T & C visit

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When I get the news that out of town friends are coming to visit, I immediately start planning their itinerary around consuming food and beverages. Great skill and deep thought go into these food themed tours to be sure to hit the requisite tourists spots as well as all the restaurants I save for special occasions with a few scenic views scattered about.

This was no different when Brandon’s brother and his really ridiculously good looking wife came to visit us. Tyler and Christiana, of T&C Photographie, have impeccable taste and an expert eye which meant they needed nothing less than the Luxe Brabby Tour of Seattle.

 

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Starting the morning with iced coffees from Analog, we then wandered down the hill to end up at Pike Place Market. Here we wandered a bit to see our favorite spots. Confession: I still don’t get the fish throwing guys… I don’t think I ever will. No trip to the market is complete without a refreshingly zesty Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Necessary since everyday in Seattle is 80 degrees and sunny.

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Continuing our traipsing, we wandered Pioneer Square and sat at The London Plane for lunch. I’ve been waiting to take Christina here since I first saw it, as its style and airiness is just her aesthetic. We shared a few small plates, though I think it was the bread and spreads that was the unanimous favorite. After lusting after the server’s aprons, I finally asked where they were from and subsequently have a new Christmas wish item. One Hedley and Bennett apron please!

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Needing to walk off our lunch a bit, we hiked home and drove to coffee at Slate, where the lovely Chelsea curated a tasting for us while I read my Cherry Bombe, as pictured above.

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Before dinner, we took T&C to Golden Gardens to show off the views Seattle offers.

 

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Essex not only consistently yields some of my favorite drinks in the city, their glassware is uniquely gorgeous. We slowly sipped our cocktails while munching on a few small plates. It is tricky, this Essex and Delancey thing since you want to eat everything at Essex but you know you need to save room for the star of the show next door.

 

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My favorite is always the white pizza topped with whatever the daily offerings are. Sadly, I again did not have any room for this perfect chocolate chip cookie so I was forced to carry it around and munch on it throughout the night. Utter torment.

 

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The next morning we brunched at Arabica , then road tripped down to Lincoln City, Oregon. The boys found some choice tunes from Brandon’s teenage years and for some reason found great pleasure in torturing us girls with its nonsense. Luckily we were treated to fantastical scenery that distracted us from the pain in our ears.

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T&C’s trip was way too short, and with so many restaurants in Seattle it is imperative that they return. But we look forward to visiting them in North Carolina this October!

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An Herbaceous Corn Salad

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I whipped this up and had it in my mind that it was a salad, then I noticed a bag of tortilla chips on the counter and somehow the corn salad ended up perched on a chip and suddenly, it became a salsa.

I’m well aware that it is incredibly boring to talk about the weather, but just bear with me because we have been abused with a seemingly endless monotony of 85 degree weather with clear, blue skies and it is getting out of control. I was actually excited when there was a relatively cool, overcast day last week. Seattle is magical. It takes me to places I never thought I’d go, like craving cloudy skies.

During all this sunny, sweltering weather I’ve craved light, fresh and flavorful salads. Pairing this herby, corny salad with chips and an ice-cold gin and tonic (with extra lime!) is definitely what you should have for dinner.

 

 Herb and Corn Salad/Salsa

Shuck 4 ears of corn. Coat two in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Broil/Grill those 2 ears of corn until beautifully charred. They should get a nice dark brown, but don’t burn them for God’s sake. Check on them every few minutes and turn to make sure they brown evenly.

Cut off the kernels of the remaining two cob ears of corn. (Food 52’s tips on how to do this safely and cleanly here). Add kernels to a bowl. Dice up a about half a small red onion and a jalapeno into very small pieces. Add to the kernels. Chop up whatever fresh herbs strike your fancy. Here I used cilantro, flat leaf parsley, chives and a bit of mint. Whichever you prefer and however much you’d like. Add it all to the bowl and add some crumbles of cojita or queso fresco.

Mix up a quick vinaigrette with olive oil, lime juice, a dash of cumin, salt, pepper and thinly sliced shallots. Pour over the corn and herb mixture, stir to combine and let sit in the fridge until the charred corn is done to let the herbs wilt just a bit. Once the charred corn is done ( and cool enough to handle!), chop off those gorgeously tanned kernels and add to your bowl. Mix it all up and serve with tortilla chips and a chilled beverage.

 

I added a can of black beans and few handfuls of massaged kale to the leftovers and took it to work for a lunch that was the envy of all.

 

Practice makes … better

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Though there are endless quotes and stories of people who achieve incredible things after a myriad of failings, it is still intimidating to begin or jump in to something new. Sure, these stories and quotes are inspirational and motivational for a moment, but what keeps you working, toiling, searching and plodding along in failure or mediocrity until you reach something akin to success? Obviously, it must be due mostly to some innate tenacity within the individual which is how they, the few, become lauded. I’m really not trying to say anything vital here, just thinking in writing and lately I’ve been asking myself why I get intimidated to begin something new.

“Well, I don’t know how to do that!” is what I tell myself. But that isn’t a good enough excuse not to begin to learn something! How are you  supposed to just KNOW something without any learning, experimenting, practicing and exploration?

“But I’m not talented enough!” Pfft, so damn what. Is something only fun, challenging and exciting if it comes out perfect and world changing? Sure, that is exciting, but it isn’t the point of creating and doing something you enjoy, to actually ENJOY it?

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For our 1 year anniversary, the spouse got me a little light so I wouldn’t have any more excuses not to practice food photography. For a while now, I’ve blamed the lighting and the grotesque countertops that populate our kitchen as the reason why I cannot possibly play with food, camera and photoshop. Sure those are real, but they are just stupid excuses because I know that the photos I take in this unpracticed state won’t look amazing. Which is why I don’t practice. WHERE IS THE LOGIC? Precisely. There is none in this argument.

As someone who prizes logic and sense above all, I shouldn’t let it continue. I love following food bloggers with incredible photography ( Cannelle et Vanille, Local Milk, Leela Cyd), which is inspirational but it also tends to shut me down since I assume the first photo I take won’t be as good as their most recent one. And why should it without the education and carefully practiced skill they have? Anyway, this entire rant, Gollum style, is just to say that I want to push myself to practice many different skills, projects and techniques in the future. And I want to post it here as a way to see the growth that will (hopefully) occur and to not let non-perfection damper practice.

The practice

 

 

I’ve been taking Skillshare classes on Indesign, hand lettering and food photography. While watching the hand lettering one, I almost fell into the another trap after seeing how incredible  Mary Kate McDevitt’s lettering was. Because obviously she came out of the womb with a freshly sharpened pencil and a perfectly calligraphied message, “Hello World”. But as I kept watching, she continued to erase, and start huge chunks of her project over if they didn’t look right. Her gorgeous final project was not a first draft, or a second or even a 10th. She erased, started over, traced and re-sketched continually. Her exquisitely whimsical end was the result not only of an official education and personal talent, but a dedication to her craft and the hard work it will take to get there. I’ve learned many fun things from that class, but I keep going back to that “lesson”.

 

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Another story that I keep going back to is Julia Child. Anyone who has turned on a stove to cook something probably looks to Julia, but I recently read “My Life in Paris” which just shocked me with how (relatively) late in life she officially learned how to cook. She started taking cooking classes at age 37 and it took 10 years of intense writing, cooking and experimenting to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Just think of that when you are like 23 and dramatically lamenting that you don’t know what to do with your life. Also, this quaintly illustrated book about her life looks delightful.

What are you too intimated to begin for lack of knowledge and experience? Lets both through nonsensical intimidation out the window and get to work.