West Seattle. You know I love you. (Part 1)

I am not going to be all mushy, sweet and go cuddly-bear on you my dear readers but I thought I’d tell you all why West Seattle (WS) is dear to me. My home away from home (My other home being Manila, since most of my family live there). I’ve lived in WS for almost 7 years now. My first and only home ever since I’ve moved to the States.

My husband and I are on our second apartment in WS and currently we’re very close to C&P Coffee. To those that haven’t visited C&P, you better start doing so since this is the best place for those where-do-we-go-it’s-raining-and-it’s-the-weekend days. You get to be warm and cozy with a cup of joe, while listening to some good live music. You probably have an idea about where I’m headed with this post. List of my favorite places in West Seattle. I’ll give you some highlights for now since I gotta finish this post before my little dude wakes up from his nap.

Favorite Bakery: Bakery Nouveau

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Twice Baked Chocolate Almond Croissant

There is not a week that goes by that I don’t get myself a Bakery Nouveau fix. From the guy who beat the French in French Pastry making, there’s no where else to go but here for some Twice Baked Chocolate Almond Croissant. Need a little something something to give your hunnylove? Bring home some macaroons in a heart shaped box. Not feeling sweet? Their pizza’s are amazing! My personal fave is their foccacia pizza and pork sandwhich with pickled onions.

 Favorite Parks: Lincoln Park and Ercolini Park

It’s hard to just have one favorite park in WS since there are so much it offers. But for my husband and I, Lincoln Park and Ercolini Park tops the list. Lincoln Park has the heated salt water pool, wading pool for the wee ones, tons of space for cross country running, picnic areas, hiking trails, and you also have the best view of the Puget Sound. It’s one of the biggest parks in Seattle and I’m happy that it’s in WS.

I’m mentioning Ercolini Park because right now it’s the best place for my little one. Best place for toddlers I would say. I love how people leave/donate their toys there so that other kiddos can play with them. It’s also a good place for mommies to meet other mommies. My son isn’t a crawler or walker yet but I look forward to the day when he starts climbing the little gym area.

I have more favorites I’d like to post but I have to keep this short for now. In the meantime, come visit me, and we shall go to Bakery Nouveau and get some yummies, and then go to the park of your choice to let the kiddos play.

 

 

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Staycation

It’s a new year filled with lots of faith goals, art, photography and writing. I don’t do resolutions, have never done it and will not start anytime soon. But I am definitely looking forward to this new year with a fresh start. The end of this year didn’t really end the way I wanted it to. But really, there are just some things we can’t control. So we just move on, pray about it and hope for the best.

For the holidays, we spent Christmas at Nick’s parents and then came home the day after Christmas. We were supposed to go on a road trip to California but thought that a week won’t be enough time to visit friends and family during our stops all the way down to LA.

So we decided that the farthest we were going to go was in Oregon, to visit my good friend Liza and her husband. But that would only be during New Years Eve. So in between Christmas and New Years Eve, we spent a lot of time visiting friends and family in Seattle.

It was the best staycation because we actually slept in. Didn’t look at the clock much, and just enjoyed Seattle.

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Excited to be out!

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We met up with Nick’s high school buddy, Adrian. He lives in LA now. But he came up for the holidays.

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We went to trivia night at a tavern somewhere. We only made second place. Oh well.

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The next day Nick and I visited our friend Adam. He invited us over and made dinner for us. It was yummy!

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The guys stuffing their faces.

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A morning stop at Bakery Nouveou.

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I got the twice baked almond chocolate croissant. Deadly and good.

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Coffee and pastry. Good life.

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We visited our friends and their kids. A picture with one of their kiddies, Deja.

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We went to Outback for Happy Hour. We don’t really go there to eat but since we had a gift card. Why not?

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Yeah salad but it was still heart attack food. haha!

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We visited Nick’s best friend, Asrat.

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Nick took me to Seattle Asian Art Museum. Yes, because I’m Asian.

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I snuck a shot. :-p

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Love!

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Capitol Hill

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At Joe Bar on Capitol Hill.

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Another cup of coffee.

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Prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil sandwich.

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View of the Space Needle from Capitol Hill.

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Comfort Soup

One of my favorite soups that my dad would make is sopas. Sopas is soup in Spanish, but when you say sopas in the Philippines, it means elbow macaroni in a creamy soup. The meat in the sopas is usually chicken, but the way my dad would make it is with ham.

Nick and I were buying some groceries at Safeway when I saw a package of smoked ham hocks sitting in the shelf. The first thought that came to mind was my dad’s sopas so I just had to get some some carrots and celery, and I was ready to make it.

And because I was originally making Chicken Afritada for Nick, I cooked both the Afritada and the Sopas at the same time. Take note, it was 9:30pm when I started cooking. Talk about late cooking in the Hayes household.

In the Philippines, we usually eat sopas for merienda (midday snack). I remember eating it for lunch in high school on those cold rainy days in June. Ah those days. It seemed like it was yesterday when classes would be cancelled midday because of a typhoon and we’re already in school so we have to wait for my dad to pick us up. Where else would we hang out but the cafeteria. The lunch ladies would be ready for the onslaught of orders from the excited kids who want to eat as they wait for their parents to pick them up. But I digress…

Below is the Chicken Afritada I made for Nick. I wasn’t in the mood for it since I felt that I was making it a lot, but since Nick wanted it, I made it for him.
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Instead of using elbow macaroni, I used the egg noodles that we had. It was kind of the same. Texture-wise, I think I like the elbow macaroni more. I remember the days of eating soggy macaroni in the sopas. Ahhh heaven.
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I know if my dad saw the photo below, he’d be so proud of me. I think my future kiddies would love this. It’d be their favorite and they’d ask me to add extra milk in it. Just as I did when I was young.

My dad would be cooking the sopas. I’d watch the whole process of how he did it and learn from him. Well sometimes he’d walk away to do other things while the sopas is simmering. What I would do is sneak in more milk into the soup to make it extra creamy. I don’t think he ever noticed. He would then say, “Wow this is really good.” He’d be so proud of what he made. And inside I was thinking, “That’s because of me, I put the extra milk in there to make it yummy.”
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The Night of the Fight

This was the night that Manny Pacquiao won his 8th world title in 8 divisions. He made us proud to be Filipino!

I started cooking from 2pm and finally finished when I deep fried all the lumpia that I wrapped at my friend’s house, and that was at around 6pm. It was worth it. We ate. We shouted. We met new people and celebrated the victory of Manny Pacquaio.

I was so happy that my good friend Simson came to watch with us. I had no idea he likes boxing too.
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My other capoeira friend, Ethan, came over to watch too. I lent him one of Nick’s Philippine shirts so he’d know what it feels like to be Filipino. hahahaha!
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One of the great things of being in capoeira is meeting great friends like Giulia. She came and watched the changes that happened to Margarito’s face. From normal to looking like he was wearing a mask. Again, Margarito’s camp should’ve told the ref to stop the fight on the 8th round. They didn’t do that, so now Margarito has to get a big surgery to fix his broken orbital bone.
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The aftermath of the lumpia that I made. That platter was full of lumpia. I was so happy everyone loved it.
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After I took this photo, someone took all of what’s left in that pot. My adobo was a winner too.
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The gang and Tanya Loca.
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To celebrate Manny’s win. I made the guys eat some balut. We needed to keep with the Filipino theme and because they’re guys, a good competition is always present. After 7 years of knowing Nick, he finally had a balut. My friend Christian on the right, is half Filipino. Yet, it was still his first time to eat one. Ramon, on the left, didn’t really want to do it but because his son just ate it like it was no biggie. He had to do it as well.
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It was such a great night I didn’t want it to end. Did you watch the fight between Pacquiao and Margarito too? Who were you rooting for?

He Would Think it is Gourmet

There are times when I get home from work and all I want to do is sit on the couch, watch Bizarre Foods and eat. Yes I can do that without puking my guts out. The thing is, food doesn’t make itself. And eating canned sardines and rice everyday is not really my thing. I love Filipino sardines with rice though. What I’m saying is, I have to cook and Nick can’t because he has to study.

The one thing about my 9-5 job is that, when I get home, I don’t have extra work stuff to do. Nick does because he has to do homework. I don’t have any excuse for not cooking. Ah, these are the times that I wish I had a helper at home. Some of y’all in Manila better not be complaining about how hard your life is if you have a helper. Puuhleeeez! Ok I’ll save that for another post.

My introduction is getting long. Anyway, I made some Mahi-mahi with capers and onions on a bed of  couscous. Sounds fancy doesn’t it? I made this with just 10 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of cooking. 25 minutes total is pretty fast if you’re a Filipino because we like our stews and stews take a while to cook.

I was also craving for fish so I just HAD to get me some Mahi-mahi.

I got this recipe from Epicurious. I started with the onions. Carmelized them in butter and olive oil.

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And while that was carmelizing, I prepped the fish and placed it in the oven. Remember to preheat your oven.

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I cooked the onions until it was carmelized and in the end added more butter as well as the capers and a lemon juice. I took it off the heat and covered it to keep warm.

As I was doing all this, I was also making couscous. I made the instant one from Trader Joe’s.  When the fish was ready, I plated it as so.

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It was sooo good! Nick loved it and raved about how it looked so gourmet. Tasted gourmet too. Fancy I tell ya! It was fast, we ate, and then I finally got on the couch. Perfect!

Do you have any quick recipes that’s a winner with the family?

Tortilla de Patatas

The other day I was going through Travel Channel’s video clips and I ended up watching Anthony Bourdain in Spain eating their national dish, Tortilla de Patatas.

He talked about how good it was, and the clip also showed how to make it. Flipping it over with the help of a plate and then putting it back in the pan to cook the other side. He also mostly talked about how he couldn’t understand why it would be Spain’s national dish, when it only just contains eggs, potatoes and sometimes onions.

I laughed when he took a bite of the tortilla and used his hand instead of the fork to put it in his mouth. One lady out of camera said, “Use the fork you barbarian.” That line, for some reason, reminded me of my grandma.

So I came home after work one night and didn’t feel like going to the grocery store, knowing that we haven’t done our grocery shopping and only had a few items in the fridge. I thought I was going to go hungry until I found eggs, onions, a potato oh and look some mushrooms.

I chopped up the potato, onions and mushrooms. Deep fried the potato and onions in olive oil. Strained it and fried it again with the eggs.

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The hard part was flipping the eggs. I didn’t have a flat plate so it took me a while trying to flip it without burning myself. I failed but it still looks pretty good.

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My first ever Tortilla de Patatas! It was yummy. Yet I kind of felt like I was going to get  heart attack. I have not deep fried anything in a looong time.

I must say, I too don’t understand why this would be Spain’s national dish. Why not paella?

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Pork (not really) and Fish for Dinner

Recently, Nick and I have realized that we haven’t been eating pork much. Which is not so bad because I don’t really crave for it and don’t even cook much with it. Unless it’s Filipino longaniza, I don’t cook pork. And because we’ve been hanging out with brain surgeons (we’re cool like that), we thought, “You know what? I don’t really like worms in my brain. We can skip the pork.”

So for what I made the other night (Nice segue Tanya… really nice), I made some mixed pasta (because that’s what I found in our cupboard) with Italian Turkey Sausage, spinach, wine, onion and red pepper flakes.

It was soo easy to make. I could’ve done it with my eyes closed. Ok, not really. But I just sauteed the onions and red pepper flakes with the sausages, poured in little bit of white wine and added the spinach in the end. Et voila! Easy peasy pasta in no time.

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Italian Sausage and Spinach Pasta

As for the fish dinner last night. It was sooo delicious! It reminded me of my grandmother’s recipe. Every time she cooked this dish, I would ask her how she made it, but because I never wrote the recipe down I never remembered it. Good thing that Saveur posted a recipe for steamed fish that reminded me of my grandma’s cooking. I didn’t find the suggested fish to steam so I ended up with my trusty tilapia. It was a bit challenging trying to put in the plate on the wok but when I finally used my brain, I got it in there. Make sure you don’t burn yourself. Remember to use tongs and kitchen gloves when handling the plate.

On the photo below, I had a close up of the head, then realized that not all of my readers are Filipinos so I used that photo instead. ha!

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Steamed Fish w/ Ginger and Scallions

My grandmother would be proud. 🙂