Sunday, April 28, 2013

On Vacation!

Road Trip!  I am in Seattle spending 9 days with my boys!

I am taking a bit of a break from blogging, but will post some pictures of my trip when I get back.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Birthday @ Flashdance, the Musical!

Last Wednesday night, Chick and I celebrated my birthday at Flashdance, The Musical!

First, drinks and appetizers at Morton's Steakhouse Portland.

It's across the street from the theater and Chick works in the building so it's a great location to grab a pre-theater cocktail and appetizers.

They have a great Happy Hour Menu!  The Birthday Girl enjoyed some beautiful oysters on the half shell!

Then, it was just a short walk to the show!

In spite of some minor changes from the original movie that most Flashdance obsessed fans will notice, it retains the major bones of the movie's engaging fantasy.  Fiesty young Alex still works in the steel mill as a welder and dances in a friendly neighborhood dance club (not a strip joint) at night.  She still dreams of studying classical dance and she's still dating the boss (although he's much much younger than Michael Nouri).

The supporting characters are a bit under-developed in the musical.  Story lines are slightly changed, but the music and the dancing shine!  The first half runs about 1 hour 20 minutes, which is a bit long for first act musicals, but it never lagged.  The new music has a very 80's sound and was written by composer, Robbie Roth.  It fits the era, but all of the songs (at least in the second act), all sounded the same.

I still can't get She's a Maniac out of my head.....going on 30 years now!

It was a great birthday!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday to Me!

WHO: Stacy Dare Brady
WHAT: 1st Birthday
WHERE: E Street; Springfield, OR
WHEN: April 24th 1970

Happy 44th birthday to myself!  You can NEVER have enough cake!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Graffiato Restaurant Review

I've been dreaming of going to Top Chef Alum, Mike Isabella's Washington D.C. restaurant since last fall. Then, my trip to D.C. was cancelled due to hurricane Sandy.

Last Saturday night, I managed to sneak away after our 5PM meet and greet and enjoyed a fabulous meal at Graffiato with my friend, Margaret.

In June 2011, Chef Isabella opened Graffiato, an Italian inspired restaurant in the Chinatown district of D.C.  The 130 seat restaurant allows Chef Mike to have great interaction with guests while he crafts comforting dishes from seasonal products.

The two story layout features an open bar on the second floor and a large wood oven tucked behind a U-shaped counter with 15 bar stools on the first floor.  Both areas encourage dialogue between the guests and the chef.

Chef Mike serves seasonal, artisanal pizza, pasta and small plates inspired by the food he grew up eating in New Jersey, prepared by his Italian-American grandmother.

Here is what I enjoyed!

 Caesar Salad with Cream Cheese Croutons - $8

 Wood Oven Scallops with Kohirabi, Blood Orange and Radish - $14

 Banana Cake - $6

The restaurant has a really hip vibe and was completely packed with some of D.C.'s most beautiful people.

I had an amazing evening out in D.C.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pictures of Washington D.C.

4/20/13 - U.S. Capitol

I spent last Saturday afternoon through Monday evening in our nation's capitol.

Our hotel, The Washington Court on Capital Hill was centrally located with amazing views of the capitol.

My trip was quite short and spent mostly indoors in meetings.

Here are a few pictures I managed to take!


A special thank you to my amazing friend, Gwen who suggested that we take a walk over to the capitol on Saturday afternoon.  It was a beautiful day!

We were all dead-dog tired from our 18 hour train ride, but our hotel rooms were not ready for check-in.  Had Gwen not suggested that we take a walk, I probably would not have had the chance to get out an about again during the weekend.

 Gwen and Stacy - Washington Monument in the background

Our hotel was just 4 blocks from Union Station and about 3/4 mile from the steps of the Capitol

Washington Court Hotel

I was quite impressed with the hotel's food.  I had a light lunch of a delicious crab cake upon our arrival on Saturday.  

Gwen and I were amazed at the hundreds of tulips and flowers in full bloom near the capitol.

A view from the 16th floor of our hotel

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Amtrak: Heading to D.C. on the Capitol Limited

Last Friday, I flew from Portland to Chicago then hopped aboard the Capitol Limited for an 18 hour journey to Washington, D.C.

My trip was supposed to take place last November, but hurricane Sandy cancelled our conference.

Union Station - Chicago

The Capitol Limited connects Chicago to Washington D. C. and runs 764 miles (18 hours).  Service began in 1981 and was named after the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Capitol Limited which ended in 1971 upon the formation of Amtrak.

Here was my route and some pictures of my journey!


Union Station - Chicago


We pulled out of Chicago just after 6PM.  The city is very impressive!  I toured the train, got cozy in my roomette, grabbed a Chardonnay and relaxed.  Let the journey begin!

South Bend:
To many.....synonymous with Notre Dame University.  It's also the place to set your watch ahead one hour.  We are on east coast time, now!

The last stop in Indiana.  Founded in 1856, the town was named for its co-founder, Miles Waterman. Some wanted the town to be named Waterman, but he declined this honor and supported
Waterloo, a popular name not only in this area but across the U.S.; there are 30 such towns in 26 states currently in existence.

Indiana/Ohio State Line

The largest city in the state, a leading manufacturing, trading and cultural center in the Midwest, and home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.  The city lies on the southern shore of Lake Erie, at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River; the half-mile-wide river valley divides the city into
an east and west side.

Ohio/Pennsylvania State Line

It sits between the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, which join here to form the Ohio River. George Washington first surveyed the site in 1753 after being sent to report on its military potential.
Pittsburgh has 446 bridges, besting Venice Italy, and its steeply sloped topography can be traversed by 712 sets of stairs comprising more than 24,000 vertical ft. – greater than San Francisco, Portland and Cincinnati combined.

Long known as the “Steel City,” a more appropriate name today might be the Renaissance City. The first such renaissance occurred following World War II when a $550 million program to cut pollution was put into effect. The 1970s and 1980s offered yet a second renaissance, shifting from a manufacturing economy to one based upon service and technology, and an urban transformation bringing about new office and shopping complexes. Today, not a single ton of steel is produced here or anywhere nearby.

Just outside of Connellsville, Pennsylvania daylight breaks on Saturday!

   Saturday Morning Pancakes

Kaufmann’s Run marks a small stream flowing down from the famous home, “Fallingwater,” designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and commissioned by the Edgar Kaufmann Sr., owner of the famous
department store in Pittsburgh.

Saddle Rock Curve Shortly after leaving Markleton, the train veered left and a large boulder, shaped like a western saddle, becomes visible on the right.

To the right side of the train is Mount Davis, the highest point in Pennsylvania at 3,213 ft.

Sand Patch marks the summit of the Alleghenies and the Eastern Continental Divide. Rain falling on the west end of the tunnel flows to the Gulf of Mexico and rain falling at the east end of the tunnel flows to the Atlantic Ocean.

Pennsylvania/Maryland State Line
The state line doubles here as the famous Mason/Dixon Line.  Known by most people as the dividing line between free and slave states before the Civil War, the line was actually surveyed between 1763
and 1767 to settle another dispute – which state owned which land. English astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon undertook the task to divide Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia (then a part of Virginia).

The Cumberland Gap
This natural gap in the mountains has provided people with East/West passage for centuries. On the east end is famous Lover’s Leap. Legend holds than an Indian princess fell in love with
a federal soldier; the couple wished to wed but the princess’ father forbade it. In despair, they climbed to the top of a 1,000-ft. cliff of Wills Mountain (to the right) and leapt to their death.

Maryland/West Virginia State Line

Kesslers Bridge/Graham Tunnel
When entering and exiting the 1,592-foot tunnel, we are in West Virginia – but while traveling through it, we are in Maryland. West Virginians are prone to joke that you see the best
part of Maryland inside the tunnel. 

What remains of the round house, perhaps?

The station, a red brick four-story building with two wooden porches, is the oldest working train station in the U.S., having been in continuous use for over 160 years. Built in 1847, it is the only structure in Martinsburg to survive the destruction of the Civil War, and is a designated a National Historic Landmark. The town and the railroad complex on the left changed hands many times during
the conflict. 

From here on into Washington, there were gently rolling hills and peaceful farmland.  There were also the haunts of both Confederate and Union armies.

This is where Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland meet, as do the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, was called by Thomas Jefferson “perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature.”

Originally a trading post, George Washington located a federal arsenal here in 1798, a decision that proved pivotal to events some 60 years later. The town became famous when, in 1859, abolitionist John Brown and his small band tried to seize the facility and touch off a slave revolt in the southern states. Colonel Robert E. Lee rushed federal troops to the scene on trains, the first time in history that a railroad was used for military purposes. The raid was soon ended and Brown hanged.

The Appalachian Trail 
A white lock tender’s house on the right side of the train and the ruins of a canal mark the crossing of the longest continuous footpath in the world, the 2,050-mile-long Appalachian Trail.

The second largest city in Maryland. After we pulled out of the station, note a small white church on a hill, St. Mary’s, final resting place of F. Scott Fitzgerald. The author had expressed his desire to be
buried in the country!

Union Station - Washington D.C.

On approach, to the right, a glimpse of the blue and gold dome and bell tower of the largest Roman Catholic Church in the U.S., the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It is also the site of Catholic University. 

Welcome to Washington!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Menu Plan Monday: Birthday and Travel Week!

Happy Birthday week to me!

It's a bit of a crazy menu this week as Monday morning I will be waking up in Washington D.C., and back home in Portland in time for dinner.  Wednesday is my birthday (fun girl's night out) and Friday I head to Seattle for 10 days!

Who has time to cook?

Remember to take the time to check out Laura's site for more organizing and menu plans!


Monday: Flight home!  I hope Chick picks up some Thai food!  I have $55 per diem to spend today!
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Thighs, Smashed Red Potatoes and Grilled Spring Asparagus
Wednesday: Happy Hour at Morton's followed by Flashdance, the Musical!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
Thursday: Garden Burgers and Tater Tots, packing for vacation!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Old Photo Friday: Singing in the Rain!

WHO: Stacy
WHAT: Posing in my new rain gear
WHERE: E Street
WHEN: I look to be about 4; so spring 1973

I look like I should break into the Fred Astaire tune, "Singing in the Rain".


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Recipe of the Week: The History of Rail Food

Tomorrow, I leave for a cross country trip to Washington D.C.; traveling by plane from Portland to Chicago then from Union Station in Chicago to Union Station in D.C., via the Capitol Limited (Amtrak) train (18 hours via train).

Long before jets traversed the skies, rail travel was the elegant way to get across the country.  The train's sleek opulence, shiny interiors, plush seats, porters for your every need and the gleaming dining cars were the heart of every train experience.

The most detailed account of train food comes from an 1872 article published by Harper's Magazine.  The article talks of train dining in glowing terms:  The cooking is admirable, the service excellent and the food is various and abundant".

 Pullman Porters

Back then, passengers could dine on broiled muttonchops, breaded veal cutlets and freshly hunted buffalo, washing it all down with real French champagne.  On board the Nickel Plate Railroad, which stretched over the mid-central U.S., diners could choose meals to fit their budget, from a 55 cent special of boiled tomatoes and baked beans to a 90 cent meal of fresh haddock.

During the golden age of railroads, even breakfast was an opulent affair.  A menu from a trip aboard the Southern Railway reveals that passengers enjoyed oysters on toast, steak with marrow sauce, baked or creamed potatoes and a choice of bacon or ham.  All this was finished before a luncheon was served featuring roast duck, Smithfield hams and mince pies with brandy sauce. 

I'll keep you posted on my train food adventures, but something tells me oysters won't be on the menu!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

West Seattle Weekend Wrap Up: A few more pictures!

Before last Friday's concert, Brian and I had drinks and burgers at Murphy's Irish Pub in the Wallingford/University district.  A great pre-concert place to grab a good burger and a cold beverage.

I spent Saturday morning shopping for an outfit to take with me on my train trip this coming Friday.  I found out a few weeks ago that I will be giving a short 10 minute speech (in front of about 75 people) and I wanted to have something new and appropriate to wear.

I hit the jackpot at Dress Barn, then celebrated after shopping.  Brian and I enjoyed lunch at his favorite lunch spot, Panera Bread.

Hot soup and gooey cheese sandwiches were just what we needed on a cold, blustery Seattle Saturday.

Despite the cold and wet temps, our pear tree is almost in full bloom!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Colin Hay at the Neptune Theater

"An aboriginal man once came backstage after a show and said to me in a kindly voice, "Where's your dance? I used to like your dance, you've lost your dance mate, you've gotta find your dance." So, I set out in search of it, looking here, there and everywhere in all corners of the globe. Quite soon I realized that "finding my dance" is an inner search, and that whilst I may never truly find it, it matters not. What's important is to keep searching, and in the process, refine and simplify the steps." - Colin Hay

I've waited years to see Colin Hay.  He tours the U.S. frequently (lives in L.A.) but each time he's come to the Pacific NW, I've been unable to get tickets (his last two Seattle shows sold out before I even knew he was coming to town). 

Just three weeks before Christmas he announced his spring tour dates for the U.S. and I was thrilled to get tickets (wrapped securely under our Christmas tree) and counted the days on the calendar until the April 12th, 2013 show! 

I've been a fan since his 1980's days with Men At Work and Brian and I have discovered his solo/acoustic CDs released over the years.  

Themes of redemption and renewal come naturally to Colin Hay, as he is in the midst of a remarkable renaissance. While his voice and visage are still familiar to millions from his tenure as front man, principal songwriter, and lead vocalist of pop sensations Men at Work (“Down Under, ” “Overkill,” “Who Can It Be Now?”), the past twenty years have found him quietly yet tenaciously re-introducing himself to new generations of fans. It has been an organic process, building momentum through constant touring, and film and television exposure.
View from the balcony of the Neptune

His show, last Friday night was at the 91 year old Neptune Theater in Seattle and I splurged and spent an extra $20 a ticket to get access into the VIP lounge (seats, private bar).  We were front row of the VIP section about 20 yards from center stage.

Originally opened on November 16, 1921, The Neptune was a movie house during the silent film era.  There were originally five film houses in the University District during this time, but today the Neptune is the last one standing. 

The show was fabulous.....solo acoustic (just Colin and his three guitars).  He walked out on stage at 8PM and played for almost 2 1/2 hours.

He is very entertaining and weaves stories of his childhood, the formation of Men at Work and his solo revival throughout the evening. 

If you get the chance to see him, you won't be disappointed.  Brian and I really enjoyed the evening.