Week 25 – Astoria

#171 The Mileage Club

19 June 2016 // San Francisco, California

Thanks to a couple of guest passes from Deanna’s dad, I got to enjoy a taste of life inside a airline mileage club lounge. In San Francisco the day of Game 7 of the NBA Finals no less.

We arrived early but got to grab coffee, bagels, and then a mimosa while people watching and working in some fancy recliners. It’s fun in here. I’ll have to pay better attention to all those travel-hacking blogs I follow to get back in here the next time I take a trip.

This summer, my focus will be on preparing myself for the end of grad school. Professionally, spiritually, personally. I’ll hope to do more copywriting, bulking up my portfolio before my job hunt goes full swing. (Seriously, if you need some writing done, send me a message!) I’m aiming to think and pray through what I’d want out of life after grad school and what my top priorities are. And of course, taking things a bit slower and enjoying the sun.

I won’t be doing a whole lot of travel this summer, which feels odd. Instead, I’ll be doing more short-term getaways around the Northwest since we may or may not get another summer here. We’ll also be hosting a lot of visitors which I always enjoy.

#172 Kare Kari

20 June 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

One of my cooking goals within my overall cooking project has been to learn some Filipino dishes. Sometime in the future, maybe I’ll set up a whole year-long project to actually get proficient at Filipino cuisine. In the meantime, figuring out a few go-to dishes sounds like a good idea.

Kare Kari is one dish I definitely wanted to be able to master. First off, oxtail is a real pleasure and it was fun to get to learn how to work with it. Tripe isn’t everyone’s favorite, but I like it and it allows me to live out my “use-as-much-of-the-animal-as-you-can” philosophy. Most of all, the peanut butter stew it’s cooked in is one of the most unique tastes across the spectrum of Filipino cuisine.

My first attempt wasn’t so bad! And for a cheaper option in the future, it can always be made with pork hock in lieu of the oxtail, and I do hope to make this again soon.

#173 Kare Kari Tacos

21 June 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

I usually always pull for Argentina’s National Team whenever they play. Spending a semester in college made them my surrogate soccer country. There’s one massive exception to that, though, and it’s whenever they play my actual country. Tonight, I’m all for the underdog.

To throw in some more cultural mishmashing into this post, I whipped up some kari kare tacos, taking on a Filipino favorite, Mexican style.

And to tie it all together, the world of sports and the world of tacos, here’s a courtesy reminder to grab your free Taco Bell taco courtesy of the Warriors and the Calves.

#174 The Year of Living Danishly

22 June 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

“I am not important. If I take a break, no one dies. And this is A Good Thing.”

–Helen Russell

I wanted a light and fun, but deeply interesting read to bring on a summer trip, and this book turned out to be the perfect choice. It offered a pretty entertaining look at Danish culture and society, all through the lens of why they continually rank among the highest countries in terms of happiness.

I’m not too hard to please with a good book that takes on the premise of “I’ll try this out for a year and then write about it,” and this book fits that description to a tee. The writing is light and engaging enough to make it easy to fly right through its pages, yet contains enough statistics and odd facts to keep you intrigued. Did you know that Danish women can get an ovulation discount for booking their travel around a ripe time for them to procreate? I do now.

After a while you get the formula of each chapter: an anecdote, a few statistics, an interview with a randomly found “expert,” and the constant questioning of various Danes about how happy they are on a scale of 1 to 10. That said, the book manages to be pretty interesting in spite of its persistence upon this formula, so I suppose that’s a big win.

As far as Denmark goes? I could probably do without the tax rate (although, that comes with some major benefits), cultural homogeny, and the never-ending darkness come November, but there’s a lot about the Danish Way that I do appreciate. The lack of self-importance reflected in that earlier quote… I think that’s refreshing. And I love the way they’re able to enjoy their work. Not to mention the practice of hygge and getting all cozy as a sport.

#175 Fish Fillet

23 June 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Fish Friday struck a day early this week.

Seasonal cooking gets especially fun in the summer, when I move away from thicker, richer foods and have to think through how to use cooking to actually make something more refreshing. The zesty flavors that can go into a lot of fish items through herbs or citrus end up being one of my favorite summer tactics to rely on.

I’m so thankful our northwestern summer has finally come. Here’s to a weekend of the coast life.

#176 Astoria

24 June 2016 // Astoria, Oregon

I fell in love with the City of Astoria last weekend.

Peaceful is the perfect word for this city. It’s the ideal spot to walk around, get cozy in coffee shops, stare off into the ocean, and admire the views.

It’s got a history, a long and rich one, but it’s still fully alive in its gorgeous surroundings.

Small, but not too small, surprisingly good food all over the place, and it’s hard to argue with some of the stellar views this place has of both the ocean and the woods.

#177 Beignet Love

25 June 2016 // Seaside, Oregon

This dog was such a nutcase when we first adopted her. All puppy energy, no idea what to do with it.

Over the weekend, we took her with us to the Oregon Coast, which was the most dog-friendly trip I’ve ever taken. And the whole time, Beignet’s behavior was actually pretty exceptional. We haven’t even had her for four months and that’s made such a huge difference.

As a treat to our puppy for making good life choices, I tested out my long held hypothesis that her mind would be blown going into the ocean. My results at Seaside confirm my hypothesis.