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…ok, so maybe my wedding will win out over this one, but it was pretty damn fun spending all day cooking and baking and serving our friends what my accomplice and I were sure was a splendid meal. We were supposed to go to Toronto to see U2 this weekend, but with Bono out with a bum back, we made the best of it state-side.

The menu was:
Appetizer – Bacon-Wrapped Brussel Sprouts with pistachios and sage, Zucchini Latkes with sour cream and smoked trout, and Endive Salad with gorgonzola and maple vinaigrette
Soup – Vichyssoise with baguette croutons
Entrée – Shrimp Étouffée with wild rice and italian bread
Cheese course – Delicious cheese chosen by Tyler
Desserts –  Espresso Chiffon Cake with fudge buttercream, “Trifecta of Tartlets” (honey-cinnamon with apples, vanilla bean mousseline with fresh berries, lemon mousse)

I don’t mean to toot my own horn but uh….yeah, it was pretty good.

We even borrowed a fancy-pants camera to indulge ourselves a little further by taking photos of all the food we were so proud of. A slideshow for your viewing pleasure:

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Aren’t those some purdy photographs? We’re hoping to hold dinners like these roughly once a quarter until we can someday go live with our real restaurant. Stay tuned!

I realized there were a few more shots from our trip that I would really like to post. Because I like them. So deal.

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Who knew I could make pictures into a pretty slideshow! Technology is so cool.

In other news, my roommate and maid of honor Sarah is leaving for a summer-long camp tomorrow, and I will miss her. Have fun, Sarah!

Hello! We are still in Seattle. What a great trip this has been (so I’m posting a photo-filled blog!). Seriously, Eric and Alanna are great. Elliot picks good friends.

Yesterday, we went to see a waterfall, which was very misty. And of course, the waterfall had a gift shop.

We got to walk around a bit and check it out from all different angles. We would have taken the trail down to the bottom of the falls, but that trail is apparently closed until 2013.

After the waterfall, we helped Eric and Alanna get all set up for their youth group dinner thing, and then Elliot and I went to Paolo’s on Eric and Alanna’s strong recommendation, and it was fantastic! Great local wine selection, fresh local pasta, handmade desserts…it was wonderful. Then we got to hang out the rest of the night with our hosts. Elliot and I pretty much mopped the floor with them in a couple rounds of Rook.

Today we had a huge breakfast of eggs and french toast and turkey bacon, and then took off for the city. We went on the Underground Tour. It was really fun, and we learned a lot about Seattle. Apparently once upon a time, the city burned down, and instead of waiting for the city to be rebuilt at a higher level as promised, the merchants rebuilt their stores at the same level beginning the very next day after the fire. Then the city got to work on raising the street level, which left a 20-block network of underground tunnels where the old sidewalks used to be. Crazy! Here are some (pretty bad) pictures from the tour:

The brick framework under the streets.

A view of the skylights from underneath the street.

An old bank teller's cage.

Clearly, the tour was very informative. From there, we headed to Kerry Park, which is more of an overlook, and took a few more pictures.

After Kerry Park, we drove back down to Pike Place Market, and spent hours walking around. We had sandwiches at Beecher’s while we watched them make the cheese, we saw the original Starbucks, checked out the myriad of shops, bought some vanilla beans!, and then headed over to Elliott’s on the water for some really wonderful dinner. I had mushroom ravioli with asparagus, tomatoes, crab meat, and a really light cream sauce. Delightful! Also, I am very excited about the vanilla beans, because I really want to make this.

I really need to stop writing this post now. It is currently 11:42 local time, and we need to get up in about 6 hours to get to the airport on time. And then not let ourselves sleep on the planes so we can get to bed at a regular Eastern time tomorrow night. Ugh. I’m tired already.

I’m writing now from across our fair country, and it’s strange to think our friends are in the middle of the evening church service we normally attend and it’s not even 3pm yet here. We left yesterday from Rochester around 8:30 and arrived in Seattle 3:30pm Pacific time, having eaten lunch at noon our time, which was 9am Pacific. 27 hours is a long day.

Our friends Eric and Alanna met us at the airport, and we squeezed in a wine tasting (yum!) before heading out to the Red Hook brewery for the best $1 tour I have ever taken. The tour lasted about an hour, and we got to try 5 beers, one of them twice, for a total of 24oz. of beer, plus a taste of their Imperial IPA, Big Ballard, downstairs at the pub, purely for comparison’s sake. Not bad for a buck, right?

We got home, got the tour of their lovely abode, and Alanna and I started in on dinner. I made a cherry vanilla crisp with some fresh cherries we had bought on the side of the road, and Alanna made a spicy parmesan kale dish, some rice with beans and veggies, and they treated us to some fresh-caught, never-frozen salmon from Pike’s market.

Eric preached this morning, and it was absolutely beautiful, but more on that later. We’re off to see a waterfall!

 

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That’s right! It’s official! Last Wednesday Elliot proposed to me, and I could not be happier! It was our first anniversary of being together, and he asked me, I said yes, and then there was a party waiting for us at my apartment!

It was like a dream. <3

Many, many thank yous to all the friends who were at our party, and even more thank yous to the friends who have already started giving us some ideas for the planning! It’s going to be a lot of work, but I am so excited!

(Also many thanks to Scott for some lovely shots from our engagement party!)

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I hereby promise to blog more on the conference.  Patience, grasshopper!  I’m hoping tomorrow night (wait, tonight?) I can sit down and transcribe my notes before I need to present something interesting Tuesday night to the social justice guild at church.

Let me also say this:  I have amazing friends.  Moving to the city last summer was the best thing I could have possibly done, and I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have all the people in my life who are now present there.  I am a big believer in making sure people know what a valuable part of your life they are, so take this to heart:

Thank you, friends.  You have already changed me more than I could imagine (and not just because I am more nerdy now than I ever thought possible!).  I am lucky to know such a caring and funny group of people.

Goodnight.