Apr 132015
 

Remember how I surprised Michael last week with his birthday party? Well last Thursday night HE surprised ME.

I walked into the kitchen after work to discover that unbeknownst to me, the kitchen countertops had been INSTALLED!

kitchen1

WHAT?!?

We’d been working on picking the counter tops and the guy came out to make the template for it a few weeks ago. Apparently, Michael’s plan was to surprise me with it being installed last Friday (the day before his party) but the material had been damaged and they had rescheduled. He hadn’t told me any of this!

kitchen3

There have been many, many stages for our kitchen remodel. The first stage was the beginning–the ugly, 1970’s decor and dark cabinets with powder blue counter tops. Michael and I were starting to date when the kitchen remodel began. I remember many, many weekends spent at his house demolishing the old kitchen together. It was back-breaking labor but very fulfilling! Demolition was a blast. And there were many Saturday nights where we realized it was almost midnight and we still hadn’t eaten dinner yet because we were so busy with the remodel.

After demolition–complete with removing the floors down to the sub-flooring, then painting, there was redoing the kitchen pantry, and there was also the assembly if the IKEA cabinets. Here is a photo of mid-gutting:

If you look carefully you can see the old cabinets (next to the fridge). And after painting:

A few years ago we installed the upper cabinets as well as the stove vent and the microwave. Then one summer we laid the tile in the humongous kitchen and dining room. Then we hit a wall. We lost steam for a lot of reasons. We got busy with other stuff, training for the Portland Century, traveling, and Michael’s back issues have kept us from finishing. There was also another barrier: there were some DIY mistakes that had to be fixed before we finished the floors.

With Michael losing his job a few years ago, he had time to finish some of the house projects. We hired a professional to fix the tile mistakes and finish the rest of the project: the grout, sealing the tiles…everything! Then…all the construction stopped for like 2 years. Part of that was planning a wedding, going on a honeymoon, etc. We just didn’t have it in us to do house projects amidst wedding planning.

But the last few months we’ve gotten back at it and now we have a kitchen that is 95% DONE!

kitchen2
kitchen4

What’s next? The backsplash, which we’ll be doing ourselves and then we need to paint and install the baseboards and the trim around the pantry. At some point we’re going to replace all the windows in the house but that’s in the future.

I couldn’t believe that I walked into this surprise. It was amazing. I was so happy to see it done and it feels great to have one thing crossed off the list! It looks amazing and I’m just in shock. And it’s funny that he did this secretly.

Mid-day our dog walker had texted me a picture of Bella:

bb1

I should have known right then and there that something wasn’t right because usually when the dog walker is over playing with Bella she sends me goofy pictures that look like this:

bb2
Apparently Michael had cancelled Amy, took that first picture of Bella and sent it to Amy who texted it to me so that I wouldn’t be suspicious! I seriously had no idea that Michael was home all day preparing this surprise for me!

When I got home the kitchen sink hadn’t been hooked up yet so we had to go out to dinner. We went to Cha Cha Cha for Mexican food:

mexican1

I ate half of it and saved the rest for lunch the next day. When we got back to the house Michael worked on installing the kitchen sink and I had to meet up my friends (previously planned) for Book Club. Even though I kinda wanted to just stay home and admire the kitchen counters. :D

wine1

The book club met at Wine:30 and I had a glass of Pinot Gris, we chatted (sometimes about the book LOL) and then shared some chocolate covered blueberries:

wine2
I’ll post more about the book we read soon. Anyways, I got home and the kitchen counters were still there! I hadn’t dreamed it. I can’t wait to finish up the rest of the kitchen projects and be COMPLETELY DONE!! Woohoo!!!

Share
Feb 182015
 

Michael’s dad came to visit for a long weekend. He’s been in the beer business for decades so of course we wanted to show off some of the Oregon beers! I turned him on to my favorite beer–Boneyard IPA–a few years ago and he agrees it’s one of the best tasting beers he’s had. :D One of the local Fred Meyer grocery stores has a growler filling station and they have Boneyard on tap! Of course I had to go and fill our growler for Michael’s dad to enjoy at home during his visit (and for me too LOL).

The first night he was in town we went to Gino’s in Sellwood. It’s a really good Italian restaurant without the hassle of going downtown. It’s an old Portland institution that is always packed, no matter what time of the week you go. Thankfully we got a table pretty quickly. We shared a Caesar salad to start and I got a glass of the Pinot Grigio wine. I got the ravioli special. It was ravioli with goat cheese in it and a butternut squash sauce on the outside of the pasta. It was a really interesting take on butternut squash ravioli! It was topped with some red pepper flakes and toasted hazelnuts. It was very rich but so delicious! Considering we eat pasta like 2x a year it was a real treat.

IMG_6972

Monday was a holiday. I slept in a little bit and then went to the gym while Michael and his dad hung out at home and had breakfast. I did my weight routine–lots of kettle bell exercises and some ab work–and then did 2.25 miles on the elliptical. It was a good, sweaty session, that came no where close to burning off the pasta from the night before!!

photo-1

It was such a nice day out in Portland! 60’s and sunny! The perfect spring/summer tease that comes every mid-February right before the rains starts. The three of us went out to lunch at Hopworks in SE Portland. It’s a cool restaurant/pub with a bike and beer theme. How can you go wrong with that?? I ended up getting the Thai Peanut Wrap with chicken (instead of tempeh) and it was really tasty. It came with red cabbage, quinoa, broccoli and peanut sauce. It didn’t sit too heavy, either, which was good. Michael got a chopped salad and his dad got the chicken tenders. Everything tasted really great! (Sometimes the food can be hit or miss.)

IMG_3120

We also shared a tasting tray of 15 beers! I think the favorite for Michael and I was the Abominable Winter Ale, which was rich and smooth and hoppy like an IPA, which was odd for a winter ale. Those are usually darker beers. But it was really good! Of course I also liked the IPA’s and the double IPA’s, those tend to be my favorites. The hoppier the better. There were a lot of beers that I skipped (I’m not a fan of dark beers).

IMG_6975

IMG_6976

Surprisingly, I also LOVED the Radler–which was a lager (40%) and lemonade (60%)! It was SO good. I could see myself drinking WAY too many of those lovely ladies on a hot summer day. Michael’s dad told the story of how the Radler got started. Apparently in the 1920’s some German town was full of thousands of cyclists one summer day and Radler was running out of beer in his pub so he started mixing the beer with a lemon lime soda that didn’t sell very well on it’s own and everyone loved it! Hence, the beer/lemonade combo was born. I googled it when we got home and found this ad:

hirter_radler

Too funny! After lunch and beer tasting we hit one more local brewery, Burnside Brewing. It’s one of my cousin’s favorites and I’m a fan of their Sweet Heat, but haven’t tried any of their other beers. It was a really nice day and they had a covered patio that was partially in the sun so we got to sit outside while we did a sampler tray.

IMG_3121

IMG_3122

I LOVE their logo. It’s a little artistic devil and it’s so cute. Anyways, we sat in the sun and enjoyed our sampler tray of mostly IPA’s, a lager, a stout and of course the Sweet Heat (which is made with Louisiana Scotch Peppers). The boys weren’t a fan of that one but I like it. :)

IMG_6978

IMG_6979

That yellow one on the forefront is the Sweet Heat. Normally I’d take one look at that beer and be like, “I won’t like it” but I really do…it’s unique! So we enjoyed the sun and beer and wished it were summer then called the beer tour over for the day. I haven’t been drinking alcohol except for my birthday weekend and then the holiday weekend because Michael’s dad was visiting. Just having some samples was a doozy for me!

IMG_6980

After that the boys dropped me off at home to hang out with Bella and do some stuff while they went computer shopping and then hit another brewery (Breakside Brewing). I’d had my fill of beer for the day (or weekend, really) and ended up watching some Gilmore Girls, cuddled with Bella and did some yard work in the sunshine.

When Michael’s dad comes to visit from Texas he usually wants seafood so we take him to his favorite spots (Jake’s or Ringside). Monday night we went to Jake’s Grill downtown. It’s a classy, gorgeous restaurant with impeccable service and it’s always a good experience. I always forget just how great dining out at Jake’s is.

me1

We got all gussied up and headed downtown for an early dinner.

jake1

I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, crisp and dry just like how I like my wine! They brought out the famous sourdough rolls which are just too tasty not to eat…

jake2

Michael ordered the calamari appetizer. He thinks it’s the best calamari in town and I tend to agree. It’s never overly chewy or greasy. I only had a few bites though, as I was saving room for my dinner!

jake3

For dinner I ordered the cedar plank salmon that came with basmati rice and crispy leeks. At first I was going to get a salad and soup but the salmon sounded so amazing (and I wasn’t wrong) and when you go to Jake’s you really should order the fish.

jake5

The salmon was perfectly crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. I LOVED the leeks on top. They were kind of like fried onions. The portions were good too–not grotesquely huge, just right. Michael got the salmon with potatoes and kale topped with a lobster sauce. Michael’s dad got the rockfish with green beans, tomatoes and artichokes.

jake4

Everything was magnificent. I love that place! We were all stuffed but not uncomfortably so. There was definitely no room for dessert and we called it an early night.

I love it when family comes to visit and we can show off our lovely city. You can throw a rock and hit a dozen breweries and great restaurants. The weather was perfect for Michael’s dad’s visit, too, which was nice. I will say I will be happy to get back to my normal eating routine and give the alcohol a break again. Back on track!

Share