my main suggestion is just to walk everywhere you can.  this city is so charming!

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thanks seattle, for being awesome!

By |December 1st, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants, Seattle, Travel|0 Comments

Happy Hour @ List | Downtown Seattle, WA

List | Seattle

after hard rock café, we decided to mosey to another happy hour spot.  we ended up at list.  we heard/read that they had decent happy hour.

despite the weather being less than perfect (pretty chilly and about to rain), we decided to sit outside in the patio area for the natural light.  the dining/bar area is extremely dark.  lit mostly by candle light.  pretty romantic.  too bad none of us were feeling romantic at 5pm.

List | SeattleList | Seattle

so here is the deal with happy hour at list:  all items under their food list at 50%.  bottle of wine – $14.  pretty darn good.  happy hour for fridays are 4pm – 6:30pm.

we ordered a bottle of the red wine…because it was named “stella” it was obviously meant to be.  for small bites, we went with the calamari ($5) and the broccoli ($4) (oh you know, we light to keep a relatively balance diet. ha. ha.).

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  • happy hour food:  both calamari and broccoli dishes were ok.  nothing crazy gourmet about these two items.  the happy hour size is on the smaller side.  still, tastes pretty good when you’re drinking.  we enjoyed our wine… and for $14 a bottle? we enjoyed it even more.
  • ambience:  this place was pretty packed when we got there.  good thing we were the only crazy people who wanted to sit outside in the drizzle and freezing cold.
  • service: friendly staff.  attentive despite the crowds, which is always a plus.
  • overall: i’d come back here for happy hour for sure. to enjoy a bottle of wine.  we actually didn’t stay here very long since we were icicles after 45 minutes.  we asked our awesome waitress for other happy hour recommendations.  she guided us to a speakeasy close by (the speakeasy is called bathtub gin & co.  it’s in a pretty tight space.  drinks were just ok and expensive.  we thought it was eh).  i would recommend list as one many bars you should bar hop during happy hour in downtown seattle. $14 bottles of wine?  i would do that any day. fo sho.

List
2226 1st Ave
(between Bell St & Blanchard St)
Seattle, WA 98121
Neighborhood: Belltown

List on Urbanspoon

By |November 11th, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants, Seattle, Travel|1 Comment

Biscuit Bitch | Downtown Seattle, WA

Biscuit Bitch Seattle

we were excited to try out biscuit bitch and actually tried to come here twice! since it was closed the first time we tried, we had to trek through the rain to come here the second time. dedication.

Biscuit Bitch Seattle

here is the gigantic menu.  yep.  be ready to feel overwhelmed.  we ordered the smokin’ hot bitch.  biscuits, gravy, cheese, louisiana hot link, and jalapenos…all for $8.90!

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we got the medium cup of the seattle fog at the recommendation of our cashier. best decision ever.  earl grey with a splash of vanilla, soy milk and a slice of orange.  amazing!

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  • ambience:  eclectic.  there is a lot goin’ on in here. limited seating.
  • service:  cashier was uber friendly.  we owe it to him for the great seattle fog tea recommendation!
  • overall:  the biscuit was actually a little bit of a let down.  we thought the biscuit itself was going to blow us away.  it was just okay.  the gravy was on the bland side.  the link was great.  so if you asked me if it was worth the long walk in the rain and the long wait?  no, not really.  however, the seattle fog was amazing!  when i come here next time, that is what i will be ordering.

Biscuit Bitch (inside of Caffe Lieto)
1909 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
Neighborhood: Downtown

Biscuit Bitch at Caffe Lieto on Urbanspoon

By |November 5th, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants, Seattle, Travel|0 Comments
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