Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What to Do with a Whole Salmon for Two

I recently came upon an incredible sale - whole wild sockeye salmon for $3.99/lb! I just had to jump on this deal! It's impossible to get salmon at this price in Texas and Wisconsin! The piece I got was about 2.1 lbs.

Mike and I recently watched an episode of Cook's Country where they recommended brining salmon fillets in salt water to retain moisture and flavor in the fish. I figured that it may also work with a whole fish.

Brining the Salmon in Salt Water

 After an hour of brining, I patted the fish dry, cut slits on each side of the salmon and inserted sliced lemons. I smeared a thin layer of sour cream on the insides of the fish and stuffed the cavity with parsley, dill, and more lemon slices.

Dill, Parsley, and Lemon Stuffed Salmon

I popped the salmon in a 350F oven for 45 minutes. I think in a normal oven, it may take 1 hour, but the oven at our apartment tends to overheat, so I always have to cut down on the time.

Oven-Roasted Salmon

Since I was already using the oven for salmon, I figured I would use the same heat source for the veggies. I seasoned some broccolini with salt, pepper, and olive oil and set them on the lowest rack in the oven right after I finished cooking the salmon and turned off the heat.

This turned out to be a simple and delicious meal, but we still had a lot of leftover salmon.

Oven-Roasted Salmon and Broccolini with
Pike's Place Alder-Smoked Walla Walla Onion Tartar Sauce

I deboned the remainder of the fish and made panko-crusted fish cake sandwiches for another meal!
I mixed the leftover salmon with one raw egg, capers, mustard, sriracha, dill, and garlic powder, shaped the mixture into patties, and dipped them in egg then panko crumbs.

After I pan-fried the salmon cakes, I still had some egg mixture left in the bowl that had accumulated some loose flakes of salmon and capers. I didn't want to waste these delicious ingredients so I made one tiny egg crepe to put on our sandwiches!

I placed the salmon cake on a Blazing Bagel jalapeno cheese bagel with lettuce, Tillamook smoked black pepper cheese and topped it off with the Pike's Place tartar sauce, egg crepe, and sliced tomatoes.

The remainder of the salmon cakes went on top of cobb salads for another meal!

Salmon Cake Sandwich

Salmon Cake Cobb Salad

Monday, December 14, 2015

Having Un-industrial Fun in the Industrial District

I was in a hurry to schedule a scenic plane ride because our Groupon was going to expire in January and the weather will continue to be gray and rainy through the winter so there's no point in waiting for a sunny weekend. I normally wouldn't purchase a scenic plane ride since Mike already knows how to fly, but I figured this would be a good way to introduce Mike to the flying conditions in Seattle and to orient us to the area.

We took off from one of Boeing Field's fixed based operators south of the Industrial District. Because of the weather, we did not have visibility of Mount Rainer or the beautiful blue, green, and white colors of the natural surroundings that you can otherwise see on a sunny day. Instead, we saw an industry-focused side of the city, which actually gave us a better understanding of the city. We learned that Harbor Island just west of downtown Seattle is a man-made island used for commercial and industrial activities.

Harbor Island

It was fun seeing the different well-known buildings and picking out Mike's office. Beyond downtown, we flew by Bill Gate's house on Mercer Island and flew over downtown Bellevue.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Mike's Office (Red Brick Buildings)

Hopefully we'll save up enough in the near future for Mike to fly again. It would be great to catch a sunnier view!

After our morning flight, we met up with my friend, Paul, and had lunch at Blazing Bagels before heading to a lesser known point of interest - Living Computer Museum. Lunch was extremely satisfying! The large selection of deli ingredients and bagel flavors mean that I have to come back multiple times to try various combinations! Mike always has to get a Reuben at a sandwich shop and Blazing Bagels met his standards - no frills and plenty of meat. I made my own bagel sandwich and loved the combination - Turkey and Salami with Jalapeno Cream Cheese on a Bacon, Cheddar, and Chive Bagel!

Blazing Bagels Create-Your-Own Sandwich Menu or Order from the Blue Menu

Reuben and Potato Salad

Create-Your-Own: Turkey and Salami with Jalapeno Cream Cheese on a
Bacon, Cheddar, and Chive Bagel

Although the Industrial District is relatively far from our neighborhood up north, Blazing Bagels' proximity to the Living Computer Museum is another great excuse to come back! The Living Computer Museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to tell the history of information technology through computers from different times that the public can actually tinker with! How fun is that? After all, he and Bill ended up doing great things from tinkering with old technology.

I admit, I was initially attracted to the museum because of the promise that I can play Oregon Trail on the Apple IIe. However, there's so much more to the museum than the nostalgia it brings. Many of the technologies that Mike and I grew up with are foreign to kids today. To them, the Apple IIe is almost as obscure as the DEC PDP-7 from the 1960s is to us! It's fascinating to see how computers got smaller, lighter, faster, and more integrated into our everyday lives.


I tried my hand at a completely text-based Oregon Trail and died of pneumonia. You hunt by typing words that the computer prompts, like "Wham". I had a good chuckle when the prompt came up!

An Older Generation of Oregon Trail - Completely Text-Based

Vintage Computers and Games at Your Disposal!

Oregon Trail on the Apple IIe

Paul and Mike Playing Checkers on the Microsoft Pixelsense

The museum tickets are a great deal because general admission is only $6.00, and the ticket also gets you into the Flying Heritage Collection Museum for free within 7 days of your visit and $5.00 off the EMP Museum. The Living Computer Museum also hosts free movie nights with purchase of museum admission on the day of the showing. Mike and I plan to be regular visitors, so we went ahead and got memberships to the EMP Museum, which gets you into the Living Computer Museum, Flying Heritage Collection Museum, and EMP Museum free year-round! It's definitely worth supporting the Living Computer Museum, and I hope it continues to get steady traffic!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Singin' in the Rain in Downtown Seattle

Yesterday was one of those days when nothing could get me down, not even the never-ending rain. It was a day when I realized how fortunate I am to be surrounded by supportive, nice, and fascinating people. In between being in the company of these awesome folks, I had fun poking around some sites in downtown Seattle.

My sweet mother-in-law arranged me to meet with a CEO to chat about my job hunt in the city. This brought me downtown to meet him for coffee. Because I arrived a bit too early, I stopped in Belle Epicurean for a leisurely breakfast. The bakery specializes in French pastries, and the adorably furnished shop proudly displays Chef Carolyn Ferguson's Le Grand Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris on the wall facing the display case of glorious viennoiseries.

Belle Epicurean

From all the pastries ranging from fruit-filled or -topped brioches to quiches and various breakfast sandwiches, I picked a simple-looking apricot croissant because I've never seen a croissant with this particular filling.

Apricot Croissant and Coffee

The apricot jam baked into the croissant had cooled and taken on a gel-like texture rather than remaining spreadable. It coated the inner wall of the croissant leaving a large hole in the center. I had hoped that the jam would seep into the tiny pastry air pockets and provide a bright burst of flavor with every bite. Nonetheless, the pastry is buttery and flakey just the way a proper croissant should be. Overall, the croissant is by-the-book delicious but didn't knock my socks off. Next time, I'll have to try the chocolate hazelnut croissant! I think there's a reason why croissants aux chocolats are so popular. Once chocolate melts and cools in baked goods, they tend to retain an appealing melted texture rather than harden back to a chip.

After a filled tummy and some mental pep talk, I headed off to meet the CEO. He turned out to be a really humble, genuine, and generous man! The meeting was not what I had expected it to be, and I think I ended up making a new friend with great knowledge of the area!

Afterwards, I took a self-guided tour of the Seattle Central Library. There's much to read about in regards to the cool though controversial architecture and the awesome library system. But I prefer to let my lens express my experience:
Seattle Central Library Tour

World Language Section in the Children's Area!

Fun Escalators

Angles, Angles, Angles!

Birdseye View of the 3rd Floor "Living Room" from the 10th Floor

A Quick Alternative to Escalators

Red 4th Floor - Meeting Room

Red 4th Floor - Meeting Room

I had a blast here and even sat down to do some reading. I definitely look forward to spending some quiet time at this library when I'm downtown.

For lunch, I met up with a former colleague whom I haven't seen in 2 years! I can't wait to spend more time as friends rather than as coworkers on a stressful project!

As we parted ways, I came upon a gingerbread village sign outside of the Sheraton. It turned out to be Star Wars themed and for a good cause - donations help support Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation! The Gingerbread Village will be on display through January 3, 2016.

Sheraton's "May the Holidays Be With You" Gingerbread Village
(Yup, I rolled my eyes typing that)
Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Episode IV: A New Hope

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Empire VI: The Return of the Jedi

Hilarious Jabba the Hutt and Princess Leia

Realizing that it may take me a while to walk north towards South Lake Union to meet Mike for dinner, I strolled along Westlake Ave N in search of a café to read and wait. While at Wheelhouse Coffee, I got an update from our agent saying that the buyers for our house had signed all the paperwork and closed. This finally made things official for us. There's no turning back to Madison if things don't work out in Seattle!

We ended the day with a quiet dinner at Duke's Chowder House across from Mike's office, and I chatted away about an amazing day over a bowl of Pacific NW cioppino.

Wild Alaskan Salmon, Halibut, Cod, and Penn Cove Mussels

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Exploring Ballard

We picked Ballard as our first place to explore because I had purchased a Groupon for halibut fish and chips for two at Ballard Brothers Seafood and Burgers while still in Madison. We've eaten plenty of fried fish on Fridays in Wisconsin, but we've never had fried halibut! The menu at Ballard Brothers seems to be elevated fast food. This is no Long John Silver! The seafood is wild caught and the burger patties are 1/3 lb!

Ballard Brothers Seafood and Burgers

Fried cod is lighter and more buttery. Fried halibut is meatier and more filling! I liked it a lot but could only finish two pieces of the 6 oz. serving. The tartar sauce was especially tasty. In the end, I prefer fried cod because it's lighter, but I think the fried halibut would go better in a sandwich than cod because you would be able to taste it more and it wouldn't fall apart as easily.

Halibut Fish and Chips and Local Sodas

Light Breading = Yummier!

While finishing up our lunch, we browsed around on Google Maps to see what points of interests were around. Mike was immediately drawn to a place called Card Kingdom as we both really enjoy board games, and I was drawn to the Fishermen's Terminal.

Card Kingdom turned out to be so awesome that we almost want to come here every weekend and abandon our goal of exploring other places! The store has a comprehensive collection of board games and they have many available that you can play for free in the store or at the adjoining Café Mox. The staff and servers are super friendly and helpful.

Card Kingdom

Café Mox

We tested out Pandemic over coffee and a hummus plate and had a blast! We can't wait to play the game with more players. The couple next to us played a card game of Kittens in a Blender. I must try that next time!

Playing Pandemic in Café Mox

Delicious Hummus Platter

Cute Elephant Nose Drain on the Side of Café Mox

After vowing to become regulars at Card Kingdom/Café Mox, we headed to Fishermen's Terminal despite the rain. The area was empty but it seems like a potentially fun place to boat watch. It doesn't seem very touristy and there were plenty of free parking so it may be a good place to walk around and pick up some seafood in the future.

Fishermen's Memorial

Fishermen's Terminal

Wild Salmon Seafood Market

On the way back to Lynnwood, we stopped by the Scandinavian Specialties store. We knew this place was the real deal when we parked next to an honorary consul general. We were still too full from lunch and our afternoon snack so we only took note of their menu and various Scandinavian candies and frozen foods for future reference. The imported goods are pricey, but the menu prices are very reasonable.

Nordic Café

We had a really fun time exploring Ballard and are excited that our first venture outside of Lynnwood is so positive!