lunch with friends

Lovely Lebanese

How was your weekend? Was it eventful? Low-key? Are you frantically trying to finish your holiday shopping? Thankfully I am done with all of my shopping and spent the weekend kind of chilling. Michael had a horrible head cold and spent the weekend on the couch. I ran a bunch of errands (I was OUT of library books and had to get some new ones…I’m totally like a junkie with my books).

I did have a great workout on Saturday morning. I’d been avoiding running for about two weeks. I’d run a mile a few times and the most recent time my knee hurt a bit so I back off. Luckily, Saturday’s one mile run was mostly pain-free. I think I have to let my knees warm a bit but once they do, the run always feels great!

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You know why that number is so high? KETTLE BELLS.  If you haven’t given them a try, do so. It’s fun and gets your heart rate up like nothing else. This time I even graduated to a heavier kettle bell. I’m now swinging the 20 pound bell instead of the 15.

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After the great run and workout, Michael and I met some friends at Nicholas restaurant for lunch and a little mini-Christmas celebration. My friend Star, Sam and her boyfriend joined us. The restaurant on NE Broadway is much better than the one on Grand (much bigger and not as busy).

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They brought out the piping hot bread that I love so much. It’s similar to pita bread but thinner. I got caught up with my friends and we exchanged cards and gifts. It was time to order lunch and everything sounded so good, it was hard to decide.

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I love Lebanese food! The flavors are always unique and a lot of the time I struggle to detect what spices they used. The dish I ended up getting was “Freekah.” It was smoked Egyptian rice with ground beef mixed into it, pine nuts, almonds and topped with shredded chicken. The Freekah looked like rice but it’s a unique grain that seemed similar to Israeli couscous. I think the chicken had a hint of cinnamon in it. I’m sorry my photo didn’t turn out better, because the food was really delicious. I especially liked the taziki sauce. I could seriously put that on everything. I had a ton leftover for my lunch (yay!).

We spent over two hours hanging out the restaurant and then parted ways. Michael was still feeling a little under the weather so he laid down and I finally go to spend a few hours of my own starting season 2 of “The Closer.” It was a nice relaxing afternoon.

We wanted something light for dinner after eating such a big lunch so we had pork chops and Brussels sprouts. I didn’t like pork for a really long time. It was just a boring protein, I guess. I’m completely converted now. Boneless pork chops are a great dinner option for athletes or someone trying to lose weight. Did you know that 4 oz. of pork tenderloin contains approximately 193 calories and has 33 grams of protein in it? That’s so lean and healthy!

A boneless pork chop (4 ounces) can be between 150-180 calories depending on what website tracker you use (I see varying numbers). According to Livestrong that 33 grams of protein in a chop is more than half the typical adult’s daily needs. It’s low in fat and packed with nutrients. Pork chops are relatively lean, not quite as low in fat as fish or a chicken breast, but still leaner than red meat.

Another great thing about pork chops–all you really need to season the meat is salt and pepper. Simple, delicious. Pair the pork chops with your favorite vegetable side dish and you have a very, very filling dinner for less than 500 calories. We eat a boneless pork chop for dinner probably once a week. Usually it’s paired with steamed broccoli or sauteed Brussels sprouts.

If you were like me and thought pork chops were kind boring, give it another chance. Here are some good recipe choices for pork chops:

Pork Chops au Poivre

Pork Chops with Ginger-Soy Glaze

Skillet Pork Chops Florentine

Let me know if you try any of those recipes and like them!

QUESTION: Do you like Lebanese food? What’s your favorite thing to order?

For the City That I Miss

After we left the family reunion we drove a little ways to the ferry. We were meeting some friends over in West Seattle.


We lucked out and the Southworth Ferry had short lines, a short wait and it was a quick ferry ride across to Seattle. I think it stopped on Bainbridge Island to get more cars.


The ferry ride was almost too short! We went to the top to check out the views and then they were announcing our arrival.


It was a PERFECT day in the Northwest! Sunny, really warm and it made me miss Seattle!


We got off the boat at West Seattle. The plan was to meet our friends at Salty’s on Alki. Can you believe that I lived in Seattle for 19 years and never went to West Seattle or Alki Beach?


I don’t know why I never went to Akli Beach because it was absolutely gorgeous. The views of downtown Seattle were unmatched.

We got to Salty’s and it was packed. Plus we learned that it was brunch buffet only and by reservation only. We were a little early and our friends hadn’t arrived yet so we just hung out at Alki. The place was absolutely packed with people out enjoying the sunshine. There were runners, bikers, walkers and kids playing on the beach. What a fun place to hang out.


Our friends arrived and we made another plan for lunch. We drove away from the insane traffic congestion and found a place to eat.


There weren’t a lot of options in the neighborhood we ended up in and it was getting late in the afternoon so we went to the first place that was open. It turned out to be Prost!, a German restaurant and pub.


It was a very cool German pub. There was a nice patio out back and that’s were we sat, enjoying the Seattle sunshine.


Michael’s friend Mike, the one that visited us recently, brought his wife and adorable son. The patio was a good place for the kid to run around while we ate lunch.


Michael and I skipped the beer and opted for soda since we had a long drive ahead of us. Mike got a beer though. It arrived in an epic mug too:


The picture doesn’t do it justice! For lunch Michael ordered the bratwurst:


Mike and his family ordered some sort of sample tray of meats, cheeses, rye bread and hot mustard.


What I ordered was the total winner though.


I got the Brezel Sandwich. It came with sliced German Cervelat (which is like salami), cheese and an amazing sauce.


The pretzel roll it came on was crunchy and flavorful. I took one bite and was blown away. Michael had a bite and said he wished he’d ordered what I got! It was so good!


I devoured that sandwich and was heartbroken when it was gone. I totally could have ordered another one. 🙂 What a cool place we stumbled upon. The next time I’m in Seattle I can see myself going back to get one of these sandwiches.


The Granny Smith apple slices went really well with the flavors of the sandwich and mustard. We finished up lunch and then Michael and I hit the road. We had about a three hour drive home. Half way there we made a stop to use the bathroom in a McDonald’s and we ended up getting a chocolate cherry shake. We split one shake for the rest of the drive.


Damn was that shake good. Totally worth it. And I’m glad we split it! I’m still thinking about that sandwich though….Seriously, if you’re ever in Seattle, go here!

QUESTION: Have you ever taken a Ferry ride?