About This Blog

This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

Popular Posts

Girls and a Goat

Posted by gck Sunday, November 20, 2011 0 comments

One in a series of very overdue posts about a Girltrip to Chicago back in October. Jenni, Sandy, and I like to do 1-2 weekend trips each year, alternating between our locations (Seattle, San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago), and this is one of them.

When trying to decide where to eat other than Alinea, I took a look at suggestions from my workplace’s Food & Wine mailing list. Moto was an option, but they weren’t open on Sunday nights. Another restaurant that got a lot of recommendations, if you could get a reservation, was Girl and the Goat. I saw that they had Opentable reservations (a big plus in my book!) so I did a search for Sunday night and saw one spot available at 9pm. So I took it. You know how perceived scarcity increases perceived value? Well, when I saw that there were no other weekend reservations available for many weeks out, I wanted to eat at the restaurant even more.

IMG_9990-2  IMG_9993-2

Really, I didn’t know that much about the restaurant beforehand other than the good reviews. Sandy did, though. Girl and the Goat is the restaurant of Stephanie Izard, the winner of the fourth season of Top Chef. I don’t have television service and I’ve never watched Top Chef, but Sandy watched that season and the chef impressed her enough to give her quite a bit of interest in the restaurant. The ambiance at the restaurant was decidedly different from Alinea. Things seemed more dark, earthy, and casual, reflected both in the décor and the food.

IMG_9995-2  IMG_9996-2
left: chickpeas fritters . eggplant-tomatillo caponata . crave brother's mozzarella
right: steamed mussels . goat sausage croutons . cilantro . caesar

The best way to experience the menu at Girl at the Goat is to share as many of the small plates of food as you can fit in your stomach. We tried seven and were completely full at the end. One of the first dishes to arrive was the chickpea fritters. It definitely didn’t match what I had pictured as a chickpea fritter, but the dish was delicious, one we all agreed was probably the best of the night. The mussels themselves were just okay (I’m spoiled with Washington mussels), but their accompaniments were good.

IMG_9999-2  IMG_0003-2
left: sauteed green beans . fish sauce vinaigrette . cashews
right: roasted cauliflower . pickled peppers . pine nuts . mint

Both the green beans and the cauliflower came highly recommended by online reviews and our waitress. We loved the cauliflower, but the green beans weren’t as tasty as the typical garlic preparation we were used to from Chinese restaurants. I did like the cashews and the acidity of the vinaigrette as a nice change from the typical, but I’d still go with the garlic preparation if I had to choose.

IMG_0002-2  IMG_0006-2
left: confit goat belly . bourbon butter . lobster n' crab . fennel
right: grilled pork ribs . tomatillo-mushroom slaw . grilled scallion vinaigrette

They say to come to Girl and the Goat with an open mind. Makes sense. After all, the restaurant has “goat” in the name, pictures of a cartoon goat all over the restaurant, and a good half dozen dishes that contain goat, a meat that isn’t that standard in American cuisine. We took a “goat lite” approach, getting little tastes of it through the goat sausage with the mussels and a small portion of goat belly. It won’t say the experience elevated my love of the meat to duck and pork level, but it was still good to eat. The pork ribs smelled delicious and came easily off the bone.

wood oven roasted pig face . sunny side egg . tamarind . cilantro . potato stix

Remember the open mind thing? All over reviews on Yelp, people universally exclaimed, “Get the pig face!” Of course, we had to get the pig face. We aren’t extremely squeamish eaters, but once you hear “pig face,” it’s hard to get the image of a pig’s head staring at you out of your head. Of course, that’s not what the dish actually is. It’s just a piece of meat from the face (hidden under the egg in the picture) – a rich, sweet cut of meat. The idea behind the dish is “breakfast for dinner,” and I definitely agree that it’s a must try dish at Girl and the Goat.

IMG_0009-2  IMG_9989-2

Great dining experience, very reasonable total bill, and the good thing about the late reservation was that we got free parking! They really ARE very full. Make weekend reservations months in advance or walk in and eat at the bar. Stephanie Izard wasn’t there when we went (she actually made a stop in Seattle not long after I got back), but you can probably see her in the open kitchen if you pick a day she’s there.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2011 (November)

Posted by gck Monday, November 7, 2011 0 comments

It’s Day 7 of National Novel Writing Month, and since I just returned from a weekend at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I’m behind on my word count. And so my typing should be going towards that or towards the job that pays me so I can write a novel or attend a Shakespeare Festival. But I find that I have other thoughts that want to be written. And not really an audience to write them to. These posts don’t belong on Facebook. Most people don’t read Livejournal anymore. And I’ve deserted this blog so much that I’d be surprised if anyone checks it anymore. Oh well, thoughts to a mystery audience, that works just as well.

IMG_0383 IMG_0379
(right: fall colors in Jacksonville, left: historical charm in Jacksonville)

It’s been a week of what I can best describe as “passion overload.” I love this sort of feeling. It’s why I spend as much time as possible at the movie theaters when SIFF comes around each year. It’s why I drive almost 1000 miles twice a year to see 2-3 plays in 24 hours at OSF. It’s why I squeeze in full day hikes to gorgeous places as many times as I can during Washington’s limited summer season. It’s why I love the Seattle Nanowrimo community.

So.. the first week of Nano, two plays at OSF, lots of reading and plotting… I’m full of energy of people creating things, faraway worlds, and umm, the thrill of political assassination? I get into work today, sit down, and I am given a harsh reminder that my life and most of my time isn’t full of passion, visions, and creations. Running Powershell commandlets was so far out of the world my head was in that it yanked me immediately back to reality. Hello, dreamer. It’s time to wake up.

Every once in awhile, I find myself wishing that my life was completely different. (And oooh, that makes me sooo original.) Today is one of those days. Today I wish I could be an artist, a musician, a writer, even some fringe technical whatever in a creative production. The thoughts won’t last, of course, but for now, it’s nice to have them.

banners outside julius caesar
(banners outside of the New Theatre, photo credit: DK)

Hearing “Beware the Ides of March” yanks me back to high school English immediately. Probably the only thing that’s more effective in this area would be “sucks to your assmar,” but I don’t anticipate seeing a stage production of Lord of the Flies anytime in the near future. (OSF is kind of doing Medea in “Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella” next season so I might get to experience this regression again)

(OSF’s production of Julius Caesar, photo credit: Jenny Graham)

Julius Caesar was powerful. Even before we entered the theatre, it was clear that the production was a bold statement, from the very much talked about casting of a female (Vilma Silva) to the provocative banners along the entrance way and within the lobbies of the theatre featuring victims of political assassination and conflicting perceptions of them. Stark, minimalist set, with lots of black, tan, white, and bright red blood. Dramatic changes between dark and focused, bright lighting and silence and sudden, loud noise added to the suspense. Highlights for me were Caesar’s bloody death and haunting presence after her death, the very effective persuasions of Cassius, and Mark Antony’s famous “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech that really showed the audience how he swayed people from seeing the assassins as heroes to murderers. Yeah, okay, I should have re-read the play before I saw this. It’s been awhile. But even though I couldn’t remember who Metellus Cimber was or didn’t realize until afterwards that Calpurnia was missing, this production still had me completely engrossed. I’ve been a huge fan of Danforth Comins (Mark Antony) after seeing him in All’s Well that Ends Well and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Vilma Silva (Caesar) and Gregory Linington (Cassius) have been at OSF for a long time, but I’ve somehow managed to not see any of their performances until now. Hope I see more in the future!

Also saw The Imaginary Invalid, which completely lived up to my expectations of being continuous LOL. Really entertaining and a nice balance for the not-so-funny Julius Caesar, but it’s not something I’ll be musing about for years to come or anything like that.

IMG_0376  IMG_0389
(left: statues in Jacksonville, right: ducks in Lithia Park)

Rest of the trip: My friends Yamini and Nithish came along for this one (and they say they enjoyed it enough to do a repeat next year). All the driving time doesn’t allow for much extra stuff, but we did get to do some tax-free outlet mall shopping, Powell’s browsing in Portland, and exploring in Jacksonville. I love the Jacksonville Mercantile and that was my motivation for that stop. I was in great need of more aged balsamic vinegar, and now I’ve developed a new addiction to their toasted onion avocado oil, thanks to the free samples.

Looking forward to the 2012 season, and until then… back to the Powershell commandlets.