Now that's messed up, in a delicious way.

Anyways, it's New Years Eve, and I am working until 10 or so, then hitting the mean streets to go to a masquerade ball. I made my own mask, and it's the first and last time I will ever buy glitter pens and stick on gems to "bedazzle" anything. But I am looking forward to going to a proper party- it's been a few years since I have done something of serious note. My goal: not to be as hung over as last year. Probability in achieving goal: high, since I don't think the bourbon market recovered it's production still...

The last week has been pretty relaxing, spending time with family and friends, celebrating and whatnot. Happy New Year to you all!


Morgue: Legacy

Well it has happened.

My great friends in NZ, Morgan and Cal have had their child. Willamina is here!
A few weeks ago, before the end of the long-running game I had been a part of with the NZ guys, I spoke to Morgue in a down moment via skype. He spoke of becoming a father, and having his world turned upside down. I used the word "awesome" to describe the situation, and meant it's dual meanings, which he pointed out was the most apt term for this momentous event....

Little did he know, at the time I was capturing the images of a man about to lose my perception of freedom. Or my perception of what "enough sleep" really means. Or quiet, or.....

Morgue when I crack a joke:

Morgue when he realizes that the joke is ON HIM!

(I also saw Tron:Legacy today and liked it for the "awesome" visuals, but it was too long for what it was, and it could've been so much darker, but it was made by the mouse, and this pales in comparison to the importance of the rest of this post, but wanted to let you know.)



It's been busy. Busy for the December cooking man life. Although, I shouldn't complain- not as intense as it's been in the past. Maybe I am becoming better? Maybe business is down? Maybe a better team? A bit of them all?

Well, it's almost over. Good. I really am not a fan of the holidays, because of this negative association. You have fun, I work more. (And then there's the whole don't care much about the birthday party....).

New Years Day I am considering throwing a party that has perhaps a relation to festivus: you express your regrets of the last year, and then say how you've learned from the mistakes and how you're moving forward through the help of a support group/8-step program. There will be grog involved...

Looking forward to next weekend's supper out at Vashon Island. That will be covered for sure. I am beginning to think of this blog as a "major events only" place now. I am considering if I have as much love for this Alligator Love thing as I have in the past....something I am mulling over for the rest of the year. And on that bombshell, have a great day!



2 odd local food notes:

1st, Rizzo's French dip has closed apparently, when the owners skipped town. Their ad is not fake. But it should be:

And then second, the BBC reports the story of the Washington Tater Man....


From The Rolo-Dex.

Best recipe ever.

Next time you throw a party for your friendly friends....


Turkey Time, Expounded.

Oh Thanksgiving, how I love ye.

I went down to Olympia, not in the dart, due to the ice still covering my street (it rained last night, so it's gone now) and my dad already had the turkey going. Hanging out with family, drinking whiskey (Basil-Hayden) and cider (Rockridge Orchards), playing games, and relaxation.

Dinner was up at 3pm, with the full array of traditional items, with gravy I was especially proud of, since it was made at work with much craft-skill and love. Chicken demi-glace, simmered with 4 carcasses of roasted chickens, some shiitake mushrooms and bay leaves for a background accent, and time. Then I turned that into a velouté and pored it over the roasted chicken thigh meat I had reserved on the side....that's how you do it....

And as a side talking point, mostly for the cooking types: I have been morally wrestling with the idea that a meat stock should just be a reduction of that animal's essence. Why add mirepoix, and other traditional ingredients? Should you add some? I added shiitakes because they would help with the umami....what about that? Do I need to roast all my bones or can I blanch it? I am getting into moral questions concerning the basis of traditional western cookery.....I love this about food: there are many ways to get to the end, and you find the way that works best (not necessarily for you, because that's called a shortcut) and makes you content.



I drew some alligator pictures a while back, with the intention of using them here. I wanted to do something, but I got burned out- I am not used to staring at a computer for this long straight! So, this is temporary.....

RoundUp, The Freezing.

It has snowed. Snow. Real powder. It's cold out, under freezing, windy, serious. Winter. At the beginning of this month we hit 76°F. WTF.

Anyways, I made Sauerbraten recently, taking pictures to explain to y'all how it's done. I was incomplete, but I will explain:

1. Sear your well seasoned brisket (but you should decide to make this a couple days before, so it can marinate....)

2. Brown your carrots and onions in the same pan you did the meat in, turned down a little.

3. Bring some beef stock up to a boil, on the side. Bubbly!

4. Drink some "glacier fresh" beer.

5. Open 4 Copa di Vino (my friend Meg works for them- I got 4 cases!) and deglaze your pan.

6. Add some bay, coriander, thyme, caraway seed, black pepper and garlic.
This is where I stopped taking pics. Put this veg mix from above into a braising vessel with the seared meat, and the boiling stock. Cover well, and cook in a 325° F oven for 4 hours. Pull the meat out, and take the rest of the liquid and thicken it with gingersnap cookies. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Then, eat with a warm potato/kraut/sour cream and some kohlrabi, sunchoke and mizuna salad. Enjoy more glacier fresh beer....

And now for snowy pictures....

The Dart sucks in snow, fyi....no traction....

Still some fall colors.


Dart Vs. Me.

I am off today, with a bento lunch planned, as well as a cooking assignment for myself. I have yet to determine what that will mean, but I am doing something of note today. I will attempt to remind myself to document for various purposes, including learning on your part (perhaps....).

I recently wrestled with a moral dilemma: To Dart or Not To Dart.

I have my old car, and it needed a lot of work (nearly 1 grand) for stuff. That's how out of neglect it was. After so much time driving my brother's more modern car, with all its safety and comforts, I had once again thought about a new vehicle for myself. But a 2nd car? I can NOT sell the Dart (there would be an uproar- and there's a 45th birthday party for you to attend next summer!) And so how much do I pay for a new car? I have a car paid for outright? But the new one will be less of a hassle! But my current car literally starts up every time, no questions asked, so is a thousand a year worth it? "Of course" was the final verdict- it is. I would pay that much for another car anyways.....but then I left with this: The Dart is really a greater Seattle car. I don't much like driving it to Olympia even....so I back at the start....

(And then there's this: Not bragging, but I do have enough/make enough to make this a moot point if I wanted, but it's being saved for the restaurant you will get to eat at one day. I save lots for that....enough where these things are choices....)


Wild Vs. Wild.

Just woke up and am listening to the Avett Brothers while I have my coffee drank.

Was jolted into boyhood by this though: a bison being chased by a grizzly.

Pretty cool,eh? Now back to coffee and morning time.



Well now. We're in November already. Really? If I am to experience winter, I would be ok if it consisted of our weather today. It was tortuous knowing it was almost 70 degrees out, fully sunny, and there I was making meatballs and potato cakes and hot sauce and plum-upside down cake. Ok, it could've been far worse....

Halloween (the party night of Saturday) was mucho fun. Went to a house party, with warm gravy in a clearance-quality gravy boat, and danced up a storm. Note to all: gravy-boat-and-whiskey-drank-holding-while-dancing is really, REALLY hard. There's no flow, no balance. So I put the gravy down, drank my scotch and water up, and then got down (but not next to the gravy).

Sunday was actually Halloween, and the quality of that evening is truly debatable, but I will say this: my body turns wine into headaches. And a makeshift costume is not a costume. You just look like an idiot....

I have already proclaimed my costume next year. I do this many years (see Macho Man for a decade) and (so far) they never come to pass. But! I promise, PROMISE next year's getup will be epic, and I will pull no punches for it. I will not say what it is, but for the last Halloween of my 20's, I will go big....



I went down to Portland this weekend- my weekend, which was a day longer than usual- with Aki, his girlfriend Vanessa, and his brother Masato. It was a nice little getaway.

Highlights/Recap: Porchetta sandwich from People's Pig food cart- pickled romanesco?!? More please. I will also be copying this item on my next menu as closely as possible.
Dinner with Trever and Nicole at a cool Italian bar. Monday lunch with Meghan at ClarkLewis, and then cocktails at the Ace Hotel and the Benson Hotel. I like hotel bars. They usually have quality drinks and are full of people who are like me- nowhere else to go....

I also obtained the 2nd to last piece of my Halloween Costume. I am going to be a gravy robber.
It's rather esoteric:



I have completed a month-plus plan of pulling off this farmers market event. It had the rather long-winded official title of, "Farmers Market Alliance-UDistrict Chamber of Commerce Fall Market Harvest Celebration." It is an unwieldy acronym.....

Anyways, I woke up stressing out yesterday, for no real apparent reason. After being at work for 30 minutes and taking account of what was what, I realized I could enjoy myself and cook some excellent stuff. There were a couple minor details I wasn't happy with, but at the end of the day, everything I could do/did do made people happy. I was grateful for the farmers that donated produce, and love that community. Here's the menu of what I did, but since you didn't eat it, you lose.



I cannot wait.

And the Dart usage is extra appreciated.



Just enjoying a day off, during which we're getting these lovely Indian Summer days. I have no idea why they're called that. But I drank coffee and read outside earlier, and though I wore a jacket, it was only because of the light breeze.

I have cleaned up my room, which was a big event. I still hadn't put away my camping thing from last week. A tent spread out to air, the various contents/accouterments of camping I own (including 2 sleeping bags, and 3 tents) really takes up a lot of room unpacked. It takes up almost all of the small closet I have in my room, and it's stacked up, and packed away in 2 backpacks for order. It's crazy. But it's been put away, and the room dusted for probably only the 4th time I've lived here. It's not grungy ever, because it's so dark in here....

I am plotting next week's "farmers market alliance/U-District chamber of commerce fall harvest celebration." I have lots of fine things on order, and I will let you know more about this in the near future. Now I have to go back to enjoying Wilco's double album "Being There."


Le Beach.

The ocean was great.

It rained only a bit, in the morning. It was empty, devoid of campers. The night was full of stars, and constellations I have no idea of. We cooked over the fire, pondered, and drank smooth whiskey, a requisite part of a fine camping experience.

Brought back 2 albacore tunas, weighing around 11 pounds apiece, of which I have only eaten raw (classic Japanese sashimi with fresh shiso, cabbage, perfect rice and miso as one meal, and a Spanish approach to the belly: sliced thin, with green olives/pimientos, oregano, and fine, grassy olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and fresh lemon. Both are pretty good....) and have to preserve the remainder.

Tonight is a stay-at-home night; big living overshadows daily necessities, which become dire, such as laundry or cleaning ones room....



I have ended up at the other side of the day that was circled in my calendar as "the day when everyone wants something, be called, or I have an appointment." I was not looking forward to the day, especially when I somehow double booked two big things concurrently. But, alas, I have made it happen, and have survived.
The really big thing is my brother has gotten a new job, and has returned from Alaska to the outskirts of Washington, the fabled Tri-Cities. (Not as fabled as Olympia and its two hanger-ons...) He woke up in Fairbanks to 5° F and headed over to the eastside of the state, where he said it'd be 85° F. Drastic.

But, more personally affecting: my new menu. It was a firm departure from Summer's Freewheeling Produce Array (the name of my gypsy folk/sky/Euro-dance band) to the full harvest time. Tomatoes are winding down (no! I hadn't eaten enough!) Fishes too. I am turning to pumpkins and braised dishes. Peppers are utilized a lot. Corn, I recognize now, should have seen some sort of play. Kimchee has been made from cabbage, and I should make a sauerkraut batch. But that's next week, if I am lucky. Loads of other things to take care of!
But here it is; October in all its glories:

Saturday, Sounders match (will they make the playoffs?!?!) and the farmers market. Sunday was going to be camping up in the mountains (which I haven't really done this year) but now looks to be out at the ocean with Aki (which also hasn't happened this year...)
Should be good.



I love that all I am doing this week is linking to pointless endeavors captured on the internets. (See Ichiro's Milestone).

And now this guy, who likes making pancakes waaaaay too much.

In my life? Work is insane this week for some reason; working long days, and the good news is my sciatica hurts after 10.5 hours as opposed to 5.5 hours, so treatment is working right?
Oktoberfest/karaoke tonight!



And you'd think this was posted in the Onion, but no, off the wire.



The one good thing about this season of Mariner's baseball?

Ichiro of course. (Unless you count last offseason, when our pitching rotation looked incredible, but you know how that turned out*)

*unless you live in NZ, then of course you don't most likely. Long story short: we made an audacious trade for a former Cy Young Winner**, then our batting was (some would say) predictably miserable, and the pitching didn't matter.

**Also for Kiwis: The award for the best pitcher in baseball, named after the guy who has not only the most career wins, but also the most career losses in baseball history***

*** yes, baseball is weird, but not as weird as cricket****

****like having to introduce a rule because a player replaces himself with a cardboard cutout.


Farm Trip.

I feel physically shattered. I had a long day yesterday, which ended late for me (10! Yeah, I know that's a wimp time for a real chef on Saturdays....) and started early this morning for me.

Saturday was hitting the ground running, with the hotel full of Cornhuskers (Really NZ, they're called that), and they eat some eggs and potatoes for breakfast, let me tell you. They also drink lots of red beer at night- lager with tomato juice. Yummers.

But in between, I took a couple cooks out to Vashon Island for a farm tour and lunch at Sea Breeze Farm. We took the ferry over, and had the tour where the farmer explained two big ideas to me:
1st, that he's really a grass farmer, and the animals manage the land, and what he gets as a by-product of that management is meat, dairy and eggs. Through careful and thoughtful management, the systems of nature work well.
2nd, and the reason why the products cost more is because you're paying for nature's share too. Keep animals in cages? It keeps them safe from predators. Never feed a calf mother's milk and go straight to milk replacer? That makes them grow differently/faster. Feed them grass? It takes time. No antibiotics? Creatures get sick and can die, and that's a loss.

He had some great view points, and he had a very good chef at the spot, with the farm's meat playing the main role on the menu. Paté, rilletes, and head cheese featured on the charcuterie platter. Sausage, kale, potato soup shined because of an awesome and rich chicken/pork broth. The salad had no meat, but perfect tomatoes, and really good sheep's milk cheese. The porchetta sandwich was the bombdotcom, and the grilled country sausage was perfect with the earthy puy lentils and dijon. They even make wine, and I had a glass of Sauv Blanc that really was not what I expected, but in a good, and interesting way. A deeper color of yellow than I've ever seen, but the honey-tropical fruit notes generally seen in that varietal when grown in the antipodes....

Today was work early, and done early, and then football Sunday with the recently-returned-from-an-Italian-honeymoon Calerys. Mrs. Calery made a nice enchilada pie with homemade chorizo and pork tinga! (Wow! 2 references to slow cooked, national pork dishes in one blog post!)


At the Beach House, Beach House.

Working my 7th day in a row- but hey, at least my leg feels better, and I get tomorrow off!

Went to a chiro, and he must've opened things up in my back. The x-rays showed that my spine was all whacked out of alignment. And my back muscles are crazy tight. So slowly and surely I'll fix myself!

And a link to the pics from last weekend at the beach house. Hopefully the link will work- it was sent from my friend....



Yo Ho Ho, like a pirate.

Whatever that means, I had a great holiday weekend with my friends and family at the beach house. I cooked some chickens described as "immaculate" and "ridiculously expensive" over a wood fire, simply seasoned. They were indeed amazing- pure poultry succulence!
Also enjoyed: white chanterelles, 1st of the season, with corn, tomatoes and sweet banana peppers cooked in a skillet over said fire. A succotash of sorts. Duck, roasted. Beans, braised with carrots and wild arugula/rocket. Wilted beet greens with bacon and the fine sherry vinegar finish I love. Nectarine-Marionberry crisp. All local. All amazing.

Guitar jams by the fire, poker, beer, whiskey and whisky imbibed, laffs/real slappers all happened out there.

That place rocks. Pictures maybe someday.



Here's to hoping that today's fine weather will travel till Monday round these parts, contrary to the report, because, I am heading to the family's house on the Kitsap peninsula where the reunion was held. I'm headed out there with friends, and my dad. Cooking and drinking, and being relaxed at the end of this summer, which has had a lamentably low number of scorching days.

But I still got sorta tan.

Tomorrow I will hit the market before work, to grab some stuff for the Sunday night dinner: jerk chicken with some awesome chickens, and then some stuff with peaches, corn and tomatoes, and greens. One cannot complain about the produce round these parts this time of year! Enjoy celebrating your Labor, Americans.


Smokey Attention.

It's a lazy Sunday.

I slept in past noon by 3 minutes, like I could do at a younger age, but it's very rare indeed nowadays. 7 or 8 hours of sleep is usually sufficient. Regardless, I awoke from an intense, movie-like dream where I was an elite soldier, but in one of those "we're going to have a good time during the war" units (like pirates, except government funded?). And then things went south outside Shanghai.....

I then arose from the final credits, which might've promised a sequel, to strong coffee (as always), reading (the girl with the dragon tattoo- yes, I'm a little late to the party), making sweet corn soup (with smokey Oaxaca chiles that were stored in the same bag as some chocolate couverture, and the chocolate has garnered some smokey attention that was pleasant) that I topped with smashed avocados, ricotta salata from Montana, and tortilla chips that got that pleasant, soggy nature I like.

Now I'm listening to the new Eels album, and readying for some parties I got invited to- one a pig roast, and the other a meatballpalooza.

And then there's this:



Alright. I've been slacking of late in this place. I've been busy with my return to work- honestly things could be going better there, like being busier, so I've had to tool some things around in the hopes that we'll entice more people in, especially for happy hour and lunch. Come on down if you're in the Seattle area. I bet you will think the food is at least ok....

I've been mired down with at times crippling sciatica pain, which I've been dealing with for a month now, maybe more. I've been stretching, icing, massaging, and have started acupuncture. Sunday I layed low, and felt pretty good Monday. The problem is that I don't have a desk job- sitting eases the pain for me. So after say 6 hours of work, I start hurting, and then I'm there for 3 more hours (at least) and it sucks. Last night I had to run errands after I came home, and walking in the grocery store was hell. I came home, and hated life for a few minutes as things calmed down....it is epically lame.

Figuring out what the heck I'll be doing Labor Day weekend....beach perhaps...



I am back to the real world. It's mighty real indeed.

Bozeman, the epic journey, the wedding, the Hemingway Week, was many things: short, memorable, tiring, bourbon-ey, beefy, cooler than expected, boot-buying, and enjoyable. Mostly the last.

Drove over with a large car-load, got a speeding ticket about 40 miles shy of the line, stayed in a large house, cooked my way through a whole steer, played nails in the mountains, roasted Dustin, got woken up by Dustin unloading his gun (2nd time a Calery has done this to me...), cooked some more, cooked a little bit more, went to a wedding with a beautiful bride that let me dance with her in my red-seersucker "summer playsuit," swam in the Gallatin river, and drove home with a stop for fried chicken, another stop for nectarines and corn, and a final stop for mountain rock blasting (rawk blasting would have been preferred!)

Now I've returned to work, where I have to make some changes to some things, and so I embark on that job....


Hasta La Bye-Bye.

I am headed out early in the morning for Bozeman, and I still have much to do!

Will probably do some blogging at some point, but no promises kids.

Have fun. Be back in Seattle in a week.


Hemingway Week.

Not too much to speak of going on this week. I'm laying rather low, to save my energies for my Hemingway Week next week.

I have good friends getting married next week, Jackie and Dustin, over in Bozeman Montana. While my dad pointed out that it means ending the week blowing my brains out, that is not exactly what I meant. What I meant was the imbibing and writing part. So do I need to asterisk, or list caveats after I proclaim Hemingway Week*?

*I will not even shoot a gun.**

**well, it is Montana....


Peak Flavor.

Here's the new menu:

Now with corn, truly ripe tomatoes an sweet peppers, food life is at it's peak in the NW!


Geoduck Grand Champion.

You may now only refer to me as "The Grand Champion", or "His Holiness The Grand Champion." (With or without a French affect)

My dad and I won this year's Andrews family reunion bocce ball tournament, crushing and destroying opponents with suregeon-accurate precision and ruthless antics. I last won in 1998, so it's been a long time coming for the 2nd hoisting of the glorious trophy which represents the pinnacle of athletics. Actually, I wasn't super into the bocce ball stuff when it started, the weather was so glorious I wanted to be dragged behind a boat on an inner tube instead...

Friday night I left work and headed down to the house outside Allyn, and slept out on the deck, with a nearly full moon lighting the bay. It was warm and summer out. Saturday was a day of hijinks, the aforementioned bocce ball, geoduck hunting (which is muddy and fun and wild), volleyball, cooking, hot tubbing....life is tough.

I did all the cooking this year, which was a first, and I went pretty big:
-Sockeye Salmon with Quilicum beach scallop ceviche
-A small farm pork rib roast (Pork Prime Rib) with roasted apricot-dijon-coriander (seed) bbq sauce
-Perfect potato salad
-White beans with braised fennel and arugula
-Ripe summer tomatoes, pickling cukes and celery salad with a sweet sherry vinaigrette
-Geoduck a la Plancha de Washington, a Spanish affair with chorizo, tomatoes and green onions
(cleaning the geoduck was odd.....)
-Brown sugar poached apricot buckle (I forgot the mint whipped cream I had planned)

And then I spent the night out there again, and it was another fine evening. The place really is fine..... I plan on heading out there again sometime this summer, as it's only an hour away, and it really is underused according to the relatives that own it. So y'alls invited!



It's been a weekend of lots. Lots of friends, lots of bloody marys, lots of highlife, lots of outside sitting, lots of ducks, lots of life.

The party went rather well- lower turn out than I'd hoped for, but whatever. More booze for the serious folks. That rolled downhill into hanging out all day and night with friends.

Which rolled right into a brick wall of pain Monday morning. I went into work to do a few things, rather slowly, and then headed to Capitol Hill to hang with Gregor, visiting from Edinburgh. We travelled from Cafe Presse, to the P-I, to Art of the Table's happy monday, to King's in Ballard. Sun followed us the whole day, and naturally fine conversation flowed. I was rather beat afterwards, and woke up early today to play paintball with people from work. It was going really well (minimal pain incurred via high velocity paint), when 5 minutes before the end, I wrecked my back. I am pretty hurt, and need to get into better shape once I heal enough to...
But there's a new kitchen at work- new equipment! New refrigeration and heat and storage and tables! I am loving it tomorrow (if my back is ok!) I've never cooked with brand new stuff except culinary school. Will take some pics tomorrow....



I am scheming/plotting/getting ready for the bloody mary party/soire/shin dig on Sunday.

Who knows what special treats/delights/culinary train wrecks will happen/be presented/change the world?

We will find out/expectorate.


Weekend Roundup.

I had a weekend of enjoyment, after a long and tiring week (6 days, 60 hours).

I enjoyed a summer eve on Saturday, outside mostly, in the fine weather. I love sitting around outside in the summer air at night. The coolness is lovely.

Sunday was, of course, the World Cup Final. I attended a party, and watched a rather dull game, full of fouls that will tarnish the legacy of this Dutch side. But Spain won in the end, and I liked to see that, since it means essentially FC Barcelona are the world champs....

And then I headed up to Vancouver, to see not only Beth, but her parents, and her boyfriend Chris, who is around for a few months too. It was enjoyable and an honor to see the parents, and we went to Lynn canyon, a place I'd like to explore more, and laze in the river. We then returned to their posh hotel and had high tea. Tea sandwiches are so odd. They range from insipid to spongey, to archaic, to too rich. English genteel ladies were/are/will be odd. But the tea was lovely, as were the biscuits that they called scones.....

Returned to Seattle last night, and after a large Chinese bbq dinner, I got pulled over, for expired tabs in my brother's car. I knew this. The 1st officer was nice, and just wanted to make sure my record was clear. He took my license, and another cop returned and asked me if I was "DOC active." I became confused, she become angry, and then asked me if I had a parole officer. I guffawed, which incensed her more. I've never been arrested, contrary to what you may think! They got their issue corrected, and let me go after too long. (wrong birthday- a entry level mistake I think....)
Finished off the night with a nice 7 hour nap....



For some reason, I got this idea in my head of an epic, trans-America road-trip. An almost circumnavigational one. When I tried to get directions from google maps, it blew the entire system of computerized map-makers up, and left a smoldering pile of rubble behind. That is the level of epic-osity.

In a conversion van no less. I've looked into it.....the vehicle of perfectness doesn't exist though: a 2 captained chaired, bed, cooking area, entertainment system in a diesel, made in the 90's. And it's painted green as an alligator. And it flies.

A flying Wani-Van! (A WV, not a VW.)

Anyways, this is what I think of when I have a spare moment and walk to the store for coffee in the morning. Besides, the new menu debuted to much acclaim- I am far happier with this one than the past ones. It needs an appropriate wine list, which I have to sort out now....


Heads Up Cuz.

When I was camping, I concluded that my NZ Immigration debacle had one last gasp: a letter to the Immigration minister. (Read it if you care....)

I tried to impart on him that the best chefs in the world never went to school, that cooking is a craft, and cannot be measured by a degree. A subtle petition for myself was perhaps laid out, but I expect nothing to come from this, other than a "Thanks for the heads up cuz." (It is NZ, and they speak like that there, even MPs from Northcote!)

So, yeah. I have given up on doing things the right way, the correct way. Are there other options? Yes. But I haven't really given too much thought to those ways, as other things around these parts require attention. Bottom line is this: money. I need it, and am saving up for the eventual return to Wani-san Glory. (That's my band's name, number one hit: Wani-san no groly. Inside joke: for Trever).

Happy 4th of July everyone. Freedom isn't free, and neither is the movement to another nation! (I just had the idea that if the US conquered NZ, I could live there then!)



This is my new July dinner menu:

I also have a blown-up kitchen with Russians in it at the moment, and a breakfast menu with bacon-pancakes on the menu. And I am staying in this Friday evening, 'cause Thursday was big, oh so big. Sleep!


Alone In The Wild.

I went out there, but not to the Pacific like I had intended. The ferry line was too great, the day had advanced too much for me to wait that time, and the allure of Sunday morning's World Cup games was far too enticing. So I went out Saturday (For the 1st time in 2 weeks! Breakfast shift tends to make you not want to go out!) with Dustin to the bar of choice. Now the bar of choice has the bartender of choice, who brings the beer of choice. That's why they're all choice-as, bro. And when that happens, and you go home late, and wake up early, and watch games, and are "crudo" as they say in Mexico, then camping is very hard.

So I failed a 2nd night to go. But I had a plan of attack that I followed for today:

Wake up early. This was important. Drive up into the mountains. Also important. Walk up the middle for of the Snoqualmie river, where no one else was, and make lunch, eat with bears, and ponder, study and examine life, my life that it has become. And so I did.

Conclusion: not much new. If I have a desire to return to NZ, it's DesireLite. I have little fight left in me: exactly one piece of correspondence to the Minister, just to rile some feathers, because I instigate. If I return to NZ, to live legally, I need to find a job beforehand, which I am in a pretty fine position to do so now, as I am the chef of a hotel restaurant. That's pretty good. Or, I can write up a business plan with another kiwi, and explore that option. I had thought of that when I was living in the Hutt last, and it seemed difficult, far fetched, and potentially risky for another person. But, hey, who wants to open up my Lewis and Clark themed American Bar? It's cool. I promise.

Also, I defined what my goals are for the current position, both short and long term. I have no qualms about my current positions; it's whatever I want it to be, and it pays me decent for the work load. And I have a life separate from there.

But future adventures? I dreamed about those, with places falling onto my paper from my pen rapidly. I need more money, or a patron. I look in your direction!


Wellington, WA.

First off, I just found out about Wellington Washington. I just saw it on google maps....

I am going camping, after watching the US beat Ghana on Saturday, and after working the opening breakfast shift (it will be the last one in this stretch!) I was looking on the map- thinking about the Wenatchee area, and saw the Wellington name around those parts.....

In proper Wellington news, the point of this upcoming camping trip is to sort out what is next. Is it NZ? Is it a letter to Jonathan Coleman once again? Is it formulating a business plan that one of you kindly readers/friends and/or acquaintances down under want to "go in on?" Or is this really a proper sign that my place is here in Seattle? Or do I take it that I really need to explore somewhere else? India? Argentina? Costa Rica? Chicago? D.C? I have no well formulated ideas, other than I am burnt out and behind at work. No days off, short a man, and things back-logging because I have to cook everyday, and it takes my full attention to keep the train rolling down those tracks....

So, plant some seeds in my head to ponder on while I am away....



.....And then there's this, brought to my attention by the Tallest Ninja, Ben Davie.

Really. It could be an elaborate prank of sorts.

Other than that, I am working very early, too early to cook breakfast, and then staying into the dinner service hours. For 12 days straight.

But then I will be rewarded with sweet nature time, in my tent, away from the stress and annoyance of trivial work matters!



I am exhausted. I am on the breakfast shift. Who wakes up at 5am regularly and is cool? It's harsh, especially when you have to pull a 12+hour shift, and it's for 12 days in a row.....

BUT, when this is over (the 26th), I'll skip town, camp solo, and ponder and/or mull the ideas that pop into my head regarding my future when I am sleep walking/blogging/cooking eggs.....

Here? Maybe. There? Maybe. We'll see... the nature sorts things out in my head for sure. Goodnight, I am going to bed before it's completely dark out.



Well, it came today: the news.

"Dear Mr Andrews
Thank you for your email.
I have completed the assessment of your EOI and I regret to advise that I am not able to invite you to apply for residence at this time. Please refer to my letter attached for further details.
I understand that my decision will come as a disappointment to you, however, we do not have the discretion to make exceptions to policy so must follow it as it currently stands.
If you would like to start a business in New Zeland you may be eligible to apply under one of the Business Categories below:
For more information regarding other categories including Silver Fern Policies please visit our website at
Kind regards

So. A year and a half in the making, it is done. And I am right back to where I started: my only option is to start a business in NZ, which I need $100,000 for, and to employ 3 Kiwis.
Or, start a business with a Kiwi.
OR, marry one.

I am not surprised; I had a feeling this would be the answer once my NZQA assessment arrived. I can just imagine the case worker's relief of ridding me in her files. But I may be crazy at that. Now, what's next?



Greetings. It has been a while since I posted. Either I've been rather busy, or nothing happens I feel.
Events of the last week:
-Work has been stressful with personnel issues, as well as many other things on my plate there.
-Friends of mine have graduated from the UW school of music. Congrats to Kenji and Emily.
-World Cup action. Spending time watching that, but not too much time, like waking up early to catch action. Maybe later this week, when I have to work breakfast shift at 6am anyways.
-My friends Morgan and Caroline are going to have a baby. Amazing! They can name it Alligator if they so choose....boy or girl. Congratulations to them as well.
-Received NZQA assessment. More now:

I opened up my envelope and found out two surprising things. First, I got a B on my internship, which I never knew. I can't figure out why- it was the only non-A I got in school. Maybe it is because I burned my foot?
And, secondly, my school was awarded a "level 3 certificate." That is not good for my NZ Immigration path. I needed a 4 for points. I wrote to notify my case worker the results, and to update some information, and I noted that it is unfortunate that I never actually get to have a face to face interview with anyone regarding my immigration application. Lament that fact, because everyone I know would think, "there's a swell fellow. He should live in NZ if he wants." So. I await her decision, which I am afraid she'll just laugh, and say, "good riddance to this guy!" I'm probably a thorn in her side.

Which leaves me waiting, but regardless, I need to save money, which I am doing so. Not at a prodigious pace, but fine enough. And perhaps a trip to NZ at least could be arranged after the beginning of the year- and a new baby to see to boot! So yes, I wait for the final verdict on my year and a half relationship with Immigration NZ.....



My NZQA result is being sent to me. I have a tracking number that does not track, nor do I know exactly what company to track it with. But a major future decision is in some envelope somewhere in this world. It was sent the 4th, so it'll be here sometime this week I hope. I am slightly nervous perhaps....

This weekend I attended the recital of my friend Emily, who blew me away with her fiddlin'. I know she only tolerates barely my calling playing violin, "fiddlin'," but hey, I am rustic.

Also happened to the Alligator: some nice meals at Dustin's, a 4th birthday party at Art of the Table, a new hat (I discovered the accessories aspect of hat bands, enabling more options), Mex-oulet, the Mexican cassoulet, and watching the beautifully shot movie Tetro, by Coppola.

This week will be rather crazy and quick- it's the last week for UW before graduation, as well as the opening of the world cup! Go USA (although Spain will win I think....)



Ken Griffey Jr, one of my child-hood heroes, announced his retirement today. I still remember the awesomeness of the '95 season, and how it reached its zenith:

He was the best player of the 1990's, and undoubtedly, his leaving for Cincinnati cut short what his full potential could have accomplished. The kid....



This last holiday weekend was tiring. So much to do, so many people to see, and so much food to cook. Monday's pre-planned Memorial Day Luncheon was postponed to the future, and will be known as the Luncheon-To-Be-Named-Later. Like a trade. We had a bbq nevertheless.... Family visiting from out of town: my step-sister Sarah, and my bro/in/law Taylor. We ate like the kings I know I am.

Local Produce, aka, spring onions, rhubarb, asparagus, and the mint is for juleps.

Spring Onions and Corona beans for the baked beans. Those beans are Gigante!

An uncooked bean is this big.

My plate of cooke bacon, from Zoe's meats. It's as good as bacon love gets.

My plate: Wagyu skirt steak, grass-fed beef burger, grilled asparagus, caesar salad, and the baked beans (with the aforementioned bacon, as well as their chorizo action.)

The buffet.

Sarah rockin' the rhubarb crisp. Serve with vanilla ice cream to visit the bomb.com.



I remember when I was in high school, and discovered that there were internet translators around. Did they work? No! Did I utilize them? Yes, sometimes! But did I understand that they were maybe fine to get the general idea of the text? Maybe!

This should've been out there, letting me know I shouldn't of been using them.

My test: "The Alligator is Amazing". The result: "Strange Crocodile" (10 results), "Awkward Alligator" (25 results), and "Set School" (Max results). So yeah. Where do I get a UN translator job between North and South Korea? Imagine: "They said what about my skiing?!?" (I put in missile defense......)


I Am Crazy.

I do have to say that the more I think about this damn recipe below this, the more I have to make it. Am I ill? Or crazy? One thing that I've noted in my repetitious reading of the recipe is the assumption that the executor of said recipe has a very high level of skill and strong technique. I mean, hey, just make a perfect consomme....

Other than that, my weekend was swell, and I look forward to next weekend's national holiday being spent possibly in Oly.


Lark Pie.

I got placed into my hands a book of such appeal and luster to my culinary soul that I had to share it with you.
The recipe that takes the cake is surely this:

Lark Pie.

First half of the recipe.

Second half of the recipe.

The pie. Note the lark's heads. You may also substitute other games birds, such as Corsican blackbirds, etc.

What about this wonderful Spiny Lobster en bellevue Parisienne? Note the truffle, butter lettuce, and lemon crown on sword garnish/coup de grace.

And the lovely Chicken Galantine on a metric ton of chopped aspic.

And this is what was once the height of fine cuisine. Now all these things would be either too heavy for our tastes, or too decadently expensive. That Lark pie is at least a $250 starting point cost, and that's using non-perigord truffles.....to refresh your memory, it's a meat pie with 2 types of sausage forcemeat, then it has 12 larks wrapped in bacon, each filled in with foie gras wrapped black truffles. This is a recipe I may have to try one day.....



See this? This is a poorly written explanation of my feelings on the subject.



Off day. I like it. Slept in, got a massage that made me yelp like a kicked puppy, and then had lunch at La Carta de Oaxaca. Pozole of course.

Now I'm listening to music I got from the library, such as Rush's fantastic 1977 album, A Farewell to Kings.
And now, as previously promised, an excerpt from my poetry journal from high school.

The Dancin' Outlaw
Now here's the strangest thing you ever saw
A guy named Jesco, the dancin' outlaw.

Go to West Virginia, take a ride
and find his trailer, a double wide.

He likes dancin', dancin' with special shoes,
when he was young he sniffed an assortment of glues.

It's hard to understand him, his accent's thick.
Yessiree Bob, he's a bonafide hick.

When he gets in trouble with his old wife he goes and buys her,
not a diamond ring, but a 12 pack of Budweiser.

The night his dad was shot, he was full of fear,
'cause he and his attacker had been drinkin' beer.

In the neck went the bullet.
Thank god it didn't mess his mullet.

Besides dancin', just for fun,
he shoots squirrels with his shotgun.

His sister is crazy and drives in muck
in her old, rusty, duct-taped pick 'em up truck.

Their parties are crazy! You should see this!
They get drunk and sing to Elvis!

He's crazy, his wife picks at his head,
he makes threats: he'll shoot her dead.

His life is strange, but I only know one thing:
Jesco is the tap-dancin' king.



I did it. I worked hard this week, and last, to bring in new purveyors, write the menu, and work on the 1st stages of a new vision for the restaurant at work.
It got pulled off rather well- there was only a slight hiccup, but nothing major.
We will be fine tuning it over the week, and then around the 1st of June, we'll change some stuff up on it again.

It's my food, my menu, my everything:


Say Cheese.

I have a lot to catch up with and say here, so this may be longer than brief....
Friday night, drank with the boys, in Fremont, which has changed to a younger crowd in my perception. I don't know what that says about me, but the taco truck makes you sick, and the girls look good.

Saturday night, downtown, at places such as: The Rendezvous, Shorty's (with pinball and hot dogs), and Bad Juju. And then the evening went downhill.....

Sunday was a sleep in, coffee outside on the lawn, phone catching up, working on new menu stuff, and then a walk around the niceties of Seward Park followed by pizza, and drinking rose at Dustin and Jackie's house. Summer may be here in a slight capacity....

I have a co-worker who is going to Europe next week, and he has a few rubber days he can do whatever he and his wife would like to do. We were talking about this, and suggested that if he does indeed go to Paris, that Versailles is a must do. I then mentioned I had pictures probably from my time there- they'd suck, since they were taken on my "non-disposable-disposable camera" as Aki christened it, which I got when I was like 13. I looked for those pictures tonight, in the plastic storage container that holds many odd moments from my life.

From my high school graduation road trip to the bay area for baseball, to being a dork playing basketball inside the house with my brother (we both have Sonics jerseys on!), through my two trips to Europe, through Japan, with some NZ thrown somewhere in that envelope, and now there's Mexico (that's a dead bull), a sunrise on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, and then I think that's a whole set of me and my friends rolling in the Dart, starting some odd time-loop over again. It's all there, some of my life's more amazing moments. I love it, and lament that we rarely print images anymore. Additionally, the majority were film based; the richness is forgotten.....
But I scanned a couple, because, well I can, and I love it.

I might have been 17. Note the hair. Please.

Aki and I were the ever-optomists.

From my modeling portfolio, which has only 5 photos remaining in my possession.

The time I met Morgue and Leon. See what happened? They RUINED ME.

A bull is about to die, in San Miguel de Allende.

And then finally, I found my old poetry class notebook. I will save this amazing stuff for the next post!


Like Woah.


I am so tired. I have so many ideas floating around in my head, I am unable to link a solid night's sleep together into one go. I wake up, have them jumping around, and I begin to ponder the idea. Then, I realize it is 2:10 am, and I need to sleep rather than worry. So, I have my ipod dock right next to my bed, and last night, I am pretty confidant I finished an hour long podcast after starting and shuffling it 5 or 6 times. Crazy.

But, I have purveyors to get pinned down, I have samples to get in, I have costing to do, as well as the actual job at hand. This is the fact: it is a hotel, and has to be open 365 days a year, and I need it to shut for a week.




I am working at home today on the new restaurant stuff. Taking over tomorrow morning officially.

Going to be changing, over the next few weeks, and even months (hopefully not so much the latter):

-Menu. This is going to be nice, simple, clean, high end, traditional café style food with local sourcing. A half step down from fine dining, because we'll be using great technique. This goes into effect the 12th.

-Name. I have some secret ideas.

-Aesthetics, such as menu design, going up to overall look and lighting, to service ware.

-Attitudes. This is the trickiest, hardest part, but I am going to make people take responsibility for their actions, and engrain in them pride and hard working. I am there to take command, and call people out. People aren't going to like it, but changing from being lazy and messy is something people resist, because it's easy. My dad suggested I read legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson's book about leadership of many great players with different approaches to work ethics. Interesting idea....

I have to get a move on some stuff. Enjoy your day.



Has it really been a week since I wrote something here? Wow. Time flies when you're working perhaps....or rescuing chickens.

I had the day off on Sunday, and went down to Oly, as it had been my mom's birthday earlier in the week. And shortly after I arrived, I heard a noise outside, and my little sister ran outside to see what it was. She came back and said that there was a chicken stuck in the fence. And indeed, there was a chicken stuck in the fence.

It had escaped from the neighbor's back neighbor's house, and then the dog chased it into the fence, where it got stuck and ruffled it's feathers. I pulled a slat out, and carried it back to it's home. I will not lie and say that the idea of chicken for dinner did not cross my mind, as I was cooking dinner that night.....

Which ended up being:
-Oakland Bay pork shoulder steaks, grilled with marinated grilled onions
-yellow finn new potatoes, chorizo (also from Oakland Bay), wild arugula, and grilled green garlic with dijon vinaigrette
-grilled local asparagus. so yumsville, usa.
-butter lettuce and french b'fast radishes with oil/vinegar

I am slowly, and need to go faster, working on ideas for my new position of basically re-branding the identity of the restaurant at work. Menus, personnel, habits, ethics, systems are ALL changing. Old is gone, new is now. People are going to be unhappy at 1st when the boat starts a rockin', but that is what the bosses want. One cook brought me something today, and said, what do you think? I asked him the same question, and he said, "I didn't taste it." I literally threw my hands up in the air. Ridiculous.

Last night I went to e&r for happy hour and obtaining paycheck monies, had a great bite there, then went to art of the table, and had more great food. Local food is so good.... tonight Seattle restaurant week continues, with Joule happening at 9:30.....


Elvis Tried.

I returned from my trip to the neighbors to the north with little incident.

I could've died though. Elvis almost did me in.

I was taken to this bbq joint by Beth, and her, me, and her housemates ordered the Elvis platter, a ginormous platter of smoked meats and accoutrements.

Other than that napkin-destroying experience, Vancouver was chill, with a stop to climb Oyster Dome in the Chuckanuts, and man, what a gorgeous day it was! The view was to the Olympics, with the San Juans in full splendor before me, as I sat on the edge of a cliff. See?

Started the new job/returned to the old job today. A long day of getting it done, and I am unused to waking at 7, so I will be going to bed here now. I am wiped!


CicadaFest 2010!

I was unemployed for 14 hours.

In short, I am back at the company I was at before the restaurant. Position will be different, I will be running the restaurant, and so, it means it will be my food on the menu. I have a vision of nice bistro food with local sourcing. It's a hotel with room service, so there are some concessions I have to make, but most things can be worked out....anyways more on this as it happens.

Yesterday I went to eat dinner at Frank's Oysterhouse and Champagne Parlor. I was all gussied up in my suit, since I was heading to a classical music recital afterwards. My friend Bishop and I ate a fine dinner of deviled eggs, wedge bibb salad with green goddess dressing, ham n cheese biscuits with apple butter, crab louie, and a NY steak with some potatoes gratin. The whole deal there is throw back 50's era menu stuff with some modern viewpoints. It's a nice little spot, I'll be back, but probably for happy hour in their cool little lounge.

And then, after a musically-challenging-for-me-in-its-esotericness-and-technicality recital, I went down with another friend, who also gussied up, to the Sambar, for high end cocktails, such as a Dechlers and the old Corpse Reviver #2. They were meticulously crafted, for sure.

And then we went to the local PI, where we were overdressed by a huge margin, but explained to people that we were celebrating the cicadas coming out for the 1st time in 13 years, and MAN! HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?!? So, yeah, that meant enjoying the High Life.

And then for people outside of this city, Soundgarden played a reunion show last night, where tickets went on sale less than 24 hours before, and sold out in 2 minutes or something like that. Crazy.



T'was my last evening at the e&r. And boy, did the fates hate me.

The grease trap over flowed. Three times. I had my arm shoulder deep in the nastiest, rankest, foulest bile of all time. I still smell the acrid, dour aroma in my septum.

But it all ended, as thing do, with love. And beer. And Chinese food at the Moon Temple. Replete with girls and mai tais and dancing and bmx bike tricks the BMX bandit never knew. And Scotch. Some Scotch.



I had the day off. Spent it planning my upcoming adventure camping, running errands, napping, reading, and I'm now making spaghetti and meatballs with pickled peppers and arugula/rocket.

My housemate Allison started talking about this story, and then just emailed it to me.
It's about a dude who bought a $500 car off craigslist and then entered it into the World Rally Championship, basically untested. And he finished 3rd.

I have 2 more days left at the restaurant, and then the weekend up to BC to see Beth. Should be good!


Spring Heavy.

I just got in from a spring time day run. The shadows are cold, the sun is warm-ish. The sky is a blue of your imagination, and the pillow-clouds are crashing into the dark, brooding, threatening ones that somehow are releasing their drops one at a time. The pear tree in the yard looks young and innocent, but invigorating somehow- it is the new leaves that are so green, an imitation version of the real thing.

It is spring.

Lamentably, I have given notice at my job at the restaurant. I had reached a point where I felt no connection to the position; goals were not being realized, and I concluded a life of not caring or being stressed out constantly was not fair to me or anyone else involved, such as my boss. Life is here to be amazed and enjoyed. I recognized my issues, and have chosen to fix that.

I also got notice from NZ Immigration regarding my status, which could have been best described as "hibernation on Aaron's part for months." They basically called me out, and I have resumed that path, taking care of and sending out the necessary paperwork yesterday to NZ Qualifications Authority in Welly. They are holding the key to whether my culinary school is considered good or not; that conclusion will result in points putting me over the required mark by NZI for a residency permit. If that is the case, I will be invited to apply/pay a lot of money for said permit, and fill out yet more forms. Then it's a matter of earning the money to return. Best case scenario: January. Maybe.

I think about my life since I left my company, and my very cush job, and it's been an adventure. Some so fun, and amazing, like my months down under, or camping up in the Olympics, but there's been a lot of time wondering "what am I doing?" I have gotten conclusions from that, but I have also concluded that that question is perhaps never answered in life. That might be the trick of, I hate to say, "simpler" people (I am an elitist?), but to settle into that answer. I am driven to greatness, but at the moment my tires haven't quite found traction.

Though through all of this, I am excited for the future.



It's Easter, and I've always connected it, as an adult anyways, with cooking Easter Brunch.

Which I hate.

And this year, I don't have to do it, so ha! I am drinking coffee, and reading this morning for a little while....


Sombrero Seder.

The seder was a moderate success.

Food was on point, as you would demand and imagine. The people that showed up were phenomenal; I wish more had shown, but it was a tuesday night, and most cannot commit to a party on that evening, I understand.

Cazadores Blanco, Mexican beers, masa ball soup, and ropa vieja were all great, new-traditional Mexican Passover choices. I would throw this party down forever. The idea swims in my head with much affinity....



I am getting ready for the Sombrero Seder tonight.



I had a wild, vivid dream last night, or really this morning before I awoke.

I was on a Canadian roadtrip, and I reached a city, surely more magical than anything that exists, and surely anything that exists in Canada. It was akin to a modern Machu Picchu, as it was an epic physical locale, with an old meets modern city, like say Copenhagen, Montreal or Palmerston North. (I've only ever actually been to one of those places, and it had a nice square I hear....) When I looked on a map in the dream, it appeared around the area of where Kelowna is. Huh.

So this dream was so vivid I drew it:

And it still doesn't do the dream city justice. There were glaciers on 2 sides, and this crazy old quarter, and it even had a subway. There were houses overhanging the glacier/waterfalls, and I thought to myself, "that seems dangerous." And it would be.

And then I woke up, feeling like the adventure was unfinished; I wanted the journey to have an ending, and the city to be known to me.

And then on my way to work, I thought again of this dream, and I made the connection to this song, by Weezer, which Kenji picked a couple weeks ago, on the jukebox at Leny's, while we played pool. He said it was "good value for the money." It's a great song....