Tag Archives: washington

Tacoma Soup Picnic

We are in love with a Tacoma soup counter called Infinite Soups. It’s such good food, it’s hard not to lick the last traces of soup from the container. I imagine their soup is the perfect lunch for the downtown Tacoma worker. Since we don’t live or work close enough, we use every visit to Tacoma as an excuse to pick up some soup.

Since there is no seating, we use any dry day in Tacoma as an excuse for a soup picnic. Luckily, Wright Park is just up the street.

chipotle cream

They post their daily soup picks on Facebook (in creamy and non-creamy options that contain meat as well as vegetarian and vegan). There are so many choices it can be hard to choose, but they are generous with the samples.

We have never sampled a flavor we didn’t like.

potato green chile

Wright Park has been around since 1890.

white birch

It’s full of some of our favorite trees.

Late fall means naked trees showing off their woody skeletons, or in this case revealing giant seed pods, perhaps?

No 19th century park is complete without lions.

Or cannons.

strawberry rum ball & valhalla brownie

And if you need dessert, Corina Bakery is just around the corner.


Filed under fall, food

a little garden bounty

My wife may be a “master gardener” but we have a lot of room for improvement and learning in the gardening department. It’s our second year gardening in this yard, and our first year in our community garden plot, and we’ve learned a lot. While I may not be as obsessively photographing everything we eat, our big win is in eating nearly everything we’ve grown. Sometimes that seems like half the battle. Here’s a small taste of what we’ve been harvesting from the yard lately:

Everytime I look at fresh peas from our garden I hear Gordon Ramsay saying (in his nicer Master Chef voice), “THE MOST AMAZING FRESH PEAS!”

I’m pretty sure Ramsay would agree with me that those Chioggia beets are stunning.


Filed under garden


I’ve had regular people weekends off all summer, but I’ve now reached the part of my schedule where work overlaps the Saturday/Sunday weekends that Jess has off. Boo. We debated what to do with my last Sunday off. Tackle a project around the house? Do something really fun? We opted for the latter, and took a quickie road trip for the day.

Satsop Nuclear Power Plant, Satsop.

Don’t worry, moms, it was abandoned before it was ever used.

Kurt Cobain Riverfront Park, Aberdeen

I remarked on how the neighbors must hate having the park there, but turns out one of them made it happen.

Zelasko Park, Aberdeen

Chainsaw carvings and one of them a lumberjack? This combines some of my favorite Pacific-Northwesty things. We had to stop. The carvings have plaques that say “Louis Benanto Jr. 1971.” I couldn’t find a lot of information about them or the park online.

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

I cannot say enough good things about this gorgeous beach.

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

Where we saw lots of moss, elk, slugs, and billions of mosquitos.

What a spectacular day. Staycation for the win.

Want to see more photos? Yes, there are more. Full Flickr set here.


Filed under family

Long Beach, WA

Our interest in Long Beach comes from the proliferation of bumper stickers in this area championing Jake the Alligator Man. I will never forget when Krista and I started pointing them out to each other, each of us asking, “What is that, exactly? Is it a person? Is it a mermaid? Is it some kind of alligator person?”

Krista and I share an interest in weird, roadside Americana artifacts. So, we consult Roadside America, we do some creative google-ing, and we read the Weird State book series when we travel. It wasn’t long before we unraveled the mystery of those bumper stickers, read a little about Jake the Alligator Man, and put Marsh’s Free Museum on our “to see” list.

We almost didn’t go to Long Beach on our road trip due to time constraints and burn out. It’s just across the Astoria-Melger Bridge, up the Washington coast about 30 minutes from Astoria. I’m really glad we went the extra miles. It was one of the funniest places we visited, and now we can put Marsh’s Free Museum on our “saw it” list.

Jake in his Christmas Hat (Does he wear this year round?). It was really hard to photograph him in that glass case. You just have to believe us that he is a leathery, frightening sight to behold. A wide-eyed little girl asked her grandma, “Is it alive?”

Marsh’s Free Museum is a lot more than just Jake the Alligator Man, though. It’s a full roadside cabinet of all kinds of curiosities. We spent several dollars and over an hour exploring everything. It’s kind of like Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe in Seattle, but bigger, more jam-packed with older, weird stuff and Jake the Alligator Man.

The two-headed calf:

Antique fortune-telling machines:

The requisite shrunken head

The mandatory chainsaw carved sculptures

Totally weird coin-operated automaton scenes of execution:

Long Beach is also the home of the World’s Largest Frying Pan:

And the World’s Largest Squirting Clam:

Long Beach offers some serious tourist food, a multitude of pinball machines, and the town lays claim to the world’s longest driveable beach. We cannot verify that it’s the longest beach, but we can verify the pinball and free museum. If you’re in the area, Jake’s 75th Birthday is quickly approaching. You can attend the adult burlesque party or the family friendly party.


Filed under summer

in case you were wondering

Olympia. It’s a town people love or hate. When I try to explain to people why I love living here, I usually give some sort of generic answer about a town with character and not much traffic; where you can easily take a day trip to Seattle (1 hour) or Portland (2 hours) when you crave the city. Really, it’s tough to explain why I love Olympia because it is a million tiny, little things. I can show you two examples.

#1 There is an Olympia Pie Bakers Guild. Uh, hello? Awesome. They recently had a pie baking contest that was a benefit for the local food bank. For three cans of food or three dollars you could sample one of dozens of flavors of pie.

It was a sea of pie. This pie table was kind of magical. As people bought slices, the volunteers kept refilling it. And just when you thought you had enough pie, they would announce the winners in a new category and only then would they release the winning pie flavors. Genius.

How adorable is this kid who was one of the winners in the youth category?

They even had ribbons and locally made rolling pins in lieu of trophies. After the winner of each division was announced, they auctioned off the winning pie with proceeds going to the food bank. While my favorite pies were a vegan key lime pie and a strawberry rhubarb, the grand prize winner was, you guessed it, APPLE PIE. I have to admit, it was a gorgeous apple pie with an absolutely perfect lattice on top. And how much money do you think that pie brought in for the food bank? $160. Wow.

#2 Oly Piroshki.

Today was a family date at the new food cart we’ve been dying to try, and it didn’t disappoint. Olympia isn’t like the food cart mecca that is Portland. There are really only a few. So to have a food cart that is adorable and has vegetarian options is something special. Plus, we discovered piroshkis are a food none of us had ever tried before. Levi said we were all piroshki virgins.

We took photos next to the cute piroshki girl while we waited for them to fry up our order.

This sucker was stuffed with potato and onion. Yum.

This was unanimously voted as the winner. Feta and dill!

They are so popular they keep selling out of food, so we were lucky they had something left that we could eat for our late 3pm lunch.

Leave a comment

Filed under food

Celebrating our love

We did elope, but we wanted to have a party to celebrate our new marriage and share our love with our fantastic families! So, party we did. On October 10, 2008, we had an intimate get-together hosted by Deanna & Duane’s in their lovely home. Our beloved friends & family came from near and far – my Aunt Lynne held the record for miles traveled, all the way from New Jersey. It was catered by our friends, Jordan & Melanie, the Bearded Lady Catering Company. The feast was Southern-themed, vegan-friendly, and the food exceeded our wildest expectations!

For beer, we served two Fish Tale Brewery ales, a pale ale & an IPA obviously. These are delicious, organic beers made right here in Olympia, WA. They were even hand-delivered by one of our guests, Max. Thanks so much, Max! On one of my first trips to the PNW, I had a Fish Tale ale & knew that I could make do any place with brews like that.

We also had an organic 2006 chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon from Bonterra Vineyards, in Mendocino County. We drove past there on our epic roadtrip! Special thanks to Deanna, Krista’s mom, for her tireless efforts to pair the wines with the party, with help from Khalilah. For our toast with the family legacy toasting flutes, Deanna also picked out a delicious prosecoo del vento brut, from Puntoevirgola, which came to us through the PCC Natural Market.

The food was so delicious. Roasted brocolli with pecans & veggie bacon, served alongside fried tomatoes, served with buttermilk lime creme.

The vegan protein came in the form of spicy peach glazed seitan wings. I have eaten some delicious seitan hot wings in my time, but these were especially good. The texture was great & the glaze was finger-lickin’ good; these are the two most important elements in a good vegan wing. In the background you can see the delicious macaroni & cheese that stole my heart – I even told Krista in the middle of the party that I had to leave her for the mac & cheese. I was kidding, of course, but it really was that good. So much good cheese, covered in the most delicate buttery bread crumbs. I hope the whole roasted chicken with citrus and applewood smoked bacon was good — did you try it? Will you tell me if it was good? You can leave a comment on this entry. Don’t forget to tell us who you are.

We also had biscuits & southern cream gravy and braised greens (mustard greens & kale) -this was the same first meal we shared. There were mountains of mashed potatoes with garlic that were a crowd-pleaser. You can see much of this lovely spread as plated by Jennifer Birch in this picture. Jen is one of my dearest friends from Pittsburgh, who relocated to Seattle before me, over a year ago. You may recognize her as one of the witnesses from our wedding.

All the food was dished up family-style on a small buffet. Here’s a few shots of my mom & myself.

Oh! Dessert! For the non-vegan, nut-eating party-goers, Jordan & Melanie produced the most exquisite individual pecan pies, with whiskey caramel sauce and cinnamon whipped cream. I saw Levi sweet-talking someone into extra caramel sauce for his pie. He’s a smart kid; that stuff was delicious.

For the vegan (hi, jen!) / non-nut-eaters (hi, daddy!), we had an amazing chocolate cake with layers upon delicious layers and chocolate icing from Honey Bear Bakery in Lake Forest Park, WA. Holy crap, those bakers outdid themselves. I saw a lot of people sampling and exclaiming over this cake. It also doesn’t hurt that it was gorgeous. (Look in the background and you can see the tiny pecan pies being prepared for slaughter)

We had some thoughtful, touching, wonderful toasts with the sparkling prosecco. Thanks so much for everyone’s well wishes. By the end of the night, I felt like my heart was spilling over with an infinite well of love from all of our family and friends. I even cried multiple times over the cards and letters and sweet diorama. We both want to thank everyone so much for coming & being so sweet to us. Laughter, stories, and our hearts full of love – is there a better way to start our lives together? I can’t think of one.

I especially want to thank anyone who told embarrassing baby Jessica stories to Krista! Ha!

I know a lot of people took group photos, but we didn’t — I don’t have many of them, so if you can email me your best shots, you can send to me at skirtmuseum at gmail dot com. Thanks in advance!

Leave a comment

Filed under marriage, wedding