Washington… you my jam

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Monday was particularly hard today because we spent the weekend away in Washington and had such a good time visiting our friends Morgan and Joe, who moved to Bellevue last year. Because life is so busy, Mike and I were finally able to make it up there for a visit (10 months later). We flew out Friday evening and, to tide us over for the flight, split a beer and a small order of potato skins at the airport. Yum, airport food. Said no one, ever.

We arrived in Seattle around 9pm, a little cold (California is in a serious drought and I haven’t experienced life under 70 degrees in a while…) but mostly just really excited to be there! MoJo got engaged this year (!) and Morgan just started a new job so there was a lot to catch up on.

Bellevue is this perfect little city (that amazingly isn’t too crowded or dirty) about 10 minutes from Seattle. We stopped at one of Morgan and Joe’s favorite restaurant Lot No. 3 before going back to their apartment. We started the night with drinks (wine for the ladies and beer for the men) while waiting for our table. I expected to be starving by this point but wasn’t actually too hungry when we sat down for dinner. Instead of ordering a full meal I stuck with veg sliders and a side of fries.

After dinner we headed to MoJo’s for a few brews and glasses of wine before bed. Which was after 2am… Which is really late for us now… ( Or, at least for me!)

The next morning was pretty lazy with a late wake up call and a decadent brunch. (My favorite kind of morning!) We went to the Hyatt for unlimited fresh squeezed orange juice(!), eggs Benedict and apple + almond waffles. The food was delicious even in the midst of a lightweight hangover (pun intended?).

After brunch we drove around Lake Washington to look at all of the nice houses that  surround the area. (Bill Gates lives here, to give you an idea of the houses there…. $$$$$$$$$$$) After a short tour, I was in some serious need of caffeine so we made a pit stop at Cafe Cesura, a trendy little cafe. Hello, Washington!

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I’m in the middle of a 30 day yoga challenge so before we headed out again Morgan and I did a quick yoga sesh. After we namaste’d, it was time to go WINE TASTING. We drove a few miles from Bellevue to Woodinville, which is a super cute little town with a lot different places to wine taste. Our first stop was a smaller place where we snagged a corner table and sipped on ros├ęs, whites, and reds. Next we went to Mark Ryan, an open tasting room recommended to Morgan by a friend. This place had cool high ceilings and a more trendier vibe than our first tasting. I’m not a wine expert by any means (I order the cheapest glass on the menu!) but Morgan knows a lot about different flavors, grapes, etc.

Slightly buzzed we decided it was time for some quick appetizers at Purple Cafe. The menu here was amazing and, if it was later, I would have loved to eat dinner here. But since it was barely five, we stuck to small plates to share. We ordered a fig and goat cheese flat bread and an order of spicy prawns and frites. After we chowed down (and sobered up), we recognized this combination was a little strange but does it really matter when you’re on vacation? #no

When we got back to Bellevue, we headed to Earls for dinner. Mike and I had been to Earls a few years ago when we did a trip to B.C. and since most of the locations are in Canada, we were happy to be able to go back!

After dinner we went back to MoJo’s where we were planning on calling it a night until we googled a bar recommended to us from some frequent Seattle visitors and realized it wouldn’t be open the next day before our flight. So we headed back out for a nightcap at  Zigzag,  a speakeasy type bar with old school cocktails. I was already showered and in my pajamas when we decided to go and, typically, I would have wanted to stay in but since Sunday was our last day, I figured why not?! You can sleep on the weekdays, after all.

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On Sundy, our flight wasn’t until 8pm so we still had an entire day left to explore the PNW. After another late-start morning, we walked to a nearby cafe for croissants and lattes. Mike and I split the chocolate + almond and ham + cheese croissants. One savory and one sweet to satisfy both of our cravings. And then we were off to explore Pike Place Market, a major tourist spot in Seattle. We walked around the farmer’s market while sampling chocolates and sipping on organic apple cider.

Since California  hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s fall now, it was nice to enjoy some cooler weather and cozier activities. (We’re still swimming on the weekends at home.)

After Pike Place we went to Capitol Hill, which is the equivalent to the Castro in San Francisco for Seattle. It was fun to explore another new neighborhood and proves that visiting locals in the best way to travel. In sticking with the theme of local-favorites, we headed to Paseo (pronounced PAAAA-SSSSAAAAAAYY-OOOOOOOO, by us and probably only us) next. Word to the wise? IF YOU EVER VISIT SEATTLE YOU NEED TO GO TO PASEO! Mike and I split a Caribbean Roast and Paseo Press while Morgan and Joe stuck to veggie options and got the Onion Obsessed Sandwich and Tofu Delight. In between big bites, messy hands, and giant sauteed onion slices, the four of us raved about Paseo’s food the entire meal.

After our massive, marvelous, sandwiches, it was time to go to the airport. Washington was so much fun with some of the best food I’ve had this year! (Which reminded me of how underwhelmed I was with the food when I was in New York a few months ago… Stay tuned for the post!)

Stay tuned and eat your greens.


** Note this blog went through a rebrand and is now veg vibes; which aligns better with the direction I organically gravitated towards. It’s all about your vibe **

Canadian Thanksgiving 2015

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We had our third annual Canadian Thanksgiving celebration this weekend (although Canadian Thanksgiving was actually last week) and, aside from a slight hangover this morning, everything was great!

My guy, Mike, is Canadian and  I really love that our friends come out year after year to spend the day with us and enjoy some Great North favorites. (Even after an almost-house fire the first year….) We have a pretty nice BBQ pit area in our apartment complex, where we held Thanksgiving last year and again this year.

In September we met Mike’s mom and dad in Tahoe and they brought candies, chips, and decorations for the party. (Thanks, Barb and Dan!) Canada has flavored chips that aren’t sold in the states like dill pickle and ketchup. (I’m personally not a fan of the ketchup because I think they’re sweet, which, in my opinion, is weird for a potato chip but other people love them so, to each his own!) We had a wide variety of chips this year including – of course – dill and ketchup, as well as poutine, PEI roasted scalloped potatoes and Montreal smoked meat. We also had Smarties (my favorite!), CoffeeCrips, Wonder Bar, Aero, Mr. Big and Karamilk candies. (By the way, I never said this was the healthiest of celebrations but what’s life without a little indulgence now and again?)

For the main meal, we served burgers with maple bacon (SOOO good, and I’m not typically one of those people who believes bacon rules the world), poutine, KRAFT Dinner (mac n’ cheese) and nanaimo bars for dessert.

In the hours leading up to Canadian Thanksgiving the plan was to sous vide the burgers but we realized there was just too much water to heat up in time for this to be a success.So, last minute, we decided to grill the burgers instead. This was mine (and all of the ladies at the party!) cue to head back to our apartment and start cooking everything else. Making bacon, mac n’ cheese, gravy and 3 bags of fries in one tiny kitchen (in one 20 minute window) can be pretty stressful but I had a drink in my hand and my girls there ready to help out, so, in short, we handled it (#OliviaPope).

Weekends are typically more indulgent for me but, even so, I try not to swim in the deep end for too long. Every meal is an opportunity to make another (better!) decision and while I’m all for living in the moment and eating what is being served to fully be a part of the experience (what fun would it be to only eat salad at a pizza and cupcake party?!), I still try to make mostly sensible decisions.

A trick I use practically every time bread is a mealtime contender is to simply ditch the top bun (or slice) and add some extra lettuce instead! This slashes your carb intake in half and, honestly, I enjoy my burgers more this way. You can actually taste everything with equal portions in each bite instead of a double does of bun. ((It’s also helpful to use a plate when appetizers are being served (in this case, the chips and candy!) instead of grazing. This way you know how much you’re eating and don’t accidentally consume a whole bag of chips from fifty small handfuls.)) Another tip I love is nixing the ketchup (which usually has added sugar!) for a real live slice of tomato.

(Disclaimer: These picture were taken after a few drinks. My advance apologies for their sloppy vibe… We also tried to “hide” our wine in a box because I don’t know the rules for open bottles of alcohol at the BBQ pits.)

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After everyone ate, we all hung out, kept the beer, whiskey, and wine flowing and listened to a mix of Bare Naked Ladies and Avril Lavigne (Canadian artists, if you didn’t know!). Mostly everyone left around 5:30pm and, since the party was outside with paper plates, cups and plastic silverware, we just threw everything in garage bags and headed home.

Stay tuned and eat your greens.


** Note this blog went through a rebrand and is now veg vibes; which aligns better with the direction I organically gravitated towards. It’s all about your vibe **