R&R and Girls Time

This weekend I spent a lot of time with my girlfriends. The older I get, the harder I find it to carve out quality time for friends because of hectic schedules and the miles in between us. It was great seeing so many of my girls and spending more than a shared meal or quick coffee catch up sesh with them. I’ve noticed that too often we spend our time together reminiscing on the “old times” – and all of the memories we made once upon a time – instead of creating new stories to tell years from now…

One of my best friends Leslie is in town and we spent all day Saturday together. We started the day in San Francisco, wondering Union Street and eating breakfast at a place called Perry’s. Lucky for me, Leslie doesn’t eat much meat either so we happily split a veggie scramble and the California eggs Benedict. We also got lattes, which has more milk than I usually like to drink but because it was a lazy morning spent with a friend, I didn’t worry about it.

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After breakfast we did some window shopping. Shortly after we decided we could both go for another coffee and popped in a Starbucks for round two. We also stumbled into a place called Urban Remedy; which is a vegan storefront that offers juices, quick grab and go meals, and a few other snacks. We picked up a bag of their Ginger Brittle and sat with our coffees, chatting, snacking and sipping.

After some vegan noshing, we headed across the Bay to Livermore for late afternoon wine tasting with Leslie’s mom. We started at Wente Vineyards and then went to Concannon. I am actually the worst at wine tasting because I find that I always forget what the last wine I tried tasted like, so I can’t compare the wines the way other people seem to do. I’m also not a picky wine drinker by any means (being way more bougie about my beer than my wine) and can’t tell a Merlot from a cab from any other red… Nonetheless, both vineyards were beautiful and what’s better than drinking wine with other women?! (WHO run the world!? #GIRLS)

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After wine tasting we went downtown for Italian at a place called Bruno’s, which was delicious but really, what Italian food isn’t?

On Sunday, Leslie came down to my house, along with our friend, Shelby, and her cute little chunk of a baby. We spent the afternoon poolside while snacking on chips, hummus, and guacamole.

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My other good friend Morgan was also in town for a work conference and came over shortly after we got back from the pool. Morgan and I used to be neighbors but now she lives in Washington. I haven’t seen her since October when Mike and I went to visit her and her fiance.  We caught up for a while at my place and then went to our friend’s Jules and Ben’s house for wine and burrito bowls (except for Ben, who used a tortilla;)

Overall, it was a fun weekend spent with some of the best girls I know (and, not to mention, a few cute babies and glasses of wine too). Good stuff, if you ask me!

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! Our friends Morgan and Joe (celebrity name: MoJo) moved to Bellevue last year and 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…………..

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 our drive to where they live in Bellevue.

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 we waited 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 one veggie slider (which were sold individually) and a side of fries. I’m not sure if it’s more of a mental thing or an actual physical reaction but sometimes eating meat (like the bacon pieces on our potato skins) makes me feel nauseous so I thought it was best to go vegetarian at dinner. Washington has all of these amazing local, organic, vegetarian/vegan options when dining out. Heaven!

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 reverse hangover…. (I have no idea why but I woke up feeling fine and then progressively started showing signs of a hangover…!?!?)

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 “hip” (do people still say that?) cafe where I really wanted to try a latte but was feeling nauseous again so ordered an organic black English breakfast tea to-go instead.

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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 rosés, whites and reds. Next we went to Mark Ryan, a trendy, 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

IMG_1175When 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! I ordered the chicken tacos with a side Cesar salad and a too-sweet peach cocktail that I couldn’t finish. (Like most of the trip, I forgot to snap a picture until midway through my meal but I can promise, the food tasted a lot better than it looks in my crappy picture…) 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.

12063018_424036884458587_671607061_nOn 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 next. Mike’s old roommate moved up to WA and told usIMG_1184 about this sandwich shop-gem. 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!)

#VegOut

♡ Ashley