Thursday, September 9, 2010

Goodbye Summer

There has been a definite shift here in the Pacific Northwest.  It's not just the clouds and their omnipresence, nor the drizzly raindrops that are once again falling, accumulating on sidewalks and streaking windowpanes.  There's also a smell. An Earthy musk that stands to remind of fall's inevitability.

Even here in the city the scent of autumn is swirling through the air and hinting at sweaters and scarves and wooly things.  This time of year gives me butterflies in my stomach.  I can feel a sense of transition in the air around me that no other change of seasons brings.  With the equinox approaching, I prepare myself to hunker down for the cold, wet winter that's lurking in the shadows of summer's memories.

My summer ended on two excellent notes.  First, my mom and my Aunt Mary came to visit from the Midwest.  It was fun to play tourist for a week, to see my city through the eyes of newcomers, and to have the good fortune to eat many delicious meals.  We had a sort of mini culinary tour of the city.  Our favorite neighborhood restaurants (Araya's & The Bengal Tiger), some new places we'd never eaten at before (Poppy & Toulouse Petite), farmers markets, home-cooked meals... All I could think about was what we'd eat next. 

They were amazed by things I usually take for granted.  Uwajimaya, for instance.  In small-town, Ohio one may never see foods like these:

Dragon Fruit

Sea Urchins


What is this thing???
It was exciting to show off Seattle to visitors.  It was invigorating to here the oohs and ahhs over the waterfront on a sunny day, the giant stoicism of Mt. Ranier, the view of the Olympics from my living room, and the fresh, local foods that I had the pleasure of sharing with them.

I have a strong feeling that those two will be back.

Shortly after the hugs and goodbyes with my family, I had a potluck planned for some girlfriends on a Friday afternoon.  It felt like the last real day of summer as we lounged in shorts and tank tops, sipping mimosas and sampling each others' dishes.

Is this not the most beautiful salad you've ever seen? 

Salad Nicoise courtesy of Iris

We also feasted on this amazing bruschetta. One half is layered with cashew butter, pears and Parmesan.  The other is topped with colorful heirloom tomatoes.  Both were to die for.  The bread was a gluten-free loaf from Wheatless In Seattle, a local gluten-free bakery that my friend Beth (also in attendance) happens to work at.

Bruschetta courtesy of Britney
It was a great way to spend my last Friday off for the summer (so long, 3 day weekends!), and it was awesome to get so many of my favorite women in one room.  Sorry, boys.  Maybe you'll get invites next time around.

I feel pretty good going into fall this year.  The summer was too short, as is always the case at this northern latitude, but with family and friends and foods like these to reminisce on, I think I'm better prepared for the winter that is swiftly on its way.

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