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je vois la vie en rose

Since sometime last year, I've had half of a page torn out of Sunset Magazine lying somewhere in the proximity of my desk/record player stand right next to it. I think that my Dad tore it out of an issue and then showed my Mom who then passed it on to me. This torn half-page details Sambar, a southeast Ballard bar located right next to Le Gourmand. The photo in the Sunset blurb shows two tables in a garden and the words tell of a cocktails and French-tinged loveliness. We were all intrigued, but I still hadn't been.

My recent acceptance into Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) found me with a homework assignment: attend one of ten or so bars around Seattle known for well-crafted cocktails and report back. Sambar and I finally had an excuse to meet. Here is the result, illustrated by my photos.

Sambar entrance
The entrance reminds you that Sambar is closed on Sunday and Monday.

The weather was close to warm, so I took a seat in the garden, facing out to the street. Lined with roses and a variety of potted plants, you could be just about anywhere when you're ensconced there.

My favorite cocktails include rum, so I started with La Martinique, which had rhum agricole vieux (old sugar-cane based rum from Martinique), lime juice, and Clement Creole Shrubb (a rhum agricole-based orange liqueur). Served in a martini glass, it came with a large piece of orange peel, which you don't see everywhere. The drink was well-made, having that general citrus-y bite you get when you combine rum, citrus, and citrus-based liqueur. Could the glass have been a little bit more full? Hard to say, but I'd have ordered another one either way.

Oh, and I ordered the very French cheese board to accompany my cocktails which came with plenty of delicious bread.

I branched out for my second cocktail and tried the Freya, made of aquavit, kirsh, sour cherry, lemon, and maraschino. Aquavit on its own is not my thing (much to my aquavit-loving Father's chagrin) but I thought the other ingredients would balance it out nicely. They did! And it was nice to look at too - such a beautiful ruby color in the highball glass! The taste was fruity but not too fruity and sweet but not too sweet. A perfect refreshment for a late spring day.

I can do no comparing to past cocktails at Sambar, but these were as well-crafted as any others I've consumed around Seattle, including the Zig Zag. I'll visit Sambar again this summer and while the garden was lovely, I really enjoy watching my drinks being made, so next time I'll sit at the bar. But if Seattle ever sees a hot summer day this year, look for me back in the garden, cocktail in hand.

Sambar is located at 425 N.W. Market Street | Seattle, WA 98107

More photos of Sambar on my flickr page.
i like it here

damn right i love the life i live

I usually like to wait until the last possible second until declaring anything related to a calendar year, but I think this is as close as I can get this time. The rest of the week will likely be busy and I've been thinking about this post for long enough that I don't want there to be any chance of me not posting it.

2010 proved an eventful and exciting year for me, definitely standing out from most of its contemporaries. So what follows is a quick overview of the highlights that have stuck in my brain (with some help from flickr)...

*Rang in the New Year with the one and only Erika Matthias while strolling down the middle of 10th Avenue West in Queen Anne after an early departure from a party where my company’s CEO was in attendance. Went to The Sitting Room and made friends with Phillip the bartender. * Finished my application to the UW’s MLIS program and began to wait. *Distracted myself with a road trip up Whidbey Island to Bellingham. Spent the night and came home by way of Port Townsend and the Kitsap Peninsula.

*Accompanied the parents on a day trip to Kanasket-Palmer State Park and Black Diamond. Hiked the banks of the Green River and finally went to the famous Black Diamond Bakery. *Decided that three Nada Surf shows in New York City next month couldn’t be missed. Bought a plane ticket and show tickets. *Attended Sasquatch! 2010 lineup announcement party at The Crocodile hosted by TBTL’s Luke Burbank. Won an Xbox in the raffle. Sold it to pay for Sasquatch! tickets. *Continued to await the grad school acceptance or rejection letter.

*Tweeted my first Tweet, a link to a chart explaining why salads cost more than Big Macs. #depressing *Started playing softball at Green Lake with co-workers. Had first of several spring rain outs. *Celebrated a year of seattlepi.com at a party at The Crocodile. *Got my MLIS program rejection letter. *Jetted to NYC for three nights of Nada Surf playing three different albums in their entirety. While there, also enjoyed the company of Erika, had my second bit of screen time on NBC while attending the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon taping, and consumed both cocktails and shroomburgers in unequal quantities.

*Got hooked up with Mariners home opener tickets in a private suite. Saw Death Cab perform “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Centerfield.” Saw the Mariners lose. Ate first of my three non-veggie hot dog quota for the year, plus had free wine. *Played some more softball at Green Lake. *Took another weekend trip to Bellingham but this time by way of the Skagit Valley. Laid down on a road and took a picture. Got to the City of Subdued Excitement and saw Camera Obscura at the Wild Buffalo. Explored an antique shop the next morning and bought a postcard holder. *Set out from Tacoma with my brother with intentions of being in Denver the next night. Drove and drove and drove. Spent the night in Pocatello, ID. Drove and drove and drove some more. Got to Denver and added two more states to my visited states list. Met the parents there and helped my brother move out of his rented house. Saw Buffalo Bill Cody’s grave, downtown Denver, and suburban Denver.

* Flew home from Denver via Salt Lake City on Southwest (first time ever). *Got my photo taken while lying down on that road in the Skagit Valley printed in the Seattle Times “Pix from My Weekend” section. *Played some more softball at Green Lake. *Started listening to TBTL regularly. *Enjoyed the warming weather. Celebrated the first actual warm day with drinks and Yahtzee! on the patio at Belltown Pizza. *Took a day trip with the family to Olympia and hoped to see a bobcat on a walk. *Saw the Long Winters perform at The Crocodile as the Newton Girls. *Welcomed Erika to the 206 for our second grand Sasquatch! adventure. Got a new phone. Headed east to the Gorge and were met with a two-hour campground entry line. Had Paul, Esther, Nancy, and Maurice to keep us company. Had the tent set up by 2:30 a.m. Discovered our neighbors were the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) of Canada who had a penchant for both balloons and beer. Rocked out to everything from The National to the Mountain Goats to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros to Passion Pit to the New Pornographers (the last two with help from aforementioned friends Esther and Maurice).

*Continued the SIFF volunteering that began in late May, printing tickets for film-goers at the Harvard Exit. Saw some films myself and enjoyed most if not all of them. *Belatedly celebrated a dog’s 13th birthday at Norm’s in Fremont with a burger and cupcakes. *With my Mom’s help, put a first coat of red paint onto my bedroom walls. *Played some more softball at Green Lake, even though it was Juneuary.

*Celebrated my Dad’s birthday and the Fourth of July in Tacoma. Drove to the Puyallup Valley on Fourth of July morning to buy fresh-picked strawberries and Ill Eagle fireworks. *Met up with Erin to run down Queen Anne Avenue at the Comstock Commission sponsored first annual Running of the Bulls. Ended up near Kerry Park and drank sangria and ate chips and guacamole in the sun. *Went to TBTL live event “Summer Slam 2: Electric Bugaloo” event at the Columbia City Theatre. Laughed a lot. *Drove to Paradise at Mt. Rainier and hiked with my Dad to 10,200 ft. Camp Muir. Enjoyed the hike despite moments of panic and concluded I like marked trails best. *Ascended Little Si one Saturday morning with Erin. *Played some more softball at Green Lake.

*Finished playing softball at Green Lake for the year. *Set out from the south end of Mt. St. Helens for an overnight backpacking trip with my dad and uncle around the mountain’s east and north sides. Took a wrong turn and spent two hours making our way back to where we were supposed to be. Ran out of water and rejoiced at the first stream we found. Navigated washed out gullies full of rock and dust. Made camp just before dark and marveled at the night sky. Set out for a 14 mile day two that took us through the blast zone up onto Johnston Ridge where at the vistor’s center I admired my very blistered feet and drank copious amounts of non-iodine treated water. *Two days later, headed north to Camano Island for a remote seaside getaway at Cama Beach. Spent the first two days cursing the rain and cold while catching up on reading and podcasts and drinking wine and eating cheese. Spent most of the next day lounging in the sun on the beach. Felt great joy when an edition of TBTL from the previous week played “Animal” by Miike Snow during a musical break. *Took a sailboat ride with Erika and friends from Gig Harbor out into the sound and back. Arrived at the Tides Tavern by boat for dinner. * Rocked out to the Hold Steady at the Showbox and even worked up the courage to say hi to Luke Burbank. *Put a second coat of paint on my bedroom walls with my Mom’s help. *Celebrated my birthday at Via Tribunali on Queen Anne with friends and then headed to the Re-Bar where Ira Glass and Dan Savage were spinning tunes. Danced to everything from Ok Go to Miley Cyrus. *Visited the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium with my Mom and admired the baby tigers, among other furry animals. *Got my Orcas Island tattoo! *Headed north with Erin to Anacortes for the ferry to Shaw Island. Camped at Shaw Island County Park on Indian Cove. Played Yahtzee! on the beach and ate beans out of cans. Saw a heron fishing at dusk. Took the ferry over to Orcas for another night of camping despite less than desirable weather. Explored Eastsound. Paddleboated on Cascade Lake. Drove up Mt. Constitution.

* Stood outside Memorial Stadium during Weezer’s Bumbershoot set and heard most of the hits! * Did just one official day of Bumbershoot (Monday) to see TBTL and the Thermals. Enjoyed the jokes of Chris Hardwick. Got drenched watching the Thermals in the evening but their rocking set and cover of “My Name is Jonas” made it all worth it. *Drove to Redmond to see the National and Okkervil River at Marymoor Park with Allison. Squealed over most of the National’s songs, but especially freaked out for “Slow Show.” *Convinced the family that we needed an end of summer hike at Paradise on Mt. Rainier. Hiked up to Panorama Point while reveling in the clear early autumn views. Ate dinner in the lodge and then walked out into the parking lot to be greeted by a glorious night sky of stars illuminating the mountain.

* Took a Friday off of work to see Vice President Biden speak at the UW Tacoma. *Stood in line with my brother for over two hours to see President Obama speak at the UW’s Hed Ed Pavillion. Doubted our chances on getting in, but made it and got pretty close too! * Decided another trip to NYC to visit Erika was in order. Bought tickets to be there from Thanksgiving until the following Monday. *Danced and danced to Belle & Sebastian’s set at Benaroya Hall as part of City Arts Fest.

*Mourned the passing of Dave Niehaus, complete with nostalgic childhood memories of warm summer evenings both at home and on vacation. *Jetted off to NYC on Thanksgiving, at the tail-end of a Puget Sound snow and ice storm. Arrived in Manhattan to find milder weather as well as bagels, cocktails, improv, more cocktails, and lots of dioramas at the Natural History Museum. Enjoyed my time there but was happy to get back to Seattle as I always am.

*Reveled in my last bit of "freedom" before the new year arrives and I need to reinvigorate my work on reapplying to grad school next fall. *Had a lovely Christmas time with friends and family. *Appreciated everything.

If you're still reading this, I'm impressed. And this isn't even everything that happened this year, but it's a lot of it. If every year for the rest of my life could be even 3/4 this eventful, I'm confident that I will die happy. Maybe not completely content, but happy. Oh, and also if you're still reading this, know that I love you in some little distinct and particular way, if not some grand and overarching way. You decide.

And now, I shall close with a quotation, as I am want (if not required) to do on at least a weekly basis.

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." — Neil Gaiman
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative
i like it here

our struggle still feels wonderful most days

in reading the band info about the hold steady on the showbox at the market's posting for their august 28th show, i was struck by this paragraph:

Our new record, Heaven is Whenever, is about struggle and reward. It's about accepting suffering as a necessary part of a joyous life. It's about how love can help us rise above these struggles. It's about faith. It's about how bad it hurts to settle for less. It's about not being scared to try. It's about four guys who still believe in the power and glory of rock and roll. Because even after a thousand soundchecks, a thousand load-in and load-outs, fifty missed birthdays, and a few hundred electrical shocks, our reward still vastly outweighs the struggle. In fact, the reward would not exist without the struggle. Thus, this struggle is inherently part of the reward. And in this way, the fantasy of playing rock and roll for a living is a lot like real life.

it's from an essay craig finn wrote about their new record, heaven is whenever, though i'm not sure where it was originally published.

i'm a new hold steady fan, but have known of them for a few years. i've heard of the drunken live show sing alongs, the fans who take the next day off of work. i only caught their last two and a half songs at sasquatch! because of the national's conflicting set. i'd never seen them live before that, but am now totally hooked. i WILL be seeing them at the showbox in august.

at the end of their sasquatch! set, people were high-fiving each other. strangers, i mean. people were just high on the infectious energy that must have pervaded their whole set, not just the songs i saw. i think this can kind of relate to my feelings about sasquatch! in general...

it's an amazing phenomenon, in many ways: 20,000 people a day, 25+ bands/performers each day, and scores and scores of great music and performances. and for three days, we were all in it together. from the insanely fun dance/blow-up animal party that was passion pit's set to the haunting beauty of the national, hordes of strangers were having fun while having the same experience together. it ends up being kind of hard to put into words, but when you're there, and immediately after it, you feel it. the fact that so many people will converge in one place in the middle of almost nowhere to enjoy all of this amazes and delights me.

i guess the paragraph by craig finn above just reinforces the romantic notions i have about music - rock 'n' roll in particular. my idea that it inherently matters. and for better or for worse, i know my life would be drastically different without it.
  • Current Mood
    bored bored
i like it here

look at me, i can be, centerfield

I just updated Facebook with the fact that I'm jealous of anyone who will be going to Mariners opening day tomorrow. Death Cab is performing before the game and if John Roderick's Facebook and Twitter updates are to be believed, he'll be involved, and they'll all be playing "Centerfield" by John Fogerty. I'd love to see and hear that.

I've only been to Opening Day once - two years ago. With Kevin, of course. It was cold, kind of rainy, and there was some freezing liquid falling from the sky at one point. But that's Opening Day for you. It's an experience and there's promise of the coming summer. We went to a lot of baseball games in 2008. A lot for me at least. At least 12 or 13 of them. It was fun, mostly...

I do love baseball - playing it, seeing it, and hearing it on the radio. Last week at lunch, some co-workers and I talked about how some of us liked the general baseball experience and some didn't. Someone remarked that it has to do with whether or not you grew up with it. I completely agree...

My Dad loves baseball - especially the Mariners and he did a good job passing it on to me. I remember Mariners games in the Kingdome in the early nineties. They probably always lost, but the experience was good enough that I remember it fondly. Oddly enough, I even remember one time when after a game we went up to Kerry Park on Queen Anne hill so my Dad could take a picture of the city at night for his twenty year series. That means it must have been 1989. Little did I know that park would factor prominently in my future.

There would be nights many summers when my Dad would turn on the Mariners game on the radio - both at home and on vacation. "I just wanna get the score," he'd say if my Mom protested. But for the nights when she didn't care and the game stayed on, I'd often enjoy lying on my parents' bed or floor and soaking in the sounds of the game. After awhile, Dave Niehaus' voice become its own entity and it's the the dull moments that you almost appreciate more. The slow times between pitches when sometimes all you hear is the buzz of the airwaves though the warm air. That's summer. That's Mariners baseball.

Yes, growing up the with the games was almost definitely what ingrained in me my affinity for baseball. And I'm grateful for it. I know I'll always look back on those nights on the deck or in my parents' bedroom - Dave Niehaus on the radio, the horizon orange from the sunset, and all being well around Puget Sound.
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    contemplative contemplative
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pleasures remain, so does the pain

I haven't been walking up the hill in the mornings much lately - either because it's seemed too cold/rainy or I've been sick and wanting to move as little as possible. But I had the strength this morning and it wasn't raining so I went for it. The 18 from lower Queen Anne let me off at 1st and Pine as it always does and I walked east until I was at the corner of Pine and 4th. A man was walking his dog, a kind of black lab mix, and I took special note of its red coat. Not a fancy one, and the dog probably would have been fine without it (not really super cold out), but I liked that his owner had taken the time to put it on.

I decided to cut over to Pike along fourth and so did this man and his dog. Halfway down the block past the water fountain, the man let the dog off his leash. I assumed they were close to home and that was why he'd done it. Not so. They too turned up Pike and the dog stayed leashless. It's nearly impossible to catch all the green lights walking east on Pike in the mornings, so at each corner, the dog would dutifully wait at the curb until he just seemed to know that the light had changed. I didn't hear his owner say anything to him. The dog would scamper ahead while on the sidewalk, but stopped at each and every corner. At sixth, a woman came up next to me and asked if it was my dog. I said no, and motioned to the owner over to our left.

Since I love dogs, I usually don't have a problem with them being off leash if it's safe. Downtown Seattle during morning rush hour is a bit dubious. An offleash dog is definitely an unusual occurence, but something about unexpectedly following offleash dog and owner all the way up past Boren made my morning a little better.
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i like it here

feelings are intense, words are trivial

My recent trip to New York got me thinking about everything that goes on everyday that I don't see or think about, but is still there and still happening. It's not a good thing or a bad thing, but just interesting to me. Every day as I go about my life of wake up, get coffee, get on the bus, work, go home, there are all kinds of other things going on that I don't think about. Yet, when I experienced some of them on my trip, I was a little bit amazed.

A bus to the airport from Tacoma at 5 a.m. on a random Wednesday morning is jam-packed. Who knew? People have jobs to get to and flights to catch, all while I'm still asleep.

The seemingly arduous process of plane travel - check in, security, waiting, boarding, getting bags into the overhead bin, and then actually taking off and landing - happens hundreds if not thousands of times every day around the world. As I experienced it, I wondered how - how can all this just happen every day without there being any issues? Terrorism fears aside, it happens - again and again and safely at that.

Penn Station is a crazy place. People walking every which way with tons of trains on many tracks leaving at any given time. It's like this every day. Right now it's happening. Tickets are being purchased and punched. And everyone is getting where they need to go.

For all its issues, it seems our country has the mechanics of daily life down to a pretty fine science. And when you consider what all that entails, it's kind of mind boggling.
  • Current Music
    Nada Surf
chaussures roses

since it's christmas, let's be glad

i posted this photo for several reasons:

*i love stella
*stella is coming to seattle on january 21!
*stella's website says this photo was taken in seattle
*it's a nice christmas-y time photo of stella
*i'm trying to figure out if michael showalter could be a little foxier
*i'm really excited to see stella next month

merry christmas/happy holidays to anyone still reading this!

(who's still reading this?)
  • Current Music
    sufjan stevens' songs for christmas
i like it here

(no subject)

kevin feeds a squirrel friend, originally uploaded by ozmafan.

after weeks of hearing me talk about feeding squirrel friends around first hill at lunchtime, kevin wanted to come see it all for himself. on early saturday afternoon, we headed over that way and, after picking up a handful of peanuts from my stash at work, started strolling the blocks where the squirrel friends like to hang out. we happened upon four (maybe five) and they delighted in our offerings of peanuts. this photo is proof.

after squirrel feeding, we headed over to discovery park in magnolia for some tennis golf (fun!) and then a walk out to the water, which was not as far as i'd expected. we could see mt. rainier from out there.

for dinner saturday, we went to sorrentino on top of queen anne, as i'd been there with my parents on my birthday and we'd all enjoyed it. dinner on saturday was not nearly as enjoyable. it wasn't bad, but the lasagna portions were small and not super delicious and the service wasn't great. we both decided our italian meal on orcas over the summer was at least 10 times better. next time we'll try pasta bella...

on saturday morning we'll head up to bellingham to chill for the weekend, which i'm already looking forward to. hopefully it won't rain too much and we can go up to the pumpkin patch!