Tag Archives: dining out

Waiting Games

Emile and an accordionIt’s public knowledge that toddlers are not known for their vast quantities of patience. Instead, the image is more of screaming, purple cries, stomping feet and/or thrashing on the floor. I often cover my face so I don’t get hit while Emile does his version of tilting at daddies. But he calms down quickly, at least, as I remind him of the obvious, saying “We don’t hit each other in this family.”

“But I want to,” is often his counter. And then there’s a discussion of why wanting to do something isn’t always a good enough reason to do it. At some point he will likely tack on a “But why?” and then we’ll have a whole new level of explanation to provide whilst ducking tiny blows.

Another tactic—I guess—is modeling the good behavior we want to see in him. Sometimes I tell him when I feel exasperated, but more often he notices my frustration and asks me what’s going on.

“Daddy just wishes the traffic light would turn green already.” “Well, I’ve been on hold for a while now and I would just like to resolve my customer service problem.” I’m sure a lot of this is over his head, but the point is that I’m talking despite my negative emotions, I’m digging a little deeper to continue being patient with an aggravating set of circumstances. That’s the lesson here, right?

We’re in Week 39 of Susanne’s pregnancy, and our patience at this point is thinner than a string of fibre optics carrying NSA eavesdroppers across the Atlantic Ocean. The baby is squirming, bonking Susanne from the inside, and throwing triple axels in a bid to become the youngest Olympian ever. It was several weeks ago now that mom redux started throwing her hips forward in a bid to maintain her center of gravity while walking, and now she’s just ready for a tiny human to emerge from her body. The cocoon is closing, kid. I whispered to her belly this morning, “Get out.” So far child number two ignores us as well as Emile does. Read More…

Buffet Lunches Leave Something to Be Desired

Hypothetically speaking, what if the lunch fare at one’s weekly meeting of philanthropists often left diners with a sense of . . . intestinal turmoil? What if many a Thursday–not all of them, certainly–included clutching at one’s midsection, hoping that none of the fellow meeting goers can see one’s distress as one drives out of the parking lot on the way toward one’s office across town? Would one necessarily become masterful at just smiling through the pain while waiting for it to pass? I suppose one would begin fantasizing about relief in one’s office rest room, before recalling that in that building, rooms are only separated by paper-thin walls, acting more like amplifiers than mufflers of decible-laden noise. At that point perhaps one recalculates one’s options, noting that there is also a family rest room in the first floor hallway.

Of course, at this point one may walk in, sphincter at red alert, and come to a disturbing scene in which some other human has decided to smear his or her excrement on the vinyl walls of the room. In all likelihood one would then back away in horror, nervously twitching and holding one’s nose in a vain attempt to shut out the wicked smell of decomposing stool. Oh, the humanity! Surely one would avoid coming into contact with any foreign substance, ducking into their own section of the building and smearing alcohol gel all over their topmost limbs up to their elbows, and over every inch of skin that had been exposed to the noxious air.

Maybe, just maybe, one would forget one’s own indigestion and simply cower at one’s desk, hoping the substantive content of one’s job was adequate for moving on from the terror of the previous 75 minutes. Perhaps one could find an Internet animated gif of a kitten jumping straight up and could move on emotionally to a better reality. And just say that at some point it would be time for one to head home to one’s toddler, who would pant at one through the living room window, calling out one’s name with a smile on his face, as if all was right with the world.

So in our hypothetical situation, say an entire week elapsed and one forgot the trauma of the previous Thursday, until such time that one came face-to-face with the same buffet, and what if it wasn’t until one was standing next to the “Spinach Chicken Cannolini” that one remembered the danger? Wouldn’t it look suspicious to one’s friends if one did not serve oneself, but acted as if one was better than the lunch presented? And then one would continue on with eating the meal and acting as if every internal organ agreed with the food consumption? And afterward one would smile again as one drove away, through gritted teeth and just enough taste of bile in the back of one’s mouth to set one into a real sense of urgency?

Wouldn’t that make a great short story?

More Injustice, This Time at the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market

Once again, Walla Walla gets mired between petty politics, entitlement, and good people.

The Curious Case of the Missing Yelp Reviews

yelp angry logoWalla Walla found its tourism groove when the rolling hills that once were covered in wheat fields gave way to grape growers, and rows of vines, carefully structured, took over the topography. Sitting on enormous paychecks, the Seattlites who worked at Yahoo! and Amazon and Microsoft discovered that it was a pretty drive through the Cascades or a quick flight to the tiny airport, and they could boast of their own wine club memberships, since Napa and Sonoma were booked full.

It was only a matter of time then, for a hospitality industry to respond to the need to serve the west-side tourist while they spent copious amounts of money in our little town. One of the fastest growing businesses in Walla Walla was the independent restaurant. In fact, there are no mid-range chain restaurants within the city limits; right next store in College Place is an Applebee’s, and that’s notable for its singularity of presence.

When the bottom fell out of the economy, many of the fine dining establishments closed up. Even the Microsoft executives were feeling the pinch. But time passed, and people started carving out new opportunities for themselves in the city’s downtown. A public house, a beer tavern, gourmet pizza, $9 sandwiches that boast of their hand-craftedness. In the space of one month two breakfast eateries opened up, and excited as we were, Susanne and I tried them both out to see if they would likely stick around or make it onto our dining circuit. Read More…

124 Is the Loneliest Number

main street, walla walla, circa 1920sWe went out a couple of weeks ago to Public House 124, a new eatery and watering hole on Walla Walla’s Main Street, and no location gets any more “heart of downtown” than this. Inside, brick walls run from the front windows to the kitchen area, where a counter lets patrons watch the culinary work in action just like over at Whitehouse Crawford. This isn’t surprising, I suppose, given that PH124’s chef used to work there; he’s doubled down with a former bartender at the Marcus Whitman Hotel, and yes, the drinks are pretty tasty. There’s no word yet on if the Cocoa Cowgirl, a pint-glass of liquor with a little bit of cream, made it over to this new establishment, but I’ll ask the next time I go.

Which will be when the weather has cooled off, because PH124 doesn’t have air conditioning. Read More…

Toe Tapping Tuesday

As part of our ongoing welcome back from friends, a buddy of ours texted late last week with an invitation to go to the Jim German bar in Waitsburg, about 20 minutes east of Walla Walla. I’ve written about the town in this blog before, for its quaint two-block downtown and its anti-abortion protesters, who seem to assemble at random on the main corner in town. It does have a few good eateries, like the Whoop ‘Em Up cafe (low country Southern cuisine) and the Whetstone Public House, which I like to call “classy pioneer.” The Jim German bar isn’t a German tavern at all, it’s a what-is-it-doing-so-far-from-the-city nightclub of clean lines and pretentiously prepared drinks that one should sip with pinkie extended, or at least with a semblance of attitude. And when wearing a lot of black. Read More…

Nous Gourmands

We’ve explored a respectable swath of the eateries in Seattle these past six months, everything from food truck vendors to lunch counters, bakers, a chocolate factory, and German tavern fare. We’ve also pursued ethnic food from local Indian buffets to authentic Chinese food and Ethiopian shared plates (injera, mmm). So we jumped at the chance to have dinner at an upscale classic French restaurant, Le Gourmand in Ballard. Susanne made our reservation, since attempting to dine there as a walk-in is a long shot at best, and we drove over on a typically cold, rainy early winter Seattle evening. Read More…

From the Top

Our cautious approach to ambulation worked for my friend and I yesterday, even if we did look like a couple of chubby zombies headed for the center of Seattle. Baby steps, as a course of action across Denny, was the right way to go.

We purchased our “night and day” passes for the Space Needle so that we could see everything later, after dusk. With our ride up the escalator, we were treated to a 41-second tour of the facility and surrounding area. There is a lot one can articulate in 41 seconds, I learned. We looked out at Elliot Bay and walked around the observation deck, two-thirds of which was enjoyable, and one-third of which chilled me right down to my DNA strands. Read More…

Mobile Chowdown V recap

Susanne and I had ourselves a blast at the Mobile Chowdown V last Friday, in the parking lot of Qwest Field. Romantic setting, I know, but we were there to explore the engine-inclusive side of cuisine, not make out in public. We lucked out and found a parking spot 1.5 blocks away, albeit only after accidentally making our way to the garage for the last home game of the Mariners. Fifteen dollars for parking is $15 less we’d have had for all of the fare at the event! Read More…

Food from a truck

In college, a battle took place every Friday and Saturday night, at the edge of the campus. Two white trucks served hamburgers to students, competitors looking to be top dog in some kind of feud. There was the Wimpy Wagon, and then there was the other one. I guess Wimpy’s won out, since nobody I know remembers the name of the other one, but there was a war, all right. Because this was Syracuse, New York, getting a late night burger anytime after October 15 meant trudging through at best, several inches of snow. That’s a kind of commitment to something that university students rarely muster.

Food trucks weren’t exactly bastions of quality cuisine in this environment. They were just cheap and available, and if a wagon were sixteen steps closer than the dining hall, a good percentage of students would make that their preference, easy. I have no trouble attesting that as a Syracuse University alum, if presented with a no-brainer, I will option that every time. This is why the wine tasting class was booked solid every year, as was Theater for Non-Majors. Read More…

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