Sunday, January 20, 2013

Silver Spoon Tahi Restaurant - Restaurant Review

Joel and I meet up with my dad, sister Julie, sister Jackie and her husband Chris at the Lynnwood Barnes and Noble for some book shopping last night. Dad had a couple gift cards he needed to use and my sisters and I love to read, so we were game for a trip to the book store.

After loading up on lots of new books, we headed over to Silver Spoon Thai Restaurant for some dinner. I was surprised at how nice it was inside, this was no ordinary Thai restaurant. They had a floor to ceiling fish tank full of all kinds of fish and a grand piano in the dinning area.

Silver Spoon Thai Restaurant & Bar
This very cool fish tank made a statement as you entered the dinning area.
The decor was very modern and the live piano music made it feel very fancy.
It was about 4:40pm when we arrived, so our party of six was quickly shown to our table. We quickly started the discussion of what appetizers to order, all that book shopping had made us all pretty hungry. It was quickly narrowed down to the Crab Delight and the Tod Mun, which I had never had before. The Crab Delight was pretty good, but not the best I have had. The Tod Mun, on the other hand, was pretty fantastic. I would order this again, for sure!

Crab Delight
Deep-fried wonton wrap stuffed with fresh crab meat
and cream cheese, served with sweet and spicy plum sauce.
Tod Mun
Spicy fish cake made with red curry paste, green bean
& kaffir lime leaf & deep fried served with cucumber dipping sauce.
I had a really hard time deciding what to order, no big surprise there, but I finally decided to stick with an all time favorite, Phad Thai. Why mess with a good thing right? Joel decided to order the Pad Se Ew, one of his favorite Thai dishes. I believe it was our third date when I introduced him to this marvelous dish. We both really liked our dinner and thought they were delicious. Joel felt his meal had the right amount of spice - I could tell by the sweat on his forehead it was too much for me!

Phad Thai
Thai rice noodles with bean sprouts, green onion,
and egg stir-fried in Phad Thai sauce and sprinkled with ground peanuts.
Phad See-Ew
Wide rice noodles with broccoli and egg stir-fried in sweet soy sauce.
Everyone was happy with their dishes and really liked the restaurant. I think we will be visiting the Silver Spoon again!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekend Recap

It was a busy and disappointing weekend for us. Friday night was pretty normal; a quick dinner, a trip to the gym, and some television watching. Saturday started off pretty busy for me. I was up and in the gym by 7:00am so I could fit in a workout before my appointment in Seattle at 10:00am. When I got home around 11:00, Joel and I worked on sorting out the final details for a couple of trips are taking this year. Over Easter weekend, we are heading to the Pacific coast for a little rest and relaxation with Jackie and Chris. We booked our vacation home and are looking forward to getting away at the shore.

Joel and I also worked out the final details for our trip to Arkansas this June. Joel's dad's side of the family is planning a big reunion in Hot Springs, Arkansas and we are excited to be going. I haven't met anyone from this side of Joel's family but have received many thoughtful wedding gifts and Christmas cards from so many of them. Although I am not very excited about visiting Arkansas in late June (historic average temperature is 90* with high humidity). Joel's parents and his sister's family will also be making the trip to the Odell Family Reunion, so at least I already know six people there!

Joel and I decided to plan a couple days after the reunion to explore the Ozark Mountains of Northwestern Arkansas and get some alone time after the craziness of the reunion. We are planning to stay three days in Eureka Springs before heading home. We have plans to visit underground caves, see the largest underground lake in the nation, go on a few hikes in the beautiful Ozarks, and maybe take a quick trip to Fort Smith. We will be doing a lot of driving on this trip, so I am starting to make my list of books to put on my Kindle, so I will be entertained during the several six hour drives.

Sunday we went down to Anna & Robert's house to watch the Seahawks take on the Falcons in Atlanta. The game started off rocky but it didn't take too long for the Hawks to make a come back. Wilson threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, doing all he could to pull off the most improbable of comebacks for the Seahawks (12-6).  Just when we thought we had the game in the bag, the Falcons went for a field goal and took the win, 30-28. It was so disappointing and heart breaking! As Robert put it, "His Sea Heart is broken!" What an end to an amazing season! Even through the game didn't go the way we were hoping, we had a good time watching with Anna, Robert, Jeremy, Jerome, John, and Jennifer (aside from the hosts, you had to have a J-name to receive an invite - ha!).

Now it is time to make my lunches for the week, get some laundry done, and get ready for another busy work week! We hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Life as a Washingtonian

My sister Julie posted this list on Facebook and I thought it was pretty funny. Here is Jeff Foxworthy's opinion of Living in Washington (with my commentary):
  1. If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you live in Washington.  This has never actually happened to me.
  2. If you've worn shorts, sandals and a parka at the same time, you live in Washington. I don't own a parka, but I have worn shorts, sandals and a light rain jacket before.
  3. If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed the wrong number, you live in Washington. This has happened to me, but it was my mom. She meant to call one of my sisters, but called me instead. We chatted for a while and then she called my sister. I don't think that really counts...
  4. If you measure distance in hours, you live in Washington. I think I do this one, not too many people have heard of my hometown or where I currently live, so I go with the two hours north of Seattle or right at the top of Lake Washington descriptions.
  5. If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you live in Washington. I have actually never hit a deer and the first person I can think of that has hit a deer lives in Maryland.
  6. If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' and back again in the same day, you live in Washington. I haven't actually done this myself, but I have felt like doing it before!
  7. If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in Central, Southern or Eastern Washington. I'm not sure this is physically possible, but I do agree, you learn how to drive in the snow here!
  8. If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over 2 layers of clothes or under a raincoat, you live in Washington. Or you just grow a backbone and freeze to death so you can keep looking cute in your Halloween costume!
  9. If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow and ice, you live in Washington. It is true, our roads are terrible! Check out this Seattle Times article, if you don't agree!
  10. If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction, you live in Washington. I don't know, I think we have summer, fall and spring... but then again I have lived in Washington since I was five. I do agree that road construction is year long season!
  11. If you feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash, you live in Washington. Yes! I do feel guilty if I don't recycle! Now I am starting to feel guilty when I don't put my peels in the yard waste bin!
  12. If you know more than 10 ways to order coffee, you live in Washington. I don't see a problem with this one, there is nothing wrong with knowing how you like your coffee!
  13. If you know more people who own boats than air conditioners, you live in Washington. Ha ha ha - This one is true for me too!
  14. If you stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the "Walk" signal, you live in Washington. I never jay-walk. It drives Joel crazy, but I am certain the first time I do, it will result in a jay-walk ticket - just watch!
  15. If you consider that if it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it is not a real mountain, you live in Washington. Isn't that called a big hill...
  16. If you can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best, and Tully's, you live in Washington. Not that any of these options is the best coffee ever, but I can tell a difference.
  17. If you know the difference between Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon, you live in Washington. My goodness this one is easy!
  18. If you know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup , Abiqua, Issaquah, Snoqualamie, Wenatchee , Spokane , Umpqua, Yakima and Willamette, and Puyallup you live in Washington. It is so fun to make my grandparents, who are from the Washington DC area, pronounce these names; they get all tongue-twisted! But to be fair, try to pronounce some of the east coast Indian names!
  19. If you consider swimming an indoor sport, you live in Washington. What! This one isn't fair! The Summer Olympic swimming races are held indoors, for crying out loud.
  20. If you can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Thai food, you live in Washington. Well, I am sure this applies to more than just Washingtonians.
  21. If you never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho, you live in Washington. Well, that is just being prepared for emergencies! Goodness....
  22. If you have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain, you live in Washington. How about trails at a local park... come on, I was ten!
  23. If you think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists, you live in Washington. Ha! I have heard this one before and it seems to be accurate, but to be fair, I do own an umbrella and I do use it.
  24. If you buy new sunglasses every year because you cannot find the old ones after such a long time, you live in Washington. I do buy new sunglasses each year, but it is mostly due to the fact that I break them, loose them, or just want new ones!
  25. If you actually understand these jokes and forward them to all your Washington friends, you live or have lived in Washington. Well, I guess by posting this list on my blog, I just became guilty of passing it along to all my friends - oh well!
I love being a Washingtonian and can't imagine living anywhere else! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Seahawks vs Redskins

Joel and I knew there was only place we wanted to watch the Seahawks take on the Redskins; with Anna and Robert. We joined up with a few other friends at The Birch's house in Puyallup on Sunday to watch the big game.

It is always fun to watch football at Anna and Robert's house because there is always good food, lots of beer, and insightful, if not humorous, conversation! Between Jeremy, Travis, Robert, Jerome, Joel, Amber (the girl and the dog), Patrick, and myself there was nothing but die hard Hawks fans in the room.

Even Amber was cheering on the Hawks from her bed.
Anna knows how to make some good wieners!
Jeremy, Joel, and Jerome enjoying the half-time food.
Travis, Robert and Anna getting fueled up for the second half.
Every time the Hawks scored we all took a Dr. McGillicuddy's shot.
Travis is always educational and informative regarding the game.
RG3's injury replays were very upsetting to Anna, "why do they keep showing it!"
Another Hawks Win!
Amber (the dog), Amber (the girl), Patrick, Travis, Robert, Anna, Jeremy, Me, and Joel
Even though the first half was a bit rough to watch, the Hawks managed to pull it together in the second half and take home the 24-14 victory over the Redskins.

Here we come Atlanta, are you ready for the 12th Man? Hawk Yeah!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Skagit River Brewery - Restaurant Review

In anticipation of the James Family Camping Trip coming up this summer, Jackie, Chris, Joel and I drove up to the Bayview State Park on Saturday to scout out the perfect campsite. We decided to go early in the morning, so we would be able to eat lunch at the Skagit River Brewery on our way back down south.

Joel and I stumbled across this restaurant when we were driving home from a weekend spent on the San Juan Islands. We shared our discovery with Jackie and Chris on our way home from Chris's birthday weekend in Friday Harbor. We really enjoy the good food, great beer, and convenient location, making it a favorite stop when we are in the neighborhood.

Chris ordered a glass of the house made root beer and I decided to copy him. It was very good root beer!  They make in-house and the flavors are so crisp and unique!

It was so good that I forgot to get a picture before I drank half of it!
I had trouble deciding what to order, but the waitress highly recommended the home style pot pie, so I decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did because it was delicious! A creamy mix of oven roasted chicken & fresh vegetables topped with a flaky crust served bubbling hot right out of the wood fired oven, this pot pie was to die for!

My chicken pot pie
Joel ordered the Big River BBQ Pizza:
Roasted chicken & red onion with the house made BBQ sauce & melted cheddar-jack cheese.
Chris ordered the Caboose Burger:
Wood fired ground chuck patty with cheddar & Swiss cheeses, bacon, onion straws & drizzled with BBQ sauce.
Served on a toasted Kaiser bun with mayo, lettuce, tomato & pickles.
Jackie ordered the Skillet Shepherds Pie:
A savory stew of lamb, carrots, mushrooms, & peas in a slow simmered red wine demi then topped with garlic mashed potatoes & baked in a skillet in the wood fired oven.
We didn't order any beer on this visit,but we do love their beers. They use Yakima Valley hops and northwest grown barely and grains. All these fine ingredients combine to make some of the best locally brewed beers you can drink. I am sure that if we lived up north, we would be eating here a lot! We love this place and look forward to our next visit.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mayuri - Restaurant Review

I decided that I didn't feel like figuring out what we would have for dinner tonight, so I sent Joel a text letting him know that we were eating out or he was picking something up on his way home from work. Joel decided we were going out to eat, so we decided to try an Indian restaurant about four miles from our house. Once we arrived at Mayuri, we were seated right away and it wasn't long before I had a Taj Mahal beer in hand.

We decided to start with the vegetable samosas which are two deep fried pastries with mildly spiced potatoes & peas. Joel really liked what I ordered at Masala of India, so he decided to order the chicken korma which is chicken cooked in yogurt, coconut and spices. I settled on the butter chicken; chicken cooked in butter sauce. We decided to share an order of garlic naan, bread baked in the tandoori oven, topped with fresh garlic, because you always get naan when you eat Indian food!

Vegetable Samosas
Garlic Naan
Butter Chicken
I don't know if was the fact that it was a Friday night after a very long day at the office or the fact that I didn't have to cook, but dinner was amazing! Joel lingered for a bit, slowly enjoying every bit our dinner and they didn't seem to mind. The service was great and the food left nothing to be desired. We will be back for sure!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Review: The Sisters Brothers

Image from Amazon
I was initially intrigued when I read this review of The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt by Lawrence Wayne Markert. He said "Patrick deWitt’s second novel, “The Sisters Brothers,” reads like several different types of novel at once. The Western serves as its core. He owes something to Charles Portis, author of “True Grit”, but his novel is not merely derivative. DeWitt’s many levels and story lines form a wickedly funny and innovative novel that amounts to an adventure using various genres and forms of narration." One of my all time favorite books and movies is True Grit, so I thought I better put this book on my reading list. I will admit I was also drawn to this book because of the cover art. There was just something about it that made me want to pick it up.

Eli and Charlie are the Sisters brothers and both are feared hit men working for a corrupt and powerful man. The story begins as the brothers are in pursuit of a man who crossed the boss. After a long and difficult journey, during which Eli gets attached to his one eyed horse Tub, they reach their destination. Much to their surprise they find the targeted man missing, with only a journal left behind. The journal tells an incredible tale of the targeted man's invention which will change the course of history. I won't ruin the end, but the brothers head off into the wilderness to find their man, and to see his invention.

The story is told through the perceptive of Eli Sisters, the quiet and thoughtful brother who begins to reconsider his lifestyle. He begins to dream of a quiet life, one without murder and mayhem on the dusty trail. He struggles with the task set before him and desires to justify his actions. He desires to please his brother but endeavors to remain true to himself. This conflict is something that I think everyone struggles with at some point. I loved the humor and the inner dialog of Eli. I grew up on John Wayne westerns and will always love stories of the frontier. This is definitely a book I would recommend to another reader, even if they are not a lover of the Western genre.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Joel decided we would ring in the new year the right way; by hosting a New Year's Eve party at our house. We invited over our friends, I made some enchiladas, and we played some games. I was worried that I would get tired before midnight came, as I don't stay up late too often anymore, but I was able to stay up until 4:00am! It was a wonderful night filled with fun, mischief, and friends - the perfect start to 2013.

Austin, Julie, Shannon, Matt and Breanna enjoying our game.
Shashank and Joel, ready to ring in the new year.
Anna wanted to make sure Amber was properly dolled up.
Robert and Anna

Julie, Matt, Breanna, and Shannon
Happy New Year!!

We all had a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve! Cheers to 2013!