Tag Archives: seattle

Autumnal Cupcakes!

We have mentioned how much we love Cupcake Royale, and you know we’re crazy about pumpkin. So when you combine the two, we suddenly find an irresistible reason to drive to Seattle. Behold! Pumpkin cardamom cupcakes!

Pumpkin goes well with all the spices you find in pumpkin pie, but it wasn’t just cinnamon, allspice and clove. The cardamom elevates this cupcake to another level. I’ve eaten a lot of pumpkin-flavored baked goods, and this was an especially tender and delicious morsel.

Oh, but that’s not all. Cupcake Royale must have been struck by a lightning bolt of genius recently. They have a tiramisu cupcake that can be ordered affogato. The traditional affogato is a scoop of vanilla ice cream with espresso poured over it. We’ve been affogato fans for quite some time. However, Cupcake Royale takes a delicious tiramisu cupcake and drowns it in espresso.

From the moment I heard about the cupcake affogato, I thought it sounded like a good idea. It’s hard to explain how much of a very, very good idea this is. The cupcake soaks up the espresso like a ladyfinger. The icing is mascarpone mixed with Stumptown coffee – a great companion for the coffee-soaked cake. So, basically, there’s nothing about this cupcake that isn’t awesome.

These cupcakes make me want to wear a plaid scarf and my favorite legwarmers while I walk through a big pile of autumn leaves.

xoxo,
Jess

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Filed under fall, food

a little bit of Tacoma & Seattle street art

Since we would travel quite a distance to see some good bigfoot art, it seemed poetic that we took a wrong turn when we were in Tacoma the other day and accidentally found him on M St. off South Tacoma Way.

Bigfoot really only makes a cameo appearance in this mural. The real stars are the goats. Goats in neck ties. Goats playing guitar.


Goats pedaling hard up the hill. I love the stenciled background patterns that were used.


And goats reading The News Tribune.

Turns out this mural on South M Street is part of something called the Tacoma Community Based Mural Program. They are letting artists go to town on walls that are frequently tagged. This particular mural was inspired by the working goats who helped clean up Billy Goat Hill. Goats rule. Just don’t tell Jess because I’ve said “no” to goats in our little backyard. Sure, someday if we live on a bigger piece of land I’ll consider it. For now, we have our hands full.

The goat mural was just the beginning of incredible art we came across that day. There was the wall of killer confections at the CakeSpy shop in Seattle.

Well, of course the entire store was full of wonderful things. And then nearby on Pine St. we found this beauty:


Click here to see it big.

Don’t miss the chicken.

These artists are speaking our language, right?

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Seattle community garden with a side of Americana

While we were wandering around Seattle in search of a little roadside Americana, we found two of our favorite things together in one place – a community garden with a backdrop of a roadside relic that has been refurbished.

We went to Oxbow Park to see the old Hat ‘n’ Boots that used to be part of a Western-themed gas station built in the 1950s. I was struck by the beauty of plants growing with the towering hat and boots nearby.

I would love to have something like this around here, but I don’t envy the wait-lists and smaller plot sizes Seattle community gardeners must face.


tomatoes, hat, boots

I also saw my very first artichoke flower.

Kind of a shame not to eat something so delicious, but at least this honey bee got a crack at it.

We soaked up the sun.

I turned 35 this weekend, and can’t recall ever having a birthday so hot. Over 90 degrees in the northwest in September. We’re enjoying it while we can! For more photos from our visit to Oxbow Park, click here.

– Krista

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half of an epic celebratory weekend

Once upon a time this blog was about how we ran off to Canada and eloped. Wednesday will mark three years since that happened.


three years married!

We also have Jess’ birthday to celebrate the day before, so we usually try to make a fabulous weekend of it. Last year we took a road trip on the coast. This year we kind of casually picked a few things that sounded fun without a ton of planning and somehow managed to have the best weekend I can remember.

Since we made reservations for an eight course vegetarian dinner at Tilth in Seattle, I proposed a lunch of nothing but milkshakes and Jess obliged.

We simultaneously came up with the genius idea of trying a salted caramel milkshake at Molly Moon, because that is how our marriage seems to work. And you guys, holy crap.

I have since decided that this will be my birthday present to myself come September, as well as my last meal if I ever get the death penalty. I know salted caramel was on trend like five years ago, but it will never stop being amazing. Salty + sweet = true love forever. I probably won’t need a salted caramel cupcake again because this exists.

We people and boat watched at Gas Works Park, where even the garbage on the ground was romantic.

Then on to Tilth where we planned to go all out and get the Grand Eight Course Vegetarian Tasting Menu. To our surprise there was also an amuse-bouche, so it was more like nine courses plus cocktails and the house made sodas I just had to try.

I won’t bore you with 12 pictures of our dinner, especially since we sat inside so the photos are lighting-challenged. How about some highlights:

the most perfect shot of asparagus soup and a slice of heirloom tomato with preserved lemon and basil

a porcini flan and grilled cauliflower with pickled garlic and truffle oil

sasparilla and rhubarb-ginger soda, served with classy giant ice cubes!

strawberry-rhubarb shortcake with chantilly cream

Everything was so fresh and flavorful and delicious, we ran out of compliments to tell the waitress when she checked on us during each course. And we enjoyed the fanciness of it all. I was overly amused by Jess’ napkin getting refolded for her while she was in the powder room. One time while she was gone the maitre d’ and the waitress each folded it for her. Awesome.

Then we had a gorgeous sunset drive through Seattle before heading off to downtown Tacoma for alchemy drinks at this place we’ve been meaning to try for ages.

1022 South is named after it’s address on J Street in downtown Tacoma. One part old apothecary, one part classy bar, they make fancy cocktails with homemade bitters and botanical infusions.

This was just round one: cherry shrub – rum, tarragon, amaro, cherry balsamic shrub and drunken boat – blackstrap rum, ginger liqueur, house made ginger beer, flamed angostura bitters

I wish I had a video of my drink on fire. Everything tasted amazing, and it lit a fire under us to experiment more with homemade syrups and even shrubs (apparently and aged fruit syrup).

After drinks we ate a caprese plate of tomato, basil, fresh mozarella and balsamic reduction and drank tons of complimentary cucumber water to sober up before driving back to Olympia. I can’t imagine anything more indulgent, but this was just DAY ONE.

More tomorrow, if you can handle it.

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Plant Sale Season Begins

Last weekend we went to the Seattle Tilth Plant Sale – early edibles for early gardens. Since I’m woefully behind on my seed-starting this year, I needed this sale. I still have time to start my tomatoes, but my coles and alliums are long overdue. Since I am behind on everything right now, I was late enough to the plant sale to get my plants 50% off! Usually running behind schedule doesn’t help me, but this time it did.

I brought the muscles to carry our new plants. He was actually carrying everything at one point (two hardy kiwis, black huckleberries, and a tray of herbs & veggies). I started to get worried about the plants and relieved him of some of his obligations. He was equitably compensated with organic soda. Can you tell he was so happy to be at the plant sale?

And since we were in Seattle for just a minute, we stopped at Cafe Besalu in Ballard. I read about a cardamom pretzel on Grow & Resist and I literally could not stop obsessing over the idea of a cardamom pretzel. It was amazing. I would like to make them at home, but I have a hard time using that much butter in one recipe. Levi had an apple danish, but it disappeared before I could photograph it.

So, thanks to Seattle Tilth we have some new plants for the garden, we got to eat buttery bakery treats and we listened to several hours of audio book in the bright sunny Seattle weekend traffic. Not a bad way to start spring.

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2011 Northwest Flower & Garden Show

The snow in Olympia last week was hard on me, so over the weekend I made my annual pilgrimage to the largest garden show west of the Mississippi: the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

This is a crucial part of my wintertime mental health. Here in the PNW, we don’t specialize in the “glowing orb in the sky,” but when you walk into the NWFGS and the wall of smells hits you – thousands of flowers in bloom, dirt, enthusiasm, money running like water – winter melts away. It’s good for your heart to see so many beautiful plants in one place, even if it’s not great for your budget to impulsively buy too many and bring them home. The display gardens were amazing. I saw some great people talk about growing things.

This year was a personal triumph for three main reasons:

1. I took the light rail for 1/3 of my trip. I avoided all the stress, cost and drama of parking in downtown Seattle and I read an entire book. It was so awesome, I may never drive to Seattle again. A+
2. I had a shopping list for the plant market at NWFGS so I didn’t make any crazy purchases. I knew what I was buying, I was able to pack the right number of sturdy cloth bags. And Raintree didn’t have any filberts, so I spent the extra money on a new garden tool. A+
3. I packed food for the day. The Seattle convention center has veggie burgers, but the price & nutritional value are never where I’d like them. An organic Minneola tangelo is more exciting. It makes me so happy to have good food when I’m braving Weather and Crowds. A+
Verdict: I win at NWFGS 2011.

The show’s theme this year was “Once Upon a Time…”, so many of the gardens leaned toward fairy tale / fantasy themes: Rapunzel, Alice in Wonderland, Three Little Pigs, The old woman who lived in a shoe, etc. Some of the gardens were not so literal about the theme, and that’s alright by me too.

The first fairy tale I spotted was the Rapunzel vertical garden. Rapunzel, her hair and her prince are all made from plants. This is one of the coolest vertical gardens I’ve seen in person.

Suburu called their garden, “Paul Bunyan Gets a Conscience.” I guess Mr. Bunyan is reconsidering the sustainability of his ways.

This is from the Wrinkle in Time display garden. I don’t understand it at all, but I do love a Wrinkle in Time. This garden won the Founders Cup (which is the plant show version of Best in Show).

One of my favorite themed gardens was the Alice in Wonderland garden by Zsofia Pasztor from Innovative Landscape Technologies. I mention the creator because the same company created my favorite planted vertical garden at the NW Flower & Garden Show in 2010 (photo here). The Alice garden had sculptural elements, a ginormous staghorn fern suspended overhead, pink plastic flamingos & a live white rabbit. I heard some woman call the bunny “a little dog” but I can verify it was actually a rabbit. With the scale, the colors, textures and sculptures, I really felt like I was in wonderland in this garden. And now I want a completely impractical large “drink me” vessel for my yard.

Hopefully I will find some time this week to talk about what else? The on-trend topics of vertical gardening, container gardening, city farming, edible gardening, succulents and other plant-related stuff I collected at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

Here’s our 2010 NWFGS coverage: general info here, vertical gardening here and cold frames here.

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Crazy Flipper Fingers

In the International District of Seattle, there is a new museum to visit: The Seattle Pinball Museum! The Seattle Pinball Museum is part of the Storefronts Seattle initiative to revitalize that area. They get a three-month, rent-free storefront and try to make a go of it. We visited a few weeks ago.

It’s a pinball museum, so there are games through the ages, but it’s not a normal museum. It’s totally interactive! You can play all of the games. The oldest game in the museum is ‘Bumper,’ made by Bally 1936. You have to physically bump the table to move the ball around and score points. Despite my devotion and love for the game, I am a notably bad pinball player, but this was the worst I’ve ever scored. I’m surprised they kept making pinball games, because the Bumper is just too dang hard.

You can move through the evolution of the pinball game, seeing how certain features and game theories gained or lost popularity through time. There are some fine examples of the fantastic 1960s and 1970s games from the mass popularity era of pinball, and some newer machines with digital score screens, complicated ramps and goals. All of the machines are set on Free Play mode, and for your $5 admission fee, you can play as long as your supple wrists and flipper fingers can hold up. They even have an unlimited juke box with some truly stellar music so you can dj your own SPM experience. I want to share with you some of our faves, but this is only a fraction of what they have. I think this is the largest public collection of pinball machines in the Pacific Northwest. The machines are well maintained, too, so you can’t blame all your shortcomings on some worn out rubber bumpers.

Funland was like a pinball trip to an amusement park. It’s a 1968 Gottlieb machine with a unique spinner in the middle. I was really addicted to this game because the girl in the mod white dress with knee-high boots and a rifle is, well, kind of adorable.

This Wagon Train game is a 1960 Gottlieb. It’s like, if Oregon Trail were a pinball game except slightly more racist. Despite the baggage, the game is really fun. Where most pinball games have a painted or laminate game board, this one has a lot of visible wood in the background. It’s pretty.

Elton John Pinball was unfortunately out-of-order when we visited, but maybe next time? I heard that this game is in trivial pursuit.

My all-time favorite machine was the 1979 Bally Future Spa.

The future spa is a sort of fitness/sci-fi themed game, with lots of weight lifting and aerobics aesthetics. It’s a wide body machine with continuous background sound. I probably played at least 40 games on this machine in one single visit to the SPM. I couldn’t get enough.


Look how happy the future spa makes me! Deliriously happy. Filled with JOY! How much does one of these cost? I need one!!

For more info, check out the SPM facebook page. There’s a bubble tea place on the corner (Gossip) who will let you use their bathroom if you buy something. Bubble tea is almost the perfect fuel for hours of pinball, we discovered. Anyway, I highly recommend visiting the SPM. Since they don’t have their own permanent space, I’m not sure how long they will be around and unlimited pinball on historic machines is basically a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Despite the residual arm soreness from button mashing, this was epic. I have loved a lot of museums in my day (example: this photo of me at the Barbed Wire Museum in McLean,TX) but this might be my all-time fave. Walk, don’t run.

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