Buon giorno, folks!
I’ve been having a great time in Seattle. Last Saturday, I was able to go out with my friends who are getting married, Matt and Mariah. Matt and I met in Edinburgh, where we were both doing our PhDs. Matt’s girlfriend, Mariah, soon joined him. They were part of a very close group of friends I had in Edinburgh, and they were one of two other couples with whom my former partner and I would swing, gourmet style.
Gourmet Swingers started out as a joke between my friend Andy and me. Andy and his wife, Jenny; Matt and Mariah; and Jamal and I all love to cook. We’d have each other over for big, elaborate dinner parties, that, while very fun, were also a huge amount of work and very expensive. Keeping in mind that we were all grad students, who didn’t have tons of money or time to spare, we knew there was a better way to do things.
Plus, in groups of friends and, I think, especially with couples, there are some people you end up talking to all the time, at the expense of tightening up your relationships with others. Oftentimes the divide is by gender, sometimes by common interest, and sometimes by who you knew best, first.
So Andy and I were joking that what we needed to do was swing, but with cooking. We joked about coming in, putting our keys in a bowl, and coming away with a different partner every time. Only instead of parting ways for separate bedrooms, we’d all head into the kitchen. There, one “new” couple would cook the starter, one the main course, and one the dessert. The couple hosting “swingers” that evening would pick the recipes and buy the ingredients, then we would divvy up the cost amongst us.
It started out as a joke between Andy and me about keys in bowls, and then everybody else joined in, and it became the best idea we ever had. It was so much fun, and we made some amazing food. We also got to spend quality time with one of the other people (it wasn’t divided by gender limits) without feeling we all had to share each other equally. We could be greedy and selfish with each other, and then pig out on delicious food. Which is basically my heaven. 😉
Usually the swinger’s night would have a theme. We did Southern, Afghani, hors d’oeuvres, Canadian, Mexican, and Japanese, amongst others. Each night would feature a cocktail, and I can guarantee that Southern night was made a lot more interesting with a vat of Georgia Artillery Punch.
So it’s very fun that now Matt and Mariah are getting married, with Andy–who is a Reverend in Canada–officiating. It was also great that I got to see them on Saturday. Because of wedding shenanigans, I’ll probably be one of the only people who got some unadulterated Matt and Mariah time. We spent the whole day together, and–needless to say–it involved a LOT of food and booze.
We started with me taking the light rail out to Columbia City, where Matt and Mariah were staying. It was also Mariah’s Dirty Thirty birthday, so we started out with a celebratory brunch at Verve. I didn’t take any pictures, as we were yakking each other’s ears off. But it was delicious, and I’d highly recommend the restaurant.
After brunch, we took the light rail back into Seattle. Then we walked alllllllll the way up to Capitol Hill, stopping at lots of furniture stores as I am in a slightly manic hunt for Ghost chairs and their knockoffs. Basically, I’m trying to determine just how cheap one can go with a Ghost chair knockoff, before they get all wobbly and sad.
So we wandered up the hill, sitting on variously priced plastic chairs. We also wandered into this AMAZING boutique that I am now officially obsessed with. It’s called the Cake Spy Shop, and it has the most amazing art. I bought Dr. Ruth and me an adorable apron each, and I also bought this amazing print for my dining room:
Pardon my bad photography. It’s a VERY cool print in person and I adore the sailor’s tattoos. Mariah also bought some very fun finger-mustache fake tattoos, so we can all have finger mustaches when we go on our group duck tour that’s part of the wedding shenanigans. I’m ridiculously excited for my ‘stache.
After we made it alllllll the way up to Capitol Hill (that’s quite a hill, people!), we first went and got ice cream at Dick’s. I had a root beer float (my favorite!) that was perfect on a hot day after a lot of walking. After Dick’s, we wandered around doing some boutique shopping, until we were more than ready to indulge in a little happy hour. For drinkiepoos, we went to Bleu Bistro, which is this awesome little pub that has all curtained off, nook seating. It was pretty much my heaven: very dark, cozy, and louche. And when the bartender discovered it was Mariah’s birthday, we were suddenly getting a lot of booze for free. So we were feeling no pain when we made our way to dinner at Kingfish Cafe, with its amazing bar:
Here are Matt and Mariah at Kingfish, where Mariah’s gone for nearly all of her adult birthdays:
For dinner, I had the gumbo, Matt had the outrageously decadent mac & cheese, and Mariah had the blackened salmon. It was perfectly blackened, with a delicious salad:
For dessert, we had their absolutely OUTRAGEOUS strawberry shortcake. It was enough for eight people, seriously:
Mariah was very excited to see it. Maybe a little too excited…. 😉
We rolled out of the restaurant on a sea of food and pear cider. It was a fabulous day, and so good seeing my friends again!
The next morning I got up and, after puttering around a bit, I got on a bus to go visit Mark Henry. Mark picked me up at the Tacoma Dome, and then took me on what was loosely described as Mark’s “ghetto tour.” We started out at the gun shop famous for selling weapons to the DC sniper. It’s called Bull’s Eye:
See, the bull’s eye is a site? Get it? Bulls eye?
From there we drove around Tacoma, then Lakewood. Where, apparently, much of Cops is shot. I didn’t know that, did you? After the tour, we went to Mark and his wife, Caroline’s, house. It was like wild America. There was a snake:
And about four hundred humming birds, although they wouldn’t stop humming for me to get a picture.
And then there were the dogs. This was my view from where I sat on the porch:
Little faces everywhere! I also finally lived the dream and got to star in my own #Yodabreak:
I was acting like I was going to eats the Yoda. That would never happen, though, and no Maltese were hurt in the taking of this #Yodabreak.
Mmmmm. Bacon. Mark made Caroline and me a delicious dinner of homemade potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, and wieners. Here’s what was supposed to be a funny picture of Mark preparing his wieners for his laydeez, but ended up just being gratuitous puppy torture:
The puppies are like, “Stop dangling your wieners you evil man!” Poor puppies. And yes, you can blame that picture, and many of Mark’s perverse tweets to this sweet tea vodka:
It’s delicious! And evil. Like all good things in life. After dinner, we went and signed stock at the Lakewood Barnes and Noble, so if you want some signed Tracking action, and live in the area, you’ll be in luck. 😉 Then Caroline and Mark dropped me off at the bus station, where I made my way back to Seattle to walk through about 1,400 homeless to get back to my apartment. I find that unspeakably depressing, although there was some comedy gold when, on my Saturday morning run, I was called a “filthy cocksucking whore” about 29 times by various shambling crazies.
Oh, Amanda Feral. Where were you when I needed you?
Today I’m cleaning and doing laundry (we’re staying in an apartment, not a hotel), and waiting for THE Dr. Ruth to get into town. I can’t wait to see my Rootie! She gets in late tonight, and will probably be knackered. So I’m going to have dinner and cocktails waiting. Maybe I’ll wear my new apron. 😉
Tomorrow there will be more shenanigans with members of Team Seattle, plus added Ruth, culminating in my signing on Wednesday with Mark. We’ll also be attending Kat Richardson’s signing tomorrow night, at University Book Store here in Seattle. So much book love, people!
And with that, I’m out. Gotta go be domestic and shit. See y’all later! Hopefully with pictures of us making out with the Fremont Troll . . .