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Natural Refrigerator

Korean Designer, Jihyun Ryou redesigned this beautiful refrigeration system based on historical methods of keeping fruits & vegetables fresh just like the good ol' days...

 Check out the video below of her explaining the concept and how it works...:



Golden Communal Dinner

So....part II of my epic birthday DAY!  I'm done talking about myself and would like to just devote this post to share this amazing place to the rest of the world!  I had one of the most memorable dinning experience at Belle Clementine for my 30th birthday!

It's a fairly new restaurant opened in Ballard just last December and lucky for us... only a 15 min walk from our house!

We didn't know that much about it besides that they do communal-style coursed dinners, with only 36 seats, one meal a night,  3.5 course meal + 1 drink for only $40 (including tip!), everyone sits next to each other even if you don't know them, and the idea is to just enjoying food with "simple ingredients, treated simply and honestly"  (which reminds us of Italy in a lot of ways!)

So just knowing all that alone made us convinced to try the place....AND also invited 29 other friends to try it for the first time, too!! thinking back,  that was prooooobably not the smartest move for the fact that most of our friends are foodies, and none of us knew that much about it!!

But we decided to just take the leap of faith and just go with it....

and boy was I more than pleased....

The owner, David Sanford, who conceived of the idea for a restaurant that is all about building a community through people and food, and about connecting and sharing over meals.  The building itself is a century-old and used to be a furniture warehouse.  David designed & built the space with a perfect balance of elements: simple, clean, sophisticated, and best of all, warm and comfortable like home...

When we first got to the place, we walked through a narrow hallway that almost felt like an entryway to a we reached the end of the hallway, the space opened up to an expansive space with a tall wood ceiling, an open kitchen on one side, and 3 long dinning tables on the other. There was even a wall with coat hangers, shelves & a bench for people to drop all their stuff off and get comfortable just like at a nice dinner party at someone's AMAZING home that is.

As everyone settled in, two servers went around and served everyone a drink of their own choosing and served up some bread and beautiful fresh olives with orange zest as starters (orange zest was an increbily simple way to make the olives all the tastier).

The format of having this fixed dinner for only 36 people and serving one meal for one evening was surprisingly relaxing. We didn't really realize why that was at first...and were just feeling that everything simply..well, just felt nice! But as we thought about it more...we realized the fact that everyone eats at the same time, makes a huge difference in the whole experience!

This meant that we didn't have to deal with the usual stress like going to a busy place where we'd have to wait for at least an hour, if not more in Ballard on a Friday.  After finally sitting down, then taking too much time debating what to get, and then dealing with grumpy impatient waiters...and then the worst is when we feel rushed after eating because the bussers keep wanting to clear the table even though there's still food on the plates....and really, they just need to clear people out so they move to the next diners....

So this was SO refreshing for a change, we didn't have to worry about what dishes to get, the servers  & chef were all super accommodating and had time to actually have a conversation about what we were eating! There was none of the crazy intensity of servers pacing around with multiple dishes in one hand, breaking plates or serving up the wrong food....

It was just a pleasant low-key dinning experience minus all the stressful & chaotic elements at a typical restaurant. Doesn't that just sound so nice? I have enough white hair as it is and certainly don't need more just from eating dinner! 

So finally, the best part....the food! Here's the menu served that evening!

All the dishes were made with locally sourced ingredients, so it was all seasonal and super fresh.

Beyond that, each dish had this unexpected combination of simple, yet complex flavors....where they were so simple that I could taste the actual flavors of each ingredient, but complex in how the flavors unfolded in layers with each bite....It was a perfect balance where nothing was overpowering...and instead everything complemented each other really well.

The Feta with locally forged nettles was probably the most interesting for the fact that it was so different. Most of us aren't even that familiar with the taste of nettles, or doesn't even know that they're edible! But now we know we wanna get more!

The halibut dish with russo Kale and white beans was also amazing where the lightly roasted crispy kale paired perfectly with the soft halibut in terms of their texture and taste.

I still can't believe that David and his staff were able to pull off the meal that accommodate all 29 of us!  Dylan made the reservation for everyone and mentioned some dietary restrictions certain people have (50% of us in fact!), thinking most likely that someone will just have to not eat some of the dishes...but instead, David said it wasn't at all a problem and ended up creating a whole meal that everyone enjoyed.

If it was any other place to ask that many people to just go and try without knowing that much about would have been a TOTAL disaster ......and worst of all, we would end up being black listed by all our friends as someone to never have dinner with, EVER! :p

Just the THOUGHT of trying to find a place that can possibly accommodate that many people between all the different complexity of various dietary restrictions/ preferences / standards just stresses me out, since usually there would be at least a few people to end up walking away not satisfied. 

But I was more than impressed that David somehow managed to cater to all the different needs and STILL create dishes where no one felt like the meal was a compromise.  Everyone walked away from the place feeling full and amazed by everything they tasted. Unbelievable...

So lucky for me, BC turned out to be the perfect place to have a great meal and a special birthday party!  David even came out to talk to us about the place, the food, and then sang happy birthday with some surprise dessert!!

Cupcakes with sheep's milk cream frosting! UH-mazing!

David letting us check out the kitchen and let me go camera crazy!

All this talking about BC is totally making me hungry...

Check out their FB page to see all the updates, what they're serving up each day, their process on where and how they get ingredients, and all the beautiful dishes they've served in the past! But just to warn you, it'll make you super hungry...and most likely drool on your keyboard....a lot.


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Best Golden Day EVER!

I'm still floating on clouds thinking about my epic golden day last Friday!!

Here's how the day went...

Dylan woke me up by bringing me breakfast in bed with some coffee and treats from Besalu pastries. Then I got kicked out for the rest of day, since Dylan had to take over the house to decorate. But I especially don't mind in cases like this. :)

I was excited to meet up with Ashley a bit to go over some new ideas we're collaborating's a SNEAK PEAK!

Then I met up with my sister and got some play time with my niece, Yvette! Awww....look at her adowable worry eyebrows!

Then it was time to put on my outfit for the evening with a gold rope necklace with materials I found at Joann's of all places!

Even the sun came out to say hello....

Then bunch of friends and I went to Belle Clementine for a delicious community coursed meal.

This was one of best dinner experience with good food, good drinks, good friends and people at the restaurant. (more details about the dinner later!)

Here's a teaser photo....a glass of Lillet, some lightly pickled green olives with orange zest,  and sheep's milk feta cheese over saute nettle forged from the Northwest.

Then after dinner, we went back for more partying at our house withe the whole place decked out in all sorts of gold decorations!

I also got this special giant gold gobblet to drink out of!

and then totally stuffed my face with more homemade treats & special cocktail drinks from everyone.

Thanks Dylan &  everyone that came out to celebrate with me on my special day! I had the most amazing time...and I really couldn't have asked for anything more!!


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I'd Like to Tap That: Smith Tower...Again

Check out this amazing photos essay by our friend  Kyle Johnson who did the piece for Kinfolk Magazine Vol. 3!! Kyle proposed the project and shot the story while Ashley Helvey styled the shoot at the top pyramid part of Smith Tower.

 When the NYT feature of the space came out about 2 years ago,  I wrote a blog post about that space and about how my life won't even compare to the 3 year old kid who's been living there!! But that was the past... now the NEW me, is little bit more optimistic knowing that I'm less than 6 degrees separated from the people who lives there.  I'm getting SO close I can taste it!But seriously though....I'm SUPER excited for Kyle & Ashley that they got to do this (and of course, equally jealous! ) It looked like such a surreal hang out in the space, see the view of the city & the water from the 40th floor, while eating a homemade meal by Molly Wizenberg (of Orangette) and Brandon Pettit ( of Delancey)! 

Yah, I know, can it get anymore ridiculous than this? I would very much like to shut the front door on them, too.

Someday....I'll get to a point where I don't have to pay $35+ just to see views like this on a day-to-day bases.



A Perfect day in NY

After 5 long grueling days of smiling, staring, smirking, standing, and more smiling at the NYIGF, I finally got some personal downtime right after the show ended.

and totally had myself the most perfect day....

First, I stopped at the closest Dean & Deluca and paid for an over priced iced latte and one of this amazing carrot cake doughnuts from  doughnut planet and "wrote" a card to Dylan with one of these Utility Cards by Grain. Each card is filled with words all of sorts for every occasion possible. It's more than brilliant!

It took me a while but composed my own phrase "WAHZZ....UP....MY....BOY....FRIEND....I....MISS....YOU....WAY....TOO....MUCH....YEA..."

Then I walked through Highline checking out the new addition, which is even more amazing than before!

I sat one of the the lounge benches and ate one of these deliciously handmade peach elderberry popsicle.

Then I actually got to soak up some sun for at least couple of hours... and as shameful as this sounds (but I'm not longer ashamed) I starting hearing Sheryl Crow's "soak up the sun" in my head out of nowhere!

Normally I'd freak out if that song were to pop in my head at any other moments, but instead I kept my cool...and just embraced it. 

I got to read a bit, stared at the clouds, did some people watching, and all the while still humming the was so refreshing.


Then what made it EVEN more perfect is that I met up with Chika & Jesse and got to enjoy THE most perfect dish at Joseph Leonard with all the simple ingredients I love the most....

Just look at that perfect egg sitting perfectly on top of a cute little piece of to a perfectly healthy bed of frisee salad topped with perfectly crisped bacon bits....

Can't say that I get to expereince a lot of days like this anymore, but whenever it happens...I just totally love every moment of it...even if Sheryl Crow comes into the picture.Can't say that I get to expereince a lot of days like this anymore, but whenever it happens...I just totally love every moment of it...even if Sheryl Crow comes into the picture.






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Worst Day Ever...

I had to work last Saturday to finish the VERY last item for FAB.

But it was seriously ROUGH....probably the roughest day I ever experienced.

I had to sit outside under the blinding sun...


Then had get my picnic sheet out to sit and hand crochet the Mega-Doily Rug for the some sort of farm peasant! 


 And to make matter worse....


...I had to make some honey whiskey with ginger ale & mint to stay cool & hydrated,  and eat these fresh tayberries from the local farmer's market instead of a real meal.

...this work environment is just plain absurd.

I think at some point I even fainted....but no one believed me and just said I looked like I was sun tanning...or got drunk and fell asleep!! They've never had to work in the sun, crocheting a rug while being intoxicated on a Saturday! What do they know!!

ok...MAYBE I doze off a bit...but not the whole time!


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Summer Drink Recpie for D*S Behind the Bar

We love Ryan & Alissa from one of our favorite online shop, Horne, who also carries our Superior Servers on their shop!

We couldn't be more thrilled, when Ryan asked me to write something for their Behind The Bar column for Design* Sponge.

I've always loved having picnics (especially an impromptu picnic that I did for this post!). And lately I've been really into using cucumbers...even just in water! So I came up with the this Summer Cucumber Lemon Vodka drink!  You can read the entire post HERE.


The best part of doing all this was that after taking the photos, Dylan & I got to enjoy the drinks with some friends for a real picnic! is rough.....


Have a great weekend!!




Getting Our Hunger On for Portland!

I'm hoping that with any downtime before & after the Remodelista Market that we'd just eat our way through Portland....

I just saw on Remodelista mentioning Olympic Provisions where they make homemade cured meat & etc all that goodness:
All this also got me thinking that I should really try Tasty n Sons. My friend have been telling me about this place since they opened last year...and every time she talks about the all the dishes she tried for dinner & brunch there, we both would start to get hungry again.... all the while we're talking about this over dinner....
And THEN there's Le Pigeon ... for the past 4 years since I saw this place, I've made several attempts where it all failed since they're either closed for vacation or we just went at the wrong time. :(
would love to try their amazing looking dishes one of these days!!!
On top of all this, even at the day of the Remodelista Market there will be food by Koi Fusion, Oregon Ice Works, coffee by Ristretto Roasters and Bakeshop by Kim Boyce!!

I'm getting a food coma just looking and thinking about all this food...
I'm thinking that I need to come up with some major plan to hit all these places, and perhaps even do back to back meals...
So don't be surprised if you see a person lying on the side of the road in Portland at some point this weekend...most likely that will be me passed out from all the food that I'll be consuming....and there's no need to call 911....just stay calm and walk away....simply walk away....



Sprout of a Great Idea

After a long day of work doing our L&G Spring Sale, we had the pleasure to go to one of the Sprout dinners! Sprout is a local Seattle non-profit organization where they organize dinners in support of local artists, designers, or performers and their creative endeavors through a voting process over a meal. The idea: Attendees pay $20 for a full deliciously homemade 3 course meal. A list of 4-6 Artists/designers presents their project to the audience as they dine. At the end of the meal, everyone votes for their favorite project. Then the winner gets the money collected from the event to pursue their dream!! I just love how simple and straight forward this format is in getting people from the community to participate and support something collectively. It was a totally enriching experience to see and hear about all the interesting projects and help support someone and their ideas...and all the while eating amazing food and drinking wine & local brewed beer....pretty amazing. What was served: Home made pickled beets & string beans. Toasted quinoa with goat cheese. Simple penne pasta dish with saute chard & fresh tomatoes. Rhubarb crisp with homemade caramel & ice cream....HEAVEN!! I like it when Seattle makes awesomeness like this. :) I already can't wait for the next event! Watch this great video about Sprout:



Japan blips

We're filling up our camera and memory banks of incredible experiences here in Japan! So much to blog, such limited internet access!

Just to assuage any readers' fears...we're safe and sound after experiencing the biggest earthquake in modern Japanese history. We were so lucky to be in Ichikawa at the Minatos' shop Depot/Lovelife. Just before the quake, we had just finished eating the most amazing Ramen ever and were in a ceramic workshop at Depot (more pics on that later). We felt the quake and our first instincts were to save all the poor beautiful shaking ceramics on the shelves, so we were frantically bracing everything. Maybe not the smartest tactical decision for our personal safety, but we can proudly say we're still alive along with all but one of the ceramic pieces in their shop! We've been saddened and shocked by all the devastation that took place just north of us and continue to hope for a quick, nuclear-meltdown-free recovery. We feel so lucky to be in a safe spot.

So, here are some visual "teasers" of some Japan posts to come! We are continuing our trip and will be heading south to Kyoto and Okayama tomorrow for the week. Hope to fill you all in soon.

Beautiful mossy wall in Tokyo

Stacked chairs at Aika and Yume Minato's school. We got to visit and had a wonderful Q&A sesh with 2nd and 4th graders.

A basket of wooden lids at a used restaurant supply store (SO COOL!)

Every wonder why you can't find Red Wings or other cool vintage brands in US thrift stores? They send them all here to this giant vintage reseller...aisles and aisles of classic American and Japanese brands for lower than new, but still high prices.

Sakura Mochi and tea...the first thing we had right after we landed...

"Stations are city gateways. Never an ashtray." and other subway warnings.

In case you were wondering where to stand at the's right here.


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Japan Sight / Taste / Find: 3/10

Day 5: A little nostalgic


This photo wouldn't be as awesome if the women sleeping wasn't sitting on the 70's upholstery on the train...

Freshly made rice crackers in the historic neighborhood of Tokyo in 浅草 Asakusa.

One of my favorite item...Japanese 手ぬぐい Tenugui. They're simple cotton  hand towels with a  versatile purpose and can be used for wrapping, cleaning, or simply for decorating.

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Japan Sight / Taste / Find: 3/9

Day 4: Full day of visual stimulation

SIGHT: Seiya & Mami's took us to visit their kids, Aika & Yume's, elementary school to talk about the difference of school & lifestyle between the States & Japan.

Dinner at the Minatos and hand 手巻き寿司 Temakizushi with super delicious & fresh fish of all sorts.

A used restaurant supply store filled with fun things of all sorts that made us want to open a restaurant just for the fun of it.


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Japan Sight / Taste / Find: 3/8

Day 3: Roaming around

Playground with a globe marry go round.

Mami made us a well-rounded breakfast with the best tasting egg.

Got stuck looking at tiny microscopic miniature people of all sorts in the model making department of 東急ハンズ  Tokyu Hands....a department store of 7 floors filled with materials, supplies, and everyday items of anything you'll ever need and everything you CAN'T think to need but feel compelled to get....Pretty much, it's like heaven and hell at the same time.

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Japan Sight / Taste / Find: 3/7

Day 2: Woke up and saw this...

SIGHT: Snow in March?!

Lunch & a lovely dessert set at a close by Japanese-Italian restaurant in 市川 Ichikawa where they made their own desserts.


Got couple of vintage  暮らしの手帖 Kurashi No Techo lifestyle magazine at Seiya & Mami's friends vintage book shop, Smoke Books. They had a whole shelf of them from the 70's & 80's filled with the best photos of everyday delights!



Japan Sight / Taste / Find: 3/6

This is start of the our trip with the series of 3 photos highlighting our daily discoveries where each photo represents an interesting sighting, some yummy food we tasted, and things we found.

DAY 1: right after we arrived...

At 林檎の木 Ringo No Ki Gallery  in 千葉 Chiba checking out our friend Atsushi who makes Gunung bike & lifestyle accessories.

Got to taste these beautiful seasonal 桜もちSakura Mochi wrapped in shiso leaves as the first thing we ate after landing.


Handmade steel tape dispensers by a local artisan in 市川 Ichikawa.



JOIN at NYIGF 2011 Report

We were excited to see the friendly folks at the American Design Club (AmDC) and check out what new exciting works was at their booth.
Started by Kiel Mead around the same time as when Jamie started JOIN, AmDC is like the East coast version of JOIN; A grass root design collective with a common goal to promote and showcase emerging US design studios and designers. A wonderful collection of silver cast jewelery & accessories by Kiel Mead. I love his new "Pennant Flag" necklace where each flag is movable!
Simple & clever wooden tongs by Patrick Kim / Charming wooden "Merit Badge" necklaces by Fort Standard. Elegantly modern "Tool" pendant & rings by Silvia Bradhsaw / Faceted "Octagon Face" hanging lamp by Brendan Ravenhill.
Beautifully grotesque "Swell Vase" made with insulation foam & produce mesh by Chen Chen / Playful faceted wooden "Balancing Blocks" by Fort Standard / Flocked "Coatknob" by Brian Persico / "Tendril" lamps by Chen Chen. It's always so fun to connect with the delightful folks from AmDC and learning about them, what they do, and all that fun stuff. It made me realize that we actually have more in common than most people's perception about the east & the west coast...
As emerging designers, we have a lot in common in our situations, goals, values, and interest....and can totally geek out over tools, machines, materials, and other random topics like how the sound of falling wood blocks is oh so satisfying....

So really..we're not that different at all...we're all just people trying to make the best out of ourselves, pursue our creative dreams and live a fulfilling life...we're like a bunch of little fishies in the big ocean!...or in this particular the big Javits convention center with way over-priced mediocre food & at least, we can all bond over that....
Then on one of the days, we got to celebrate Chelsea from Grain's Birthday! ..or should I say...Happy Boozeday!
Hey...we all needed a little break for having to be at the Javits for 5 days straight!! This shall be a good bi-annual tradition from now on. :)
After a long day at the Javits...there's nothing like shoving good ol' greasy comfort food in our faces at the crazy Hill Country BBQ (This is as far to Texas as I'm willing to go....) along with the folks from AmDC.
and this was how it all went down.... greasy bbq ribs, cornbread, collard greens, and couple of sweet vodka with ginger ale...
....aaaaand I'm out.



Merry Holidays

We're REALLY getting into the last-minute holiday mood now...

I decided to put together some Cozy Peppermint Hot Coco kits with marshmallow popsicles as the holiday treats to give to people.

Here's the list of materials for each kit:
1/2 pt mason canning jar
2 Tablespoon hot coco mix
1 teaspoon ground up peppermint candy cane
1 mini peppermint candy cane
1 marshmallow
1 wooden Popsicle stick
1 plastic bag
decorative paper

Here's the instruction to make the ultimate cozy and foamy hot chocolate drink!
STEP 1: Add a bag of hot coco mix, add heated milk or heat milk with coco mix in microwave (without lid!!)
STEP 2: Close lid tightly and shake vigrously for 30 seconds.
STEP 3: Open lid and enjoy with treats!



Feeling the Holiday Itch

Since I got such a late start in actually working on holiday things for ourselves, I felt like I still needed to do something fun for the holiday
...and with the little time that's left to send out already late holiday cards, wrapping presents and making treats, I decided to cheat a little by cutting up these SUPER addicting Stroop waffle cookies to make them more festive & cute lookin'!! I get to eat the offcuts. :)
Just perfect!



Feast for the Eyes

I know these ridiculous photos created by Forsman & Bodenfors & Carl Kleiner for Ikea’s new baking book, Hembakat är Bäst (Homemade Is Best) have already traveled around already...but I needed to share it here!
Conceptually this is very similar to what I did for L&G's Superior Servers where each photo had an arrangement of ingredients for a dish....except they did it THOUSANDS times better and have taken it to a WHOLE other level that just totally blew my photos out of the water...and my mind.

I went with simple route and did dishes like ...caprice salad, berries with mint, and rosemary ham with potatoes....
And that was hard enough just shooting those 3 photos picking out the perfect-looking uniform sized cherry tomatoes, berries, mint leaves and all that...and oh...and that piece of picture perfect ham cost me $45.....I'll never forget that moment when I laid my eyes on it at the deli....I immediately called Dylan and said  "I think we found our perfect ham..."
It's not very often where I would get so excited over a piece of meat...but boy was that a fine-lookin' piece of ham!

So with that said,  I can only imagine how long it takes to plan and making the arrangement for all these recipes! There are only 50,000 of the book printed and only offered at Ikeas in Sweden....bummer...
So until I can fly over there and get a copy myself, I just have to enjoy them here.

Also this video showing the making of it is pretty awesome, too.

IKEA – Homemade is Best. from Forsman & Bodenfors on Vimeo.



L&G Servers on Oh Joy Eats!

L&G servers on Oh Joy Eats!
I absolutely love everything that Joy shares...but I have to be careful and not read her food blog too often since I just find myself getting really hungry every time I read it and want to eat everything...including my computer....