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Catching Up: Toronto Adventures

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Neither of us had been to Toronto, but Wayne's work sent him there for a week in August. I went along to see the city, and of course, eat.

The drive from the airport into the city took us past many walkers, runners, cyclists, and rollerbladers making use of trails and parks along the waterfront. Bicycles are treated as a part of the flow of traffic downtown and share the roads with cars. Bike share stations are plentiful, and cyclists are everywhere. Yay bikes!

As certified Seattle Coffee Snobs, we expect disappointing coffee when we travel. Our first morning at the hotel brought a pleasant surprise: excellent coffee at Bluestone Lane without leaving the building. There is no comfort like surprisingly good coffee in a strange place (and in a chain coffee shop no less).


Wandering around during the lunch hour, I saw hundreds of office workers sitting around fountains and in parks, eating from take-out boxes. I remembered then that most of the shops in downtown Toronto do not have s…

Happy Pi(e) Day! Sorry I'm late.

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OOPS! I wrote this post 243 days ago and just discovered my failure to post it. With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, it is seasonally appropriate again. I'm feeling iffy about my assertion that Pi Day is the year's best holiday. Thanksgiving will always be the ruler of all holidays in my book because it is so intensely food focused.

So, what pie is your favorite? This year our self-proclaimed coconut-hating hostess has requested Dahlia Bakery coconut cream pie, and I want chocolate bourbon pecan. I'll make at least one other, possibly this one or something similar. And of course there will be an absurd quantity of fresh whipped cream.

3/14/19:  Inspired by an early morning text from Wayne wishing me a Happy Pi Day, I sprang rolled out of bed early, donned my Pi Day shirt and ran all of my errands by midday. I needed time to make my first pie on the boat in celebration of the year's best holiday, which had arrived while I had my back turned.


Not quite ready for a full-on …

Holy Crap! A Toilet!

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Wayne's contempt for typical waste handling methods on boats knows no bounds.
We are not squirmish types. Living on a boat requires a greater intimacy with one's humanity and the humanity of those with whom life is shared. There is no escaping any of the bodily functions of those who live on the boat. That said, the components of black water systems are next-level disgusting.

Waste hoses, and even waste holding tanks, invariably become gas-permeable, i.e. gases inside the hoses are able to pass through the hose. It could take years or months, but the gas eventually comes through. Hoses also get a build-up inside them, like plaque in an artery. When the waste system clogs (and it will clog), the hoses generally require disconnection, splattering plaque and black water inside spaces that typically receive little ventilation. The waste tank needs to be emptied and that can be all kinds of adventure depending on the available pump-out facilities. Have you ever seen a pump-out car…

Baking Along with Bookish Friends

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The Bake-Along
Inspired by all of the cookbooks she discovered at the annual PNBA fall tradeshow, a bookselling colleague recently started an online bake-along. Book links in this post will take you to the bookstore where she works (SV Cascadia receives no compensation from these links. I just like to spread the indie bookstore love). We bake something from each category (pies, cakes, pastries, breads, etc), one recipe at a time, and share notes and photos in a private Facebook group. One member selects a category, then nominates someone else to choose a recipe. Skill levels and available kitchen space/equipment vary from former professionals to armchair bakers who can't get enough of the Great British Bake-Off.

The first book selected was a new, updated edition of The Joy of Cooking (11/12/19, Scribner, $40). I know that many people hold this book as sacred, but I have never liked it.  However, I could not pass up the opportunity to bake along with fellow cookbook nerds. I last t…

Catching Up: July Adventures

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From the dreary viewpoint of February, Northwest summers burst with possibility, appearing long and sunny in the distance. We anticipate the late sunsets and dream of local tomatoes.  In reality, the weekends fill quickly with parties, projects, camping trips, and travel plans, and before we know it, the rain and cool weather have returned. Rain gear resurfaces, heaters fire up, and the down comforter returns from storage.


After our Bridge Blast shenanigans, we had no events on the calendar until the Cascadia festival the last weekend in July. We finally got the missing parts for our composting toilet and installed it! But that will be a separate post. As will the delicious foods we cooked.

This year, we planned to ride our bikes to Granite Falls (about 65 miles), camp for 4 nights, and bike home. While we can carry a minimalist camp setup with ease, we wanted lazy comfort and good food. We took notes over the winter when ideas surfaced. The cargo bikes would allow us most of the luxu…

Pyrotechnics and Strawberry Infused Vodka

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Bremerton's Bridge Blast, held annually on the Saturday before the Fourth of July, draws the whole town down to the waterfront with food vendors, live music, and a top-notch fireworks display. The normally tranquil marina fills up with visiting boats, and crowds pack the breakwater to watch the pyrotechnics launched from the entire span of the nearby Manette bridge. This year a dozen friends spent the sunny evening with us. Many, including two who have a Space Needle view, commented that the spectacle was unparalleled in their experience. 
Early Saturday morning we biked to pick up the last of our supplies for bún thịt nướng (Vietnamese rice noodle salad with lemongrass grilled pork). On Thursday, I picked up lettuce, basil, carrots, scallions, and cucumbers from my favorite stall at the farmer's market, and Wayne collected limes, lemongrass, and rice noodles at Uwajimaya. We still lacked mint, cilantro, pork, lemonade, ice, and a few other items. 
By 11am we were back on boa…

Stromboli!

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Intro Don't Skimp Dough Recipe Fillings Pizza Sauce Recipe Roll Rectangle Dough Construction
Stromboli are hard to find in Seattle. Sometimes we'll be lured by a menu listing stromboli only to discover a calzone or sandwich in its place.  So far we've only found one reliable option to quell our stromboli desires: Anita's Place at Boston's in Bremerton.  We've eaten many delicious meat pockets there, but they changed hands a few months ago. Wayne read some unfavorable reviews of the new menu, but we have found that restaurant reviews in Bremerton don't generally agree with our tastes. We decided that empirical testing was required.

Previously, I'd never felt the slightest urge to linger. The remodeled space is inviting, with more comfortable chairs and cloth napkins on the tables.  There are books on the windowsills next to the tables. We leafed through Lonely Planet's Epic Bike Rides of the World while we waited for our take out order.

I'm thrilled to…