Last week, a beautiful, sweet friend of mine passed away unexpectedly. Lourdes was one of those people who touch everyone they meet in such an uplifting, positive way that you immediately want to be a better person yourself. Her warmth, her genuine loving nature, her beautiful soul and her amazing smile will never be forgotten. Lourdes is still blissfully happy, smiling down on us from the end of the rainbow, dancing among the angels and lighting up heaven like a glorious meteor shower. We love her.
When sad things happen, there’s nothing like a gaggle of girlfriends to make the world feel like a better, warmer place again. I am blessed with wonderful girlfriends. Women who are there no matter what. Women who will comfort me and expect nothing in return. Women who just love me. I’ve had some wonderful girlfriend time in the last week. And of course, food just made the whole affair even better.
Saturday saw me heading to Capitol Hill to hang with Michelle, Jennifer & Breanna. I love these girls. Between them, they make my hair utter awesomeness. Mind you, if you saw me at this very instant you might be raising your eyebrows at that last comment. I am sporting a particularly fetching brand of bed-head today. A look which not one of those girls would own up to ever having laid their hands on. And I don’t blame them.
Last Saturday was one of the *very* rare mornings where I shut the alarm off and then forgot to get up. At 6:32 I had one of those surreal moments where my brain was desperately trying to send an emergency message to any part of my body that would listen. The message being, “You have to be at Skillet Diner in 27 minutes. Twenty-seven minutes. You live a 40 minute drive away from Skillet Diner. You are still in your pajamas. You are still in bed. Repeat – you have to be at Skillet Diner in 27 minutes. AND YOU ARE STILL IN BED.”
I am somewhat proud to say that 35 minutes later I stumbled through the doors of the Diner, fully clothed. I am gratified to know that I can still get out of bed, get dressed, feed 5 cats, find the keys, find shoes, back the car out of the garage without hitting anything and drive from way out east to Capitol Hill in under 34 minutes. I was exceedingly thankful for baseball caps, a lack of traffic cops, and forgiving friends who know that I truly don’t usually look quite that horrid, & didn’t care that on this occasion I did. No, there are no pictures. Except of the food. Michelle’s Scramble of the Day ($9) came with bread, although we’d asked that it didn’t. When you’re allergic to gluten it’s best that you don’t eat bread. Luckily this gaffe was easily fixed. Slide the scramble off the bread.
Jennifer’s The Little Rob – apple smoked bacon, american cheese & 1 egg your way layered between two fluffy griddle cakes ($9) – was a huge hit. I wish I’d been hungry enough to eat one as well as my own dish of nosh.
Breanna’s Chilaquiles – tomatillo salsa, corn tortillas, pico de gallo, sour cream, cilantro, 2 eggs ($14) – was a bit of a mystery to me. It was an enormous mound of food. At least half of it got “the box’ and went winging it’s way home to Kirkland. Maybe it’s Woodinville. I can never keep up with Breanna. She’s one of those beautiful, young hipster chicks whose Facebook makes me tired just reading it. Breanna, incidentally, is to blame for this whole bloggette being in existence. Nowadays I wonder what I even did before I started the Big Breakfast Adventure. Was there even life back then??
My Pork Belly & Cornmeal Waffle – maple braised, 2 eggs* ($13) – has been written up all over town lately, so I felt compelled to try it. The Pork Belly was insane. Full-flavored, fall-apart tender & as porky as can be. But. Yes, there’s a but. There was so little of it. A girl can’t run a packed Saturday on 2 bites of pork belly & a couple of eggs. The ratio of PB to waffle was just all wrong.
Although the food was awesome, this was really all about girl time. And boy, did we have great girl time. We laughed and we laughed and we laughed. And then, when we were done, we laughed some more. Our server made us laugh. He also made our eyebrows go up and down more than a few times. I think even our biggest socialite thought he was just a little OTT. Laughter is so cathartic, even when the sadness stems from losing someone that you love, laughter is a great healer. Though it can sometimes feel so disrespectful to be laughing when you’re sad, I know that Lourdes was laughing right along side us. RIP, sweet Lourdes.
Tuesday saw Mini-Me and I lunching at The Beach Cafe down at The Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland. In the spirit of full disclosure, Kathy shouted us lunch as we were there for a tour of the place. It’s quite some place. And lunch was quite some feast.
I was surprised how packed the Cafe was on a Tuesday lunchtime. This place was hoppin’. Chef ferried us out an enormous platter of goodies to whet our appetite. Coconut Battered Prawns, Calamari, Grilled Artichokes and a variety of flatbreads and crackers with an array of dipping sauces. The Coconut Prawns were spectacular. I can see why they are one of Mini-Me’s favorites.
We all decided on salads. Mini-Me went with the Caesar, I plumped for the Asian Chicken. I do love a bit of fruit in my salads. And nuts. Love nuts.
I was completely in love with my salad. Salads may be relatively simple, but some salads just rock my world. This was one of them. Look at those beautiful almonds nestled in among all that greenery. Tender chicken, juicy mandarins, light, delicate poppy-seed dressing. Huge, filling, perfect.
There probably aren’t many views in Kirkland as good as the one from The Beach Cafe. A semi-circular room overlooking Lake Washington, I can see why so many people choose to have their wedding parties here. I am now looking forward to hosting a huge old pile of people here in the early Fall. Beautiful spot, lovely food. Thanks, Beach Cafe! Thanks, Kathy!
Wednesday arrived along with Kirsten. Why have a meeting at the office if you can do it at Earl’s? Actually, I now know why. Earl’s is filled with beautiful, tiny, flesh-bearing babes wearing just enough black to cover the essentials. I must be getting older, but I’d just rather have someone fully clothed dish up my grub. And then, oh my. Lights, music, action! All I wanted to do was eat good food and catch up on life with my buddy.
I’ve eaten at Earl’s in Canada plenty of times and have always loved their food. I remember on one trip up to the Great White North I ate one particular beet salad about 6 times. That was one happenin’ beet salad, peeps. The picture above is not a picture of beet salad. They’re Prawn Dynamite Rolls. More on those in a jiffy.
Kirsten had already ordered a few snackettes when I wandered in, late. Spinach and Artichoke Dip – spinach and artichokes, marinated red peppers,cream cheese and white cheddar, topped with fresh roasted salsa, served warm with olive oil drizzled toasted flatbread ($10.75).
The Spinach & Artichoke Dip with flatbread was the bomb. I couldn’t put those cute little fingers of bread down. Prawn Dynamite Rolls – panko breaded prawns, fresh mango, avocado, cucumber and togarashi mayo, drizzled maple soy reduction and sriracha mayonnaise, toasted black sesame seeds, wasabi and pickled ginger ($10.75).
Everywhere I go these days there are Sweet Potato Fries lolling about. Earl’s was no exception. I had never succumbed to Yammy temptation before, but a Wednesday seemed like a good night for it.
Yam Fries with spicy mango dip ($7.50). They were nice. The dip was WAY. TOO. HOT. That could just be me though. I do have a heat tolerance of zero.
Kirsten and I, we gabbed about losing people we loved and that there has been WAY. TOO. MANY. lately. Then we decided, in a moment of enthusiasm – whether that was enthusiasm to just get out of Earl’s or enthusiasm to eat cupcakes I am not entirely sure – we hoofed it from Lincoln Square to Bravern and were almost mortified to find a sign on Trophy Cupcakes doors as we pulled up. Closer inspection revealed that we were not too late, we just had to wait 5 minutes. Phew.
We sat on the mint green bar stools in Trophy’s window, swinging our legs like a couple of teenagers, and watched as the residents of The Bravern flocked in for boxes of cupcakes. There really is no better way to end a girlie get-together than with a cupcake. Especially one called a Tiger Tail. The coconut reminds me of Hawaii and hula and all those tropical things that Lourdes just loved. RIP, Lourdes. We love you, girlfriend.