This week

IMG_3049.JPG

Molly Moon’s, Capitol Hill, Seattle

Hey friends,

I haven’t been cooking much or generally do much that’s been blog worthy. Mostly these final, glorious days of August have been an attempt to squeeze every last drop out of summer. Typically, about this time, I start to feel pangs for fall. I catch myself staring at boots or giving a sidelong wink to my dutch oven. But not this year. Eff those guys. You’ll have your day(s). I’m in utter denial that it will ever be anything less than 75 degrees out, that I’ll have to close my windows at some point, or that I really should consider purchasing a new raincoat. That day is coming but it’s not here yet. No ma’am. Wait your turn.

READ

My buddy Jesse Hagopian on Ferguson’s school to prison (or death) pipeline. Against “date rape” nail polish in the words of Rebecca Solnit, “in an odd way it normalizes that a young woman out for the evening has to sort through young men to figure out who’s a violent felon who wants to cause her grievous bodily harm and who’s a potential boyfriend or fun adventure. Which is enough to make any young woman crazy.” Everything you know is a lie. My self-y, myself. Abortion access is a public health issue, a reproductive justice issue, and a life in 21st century America issue.

WATCH

Ripped from my gchats…and I should be more ashamed to admit that then I am. Jon Stewart on Fox News on Ferguson. Janelle Monae + Kimbra + Aretha = Friday gold.

LISTEN

Lauryn Hill on Ferguson. I saw Slyvan Esso on Tuesday and it was the sweatiest dance party to end all sweaty dance parties. Who is William Onyeabor?

Advertisements

S’mores Fest

IMG_2980

The spread

What do you do when your bestie/roommate/platonic life mate sends you Buzzfeed’s 39 S’Mores Hacks That Will Change Your Life? You take the hint.

As a huge fan of birthdays (a time of reflection and revelry) and a lover of all parties, I teamed up with the fearless Reuben to throw Kat a killer celebratory S’mores Fest. August in the Northwest is astounding so we had everyone meet up at Carkeek Park to enjoy the sunset over Puget Sound while grilling their sweet, sweet ‘mallows. People got creative! My personal favorite combo was grilled peach + marshmallow + nutella. Some sea salt dark chocolate made an appearance. Siiri blew our collective minds with her chocolate covered pepper bacon. The gluten free crowd was all about their GF chocolate chip cookies (giving the people what they want!).

I may be a lover of all parties but I’m head over heels obsessed with parties that come together quickly and cheaply. This spread would be easy to scale up or down and is infinitely customizable. (Please note: the Reese’s peanut butter cups are non-negotiable. You’ll thank me later.) Kiddos could be included with adult supervision. We indulged in a gorgeous mountain view but you could easily move this party into someone’s backyard. Heck, you could even make cast iron s’mores in your kitchen when it’s too cold to go outside. Hang out with your people already!

IMG_2988.JPG

Ladies who beach.

IMG_2982.JPG

View from Carkeek Park

IMG_2977

Look at those goons

IMG_2991.JPG

Grilling peaches

IMG_2990.JPG

A kid and his first s’more

IMG_2989.JPG

Pretty sunsets are pretty

 

Book Review: Men Explain Things To Me

IMG_2799.JPG

Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things To Me, Rebecca Solnit

I got mansplained while reading this book on the bus. I wish I were kidding. That is a real life thing that happened to me. He probably thought he was being friendly (don’t they all?) but he really didn’t like the title and thought it was too aggressive. “It’s a book of essays about feminism.” “Yeah, but why the title?” “Because sometimes men explain things to women that they don’t need explained to them.” The irony of our conversation, my contributions pushed through my teeth, was lost on him completely.

This book is excellent. This book is necessary. This book is a slim pamphlet of empowerment. It is a collection of essays dissecting violence against women, marriage equality, Virginia Woolf’s embrace of the unknowable, and that distinct and entitled power imbalance that leads to mansplaining. It feels like a challenge to read it in public. Nothing about sticking your nose in this book is shy or unassuming. You should do it anyway.

Just this week I found myself in that particularly modern predicament of arguing political ideas with a stranger over the internet. I have yet to recommend the experience but can’t seem to stay away. A stridently stubborn man had made some half-baked comments about street harassment to which I replied along with a treasure trove of smart, articulate, insightful women. Rather than concede the point, or even grant us the benefit of experience, he dug in deeper. If we, as feminists, can’t change everyone’s hearts and minds at least we can relish in the perverse joy of allowing someone to demonstrate exactly what kind of person they are.

 

Out and About: Damn the Weather

DTW interior

Damn the Weather, Seattle. Photo by Suzi Pratt via the Damn the Weather facebook page

Damn the Weather is my new favorite bar. There’s a lot to love: it’s a 17 minute walk from my office, the drinks are great, the menu rotates constantly, and the entire staff is delightful. Pioneer Square has been getting a lot of foodie buzz these last few months with several great, new places opening and Damn the Weather is a super sparkly jewel in that crown.

IMG_2889.JPG

Padron peppers, Damn the Weather, Seattle

IMG_2890.JPG

Zest and juice

Bryn Lumsden, the owner and subject of my aggressive friend dating, has a great Seattle pedigree and worked at Rob Roy for years before opening his own place. He recruited Eli Dahlin of Walrus and the Carpenter fame to run the excellent food program. Even some of my brothers old co-workers are slinging behind the bar. All the best people in one beautiful place. I’m about to move my cot in. I never want to leave.

IMG_2887.JPG

Fried chicken skins, Damn the Weather, Seattle

IMG_2711.JPG

Svenskarna, Damn the Weather, Seattle

The entire menu is super on point. There are dozens of truly great cocktail bars in this town. Heck, I can give you my top five by neighborhood and price point. Damn the Weather takes that creative and innovation standard and extends it to the kitchen. On my second trip, they had not one but two tuna specials based on tuna line caught that week on the Washington coast. Both were layered with fresh flavors that brought out the tender richness of the cuts of tuna in fantastically divergent ways. Siiri and I relished so deeply in the tuna belly tartare we were “forced” to order a second plate to get a photo. It’s that good.

IMG_2709.JPG

Tuna crudo, Damn the Weather, Seattle

IMG_2714.JPG

Tuna belly tartare, Damn the Weather, Seattle

Bryn is also very vocal about making his bar as approachable as possible. The very name, Damn the Weather, is a call to the fair denizens of the Emerald City to brave our wet, soggy weather and come have a drink at the bar. This summer has been glorious but this bar is built for the rain of November and the endless grey of February. The bar staff is killing it with tequila-, aquavit-, and gin-based coolers for summer. I can’t wait to see what they can do for me when we switch back to whiskey in the fall. The long oak bar calls out for something cozy from the kitchen that you eat while wearing your favorite sweater. It’s a bar for who Seattle truly is.

IMG_2336.JPG

A pair of vermouth specials, Damn the Weather, Seattle

Damn the Weather is open 4pm-2am seven glorious days a week in Pioneer Square. Non-Seattlites can follow their excellent instagram feed.

Cocktailing: Bourbon Slushies

Recipe: Bourbon Slush Punch from Smitten Kitchen

20140803-165043-60643297.jpg

Making summer better

Well folks, here’s your homework this weekend. Never fear it’s scary easy and insanely delicious. This summer has been a non-stop parade of everything amazing: sailing with my dad, working on my tan on Siiri’s rooftop deck, frolicking at the lake across the street from our house. I’m ready to embrace August like a warm, sweaty hug and never let summer go.

Kat and I have been hosting weekly Friday night BBQs lovingly dubbed Patio Friday. Originally conceived as a casual way to chill out with friends, they’ve also proven to be a great testing ground of all manner of booze experimenting. This blended punch is everything you think it’s going to be: cool, refreshing, really easy to drink, and a little cheeky.

20140803-165044-60644111.jpg

Prepping the slushie base

Did I mention it’s basically no work to bring together? We made a double batch (our first rodeo this is not) which meant about 10 minutes of squeezing fresh juice followed by two minutes of measuring and pouring iced tea and bourbon into a pitcher. That’s all your prep, folks. I had every intention of prepping the base the night before and was initially a little stressed when that didn’t happen. Not to fear, I assembled the base, did all the dishes, and retired to the patio before the first guest arrived. When you’re ready to drink you just blend the base with ice and serve.

20140803-165043-60643654.jpg

Such an attractive couple

I’m off to my ten year high school reunion this weekend. Facebook has taken much of the mystery and anticipation out these events. But no meet up would be complete without some amount of hand wringing. Pipers, see your beautiful faces Saturday! What are your plans for your late summer nights?

Mexico City: Coyoacan and Trotsky’s House

Coyoacan is magical and I was fully prepared to fall in love before I ever stepped off the metro. Located in southern Mexico City, it was home to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Trotsky while in exile, and many more artists and revolutionaries. The neighborhood has this great small town vibe. Lots of folks hanging out in sidewalk cafes, murals for political parties and government campaigns, and generally people just coming and going and saying hi to each other. Started off with a cappuccino at Cafe El Jarocho before walking down to the mercado to shop and admire all the fruits and vegetables. The houses are all brimming with personality; colorful doors, overflowing gardens, brightly colored walls. We took a tour of La Casa Azul, the house Frida Kahlo grew up in and then shared with Diego Rivera. Touring the homes of artists is so different than seeing their work in museums. Frida’s home seems like a particularly strong case for seeing work in the environment it was produced. Confided to bed rest or sick for large portions of her adult life, Frida painted in bed, decorated her body casts, and created murals in her kitchen, every part of the house is covered in art. The museum was showing a temporary exhibit of Frida’s clothing, Smoke and Mirrors: Frida Kahlo’s Dresses. After years in storage the exhibit did a particularly strong job incorporating Frida’s wardrobe into a narrative about her illness, struggle to accept her infertility, and strong Mexican identity.

The personal highlight of Coyoacan was visiting Leon Trotsky’s grave and home in exile. Trotsky has inspired me as a radical, thinker, and a writer. His introduction to the phenomenal History of the Russian Revolution continues to stand as one of the most inspiring pieces of political writing. Whatever you political leanings, it’s impossible to read his account of the solidarity and commitment that linked workers, soldiers, farmers, men, women in the struggle to overthrow the czar and not feel a deep swell of hope in the possibility of humanity. Visiting his grave, much like visiting Marx, was an opportunity, in some small way, to say thank you. We stand on the shoulders of giants.

20140801-120938-43778256.jpg

Coyoacan, Mexico City

20140801-120937-43777913.jpg

Coyoacan, Mexico City

20140801-120939-43779346.jpg

Mercado, Coyoacan, Mexico City

20140801-120938-43778617.jpg

Coyoacan, Mexico City

20140801-120938-43778979.jpg

Wall of beer, Coyoacan, Mexico City

20140801-122443-44683155.jpg

Leon Trotsky memorial, Mexico City

20140801-122442-44682802.jpg

Trotsky House garden, Mexico City

20140801-122442-44682443.jpg

Leon Trotsky mural, Coyoacan, Mexico City

20140801-122442-44682076.jpg

Street art, Coyoacan, Mexico City

20140804-095852-35932438.jpg

Coyoacan, Mexico City

 

PS. I’ve already picked out my rental for my next visit. Tequila tasting on the deck, anyone?

Mexico City: Around the City

After exploring Guanajuato, we headed south to Mexico City for six days. I converted Jorge to the glory of apartment rentals and we stayed in some sweet digs a few blocks away from the Zocalo. (Side note: AirBnB forever! The Mexico City listings are insane.) The first thing that strikes you about Mexico City is it’s sheer size. 15 million people call it home and sometimes it feels like every single one of them is in your subway car with you. It’s big and dirty and loud and lively and full of art with amazing people watching.

During the day we would walk around, checking out museums and admiring all the Riveria murals inside government buildings. Summer is the rainy season so at some point in the afternoon or evening a torrential downpour would unleash and suddenly you’re trying to get home as quickly as possible under your collapsible umbrella (RIP Kat’s purple umbrella. I’m sorry I left you in a cab). The days revolved around eating as they always do on vacation but Mexico City, and Mexico in general, is a special kind of foodie heaven. Everything is delicious. The bad restaurants are merely good. So each night was a tightrope walk of eating as much as possible without feeling uncomfortably full. We both failed a few times. One of the highlights was the lucha match we attended. The entire stadium was packed. Young, old, men, women. Everyone was cheering for bigger than life personalities swaddled in colorful spandex. The little boy, approximately age eight, that sat in front of us responded to the match as if the fate of the world rested on the result. He worshiped his heroes, despised his enemies. That kind of loyalty is admirable.

20140730-163358-59638783.jpg

Catedral Metropolitana, Mexico City

20140731-094302-34982059.jpg

Mexico City

20140730-163359-59639860.jpg

Palacio Nacional de Mexico, Mexico City

20140730-163400-59640220.jpg

Secretary of Public Education Offices, Mexico City

20140730-163400-59640915.jpg

“History of Justice in Mexico” mural by Rafael Cauduro, Supreme Court of Mexico, Mexico City

20140730-163359-59639510.jpg

“Class Struggle” mural by Diego Rivera, Palacio Nacional de Mexico, Mexico City

20140730-163359-59639156.jpg

Mexico City

20140731-094303-34983321.jpg

Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City

20140731-094301-34981665.jpg

Interior courtyard of our rental apartment, Mexico City

20140731-094302-34982590.jpg

Mezcal fizz at Artemisia, Roma Norte, Mexico City

20140731-094303-34983688.jpg

Gin Gin, Condesa, Mexico City

20140731-094304-34984108.jpg

Gin Gin, Condesa, Mexico City