Often times a deadline puts everything into laser-like focus.
David’s surgery this upcoming Tuesday is like that.
This is the calm before the storm, and we’ve been eager to cram as much delicious and delightful into our days as we can.
We were so disappointed that we weren’t able to take our big European adventure (David’s cancer knocked out our 18 day trip to London and Paris), but that’s life.
We were, however, able to go to Seattle this past week, the last time before Oliver leaves for college. We made a point to hit some old favorites plus make a few new memories along the way.
So we sent Porter off to his foster family so they could watch him (thanks Jeff and Christina!)
and we took the three hour trip north to one of our favorite edible playgrounds.
We stayed at an Airbnb in the Queen Anne neighborhood, a central spot with one of our favorite bakeries, Macrina, just a few minute drive away.
Every day we started with some of their luscious breakfast offerings, like Chocolate Cornets
and Morning Rolls (like a croissant with caramelized sugar inside)
and my favorite, the Orange Hazelnut Roll.
One night we went out for dim sum and beef chow fun in Chinatown (pics were too dark to share) and another day we headed out to University Village to Din Tai Fung.
This Taiwanese dumpling house is famous for so many things, but their XLB (soup dumplings) are legendary. DTF has opened up a branch about 30 minutes from us in Portland but it’s still so crazy popular (and we’ve been so busy) that we haven’t made it to that outpost yet.
Look how busy this Seattle branch (near University of Washington) is for lunch– and it’s like this from the time they open until the moment they close.
So we indulged in dumplings and more at our favorite spot.
And now for some new things.
We’d never taken a ferry from Seattle, so we took one out one morning to Bainbridge Island.
Ferries are commodious, comfortable vessels that take off about every hour for the 35 minute trip out there.
I loved the sight of the skyscrapers in that silvery light on that gray morning.
We played cards on the boat, ate some snacks and then headed into the quaint town of Winslow, stopping for a coffee at darling Coquette.
Another experience we’ve never had in Seattle in fifteen years of visits was going up the Space Needle.
I know it’s surprising considering we’ve been to Seattle probably twenty five times but David and I are both afraid of heights and it’s pretty spendy (about $40 per ticket) for something that makes you sweat just thinking about it.
Oliver really wanted to go there so we swallowed our fears and headed over there.
We bought timed tickets and then waited in the line
to take one of several elevators that make the 40-second ride up to the top two floors of the newly-renovated building.
It really is spectacular up there, and Oliver and Charlotte were both so sweet reassuring as we tried to walk to the edge to see the views
and before you know it, we were all comfortable walking the perimeter to check out the outstanding 360 degree views.
The kids even got me to sit on a glass-walled bench that stuck out over the edge.
The trippiest part of the Space Needle is the second highest floor.
Most of the floor is glass so you feel unmoored somehow.
I can’t tell you how terrifying it was for David and I to look down, but we forced ourselves.
I nearly passed out watching Oliver seemingly floating–or falling–in space.
We all stood over that floor and celebrated this milestone with a fistbump.
(Later I thought about how this was the perfect experience for us before this upcoming, life-changing surgery — it was practice mastering fear as we faced unchartered waters. Together.)
On another day, Charlotte and I were able to carve out time to hit most of our Pike Place favorites as well.
I always have to go to DeLaurenti’s, a world-class Italian and European market filled with a stunning deli, market hall, and wine room.
Their walk-away paper cones are a current favorite, filled with assorted cheeses, charcuterie, olives and crackers.
We nibbled on all this back at the Airbnb while we played cards.
This area around Pike and Pine is so full of eye candy.
And no trip to Seattle would be complete for me without a trip to Daiso.
For those woefully unfamiliar, Daiso is like a Japanese Dollar Store — a little more expensive but far more adorable.
Look at those red and aqua gingham cup liners!
I always load up on paper goods, baking supplies and whatever else speaks to me at the time.
Seattle was wonderful and even though it was short, we loved every minute of it.
Back home in Portland, we’ve been picnicking a lot — like this one on July Fourth at Sauvie Island.
Kruger’s Farm is one of our favorite places to relax and on this holiday we had the area under the giant oak tree all to ourselves.
I made homemade sharp cheddar biscuits
and fennel, arugula and tomato salad
and griddled chicken apple sausages.
We played cards and dominos and shared our cookies with the tractor guy before we headed back home.
And per our tradition, for dinner we celebrated the Fourth with homemade U.S.A. pizzas (this time with dough hearts on Portland and D.C.).
And we celebrated the holiday with sparklers on the street and nibbled on something festive for dessert.
So summer in July.
Feasting all around town (perhaps more on this later).
Toasting one another.
And hanging together– like when we were lucky enough to have my 95 year old mother-in-law Ruth here this past week.
And yes, there are so many hours to wait pre-surgery, so we’ve all tried to keep busy.
Like binge-watching this current obsession.
And oh yes, then there were the three times we’ve baked up these Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies.
This cookie comes from a blog I stumbled upon (Modern Honey) and the recipe makes for a fabulous cookie, both refreshing and rich — with or without the sprinkles.
The second time I made them I cooked them with the convection setting and I liked how it made them a little more golden.
I’m currently in love with this ultra-luxe sprinkle mix available at Williams-Sonoma.
It’s scandalously priced but outrageously fun to play with come baking time.
So this is us. Waiting. Hoping. Praying.
And trying to distract ourselves.
Thanks to all of you who’ve reached out to be by email, text, phone and Instagram (where I may be posting updates if you’re curious about how things are going. Find me @ portlandsampler.)
Please continue to send up good thoughts and prayers, especially from the 16th on.
Sending back to you Lemon White Chocolate love.
- 1 C. butter, slightly cold, cut into cubes
- 2 C. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1½ Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1½ - 2 Tbs. fresh lemon zest
- 3 C. flour
- 1¼ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 2 C. white chocolate chips (buy the best ones available)
- drop of yellow food coloring or sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl or KitchenAid, cream slightly cold butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at at time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and stir to combine.
- Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until combined.
- Fold in white chocolate chips.
- Drop dough onto light colored baking sheet. Use a silicone baking sheet such as Silpat or parchment paper.
- Bake for 9-12 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar or white sparkling sugar, if so desired.