2017 year in review

What a year it’s been!

As 2017 began, we had no idea where the year would take us. Brandon continued interviewing, traveling to New Orleans, Phoenix, Reno, and Buffalo. After accepting a position with the University at Buffalo in March, we were able to start our Seattle Bucket List and get everything in order to move across the country and remodel and rent our Seattle home.

While we were waiting for Brandon’s offer, we explored the west coast. Michael continued his love of travel with a visit to Santa Barbara to celebrate his Great Grandpa Joe’s 95th birthday and meet some of his extended Szerwo relatives. We also put our passport to good use and traveled to Bliss Landing on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, one of Brandon’s favorite places. In May, we marked Mt Rainier National Park off of our bucket list for a fun Mother’s Day trip with my parents.

Bliss Landing, British Columbia

Michael’s first sandy beach: Santa Barbara, CA

Junior Ranger: Michael!

2017 was also the year that we found out that Michael had allergies: both food and pet. We were able to figure out his food sensitivities and can avoid his main allergen (soy) pretty well. Unfortunately, his cat and dog allergy meant that the cats wouldn’t make the trip to Buffalo with us and we found a great home for them. Their new Cat Mom is wonderful and she continues to send at-least-weekly updates, which I love. Everyone is happier with the new arrangement but me.

I love these cats!!

We experienced more of the wrapping up of our life in Seattle, with Megan leaving the City of Seattle at the end of May and Brandon graduating from UW in June.

Professor Szerwo.

After saying good bye to our family and friends, a quick jaunt to Idaho to visit Brandon’s parents, and setting the remodel of our Seattle home in motion, we were off!

Our epic road trip took us through 14 states, traveling more than 3300 miles in 11 days. Epic road-tripping with a 1.75-year-old you say? It’s totally doable. We definitely had our ups and downs, but we had so much fun that we would actually do it again! We visited national parks (Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Badlands, and Wind Cave), national monuments (Mt. Rushmore, Jewel Cave, and Devil’s Tower), other national things (Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site), and even a couple of can’t-miss roadside attractions (the Crazy Horse monument, Corn Palace, and Wall Drug in South Dakota, and a larger-than-life Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, Minnesota).

Some days were better than others. Michael was only crying because we made him stop exploring the rocks at the base of Devil’s Tower.

We landed in Buffalo, toured the house we bought the next day, and got ready for our next big adventure!

Our new Buffalo home

Since relocating, we’ve kept our travel fairly local to Buffalo, including a trip to NYC in September to cheer on our beloved UW Huskies (and check off more national park service sites (Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island national monuments) and another new state for Michael (New Jersey)!).

Playing tourist in NYC

In October, I started as an Area Director with N2 Publishing. I’m currently ramping up a neighborhood newsletter in the Delaware Park neighborhood in Buffalo. I used to write for our N2 newsletter on Mercer Island and knew I wanted to work with them after we moved.

Michael took swim lessons and has discovered he’s a fish. (It only took 5 weeks of tearful lessons to discover!) We celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary, and we enjoyed seeing Alton Brown as a part of UB’s Distinguished Speaker series.

Michael’s turned two in September and we celebrated with all of our new friends! We have developed some great friendships here already and had a wonderful backyard BBQ for Michael’s birthday, complete with a water table and giant homemade bubbles. (Until a certain two-year-old decided to touch the very hot grill…)

Michael’s 2nd birthday

We’ve had some wonderful house guests at our new home and have the tourist routine down pretty well. We’re accepting visitors and would love to show you around our new town. Our favorites include: Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake (a quaint Carmel-by-the-Sea-esque town in Canada on the shores of Lake Ontario), downtown Buffalo, the Darwin Martin House (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), and authentic Buffalo eats: beef on weck, chicken wings, sponge candy, and loads of pizza, ice cream and doughnuts. (Those are the six Buffalo food groups, we think.)

For Halloween, Michael dressed up as a Buffalo Zoo zookeeper and tried residential trick-or-treating for the first time. He made it to about 12 houses in 45 minutes, and continues to enjoy the sweets he received.

Zookeeper Michael

We trekked back to Seattle for Thanksgiving, celebrating the holiday, another Husky Apple Cup victory, and our new niece/cousin Isabella Mamiya! She and Michael were fast friends.

A visit to the market!

We’re wrapping up the year in Buffalo, and enjoying a white Christmas for the first time in a very long time.

2018 is going to be a great year with the launch of my monthly neighborhood newsletter, Brandon’s continued research and first Intro to Managerial Accounting class (550 students!) and lots of new east coast adventures!

University at Buffalo!

Advertisements

Hello, 2017!

Wait, what?! I’m pretty sure 2016 was the fastest year yet. I’m sure returning to work after maternity leave and trying to balance life as a more-than-full-time working mom, actually seeing my kid, and pumping three times a day played a large role. But still, it went too fast.

On the left: 2016 Michael. On the right: 2017 Michael. Same day, different year and such a big little boy!

On the left: 2016 Michael. On the right: 2017 Michael. Same day, different year and such a big little boy!

2017 will be a big year for us. It’s very likely that we’ll be packing up our lives on the Island and relocating across the country for Brandon’s job. Megan’s Island may soon be Megan’s Bayou or Megan’s Desert. (Don’t worry, while I may not be blogging from the Island in the future, I’ll still be there in spirit!)

Because of the big changes afoot, I have one New Year’s resolution this year: Be present.

If last year was any indication, the next six to nine months will be here and gone before we know it. And, since I have to wrap up my 30+ years in this fine city, I’ve got my work cut out for me!

I’ve started a Seattle bucket list and I’ll be trying to make the most of our time here while also saying good bye (just for now, not forever!). The bucket list will be another post, but I’d love to hear your ideas. Until then, I’ve got a kid to play with and a greenbelt to explore.

Cheers to 2017!

My 2017 resolution: Be present.

My 2017 resolution: Be present.

 

 

 

 

Dinner at the Herbfarm

Truffle Treasures at the Herbfarm

Truffle Treasures at the Herbfarm

Brandon and I have a lot of stuff. There I said it. So for Christmas, we decided that instead of more stuff, we would do an experience. We’ve always wanted to visit the Herbfarm, so we started scoping out menus and selected the Truffle menu.

You see, the Herbfarm does theme eating monthly. Right after my own heart! We opted for the “Truffle Treasure” of January and we were very glad that we did!

The Herbfarm is an award-winning restaurant in Woodinville, a suburb of Seattle. It’s on the expensive side and the nine courses (nine!) are paired with drinks for the most part. It also takes several hours. We won’t be going back monthly, but this was a great experience and one that I would recommend you do at least once during your time in Seattle! 

My parents watched Michael and we feasted on…

Herbfarm first course

Herbfarm first course

Truffledom: White truffle shumai; black truffle soup with red beet cream; Dungeness crab with truffle butter; and, beech mushroom tempura, truffle salt, Idaho lemon wedge.

Drink pairing: Blue Mountain Vineyard Brut, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Herbfarm second course

Herbfarm second course

Albacore & Pickles: Grilled rare Oregon Albacore tuna, assorted pickles put up from our larder.

Drink pairing: 2013 Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley

Herbfarm third course

Herbfarm third course

Earth ‘n’ Trees: Oregon chesnut angolloti, cipollini onion, chervil, Oregon white truffle sauce.

Drink pairing: 2002 L’Ecole No. 41 Semillion, Fries Vineyard, Walla Walla

Herbfarm fourth course

Herbfarm fourth course

Black, White & Blue: Buttermilk-poached blue-footed chicken breast, chicken-skin-crusted salsify, sauce perigourdine.

Drink pairing: 2012 Broadley Vineyards Pinot Noir, Jessica, Willamette Valley

Herbfarm fifth course

Herbfarm fifth course

Mr. Kuro Goes to Washington: Bay-braised Gold Beach Oregon Wagyu beef short rib in feuille de brick, turnips & their greens, our Roy’s Calais Flint corn polenta, huckleberry sweet-sour sauce, black truffle puree.

Drink pairing: 2012 Gorman Winery Winemaker’s Reserve Malbec, Red Mountain

Herbfarm sixth course

Herbfarm sixth course

Parsnip in a Pear’s Pad: Grated parsnip and pear, shave Willamette Valley Boerenkaas cheese, nocino sauce.

Herbfarm seventh course

Herbfarm seventh course

Glass & Ice: Sorbet of muddled Idaho Valencia orange rind and sake, gin glass, Douglas Fir snowbank.

Herbfarm eighth course

Herbfarm eighth course

Oh, Sweet Truffle: Sourdough ice cream, black truffle-caramel apples, fromage blanc, Oregon olive oil cake.

Drink pairing: 2005 Thurston-Wolfe 8-year cask-aged Tawny Port

And course nine: 

Extra desserts!

Extra desserts!

Accompanying dinner: truffled wood-oven foccacia

Thankfully little Michael had equally as fun of night with Grandma and Grandpa. He passed out!

Sleepy Michael

Sleepy Michael

Next on our Seattle food bucket list? Canlis. Maybe next Christmas?

{Wine Wednesday} Game day wine pairings

WineWednesday

VinePair always has the best wine pairing ideas and infographics! (See Halloween candy, Thanksgiving, and Christmas cookies.)

They scored once again with these football foods and wine pairings. I’m sure these would all be great with beer, but that’s not my thing, so this is especially poignant for me. Especially since I’ll be spending the bulk of my sportsball-watching at home, in front of the TV with my little guy. Don’t nachos and malbec sound delightful right now?!

 

2015-9-16 football-gameday-wine-pairings-infographic
Happy drinking and go Huskies, Broncos and Seahawks! 

Seattle’s Sweet Week: Sept. 14-20

Seattle's Sweet Week

Seattle’s Sweet Week, Sept. 14-20

Guess what next week is? SWEET WEEK! Seattle Magazine has the full scoop, and here are the highlights:

Now in its second year, Sweet Week, which runs Sept. 14 to 20, features 20 of the city’s best sweet shops offering special $5 desserts or samplers, some of which are not usually on their menus:

Hot CakesBallard: Apple Cardamom Ginger Crisp with salty molasses caramel and vanilla ice cream; Capitol Hill: Cherry Fig Fennel Crisp with salted caramel and vanilla soft serve

Hello RobinIce Cream Sandwich with Chocolate Chai Brownie Chunk Cookies, Molly Moon’s Stumptown coffee ice cream, and pop rocks

Sweet Mickey’s: Fudge Sampler Box

Theo ChocolateFlight of fall flavors: Pear Balsamic Ganache, Apple Cider Caramel, and Fig Fennel Ganache

Full Tilt Ice CreamBlueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Bars

Dahlia BakeryS’mores Chocolate Tart

Dahlia Workshop‘City of Seattle’ Italian plum and ginger Basque cake

Le Panier‘La Vie en Rose’ sweet rose mousse and raspberry cream in choux pastry

Fresh FloursTea-infused macaron sampler: Chai, Rooibos, Hojicha, and Matcha

Violet Sweet Shop‘The Opera Bundt Cake’ all-vegan vanilla bundt cake brushed with espresso syrup, covered in dark chocolate ganache, and filled with espresso creme

A La Mode Pie‘Cookies & Cream Tuxedo Pie’ crumbly chocolate-graham cracker crust, with layers of rich ribbons of chocolate, crushed Oreos, delicate homemade custard, more crushed Oreos, and whipped cream topping

MacrinaMini Banana Chocolate Cake, layers of banana and chocolate cake with sweetened whipped cream and rum roasted bananas, glazed with ganache

ChocolopolisFlight of Brown Butter and Salted Caramel drinking chocolates with a salted caramel covered in dark chocolate.

Canal MarketApple Rosette with pistachio ice cream

PieTrio Of Mini Mini Pies, pick three: Beechers Apple Pie with local Flagship cheddar, apples, and brown sugar cheddar crumble; Boozy Blackberry with local berries and Schilling Cider’s Mischief Maker, Crème Fraiche Pecan, Pumpkin Cream, and Raspberry Chiffon

Gelatiamo‘Gelato d’Autunno’ trio of gelatos using pears, figs and hazelnuts, served with a caramel cookie

Cupcake RoyaleButtered Popcorn and Caramel Crunch Babycake with buttered popcorn and peanut crunch ice cream, and KukuRuZa Hawaiian sea salted caramel corn

Flying ApronVegan & Gluten-Free Yeasted Cinnamon Roll with cream cheese frosting

ParfaitChewy Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Sandwich with butter toffee ice cream, rolled in hazelnut toffee

Bluebird Ice CreamSmoked Chocolate Porter Ice Cream with Hot Cakes’ smoked chocolate

$5 desserts!? YES, please! I don’t even know where to start!!

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)