Vanessa was a joy to dine with. She slipped immediately into the spirit of the occasion. For the three of us, we spent over $130 for appetizers, two glasses of wine, a soda, and a happy hour mixed drink. Our over-whelming favorite was the braised/grilled lamb's tongue. It was served with sour cream, pine nuts and cucumber slices. The tongue was juicy and rich.
Our server, Petra, answered our questions about each item we considered. We arrived just before five and found most of the bar seats taken. Peg and I grabbed two, while Vanessa sat behind us at a small counter. Eventually, the couple next to me left and we expanded our bar territory and Vanessa moved in between the two of us.
One of the nice things about the Palace Kitchen is that they have great customer service. With almost each appetizer we were given new plates, napkins, and silverware. We dropped forks and napkins many times as we talked and ate . . . and considered what to order next. With new service every time we turned around, we didn't have to get off the stools and reach down in the dark to retrieve anything off the floor. I ended up with two napkins in my lap, but so what?
We started off with the chicken wings, which were wonderful. They are huge! I had one order and Peg and Vanessa shared an order. At four dollars for two, they are an excellent happy hour deal. Beef marrow and the lamb's tongue were ordered off the regular menu and therefore ran about three times the happy hour prices, but it seemed like the amount given on the regular appetizers was more than the happy hour appetizers. Fair enough.
The sausage, cheese and bread was fantastic. Although the lamb was number one, the sausage and the fondue, which featured bread and Honeycrisp sliced apple for lavender imbued cheese dipping were close behind. Although the fondue would have been a nice ending to our meal, we ordered a Meyer Lemon Tart with mascarpone and Buttermilk ice cream. I thought the ice cream was absolutely perfect . . sweet, but still with a tiny lingering tang.
We left the Palace with a little bit of time to kill before our show at ACT, so I dropped Peg and Vanessa off at the Westlake Mall and parked at McDonald's before taking the call to pick them up.
I've known about the Flying Karamazov Brothers for decades. They combine slapstick, juggling and old jokes. Sometimes you don't know where they're going, but the journey is worth it. They have planned vignettes and possibly stock phrases that can be thrown in for comedic affect almost anywhere. My favorite moment was when one of the jugglers took an Indian club and turned in upside down in front of his leg to make it look like a peg-leg and said, "It was a white whale that did it." Of course you have to know the story of Moby Dick AND you have to know what a peg-leg looks like, but since I knew both, it was a killer comment for me. I howled. For others it was just weird and they laughed away, too.
Paul Magid is the only original brother in the troop that played at ACT. He played the part of "Dmitri," like he always has. He wrote, produced and directed the "play." Vanessa had never heard of the brothers. She laughed and giggled through the entire performance.
After the show we drove Vanessa back to her apartment talking about the production and the night's food all the way.
After we left Vanessa at her place we continued north to Everett. We should have just stayed in Seattle. We were tired when we rolled into La Quinta and unpacked. We didn't notice until later that we didn't get the room we had reserved. The next morning I was additionally disappointed to learn that my Android tablet didn't work with their old Wi-Fi system. They did have a business center with high-speed internet, but it irritated me that the only light was from the ceiling in the business center, which cast a shadow of my head on the keyboard . . . and I have a very big head.
The breakfast at La Quinta was one step above The Phoenix Inn in Olympia. LaQuinta at least had real butter for their waffles . . . although the juices were watery and tasted almost like Kool-Aid. But, the people were nice and the price was right.
Peg stayed in bed most of the morning. After eating breakfast I joined her and we cuddled and talked and came up with a plan for the rest of the day.
After we both got dressed and got into our Durango to explore the area we only made it a few hundred yards. Peg spied an open Bargreen Ellingson restaurant supply store within the same strip mall parking lot complex as the hotel. The sign said open. It should have said "friendly," too. Kevin Williams and Tina were a great help. Kevin told Peg to head towards the rear of the store for their "outlet" section of reduced price materials. When we found the door locked, Fred came back and unlocked the huge room of remnants, returns, and overstocked items.
I think we will have to return to this store for a thorough exploration of the outlet area. Peg found a darling teapot for $6, and a sugar bowl, while I scored a food tray for $5. The sugar bowl was unpriced, so with some slight price adjustments by Fred on the other two items, we got it for nothing. How friendly is that?
We added many items to our wish list, but we also bought the largest ice cream scoop I could find for my buddy Donn, who loves ice cream. We also bought every bottle of "Passion Fruit" Margarita Mix they had (four). Fred was trying them out to see if they would sell. He made us promise to send him a report from our friends after tasting the final mixing results. Passion Fruit Margaritas were our drink of choice on our trip to Hawaii last November. I think a report can be made, soon.
We were in an exceptionally happy mood upon leaving Bargreen Ellingson's. Peg was hungry for fish, we saw a Skipper's Seafood restaurant and decided to give it a try. About five years ago Skipper's (Seattle-based) landed on some bad times and closed or sold many of their restaurants. Our last encounter had not been good, but we do love their chowder.
The hand printed sign on the door warned that their bathrooms were only for customers. There were also warning signs at the counter. There was no sharing of "All you can eat" orders and no taking food home from the "All you can eat" selections. Warning signs are not good customer service, so it was with misgivings that I went ahead and ordered. Peg bought a can of chowder to send to her youngest sister in upstate New York, who loves Skipper's chowder. Peg ordered the scallops on her "build your own" meal. They were excellent. I ordered the "All you can eat" fish and shrimp meal. We both chose the option for baked potatoes instead of fries. The fish was good; however, the shrimp, like the scallops, were excellent. If we return to the area for more restaurant supplies, we will dine at Skipper's again, too.
After lunch we drove to downtown Everett to scout out the arena where our granddaughter Caitlin's cheer leading squad from Franklin Pierce High School was competing that evening. We also wanted to visit the Schack Art Center.
Schack was featuring an exhibit by Lanny Bergner. Lanny has been creating biomorphic and geometric constructions and installations out of metal mesh since 1983. The works in "MESH" featured a selection of bronze, brass, aluminum and stainless steel mesh studio works created since 2005 and installations created on-site specifically for the Schack Art Center Gallery. They were both whimsical and beautiful.
In addition to the works of Bergner, there was an exhibit featuring young artists. Their works covered a long hallway. Very nice and creative. Peg also noticed that calligrapher and local art teacher Susan Russell, whom she used to see at the annual Washington State Calligraphers Retreat near Goldbar, has had an art scholarship named in her honor and the receipient's works were on display.
Saturday evening saw us at the Everett Comcast Arena for the 2012 WAII State Cheerleading Championships. We were there to clap, applaud and make weird sounds to show our appreciation for the Franklin Pierce High School Cheerleaders. Our granddaughter Caitlin is a member of the team. She has practiced and worked so hard, she deserves our support. Of course, even if she hadn't worked that hard, we would still give her our support.
I was impressed when I saw the qualifying performances in January at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma. I saw small schools and large schools, rich schools and poor schools all competing with family members forming the audience. I put aside my high school memories and cheered for Franklin Pierce. (I attended Clover Park, a cross town rival in the South Puget Sound League.)
Like before, Caitlin and her team did a great job this time out, so I was shocked the next morning when I saw the results placing them in fourth position. Evidently, one of their formations was dis-allowed as too dangerous and points were deducted. I called it the quintuple-lutz-heave-up. Fifteen girls with five of them in the air, each supported by a base of two. Looking at it I thought, "Mmmmm, most other groups use three as a base." Some groups even use two or three boys to add strength and support. Watching the routine, I had seen nothing that struck me as worrisome, but looking at the photo I saw some struggling going on.
We left the arena and drove back to our hotel, while Caitlin and the other members of our family returned to Tacoma. Caitlin, her mother and her sisters were all staying at our house over the weekend, as they finished moving into their new home in the Parkland area.
As we exited the freeway near our hotel, Peg said, "I'm a little hungry." Right by the exit was a Taco Time. The day before Peg had mentioned an ad she had seen that mentioned sweet potato Mexi-fries. That thought popped into our minds as we popped into their parking lot. We each had a crisp beef burrito and sweet potato tater tots. We were disappointed. Regular Mexi-fries have a bumpy exterior and a crunchiness we like. The sweet potato version, didn't hold up as well. Un-crunchy and smooth textured, we left most of them in our cardboard clamshells uneaten. Too bad. I love sweet potato fries.
Sunday morning saw me drinking coffee at the La Quinta breakfast buffet, but not eating. Peg had a yogurt and coffee. We had grander plans for our tummies.
We drove back to Seattle and while I drove around the block about twenty times, Peg went into the Belle Epicurean, Seattle's Parisian Bakery and Café. With a tray of coffee and a bag full of goodies we drove to the Dahlia Bakery for a couple loaves of bread to take home before going up to Capitol Hill to Half-Price Books. While other people had Super Bowl tailgate parties near the Indianapolis Arena, we had our own little tailgate party with Seattle's Space Needle in the background. The coffee was excellent and the sweet and savories were out of this world. We shared several and then consumed the others after we arrived home in Tacoma later that afternoon.
Following her graduation from Washington State University and several years working in Seattle’s vibrant restaurant scene Chef/baker Carolyn decided to pursue her dreams and moved to Paris to study at the world renowned Le Cordon Bleu. It was there she met fellow student (and future husband), Howard Ferguson, and the two fell in love with Parisian foods, culture, and each other.
Made in traditional French fashion with all natural ingredients, her creations have never failed to please our taste buds. We abandoned our pastries to look for books and DVDs at Half-Price Books. Peg found books, while I found DVDs (priced at $3 and $2 each). They didn't have the book I was looking for: Smut by Alan Bennett. Smut is the next selection for my book club. I'll have to order online.
Back home we unpacked, checked our photographs, and put away our DVDs and books. I tuned into the Super Bowl and watched the New York Giants win. In between plays and commercials I ate my share of the pastries and a couple of thick, buttered slices of crusty bread and thought about the great adventure we had in Seattle and Everett with two of our granddaughters. The pastries lasted a couple of hours. The bread lasted a couple of days. But the memories with our granddaughters will last a lifetime.