Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, December 29, 2014

My Birthday Adventure

I celebrated a birthday recently. I won't say the number, but it doesn't start with a 6. Not yet, anyway. The celebration lasted for two days, and the reason was because Nigel asked if I wanted to go to a special restaurant for my birthday. I did, but it wasn't actually open on the day, so we had to put our special meal off till the next day.

When I came downstairs on the day there was a wrapped present waiting for me on the kitchen table, with a lovely, sweet card. Inside the wrappings was a book about gardens in the Pacific Northwest. Some of them I've been to, but there are lots of entries in this book about gardens I've not visited yet. I wasn't expecting a present, so it was a nice surprise.

I had to drive Nigel to work, so after opening the gift and the card we both hopped in the car so I could drive Nigel to the train station. For a gardener, no birthday is complete unless there's plants involved, so I spent a leisurely hour or so down at Windmill Nursery, where I bought an Australian tree fern called Alsophila australis (also called Cyathea australis). I had an Amazon Local coupon for Windmill, which allowed me to buy it for $20 off. Since the actual price was $49.99, that means I got it for $29.99, which I think was a good deal.

Australian tree fern out in the greenhouse

Also called rough fern, because of the rough, furry nature of the fronds

Perhaps hard to see, but there is a new frond sitting in the center getting ready to unfurl

The next day I met Nigel after work in Seattle at the Fairmont Olympic hotel, where we had a luscious dinner at The Georgian, followed by an overnight stay in an executive suite at the hotel.

Thirty-foot tall Christmas tree in the hotel's lobby

While waiting for Nigel to arrive mid-afternoon, I had a latte and a piece of cake at the Belle Epicurean, a Parisian-style patisserie in the hotel. The cake was delish, but the following morning I had something at the bakery even better for breakfast -- an almond and raspberry croissant. Holy Moly! That was good.

This Santa was waiting in the lobby, and every time the doors opened, the paper list would flutter

Nigel disagreeing with Santa on his "naughty" status.

Dinnertime approaches!

The entrance to The Georgian

Dinner menu

Nigel's Black Cod with squid ink risotto and vodka foam

My duck breast with black trumpet mushrooms, lentils and baby turnip

I haven't had duck in years, even though I adore it. Over the last few months I've been following a very strict diet of fish, vegetables, no sugar and no simple carbs. So this meal was quite special.

Nigel looking very Christmas-y

The birthday girl -- big smile because I'm waiting for a black and white souffle for dessert!

And now, after a birthday and all the excesses of Christmas eating, it's time once again to go back to an austere way of eating. It was nice while it lasted!