Chilly Summer

1. San Francisco
Seat warmer becomes my favorite feature of our car in the summer time. Only in San Francisco.

It was rainy during the week. Soft gentle drizzle, you could hardly feel it. Rain in July. Rare.

2. Plants
Woke up to a sunny morning! Glorious! Watered plants in the backyard. The Angel’s trumpet now sports TWO flower buds. Still very small, the bigger one is only an inch long. Can’t wait for them to materialize into the glorious giant “trumpet” bloom. Imagine the mysterious scent in the evening. Ahhhh!

Followed Mom’s advice, dug out the three barely alive cyclamen, which have been under continuous snail attack. Transferred them to a window box and moved them up to the balcony. Lined the window box against the wall under the windows, hopefully it is not too windy nor too sunny for them.

The sun was warm and inviting on the balcony. The lone window box with the cyclamen amplified the emptiness of the space, all that wasted sunshine! When we first moved in, i put a a giant pot of hydrangea on the balcony, and it was blew right over by the strong wind. I quickly gave up the idea of leaving any plants on this wuthering spot.

Today i decided to give it another try. Need to find things that’s wind resistant, sun loving and a pot that’s heavy enough that can stand firm in the gusty wind. I quickly took some succulent from the backyard and the central patio. Since i used sand to fill the pot, it would remain heavy even in between watering.

Our balcony immediately looked more cheerful with the new additions. We will see how that worked out.

3. Midnight in Sicily

Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel and la Cosa Nostra by Peter Robb

Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel and la Cosa Nostra by Peter Robb

Planning a trip to Italy in October, and Gui spotted this book at Greenapple last night. I took it home and started reading this morning.

Fascinating read so far. Italy/Sicily sounds horribly corrupted/violent, yet extremely intriguing at the same time. Greek speaking origin, conquered by the Roman then the Arabs then back to the Christians. Sun bleached hills, olive groves, orchards, mouth watering seafood, beautiful ocean, half ruined Palermo, politics and organized crime. assassination, murder, heroic effort by “the few honest Italians” to chase down la Cosa Nostra and their government backer(s).

I was horrified and hungry at the same time.

If we really ended up going, then we would have traveled “Roman Empire” backwards. First Turkey-Byzantine-East Roman Empire, now Italy-Western Roman Empire. 🙂

“The essence of travel was to slow the passage of time” – Rober Kaplan “The Ends of the Earth

4th of July Trip Report (1) – Three Perfect Meals in Seattle/Vancouver

Spent the long weekend up north with Alice and James. All of us are into good food, and we were non-stop feasting throughout the holiday. Yum.

Perfect Meal #1: Basque Tapas in Seattle

Harvest Vine @ Seattle

Harvest Vine @ Seattle

When i first told Alice that we are coming to visit during July 4th long weekend, she started planning the “feeding menu”. She said Seattle has the best tapas she has ever tasted. Friday evening we tried out her 2nd favorite restaurant (Her number one favorite closed after we made a detour at REI flagship store) – The Harvest Vine. I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually a Basque style restaurant. Because the best tapas in ZM and my memory was from in a little Spanish town – Girona. That was also Basque style tapas.

The food was delicious. Our favorite was the last course – grilled lamb loin with garlic, and caramelized onion. We finished the dish in mere seconds.

During the day, A&J took us to a cute little store called Paseo for lunch. Alice’s order was the best – seared scallop.

4225 Fremont Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 545-7440
Hours: Tue-Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The Harvest Vine
2701 East Madison
Seattle, WA 98122
Reservations: (206) 320-9771
Hours: 7 nights a week from 5pm to 10pm

Perfect Meal #2: Dimsum and Crab Rice Pot in Vancouver

Feasting in Vancouver

Feasting in Vancouver

We told the Canadian custom officer at the border that “the purpose of our trip” was to eat because Vancouver has the best Canton style Chinese food on Westcoast of the American continent. He just laughed and waved us in.

We had dimsum at Fisherman’s Terrace. It is the 2nd best Dimsum place on Alice’s list. The number 1 dimsum place –Kirin Restaurant– told us that the wait was 3 hours and we should have made reservation 2 days in advance.

Fisherman’s Terrace. is located in a shopping center called Aberdeen: a 100% replica of a HK mall. It was filled with Chinese style shop/brand. Dimsum was excellent. I don’t usually eat chicken feet. But these place’s chicken feet is really sensational. Tripe and Seafood dumpling in soup were also very yummy. The only disappointment was the duck tongue and taro cake, everything else was delicious.

We started the “crab count down” since mid-afternoon. Because Alice and James loved their crab rice pot dish – Ho Yuen Kee – they had it everytime they came to Vancouver. it was very very delicious. We made the right decision to call in and made a reservation too. Crab was better than the lobster, ROI-wise.

We also had good coffee at Caffe Artigiano(Hornby, because they have a special coffee press that’s hard to find) and good cocktail at the Cascade Room.

Fisherman’s Terrace
4151 Hazelbridge Way #3580
Richmond, BC V6X 4J7
Tel: 604-303-9739

Ho Yuen Kee
6236 Fraser
Vancouver, BC V5W 3A1
Tel: (604) 324-8855

Caffe Artigiano
763 Hornby St,
Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1S2

The Cascade Room
2616 Main Street
Vancouver, BC V5T 3E6, Canada
(604) 709-8650

Perfect Meal #3: Ballard Farmer’s Market and Home Cooking at A&J’s

Ballard Farmer's Market & Home Cooking at Alice&James'

Ballard Farmer's Market & Home Cooking at Alice&James'

Sunday morning, we went shopping at Ballard Farmer’s Market. Bought fresh salmon fillet, raspberry, mint, apricot, lots of cheese. Had brick oven pizza that was baked on location in the market, and blue cheese and caramel ice cream. Alice and James cooked dinner. Everything was delicious, home grown veggie, baked salmon, and raspberry and mint desert that Alice invented on the spot…

The entire weekend was hot and sunny, summer-like weather that’s rare to come by in the Bay area. We sat on the porch, ate and enjoyed the evening breeze and wine, chatted…

Ballard Farmer’s Market
Ballard Avenue, between 22th Ave. NW and 20th Ave. NW
Every Sunday Rain or Shine
Hours: 10-3pm

Sake Nomi
(Pioneer Square)
76 South Washington Street (btw 1st Ave & Alaskan Way)