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Last week, I got to visit my good college friend Laura out in the Great Northwest!  She grew up in Tacoma, and now lives there with her (Kentuckian) husband and their cute dog.  I hadn’t visited out there since her wedding a few years ago, and when the stars aligned for direct flights at great prices, it was time to go!

It rained.  No surprise, I know – and I expected it to, so in a way the rain was actually part of my vision for a great trip!  It didn’t stop us from doing anything we wanted to (the people out there are not as wimpy as others in certain parts of the country), which included winery-going, hiking, touring the Microsoft city campus, and of course hitting up one of the most iconic American markets: Pike Place.  My trip is below, in pictures!  Plus a delicious recipe for creamy cauliflower soup that I made a version of for dinner with them while I was there.

Here we are at Chateaux St. Michelle – the grow grapes in the eastern part of the state, and ship them here to process.  Washington state is one of the country’s top wine-producers, up there with California and New York!2014-11-03 12.09.41

At the beginning of the Rattlesnake Ledge trail – 4 miles round trip took us about 2 hours!
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Here’s that cute dog I was mentioning:2014-11-04 11.30.25

The view was a LITTLE obscured by the clouds…2014-11-04 11.30.16

But cleared a bit when we got to the top for this magnificent view:2014-11-04 11.32.31

After we made it back down, a trip to the Microsoft HQ gave us a photo op with ALL the top dudes 😉IMG_2079

And a chance to try out some new technology – you could add virtual accessories and make up, and the way it stayed with your face was pretty crazy!

After that, a visit to the market…even in the rain, this place is bursting with light, color, and some real characters.IMG_2093

Lots of great Washington State produce for sale…we tried the Sweet Tango apple variety, a new Honeycrisp cross.IMG_2087

Dang that’s some big garlic.IMG_2091

Can’t visit the northwest without seeing – and eating – some fresh salmon!IMG_2097

Yes folks, that’s chocolate pasta…linguine for dessert, anyone?IMG_2102

Time for dinner…love their huge farmhouse table, that Laura’s husband built! 2014-11-04 18.46.09

Broiled salmon – just salt, pepper, and lemon juice!2014-11-04 18.57.06

Wheatberry salad with zucchini, carrots, and fresh cheese curds from the market.2014-11-04 18.42.08

Cauliflower soup – I tweaked the recipe I made them to up the protein and changed the flavor a bit in the recipe below!2014-11-04 18.45.48

Curried Cauliflower Soup
(as sampled at the Columbia Heights market last Saturday!)


  • 1 lg cauliflower (~2lbs)
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 4 c vegetable broth
  • 15oz can white beans
  • 1 c half & half

Heat oil in a large pot on the stove.  Add garlic, onion, and cauliflower; saute lightly for 5 minutes.  Add spices, beans, and broth.  Simmer for ~35 minutes or until cauliflower is soft. Puree.