Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I watched Reid (and Jillian) on After The Final Rose...

From N.

The whole crew showed up tonight for the Bachelorette's "After the Final Rose" -- Melissa, Kiptyn, REID, Ed and Jillian. It was somewhat uneventful, and mostly, it was about Reid. Good.

Melissa, the bachelorette dumped on national tv by Kirkland Bachelor Jason Mesnick and rebounded with Dancing with the Stars and an engagement, cheerfully informed us that Jason feels like forever ago. I guess five months is a lifetime in reality world. She's still cute, and she looks happy.

Kiptyn showed, but since he didn't show his abs, I have nothing more to say.

Why is heartbreak so riveting? Reid is still deep in it, and even Jillian looked shaken seeing him. Jillian revealed she was so in love with Ed she could never have let him go, and there was nothing Reid could have done differently. And Reid was his funny, thoughtful self about it all. On going back to Hawaii for Jillian: "I thought slam dunk. ... I thought, 'I got this.'" On the process: "You made your decision. That's how it works. I have to accept that there's no question I can ask that will change your decision or how I will feel." On Ed: "You seem happy. No need to poke and prod to see what happens."

Host Chris Harrison also went for the jugular, asking Reid if a piece of him was still missing. I wanted to know, but Chris, seriously, MEAN. (Reid said yes.)

Then the happy couple emerged. Somehow they've only spent five days apart since the end. Is that even possible? I feel like the show changes the rules all the time on who sees who when, and it's annoying. My new thought on Ed is that he's just sort of stiff on camera. He and Jillian were kissy and cuddly, and do seem quite happy. But Ed didn't win me over until the outakes at the end when he told the story about one game they came up with to entertain themselves. They were bored, so he started prying rocks from landscaping and threw them into the pool, then told Jillian he'd pay her $50 per rock to bring them up. He said she was just like a little dolphin, diving to the bottom and dragging these huge rocks back up that weighed as much as her. It was kind of adorable.

They say they're going to get married in a year. I sort of believe them. Then again, I also believed DeAnna and Jesse were going to get married too. ABC, you did it again. Dammit.

Too cute side note: The audience member who looked about 15 and couldn't stop giggling when she got up to ask Reid a question. She asked him out. We all wanted to ask him out. Reid wisely deflected, asking, "How old are you?"

Read a Q & A with Reid and with Kiptyn. Which one will be the next Bachelor? Reid gets my vote.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm beating the heat with...

From K.

Trips to the Queen Anne pool

Picnics in the shady, grassy quad at Seattle Pacific University (part of me and hubby J's efforts to keep right on having "dates" :)

The cool AC at the Big Picture in Belltown (catch the killer happy hour upstairs at El Gaucho for a fun night out! Love the bourbon lemonade and the 410 burger)

The sleek chill of Umi Sake House (try the Naughty Roll! Just a hint of spice to liven things up)

Icy cool watermelon from Ken's Market and PCC

How are YOU beating the heat?

Monday, July 27, 2009

I watched Jillian on the Bachelorette choose...

From N.

Jillian chooses: Ed and his green shorts.

Tonight's Bachelorette finale was more suspenseful than I expected. Maybe it's because I didn't believe all the reports that Ed was the final choice. More likely it was because I hoped she picked Reid. I heart Reid in a big way.

But she clearly did not pick him. So let's start from the beginning. The first hour was rather staid and boring. Her family liked both guys. Her cousin Tori was clearly rooting for Kiptyn and once she described Jillian and Kiptyn as yin and yang, I was finally in Kip's corner. But her dad preferred Ed's open declarations of love although he said he was more controlled than Kiptyn and shows less feeling. I didn't quite understand that comment, since I don't get an outpouring of emotions from Kiptyn, but I also have had a tough time getting a real grasp of Ed. Maybe that's why.

The individual dates didn't reveal much except when Kiptyn showed his six pack again. Wait, I mean he finally declared he loved her. Pat on the back, Kip, glad you came through.

But he was just destined to have his heart broken by the girl in the not-quite-wedding-gown-but-it-was-a-little-too-close-for-comfort pinkish dress. I was surprised to see Kiptyn's (unattractive) shoes come out of that limo. He just seems a better fit for her. But Jill said she was in love with someone else and pretty much that was it. Poor Kip.

Then, what I was waiting for. A minivan revealed Reid! His open declaration of love was so heartwarming, his declaration so sweet only a cruel, heartless woman could say no. "I sabotaged myself," "Every second was painful," "I let my fears get in the way," "I love you and hope you feel the same way." Knowing the right thing took sometime for him, he said. Reid also wisely pointed out that some people are better at "this world" (translation: ABC's made-up world). It was too late. Jillian tortured herself a bit, but with Chris Harrison's assurance that she knew what she wanted, she said she was in love with Ed.

ABC, you might think about making Reid the Bachelor because I know quite a few women who would take him in a heartbeat.

Despite proposing with a large ring that sort of resembled a Superman insignia (UPDATE from People on the ring. It's pear-shaped and I find it all wrong) Jillian chose Ed and said yes to his proposal. She said their relationship is complete, she's madly in love, and she can see him in her life 50 years from now. I have to admit, Ed's proposal was cute: "I want you to give me a hard time when we're 80 years old."

Ed seems like he's mostly in love with her. My astute friend M adds: "Ed just said what he thought he should say. He just wanted so bad to believe that he convinced himself and apparently her." I don't think he's as "fun" as she keeps saying. So I'm not fully convinced they'll make it down the aisle. Perhaps "After the Final Rose" will clear that up, but I doubt it.

Still, I like Jillian enough that I hope it works out for them. And that stupid, boundless optimism is what keeps this show alive! Shame on me! Until "After the Final Rose!"

UPDATE: I'm watching our dearest, most hated Bachelor bud Jason Mesnick on KOMO 11 o'clock news. Jillian texted him and said she's really happy. Um, THAT'S what I stayed up for? Thanks a lot KOMO.

Oh, and Lauren is right about the minivan drop off for Reid. I forgot. Actually, I don't think I saw it. I fixed it. I also neglected to mention Reid's white shoes. Something a little more formal for a proposal please?

I heard great music at the Capitol Hill Block Party...

From N.

I spent my weekend navigating Capitol Hill Block Party, when the intersection of 11th and Pike gets shut down, stages put up and thousands of people show up. Many are tattooed. It's a thrill to wander familiar streets without worrying about taxicab drivers mowing you down in the crosswalk, to check out new bands, get crushed by Sonic Youth fans and be sad that you didn't snag kimchi fried rice at Marination Mobile when it was there on Friday night.

There were a lot of people there.

Friday was about new music and the small Vera stage, where I saw two of my favorite performances of the weekend: Starfucker and Micachu and the Shapes. Starfucker, a group of guys from Portland, showed up in dresses and had the entire audience pulsating along with its danceable music and cool hooks. Their energy was contagious and their music knocked me out. Micachu is a UK band with a sweet singing voice and a banjo that allows for cuteness yet quashes any categories by mixing in intensely raw, edgy sounds. It was creative and awesome.

I think I would have really loved Deerhunter if I could have seen them. Friends L., M. and I didn't venture to the front of the pack at the main stage on Friday night and so couldn't see a thing. Deerhunter sounded great, but I realized it really is about actually seeing the band. My mind was already overstimulated and it wandered when I couldn't focus on the stage. (Although I don't think seeing Black Lips would have convinced me to get into their music.) They Live! also killed Friday at Neumos. They've really brought their stage performance to a new level since I first saw them not that many months ago, this time performing with two Massive Monkees (who are such a fun part of the show), lights and a thundering stage presence.

Saturday was about determination. I wanted to see Gossip up close and personal on the main stage. We pushed our way into The Thermals crowd, then surged forward when they finished so we could get thisclose to Beth Ditto. I thought we did pretty well.

Beth Ditto is a force on so many levels. She was adorable in her black and white striped dress and is so fun, sassy and charming, I could see how the fashion world has gone gaga. And then there's her voice - thrilling and huge. We had to cope with a few surges of frantic, dancing fans pushing past us, but mostly just loved hearing Beth Ditto's outrageous voice, be wooed by her ("Cheers, bitches!") and get swept up in her music and aura.

We decided not to wait the next hour for Sonic Youth so attempted to leave the front of the main stage. Attempted. We nearly got trampled as Sonic Youth fans swarmed the front and Gossip fans tried to get out. Some order or organized way of getting people in and out of the claustrophobic narrow chute that opened to a large space in front of the stage (a fence divided the street for 21+ and all ages) would have been nice. It was enough crowds to last us quite a while.

It was too hard to focus during Sonic Youth since we couldn't see, so we ended the night at at the Sport'nLife showcase in Neumos, which felt like a real show. Got to see D. Black, Spaceman, Fatal Lucciauno and even Grynch do their thing. It was a familiar and soothing end to a great festival.

I thwacked balls at the Interbay driving range

From K

What to do on a balmy evening during this endless summer? Hit the range.

J, my hubby, doesn't suggest outings all that often, content with letting me plan most of our adventures. So when he pitched a trip to Interbay Golf Center I was happy to indulge him. Plus, I'd been meaning to check out this spot between Queen Anne and Magnolia forever (FYI, there's a Red Mill Burgers outpost nearby on West Dravus if you get a craving for milkshakes or onion rings :)

First off: Who knew the range was so fancy? Some of the stalls are even heated, which means we've got a fun spot to visit come fall and winter (and oftentimes, spring).

We bought a medium-sized bucket of balls (about 20 minutes' worth between two), rented some drivers and found a good spot (all this for less than two movie tickets). Thwack. Thwack. Thwack...

Super relaxing, although I really need to go in for a quick lesson to refresh my swing. Methinks a night of driving range, mini golf and a trip to their espresso bar or the nearby Red Mill could make a fun first date. Or 400th date ;)

I joke that golf could easily become my next obsession due to all the fun equipment you get to shop for. Such adorable clothes. More shoes. Those funny club covers (saw one that looked like Yoda!). Look at the pretty golf balls they have for mini golf! Had no idea they came in Easter egg tones.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I checked out 9 Milli in Fremont

... that's 9 Million In Unmarked Bills, a four-weeks-old bar in Fremont. Wandered into here quite by accident with R. We spied it from across the street in the Lenin plaza, eating post-dinner gelato from Royal Grinders. "Wasn't that the Triangle?" we wondered aloud, sitting in the dimming summer sunshine. No more. It's been bought by a bartender and turned into a Belltown-meets-Fremont lounge, we discovered. More reading here.

We'd already cruised Norm's, George and Dragon, Ballroom and several other spots that were either too full or too full of themselves for a Thursday evening, so in 9 Milli we went. It's very gray, in a stylish, 2009 way. Gray suedish cushy booths. Shiny gray upholstered walls. Stiff drinks with names gangster names. It all made me wonder whether they were going for this trend recently reported in the NYT? If so, it doesn't really work when the bar is a peninsula of windows on a busy corner (there's a reason it was named Triangle).

All this said, we liked it. The average age felt closer to young 30s rather than mid 20s. Fewer frat dudes, more young professionals and random eclectic folk. I would get dressed up to go here and not feel like I was trying too hard, unlike many other spots in Fremont. Need to try it on a weekend to know for sure. Anybody else been?

I stuffed myself silly at a West Seattle dinner party

With the cost of good ingredients these days (and this crazy heat wave of late that makes me loathe turning on my stove, except to roast marshmallows over my gas burners, which I'm sure is going to kill me someday) I accept nearly any dinner invitation, especially when I know it's going to be great. J and I knew we were in for a great meal en route to our friends L & B's home earlier this week when we saw the theme: kebabs.

A little background: L & B are one of those couples that holds group dinners on a regular basis, the fun kind with a huge mailing list and an ever-changing combination of personalities. Each meal has a theme or at least, an entree. Guests bring sides, drinks or desserts.

One amazing side: smashed potatoes with kale and sauteed onions. Come se dice "yum?"

An incredible salad with fresh peas, Easter egg radishes and rainbow carrots:

I'm realizing now that I was so busy eating my kebab I completely neglected to photograph it! I suppose sometimes we must simply eat :)

I saw Seahawk Craig Terrill at The Triple Door

From K.

You never know what you're gonna get with athletes-turned-musicians. Shaq's rap comes to mind. So you'll understand my trepidation when J persuaded me to accompany him to a recent show starring the Seahawk's defensive tackle.

I'd heard Craig live before, singing a mournful song a capella. It was very different on this night to watch his 6-foot-2, 295-pound self wail and yell and boom through his Americana rock set on stage, backed ably by his Craig Terrill Band. He has a serious voice and serious stage presence. I really admire people who excel in more than one area of life -- how many people do you know who can claim an NFL career *and* a viable music career? And an adorable family. What am I doing wrong? ;)

This night out also reminded me how much I adore The Triple Door. It calls to mind those great supper clubs of the 20s/30s/40s. Rows of tables rise in front of the stage, lined with candles and any number of wine glasses and cocktails. Food comes from Wild Ginger upstairs; we enjoyed the Seven-flavor Beef and Pad Thai. Order the banana split for dessert. With scoops of gelato it's almost insanely decadent. A great date spot if you want to impress (and you have a good inkling of your love interest's musical tastes).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I made chile verde carnitas....

From N.

I've been wanting to do more with pork shoulder, but the big, tough cut is a lot of meat and takes time. I never felt ambitious enough to do it until a couple of weeks ago. I found this recipe in Edible Seattle a few months ago, and finally committed to it.

The recipe was humongous, calling for 5 pounds of pork shoulder. The only size pork shoulder at Skagit River Ranch at the Ballard Farmers Market was 2.5 pounds, which struck me as more meat than I could possibly eat for a week. I halved the recipe.

O.M.G. The smell alone from the pork and cumin had my neighbors wondering what I was making, and my friend A. gleeful that she scored this particular meal at my place. My cooking ego was on a cumin and tomatillo-induced high. The sauce reduces to coat the meat beautifully, and makes perfect tacos with tender, flavorful meat. Spicy radishes and tart yogurt cut the meaty richness, and rice and black beans were an easy side.

It's amazing as tacos, and also as stew. I ate it all week for lunch with rice, but that is probably a method best reserved for winter, since it's on the heavy side. It's fantastic for a meal with a lot of friends. And look! I included the recipe!

Recipe from Edible Seattle, for 4. Double for 6.

2 jalapenos, seeds for extra heat
4 cloves peeled garlic
14 oz ounce can tomatillos, drained, or 4 c. fresh, blanched tomatillos
2 c. canned green chilis
1 bunch fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, doing it in batches. You want to see the seeds in the tomatillos, so pulse, don't puree.

2.5 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tbl ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. olive oil

Season pork chunks with cumin, salt and pepper. In a large saute pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. When very hot, sear pork chunks in single layer in batches until browned on all sides. Lower heat to medium, add all sauce and meat, simmer covered for an hour. Add chicken broth if necessary. Cook until fork tender.

Serve with radishes, cotija cheese, tortillas, cilantro, whole yogurt or creme freche, sliced limes

I watched the Men Tell All on the Bachelorette...

From N.

I can't believe I ever liked Jake. I will boycott the show if Mr. Perfect is chosen as the next Bachelor. Fingers crossed.

The guys on this season of The Bachelorette are as emotional and catty as the girls are on the Bachelor. While it's surprising and a total turn-off to see them fight amongst themselves, it's also High Entertainment Value and that is why the Bachelor(ette) is part of my life.

So some of the guys came back, but two of the most interesting -- Wes and Reid -- were not there. Reid had a "prior conflict" and Wes because "we know why." Do we, Chris? Then again, the reunion episode didn't lack for entertainment. I dislike meathead, fratty guys and particularly hate the fratboy mind-set, but have to agree that "Mr. Perfect" was just way too much. If I could beat anybody up, it would not be Juan, it would be Jake. He was so self-righteous and that Joker smile. I wish I had bigger guns. I don't understand why girls like him. He's so ... empty.

Thanks to my insider Reality Steve (whom I'll call RS, and also add that I have no respect for the conspiracy theories, but the guy has good info), I knew that Wes wasn't going to show up. RS did a long interview with Wes posted on My friend P listened to the 85-minute interview and summed it up for me (she's a professional television watcher, it's her JOB).

Wes blamed everything on manipulative editing and producers who egged him on. I felt like Wes got the short end of the stick sometimes after hearing about how clever editing made him sound really awful, but while watching the recaps, I decided he still said those things, and he still deserves some hate. I also wish he was on Men Tell All to really see what Chris Harrison would do when Wes talked about bad editing. Chris loooooves to defend how "truthful" the show is on his blog on Honesty is the first adjective that comes to mind when I think of Chris Harrison.

Macho David apologized for semi-groping Jillian and talking about her ass, but I don't think he really gets it, and I don't really care. He's not interesting to me. The person I wanted to hear from hardly spoke. Michael needed more air-time. He's my fave, and he gave such an earnest little speech about how much he learned from Jillian about what he wants. He was his usual adorable self. Come on ABC, give us twin Bachelors!!!

The most interesting part of the whole night was the preview for NEXT week. It looks like Reid comes back to beg for a second chance. They showed him holding what looked like a wedding band, but I think it's a promise ring. And I think she'll pick him. There have been no reports she's engaged, and Ed and Kiptyn very clearly were holding big, fat engagement rings in their paws in the preview. It might be wishful thinking, but whatever, expending my brain cells on Bachelorette speculation is one of my favorite leisurely pursuits.

Oh yeah, and Molly and Jason came back. It was mostly anticlimactic, though it was interesting to hear their relationship almost broke right after the suuuuper scandalous end of the last Bachelor when Jason ditched Melissa for Molly on national TV. But he's still with Molly, and since I'm probably the biggest sucker there ever was, apparently, I really believe they might get married. Seriously.

Onward to the finale!!!

I visited Ocean Shores for the first time since the 90s

From K.

And not a whole heck of a lot has changed! Same saltwater taffy shops. Same eateries. Same mopeds. Even the oddly named Gitchee Gumee still stands, though it appears for sale. Another thing that hasn't changed is how windy and wild this beach is. No sugary sand and lapping waves here. This is a working beach, complete with rip tides, loud waves, gulls sailing overhead and plenty of interesting driftwood.

The journey there was much fun. Hopped the ferry to Kingston from Edmonds (well, hopped may be an exaggeration. This being summer, we missed fitting on the first two boats), drove through the lavender festival traffic in Sequim, ate at First Street Haven cafe in Port Angeles (marveling at the "Twilight" souvenir bonanza all the while), hiked Hurricane Ridge, motored alongside gorgeous Lake Crescent then craned our necks to watch beach after rustic beach zoom by the rest of the way to OS. Loved it.

What to pack for a trip to the Washington coast:
_A hat, headband, scarf or something else to hold back those sideswept bangs: It's windy there. Otherwise you'll have a constant mouthful of hair, and *that* doesn't look stellar in pics ;)
_Sandals or sneaks you don't mind getting dirty. This is not the sugary sand Floridians know and love, nor the soft golden sands of California, nor anything like what you'll find in Hawaii.
_A windbreaker and many layers: Like Puget Sound, you never really know what weather (sun, rain, fog, mist, snow, you name it) you're gonna get 'til you're there.
_A copy of "Twilight," some Raymond Carver stories, "The Good Rain" and other writings inspired by the area's rare combination of rustic beach/rain forest/towering mountains/windswept vistas.
_Your patience. Summer means road construction, ferry delays and tourist traffic. Thankfully, the scenery outside your car is pleasant.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I have a teenage vampire-related confession...

From N.

I'm entranced with teenage drama. I have this terrible addiction to teen tv shows, good (Friday Night Lights, Veronica Mars, Gossip Girl and don't you dare argue otherwise) and bad (Laguna Beach, NYC Prep). I can't wait to see the new Harry Potter movie and am contemplating re-reading the "Half-Blood Prince."

So, yeah, I've been reading the "Twilight" series too. I'm finally on the fourth book "Breaking Dawn." Stephenie Meyer's writing style tormented me just enough that it has taken awhile, although I admire her gift for narrative.
But the really scary thing about the vampire book is how much the Forks-based series has gotten into my head about that area of Washington state. When I drove through Port Angeles to get to Lake Crescent for a June camping trip, the visions in my head were not the gorgeous scenery or area author Raymond Carter, but rather vampire Edward and teenage Bella. Edward saving Bella from assault in the mean streets of Port Angeles. Edward and Bella eating at a Port Angeles Italian restaurant. Edward speeding Bella back to Forks on Highway 101. Visions of Twilight fanatics invading the quiet town of Forks. Bella and Jacob out at La Push on the beach.

I've gone completely mad.

I'm wrapped up in the final book. The plot is pretty intense and the book is keeping me up late at night. But this is the last we shall speak of this. Until my next trip to the OP.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I chased down the Parfait ice cream truck

From K.

I'm a dessert maven. If you haven't noticed by now, N trends more toward the savory while I prefer the sweet. Thankfully this means we rarely fight over leftovers, unless we're at Chiang's! :)

So when my friend R tipped me off that a new mobile food truck was rumbling around Seattle loaded with organic ice cream, of course I had to beat feet and give it a try.

I tracked down the chocolate brown Parfait Organic Artisan Ice Cream truck atop Queen Anne, parked in front of Caffe Fiore on Galer, near the Trader Joe's. The owner and glaciere (who wouldn't want a title like THAT?), Adria Shimada, pointed out all the ways her ice cream is special. For one, nearly all the ingredients are locally sourced save for things like meyer lemons (that sweet citrus is a dime a dozen in sunny Berkeley, not so much in our temperate part of the globe). Each bite of Fresh Mint Stracciatella or Northwest Hazelnut comes sans corn syrup, stabilizers or preservatives. This also means this light, refreshing dessert has a tendency to run down your arm quicker than what you'll find elsewhere. But that seems a worthwhile sacrifice. I like that they offer kiddie cones. Lord knows I can't make it through an entire "single" scoop the size of a grapefruit.

Seattle's rapidly becoming an ice cream lover's delight. Gelato is everywhere -- Pike Place Market, along 45th in Wallingford at Fainting Goat, behind Lenin's back in Fremont. Custard is popping up here and there. You can get in line at Molly Moon's on Capitol Hill, Wallingford and get it by the pint at Eat Local on Queen Anne. You can even get ice cream at the farmers market. Craving Dairy Queen? Head to Eastgate near Bellevue Community College on the way back from your next hike in the Cascades. I won't even get into the frozen yogurt options (but Red Mango is the best!). Oh, and if you're near Redmond, you've got to try this place.

Now all we need is good shave ice.

I got married in Bastyr University's Chapel!

From K.

You never really know where life is going to take you.

Case in point: Just a few short weeks ago, I found myself in a pair of Champagne satin peeptoes, on my brother's arm, clicking along the gleaming marble aisle of a former cathedral set in the midst of Saint Edwards Park in Kenmore. The string trio swelled into song and I tried to see the faces in the pews, faces I love. But I reserved most of my attention for the tall, dark and handsome man waiting in the endzone of the football-field length of church.

We're blessed in the Northwest with so many gorgeous places to wed. I've wept over weddings at the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park, at Pier 66, at the arboretum, at a country club in Richmond, B.C., at the Hollywood Schoolhouse in Woodinville, at a church near Green Lake. I hope to someday attend a wedding at the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is jaw-droppingly gorgeous as the ferries lumber by in Summer. But there's nothing quite like the thrill of being the one in the white dress, taking the hand of the man you love, realizing that he and you are only for each other in this world.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I watched Jillian send away the wrong guy on the Bachelorette...

From N.

Jillian, no no no no no no no. No.

Not Reid. I heart Reid. A lot. I didn't used to, but I do now. You picked boring, semi-reliable Kiptyn over risky Reid? Aren't you on this show to take a chance? How can you let us all down like that?

Clearly, I had a favorite. Although I have a history of dubbing the person who just left my favorite. I really mean it this time.

And Reid made her laugh. Sure, the guy is emotionally stunted, but he really tried so hard, and they had real chemistry and a vibe that I don't see with the other two. He blamed himself in the limo for not opening up more, as he should. He should have told her he was willing to take a chance. But I also blame Jillian for playing it safe. She kept Wes for this long but dumps Reid? For shame.

This week's fantasy dates took place in Hawaii, and we started off with Kiptyn. He is just utterly boring to me. They're awkward physically, namely when they kiss. He encouraged her on the ropes course and that reassured her, but I don't feel like he challenges her at all. It's effort for him to keep up with her. Plus his lack of vulnerability is not authentic and not interesting. I think he might be more emotionally behind than Reid and just less honest about it.

The date with Reid was adorable. He was so straight with her. He told her he wasn't good at expressing emotion. "I'm like 4. I like you. I like you this much." It melted my heart. She said he's the guy she relates to the most. They have obvious physical chemistry. He was not convincing when she asked him if he was ready to propose, and he said, "Maaaybe?" I know waiting around could easily be a mistake, but when looking at the options left, it really just seems wrong to me.

As for Ed, I've grown disenchanted. He's trying so hard and I can't figure out why. He "flew" his parents out to Hawaii, which thrilled Jillian. He thinks Jillian will balance out his life, though I personally think that's Ed's own work, not her responsibility. Ed might also have had the most horrifying moment in Bachelorette history when it was clear he had some performance issues and the two didn't have sex in the fantasy suite. "I couldn't really show her I really loved her" is not very discrete code. Jillian was nicer and said that they wanted to fall asleep instead of follow other "instincts." She even took him aside at the rose ceremony to discuss it. Talking about your virility on national television? Most Mortifying Moment Ever in Ed's life to date.

But Reid got the boot. Jillian seemed torn but I really think it was the wrong decision. She'll regret it. He doesn't see her being happy with either of those guys. I agree.

I rallied, despite a sudden rainstorm, for a Bastille Day picnic

From K.

Good GOD it's been forever since I've posted. Forgive me. The wedding and honeymoon knocked me off my regular schedule and I'm just coming up for air. More on that later :)

I'm not totally sure why Bastille Day appeals so much to me and my friends. Maybe it's the romance of storming a prison in which our comrades were unjustly interred. More likely, it's our love of French food and all things France. We'd initially planned to don berets, carry around baguettes and storm something, then picnic at Volunteer Park. That plan required adjustment when an actual storm stormed US.

My contribution

We ended up in the living room of my friend R, lunching on baguettes and charcuterie, croissants and other random delights we'd tucked away for the proposed picnic. Nothing too complicated, as we hadn't planned on suddenly having access to a stove. I may head to Cafe Presse or new spot Bastille on Tuesday to live out this fantasy a bit farther.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I watched Jillian the Bachelorette get rid of...

From N.


Ahem. So I'm not at my most articulate. But is there any other way to express the relief that Wes is gone? Jillian proved what every girl knows about giving advice: you can talk until you're blue in the face, but until she decides on her own that the guy is a combination ass/slimeball/worstpersononearth, you can't do anything to change her mind. Jillian had to experience cold, sleazy, inept Wes fumbling with his lies before she finally came around.

This all had to happen in romantic Spain. I was deeply envious. Jillian flitted around first with Reid, who is warming up his dear, neurotic little heart. Jillian is pretty good at pumping the guys for information, and though Reid bumbled a bit expressing himself, it's obvious he really likes her. Whether that translates into her rather ridiculous expectation to get engaged at the end (has she paid attention to the show's track record?), it's unclear, but Reid was sweet and opened up. They're both bubbly people, and their food shopping expedition was ridiculous. He makes her laugh. Points to Reid.

Kiptyn I find slightly dry. Although Jillian is head over heels, and also, again, talked about how he's too good for her, I don't feel the same way. He's not quite as fun-loving as he ought to be, although the escargot moment was adorable.

Ed is back, and trying to gain back ground through kissing. Although Jillian seemed very happy on that count. They kissed a lot and for a moment in a public fountain, I thought we were going to get an unplanned wet T-shirt contest. Ed said he wanted kids soon. Dust off your hands and call it done.

And then there was Wes. I think he's officially the most disingenuous person to ever be on the Bachelorette and that's saying something. He was distant from her, and they were awkward during the date. Under questioning, she figured out he really did come on for his music. Then he had the cojones to say they should do the overnight fantasy suite. Whatevs Wes.

I already thought he was out of control at the rose ceremony, where he joked to the guys he'd be home having lots of sex. I'm sure the other three wanted to smack him. But the rejected limo ride was unbelievable. Crowing about being the only guy to ever make it to the Top 4 with a girlfriend? Talking about how he got what he needed? Snipping off the chains to party in Spain one more night? There's always a villain but he wins the prize.

Also, is Jillian the first Bachelorette to ever refuse that many guys for the fantasy suite? Perhaps she did learn her lesson. I was surprised when she turned down Kiptyn, then she followed up by turning them all down, except for the clothes-on overnight with Ed. Probably smart, but still weird.

I hope it doesn't get boring now that Wes is gone. Ed's still my fave, but Reid's gaining.

And fashion note: I loved her yellow shoes and splashes of color in general in her outfits, but she overdid the structured blouses. One was enough.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I ate at Poppy...

From N.

I've been interested in Poppy since it opened, but heard it was spendy and wasn't ready for another lecture from But when I read about the crazy cheap $5 happy hour, I had no more excuses to stay away.

I wasn't expecting an Ikea-ed out orange and blond wood interior. It's really cute in that Scandinavian way, but sort of a funny choice for a high-end restaurant. Perhaps it's intended to make it feel more casual, and I loved the pops of bright orange, but I prefer the natural, elegant style of Spur or Anchovies & Olives.

I can't say much about the restaurant as a whole since I was there for happy hour, but HH appeared to reflect a regular meal. Food is typically served as a thali, a platter that has several small dishes. For happy hour, you get four dishes plus naan for $5. I can't think of a better deal, except free, and cocktails also clocked in at $5.

My six twenty-two drink with rye whiskey and rhubarb and agnostura bitters and another liqueur was pleasant, but not memorable. A Pimm's Cup and Turkish Delight also were on the cocktail menu.

The thali is a beautiful way to present food, and this Thursday creation included a sumptuous tiny slice of onion, pancetta, oregon blue and walnut tart that had a lovely balance of rich and sweet. An oregano aioli livened up mussels, while a cauliflower mashed with sesame was a moist accompaniment to the naan. There also was a puffy rice, dried fruit and macadamia mixture referred to as spice crispies. The dish was probably the closest thing I've encountered to a snack vividly described in a Jhumpa Lahiri short story about a character who mixes Rice Crispies with peanuts and spices to mimic an Indian treat. A roasted beet salad with albacore tuna, green olives and lemon basil was nicely done, but didn't make much of an impression.

There's a definite Indian tang to the dishes, particularly the spice crispies, and I was less than in love. I adore Indian food but somehow adding Indian spices and accents to new American dishes didn't quite work for me. Others disagree. I could be lured back for happy hour, but for a full meal, especially with a regular thali priced at $32, it's more likely I'll be ensconced at the bar at Spur.

Poppy on Urbanspoon

I watched Ed come back to the Bachelorette...

From N.

I'm exceptionally behind on last week's Bachelorette, which was definitely the most dramatic and revealing one so far. Ed is back! Michael is adorable! Wes is a slimeball! Jake has lost it! (Dude is wound tighter than my sparking Nunzilla wind-up doll.)

Let's start at the beginning. So this was the hometown trips. I'm not sure how Jillian finagled five, but it was more entertaining for us. Jillian, I hate to break it to you, but Reid is just not that into you. He didn't seem excited at all when she showed up for the date, kissing her reluctantly. His family seemed thrilled Reid liked somebody and was publicly affectionate, but that seemed all Jillian to me. Either Reid or Wes will get the boot on the next episode, and if I'm wrong, all faith in Jillian is gone. But more on that later.

This episode was the first one where I really fell for Michael. It started when he surprised his family and jumped up and down in place, continued when he tried to trick her by switching clothes with his idential twin, and was cemented when he and his family danced with her in the living room. I knew they would never make it and his heartfelt speech when he was sent home broke the hearts of every girl watching. You know you love him.

Jillian is way too intimidated by Kiptyn. I am befuddled by her insecurity around him, although his family has a house that seems straight out of Laguna Beach. Kiptyn seems like a sweet guy and pretty easy to hang out with. His family was pretentious with the lasagna and wine test, but I thought the caution tape around the hot tub was hilarious. His mom's honesty was refreshing, but Jillian is just insecure around him. Still, Kiptyn is a frontrunner.

I almost forgot about Jesse. The trip to the vineyard was not memorable. I only recall his brother, who freaked me out. I was sure he would start hitting on Jillian. Once the brother described Jesse as an emotional ice cube, he was toast.

Then there's Wes. OF COURSE his band played for her. I always forget how much she loves the honky-tonk, so that explains some of the attraction. But honestly, he's a sleaze, a player and more slimy words than I can think of right now. I suppose he's her bad boy. But ugh, couldn't she at least have picked a cute one? And then Jake returned to out Wes and his girlfriend Laurel, which is far too specific not to be true. Jillian ignored her gut instinct on this one for no apparent reason other than attachment to Wes it seems like. His family claimed people try to do this to Wes all the time. Maybe it's because Wes lies his way through life? Then she STILL kept him. It's beyond any reasonable explanation.

As for Ed's return, Reality Steve, how do you always know? Although people who shall not be named already revealed that to me before I watched it, I was still happy to see him. He seemed rather stiff and coached, but he's the cutest and matches Kiptyn in sincerity. She kept him and that's what counts.

But my admiration for Jillian took a real beating. I once viewed her as this really happy, down to earth, secure girl. But she kept asking all the parents if she was the guy's "type" and also asked the guys that question. And like most insecurity, it makes her less attractive. She said she has a history of not being adored, which to me means she hasn't been confident enough to ask for it. It made me less sure of her ability to pick a good person in the end. Oh wait, already accomplished with Wes! Never mind. I am still curious to see what she does in the end and if it will really work. Ed and Kiptyn, I'm still rooting for you two. And still kind of can't wait to see what Wes will do next.