Monday, September 21, 2009

Busy Busy

Hello all 4 of you (5 on a good day),
I’m doing my second blog of all time. Anyway, Michelle (will also be calling her Shelly from time to time) and I have had quite a busy last few weeks or as I have deemed it “2 weddings and a funeral”. First off we traveled to Poulsbo for Michelle’s cousins wedding. The wedding was great and they could not have asked for better weather. I’m sure Michelle will add some pics from the wedding because frankly I’m not very good at taking pictures and then remembering to upload them to the computer.
The following weekend, Michelle and I traveled down to CA on Friday night because my cousin, Courtney, was getting married down in Lodi, CA. Of the 4 grandchildren descending from the Gong side, Courtney was the first to get married. I will be the next one in July. Oldest and then youngest. Kev and Amanda will have to fight to see who is third. So like I said, we traveled down to good ‘ol California and had great weather. Courtney and her husband Scott were married at the Amorosa Inn and Gardens. (No, not the annoying woman from the first season of the Apprentice). It was really a great location and at night it reminded me of the title screen to Brothers and Sisters, the show after Desperate Housewives on ABC.
brothers and sisters
And the Amorosa Inn and Gardens:
(Thanks Lisa for this picture, I stole it from you)
After the wedding, the Sweeney men and Michelle enjoyed a few tacos and gorditas from Taco Bell, why? because we were craving the fourthmeal and it was right across the parking lot from our hotel. Luckily we didn’t have to walk through the drive thru like so many nights in college, we had my dad to drive us. Thanks Dad!! Finally at around midnight we went to bed. The next morning we woke up rather late (8 am) and slowly got up to go to Courtney’s brunch at 10 am. Those who needed it got some coffee *cough*Jess, Michelle, and Mom*cough* The Sweeney men don’t need no stinkin’ coffee. Back on track…..we got to my Auntie Robin’s house close to 10 and feasted on a delicous spread of croissants, muffins, cheese, deli meats, dishes containing eggs (can’t really remember the names), and my favorite, a hash brown casserole. I am weak when it comes to cheese and hash browns…let’s be honest, food in general. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay too long as Michelle and I had to catch a plane ride back to the Northwest. We had enough time, however, to stop at my parents office and pick up some uber cool sunglasses for Shelly and Jess. And although I voted against it, we picked up some chow fun and squid with spicy salt from our favorite Chinese restaurant in Los Gatos. After taking my first bite of the spicy salt, I became hungry, and then somehow consumed half the chow fun when we got back to my house. I was “jazzed” as my mom always likes to say ;) We left CA at around 7pm knowing that we were coming back 4 days later.
**On a side note, my cousin Courtney and her husband Scott are embarking on a year long world trip (totally jealous). If you wish to read about their travels they are the first link above on the blogroll aptly named “Courtney and Scott”.**
Thursday, October 15th was nice on two levels. One, it was the end of tax season for all extended 1040’s and two, Shelly and I headed back to CA. However this trip was for my Paw-Paw’s (Grandmother on Mother’s side) funeral service. We left Seattle at 8pm Thursday and got to San Jose at 10pm where we were greeted by some more chow fun and squid with spicy salt…the stuff is addicting. We woke up Friday at 5:30 am and headed out the door at 6am…but not before Michelle stopped at Starbucks for a little pick me up :) The burial was at 10am and pretty much the same family who came to Courtney’s wedding, was also present 6 days later. I joked that I saw most of my family more in 1 week than the past 2 years. It was incredibly emotional and it really hit me hard being that Pawps was the closest grandparent that I had. She was truly loved and will be missed by all. Even if she was a stubborn son of a gun (I think I know where I get it). After the burial, we had a service at the funeral home where 3 people were to speak. My Uncle Tim (Pawp’s brother), Kevin (my brother), and Janis Valorie Gong-Sweeney (my mother). Kev’s speech was just amazing and I’m so proud to call him my brother. He did an excellent job and truly touched on all the brightest moments we had with Pawps. My mom also did an outstanding job and we were all shocked how together she was. I mean she didn’t even shed a tear during her whole speech. Public speaking is definitely not her #1 fear. An interesting note is that my mom did cry when Kev and I knocked over the Christmas tree 15 years ago….good times brother, good times. After the service, we did what we always do when the family gets together……eat, and boy did we eat.
9 different Chinese dishes, yep, 9 different dishes were eaten following the service. My mom and Uncle Brad did an excellent job picking out the dishes. I definitely ate myself into a food coma. For those who don’t know me, I take the position that if it take 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain you are full…eat as much as you can in those 20 minutes. And I did just that. The only problem was, I had to drive home. We were tired from waking up early and unfortunately, that catches up with you. So we headed home at 3pm or so and only made it about an hour before I had to drink one of those Starbucks Double Shots. I don’t drink coffee, so those little things sure wake me up. Kev and Michelle were nice little co-pilots until they both fell asleep. Michelle amazes me because she can somehow crawl into the fetal position and sleep while only taking up one seat. Guys definitely can’t do that. We ended up going to bed late that night as we just caught up on some TV shows and talked with my parents.
Saturday, Michelle, Kevin, and I ran errands all over the Bay and finished the day eating at our favorite Pakistani/Indian restaurant, Shalimar or as Michelle calls it, Shalimaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!! We ordered double what we normally get and all I will say is….I paid for it. Moving onto Sunday….
Sunday, Michelle and I went to a Crate and Barrel Registry thingy ma bob. We registered for more stuff and got a free candy dish. Haha Michelle will be mad that this is all I am describing it as, but pretty much that was it. We left Sunday at 5pm for Seattle, ready to begin our week.
So here we are now. I’ve recapped the past few weeks, which gives me 3 more weeks to absorb and then blog about. The word counter as I type says I’ve typed 1130 words, wait no, 1134, 1135, okay I’ll stop now. I know this was long and I hope the 3 of you (I know I lost one by now) enjoyed my ramblings. Until next time….

Cupcake Competition

Our Favorite!
Our Favorite!
Last night Scott and I went cupcake taste testing at our not-so-secret favoriteTrophy Cupcakes. Hey, it’s a tough job, but someone had to do it. Although, if we are being perfectly honest, we didn’t really need to test anything.  We had decided that we were going with Trophy Cupcakes for our wedding before we were even engaged.
We’ve tried the competitors (Cupcake Royale, Sprinkles, etc.) before and we just can’t find another professional cupcake company who can quite compete at Trophy’s level.  As the foodies that we are, we believe that for a cupcake to be a “good cupcake”, it goes farther than some good frosting.  For us, the most difficult thing about baking cupcakes is producing a cake that is just as good in flavor and as moist as a regular sized cake.  What we’ve found that this is where others have not been able to match Trophy.
Although we both agree that Lisa, makes the best red velvet receipe EVER!, for a chain bakery Trophy does a pretty amazing job.  I guess while we are away from Lisa’s amazing baking skills, Trophy will have to do :)
Red Velvet and Mint Chocolate Chip (The "mint leaf" is rice paper and completely edible)
Red Velvet and Mint Chocolate Chip (The "mint leaf" is rice paper and completely edible)
The best part about taste testing some of the flavors was there were a few we had never tried before. Including their carrot cake, vanilla vanilla, and the mint chocolate chip.  What was great is they were served as mini cupcakes so we could try a wide variety of flavors without falling subject to a complete sugar coma (although we still have the option of bringing some home!!) I would still say that our favorites would be snickerdoodle and hummingbird (which is similiar to a banana bread with cream cheese frosting!)
Each cupcake really is like a piece of artwork. They have flower and petal designs that can really push the look over the edge.

The "mini's" we got to bring home!
The "mini's" we got to bring home!
What made the night a little bit more fun was without us knowing, two of my friends (also recent brides-to-be) were also at Trophy for cake testing.   I guess cupcakes are the new way to go! 
Now it is just down to ordering the “right” flavors and the “right” numbers.  But maybe we will have to go back… just to “make sure” :)
If you haven’t been to Trophy, you must! but if you think that your favorite cupcake place can beat ours, let us know, we will gladly accept another taste test!!

Do the Puyallup

Dear Puyallup Fair,
The kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter, and the weather is cooling down, which can only mean one thing: The Puyallup Fair. Wow. Saturday night was…amazing. When I took my first bite of my annual Cheesequake burger, I instantly remembered why you are a annual tradition in my family. Ending the night with a baker’s dozen of hot scones, you blew me the heck out of town! Every buttery, rich bite stuffed with raspberry jam was worth it.
Thanks, Michelle & Scott

So, every year in our area there is an annual fair, The Puyallup Fair. Traffic gets backed up, the streets are a nightmare, but the fair is more than worth it to our family. There are miles of fair food booths and a ton of exhibits, featuring art, flowers, gadgets and crafts.
 Even though there are a lot of points of why I love the Fair, there are three reasons our family goes every year. The first is this is where my dad proposed to my mom♥♥♥ And the second is the infamous Earthquake Burgers. No day at the Puyallup Fair is complete without a visit to Earthquake Burgers for a half pound burger smothered in grilled onions and American cheese. I was AMAZED (along with the rest of my family) that both Scott and Pat ate an entire one on their own. I guess it is just the excitement of being at the Fair the first time  :) This is the first year that I even ate half of one! The third reason we go to the fair are the Fischer Fair Scones. This year my mom and I tried to find out exactly what brand of jam it is that they used. We even went so far to do a quick scan of their dumpster!! I guess you can keep your secret for now, but we will be back next year to try again!! Even thought you can buy the mix and make these scones at home, there is something about those scones being hot, with loads of butter and their top-secret jam that makes them “fair” special!

 Scott and I were also excited to get a few items at the fair for our married life together! Two Cutco Knives! Woo whoo! Only downside… is waiting almost another 9 months to use them!! Overall I think the group decision was the Fair was just as good as we remembered, and everything we ever told Pat and Scott about! Scott and I are going to try to head back on Friday for round two of greasy foods. And if Scott and I don’t make it back for round two on Friday… Here’s to next year at the Fair!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ode to what I miss

One can’t even begin to understand the cravings that I have everytime I think of one of my favorite restaurants. I would like to personally thank Jess for the knowledge she shared over two years ago. How I miss walking home with Jess because we were too full to drive, and then finding some way to eat baskin-robbins on the way.

I miss Shalimar and I miss Jess.. i know Scott does too

Scott the Chef

I love my fiancee Scott :) He made dinner last night for my family and it was delicious! I am just having the leftovers for lunch now, and thought I would comment about how good it was!
Scott doesn’t cook very often, but he might be cooking more now that I’ve seen what he can do :) Thanks to Lorie for the recipe!!