Planks in the Park (Free barre class!)

dailey-method-Oh, hi! Sorry to interrupt your holiday weekend, but I think I have some information that you’d be interested in!

My barre studio, the Dailey Method, is offering a free “Planks in the Park” community class THIS Saturday (9/12) at the Mercerdale Park (77th SE & SE 32nd) on Mercer Island.

If you’re interested in trying out barre, you should definitely check out this free community class. {Read my initial barre observations from early 2014. It’s been my go-to workout since then, excluding the queasy part of my early pregnancy and larger part of my later pregnancy.}

What should you bring? 

Bring a yoga mat, a water bottle and yourself! They’ll have a DJ and a great time. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The class will run from 9-10 a.m. and is open to all ages and fitness levels!

Will I be there? 

Maybe. The kid doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to join us outside of the womb, so while I won’t be doing barre (yet), I very well might be there to hang out and say hello to my long-lost barre friends! I hope to see you there and maybe I’ll bring orange slices Capri Suns, like my parents used to bring to soccer games?

Planks in the Park -- free community barre class by the Dailey Method

Planks in the Park — free community barre class by the Dailey Method

 

 

 

Big John’s PFI (Pacific Food Importers)

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but Big John’s recent obituary made me want to tell you all about one of my favorite stores in Seattle: Big John’s PFI (1001 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134, 206-682-2022).

PFI's non-descript entrance

PFI’s non-descript entrance

PFI is a unique store, one that you don’t have to visit weekly, but one that any respectable Seattle-area foodie should visit monthly. We have our favorites and occasionally we’ll expand beyond our standard list: spices, pasta, special flour for the pizza oven, crushed tomatoes, candy, and sometimes meats, cheeses and wines.

Allow me to walk your through the store, and highlight our favorites:

Spices for days!

Spices for days!

About 1 million varieties of bulk salts, including truffle salt, my favorite!

About 1 million varieties of bulk salts, including truffle salt, my favorite!

More spices and grains

More spices and grains

So. Many. Flours. We've tried most of them!

So. Many. Flours. We’ve tried most of them!

Pizza flours. (Brandon's go-to combination is 60% Caputo, 40% Nero)

Pizza flours. (Brandon’s go-to combination is 60% Caputo, 40% Nera)

Bulk sweets: chocolate-covered everything (I'd highly recommend the milk chocolate-covered pecans...So would Brandon's Grandpa!)

Bulk sweets: chocolate-covered everything (I’d highly recommend the milk chocolate-covered pecans!)

From woodland creatures to chocolate-covered berries, they'll have something you'll love!

From woodland creatures to chocolate-covered berries, they’ll have something you’ll love!

Need large quantities of chocolate? You're in the right place

Need large quantities of chocolate? You’re in the right place

Even more sweets at PFI!

Even more sweets at PFI!

Dried pasta section, part one

Dried pasta section, part one

The other side of the dried pasta section

The other side of the dried pasta section

There are a lot of canned goods, vinegars, olive oils, wines, meats and cheeses available that I didn’t include here. Check out the Big John’s website (they have unexpected hours) to make sure they’re open before you head down.

If I’m not busy giving birth, maybe I’ll see you there this weekend? (Saturday… they’re closed on Sundays)

Close encounters with the Denver Broncos

Our pregame view: Amazing!

Our pregame view: Amazing!

Last Friday Brandon and I attended the first NFL preseason game here in Seattle between the Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. (And my first NFL game!) Brandon was born in Denver and attended his first Bronco game in utero, so it was pretty special that we were able to go to Friday’s game, even if it was just preseason.

We are lucky enough to have a friend who works for the Seahawks who hooked us up with sideline passes, so of course Brandon was in heaven.

Pregame ON THE FIELD!

Pregame ON THE FIELD!

It also made the perfect week 35 photos for our baby book! It was pouring down rain on Friday, we had an inch-and-a-half of rain in just a few hours, and I don’t have a rain jacket that covers my massive belly, so I look a bit like a wet dog, but that’s ok. It just adds to the story.

A little rain didn't dampen our spirits... just our hair.

A little rain didn’t dampen our spirits… just our hair.

Soaking wet and so, so happy!

Soaking wet and so, so happy!

Baby Michael's first Bronco game: in utero, just like his Dad!

Baby Michael’s first Bronco game: in utero, just like his Dad!

So close to the players!

So close to the players!

We left the sideline before the game started and were a little bummed that we didn’t accidentally run into anyone famous, but our seats were under cover and we were ready for warm and dry.

As we were deciding which way to go to get to our seats, Brandon’s hero John Elway emerged from one of the back hallways, with his entourage of management and security. We froze in our tracks and I had to pick his jaw up from the floor. We followed him, obviously, and ended up near the VIP elevator bank, where he was waiting to get up to the owner’s suite. John was just waiting there (cornered) and many people started to take notice.

(Of note: Brandon would have this reaction to pretty much four people: John Elway, Sylvester Stallone, Matthew McConaughey and Rachel McAdams. So seeing John Elway was BIG.)

We happened to bring a Broncos bib and sharpie (you never know when opportunity will strike!) and Brandon jumped at the chance to a) talk to his hero and b) get an autograph for Baby Michael.

Here they are, Brandon and John. Broncos historian and Broncos legend. Together at last. Turns out that John has never signed a bib before, so in addition to being slightly weird (his words) it was hopefully memorable too. And hopefully Baby Michael loves the Broncos as much as his Dad and Grandpa do!

Brandon and his hero: John Elway, Bronco legend

Brandon and his hero: John Elway, Bronco legend

The bib won’t be used, and instead will be memorialized forever in a shadowbox frame. I’ll post an after photo of the final product once it’s done, but for now you’ll have to be impressed with this wrinkled version. Thank you, Mr. Elway!

Coolest baby gift EVER! (Especially for the ultimate Broncos fan!)

Coolest baby gift EVER! (Especially for the ultimate Broncos fan!)

And some cool shots of the Seahawks, if they’re more your thing…

Beastmode!

Beastmode: Up close and personal!

Seahawk stretching

Seahawk stretching

Have a great week!

 

Happy National Doughnut Day! {2015}

My Top Pot favorites: frosted doughnuts! (Not pictured: my other favorites: the maple bar)

My Top Pot favorites: frosted doughnuts! (Not pictured: my other favorites: the maple bar)

Do you know what tomorrow is? It’s National DOUGHNUT Day!

We’re doughnut lovers here on Megan’s Island and I combed the archives for some great reads and recommendations to celebrate National Doughnut Day as the sweet delight that it is.

I’m not sure where I’ll indulge in celebration on Friday, but a new Seattle-based doughnut-ery (that’s a thing, right?) has opened up and Brandon and I plan on visiting this weekend: Rodeo Donuts. Rodeo Donuts has been operating out of the Ballard Cupcake Royale and is starting to sell out of the Capitol Hill Cupcake Royale starting tomorrow! The Rodeo Donut bakers are also bakers at Cupcake Royale, and they make brioche doughnuts that look amazing. Just look at their Instagram feed! It’s the food porn I look at every morning on my way to work. Their flavors rotate daily and once they’re out for the day, they’re out for the day. This peanut butter chocolate fritter had Brandon drooling this morning.

Top Pot is using National Doughnut Day to raise money for Northwest Harvest. While it will decrease our chances of winning, I’d encourage you to stop by a Top Pot cafe tomorrow for a celebratory doughnut and spend an extra $10 on a raffle ticket to win a grand prize of a four-night stay in Hawaii, complete with airfare! Here are the specifics, from the Northwest Harvest website:

Tomorrow: National Doughnut Day!

Tomorrow: National Doughnut Day!

Join us on June 5 from 6-10 a.m. at Top Pot Doughnuts locations around the Puget Sound! We’ll be celebrating National Doughnut Day and collecting donations of non-perishable food items in addition to money.

As part of the celebration, we will be raffling off a four night stay in Hawaii complete with airfare. Tickets can be purchased until 5:00 p.m. June 6 at any Puget Sound Top Pot Doughnuts for $10.

Must be 18 or older to purchase tickets. Winner will be drawn 9 a.m. Monday, June 8 at 711 Cherry St., Seattle 98104.

Happy celebrating! Nom, nom, nom.

Cookbook feasting {Weeks 1 and 2}

Our resolution to try out new cookbooks and recipes is off to a great start!

{Week 1} Pure Flavor

We kicked off this cookbook and recipe challenge with a cookbook by Kurt Beecher Dammeier, mastermind behind some of my favorite Seattle-area spots: Beecher’s Cheese, Pasta & Co., Bennett’s, and Liam’s. During the first week of the challenge I even stopped by Beecher’s (they give free cheese samples!) and Bennett’s (it’s VERY close to my house and has an excellent happy hour!).

We made the tomato-cheddar soup (p. 21) and were only somewhat impressed by it. It seemed to be way too watery and the “semi-hard cheese” that I used wasn’t right. This made far more than 4 servings and we put the leftovers in the freezer for another day.

Beecher's Tomato Soup

Beecher’s Tomato Soup

We also made the Bennett’s Cobb salad (p. 54). We opted for an apple cider vinegar salad dressing instead of the recommended lime jalapeno dressing and I think that was a misstep on our part. It was too sweet for the curried crab. Speaking of the crab, everything about it was wrong. We followed the recipe to a tee and it wasn’t good. The curry clashed with the crab and they all clashed with the capers. I would not recommend this recipe. We were able to add chicken instead of crab for our lunches the next day and it was far superior.

Bennett's Cobb Salad

Bennett’s Cobb Salad

Brandon also made an apple crisp for my “A” party for my Pretty Little LiArs pArty. It was delicious!

Other recipes that piqued our interest, but we didn’t have a chance to try out: Turkey meatloaf studded with cheese curds (p. 111), Citrus-herb-marinated turkey tenderloins (p. 112), Slow-cooked orange chili pork shoulder (p. 130), Pan-seared broccoli crowns (p. 145), Broiled sunchokes (p. 147), Brussels sprouts with garlic bread crumbs (p. 150), Roasted parsnip puree (p. 152), Braised kale gratin (p. 157), Chocolate truffle cookies (p. 175), Corn, tomato and avocado frittata (p. 212), Blueberry buckle (p. 222), House herbs (my favorite!) (p. 233), and Breadzels (p. 244).

{Week 2} Dishing up Washington

I found Dishing up Washington while browsing the cookbook section at the library. We found a ton of great recipes to try and ended up actually trying several of them:

The Fall sausage minestrone with mushrooms and squash (p. 34) was good, however, I just need to come to the realization that I don’t like soup. Especially minestrone. Brandon really enjoyed this dish, so if you’re a minestrone-lover, do try this recipe!

Fall minestrone soup

Fall minestrone soup

RN74 is a French restaurant in downtown Seattle, near the Pike Place Market. I’ve only been there for happy hour, and the food that I have had there was good. Expensive, but good. If you find yourself there, you should definitely get some of their seasonal beignets. If you don’t find yourself there, you can pretend you are by cooking up the RN74 beef bourguignon (p. 166). Reserve the whole day for staying near the oven as this recipe is pretty intensive, and know that it’s worth it.

RN74 Beef bourguignon

RN74 Beef bourguignon

Hot Cakes’ original s’more cookies (p. 230). Must I say more!? We didn’t smoke our chocolate chips, and the cookies turned out great! If you’re in Seattle, you should definitely stop by Hot Cakes! Their s’more cookies are great, but I prefer their boozy shakes and molten hot cakes!

Hot Cakes s'more cookies

Hot Cakes s’more cookies

Other recipes that looked good: Seattle Winter Market Salad (p. 60), El Gaucho’s mashed potatoes (p. 86), Camp fire grits (p. 91), Egyptian-inspired chickpeas and couscous (p. 108), Winter market comfort casserole (p. 130), Honey-glazed ham with apricots, caramelized oranges and cardamom (p. 148), Skagit River Ranch pot roast (p. 164), Northwest Wild Foods’ blackberry bars (p. 209), free-form pear crostata (p. 214), and pimped root vegetable hash (p. 242).

This week we’re cooking from Dr. Weil’s True Food. Spoiler alert: we have lots of kale meals planned!

 

{Wine Wednesday} Washington wine: WTF?

WineWednesday

Are you interested in learning more about Washington wine?

My friend Zach at Vine Trainings is starting a new set of wine courses, targeting different wine growing regions and varietals. For the low cost of $45 per class, you’ll get to taste some great wines, talk about the most exciting growing regions, and even discuss the history of the industry.

When: Monday, Jan. 26, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Grub on Queen Anne, 7 Boston St, 98109

Why: Everything is better with wine, especially learning about wine while drinking it!

Read more about my experience with Vine Trainings on the Island!

Washington Wine Map

Shopping small

Today marks the start of the Christmas shopping season and I’m posting this from an outlet mall far, far away from Megan’s Island. This is the sixth or seventh year of this tradition and even though I’m not shopping for a new big screen TV or any presents really, I love spending this quality time with these friends, even if it is way too early in the morning.

I’m not against big box stores or easy ordering on Amazon, or even the medium-sized stores, but this year we’ve made a concerted effort to “shop small” when shopping for presents. We’re about halfway done with our holiday shopping and I’d encourage you think small when you shop this year.

To make shopping small easier for you, I’ve decided to highlight several businesses owned by some of my favorite people. Bookmark these links for the future, to shop beyond just the holidays!

Bottle and Bull

Bottle and Bull

Bottle & BullThis new Kirkland restaurant, run by my favorite restaurateur couple Jessi and Chad, opened this week. Stop by to fuel your shopping adventures or pick up a gift card to put in someone’s stocking! Experience the travels of Ernest Hemingway through your palette, eating and drinking your way through the cities that Hemingway loved to frequent; Havana, Paris, Florence and Pamplona (where he discovered his love for bull fighting!) to name a few.

Coloring Nature

Coloring Nature

Coloring Nature. My friend Cari and her husband own this organic landscaping company. Beyond landscaping, they offer holiday wreaths, succulent logs, floral design, corks, and occasional classes. You can find Coloring Nature online and at the Fremont Sunday Market.

Coloring Nature

Coloring Nature

Coppersmith Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy is my favorite physical therapy clinic for all that ails me. In fact, I’ve been a loyal customer for more than 30 years, since the clinic is owned by my parents. If you have physical therapy needs, I highly recommend you head to Coppersmith PT! (Thanks for being blog readers, Mom & Dad!)

Dailey Method. The Dailey Method is a unique combination of ballet barre work, core conditioning, muscle strengthening, yoga, and orthopedic exercises. Owners Brenda and Michelle are killer yet magical instructors and they offer online purchasing options as well as gift cards. They even feature local businesses (like Little Britches Bakery) in their lobby. Extra shop small points for the Dailey Method!

Davenport Cellars. I love myself some wine and Davenport Cellars is run and owned by two of my favorite winemakers. Not only are their wines fantastic, their price point can’t be beat. My “favorite” bottle of Davenport flips on a weekly basis, from the Cab-dominant Continuity to the Merlot-dominant RHD. I have recruited several friends to join the Davenport wine club and I’d encourage you to head over to Woodinville, taste some wine and support Washington winemakers and this small business.

Davenport Cellars

Davenport Cellars

Style By Wendy helps those who feel outdated, frumpy, or insecure to discover more confidence in their closet. Whether it is a closet clean-out, creating outfits with your clothes, personal shopping, or determining your color wheel, Wendy makes you feel good about yourself and what you wear every single day. 

Libby's Paper Party Hats

Libby’s Paper Party Hats

Libby’s Paper Party Hats. My dear friend Libby (and future business partner, if everything goes as planned!) makes paper party hats, banners and more, selling her wares on Etsy. Libby’s paper party hats are beautiful and crafted with talent and love. I received a my very own University of Washington-themed paper party hat for my 31st birthday. It’s great, isn’t it!?

Me & my dead duck friend. Hat from Libby's Paper Party Hats! Thank you, Lib!!

Me & my dead duck friend. Hat from Libby’s Paper Party Hats! Thank you, Lib!!

Little Britches Bakery. Shameless plug right here! Little Britches Bakery is my part-time gig and my creative outlet. It isn’t a real bakery, instead its completely inedible, practical and completely usable baby gifts that look like your favorite bakery treats. (They’re “too sweet to eat,” get it!?) You should for sure follow Little Britches on Etsy, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and think of Little Britches next time one of your friends announces a pregnancy. I ship anywhere in the US and offer completely customizable baby gifts!

My Little Britches Bakery onesie cupcakes

My Little Britches Bakery onesie cupcakes

Vine Trainings. The perfect party: you, your friends, and some delicious wines. My friend Zach teaches Vine Trainings classes, including a minimum of seven wines, several hours of personalized and hands-on instruction, and a whole lot of fun. All you need is seating for 10-12 people and somewhere for the wine glasses! Prices start at $35/person, and the specific wines and styles are customizable and negotiable. I wrote about Vine Trainings earlier this year.

Our Vine Trainings set up

Our Vine Trainings set up

Seafood Lover’s Pacific Northwest. I may link to Amazon, but you can find this at a local independent book seller. (We bought our copy at the University Bookstore.) This is my friend Karen’s first book and she set the bar high for her upcoming projects! Her book is great– it has a little bit of everything: recipe, recommendations, lore, and more! The book has inspired Brandon and I to explore the well-known gems and the diamonds in the rough that we had no idea about. After hearing about all of Karen’s oyster experiences, I’m going to give them another shot! Spoiler alert: we bought extra copies for Christmas presents!

Seafood Lover's Pacific Northwest

Seafood Lover’s Pacific Northwest

I have several photographer friends and would recommend any and all of them. Here are the local Seattle-area photogs: Erin Schedler PhotographyKristi Waite Photography, and Mike Fiechtner Photography (you’ll see our wedding photos on the home page!).

Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday and I hope you take some time to “shop small” this holiday season!