Out and About: Pizzeria Gabbiano

Pizzeria Gabbiano, Seattle

The brilliant minds behind Il Corvo have opened a second lunch spot once again making those of us with downtown lunch access the envy of our friends and neighbors. My #1 lil’ sissy Ratches met up with me so we could dig into more goodness. Slices are available by the pound allowing you to pick the size of your slice. The flavor combinations are super seasonal with a few old stand bys. We’re both big veggie fans so were drawn to the spring combinations but couldn’t resist a bit of super salty mortadella. Grab a few slices, take a seat at the long table and enjoy!

Lunch options

Lunch for two

Pizzeria Gabbiano, Seattle

Pizzeria Gabbiano is open for lunch weekdays in Pioneer Square.

Out and About: New Beach at Hedreen Gallery

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New Beach, Hedreen Gallery, Seattle

February is typically a rough month in Seattle. The grey starts to get to you and its just bloody rainy all. the. time. Somewhere on the internet I found out about this mini beach art installation at SU. What genius! You reserve a 5-60 minute appointment online and the space is completely yours. The floor is heated, there are soothing beach sounds, you are totally alone with your thoughts and your time. You enter through a vestibule where you can leave as many of your earthly possessions behind as you like. I am a total ninny so it didn’t even occur to me to take anything more than my shoes off. The creators are mum about how many people have gotten naked. The “beach” is a 10 ft by 10 ft drywall box with a sky-like ceiling and a floor made of stone laid in sand-colored grout.

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New Beach, Hedreen Gallery, Seattle

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New Beach, Hedreen Gallery, Seattle

Creators Graham Downing and Max Kraushaar call it “destination mediation”. I was mostly in the mood for someplace quiet that would make me turn off my phone. (I need that kind of enforced structure.) No idea what to do or any plan for my time I just laid down on the warm floor and ended up falling asleep. It was a blissful little cat nap. No dreams just warmth and solitude. I put my shoes back on and took my book to the bar. Relaxation at it’s finest.

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Happiest beach goer

New Beach is on display at Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery through February 14. Book your completely free reservation online.

Out and About: Little Uncle

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Little Uncle, Pioneer Square, Seattle

In a beautiful Christmas miracle, Siiri took the holiday week off and I talked her into meeting me for lunch while she was running errands. (It wasn’t that hard. We’re both pretty easy….ahem.) I rolled down the hill from my office and we converged at the delicious Little Uncle in Pioneer Square.

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Little Uncle, Seattle

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Dom yam wun sen, Little Uncle, Seattle

Their Pioneer Square location is part of a club of fabulous lunch-only places in downtown. We each order something warm and a bit spicy. The whole menu looks absolutely delicious and is everything your ketchup-based phad thai wants to be when it grows up. The cozy, subterranean space is ideal for lunch dates, platonic or romantic, but would also suit a solo diner with a book. It is the sort of place I was always hoping to find when I was traveling. You order at the counter before taking a seat with your Thai vocabulary card and engaging in all the catch-up. Champagne feels appropriately indulgent for the holiday week. Drinking at lunch is so delightfully subversive. Everything is insanely good and everything you want an impromptu lunch with your bestie to be: filling, celebratory, easy, and joyful.

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Action shot

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Holidazzzzzzzzzzzzzze

Little Uncle is open for lunch weekdays in Pioneer Square. Their Capitol Hill walk-up stand has a smaller menu but expanded hours.

Summer Honey-Do List: An Update

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Summer gardens in the ‘hood

This summer was AMAZING. I wrote in June that I “couldn’t wait to have a classically Northwest summer” and, oh baby, did I ever. Work was busy but full of new trainees and welcome happy hours and introducing new folks to the city. Evening and weekends were wall to wall awesome: weddings of beautiful friends, dinners out, visiting besties, insane produce everywhere, drinks on the patio, 9pm sunsets, everything outside and everything great. I’ve been on a hard campaign against early fall pushers this year. I’ve got one more week before I head off the the UK and I’m going to milk every last, sun drenched morsel out of this perfect summer.

Go sailing at least once a month in July, August, and September Uhhhhhh……mixed. I went sailing in July and September. I spent lots of time on boats in August but drinking a G&T while watching the sun set behind the Olympics isn’t exactly the same as nailing a sharp jibe. So, gentle reader, compromise at a B?

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July sailing with my dad

Eat fro yo I hilariously threw this one in as a total gimme and then spent the whole summer waiting for the new Menchie’s by my apartment to open. Kat and I finally tasted sweet fro yo success during a gigantic end of summer rainstorm. It wasn’t quite what I had imagined but delicious just the same.

Attend the Fremont Solstice Parade The people watching is always epic.

Perfect our house margarita recipe Mixed bag on this one. We did less workshopping of margarita recipes but had plenty of other delicious booze experiments this summer. I’m going to pat myself on the back for achieving the spirit of this goal.

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Eating beignets with my brother, July 2014

Get out of the city and go on a hike Total failure. Didn’t even attempt to plan this one. Sad face.

Go to an outdoor movie (or two) See above. 😦

Saturday morning outdoor yoga at the Sculpture Park This quickly become one of my favorite ways to welcome the weekend. The Sculpture Park is right on the water, 8 Limbs provides great instructors, and yoga in the outdoors is so awesome. Highly recommend.

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Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle

Take a beach day While I didn’t indulge in the full weekend beach afternoon I had envisioned when I made this goal, I did spent plenty of time sunning on Siiri’s downtown rooftop deck and running around on the beach. Smooshed together they totally achieve the same effect.

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Embracing summer

Grill as much as possible Patio Friday made sure of this!

Have a blast in Mexico in July! More fun than should be strictly legal.

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Mexico City, July 2014

Tune up my bike and go for a ride Big ol’ fail. Saddest face.

Attend my 10 year high school reunion (’04 sho!)

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Bonding with my old high school locker

Watch the sunset at the beach A good sunset makes a good day GREAT.

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Shilshole Marina, Seattle, August 2014

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Carkeek Park, Seattle

Bottom line: 9.66 out of 13 ain’t bad! I’d be the best hitting player in baseball!

S’mores Fest

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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!

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Ladies who beach.

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View from Carkeek Park

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Look at those goons

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Grilling peaches

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A kid and his first s’more

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Pretty sunsets are pretty

 

Out and About: Damn the Weather

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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.

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Padron peppers, Damn the Weather, Seattle

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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.

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Fried chicken skins, Damn the Weather, Seattle

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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.

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Tuna crudo, Damn the Weather, Seattle

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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.

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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.

Summer Honey-Do List

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Corfu, Greece | Summer 2013

Summer officially starts Saturday! After a touch of June-uary, the weather here has settled comfortably into it’s Northwest glory. While it makes Cube Life (TM) particularly painful, all that bountiful sun and sea makes Seattle the most beautiful city in the world. I spent most of last summer abroad so I can’t wait to have a classically Seattle summer.

  • Go sailing at least once a month in July, August, and September
  • Eat fro yo
  • Attend the Fremont Solstice Parade (this weekend!)
  • Perfect our house margarita recipe
  • Get out of the city and go on a hike
  • Go to an outdoor movie (or two)
  • Saturday morning outdoor yoga at the Sculpture Park
  • Take a beach day
  • Grill as much as possible
  • Have a blast in Mexico in July!
  • Tune up my bike and go for a ride
  • Attend my 10 year high school reunion (’04 sho!)
  • Watch the sunset at the beach

Who wants to come?

Out and About: The Bullitt Center

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The Bullitt Center, Seattle. Photo by Philip Tapang.

My office had the opportunity to tour the Bullitt Center, the greenest commercial building in the world, as part of an educational experience for trainees in the program I manage. The building was incredible; such thoughtfulness went into each choice. Gentle readers may be familiar with the LEED certification for green buildings, which ranks building practices based on environmental impact, the Bullitt Center is a generation beyond LEED. Built with the Living Building Challenge in mind, the Bullitt Center seeks to integrate the building into the community around it.

Living Buildings have strong transit access and exist in dense, walkable neighborhoods. All the materials for the building had to be locally sourced and free of red list materials that are dangerous to workers and neighbors. And finally, the buildings have to be beautiful. I found the Bullitt Center’s organic modern design aesthetic to be consistent with the neighborhood and Seattle’s view of itself.

The building was designed to be a net zero energy building. The roof is covered with solar panels that fuel all the electricity in the building and even puts energy back into the public grid. The holes in the roof are designed to collect rain water that is captured and treated for use in the building. But, by far, the composting toilets created the most discussion. Similar in concept to the outhouses folks may have used in national parks, the toilets use gravity to convey waste to tanks where the it is compacted and composted. The toilet is cleaned using two tablespoons of water after each use. Compare that to the 3.5 gallons of a traditional toilet or even the 1.5 gallons of a low flush toilet and the water savings are remarkable!

I’m so proud of my city for being a leader in sustainable development. The technology clears exists for humans to reduce their impact on the environment around us, it is only the political and structural will and that prevents us.

Bullitt Center exterior

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center roof

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center living proof

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center model

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center stairs

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center office floor plan

Photo by Philip Tapang.

Bullitt Center composting toilets

Composting toilets. Photo by Philip Tapang.

The Bullitt Center offers one-hour public tours several times a week. $5, reservations required.

Out and About: Il Corvo

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Il Corvo, Seattle

Hey, wanna go to Italy and eat lots of delicious food? Yeah, me too.  I don’t usually have dreams of pasta but when I do it’s a perfect mound of handmade noodles with a rich bolognese or a citrus-y shellfish or briny capers. Flavors that make your eyes roll back in your head and you try to figure out how fast you can walk off these carbs so you can eat more.

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Tagliarini with a toasted walnut pesto

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Corona bean salad with sage-parsley vinaigrette

Il Corvo is all of that and even better because it’s only open for lunch. You have to be part of the downtown crowd (or willing/able to take a long lunch hour) to experience the magic. And this cache allows it to maintain a certain neighborhood joint feel. There’s folks there on jury duty, city employees, law suits, and just assorted office milieu. When a perfect plate of pasta is the same price as an underwhelming sandwich, why would you go anywhere else?

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Perfect lunch date.

This is my new favorite lunch spot. It smells and tastes like Italy. I bet you’d like it too. Please though, promise me you’ll bring someone awesome? Don’t waste this lunch on some phone-it-in office lunch. Take your favorite co-worker. Woe your boss here before you ask for a promotion. Treat yourself after killing a presentation. This pasta deserves only the best vibes.

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House rules

Il Corvo is open for lunch Monday-Friday in downtown Seattle.

Out and About: Agrodolce

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Agrodolce, Fremont, Seattle

Real talk: I was browsing restaurants for a birthday dinner when I noticed that Agrodolce offered a bottomless mimosa at brunch. Don’t need to tell me twice. I barely had to coax my buddy N into going with me.

Extra real talk: once we got to brunch we realized we both had too many actual responsibilities to get day drunk in the middle of a perfectly good Saturday. Adulthood, man, it’s so weird. You can literally do whatever you want. They give you a little piece of personalized plastic that allows you to drive a two ton vehicle and provides proof that you can imbibe as many glasses of champagne as the nice server can legally bring you. But then you have to deal with the consequences. So freeing. So lame. I had one glass of champagne and went to the post office to buy stamps.

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Spring strata with arugula

The food is redonk. So so good. I came in hungry so our server suggested I try the strata over the fried soft boiled eggs but I’m coming back for those puppies for sure. I mean, it’s a soft boiled egg that’s been breaded and deep fried. Yes please forever. N had the mushroom omelette which was essentially an ode to the glorious marriage of yolk-y perfection and rich, earthy ‘shrooms.

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Agrodolce, Seattle

I know there are folks out there with mixed opinions of brunch. Standing in line with a bunch of under-caffeinated hipsters does sound like the first circle of hell (race you there, virtuous pagans). However, there is something particularly wonderful about someone else cooking a beautiful breakfast while you sip your coffee and laugh at squirrel jokes in the sunshine. If every brunch could be like that, I’d never cook before noon again.

Agrodolce is open daily for lunch and dinner plus weekend brunch in Fremont. Also, check out owner Maria Hines on Iron Chef.