Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One Step Closer

I'm exhausted. We signed all the closing paperwork today for our home. I think it was the longest day I've had in recent memory. I'd like to think I handle stress well, but not really so much on this one--not when I'm at work and overbooked and trying to get calls made and papers faxed all at the same time. When it came down to the last few hours before closing, I had many people calling in their 'calm' voices who obviously knew that I was freaking a bit. I'm so glad it's over and tomorrow is a new day. I'm also incredibly grateful for our new home and the fact that we actually got the place!! Thanks to all those that made it possible.

Tonight was Lee and my first class of yoga and after not eating all day and just getting home, we decided to skip it. I made a pact that we must go next week, no matter what! We bought those damn yoga pants, Lee, we are going! I think you can tell how hungry, relieved and stuffed we were by how many Blue C plates we went through. It's supposedly cheap eats when you get a couple of $2 plates of sushi, but we managed to inhale enough for a $60 bill. I think we might need to start that yoga first thing in the morning.

I'm still in that in-between mood, not quite here and not quite there. It's contentment-which my Mom always told me was a good thing to feel, but when you're so used to being extremely busy and not having any down time, it's kind of a weird new way to feel and I'm not sure what to do with it. I think I'm supposed to enjoy it? I'll try my best, but I feel like I need to do something. It's like I can't sit still. Oh well, I'm happy and I do sleep like a baby. Nite, don't let the bed bugs bite!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mr. Gyros and Me

Here it is: My first Greenwood restaurant review. It was a gorgeous day yesterday, really much too warm and wonderful for February, but if this is the beginning of spring then I'm even more in love with Seattle weather. Lee and I decided to take a drive and do some typical Saturday errands, most of which are closer to our new hood which will make things more convenient in the future.

We needed our coffee-- in fact I think I've become one of those people I used to make fun of, you know the ones who get a caffeine headache when they skip their morning coffee? Yep, I'm one of them now. So we head on over to Neptune Coffee, right in the middle of Greenwood Ave, and I get my 'tester' order, the coffee I order whenever I try a new place just to see if the beans actually taste good. If I order something too frilly, I can't really taste the coffee so I don't really know if I like it. This system works well at Starbucks where a Frappuccino is great, but order a cup of drip and you'll be sorry. Yuck. Anyway, I got a double short nonfat latte and it was really good--not burnt, not bitter, but strong. What a relief, the more good independent coffee shops within walking distance, the better. Still haven't found my favorite, where they will know my name and ask how my day was, since I have to try them all out first.

Then we headed next door to Mr. Gyros. It's got a very New Yorkish, middle eastern, laid back, take-out place feel to it, complete with sports on the tv and a set of 20-something brothers who run the place. I thought they were twins, but upon *studying* them while they made our gyros, I realized there were some differences between the two (you may want to take a gander and check out the differences yourselves, ladies, if you know what I mean--they just might need a Mrs. Gyros if your lucky). The place was packed, the owners knew everyone's name and we were laughing at how open and well, very New Yorkish the people that came in behaved. I really like that attitude and honesty--I secretly always wanted to be a New Yorker so I'd have a good excuse to tell people off, and do it well. We ordered two lamb gyros, a side of hummus and a lamb kebab. All for under $22.00 and we were stuffed, plus we took some home. Was it the best gyro in the world? No. Would I go back? Yes, yes and hell yeah. It was fresh and tasty and really good, plus I loved the fact that they put hummus on my gyro since I typically end up ordering a side so I can spread it on myself. Plus the ambiance was sooo me. Casual, friendly, local, quick, cheap, and tasty (except I'm not quick and cheap). We are sort of spoiled in Greenwood with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food options, in fact I can name five places off the top of my head that are within walking distance of our new home, so I'm gonna be tough on them and expect the best since this in one of my favorite types of food. All in all, it's a good three and half out of five stars.

When we were leaving I mentioned that we were new to town and that they'll definitely be seeing us again, which probably wasn't the best thing to say since we aren't really new to town, we are new to the neighborhood. So when they asked where we were from and I said Queen Anne, which is a total of nine minutes down the road, all the guys laughed--pretty much at me, not with me. Okay, note to self, start telling people you are new to this neighborhood, not new to town. I still think it's funny though.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I'll refer to most moving notes from now on as BNH (Before New Home) and ANH (After New Home) since every single thing seems to be different between now and then. BNH we are living in a maze of boxes, making dinner most nights, packing lunches, missing our walks to coffee shops and finding cat poop in random places since they know we're leaving and they're pissed off. ANH is much dreamier-- unpacking our boxes like Christmas presents (I don't label them in order to have a complete 'surprise' when I re-open them one month later-- it's the little things that make me happy), going out to local and cheap eats, having plenty of coffee within walking distance and cat poop in the litter box which is in the new utility room where it's supposed to go. Ah, I can *smell* the sweet success of ANH and happy kitties. Happy homeowners too.

Tensions are high these days with the countdown to the ANH upon us and I could definitely tell by the fact that Lee and I nearly took each other out playing the sweet game of 'If Wishes Were Fishes'. Sounds innocent and all, but Lee's quite competitive and my mind wanders and lingers on subjects far too many to begin to discuss, so he kind of wants to pull his hair out by the end of the game. I don't really blame him since I know he takes his gaming seriously and I will be eternally grateful to our friend Kyleen, who comes over every once in a while to indulge Lee's super-intellectual strategy game habit. Currently they are downstairs playing 'Arkham Horror', some 10 hour long game about the 'Call of Cthulu' with 50 pages of instructions and oh, about a million little pieces. I know, I know. Wikipedia it if you must, that's what I did.

As I mentioned, BNH is letting me cook a bit more since there is much to do at home at night and it saves more money than I'd like to admit. Tonight I made fresh artichoke and feta ravioli with a leek-saffrom sauce that we picked up at the Granville Island Market on our trip to Vancouver. Also a wonderful salad I was thinking of making all day with fennel, arugula, blood oranges, toasted pecans and shaved parm--it made me really happy even in my BNH state of mind. I made a small appetizer of cherry heirloom tomatoes stuffed with St. Agur cheese and topped off with this wonderful new balsamic vinegar jelly we bought at our friends cheese shop in Bellingham. Then some roasted broccoli, perhaps my new favorite way of having it. It's good we had Kyleen around tonight since I tend to make too much food and need another mouth to feed, plus she offered to paint the inside of ANH for us. Between the three of us and some Guinness, it will be a quick and easy job--with red paint on more than just the walls I'm certain.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Our New Home

I've been wanting to do this for quite a while, this blogging thing, but it seems a little intimidating now that I sit down to write my first entry--I guess that's why it's taken me about 4 months to actually do it. This is the modern version of an ancient hobby I used to do daily--writing in my diary by hand with an actual pen, something people rarely do these days now that we've got all of these other ways to get the word out. I used to be terrified to let anyone read my diary, thinking that I was so different from others that if anyone read it, they would certainly banish me to an island all by myself since no one on this earth could possibly understand little old me. Since then, I've come to know many people that are just as nutty as I am and there are thousands of people that might even join me on my wacky island of nuttiness, plus growing up made me realize I'm not really as crazy as I think. So now I'm letting the whole world read my diary and I'm completely okay with that. Wow, full circle.

I had a nickname a few years ago that stuck with many of my friends and I still kind of like it-- Spice. And my new neighborhood that we will be moving into soon is Greenwood, hence the title of my blog, A Bit of Spice in Greenwood. I got the name Spice when I was a waitress at Madison's Cafe, a cool restaurant in West Seattle where they'd have local bands at night and awesome breakfasts in the morning. The chefs were all musicians and we would hang out after every shift and laugh and drink and sing. One day they just started calling me Spice and when I asked them why, they said it's because I tasted like cinnamon. Now, not only is this completely untrue, but I will be the first to tell you that none of them knew what I tasted like. Cinnamon isn't a bad choice though, it's a lot better than 'you taste like epoisses', so I went with it.

Most of my life I've based vacations, general thoughts and yearnings around the quest for amazingly good food. They now call people like me 'foodies'--which was great when I first heard of this since I now had a group of people just like me that thought of breakfast immediately after finishing dinner, but I'm starting to dislike the word altogether. It seems sort of weird, like 'furry' or something. If you don't know what a 'furry' is and you are a family member, please don't look it up and if you do, don't blame me for putting those images in your head. Any way, I digress.

I am deteremined to love this new neighborhood of mine named Greenwood and part of that falling in love with it will be discovering every restaurant and coffee shop and local haunt that calls my name. One thing I love about Capitol Hill is that you can walk to all these amazing restaurants and grocery stores and shops and there are so many cool artists and bohemians around you--I'm really hoping I can make this feeling of home and belonging true for me in my new hood. Most of my blog will be about this, you may even get some fancy pictures now that I'm all hi-tech and stuff. It's like I'm the new Greenwood food critic! Well, for my own little blog... that I can say for sure at least one person will read and that's Lee, because he *has* to read it since I'm his girlfriend and we are doing this moving into a new home thing together. He's the president of my fan club and at this point, the only member. Thanks Babe!

I think this is going to work out well--it's a fantastic creative outlet and it's cheap, a word I really like now that we've purchased our first home. And if I'm really lucky, maybe even someone else will get something out of it. Welcome to my world!