Shred the Gnar Your Heart Out

Baker

Mountain: Mt. Baker

Location: Bellingham, WA

After-Stay: 20+ friends in 2 cabins for the weekend? My kind of weekend!! I’d never been to Mt. Baker, so I was really excited to cruise the slopes with a bunch of my fave friends! First of all, the drive to Baker from Seattle is super easy – it was a fun 2-hour road trip with some crazies (complete with Disney song karaoke). Once we got to the ‘main’ cabin, our friends were about 6 drinks in, playing card games and board games, and everyone was amped up for the morning to get on the mountain. Half of us went to the other cabin which was…..interesting. It was a large and quaint house, but there were little touches that made it feel kind of like we were potentially in a horror movie. I’ll give you one example: you know those moniker signs that cabins have with last names or “Welcome to the Beach House”? This house had a wooden sign outside the front door, but all it said was, “AT GRAHAM’S YOU GET WHAT’S COMING TO YOU!” Ummmmm, it creeped us out a little bit, to say the least. Anyway, we got over it quickly with the help of a few beers and then we all passed out. Saturday morning we were up and at ’em so we could start our snowy day! The mountain was fantastic – a ton of lifts and the lines were never longer than a few minutes. I was boarding with a few friends that were all at the same skill level (level Awesome), so we had a super fun crew traversing the mountain. We ended up all the way over to the second peak. Did you know Baker had two peaks to ski on? I certainly didn’t. By the afternoon, we decided that it was time to head back to the lodge for a beer (we skipped lunch because we were having so much fun!). Looking at the map, we realized that we had to do about 4-5 runs to make it back. We were on a mission. Slight problem – one of the runs was a cross-country trail. Seeing as I was the only snowboarder in my group, I recommended we find a different way. Unfortunately, the skiers were determined and I began the trip on the cat-track. I was gliding for a solid 30 seconds until I came to a complete stop. Then began my 10 minute walk with board in hand. Womp wooooomp. I finally made it to the skiers and was definitely ready for the lodge. So to the lodge we went! We all posted up and had a couple beers – it was the perfect day.

That night everyone came to our cabin for a large potluck. We all brought some food and feasted on spaghetti and meatballs. The whole evening, some of us were cooking, some of us were playing drinking games, there were board games, and even a group of people doing riddles. At one point, I looked at my friend Pat and I commented on how we’re all playing games and having a great time with each other – and he replied, “This is what happens when we don’t have cell service!” It’s true – no one could be glued to their phone and it was AWESOME. At one point, the whole group of us worked on one riddle that took a good 30 minutes of questioning to figure out. But I just remember feeling so happy and like I was a kid again surrounded by my closest friends. Just pure fun. Hope this becomes an annual tradition!

Riddle: Four Prisoners with Hats

Link: Mt. Baker

Al Fresca Your Heart Out

Beaches

Restaurant: Beaches

Location: Vancouver, WA Waterfront

After-Taste: My closest friends and family know that one of the things I love most is color. I know, kind of weird. But it’s true! I’ve always loved rainbows, anything multi-colored, especially bright neons – you should see my closet! Well, the amazing dish I had at Beaches was not only a feast for my taste-buds, but also appetizing for my eyes! The restaurant itself is very fun and festive. The interior is painted with fun beach murals and has a lot of wood decor – it certainly helped that it was a beautiful, sunny day! The dish I ordered was the Al Fresca Pasta and it is pasta with tomato, red onion, shiitake mushrooms, lemon garlic butter (yum!), white wine and balsamic. So pretty much it was a pasta with my favorite ingredients! It was so tasty and the balsamic wasn’t overpowering – every time I got a bite with balsamic I would have a smile on my face. This lunch was the end of my vacation down to visit my best friend Shayna, so after we ate, we decided to take a little stroll along the water. Had to work off that pasta somehow! I love that Beaches has spectacular views of the Columbia River, and I also love that it’s right next to the long, meandering path along the beach. Definitely made me look forward to the Spring!!

Link: Beaches Restaurant

Waterfront Lunch Your Heart Out

Saltys

Location: Columbia River, Portland, OR

After-Taste: Salty’s is a fantastic restaurant that has three locations – and they’re all on the water. This Saturday morning, the sun was shining and I was staying with my best friend down south. We decided to try Salty’s and it was such a good decision! The atmosphere feels like a Summer beach house and we scored a coveted window seat overlooking the Columbia River. Now, Salty’s is known for their Seafood, but I ended up ordering the Kobe Beef Burger. A risky choice, but I have to admit, this may have been one of the best burgers I’ve EVER eaten. Seriously. I was in awe with how tasty it was. (I’m sorry, the picture doesn’t do it justice.) The brioche bun was perfectly warm and grilled, the beef was so fresh and the flavors were out of this world. I’m usually not super observant of how different meats taste. I mean, I can tell differences between beef, chicken, yada yada yada. But do I normally tell a difference between good beef and bad beef? No. This may make me seem a bit tacky, but all beef is good beef in my opinion. But this Kobe Beef is officially classified as great meat. I don’t know a whole lot about meat and their standard grades or whatever lingo it is, but these cows must have been eating the finest grade of grass there is. But then to top the meat off with applewood bacon (yes! delicious bacon!), tillamook cheese (duh.), lettuce, tomato, and caramelized onion mayo? Well, pardon my French, but shit…this burger just made my day! I just really hope the Seattle locations’ burger tastes just as good as this one! Because I will be ordering a burger at Salty’s again! I don’t care if “Seafood” is in the restaurant title! I just came up with an idea…you know how Wine World has since updated their name to “Wine World & Spirits“? Well, Salty’s should update their name to: “Salty’s Waterfront Seafood & Super-Delicious Kobe Beef Burger Grill.” Ok fine, that’s a terrible idea, but don’t be fooled – the burger is excellent here!

Link: Salty’s Waterfront Seafood Grills

Voodoo Your Heart Out

Voo Doo

Donut Shop: Voodoo Doughnut

Location: Portland, OR

After-Taste: A trip to Portland is not complete unless you get a donut (doughnut?) from Voodoo! I’ve heard many people say that it’s the “cliche thing to do.” But you know what? If a donut is called “Old Dirty Bastard” and satisfies my sugary dough fantasies – I don’t really care if it’s cliche or not. Portland is known as a Hipster Haven, and Voodoo fits right into that mold. [inner monologue: “We’re hipster…we don’t have a mold.”] Ok, sorry, off on a tangent. I came to Portland to visit my bestie and everything for the weekend was kind of up in the air. I just knew that one thing I had to do was visit Voodoo. I actually have more of a ‘salt tooth’ than a ‘sweet tooth’ but Voodoo is just so unique and quirky that I really like visiting it. Please note: Cash Only! There are so many fun donuts, it was next to impossible to choose! They have donuts with fruit loops on them, gay donuts, penis donuts (we’re talking Portland, people!), even donuts with bubble gum on top. You can go with the popular bacon maple bar, go classy with the lemon chiffon donut, or go on a little adventure and try the Old Dirty Bastard like I did (chocolate frosting, oreos, and peanut butter). This is normally cardinal sin in my world, but I couldn’t finish it. My taste buds were so satisfied after a few bites, I had to share the rest (Me sharing food?! Whoa.). So you could technically look at it as two meals in one! Wahoo! I had a little chuckle when I paid for my donut and got my change back – I got $3 in dollar coins. Of course. Portland isn’t hipster at all. ;-)

p.s. I think it is officially ‘doughnut’ and not ‘donut.’ Spell check is telling me so. Hmm, you learn something new every day! …..but I’m keeping it as ‘donut’ in this post. I like to bend the rules a little bit, just like I prefer to get my dollars back in coins…

Link: Voodoo Doughnuts

Prost Your Heart Out

Leavenworth

Venue: Munchen Haus

Location: Leavenworth, WA

After-Taste: It’s that time of year again!! It’s the Silbaugh/Morrison Annual Trip to Leavenworth! This is the second year that my friends and I make the trek over to Spokane for Christmas break….instead of driving 4-5 hours on I-90, we decided it would be a lot more fun to take a night-long detour and stay in Leavenworth for some shenanigans! We decided to stay at the Sleeping Lady Resort again this year because it honestly is one of the best resorts in Washington. There wasn’t as much snow this year, so the sled hill was pretty much mud. Did that stop us from sledding? Absolutely not. This year I came prepared by bringing a couple cheap sleds and it was so much fun riding down close to 20 times. The good thing about sledding in mud? No lines!! We also did a bunch of wine-tasting and got a little sauced up. Can’t go a year without Gluhwein [glue-vine] – “Christmas in a Glass”! Before we went to the resort for the amazing buffet dinner, we had to make a stop at the Munchen Haus (for a hot dog appetizer, duh). When I think of Leavenworth, I think of the Hat Shop and the Munchen Haus. It’s a staple in Leavenworth, and that’s made obvious by the wait to get a seat. It’s worth the wait!! The brats are out of this world. The best part (in my honest opinion) is the MUSTARD BAR. They have a display of about 20 different mustards and it was my own sort of Heaven. I looked over at the man trying to pick out his mustard and I may have had a tear in my eye, and I said, “This is overwhelming, I want them all.” He gave me a pat on the back and said, “We can do it.” It was a special  moment. I decided to go with the Garlic and Onion Mustard and it was a great decision. We posted up at a Bavarian-style wooden table by the fireplace. There is nothing better than eating a brat with sauerkraut, grilled onions, mustard, and a nice cold beer….the people I was chowing down with were pretty awesome too. ;-) Can I just teleport there now?? If you pass through Leavenworth, pretty please promise me that you’ll get a brat at Munchen Haus! You’ll be one of the lucky ones!!

Link: Munchen Haus

Vacation Your Heart Out

Alderbrook

Resort: Alderbrook Resort & Spa

Location: Union, WA

After-Stay: I didn’t come to Alderbrook for a vacation, unfortunately, but it still felt like one given the serenity and comfort this resort provides. Our department took a two-day retreat here and I always love visiting this place. Check out the website below for better pictures because it really is the definition of R&R in a beautiful setting. The staff treats us like gold, they’re super easy to work with (I managed all the catering, my favorite thing!), and the rooms are little sanctuaries! The bar next to the water is a great place to unwind after seminars, and I couldn’t resist walking to the edge of the dock for a few minutes of peace. There’s an awesome fire pit that we all hovered around and met other business people. Did a barefoot race happen between me and a co-worker? Maaaaaaybe. (*cough* I won *cough*) The meals they served were all “Mo-Approved.” My favorite part of the retreat were the little glasses of goodness pictured above. They’re called Creamsicle Shooters. I mean, look at it. It’s a beautiful creamsicle in a glass. DELISH. Did I have three? Maaaaaybe. I’ve been to Alderbrook three times now, and I love it every time. It’s not too far of a drive, and it’s a great getaway. Cell service isn’t the best, but honestly, I like disconnecting for a bit! If you go, look for the ‘resort cat’ that has one green eye and one blue eye – beautiful!!

Link: Alderbrook Resort & Spa

Afternoon Tea Your Heart Out

026 Tea

Venue: The Empress

Location: Victoria, B.C.

After-Tea: When you visit Victoria, High Tea is the thing to do. Going to afternoon tea may seem a bit presumptuous and snoody; but trust me, if I go and enjoy it, you will too. My best friend and I aren’t the classiest of folk, but we still had a blast and enjoyed every minute. When you first walk into the “Tea Room” there is a woman playing classical songs on the piano. It was then that I realized this ain’t no Applebees. The views are amazing and the service is impeccable. Pinkies were definitely out! I’m not normally a tea drinker, but when I got the “Empress Blend” and added some sugar, I was downing it. So delicious! It starts out with the tea and a dish of fresh strawberries and whipped cream. That was eaten in about, oh I don’t know, 30 seconds. Then comes the tray. OH THE TRAY! Bottom layer: SANDWICHES. Middle layer: SCONES. Top Layer: PASTRIES. O.M.G! When I first looked at it, I said, “Pshh! I’ll eat all of this no problem!” Well, turns out it’s harder than you think. Everything was so tasty and feels like a three-course meal. My favorite is actually the scone. When you smother it with butter (they call it “Empress Cream” [ok maybe it’s a little snoody]) and jam, oh boy, you’ll be wishing for more. The meal ends with a complimentary box of their Empress Blend tea bags. The delicious meal in such a beautiful setting is unforgettable! Nothing better than tea and strumpets! [please tell me you got the Dumb and Dumber reference…]

Link: Afternoon Tea at the Empress