Saturday, June 30, 2007

Booze Cruise

I heard a rumor that the ‘80s are back in full effect in Los Angeles, and I sincerely hope that it’s true. Because last weekend I rocked hot pink stretch pants and loved every minute of it.

On Saturday I went with Stewart on a Nautical ‘80s Booze Cruise for his friends’ Amelia and Kyle’s birthdays. This means that Jeanna and I spent the entire day at the mall picking me out a fabulous outfit. I was torn having to choose between nautical and ‘80s gear, but after finding a completely rad oversized t-shirt with a punk rocker chick on it, my decision was made. Paired with the hot pink stretch pants, black high heels, bright blue eye shadow and layer after layer of jewelry, I was feeling pretty dead sexy. And COMFORTABLE! The outfit was like wearing pajamas out in public! And really, it wasn’t actually too hard to come up with an ensemble… multiple stores provided lots of different choices, which is what has me convinced that the ‘80s are in fact coming back – totally radical.
Stewart also went all out as Tom Selleck from Magnum, P.I. with a sick, fake, thick mustache and bushy wig. It was pretty funny, although I have to admit the mustache gave me a weird creepy “Chester the Molester” vibe – not the way you want to feel about the person you’re dating! We arrived at Fisherman’s Terminal and boarded the Christine W. around 8 p.m. I spent the next 30 minutes at the bar chatting with some of the girls. The boat made it’s way through the Ship Canal toward Lake Union as we sipped on cocktails. The view with the sunset background was absolutely gorgeous, and I was having a great time hanging out with Stewart’s friends.
As the evening wore on the rocking of the boat and the constant stream of vodka into my mouth began to take their toll. Games of flip cup, break dancing, and then a full blown ’80s dance party erupted. I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having with a group of people I barely knew. Thankfully, sometime toward the end of the night Stewart accidentally flushed his mustache down the toilet and immediately became 100% more attractive. As the boat docked at 11 p.m. everyone decided to migrate to the Fremont bar scene. Once we arrived I realized how completely trashed I actually was. Such was the case for most of the other ladies as well, most of whom had either puked and / or gone home to pass out. We decided to do the same.
I’ve decided I am a HUGE fan of the Booze Cruise – for only $30 it’s a great deal for three hours of drinking and partying out on the water. It makes me extremely sad about my winter birthday. But if anyone does have a summer birthday, speak up and I would be glad to host a Booze Cruise for you – ‘80s theme preferred.

Anyone on board?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Restaurant Review

Last week Jeanna and I chose Alki Crab and Fish Co. in West Seattle as our “new restaurant of the week.” NWsource.com says it’s summer year-round at this informal seafood shack that serves combo platters and clam steamers at a bargain price. Just past Salty’s on Alki, the view may be the best value of all, and the new outdoor beer-and-wine patio is a “destination for the 21-and-over crowd.”

Since it was a pretty gorgeous day outside, Jeanna and I chose the restaurant for its patio, prime waterfront location, and low prices due to budget constraints. Upon walking in, the restaurant was what it claimed to be; a seafood shack. You order at the counter from a chalkboard menu before choosing a number and waiting for your name to be called. Since you must be “enjoying a beverage” to utilize the patio, Jeanna ordered a glass of white wine. The $8 drink was served to her in a plastic cup. We both ordered two-piece cod combo meals served in greasy paper trays which included fries – coleslaw had to be ordered on the side.

The seafood was good and decently priced, but nothing to brag about. However, I do think I would go back just for the gorgeous panoramic view and patio – it’s so rare to find one that isn’t packed to the max on a sunny Seattle day, but we had no wait to get a table at Alki Crab and Fish Co. The dining room also has big picture windows and there are picnic tables and grass by the parking lot. The restaurant also draws passengers of the Elliott Bay Water Taxi, so could be a great destination for a tourist-type date, or just a place to wind down after work.

This weekend, my friend Tara invited me to go to one of her favorite restaurants, Cactus. Apparently, this is one of the most popular Friday night restaurants in Seattle, because when we got there at 8:30 we were told the wait would be an hour at least. However, we had already made the trek to Madison Park, and I was dying to try the innovative Mexican / Southwestern / Spanish cuisine of the award-winning restaurant, so we headed toward the bar.

The atmosphere at the restaurant was fantastic and authentic – tile floors, hanging chilies and funky folk art. Even better was the prime location with a view down to the grass and water of Madison Park. Although it was pretty much too crowded to move, the servers and guests were polite and friendly and we didn’t even really mind the wait for our table. Not to mention that the two bartenders were pretty much perfect examples of the male species. I think I was probably drooling because of them as much as my growling stomach.

The six seats at the bar were full, so we ordered drinks and stood back trying to avoid colliding with servers carrying trays of the most fantastic-looking food I have ever seen. My mouth was watering by the time we finally grabbed open bar stools about 20 minutes later. Our mango mojitos went fantastic with a huge basket of chips and salsa casera, and almost exactly 40 minutes later we were led to a romantic little table for two outside.

After some serious consideration (and a strawberry mojito) I decided to play it safe and order the House Chimichanga, one of my favorite Mexican dishes. At less than $15 it was a great deal, served with pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, rice and beans. Tara decided on the Butternut Squash Enchilada – crisp white corn tortillas layered with jack and goat cheeses, spinach, roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions, topped with guacamole and New Mexican red chile mole, also less than $15. Hands down, some of the best food I have ever consumed.

Now, I realize that one of my current goals is to quit frequenting the same restaurants over and over again, but Cactus will probably have to be an exception – I could easily eat there once a week for the rest of my life and never get sick of it. However, if I visited the Alki and Kirkland locations, that would be kind of like trying a new restaurant, right?

Yum.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Life is a Highway

Every once in a while, I stop and think about how truly fabulous my life actually is. There really can’t be anything better than being a 20-something living in Seattle.

On Tuesday, my sister Erin and I saw West Side Story at the Fifth Avenue Theatre. I have been a HUGE fan of West Side Story ever since I first saw it as a little kid. The classic story of Romeo and Juliet, but spiced up and modernized into a feud between two street gangs in the slums of 1950s New York City. It has won 10 Academy Awards and two Tony Awards, and is one of the all-time great American musicals, so I’m super excited I can now say I’ve seen it on stage.

The musical was everything I dreamed it would be, although I was a bit confused. Maybe the stage version is a little racier than the motion picture, or maybe as a little kid things just went over my head. Regardless, there were several things in the play that shocked me. For example, I do not remember the racism toward the Puerto Rican immigrants being so blatant, or the love scene in the bedroom so suggestive. I also do not remember one of the women being gang raped in a drug store – all I remember is her being bullied and pushed around. Were some artistic freedoms taken for the stage version, or was I just that na├»ve as a child? I need to rent the movie again soon for a comparison.

Last night, I was invited to head out on Lake Washington on my friends Tara and Winston’s boat. The weather was 77 and sunny when I left work, and I couldn’t think of a single thing I would rather do with my time. Being out on the water was fantastic, and a couple of the girls were even brave enough to go swimming! I, however, stayed safely in the boat with my beer. As the sun went down we went back to Tara and Winston’s apartment for a while to hang out before heading home.

Recently, Jeanna and I have decided that we are stuck in a rut… we dine at the same five restaurants over and over again, when there are literally hundreds of options in the downtown Seattle core. So we agreed that from now on every payday we will branch out and try a new restaurant. So those are my plans for this evening – a fantastic faux date my roommate. Tomorrow, a night out on the town.

Seriously… all of these things happened in a matter of three consecutive weekdays – could I live anywhere less entertaining? In Seattle, you can see a play, go out in a boat, and then dine in a fabulous restaurant any night of the week. I seriously take my life for granted. I should take a moment each day to remind myself how lucky I am to be young, single and fabulous, and living in one of the greatest cities in the country.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Nichole & Aaron Get Hitched!

This weekend I headed down to Portland for my sister Nichole’s wedding, and returned with a brand new brother-in-law. Aaron is a great guy, and he and Nichole compliment each other perfectly; I’m so happy for them! The wedding is exactly how I would have guessed Nichole’s wedding would be – absolutely perfect.

My sister Erin and I left Seattle Wednesday night and stopped at our parent’s house in Olympia so we wouldn’t have to drive the entire 3.5 hours to Portland in one trip. Saturday morning, we arrived in Portland right on time about noon. However, we were supposed to meet Nichole and the rest of the girls in a Portland suburb, Banks OR, at the spa where Nichole works. However, I was completely unaware that the spa would basically be in the middle of nowhere, OR. Nichole lives in Hillsboro, OR which is a small suburb outside of Portland. I mistakenly assumed her work would be in a similar location. This was wrong.

Erin and I seemed to be aimlessly driving through the cow fields of Oregon on a two lane highway. We passed a giant ear of corn and many, many fruit stands. After turning around about four times and six cell phone calls, we finally turned onto a road that did not, as it had originally seemed, lead to someone’s farm house. We arrived in Banks, which is basically one main street that contains the elementary, middle and high schools, the fire station, bank, grocery store and every other business the town has to offer… Including the spa.
“All About You” was an adorable little place; I can see why Nichole likes working there. And get this: Since the town is in the middle of nowhere, everything is really cheap. I thought I was going to die when I saw the salon prices. You could basically wax your entire body for less than $150! However, I settled on a manicure and pedicure and we spent the afternoon hanging out, gossiping, and talking about the wedding.

After dinner at Sweet Tomatoes, Erin and I checked into our hotel, and at the front desk received an adorable welcome basket from Aaron and Nicole – I swear they thought of everything. Inside were granola bars, popcorn, fruit leather, water bottles, pamphlets about the surrounding area and pages of tourist attractions, complete with descriptions and directions to and from the hotel. The next morning Erin and I had a few hours to kill, so we drove out and toured The Pittock Mansion – super nerdy but so fun! The mansion was home to Portland pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock from 1914 to 1919 and the house really is the equivalent of American royalty. We had a great time on the tour and then wandering around the gorgeous grounds afterward.
My mom and brother arrived that afternoon, and we got ready for the rehearsal dinner, held at a park near Nichole’s apartment. Apparently it is the groom’s job to plan the rehearsal dinner, and it was obvious that Aaron had done his part. The catered pulled pork, baked beans and potato salad were absolutely fantastic, and in the center of each table was a tackle box – Aaron LOVES fishing – filled with “dirt” (pudding and crushed Oreos), gummy worms, chocolate lures, and other assorted candy bugs. Super cute.
The next morning we awoke at 10 a.m. to begin our elaborate hairdos. The ladies spent the entire morning hanging out in the hotel conference room taking turns while three of Nichole’s hairdresser friends pined, curled, sprayed and flat ironed us into superstars. A few hours later, as we gathered in the lobby, problem #1 arose – the limo was broken down. Nichole actually didn’t seem to be too upset. Instead, we piled into various cars and headed to The Benson Hotel in downtown Portland, the ceremony location.
For the next couple hours, we helped Nichole get into her dress and took photos with the happy couple, who did not seem in the least bit bothered about seeing each other before the ceremony. Finally, the wedding began, with my sister Erin and I beginning the ceremony as candle lighters. Now let me be clear: We had one job. One. To light about 60 candles on the alter at the beginning of the wedding. However, enter problem #2. Halfway down the isle, the wick of my candle lighter had run out. Erin’s, however, was shooting sparks at the audience. Awesome. When we finally reached the front, we ditched the fancy candle lighters in favor of BBQ lighters… which took us about five minutes to get lit after figuring out the childproof switch. Ah, well.
The ceremony was beautiful and flawless, other than the minor candle-lighting malfunction. Afterward, we headed upstairs for the reception. Now, since Nichole and Aaron do not drink, there was unfortunately no alcohol at the reception. Expecting this, Erin and I had visited the liquor store beforehand and filled our purses with airplane shooters of vodka. We quickly discovered that vodka goes exceptionally well with wedding punch. My mom and brother agreed. After one of the most fantastic dinners I have ever had, a champagne toast marked the speech, cutting of the cake, and first dance.
Then it was time for my favorite part: gettin’ jiggy with it. Why is dancing at weddings so fun? We danced the Electric Slide, the Chicken Dance, busted out to a Grease medely and I even slow danced with my baby brother. So much fun – and I guarantee we had a little more fun than all those sober people!
The next day we headed home, and I couldn’t help but breath a sigh of relief that my wedding participation is over for a while. However, I couldn’t be more happy for Nichole and Aaron, who are so lucky to have found each other.

Congratulations, Nichole & Aaron!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Let's Kick It

Since my wedding mania is almost over, I’ve decided that I definitely need something new to occupy my time. Enter Underdog Sports League. I’ve become convinced that this organization is the best thing Seattle has ever experienced. It was started with concept of providing laid back leagues for everyday players – everyday Underdogs who want to play a game, meet some people, and then go talk about the game afterward at a local bar. Sweet.

I’ve already been on three Underdog Bowling Leagues and had a fantastic time on each. But this summer Jeanna and I decided to branch out a bit, and today we took the plunge… signing up as individual players on a Kickball League! Welcome back to fifth grade, I am so excited! The description of Underdog Kickball on the Web site is absolutely brilliant – this is my kind of sports league.
This great playground pastime is now back for adults 21 and older to enjoy. We at Underdog Kickball encourage rivalries, cheering and general fun; Remember, it’s just kickball, and you can’t really get that worked up or mad about anything… it’s just kickball. The idea behind kickball – past and present – is to have fun first, win second. And… the upside of kickball for grown-ups is the chance to go to a local sponsor bar after the game, socialize and hang out.
Signs that you are probably an Underdog:
  • You spend more time coming up with nicknames for your teammates than coming up with plays to run.
  • Your pre-game preparation consists of remembering where you left your glove and cleats.
  • You remember half the lines from Office Space and Caddy Shack but often forget what your team record is.
Love it. Let’s kick it.

Also to follow this summer: Drinks on the Links Mini Golf.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cineoke



Last night I attended a super fun event that I have subsequently added to my calendar once a month for the next year. Cineoke is the latest and greatest thing in Seattle, in my opinion – I can’t believe this was my first experience!

My friend Steve told me about Cineoke a few months ago. Happening once a month at the Jewelbox Theater in the Rendezvous, it’s like karaoke, only better! For $5 you get to experience great films, fun songs and drinks. Basically, people get to star in their favorite movie musical. A person picks a musical scene in a movie to sing along to, while the film and lyrics are projected onto a screen behind the stage. There are hundreds of songs to choose from, or you can bring your own special request.

Steve did an absolutely fantastic performance to a song from Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride – including an amazing guitar solo! Several people performed to Disney songs including Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid (of course I sang along). Also featured were songs from Little Shop of Horrors, West Side Story and Chicago. But the absolute hands-down highlight of the evening was a duet of “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life” from Dirty Dancing. This is not a joke – the couple had the entire dance choreographed, he jumped off the stage just like Patrick Swayze. Even better, the audience (unprompted or warned before the show) danced up the theater isle mimicking the movie’s cast! It was unbelievably impressive and more than a little entertaining.

Please, if you ever have the chance to attend Cineoke – DO IT. Preferably with a performance prepared from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Celebrating Another Bride-To-Be

I spent the weekend in Portland for my sister Nichole’s bachelorette party. I can’t believe she’s already getting married, because less than five years ago she was stone-cold single, talking about how she was ready to meet “The One.” Soon after, she found him, and now she’s about to be married – and I will have my first Brother-in-Law!

My sister Erin and I headed South on Saturday morning. We stopped briefly at our parent’s house in Olympia for lunch and shopping before making the trek to Nichole’s house. After some serious self-talk: “Sarah, you are not still hung over after last night…” I was able to suck it up and drink some beer – which was quickly gone after several rounds of “I Never.” I am really beginning to hate that game.

After getting a sufficient buzz on, the 10 of us headed out on the town to an Irish pub nearby. The atmosphere was super cool. We sat at little round tables by a real fireplace and drank cocktails – A Fresh & Clean for me, please! Nichole, who normally doesn’t drink, was tipsy and giggly. I really don’t hang out with her often enough.
One of the girls had brought along what I have determined to be one of the best Bachelorette Party games out there: “That Guy.” At the beginning of the night, the cards are distributed equally to the ladies. Then the group hits the town and tries to find real-life guys who match the cards dealt. Each time you find a match, you turn in that card, and whoever gets rid of her cards first, wins! But the funniest part – the cards themselves. Here are a few examples of the guys we were on the prowl for:
  • Too Old To Be There Guy
  • Fake Tan Guy
  • Grind Guy
  • Bad Dancer Guy
  • Mullet Guy
  • Bouncer Guy
  • Came From Work Guy
  • Sports Jersey Guy
  • Tattoo Guy
  • Loves His Own Body Guy
Here are some of the people we actually found:

Tattoo Guy

"I'm With the Band" Guy
"Is that a guy or a girl?" Guy ... um ... Girl ... um ... Guy
Random Guy

Mullet Guy (I swear, he has one)
Blue Collar Guy
Those are way too big to be real Chick
The list goes on and on, it was endlessly entertaining. A few more cocktails and we were on the dance floor getting jiggy to a ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s rock cover band. Oh and PS, the lead singer was the winner of the “Mullet Guy” card. Classic.

I have to say I have become a big fan of the low-key Bachelorette Party. Both of the most recent ones I’ve attended have been small groups of friends going to a local venue to hang out and drink – and each time I had a blast.
But not to worry ladies, we will still be going to Las Vegas if I ever get married!

Countdown: One week until the wedding!!