Category Archives: Earthly Noms

Friday Food Truck: 314 Pie

52nd Friday: 314 Pie
Facebook: fb.com/314pieseattle 
Twitter: @314PieSeattle
Website: www.314pieseattle.com/
Price: $$
Food Tried:
– apple cinnamon pie ($5)
– chicken pot pie ($8)

IMG_1712The first time that 314 Pie came to the International District, they sold out so quickly that I could only order a dessert pie and eat it as an appetizer before I tucked into lunch at a nearby restaurant.

The next time someone mentioned going there, I jumped at the chance, not wanting to miss out again. In our group, we ordered the last lamb pie, which tells you how popular food trucks are in the ID (hint, hint, we want other trucks!). That time, I was lucky enough to snag a chicken pot pie, which I gladly tucked into at my desk, since trying to eat it while walking back to the office turned out to be quite difficult.

IMG_1830The key to a good pie, like a good building, is a strong foundation, in this case the crust. The pies from 314 have a moist body crust, with crumbly and flaky ceilings. They’re just the right proportion of crust to filling, and compliment the flavors perfectly–mellowing the sweetness of the apple pie, and balancing the saltiness of the chicken pie.

Next is fillings: in this case, both were quite wonderful. The apples were juicy and perfectly seasoned. The chicken–while unexpectedly shredded rather than cubed as in other pot pies I’ve had in the past–was moist, and balanced with fresh veggies.

IMG_1831Portion size is key too–making a personal size pie is an art since everyone has different appetites. For me, I shared the dessert pie, but ate the chicken pie all by myself. I wasn’t overfull, nor did I feel I had too much or too little for what I was eating–entrees should fill you perfectly, whereas desserts are better in half-sizes.

I was very pleased with my entire 314 Pie experience, and will be glad to go try other pies in the future–I’m also pleased they’ve decided to come hang out with us in the ID, since we get food truck famines sometimes.

Wednesday Weigh-In #11

I am pretty pumped about this week’s stats. There’s still room for improvement, even upon my Good categories (four of the six!), but it’s the first week in a while that feels like a solid step in the right direction. I need to get a lot more active, still, but the weather has turned cold again, so I’ll do what I can when I can.

The Good

Sleep 11 - GoodSleep
I am the best at sleeping of ever. Actually, that’s a lie, since they say you need 8 hours a night, but I’m an ardent believer that I need 7, so I think I am right (especially since I’m totally alarm free and loving it). Interestingly, this week had three nights with less than 7, and I definitely felt it the next day, and had to try and make sleep up. Overall, it was a good week though.

Calories 11- GoodCalories
This week was my lowest week EVER. Okay, not of all time probably, but since I started tracking 11 weeks ago. In fact, it was 8 calories lower per day on average than the next lowest week, which was week #1! I wasn’t necessarily trying to be super attentive, other than doing my best not to snack all weekend, and getting a lot more active (spoilers for what’s to come). It’s okay to take more in if I’m burning it off and end up with a good stat in the end!

Miles 11 - GoodMiles
Boom, baby! Another best week ever: 6 of my 7 goal miles were put on these knees and feet this week. No lie, it wasn’t easy to just jump up to doing two mile runs, but I found myself really enjoying the distance: I was able to push myself (meaning actually improve pace) on the back-halves of each run, and feel like I was actually training, rather than just surviving. Onward to my London 10k!

Steps 11 - GoodStepsIn a lot of ways, this was my best week ever: in addition to the above categories, I also logged the highest average steps per day this week (8 steps more per day than week #6, aka when I was traveling a lot). I’ll take it! Getting out and running helped my steps, my miles, and my calories. That’s a powerful activity, and I plan to do a lot more of it. I also took some nice long walks this week when the weather was still good.

The Bad

FV 11 - BadFruits & Veggies
Gosh darnit, I was thinking I was on the upswing for a while there. It’s unsurprising to me that my physical activity improves before my diet does, but it’s really something I’ve got to push myself harder on. Fruits and veggies are so good for me, I simply must eat more of them! I haven’t been eating as much this week, I guess, so I haven’t been logging the necessary fibers. Room to improve!

The Ugly

Nutrition 11 - UglyNutrition
Okay, to be fair, this is an improvement over last week. Fat proportion has gone down, but unfortunately so has protein, and all at the expense of carbs. I don’t need more carbs! I need more protein! I must start eating… I don’t know, like whole chicken breasts for dinner or something! Definitely am going to focus on this as soon as I get settled in my new place and start cooking more.

In the end…

Weight 11Stability is the name of the game. To be fair, you can see that this is a long term pattern of stability with occasional spikes, but there’s space to improve. I don’t feel as fit as I want to, and I’m hoping to get weight-lifting in coming weeks, in addition to adding cardio. I’m sure that will help my calorie counts, and miles, and energy (and thus sleep), and hopefully we can start to see a little bit of improvement in this stat by Week 20. Eyes forward, focus and carry on.

Weigh-in Wednesday #9 (+ Monthly Checkin…)

So it’s been a while! Not on purpose–the first week was just bad habit, but then my Mac met a sticky cup of Coke and ended up retiring to the Genius Bar for a few martinis and a bit of plastic (and other materials) surgery. Now we’re back in business, with a (basically) brand new computer. I’ve got a lot to catch up on, but we’ll take it one day at a time.

The Good

Sleep - GoodSleep

As usual, I’m the queen of sleep, and generally have been good for the past several weeks — before my vacation I had a really rough week, and had a short night last week, but I make sure to make up for it when I can (like in Hawaii–week 7). This past week, I put in 7.2 hours on average, a solid 12 minutes above my goal of 7 hours.

The Bad

FV - BadFruits and Veggies

While this week wasn’t as bad as some have been, the past month hasn’t been that good–generally 2 or fewer veggies per day on average. I’m working to stop eating the high fat/salt snacks at work, and go to the veggie plates we set out, so hopefully this will continue to improve. There’s definitely plenty of space for improvement!

Miles - BadMiles

I was surprised to look back at my month and see that week 6 was a good one (2 Pure Barre classes and 1 Yoga class). This week, I’ve tried to get a few miles in here or there–my doctor told me at my last appointment that I need to get more active, so I’m trying to find lots of different ways to do so. I can’t wait to run outside again soon though!

Steps - BadSteps

Air travel is good for steps–there’s nothing like an airport to up step counts (like my 12000+ day last week when I went to Vancouver). However, I’ve been pretty inactive lately (see also Miles), so I’ve got plenty of space to improve. As the rain goes away, I hope to start riding my bike to work, and walking two extra bus stops when I have time.

The Ugly

Calories - UglyCalories

Ouch–my biggest week yet! I’m not really sure why my caloric intake has gone up so much in the past several weeks, but if you look at my decreased activity levels and increased caloric intake, I think you won’t be surprised at the weight stats you’ll see below… It’s not a fun thing, but I can’t deny that “there’s no reason I’m gaining weight!”

FCP - UglyNutrition

Similar to the stats you’ve seen, I’ve also had a big uptick in my fat content–it’s more than my daily carbohydrate intake, on average! I really need to shift my protein uptake way up to try and win this nutrition fight, but it’s hard because this counts both healthy and unhealthy fat…

The Final Result

WeightWeight

Whereas for a while I seemed to be stabilizing just below 150lbs, I’m now consistently above it… that makes me have a solid 15lbs I’d like to lose, and it’s not going to be easy (was it ever?). I can see the things I need to do, but I just make bad choices or forget to stick to the rules when I shop. Self-improvement never ends.

Weigh-in Wednesday #6

Another week, another dollar, another few pounds moving around here and there. I started trying to find my groove again this week, getting out to work out once, and refocusing on health rather than results. There’s still room for improvement, but I’m starting to get the hang of it.

The Good

sleep - goodSleep
As always! I am still alarm-free, but I seem to be having some difficulty sleeping this week. I find myself waking up in strange positions, destroying the bed, and generally feeling poorly rested. My roommate has gotten a job which means that while I don’t wake up with an alarm, I do wake up to the noises of her moving around. That’s the same difference, really, because I’m not waking up when I’m ready.

F&V - goodFruits & Veggies
Here we go, baby! The desire to not pay $5 per missed veggie less than four per day on average is quite an incentive for me, because while I didn’t eat four every day, I did eat four per day on average. I don’t notice any difference in the way I feel, and usually I’m forcing myself late at night to eat them, but I will work to incorporate them into meals more. That will help me get to 5 a day!

Steps - goodSteps
My second best step week yet! I had a really big day and a really little day, and apparently they averaged out, along with the others, to about 7,000 per day. I’ve got plenty of space for improvement, but this is still a move in the right direction. I can’t wait to start running again and getting steps from that. Come on, warm weather! (It has, in fact, gotten colder than usual this week, so it might be a while before I get out and enjoy it.)

The Bad

Calories - badCalories
Huzzah! I had a better week than last week, though just barely overshot my 1,500 calorie goal (the raw average was 1,505). I don’t think that my caloric intake is really having an effect on my weight gain or loss though, because I think when I eat fewer calories, I make poorer choices too, trying to get enough energy from my food. As you’ll see, I should be far more concerned with what I eat, rather than how much of it I eat.

Miles - badMiles
I did go workout once this week, for an hour! So if we counted the fact that my heart rate was up around my cardio fitness level (180+ bpm) for about an hour, this should really say six miles. But, I don’t count that–I count my workout as one run, and that means I’ve got plenty of space to improve. Steps and miles are related, so I look forward to getting into the time of year and level of energy where I can start to really meet these goals.

The Ugly

Nutrition - UglyNutrition
As I mentioned above in calories, I think this category is far more important than anything else diet related when it comes to my success in keeping a healthy weight. Fruits & Veggies don’t seem to make a difference, calories don’t seem to make a difference, but nutrition, that’s the one that gets me. I’ve got tons of work to do–mostly just logging my meals after lunch and then choosing dinners which balance out my day.

The End Result

WeightTaking in all that I’ve just analyzed, I can definitely see some relationships starting to form: exercise and diet both play a role in my weight (and I’m sure sleep would if I weren’t getting enough of it, but thankfully I am!). My general exercise level has room for improvement, and my nutrition is the part of my diet where I have tons of room for improvement. I’m not going to lie and pretend that I’m going to start working out, so this next week is for focus on nutrition.

Friday Food Truck: Street Hawk

51st Friday: Street Hawk
Roving the streets of Seattle! Find their schedule here.
Facebook: fb.com/StreetHawkTruck
Twitter: @streethawktruck
Website: www.streethawktruck.com/
Price: $$
Food tried:
– Seattle Slugger
– French fries

I’m not sure that I intended to have lunch at Street Hawk when I found myself there a few weeks ago–I had been meaning to go to a truck on 5th and Union that had closed for winter, so my food truck foodie friend and I walked to 2nd and Pike, where we knew we’d have options. It was Street Hawk’s first day there, and I figured I should reward them for coming into the downtown area and making it super convenient for me to stop by, so I gladly waited for a Seattle Slugger.  (Also, who can say no to being an adult and eating a corndog for lunch?)

IMG_1668Hot and toasty, the corndog had a nice crunch while still preserving the juiciness of the dog inside. Served on a bed of fries, I wasn’t exactly nice to my waistline, but I was certainly nice to my taste buds. The burgers I saw coming out of the truck also looked amazing, to the point where until I received my food, I was feeling like I might have mis-committed my lunchtime hunger. The fries too, were delicious, piping hot and perfect for warming fingers and tummies on a cold winter day.

The coolest part of Street Hawk is how all of their foods clearly represent the passion that Seattleites have for their sports teams–every burger, dog, and sandwich relates to an athlete, a team, or a historic moment in the history of Seattle sporting. I’d definitely recommend it on game days, when they’re known for parking right down by the stadiums. Even if we lose, you can still relive our moments of greatness in the food that represents it at Street Hawk.

Weigh-in Wednesday #2

Gulp! I know this Wednesday is not as good as I hoped it would be. I know it because I started a diet this week–when I stepped on the scale on Monday morning (when I do my weigh-ins for the diet, precluding my weighing on Wednesdays, but sufficient to help me track my health on a weekly basis), I was glad it was also the morning I was changing my diet.

I have known for many years that I have a variety of health problems, most notably Lyme disease. It’s not something that affects my day to day life, but the sneaky part about Lyme is that as an auto-immune disease, it’s slowly causing damage to lots of other body systems. I’ll probably have digestive problems (if I don’t already), my heart palpitations and asthma are exacerbated by having Lyme, and a variety of unknown but equally unpleasant possibilities loom in the next 50+ years of my life.

I decided that 2014 would be the year of two things: better health, and better lifelogging. I work for a lifelogging company, so it’s time I start figuring out how it fits in my life, and how it can help me. What better way than to tackle an easily quantifiable area of my life?

This week? Let’s start with the good stuff:

SleepSleep
I am the queen of sleep. I guarantee myself sleep, because I require seven hours a day to be a functional and enjoyable person. If you’d asked me, I would have said prior to measuring it, that I am very regimented about ensuring I get enough sleep. Thankfully my job doesn’t have a set start time, so I’ve gone completely off an alarm clock. That plus a leisurely weekend made it a great week for sleep.

CaloriesCalories
With my nutrition tracker and my weight goals, I am supposed to be consuming approximately 1500 calories a day to maintain healthy weight loss. Given the diet I started Monday, I saw a tremendous fall off in calories consumed–I was rarely reaching 2000 a day before, but now I’m sitting around 65% of that before even working out. I’m also starting to make much healthier choices. But I tracked that too! Let me show you…

Nutrition Breakdown

I actually am doing quite well (actual performance on the left, goals on the right) since I adjusted my diet–I’m consuming healthier carbs, and have a reasonable amount of protein. I’m actually going to shift that more, if only because I’d like to try and eat higher value protein and see how I feel as a result. Basically I’ll trade fat for protein–you’d be shocked how cutting down cheese products makes cheese the most delectable thing you’ve ever tasted.

Okay, but there’s always room for (lots of) improvement:

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 11.12.01 PMFruits and Vegetables
My diet saved this statistic–for the first five days of the week, I ate two fruits or veggies. Total. Then I had a ten-veggie day followed by a four veggie day, and suddenly I start to see how this whole eating and digestion thing is supposed to feel. It’s expensive, yes, but it’s the way the body is supposed to operate. I still have a ways to go–I generally don’t enjoy eating raw fruits and veggies, and this is the best way to consume them. Something to work on, I guess.

MilesMiles
This statistic is meant to measure how much time I put in at the gym–even if it’s only 10 minutes a day on average, that should be seven miles. So, I’ve got a ways to go. To be fair, I only worked out Monday and Tuesday, and in that sense I’m doing quite well! I’m counting elliptical miles as part of this statistic until the weather clears–one can only do so many miles on the treadmill, staring at the window screen, before one gives up.

StepsSteps
This is a measure of my overall daily activity–the average American moves 5000 steps a day, and the goal according to my Jawbone UP is 10000 per day. I’ve got plenty to work on, then. I’ve gotten in the habit of just sitting around a lot, and being a bit lazy on my walks to/from places. Push comes to shove, I was thinking of walking to the next bus stop, rather than the closest.

In the end?

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 10.58.09 PMWeight
Ouch–an increase! Wait, is this a surprise? I’m leading a sedentary lifestyle, hardly moving, sleeping a lot, was eating junk constantly up until recently (seriously, one day I ate: a leftover calzone, a cheeseburger, and mozzarella sticks, and that was it all day…). Gravity wins in that situation, and the weight goes up. For the record, this is the most I’ve ever weighed. Now I’ll go cringe…

Pop Culture, 2013

Looking back over the past five years of V’s Unique and Distinctive Pop Culture Awards, I’m pleased to see that I seem to be maturing in taste. This year, I’m excited to recognize some of the sprinkles and flavors that made the sundae of 2013 so enjoyable.

See past years: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

movies – books – performances – MUSIC – movies – books – performances


Splendour StudioBest Artist – Two Door Cinema Club

This has been a long time coming–TDCC has been a favorite band of mine for many years now, as evidenced by my past monthly playlists: they first appeared in March of 2011 with “Something Good Can Work,” and again in October of 2012 with “Sleep Alone.” Their sophomore album, Beacon, was a London favorite, and two of their singles were on my 2013 playlist. Basically, they rock.


Bastille_Bad_BloodBest Album Bastille, “Bad Blood”

Could Bastille have had a more kick-ass year? They release Pompeii early in 2013, it sits just under music radar for a few months, and then explodes in late March. By April, it’s remixed, the album is getting tons of play, and everyone in England is buzzing. I still get happy to hear it here in the US, since we’re a bit slow about awesome European music sometimes.


Best Soundtrack/Compilation – Late Night Tales, BonoboLNT_Bonobo_500px

If you haven’t heard of Late Night Tales, and you probably haven’t because I think it’s produced in the UK, you are missing out. They ask artists to guest-mix a playlist of chill music, perfect for a calm night, and pair it with an actor reading a portion of a bedtime story. In the case of Bonobo, this is the third of four parts read by Benedict Cumberbatch, and is a totally mellow, perfect playlist for drifting off.


Best Artist I Should Have Been Hearing Before – Macklemore & Ryan LewisThe_Heist_Macklemore

Yep, I was hiding under a rock in 2012. Or at least, it seems that way when you look at Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist, which I didn’t even realize had already dropped not only “Thrift Shop” but “Can’t Stop Us” and “Whitewalls” before I picked it up. I live in Seattle now, and I had to get my head in the game. Macklemore gets me there every time: he’s brilliant, well spoken, and incredibly astute. It’s smart rap, refreshingly.


Best Single – “Get Lucky,” Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williamsdaft-punk-get-lucky-pharrell-williams-single-cover-art-nilde-rodgers-random-access-memories-400x400

Don’t even pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about right now. How could you not hear “Get Lucky” literally everywhere this summer? I have distinctly wonderful memories tied to this song, as well as vague and drunken and dancing ones. It is a song that still nearly always makes me smile, and is so catchy that I think it has the kind of staying power to keep feeding memes for years to come.


Playlist of the Year

Typically, the artist with the most songs on the playlist (if any duplicates exist) ends up being the artist of the year, and 2013 is no exception for Two Door Cinema Club. The rest of the playlist is a surprisingly upbeat record of an incredibly emotional and at times very challenging year. As playlists go, I’m pretty proud of this one.Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 11.10.58 PM


books – performances – music – MOVIES – books – performances – music


MV5BMjA2OTk5ODkxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODc4MDk0OQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_Best Thriller  – Europa Report

A fascinating and beautiful sci-fi thriller, Europa Report caught my eye because of A) Sharlto Copley and B) the fantastic images from the Cassini spacecraft that were used to construct some of the footage in the movie. The plays to the fear and wonder we all have about exploring outer space, and takes an unconventional, uncomfortable, and masterfully handled “documentary” approach that feels even more authentic. This was one of my highest rated movies from 2013, an 8/10 (there was nothing higher than an 8).


l_1663662_8561742aBest Action – Pacific Rim

I mean really, is there any better candidate for best action in 2013? Think about it: giant monsters, giant robots, shitty marketing, but great and ridiculous scenes that were so massive as to lose scale. Guillermo del Toro didn’t give us a Best Picture nominee (maybe effects, though), but he did give us the perfect summer blockbuster: lots of action, a reasonable amount of character development, a respectable attempt at decent acting, and a ton of visual candy. This movie captured the spirit of air-conditioned, popcorned afternoons from my childhood.


Best Franchise – The Hunger Games: Catching Firecatching-fire-movie-poster

I went into Catching Fire with the lowest of expectations, for two reasons. First, the second book in The Hunger Games series is definitely weaker than the first, and second, the first Hunger Games movie was passable at best. If the first movie based on a book that was stronger than the second is followed by a second movie, it’s logical that said second movie will likely be not as good. I was proven wrong though, as both J.Law and Josh Hutcherson grew into their characters, the director masterfully handled all the material in the book and supplemented necessary missing bits from the first movie, and handed me one of the better adaptations I’ve seen in years.


performance – music – movies – BOOKS – performance – music – movies


91661Best Series – Mary Russell, by Laurie King

I will admit, I started The Beekeeper’s Apprentice in 2012. But, as the first novel of 12 written by Laurie King as a companion/addendum to the world-renowned Sherlock Holmes stories, it took me a little while to get comfortable with them (and to find the time to read during my MBA). After graduation, I breezed through them, engaged with the characters, and eager for more. I’m still working to finish them, but I like to savor the last few stories. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Mary and Sherlock, especially after such a long relationship.


200px-CuckoosCallingCoverBest NovelThe Cuckoo’s Calling, Robert Gilbraith

I refuse to say this book is by J.K. Rowling, even though it is, because I respect her decision to write it under a different name. Each time she writes something, I find myself in a different genre, and this P.I.-mystery story was very unusual for me. As usual, the characters were entrancing, the language spell-binding, and reading took far too brief a time. I loved the language used to describe London, and I loved knowing where the character lived and worked. This book is a testament to my time in London, and I’ll always enjoy re-reading it for that.


Best NonfictionAn Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Chris Hadfield

astronaut-chris-hadfield-book-dealSo I don’t really “do” nonfiction. I never pick up books that are more than marginally based on the past, because usually I read to escape. I did take the time to read An Astronaut’s Guide because I was giving it as a gift to my brother, and had long been following the exciting growth in the popularity of Commander Hadfield since his “winning the internet” (to borrow a popular meme right now). I was so pleased to find this book a combination of self-help, memoir, and nonfiction that kept it genuine and engaging. I wanted to have the drive and passion of Col. Hadfield, and have taken many of the lessons to heart.


music – movies – books – PERFORMANCE – music – movies – books


Best Performance – Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan

inishmaanI mean, aside from the fact that it’s Daniel Radcliffe, the physicality of this performance was truly amazing–even from my nosebleed section seats, I could see how hard he was working on stage, and can only imagine how challenging it was to do multiple shows per day. The show itself was a rollercoaster: pleasant then disturbing then joyful then depressing, and incredibly well-written (also a bit tough to understand, which is a testament to the actors accents). I was glad to get tickets for this short run show, to see a bit more of this “English” “humor” thing I keep hearing about, and see Mr. Radcliffe in his natural habitat.


the-book-of-mormon-poster-01Best ComedyThe Book of Mormon

If you can see The Book of Mormon, by goodness see The Book of Mormon! Can it get any better than a tongue-in-cheek, yet alarmingly accurate social commentary that’s so funny you can’t help but enjoy yourself and sing along? This was hands down one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, and while expensive to see in the West End, a very welcome birthday present. I still find myself thinking about the lessons it taught, the color and vitality it instilled, and the great insight into humankind that it gives in just a few short hours. For guys who get a rap for South Park, this is a home run.