Great Restaurants during “Dine Around Seattle”

The month of March in Seattle is a great one. It’s my birthday month, the weather is changing for the better, the days are getting longer, and it’s every foodie’s favorite annual event: “Dine Around Seattle”. With Dine Around Seattle, many local restaurants offer special dinner menus: 3 courses for $30. It’s a great way to try restaurants that you’ve always mean to try. The two restaurants I tried this past week were Olivar and Monsoon.

Olivar, Spanish for olive grove, is owned by Chef Philippe Thomelin. Chef Philippe grew up in France, and spent many years in Spain, where he became even more passionate about the Mediterranean-style cuisine. He has been in Seattle for over 10 years, and has been a wonderful culinary addition to the Seattle “foodie” community. The restaurant is in the old Loveless building, which is a Seattle icon. Loveless is a beautiful, Tudor-style building, built in 1930. It was originally a place for artists to live and work, and is currently the home to some apartments, and Olivar. One of the neatest things about the decor in Olivar is the large mural on the wall that dates back to the mid 1930s (done by the muralist Vladimir Shkurkin). It is just beautiful and I love that it’s still there.

Surprisingly, we ended up not going with the special menu and just got some stuff that looked especially tasty! We both started out with a lovely glass of Brut and a mixed green salad with Valdeon cheese, and candied walnuts. Mmmm mmm!

Susan had the Sunchoke soup that was de-lic-ious and I had the sautéed potato gnocchi with hedgehog mushrooms, caramelized onion, migas & Manchego. I had the chocolate creme brulee and a glass of Maderia for dessert. I was so full of great food!

Olivar is a wonderful restaurant with a very unique ambiance. Love it!

I also went to Monsoon on Capital Hill. I have meant to go there for years and finally made it this past week! Monsoon has been in Seattle since 1999 and, according to the website, “Monsoon marries traditional Vietnamese cuisine with Pacific Northwest innovation.”

I went with several of my friends, and we went with the special DAS menu. I had the pork ribs with hoisin & five spice sauce, the wild prawns with lemongrass, spicy yellow curry, and roasted peanuts, and for dessert, the banana cake with coconut sauce. I also tried some Karen’s first course: grilled squid stuffed with duck and basil and Jeri’s Bo La Lot (grilled beef wrapped in grape leaves). Holy BUCKETS! The food was amazing! So good and I’m glad I finally went. Looking forward to more jaunts to Monsoon in the future.

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Vivian Maier Photography Exhibit

This past Thursday, I went to the Photo Center Northwest in Seattle, to see the “Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows” exhibit.

The more information and photographs come out about Vivian, the more and more fascinated I become. I absolutely love her work. So simple and yet, so raw at times.

I wanted to do a little something different with this blog post. I usually pre-write something out and then post, but this time I wanted to focus on comments I made while looking at the exhibit. Other than doing a spell check, these are my thoughts exactly as I jotted them down on my iPhone (pictures before my comments are pictures I took at the exhibit. Pictures after the comments are Vivian Maier’s that are some of the ones I love):


40 years; 100,000 photographs.

Got amazingly close in some shots. How did she get so close?!

A natural at street photography- that’s not an easy thing to do (to kind of invade someone’s space like that).
The most amazing things she finds photo-worthy. Worn out mannequins, trash cans, beat up old ladders. And she makes it work. I personally think it’s the black and white aspect. With b&w, you focus so much on the objects and I think that’s what she wants you to do.

The “Bobby Dies” picture. Beautiful.

Completely invisible to the world. And yet had so much to say. For her? Solely as a hobby?

She used her camera as a diary

On the one hand I feel bad because she would hate to know that these photos are out there, and yet I’m personally so glad they are because I think they are magnificent and the photography world is better for it.  I know I am.

The Center is showing a video and the speaker is saying showing not only individual pictures, but sequences of photos (off one roll, etc). You really see the sequence and flow and really see how it’s like a walk and a day through her eyes.

Took around 3 rolls a day. Wandering around…

It’s amazing how CLOSE she gets in some pictures!

Think I like her so much because I love b&w too. It’s so striking to me and is just as powerful, if not more do, than color.

Love the shadows, darkness, lines..