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The solo trip to Santa Fe was amazing. I will post more photos and write about all the inspiring sights, funny experiences, and wonderful food soon—but right now I'm going to unpack and take a vacation from my vacation. Thanks for all the tips!
This is a beautiful book. Big, heavy, and thick, showcasing amazing quilts and fascinating essays by various quilt and textile historians, makers, and museum curators. There are essays by Natalie Chanin, Denyse Schmidt, Kaffe Fassett, to name a few. Janneken Smucker writes an interesting piece about the myths of the history of quilt making, challenging the commonly held belief that quilts were always made of scraps and came from a "make-do" mentality.
It took me awhile to actually read the essays because I was so mesmerized by the quilts, which are all from Roderick Kiracofe's collection. This books makes my heart skip a little every time I open it. I love quilts that are "off" and all of them have this quality. There is so much inspiration in here—I can only look at a few quilts at a time. It's a very special book.
It's new book season already and I was so excited to receive a review copy of Sally J Shim's new book, Pretty Packages: 45 Creative Gift-Wrapping Projects. Sally and I have been friends for a long time now (I wish you still lived here, Sally!) and she is a really wonderful person who loves life, travel, food, and design. And she has a great sense of humor. As a designer she has a keen eye and a sophisticated minimal style and this book captures all that perfectly.
This book is so HAPPY. It makes me smile looking through it. The girls ripped it out of my hands when it came. These are some of my favorite wrapping ideas from her book. It's full of simple, easy to reproduce ideas with a less is more style that is really lovely. Here's a project from the book, super cute!
We had a lovely time in Sunriver, Oregon recently. There were no swan encounters. We saw one, but she was not aggressive with us. There was lots of bike riding, swimming, and canoeing. We like to go after school has started—it much quieter at the pool and on the ike trails. There is this magic quality to the light during early September. It's not quite fall but not summer either.
Delia started knitting hand warmers while we were there. Super easy, no pattern. I will show it soon. She knit a swatch long enough to fit around her wrist, counted the stitches then knit a flat piece with a little ribbing at the top and bottom. She sewed it up, making a tube, and left an opening for a thumb hole. She's finished one, and wears it. Just the one. It's black yarn with reflector thread in it so it glows in the dark. Perfect.
These blackened cod fish tacos were from the Sunriver Brewing Company. They were very good, a bit soupy, but that's often the case with fish tacos, it's not a complaint. They offered these with flour/corn blended tortillas, just corn, or no tortillas, which I thought was funny. A fish taco without a taco shell. I went for the corn. From the menu:
I was really hungry when I ate these which means they were delicious. It was just Pete and I and we talked about the Murakami books we are both reading right now and got all weirded out discussing them.
These fish tacos were from Worthy Brewing Company in Bend and made with delicious blackened steelhead. They were made with flour tortillas which bummed me out. Again, I forgot to ask if they could use corn. I was quite pleased each taco had their own lime wedge. I love lime and never have enough. These were hard to eat with being gross, but the awkwardness of the avocado was well worth it. Fish tacos are not date food. The mango salsa was good. There were a lot of TVs in this place.
Sarah Neuburger, my dear friend and the genius behind The Small Object is retiring her stellar ready-made rubber stamp line. This created a small panic in our house. I looked in every box and drawer to make sure we had them all—now is the perfect time to snatch them up! They are 50% off until she no longer has any left. Perfect for holiday gifts and stocking suffers. You can find them here! They are selling fast, so some of these might not be available anymore.
Emily's newest book is out, Day Dreamers, and it's so beautiful—it's been on heavy rotation at our house. It's a companion to her equally stunning Dream Animals, and I love how these two books look side by side. I was thrilled to see her sketches before they were painted in her blog post for this newest book. There's a masterful loosness to her work in this newest book and that makes me sigh and smile. I love how she draws movement, so fluid and light.
Come celebrate with her! (And make her sign stuff!) She is having an event in Portland for Day Dreamers at Green Bean Books on Saturday, September 6th, at 2:00.
When I am cleaning out the fridge and getting anxious about veggies not being eaten, I pickle them. Right away. It takes about 5 minutes and then I feel so much better. I have been using this basic sweet/salty vinegar recipe from the Momofuku cookbook for a few years now. I memorized it, or something similar that works for me, and I use it for everything. It's pretty forgiving. There's one here, but I use much less sugar. Here's my brine:
1 cup water
4-6 TBL sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
I heat the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves and pour it over the cut veggies and add the rest of the ingredients. To prep the veggies, I slice them in the food processor with the slicing blade, which is my best friend. The radish one stinks to high heaven, but not as much as the daikon and carrot one I made, which makes the girls scream and run out of the kitchen every time I open it. Pete just said it's hard to capture the smell in text. I love the way it tastes so much. Especially on fish tacos!
I love fish tacos. I sometimes forget this and then when I remember I get excited because they are so easy to find. They remind me of pizza—there is much variety and quality in this one dish. Fancy, fusion, good, bad, bad in a good way, so-so, and gross. They pop-up in unlikely places, which makes them even more exciting and at times questionable. Recently, I had 3 different fish tacos three days in a row (I only thought to photograph these two) and I felt the need to start this ridiculous yet delicious project.
These aren't really reviews of fish tacos exactly, more like descriptions. I can't really give them stars. That would be too difficult to figure out. I try to avoid any that are terrible, but when it comes to fish tacos, I'm not very picky. I find my enjoyment of a fish taco is directly proportional to how hungry I am when I'm eating them. I love how small they usually are, so I can grab one as a snack. I've had so many around town I thought I'd start to list them and take photos for fun because it's a blog so, you know, I can write about fish tacos.
Now, when I am out and about if I can find a fish taco nearby (especially if it's new to me) I feel I have completed a special mission. My family is patient and supportive. As I eat my fish tacos, I will add them to my new fish taco category. These are all in Portland unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to add your favorites in the comments.
These salmon fish tacos are from Fishbox, which is a cart on Belmont. They were delicious, spicy and very good. I do like corn tortillas better than flour, that's my only quibble. Maybe they can make them with corn tortillas, I didn't ask. I think this was grilled or blackened salmon. And I did say spicy, didn't I? These are a fusion type thing—I think some wasabi was in there. I liked them a whole lot, but the spiciness of the sauce kind of overpowered the salmon taste. Pete got the salmon sandwich which he said was amazing. 8/2014
These Baja fish tacos came from Salvador Molly's and they were very filling and tasty. They were so filling I couldn't eat the rice and beans. They have battered fish with a garlic-lime aioli crema and picked onions. They were very good, but heavy. I felt a little sad later, but I think that's because I don't do well with fried food in general, no matter how often I try to deny it. 8/2014
I bought this very lightweight printed linen at Jospehine's Dry Goods over the weekend. Josephine's recently re-opened in a new location and I hadn't been there yet. It's such a lovely shop. The very small shop is beautifully merchandised and the selection of fine garment fabrics is outstanding. They have more Liberty than I have ever seen in one shop before. They also carry lovely wool suiting. I also bought this sewing pattern by Sew House Seven (local talent) and am eager to sew it up. I almost didn't find the shop—the entrance to the store is through a lobby, look for signs, it's right next to Koi Fusion on Division. Right now I am sewing Delia's fall coat, I'm hoping to get that done before I start this dress.
I have started a ridiculous but delicious research project—trying the best fish tacos in Portland. The best might be debatable, really. I'm just trying them anywhere I can, whether it be a place I have gone before, or by making a special trek to try an unfamiliar fish taco. After 3 days in a row, I have taken a break, but will resume soon. Photos and thoughts are forthcoming.
I am taking a vacation (alone!) in September to Santa Fe and am terribly excited. If anyone has thoughts, tips, or suggestions for activities, food, sightseeing, l'd love to hear about them.