Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pasta Paradise by violet

Every once in a while, you get a dining out experience so great from start to finish that you can’t keep it to yourself. So apologies to my friends and family who have already heard about Spinasse but you get to hear all about it again.

After doing some research and a strong recommendation from Shelby and Nick, I decided on Spinasse for my most recent birthday dinner. JP called the Monday before we wanted to go on Friday and they informed him that they could get us in at either 5:15 or 10:15. The hostess did inform us that they reserved some tables for walk-ins and we might get lucky.

Since we had a wonderfully day of kayaking, shopping and drinks with friends we took out time getting over to the restaurant and arrive about 9:45. Even at that late hour the small dining room was still bustling. The space feels little bit like you have been invited to the coolest dinner party ever. The dining room feels like what a welcoming, hip, food-lover's dream.

The hostess told us it would probably be 20 minutes and we could wait at the connected bar, Artusi. The bar in it of itself is a gem. A great relaxed vibe, there weren’t too many people there considering that it was a Friday night and Capitol Hill is always looking for a good place to get a drink. Fellas, if you are looking for a place to take your lady for a drink – I highly recommend it.

Our bartender was friendly and easily chatted. He was incredibly knowledgeable with both us and other patrons at the bar – suggesting drinks, talking about alcohols, etc. We order drinks and bread and cheese to tide us over.

Our bartender soon informed us our table was ready while handing us the bill for the drinks. This is one of those seamless service things that continued throughout the night. No strange exchange with the hostess. The staff all worked together to make our experience awesome.

The hostess (who knew exactly who we were when we walked up) sat us at the small bar with a view into the kitchen which turned out to be a great way to see a busy staff at work.

Our server was amazing from the start. I’m not sure we ever got his name but he was a bald hipster guy with glasses. He was funny, charming and attentive, without being overbearing. He made great recommendations for a half bottle of wine which didn’t break the bank. When the girls next to us asked with the rabbit meatball smelled like, he said “heaven.”

We ordered those heavenly rabbit meatballs along with a salad, ravioli and the duck ragu pasta special. The rabbit meatballs served with polenta were the highlight but everything was delicious. It was exactly what you want from Italian food, house-made pasta with sauces cooked slowly and with care.

As the night wore on we got to see the staff eat dinner in the kitchen, which also looked amazing. Our server’s girlfriend showed up and ate at the bar. We got to talking with them about restaurants in Vancouver BC. We felt pretty cool for being able to say that we had been to Vig’s.

I walked away from the night thinking that if Spinasse was a person I’d marry it. Laugh, I know, but it was a place that you could tell was built with love - open, charming, unpretentious, yet still excellent and uncompromising. Wait…maybe I am marrying Spinasse.

Thank you to my lovely fiancé for the wonderful birthday. And thanks to Spinasse for the wonderful dinner.

Violet in Steve Madden Tuscaan

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tosh.O by violet

Last night, JP and I went to see the comedy styling’s of Daniel Tosh. The live show, much like his Comedy Central show Tosh.O, was hilarious.

Recommending that you watch it is a bit of a different story. The premise of the show is easy enough; it’s like Talk Soup but for the intranet. Then you get to the host. Daniel Tosh is the most perverted and offensive person that you have ever encountered. His humor is racist, sexist, classist and just about every other ist that you could possibly think of.

Also, he’s hilarious(ist). I honestly don’t know how he does it but jokes that I should find morally repugnant are belly-laugh inducing in his hands.

I have trouble telling anyone I know to watch him or his show. It’s a bit like telling people that they should watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Wilfred. These are dark, twisted, messed-up shows. Shows that I’m pretty sure your average person should find reprehensible but I somehow love. 

But I enjoy them, and I'm going stand by that. I mean who doesn't love flip flip flipadelphia?

I guess what I’m saying is, watch Tosh.O (and Sunny and Wilfred) but don't say I didn't warn you.

Violet in Jessica Simpson Cody

Friday, August 5, 2011

On being a host by violet

For the last two weekends JP and I have hosted two different sets of college friends. I truly love that our place affords us the room to accommodate guests. I love having people over and houseguests are like a party all the time.

Having been a houseguest at Stacy and Ray’s many times and always feeling incredibly welcomed, I’ve tried to learn what makes a good host. There’s still a lot to learn but a few things I’ve picked up from them along the way.

Always have food and snacks around. There’s nothing worse than guests going hungry or thirsty for that matter. Think about the eating habits of the guests too. Vegetarian? Pick up some soy sausage or have options. Setting snacks out is also a good idea because sometimes people are afraid to ask.

Have a plan but be flexible. There’s nothing worse than a two hour conversation of, what do you want to do? I don’t know what you want to do. A couple of suggestions or even just having a movie to watch can go a long way. On the flip side, often times though your guests may have other plans or people to see. Chill out and go with the flow.

Don’t be afraid to stay in. Remember that these people came to see you. If you take them to the latest hot spot bar where you can’t hear the person next to you talk, it defeats the purpose. Sometimes hanging out at your own house and making dinner is more fun anyway.

We tried our best to out these into action over the past weekends. While I can’t speak for everyone else, I had a really great time both weekends. So at least we did something right.

You'll never go thirsty at our hour - Ray and Eric

BBQ with special guest Barley

Nicki and Naomi

Nicki and Sam are Ah-Mazing at Rap Star

We squeezed like four more people in at the table

JP enjoying a brew in the sun
Oh, and to all of our houseguests, you all are welcome back anytime!

Violet in Seychelles gold flats