Monday, June 27, 2011

blue skies

I must say, the weather here is practically perfect. (Remind me of that when January comes..) Gorgeous blue skies as far as you can see. Which means we've been taking advantage of the roof deck and the many parks Denver has to offer. After a stunning rooftop victory by Shawn in Gin Rummy, we whipped up some mango jicama salsa and fajitas. So delish. And the salsa got even better the next day. Yum.

Unfortunately we didn't get this little guy until an estate sale a couple days later, but next time we're chopping up some salsa, things should move a bit more quickly.

The other day we paid a visit to the Skate Park and spectated for a couple hours. It's actually a pretty huge place. And there were definitely people of all ages. One dad was there skating with his two little boys on their razor scooters. Couple of daredevils, those two. 

After that, we met up with one of Shawn's friends and went with him to a potluck on the roof of his mom's building. It's one of those 55 and up places so we sort of stuck out like sore thumbs but it was a fun change of pace and I always love a good potluck. So many different things to sample :) Plus I got to beat Shawn again in cornhole. Heh heh.

Yesterday morning I went for a run and had to stop to take a picture of this lady's front yard. Well, to be honest, I had already stopped anyway to catch my breath for the millionth time...

The pictures don't capture it so well, but her front yard is entirely covered in rose bushes. In fact, there are tons of roses in bloom all over the city. I think it's so fun to see so many different types of plants growing than the ones I'm used to in Florida.

To top off the weekend, Shawn and I went to Jazz in the Park, which is a weekly event at City Park. Having worked a wedding the night before, I managed to score two boxed lunches that were unused vendor meals, and we had a bottle of champagne in the fridge that Shawn was given one day at Bistro. So we brought our free little picnic and stretched out under a huge shade tree in the park. Doesn't get much better than that :)

dumpster shelf

There's a space at the end of the kitchen counter that has just been begging for a shelf. And I've been begging for a place to put all my miscellaneous vases and candlesticks. As luck would have it, a quick peek by Shawn into the dumpster the other day offered the perfect solution. Well, almost perfect.

It was kind of a strange orange color but I'm thinking someone built it just for the exact spot I wanted it to go. So of course I decided to work with it. I busted out the black glossy paint and after a quick trip to Joann (not sure Shawn would call it quick, but...) we have a new (to us) and much improved shelf!

The fabric on the back is kind of a cobalt/royal purple with white flowers. Which I'm liking with my neutral-with-pops-of-color living room. This was also my first adventure with spray adhesive which worked well (not like the backs of the shelves are going to see much action) but sprayed a bit more unpredictably than I would have liked. A bit of black touch up was in order but now it's all set and stocked up with my little goodies :)

my apologies..

I guess the only way to describe my posting lately would be... nonexistent :( oops! But I've been busy working and crafting so now there's much to discuss!

Catering has been keeping me pretty busy since it's wedding season and all. The great thing about offsite catering (especially in a new city) is that you get to see all different venues and places you wouldn't normally see. I just did a wedding at Boettcher Mansion this past weekend, which is an old-house-turned-event-space up in the mountains. The weekend before that was a whirlwind with a memorial service for a woman who seemed like the coolest old lady ever (they handed out recipes for "Flossie's Carrot Soup, which I fully intend to make a batch of in the coming weeks), a dinner hosted by a group called PHAMALY that helps physically handicapped people find work, the Debutante Ball at Denver University (complete with giant white poofy dresses and waltzing), and rounded out with bartending in the VIP section at PrideFest. So definitely diverse! The PHAMALY dinner was quite entertaining, with a Broadway-like show about the workplace and headlined by Josh Blue, the comedian with cerebral palsy who won Last Comic Standing. I think we know by now that I am a sucker for a good stand-up act. I also worked a huge tent wedding the weekend before that, where unfortunately I was hired only for my serving skills and not my writing skills..

The best part was on the back where you could see they had started writing it and messed up then flipped it over to try again. It was a sweet backyard with a pool and tons of space for a wedding, but they had the strangest of decorations going on. Lots of miscellaneous tulle bows tied on things. Ew.

Other than catering, there's always the few odd jobs.. did I mention I did promo for Cacique at the Mexican National Soccer Team game...?

Which basically just meant dancing around to everyone's favorite fiesta tunes for four hours and handing out thundersticks. We were also supposed to pull people in from the audience to participate, but I kind of avoided that part, thinking how much I would hate to be pulled in if I was just an innocent bystander. Hopefully this did not ruin my Mexican promo dancing future. It was pretty fun though, just messing around with little kids. Hilariously, Shawn came home the other day and played his "new favorite song" for me, which just happened to be a techno version of one of the fiesta songs. Nooooo that beat will haunt me forever!!

I've also been doing some work with Pink Posey. We did a bridal show a couple weeks ago and definitely had the cutest booth by far. Buffy had a bunch of vintage tablecloths and did the arrangements in white milk glass. So we made sort of a shabby chic display. The pictures didn't turn out very well though, especially since the woman hosting the Passion Party booth behind us kept getting in the way in her crazy tight white jeans. So you'll have to just use your imagination. For both parts :)

I also helped Buffy with a photoshoot at Villa Parker she was doing as a collaboration with a local photographer. I'd post pictures of that, but... it's going to be on Style Me Pretty! And they strictly forbid anyone posting before they feature it. So I don't want to chance it. The crazy thing is that Buffy was wanting me to be the bridesmaid for the shoot when something fell through with the girl they had lined up. I was a little nervous about that so I decided to stay on the other side of the camera. But if I had done it, I would have been on Style Me Pretty too and that just seems crazy to me. Maybe not to you guys, since you may not be such avid followers.. but to me, crazy. Anyway, I'm super happy for Pink Posey to get some good exposure. Which will hopefully lead to more work for me!

I just realized I don't have nearly enough quarters to do all the necessary laundry today so I'm gonna have to make a run to the bank :( Are we seriously still using this old-as-the-hills method of laundry payment? Something really must be done about this.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

pure deliciousness part II

Our second evening out was veeerrry different from the first. We decided to class it up big time and Shawn treated me to a 5-star meal at the Brown Palace Hotel. We weren't eating until pretty late so when Justin called wondering what we were up to, Shawn told him to come on by. He brought with him the ingredients to make Tominis which are a cocktail he used to drink with an old salty dog he knew in Maryland who lived on his boat for a while. So obviously they were the perfect refreshing summer time drink. Gin and coconut water with a squeeze of lemon. Cocktail hour delivery service? Yes, please!

We went up on the roof and ended up meeting some neighbors. Pretty soon a game of Texas Hold 'Em was underway followed by a little Black Jack. Also, after some chatting, we found out that Rose (new neighbor friend) was moving out and temporarily moving into a place with some friends who have a German Shepherd. So she was not going to be able to bring her cat, Sam, with her for that month. Obviously we offered to cat sit since I've been dying for a cat anyway. So now we have a little furry friend who seems quite happy here with plenty of fish to watch for entertainment. He does have a habit for crying rather loudly in the morning but we're working on that.

Sam, Samuel, Samtastic, Sam Adams, Samson, Samsonite, Sammi-Sam, Samilicious

Anyway... on to the good stuff. So after a mad dash to get ready after cocktail hour ran a bit over time.. we arrived at the Brown Palace and decided to go for the tasting menu since that's what we like to do. We ordered a bottle of wine and awaited the goodies to come. After an antipasto skewer for an amuse bouche, our appetizers arrived. The sommelier came by and poured us a bit of wine that he had paired with our respective dishes. Of course his trick worked and we went ahead and asked for the wine pairings with each course.

Boy am I glad we did though. (Aside from the fact that we already had a bottle of wine on the table and a martini under our belt and had more wine coming than is even slightly normal...) But the pairing really was the best part of the meal. I mean, obviously the food was nothing to turn up your nose at, but I've eaten an awful lot of good food in my life. The way the wine went with it was amazing. My soup course was an artichoke soup with a small grilled ham and cheese in the center of the bowl. As the sommelier poured the wine, he said, "It's hard to tell where the soup ends and the wine begins.." with an air of mystery. He was right! It seriously blew my mind how good some of the pairings were. The wine with Shawn's salad tasted like someone had practically made it from the salad ingredients. And the tasting menu wasn't fixed as some of them are, so we had options for each course. Obviously we ordered all different things so we ended up getting to taste ten different dishes with wine for each. Well, okay it was only nine. I opted out of my dessert course and got coffee instead. I was seriously full. But Shawn had ordered Bananas Foster which we could both barely eat a bite of.

"You guys got a wheelbarrow back there? Somebody's gonna have to roll me outta here!"

Haha don't worry, neither of us actually said that. But I understand where those people are coming from :) All in all, a deliciously fantastic meal that was a real treat. Taking pictures didn't seem quite appropriate so you'll just have to use your imagination...

Monday, June 6, 2011

pure deliciousness part I

We actually went out to eat two different nights last week (which is rare for us with Shawn usually working at night). I must say they were two VERY diffferent experiences and yet both quite fantastic.

It was sort of last minute when we decided to eat out and so were in a rush Urban Spoonin' where we should go. There's tons of restaurants that I've been wanting to try but it was a weekday and almost 9. Not wanting to be "those people" who show up at closing time was limiting our options. Plus we weren't really sure what we were feeling like. Then we remembered seeing all these Ethiopian restaurants on East Colfax one day and wondering what the deal was. I've never seen one Ethiopian restaurant, much less six in a ten block stretch. So we decided to broaden our culinary horizons and go for it.

We ended up at Queen of Sheba a little past nine. The owner was walking some other guests out the door as we walked up and My Polite One was reassured that she was more than happy to have us and we were certainly not too late. So with that stress behind us--and when I say us, I mean mostly Shawn :) we were able to enjoy our feast. 

Looking at the menu, the obvious choice seemed to be Queen of Sheba's Dinner for Two which would give us a good sampling of this mystery cuisine. And also included two glasses of Ethiopian honey wine. The owner informed us that she makes the wine right there at the restaurant but was worried we'd think it was too sweet. So she went through the trouble of bringing us a small taste test, even though we insisted it was unnecessary. She was honestly the nicest woman and I would go back there just for her, even if the food hadn't been so fantastic. She took the time to explain everything to us about her menu and I think she was genuinely excited to be serving us our first Ethiopian meal.

We started with an appetizer that could best be described as hummus made from lentils. There are no utensils used in Ethiopian cuisine, instead everything is served with enjera, which is a type of sourdough flatbread. You rip off pieces and use that to grab the deliciously spiced and stewed meats and vegetables. Also, it's called a goorsha when you you feed the bread rolled with meat to your friend. Obviously we had to do that as well.

The food has similar flavors to Indian or Moroccan dishes I've had. A subtle spiciness and super tender meats. We had chicken, lamb, red lentils, stewed beef, cabbage and potatoes, and a hardboiled egg thrown in for good measure. The spongy bread is so perfect with the heavy flavors since it has that sort of vinegar fermented taste. Yum! We left there so full and when she brought us a little box to pack up the rest of our dish, she had already put some extra lentils and cabbage in there to enjoy with our meat. So lovely :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

a birthday tribute

Today marks the 26th birthday of my dearest best friend Jess. Obviously it's a bittersweet day since it's the first birthday in four years that I haven't been there to celebrate with her. So instead I will just have to send my wishes for happiness and a fantastic year to come across the miles, knowing that her fabulous boyfriend gifted her a coupon good for one flight to Denver, and we will probably be seeing them within the next month or so!

If it wasn't for Jess...

I would have never moved to New York.

I would have never survived in New York.

I would have never known the joys of the gym.

I would have never fallen in love with tapas.

I would have never realized that I really don't like sitting through football games in the stadium :)

I would have never known someone who fell asleep while eating ice cream.

I would have never scuffed up all my dancin' shoes.

I would have never sampled all the desserts on the Vegas buffet.

I would have never had half of my Facebook photos.

I would have never learned to carry a Tide pen with me at all times.

I would have never had the peanut butter to my jelly. Literally.

I would have never known how important girl friends can be.

We have had some super fun, super stressful, super exciting times together, and it has been awesome knowing that I have a great friend by my side through the good and the bad. Love you Lil Jessie!