Season of Indulgence

So, from Friday to Sunday, I couldn’t say how much weight I’ve gained, but I’m going with infant harp seal.

It was, of course, all worth it, as it’s all from eating exquisite food and drinking amazing booze with Uji and his amazing family.

Uji’s family road-tripped down to Seattle this weekend, to celebrate his older brother’s girlfriend’s birthday and to watch said older brother (who is rad) propose to his girlfriend of seventeen months. She is also rad.

Having Uji’s entire immediate family there took some plotting–Uji’s eldest brother and  sister-in-law (both also rad) have a baby who’s about Chucky’s age, which takes planning. In addition, Uji invited me along, as it was our three-month mark.

I brought my homework, but I didn’t really study.

Friday

I finish school, tornado my room looking fro something weather-appropriate to match the perpetually too-chilly-for-what-I-had-planned-to-wear weather that has been a mainstay of the Seattle climate since I was a kid. Uji picks me up, comments, What a mess! I thought you were ready! as I shove a dress and some heels into the suitcase we’re sharing. I say ‘bye to the boys, and Demonic asks, “If you’re going, does that mean Uji stays?” I’m so moved by your loyalty, Godson.

We meet with Uji’s family, drive to the outskirts of Seattle, where Uji’s middle brother Rob lives with his lady, Mandy. The two share a well-appointed apartment that looks like it was done in the early sixties (before the architecture and color palette went to shit) and re-modeled a little bit in the mid eighties. They have Lego fridge magnets.

We drive together to a family-style Thai restaurant called Bai Tong and shared between us the following:

Salmon red curry that would knock your socks off

Woo-sen Pad Thai (which is Pad Thai with glass noodles and extra tamarind) with prawns. Good Pad Thai, by the way, is not red. It’s brown.

Something with wide egg noodles and chicken sauteed in soy sauce

Something that involved strips of RARE beef with Thai basil and ginger (the soulful variety)

Something that involved crisp-fried basil and seafood, including squid and green mussels

Because Uji’s family can finish a glass of wine toasting alone (which is awesome,) I decided that I would save my liver for Saturday and had iced tea with Lychee chunks, which Uji thinks are gross because of the texture.

When we get back to Rob’s apartment, I fall asleep on Uji’s shoulder while he plays the original Twisted Metal with his brother.

Saturday

Wes started the morning with a cup of Mandy’s coffee and a lot of getting ready (we wore our nice clothes all day, and to avoid suspicion, Rob finally relented and stopped asking Mandy to change out of her jeans. I’m comfortable, she insisted.

We had reservations at a swanky crab place down by the marina, where the waiters will tell you it’s their pleasure to clean your spilled blood-orange Bellini off the polished table–I know, because I did it. They brought me another. I thought this seemed counter-intuitive, as a girl who’s halfway through her first drink and knocking it over should likely not have a second.

For breakfast, I had what Shu would call “A big plate of regret.” Not because it was bad–on the contrary, it was excellent. It was, however, ridiculously filling and curbed my appetite for the remainder of the day.

Brunch at Chandler’s comes in three courses–first, you get a basket of little house-made scones and fried balls of delectable that they insist are apple fritters. They are served with cinnamon-sugar butter and raspberry freezer jam that is almost as good as Suzy Q’s.

The second course is a “seasonal fruit plate,” which consists of a slice each of watermelon, pineapple, and cantaloupe, with a few grapes. Honestly, I’ve had better, but I’m not one to waste food, and I’ve certainly had worse as well.

The third course is your entree–mine was Eggs Chandler, which is Eggs Florentine with crab served with home fries. I put a whackload of Tabasco on it (my mom puts cayenne in her Hollandaise, so I like it spicy) and wolfed down the majority of it, thinking that it would be interesting to experiment with using blanched stinging nettles in place of the spinach some time. Uji sensibly restricted himself to a Whiskey-based crab bisque and bread, with a Mojito and water.

Mandy was presented with an enormous Creme Brulee and a scoop of Raspberry Sorbet with a candle in it, which she passed around to a table of mostly-stuffed people who politely took bites and passed it on. Both were delectable, with just the right amount of tart in the sorbet and the sugar on the Creme Brulee burnt to perfection.

When we returned to the car, I changed into more sensible shoes, started driving twoard downtown, and were promptly sideswiped by some crazy old bat who claimed that it was our fault she had veered into the middle lane and that her broken sideview mirror was going to be paid for by Uji’s father and that she was calling the police. This whole mess took about forty minutes and put me into a near-panic because of that thing I have about the police and being terrified of them.

Uji calmed me down by pulling a square package wrapped in tissue paper and string out of his pocket and presenting me with it. It was the center of a CD case he had cut into a square to disguise the shape of a green pearl necklace made by a friend of the family that he picked out for me. There was a booklet that said HAPPY THREE MONTH ANNIVERSARY on the outside and a long, sappy letter on the inside that I won’t write here because you will gag and I will cry. Again. I love that man.

This is not to say that I can be pacified with jewelry–although if y’all want to randomly start giving me shinies, I won’t refuse them…

We wound up parking at the Fairmont Hotel (formerly the Olympic) which is one of those bastions of “Oh My God, LOOK at this place!” and Uji and I got to walk around for a bit. Uji dragged me into Urban Outfitters, which, other thatn the DIY camera sets, I found wholly underwhelming. I think they should make their eight-dollar “douchebag jar” big enough to fit the store through the coin slot cut into the lid. I dragged Uji into Bananna Republic and discovered that we have somewhat different tastes in women’s clothing. Good God,  I would NEVER wear that! I responded to his gesture toward a floor-length, white jersey, off-the-shoulder, ruffle-embellished sundress. I pointed to a black shantung cocktail sheath with a crisscross neckline. Look at it on the mannequin, though; it lays funny where they cross like that. To each their own.

We met up with the rest of the family, including Uji’s eldest brother Juanillo and his wife Heather and their baby Maya and walked back to the Fairmont. On the way, we passed the windows of Louis Vuitton (which have horrendously ugly shoes in them) and Luly Yang (which has dresses that look like butterfly wings.)

Coming into the Fairmont, I came to the conclusion that I love downtown Seattle, because people actually dress up to go out. The people watching in the lobby (whose bar is called the Terrace) was amazing. There was a wedding party, a debutante tea party, and a silent auction for charity upstairs being run by be-gowned volunteers in some serious bling.

And that’s where the Main Event happened. Uji’s parents know the bartender at the Terrace by name, and the three of them with Rob conspired to bring out a bottle of champagne (presumably for a birthday toast) and a plate with two enormous chocolate-dipped strawberries with the words MANDY, WILL YOU MARRY ME? written in chocolate on the side. Rob, having beforehand tested the distance between his chair and the coffee table to see that he wouldn’t knock anything over, got down on a knee and offered her a ring.

Of course she said yes.

After a celebratory cocktail, (I had a cucumber martini) we all walked down the steep hill to the Market district, which is WAY more my scene. Pike Place Market is the one area of Seattle that I know even a little about, and really, all I know is the Chinese apothecary, the cinnamon bakery, the little pub with the library down the alley, and the Showbox a few streets away.

Supper was at a seafood place within a stone’s throw of the water, called Etta’s. It’s on a different chunk of the same alley as my pub, and specializes in the Ridiculous.

I foolishly got the clam chowder, because I thought a bowl of soup would be less filling than a cut of fish. HOW WRONG I WAS. It was so rich that I couldn’t finish half of it! I also tried Raw Oysters for the First Time Ever. They are delightful. They are exactly as I imagined they would be, only better. Somewhere, I have a dead relative who’s proud of me for trying them.

Dessert was a lemongrass sherbert made with sour cream that Uji and I split and didn’t finish half of.

That night, most of us had a bellyache and decided it was worth it. Uji made vomitorium jokes.

Sunday

The madness didn’t end Saturday. It didn’t even end when we got home. Uji’s dad got up before everyone and went to a French bakery near Rob and Mandy’s house, got a boxful of delicious, and came back to where Uji and I were refusing to get up all the way.

The drive home included a stop at Nordstrom’s shoe department in the Alderwood mall so Uji’s mom could exchange her shoes. Uji and I walked around commenting to each other in sign about shoes that looked like stripper heels, flats that made ladies look like they had duck’s feet, and things that we liked but would never wear. My favorites looked like something Suzy Q would wear for a show–cobalt blue satin with a white jewelled detail over a peep toe. Three inch spike heel.

Speaking of Suzy Q, I think we might have poisoned her by mistake. That night, to cheer her up after a particularly bad bout of what I like to call the Menses (that is to say, Suzy Q is perpetually surrounded by pissy, overly-hormonal men who all want her to be their moms or their booty call and get mad when she refuses to be any of the above) we brought over some ingredients to experiment with.

What we wound up making was something like this:

Three varieties of deli brined olives, including the dark green kind that has to be pitted, kalamatas, and martini olives sans pimentos. All diced rustica.

Capers. A whack-load. There is no such thing as Too Many Capers.

Anchovy fillets and the oil, which served as the flavor base for our pan.

Garlic

Onion

Hunt’s tomato sauce, because we were too lazy to prepare our own. This time.

Chunks of fresh mozzarella

Dried Pumpkin mushrooms

Fresh crimini mushrooms

red chili flakes

sea salt

a dash of WINNING

Served tossed with squid ink linguine and garnished with grated parmesan and fresh basil.

We dubbed it pasta prostitutta cara, or “expensive callgirl pasta” because it’s close to puttanesca, but better.

We then proceeded to sit and drink wine in segments of the Wonderbaby’s habitrails for children, which breaks down to three collapsible miniature tents made of brightly colored nylon and flexible wire. we did this until said Wonderbaby discovered us and joined us with a stuffed lion and a Cthulu pillow that mom brought back from Comicon.

I conclude that I have just had a ridiculous weekend and that I should spend the next three days eating salads and doing homework to make up for the complete and utter decadence of the past three days.

Which most definitely tasted like winning.

p.s. I’ll likely update this entry with pictures in days to follow–I just have to bug Uji about them. He and Suzy Q have this habit of photographing our food, so I’ll be able to entice you all!

 

 

 

 

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