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Top Ten of April

Where did April go?  Really, where did it go?  I like April, it can stay a bit longer next time.

1.  Aspen Skiing

Bryan and I spent two nights and three days in Aspen, CO with his friends Mark and Kim to ski a great spring weekend.  We had sunshine and blue skies, no lift lines, a hot tub to soak in, great BBQ, a bison burger, an elk burger, a grill out with other friends in Denver, and some good ole’ R&R.  We had a great weekend and it was indeed hard to come back to Seattle for a whole week and a half of straight rain.

Sunny skies in Aspen.
Sunny skies in Aspen.

2.  Finishing the PE Exam

Studying for the PE exam I knew would take time and energy but I didn’t know how much I would really dread it.  It was pretty wearing on me to work long days and try to study at night, or worse, study on beautifully sunny spring Sundays.  But I got my studying done, I learned quite a bit of random civil engineering, I commiserated with my friends Marika and Amy, and the test is past me.  Now I just have to wait several weeks to find out if I have to do it all over again or not.

Fingers crossed
Fingers crossed

3.  Beginning Cooking Series

I have begun my first cooking series at Bon Vivant Culinary Center, thanks to my awesome birthday gift from Bryan.  My nine week course is focused on International Cuisines and features a different ethnic cuisine every week.  It is awesome and educational and so far in April I have taken three classes, learning techniques and recipes familiar to Chinese, Greek, and Italian cooking.  I like the instructor, the relaxed environment, and being able to duplicate recipes learned after each class.

I learned to make this!
I learned to make this!

4.  Best FareStart Dinner Yet?

This month I was only able to make one FareStart dinner, thanks to the PE, Colorado, and Michigan trips, but that one that I did attend may have been the most delicious meal I have had at FareStart yet.  The restaurant was Quinn’s, a place I’ve wanted to dine at for some time, and every course was perfect.  The fresh asparagus salad was light and delicious, the lamb breast though was so rich and savory and had the best accompainments on the plate, and the creamsicle panna cotta was bright and tasty.  I went home super stuffed but didn’t regret a single bite of that over the top dinner.

Have you had lamb breast yet?
Have you had lamb breast yet?

5.  Beginning of Spring

I love spring, I love the sun, I love warm weather, I love blooming flowers and trees, I love birds chirping, I love seeing activity in the city.  We had a couple great spring weeks and weekends this April which was so lovely.  I was able to fully relax in the sun and release my stress and tension post-PE exam, I’ve looked forward to going for walks home from work and runs in the afternoons, and I have even dabbled a bit in the garden.  I am so looking forward to the rest of spring and summer….especially after the last bout of drizzle we have had.

Spring!!
Spring!!

6.  Spring Skiing

This gets its own category because I happen to love spring skiing and here is why:  No lift lines, the feeling of being the only people on the mountain, warm weather, actually sweating underneath your gear, sunny skies, soft snow, live bands (sometimes), retro attire, a beer afterwards actually sounds good, and I am more courageous and a better skier after skiing an entire season.

Spring skiing in all of its awesomeness.
Spring skiing in all of its awesomeness.

7.  Mystery Shopping

My first mystery shopping experience has come and past and it was awesome.  Me and a friend were lucky enough to go to the expensive and fancy Capital Grille in downtown Seattle.  Our task was to treat the lunch like a business lunch, tying to get a good dinner within a 45 minute time frame.  Our only stipulation to being reimbursed for the lunch was that we had to order off of their “Plates” section of the menu.  The Plates section features a selection of three first courses and four main courses to chose one of each for $18.  That is actually a really good price for the amount and quality of food that we each had.  I chose their seasonal salad of arugula, watermelon and feta and the seared scallops with mushroom risotto.  My friend chose the clam chowder soup and the aged sirloin steak hash.  We shared the two main courses.  The food was great, albeit a little on the heavy side for lunch.  The portions were very generous with five large scallops and a lot of steak in the dishes.  I really liked the refreshing salad too.  The entire bill plus the 18% tip was completely reimbursed after I completed a 30 minute online questionnaire about our experience.  I can’t wait to do another one in May!

Great sea scallops at the Capital Grille!
Great sea scallops at the Capital Grille!

8.  Game of Thrones

The third season really started off with a bang.  We so far have had two Game of Throne watching nights at Luis and Carina’s, watching two epsiodes at a time, so we are caught up.  The opener came the Wednesday before Easter and they fed us very well.  Luis and Carina mad a roasted chicken, excellent meat pies with applesauce to dip them in, roasted potatoes, and a kale, bacon and cannellini bean salad.  Additionally, I made dragon egg brownies (essentially brownies with cadbury eggs split in half and baked in), Mikayla made crescent and prosciutto rolls, and Tina brought over an ice cream cake for David’s birthday.  It was really a great meal.  The second event was the past Sunday and was potluck style.  Great show but sometimes difficult to watch while eating!

Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones

9.  FareStart Community Dinner First

For the first time in April, my frind Nikki and I made it to the FareStart Community Dinner.  The community dinners happen the first Wednesday of every month from 5:30-6:30.  The staff and chefs put together a great, themed dinner and all students (past and present), their families, other staff, and volunteers are welcome to eat together.  The line wraps out the door, the food is served buffet style and it was just wonderful.  Our friend chef, Hugo, was in charge of this months dinner and made a Cuban feast with jerk chicken and homemade hot sauce, rice and beans, okra corn fritters, a jicama salad, and a pineapple upside down cake with caramelled popcorn.  It was a really delicious meal and really fun to have a dinner with my friend and sit and dine with some of the students.

Mmmmm...Cuban!
Mmmmm…Cuban!

10.  Lunch Date and SRW

I hadn’t really seen Bryan for two weeks, this was during the time of him working 2nd shift, his climbing course, and me studying for my exam.  It was not fun and we never were able to really share a meal.  Finally, the day before my exam I took the afternoon off to finish up studying and relax and Bryan and I had planned a lunch date at a fantastic Eastlake restaurant called Serafina, that does Mediterranean cuisine.  It was a gorgeous day out, the restaurant was hopping for a weekday lunch and the entire menu from start to finish was outstanding.  I had a great octupus course, halibut dish, and shared a panna cotta and olive oil cake for dessert.  Definitely prepped me for the big exam.

Oh pulpo!!!
Oh pulpo!!!

April showers bring May flowers…right?

Chelsea

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