Holiday Gifts Class
Sprizee and I took Olaiya Land’s Holiday Gifts class together tonight. Maybe when we first signed up, I had a notion I’d give all the goodies away, but once in the class it seemed less realistic. Especially once I tried the candied citrus. I knew that would never make it out of my house.

Other goodies: red pepper jelly, blueberry pecan granola, and rosemary shortbread cookies. All so good.
Red Pepper Jelly
Best Ever Granola
Packaging the Rosemary Shortbread

Afternoon Tea

Dagmar invited us to join her for Afternoon Tea at the Sorrento Hotel’s Fireside Room. The Sorrento is a gorgeous hotel on First Hill. Rumor has it their happy hour is great for Christmas Eve. 🙂

Afternoon Tea

in my mom's backyard, November
I felt compelled to put the pretty flower on top, from my childhood backyard.

But what I really loved today was the Buffalo Shrimp.
Buffalo Shrimp
How have I never tried this before? Shrimp a la Buffalo Wing? Delicious. We had these at Sammy’s Grill on Highland while watching the Ole Miss/Miss St game, shortly before driving to the New Orleans airport.

The rest of the meal was okay. After a week of excess, I’d fancied my grilled shrimp poboy would be a healthier version of a beloved fried shrimp. There was way too much mayo on it — I consider it a wash. I was so focused on the Buffalo Shrimp and my un-pictured Jalapeno Cheese Fries (love this convention) that I can’t remember what Mr. T had…oh, wait, it was the Roast Beef Poboy. That was alright, too.

Sammy's Grill on Urbanspoon

Ephemeral Gallery
Tonight, some of my fellow high school grads met for our 15th reunion, at a gallery in our hometown. I love visiting with old friends, even if some of them have also moved to your new city and you saw them exactly 7 days before.
Me & Karen
photo by Mr. T

Rum Sour
I got up super-early to run the Turkey Trot 5k to support Louisiana’s March of Dimes. 31 minutes! Great time for little training.

I rallied to stay awake to make it through lunchtime at The Bay Leaf (a new Indian restaurant), but napped most of the afternoon away. I blame the Turkey Vindaloo.

Our big Thanksgiving event for the day was dinner at La Provence in Lacombe, La.
Thanksgiving in La, 2009
Our family’s menu:
Turkey, Veal, Mirliton stuffed trout with shrimp
Traditional TurkeyVeal with StuffingMirliton & Shrimp stuffed Trout
Blue Crab Dumplings (unpictured), Salads (unpictured), Pumpkin Soup with Chanterelles (unpictured)

Bread Pudding, Apple Tarte, Creme Brulee
Bread PuddingApple TarteCreme Brulee

Favorites: Dumplings, Turkey, Bread Pudding

Thanksgiving in La, 2009
after dinner

the new Mississippi River Bridge
My visits to Louisiana revolve around food. Y’all know this.

My mom, Mr. T & I started today with a disappointing lunch at The Chimes. There was ketchup on the shrimp poboy! Mr. T was not amused. My crab cake sandwich was missing something, I don’t know what. Serves us right for expecting to recapture our great experiences of March and December automagically.

We followed it up with The Strand, an excellent coffee-house pastry shop downtown. We ate our treats on the waterfront, watching the Mississippi go by and forgot all about lunch. Look at that sunshine! In November!

Dinner was at Roberto’s, to finally introduce Mr. T to a place I loved from my last trip in October. Between the fried green tomatoes, the Sensation Salad, and the fried catfish and shrimp, the trout a meuniere, I rolled out of there.


Above Seattle, Nov 24
This was the scene above this, at 9 AM this morning:
Departing Seattle, Seat 2A

After a comfortable flight (thanks to 1st class upgrades), we arrived in New Orleans for dinnertime. We hightailed it across the Huey Long Bridge to Westwego to find this legendary New Orleans-Italian restaurant named Mosca’s. Italian food in NOLA is its own sub-genre.

Their Chicken a la Grande was every bit as flavorful as the Sterns promised. (A good pic of the chicken is in this blog post.) We added salads and Spaghetti Bordelaise to round it out. I should’ve tried their red gravy, but someday. We under-ordered out of fear of over-ordering, so we sprung for dessert: Pineapple Fluff. It reminded me of the Dream Pie that motomotoyama makes with her great Turkey holiday dinners. In other words, I loved it.
Mosca's Pineapple Fluff

Mosca's on Urbanspoon

Roosevelt High

Readjusting to Seattle for two days started off slowly today. Mid-afternoon, I noticed sunshine, so I raced to the nearby high school to take some pictures.

MX Iguana

I spotted this giant iguana from the hallway to our hotel room, right after my final run in Puerto Vallarta. Shortly after lunch, we all taxied to el aeropuerto. Bye for now, Mexico.

I had a long flight to Minneapolis, for a long layover, then another long haul to Seattle. On the MSP -> SEA leg, I sat near a young lady who told me all about her love for Alaska. *adding to list of places to visit next year*

my view, up
We started the day with plans for Punta Mita. Taxi cab fares didn’t match with what I’d seen on the board at a neighboring hotel, so we revised based on our concierge’s suggestion: Bucerias. We caught the bus, and an hour or so later, found the right umbrella. All for only 22 pesos, a tenth of what we’d wanted to spend on taxi fare. (13 pesos = 1 USD)

We ate lunch waterside & enjoyed the view.

The whole set, here:

Get the flash player here:

Special Delivery!
Today we traveled to Yelapa. It’s 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, on a water taxi from Los Muertos Pier in south Puerto Vallarta. Round-trip cost less than $25. We arrived at a nearly empty, pristine beach. The water was beautiful and cool. There was a restaurant or two nearby, where we had great lunches — if we wanted, they’d bring our drinks out to the chaises they provided for all-day use. It was fabulous.

A lady sells pie on the beach for 30 pesos. Agostina’s lovely and she makes good pie. We tried coconut, apple, chocolate, & pecan.
They bring you pie. On th beach. 30 pesos.

You can watch the taxis come in every hour or so. Everything is delivered by water taxi, even the beer. Then a guy wheelbarrows it up to his restaurant.
Transporting 100 yards

There are several beach dogs. I woke up from a nap to find this one had burrowed under my chaise, taking a break from the heat. He was a doll.
went to sleep, woke up with a new friend

Someday, I will come back a spend a whole week here. It’s one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever visited.

A whole set, here:

Get the flash player here:

I meant to update all y’all before I left but here’s a brief note: I’ve been in Mexico all week with motomotoyama & the gang. It’s hot, sunny, and the tide from the Bay of Banderas rolls in about 50 yards from our hotel suite’s balcony. So that’s pretty sweet.

We’re perfecting our slacker ways, but if the mood strikes I’ll send some pictures thisaway.

beach vendors
Last night, we took a field trip into town. That kept us wanting to hang out at our resort most of today.
Here’s our Palapa, site of most meals:
our Palapa

The “quiet” pool:
our pool, from el balcony

At sunset, a cruise ship departed from the nearby marina:
Cruise Ship, departing

Puerto Vallarta
My three traveling companions, at the sunset.
Now that all four of us were here, we devoted ourselves to taking full advantage of our hotel’s beach access.
Puerto Vallarta
Today’s final moments of the sunset:
Puerto Vallarta
Shortly before dinner and time on the town, Spanish practice thanks to Friends:
Puerto Vallarta

Las Palmas and the Ocean from my balcony
This morning, we slept in & acclimated ourselves to being in vacation mode, while Sybil Unrest (her derby moniker) was making her way to PVR. I took this pic from our balcony shortly before she arrived.

I have to admit, I loved our Surreal Watermelon decor once I looked closely & realized its surreality (is that what you’d call it?). I kept thinking about the artist. I was remiss in capturing the rest of the series in our other rooms.
Our Decor: Surreal Watermelons

In the early evening, we walked to the Mega, a gigantic supermarket. I made Moto pose with this giant kegger of cranberry juice.
PVR Day 2

First Night in PVR
Today I flew to Puerto Vallarta via Salt Lake City. I landed mid-afternoon. We were pretty low-energy, so we had dinner within the resort (in what I called Our Palapa) and hung out in the sunshine.

During the Bring It On Intermission
Of teen comedies, a precious few stand a cut above the rest. Bring it On is one such gem — a late-90s oeuvre of SoCal high school cheerleaders. Keaver heard one of us hadn’t seen it, so this provided him the perfect excuse to have our gang over for brunch-time waffles and BACON, Halloween leftovers, and a viewing of the full trilogy. (Oh yeah, there’s more than one.)

Between the lazing about and talking, it took us 5 hours to finish the first movie. I snapped this view of the Needle during intermission.

Today was low-key but it couldn’t have been more perfect — spending time with some of the best people I know. I felt extraordinarily grateful to be there and felt more at home with Seattle today than I have in years. True story.

This is a good life to be living.

Happy Bday Sleenie Karaoke
Tonight was my ol’ roommate’s 8th annual 29th birthday karaoke. Traditionally, the Friday after her birthday is always karaoke at the Kona Kitchen. I suspected I’d have fun, but I couldn’t have predicted at the start I’d end up covering George Michael’s Faith. There was even a Journey singalong, followed by a boy band reunion.
Happy Bday Sleenie Karaoke
The boy band ringleader serenades the birthday girl.

Rachel's Figure?
Today is a first ever guest photo, sent along by Mr. T.

One of our favorite neighborhood places is the Latona Pub. Mr. T suggested we stop on our way home. The restrooms have chalkboards inside (graffiti deterrent?) — he joked he discovered my guerrilla marketing campaign. As if!

It made me laugh, so I asked him to go back and take a picture with his iPhone.

I’m glad they spelled it right.

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