'Muff'in Dome

Victoria, BC ~ Great Eats!

Canadian flag flying

The second half of our trip to the Northeast found us in Victoria, British Columbia. Despite it being the middle of February, we had much sun and gorgeous weather for walking around town.

This post will cover our food stops {for there were many!} and in another post I’ll talk about other highlights of the trip.

Red Fish, Blue Fish menu

Friends of ours who had spent their honeymoon in town told us about this little hidden gem called Red Fish, Blue Fish…that was well enough hidden that we missed it our first time walking past! It is located on a dock below street level with a bank of seats that look out over the harbor. Maybe THE best fish and chips I’ve ever had — definitely top of the list!

fish and chips / Red Fish, Blue Fish

eating at Red Fish, Blue Fish

Victoria, BC harbor

Many little water taxis going to-and-fro!

water taxi, Victoria, BC

Murchie’s was another glorious find. We stopped by at least once a day for a sip of tea and treat. Evey and I also chose pretty cups in their gift shop to bring home as souvenirs.

eating at Murchie's

Breakfast was a hit with Stephen.

breakfast at Murchie's

And it’s never too early for tiramisu!

breakfast at Murchie's

Trying to take photos with her toy car…like mother, like daughter.

tea at Murchie's

Stephen saw an advertisement for this when we were waiting for the ferry in Seattle and insisted we search out Bartholomew’s where these bad boys are served.

drink at Bartholomew's

We were due for tea in the afternoon so we enjoyed the ploughman’s platter to stock up on extra protein before the carb overload.

ploughman's lunch at Bartholomew's

eating at Bartholomew's

Tea time at the Empress Hotel. It was such a delightful treat. Despite the hotel being under construction and the usual dining place unavailable, we enjoyed our time sitting in the rotunda sipping their legacy blend and savoring our tea time treats.

tea at the Empress

A refreshing start.

tea at the Empress

TEA rex joined us for the occasion.

tea at the Empress

The Princess Tea for the girls.

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

The full afternoon tea complete with a bit of bubbly.

tea at the Empress

And a special order of cheeses, bread, and honey from the chef’s garden.

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

Be sure to blow on your tea before you take a sip to cool it off!

tea at the Empress

The chocolate everything was her favorite. :)

tea at the Empress

Our final morning in the city found us at Jam Cafe. A local hotspot–not in the touristy part of town–this place was packed before it opened. {Notice the line around the block still there as we were leaving.}

Jam Cafe, Victoria, BC

It was worth the hour wait for these pulled pork pancakes.

pulled pork pancakes at Jam Cafe, Victoria, BC

Hoping to go back some day for a re-run of all these fantastic places, as well as stopping by some we had to pass up this trip!

Books to Read During The Year of Mercy

year-of-mercy-booklist

Divine Mercy in My Soul by Maria Faustina Kowalska — I suppose if you read nothing else, this would be the one to read through. This diary of St. Faustina in which she records her intimate conversation with Jesus is the jumping block for devotion to Divine Mercy. Admittedly, I’ve never made it from cover-to-cover, but have picked it up at various times in my life to find absolute jewels contained within. Her candor, her devotion to Our Lord, her simplicity, all will lead you to desire a deeper love for this devotion.

Divine Mercy for Moms by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet — Excellent for moms with little time on their hands, this easy-to-read work by two close, long-time friends relates a few anecdotes of how the devotion has played a lasting role in their lives, as well as concrete ways to live out mercy in our own lives. When the Year of Mercy commenced, I had thought of writing a few posts with ideas of how to live out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy at home–these ladies beat me to the punch. Such a great collection of ideas, in addition to prayers and devotions in the appendix. Visit their website for more!

You Did It to Me : A Practical Guide to Mercy in Action by Michael Gaitley — In a similar vein, Fr. Gaitley gives excellent, practical advice on living out the Works in Mercy in one’s home, parish, and community. Diving more deeply into these Works of Mercy is a fabulous way to enter more fully into the Year of Mercy.

33 Days of Merciful of Love : A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy by Michael Gaitley — A great act in this Year of Mercy is to make a consecration to Divine Mercy. Pulling from the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Faustina, Fr. Gaitley takes the reader of this book through a 33 day retreat, culminating in consecration to Divine Mercy.

The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis — Sermons taken from the first year of his pontificate, it is easy to see how from the very beginning, Pope Francis has been calling each one of us to cultivate a heart of mercy.  Broken into short chapters that can be read individually, we’ve read these out loud as a family, and really gleaned much from his heartfelt words.

Just Mercy : A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson — This and the one following are secular books, not ones you would likely expect on this list, but both have touched me deeply on the subject of mercy this year. {I know God leads us to certain reads at the time He most wants us to hear that particular story.} The author is an attorney who fights for those imprisoned, especially those unjustly so either due to innocence or to extreme duration of incarceration for the crime committed, and those on death row. In one of the final chapters of the book, he gives an excellent plea for us to consider what it means to be merciful, on a very natural level.

Just a few quotes that really struck me to entice you to read this incredible book:

“We have a choice. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken natures and the compassion that remains our best hope for healing. Or we can deny our brokenness, forswear compassion, and, as a result, deny our own humanity.”

“In fact, there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy.”

“Mercy is most empowering, liberating, and transformative when it is directed at the undeserving. The people who haven’t earned it, who haven’t even sought it, are the most meaningful recipients of our compassion.”

Rising Strong by Brené Brown — This book {which I wrote a bit more about here} has some excellent tools for finding a place in one’s heart for mercy and forgiveness. Bitterness that lodges in one’s heart caused by a hurt, inflicted by another, or even oneself, precludes mercy. Tools to work past, instead of holding onto, hurt help us to come to a place of mercy.

What others would you recommend reading during this Year of Mercy? 

 

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Bouquets to Art & Afternoon Tea

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

This past weekend I went with my mother and a friend to visit the annual Bouquets to Art exhibit held in April at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. {We’ve been trying to make it for quite a few years now and we were finally successful!}

The way the exhibit works is that floral designers in the area are each assigned a piece of art from the permanent collection to imitate/convey in their own way through a floral arrangement.

{We were there on the second to last day so many of the arrangements were looking a little less than perky.}

Some of the pieces were rather loose interpretations. Some classic. Some downright silly.

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

Bouquets to Art - De Young 2016

We finished off the day with an afternoon tea at the elegant Palace Hotel. Although meager, the treats were exquisite and perfectly presented. And you can’t beat the ambiance of this beautiful hotel.

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

tea at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

 

 

Linking up with my first {pretty, funny, happy, real} over at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Making Space for Grace

“Then for each day there is grace. Day by day, I have only to make space.”  ~Chiara Petrillo

Grace is always there. Always. It is always available.

Perhaps not in the way you want or the way you could imagine, but it is always there to carry you through.

God’s grace is always sufficient. And it provides for all our needs. But sometimes we get in the way of its reception. Sometimes we reach out for it when it is not yet available for that situation. Sometimes we try to pick and choose which means of grace we are willing to accept…or not accept.

We attempt to piece the puzzle together the wrong way. You shove this piece into that piece–a space not meant for you {perhaps just yet}–and it only ends up ‘bent’ and frustrated. It may be haphazardly shoved together, seemingly with the colors matching up, but there is not a true cohesion.

The edges of grace are meant for a certain space. Rather than demanding, rather than pushing our way in, we must open ourselves to that gratuitous gift of grace and allow it to guide us to the proper alignment. The grace must be allowed to flood in where it was meant to be.

Strength comes in making space, in trusting yourself, in truly believing that God is good and that He has only astonishing things in mind for you.

Chiara Corbella Petrillo book

This quote comes from a biography I read recently about a courageous and holy woman, named Chiara Corbella Petrillo. Her short life was an embodiment of this openness to grace. Many of the stories we hear of saintly women and men of God take place in a hidden monastery. It becomes difficult to really identify with their stories. But this one is different.

Chiara was a wife and a mother. She lived out her vocation in this world as a witness to the grace of God working in an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. Her spousal love, her parenthood, her friendships, her daily life–all were imbued by the grace of God in a deep, deep manner.

In her prayer, she sought His counsel. She listened for His promptings. And she responded to the grace He poured forth abundantly in her. Almost with an effortlessness that clearly comes from the openness of her heart in close relationship with God.

It is not easy to live a life like this. We often have strong desires, great wishes, grand dreams, but God truly knows what is best for our lives. Every aspect. Down to the tiniest second.

“We do not at all feel courageous because in reality the only thing that we have done is said yes, one step at a time.” ~ Chiara Petrillo

It is that heroic moment taken over and over again. For most of us, it isn’t a grand event that will seal our heavenly reward, but a ‘yes’ to the promptings of grace. Repeatedly. Daily.

It is easy to grumble at the inconveniences, the hardships, the downright hard disappointments of life. Or detach from the situation at hand in an attempt to ignore the suffering.

But if, instead, our hearts our open to His grace, those moments of suffering are transformed. They are transformed by the Cross of Christ into beautiful moments–moments of great grace, moments of great joy–that stand out as testimony of His Love in this world.

Whoever thinks from a distance about his situation lives it with suffering; whoever is close to it lives it with consolation, the fruit of a true wisdom. 

Let us choose then, as Chiara did, to open our hearts to the promptings of His grace. Let us believe in His Providence. Let us respond to grace with our whole hearts, embracing exactly what He gives to us in each moment.

 

{I cannot recommend Chiara’s story highly enough. If you read one book this year, let this one be it. Quotes are all from the book.}

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Wings of Their Own

We are huge fans of play silks. They fire the imagination better than most of the toys that reside in our play corner. Evey, especially, tries every configuration she can come up with to make a beautiful, flowing dress from the cloth. Princesses are certainly on her radar these days.

Lucie loves to see them fly. We play ‘pop the bubbles’ frequently or throw it high in air to watch it gently glide to the floor over her head. Giggles flying high too.

Evey butterfly wings

Evey butterfly wings

A little play silk search online the other day led me to this wonderful shop called Oakmoss and Ivy. They carry the typical play silks, but another item caught my eye: butterfly wings made from recycled Indian saris. With an emergent interest in butterflies blooming this Spring, I couldn’t think of a better surprise for the girls. And they are just SO beautiful!

Evey butterfly wings

Evey butterfly wings

The morning after it came, I couldn’t get them out of their pajamas before they were running around, floating with their new wings.

Evey butterfly wings

Lucie is a tad small for the wings and she doesn’t quite get the idea of holding your arms out while flying. She keeps tucking them into her chest. I think she’s afraid of letting them go.

Lucie butterfly wings

Lucie butterfly wings

She would love to soar but I think she needs a few more inches of height before it works well for her.

Lucie butterfly wings

Lucie butterfly wings

If you would like to get a pair of your own wings, Oakmoss and Ivy is offering a 10% discount to my readers with the code: MUFFIN10. They have some other great offerings too, including nursing covers, bow ties, and mini slings for baby dolls.

Butterflies and Flowers ~ {Yarn Along}

Monarch Baby Blanket

My stitching and reading seems to have a Spring theme this week. The blanket I’m still making my way across {about 3/4 done} is the Monarch Baby Blanket from One Skein Wonders for Babies. Still loving that turquoise.

The book I’m breezing through is The Language of Flowers. It was recommended by someone, somewhere along the way {I lose track of these things because I’m always in search of good book recommendations!}, and I’m absolutely loving it. Interwoven into the story is the main protagonist’s usage of the Victorian meaning of flowers in the bouquets she makes for clients and in gifts to others. She is an adult foster child, come-of-age, so the story is heavy but worthwhile. I don’t want to give away too much.

Monarch Baby Blanket

Stop by Ginny’s blog to find other great projects in the Yarn Along link-up! {Also, there’s a wonderful podcast at Fountain of Carrots this week featuring Ginny chatting about her conversion and a little glimpse at what life looks like in her household. Check it out!}

In Search of Mercy — The Best You Can

in search of mercyThoughts of mercy and forgiveness keep invading my headspace in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. I’m sure it could be attributed to the plentitude of graces being poured out in this Extraordinary Year, but I do often hear His message of Mercy resonating frequently throughout these days.

I recently finished Brené Brown’s latest book, Rising Strong, which I’ve been waiting for from the library for 6 months +. {It’s a hotcake right now!} She’s a researcher who speaks on the subject of shame and living wholeheartedly. Her thesis is roughly something like this: Although many consider shame a negative experience, it is, in fact, an avenue to growth, to living in a more wholehearted fashion.

When speaking of shame, I was always return to thoughts of John Paul II’s “naked without shame” that he speaks of in the Theology of the Body. He says that before the Fall, Adam and Eve were “naked without shame”, that they were able to see each other in the fullness of who each was without any desire to “use” the other for their own pleasure or gain. Shame came into the picture because, with the Fall, there was now a tendency to view the other person as a means to an end, a means of use, not as the gift that they are.

Shame serves the purpose of guarding the gift, of guarding the goodness in each of us that is now capable of being misappropriated. We feel a sense of shame when either we sense another might be reacting wrongly to what we share, or even when we ourselves might be not loving/appreciating the goodness within us the right way.

Shame also appears when we see one who does not regard the gift of themselves or another in the right fashion, behaving in a manner that does not reflect goodness. It raises our hackles to see someone behave in such an abominable manner.

As Brené points out, our reaction to another is often an awareness of this related fault in ourselves. We feel shame at their behavior because we recognize the tendency in ourselves, which, in turn, can make us act out in our own shameful manner. But, she suggests, a better reaction to the shame we feel should be to take this opportunity to recognize the shame for what it is and grow into a better person because of it.

The opportunity for forgiveness often comes from a place of shame. Hurt caused by another certainly causes us shame. Being used instead of being viewed or treated as the gift that we are, as the goodness we possess, brings up that place of shame. That “nakedness” has been rejected and misused in one way or another. One response is to wallow in that shame and hurt. Another, and better, response, is to seek forgiveness and growth from the bad encounter.

***

One of the things that struck me while reading her book, was an anecdote she related regarding an encounter she had with a roommate at a conference she was attending. This roommate was chosen for her; she didn’t know what to expect. Upon entering the room for the first time, she encountered her roommate engaging in some quite unsavory behavior.

Her reaction was shame. Her reaction was disgust. Her reaction was anger. She began lashing out at others because of her feelings of shame.

She recognized this feeling and sought to slow it down and heal from it. In speaking to her therapist, the therapist suggested this to her: Perhaps the roommate was doing the best she could at that moment in time.

My initial reaction to this suggestion was just like Brené’s — yeah, right! But think: what if in her current state that was all she could muster? That she really wasn’t capable of any better behavior.

This is not to let people off the hook, including oneself, when falling into sinful or disgraceful behavior. We must hold people accountable.

But thinking of this notion that one is doing the best they can at that moment–if I was doing the best I could at that moment–doesn’t that make forgiveness and mercy just a little more accessible? 

When I’m working through the process of forgiving another, one large obstacle is the thought that they didn’t live up to my standards. And maybe they didn’t. Maybe they didn’t live up to their own.

But if I was to give that person grace and consider that what they did was possibly the best they were capable of that moment? Doesn’t that act of generosity make the process of forgiveness just a little bit easier? Doesn’t it make it just a little more accessible when I have that block in my heart that doesn’t want to let go of the hurt they caused me?

As I said before, I’m not suggesting that we not hold another accountable, or that we shouldn’t establish better boundaries {if that needs to happen}, but rather that we give a little grace, a little compassion. I think it would make our hearts a tad lighter and more inclined to complete that process of forgiving another.

And perhaps, even more so, we need to apply this to ourselves when we don’t live up to our own expectations or standards.

I like to think God’s mercy and forgiveness perhaps looks a little like this. He looks past the shame, the hurt, the bad intentions, the pride, etc. and chooses to focus on the good that is always there, the good that He placed in us at creation.

***

DSC00400

As the title suggests, Brené’s book is about rising strong when we feel kicked down on our face either by another or by own selves. It is about finding a space to rise from the shame, the hurt, and return to a place of wholeheartedness instead of wallowing in our fragmented state.

“Integration is the soul of rising strong. We have to be whole to be wholehearted.”

God wants this for us. He wants us to be whole, not broken and fragmented. He wants us to be able to rise from whatever has kicked us down — be it the hurt of another or the hurt of own selves.

This Year of Mercy is about rising strong. It is about healing ourselves, healing our relationships, making ourselves whole again, rising from our brokenness. Seeking forgiveness from a place of generosity–considering the actions of another, the actions of own self as the best one is capable of at that moment–will help us on this path of mercy.

What I Learned in March

Linking up with Emily for this fun exercise of sharing what I’ve learned this past month.
Also, with Kelly because when you have 7 and it’s Friday–well, 7QT

brunelleschi's dome florence

Source

One) The Secret of Brunelleschi’s Dome — For those who are unaware, I have a strong fascination with church architecture. This was awakened in me strongly when I studied abroad in Europe. When I was in Italy during my Junior year of college, we visited the town of Florence for a few days. Rightly so, one of our objects of study during our time there was the dome of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. At the time, the mystery of how the dome was standing was still unsolved {this was in 2005}. Although I am no architect and, admittedly, not even great at mathematics, especially geometry, I was intrigued with how even modern man couldn’t solve this puzzle.

Recently, I was browsing the DVD tittles at our local library and I ran across one called Great Cathedral Mystery. I picked it up, not knowing of what cathedral it spoke of initially because I love to learn about any and all, but when I noticed it was Florence’s, I was even more excited to view it. It didn’t reveal on the cover if the problem was actually solved or not, so I was very anxious to watch.

It turns out they have! Besides the herringbone structure of the interior brickwork, which they’ve known about for some time now, they used a specific pattern to build up the rounded walls as they worked. Interestingly, it is the shape of a flower. {If you did not catch the translation from the Italian, the cathedral is name St. Mary of the Flowers.} As they built up the rounding walls of the dome, they used a flower pattern to measure where each brick would go so that it would be secure and hold up the others that were built up around it.

I highly recommend watching the show. Absolutely fascinating. And what a monumental task in having discovered the secret!

Blessed is She Retreat - Ike N'dolo music

Two) The Power of a Retreat — When I was younger, starting about early high school, I used to regularly attend retreats. Some silent, some with discussion, but always very fruitful and inspiring. Since marriage and children, I haven’t been able to attend one, until just a few weeks ago. Blessed is She hosted one in Phoenix, Arizona, which I almost miraculously found funding for, tickets, and a place to stay, making it possible.

Not only was the fellowship wonderful in every way, but the time spent heart-to-heart with Our Lord was so sorely needed, in a way I couldn’t even imagine. I try to maintain that relationship with Him on a regular basis, but a retreat is like a weekend getaway with your Lover–so good for rejuvenating and reconnecting.

garden beginnings

Three) Pulling Weeds Actually Helps My Shoulder Heal — One of my shoulders has been strained for some time now. I was seeing a physical therapist in January and February to help alleviate some of the pain. It is an overuse injury so I’m stuck in a Catch-22: it needs strengthening to prevent further injury, but using it too much makes it worse. I’ve been attempting to strike a good balance, but having a hard time doing so.

With the arrival of Spring, we’ve begun working in the garden in the hopes of a lovely space this year. I started pulling the weeds after the last rainfall {which makes it SO much easier} daily, working an hour or two at a time. The first couple days, my neck and shoulders were literally screaming at me. I would put heat on them a couple of times a day, stretch, etc. I decided to push through a little bit, and by the end of the week, the soreness began to subside.

The movement required for pulling and digging was a great combination for stretching and strengthening my shoulders and neck muscles. I’m getting towards the end of the heavy labor with the weeds, so next up is my birthday gift: the rowing machine.

playing Candy Land

Four) To Say ‘Yes’ More Often to My Children — Too often I’ve made myself too busy to just drop everything and follow the request of one of my girls. Or I’m being too rational or stingy about a request they’ve made. But I’m trying to change that.

Evey has recently taken to playing Candy Land with me on the board I had as a child. {SO much better than the modern one!} She asks daily to play. Sometimes I do need to say no. But the other day she came up to me and asked “Can we play Candy Land tomorrow?” I suggested, “Why not right now?” Her eyes brightened so big and we played a few rounds. I want to incite that joy more.

Another day, I gave the girls an afternoon bath. Immediately after jumping out, Evey asked to wear her Easter dress and all the finery that accompanies it. My initial reaction was “No way!” because, although we were going out for a bit, it was simply to a little cafe for a treat. But I said “yes”. Why can’t she wear what makes her feel lovely for a short time, even if it is just to the store? She had many compliments while we were out…and was proud that she picked it out all on her own. {And she really was just so beautiful!}

every day mess

Five) Blog About the Mundane — I’ve had a serious block recently about writing on the blog because I feel as if no one really cares about the day-to-day here and I’ve nothing super significant to share. But then I realized that that is what others tend to comment on–and what I love to read at others blogs–the every day, nitty gritty. So I’m trying. I’m trying to better about sharing a bit of what we have going on here. Well, that’s what I started this for anyway!

dishcloth and Rising Strong

Six) How to Make a Knit Dishcloth — Kind of ridiculous, isn’t it? I’ve knit probably several dozen things at this point but had never done a dishcloth. They’re really quite simple and a great place to start if you want to learn. They are also wonderful for practicing a stitch you find somewhat vexing. It’ll probably be my go-to during the summer for knit projects as I can’t stand a knit warm blanket in my lap when it is a hundred plus outside.

writer

Source

Seven) I am a Writer — I feel ridiculous even writing this out, but it needs to be said. Although, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic wasn’t a favorite read of mine, there was something that struck me hard. It was this: you have to believe you are, if you want to be a _____ {fill in the blank}. So often I tell others, “Well, I’m trying to write. I’m attempting to make a thing of this.” But, by golly, I am! Not only have I been doing this blogging thing for almost ten years now, but I’ve had articles published in journals, magazines, etc. since I was in high school. I’ve been a copy editor for a publication. {You can’t–certainly shouldn’t!–be doing that job unless you can write!} I’m a regular contributor with Blessed is She. I have experience. I practice my craft {albeit, irregularly, these days}. And I love to share my thoughts and stories through words. What more do I need to proclaim it?? Nada.

There you have it. I said it. I am a writer.

Next up: I am a photographer. Because I am, and I want to be that too.

 

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Seattle : Delancey

We are closing in on 10 years since my blogging days began. When I first began writing, it was about food. I love to share recipes I developed in my kitchen, but more importantly to share my thoughts on gathering around the table and the influence of food in our every day lives.

Before I began putting words on a screen, there were a handful of others who lit the fire in me to share. Their own words crafted with the greatest care, their images taking me back to good times spent with my loved ones at meals, their recipes inspiring me to drop whatever I was doing the time and get myself to the kitchen. One such writer is Molly Wizenberg. She writes {still, although infrequently} at Orangette. {Lo and behold, I just discovered that she has finally upgraded to a .net address on her website. You know you’ve encountered a good writer when she can hold out with a .blogspot for so long.}

pizza at Delancey

Molly is also the author of two books — A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table and Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage. The first regales with many stories of her childhood, some of the best related to her father whom she adored. It has a lovely collection of recipes to boot. The second tells the story of her and her husband’s first restaurant, Delancey, and how they navigated it’s birth through the first years of their marriage together.

I mentioned this book in an earlier post I wrote back in October. At the time, we were already preparing for our trip to Seattle in early Spring. I had read of Delancey at Molly’s blog, but hadn’t yet gone through the full story of how it came to be. It was great preparation for a visit to the restaurant, which we made a few days into our trip.

Delancey, Seattle

In a quiet corner of Ballard, tucked in a mostly residential area, it gave off the vibe of your local, neighborhood pizzeria at the start. This is not a place you come unless you know about it. We arrived within a half hour of opening, but all the tables had already been claimed. Immediately adjacent is a little bar the couple also started called Essex. We headed there to wait it out.

Seattle is pretty strict about keeping your babies out of bars, so, since the littles were with us, we sat in a small, cordoned off area in order to abide by the letter of the law.

at the kids' bar, Essex

baby in a bar, Essex

Steve and I enjoyed a couple of handcrafted cocktails from their seasonal, rotating menu. We hungrily munched on a bowl of green olives, which even the girls adored {although Lucie lost it all munching too fast down the back of Steve’s sweater}.

handcrafted cocktail Essex

Essex bar

Essex, Seattle

The host from next-door came to retrieve us when a table was ready about an hour later. We savored a well-composed seasonal and locally-sourced salad to quell our rumbling tummies while our pizza was tossed and cooked in the adjacent room.

Delancey menu

my little photographer at Delancey

I took Evey over to watch as the pizza man deftly maneuvered pizzas in and out through a small slit in the wall that housed the wood-fired pizza oven. She was mesmerized.

pizza bar, Delancey

pizza oven, Delancey

We took note of our nearby table mates: a dad, a mom and their preadolescent son that had come by scooter to dinner and were chatting about a variety of things, sharing their interests with one another; a couple, in their twenties, sat opposite talking philosophy and literature.  It was notable to us the intellectual, stimulating conversation we were hearing, rather than the usual banter of the latest celebrity gossip or crude jokes.

I dare to say the atmosphere played a role in the clientele it attracted. Everything about the place was simple, yet sophisticated. Molly and her husband do a superb job of striking the best balance of indulging in the best one could offer while not going overboard with the accoutrements. To us, they exemplified the Seattle vibe and food scene we’ve heard so often about.

I hope we have another chance to return to these two gems, and maybe even their newest creation–Dino’s Tomato Pie–which opened in the Capitol Hill area a few weeks after we left. These two have got a good thing going. Don’t miss them if you ever find yourself in Seattle.

Seattle : Part Two

I had a bit of a deja vu experience. As we wandered through the Dale Chihuly Museum, I could have predicted what would be in the following room. This was not the cause of some strange dream–I HAD actually seen the exhibit before, although I had never been to Seattle.

It made an appearance in San Francisco at the De Young in 2008. I’m guessing they were renovating {or maybe preparing?} for the exhibit in Seattle…because it was exactly as I remembered it.
blue chihuly

Chihuly sea turtles

Our little photographer was mucho impressed too. Snapping shots from her stroller.

my young photographer chihuly

Chihuly boat, Seattle

Chihuly boat, Seattle

Chihuly chandelier, Seattle

family under Chihuly chandelier, Seattle

The open hallway was a big hit with the girls as it gave them an opportunity to roam and ramble without knocking into anything that was fragile. The entire exhibit was suspended from the ceiling. Good call, Chihuly.

photographing from the stroller

children and Chihuly

toddler Chihuly appreciation

Chihuly and Space Needle

Then, on to the Space Needle next door.

Space Needle exploration

Space Needle exploration

Space Needle exploration

Not….quite….tall….enough.

DSC00611

flying skirts at the Space Needle

Windy skirts for a flying high good time.

top of the Space Needle

This was Lucie saying “Mom, stop taking pictures and hold me. NOW!”

Seattle skyline

Seattle skyline

Seattle skyline

It was a glorious, beautiful day to be up there, albeit, windy. Although, I have a feeling that is a perpetual problem.

Oddfellows treats

tea time at Oddfellows

I won’t tell you how many book shops we visited while traveling because it might be a bit embarrassing, but the Elliott Bay Book Company was a definite hit. In addition to their great selection of books and a fantastic kids’ section that included a playhouse, this little cafe nestled next door called Oddfellows couldn’t have enchanted us more. Stephen and I both sipped on our own pot of tea and ordered a lemon pound cake loaf drenched in grapefruit glaze that disappeared before I sat down to have a bite. I don’t think Stephen got a bite of it either, so we ordered a second and put up a force field around it to keep it from the girls’ grasps.

DSC00629

The next day we found ourselves at the brick-and-mortar Amazon bookstore near University of Washington’s campus while aimlessly driving through the streets in the northern part of Seattle.

brick-and-mortar Amazon store, Seattle

Their display was really pleasing to a bookworm. I know they say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but there sure is something to being able to see the cover, full title, and author that draws you to pick it up and glance inside more readily. The entire store was set up in this manner. I left with a large stack, as did Stephen in his own meanderings.

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

I went in search of a park to take the girls to one morning, and discovered one with a playground immediately adjacent to the water. It could’t have been more perfect–an amazing view and a playground that entertained for hours.

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

We wandered down to the dock for a bit to take a peek at the water. Cerulean.

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue

Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue, WA

Another morning, a quick jaunt to the Tacoma Art Museum. I was a tad unimpressed by the large fee for a such a small museum, but they had a few pieces which made it worth while.

Tacoma Art Museum

She insisted on having her picture taken by this map. Unsure why….

Tacoma Art Museum

A few of my favorites.

Tacoma Art Museum

Tacoma Art Museum

Up next: a Ballard restaurant, long time coming….and Victoria!

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