I took a trip to Seattle…

Yes, the great Northwest.  If Chicago is for foodies, then the state of Washington is for those of you who like your food and adult beverages.  My brother is a graphic designer and owns his own business, Fresh Bread Design.  He works almost exclusively with distilleries and breweries in the area north of Seattle as well as some in Seattle.  So I had the inside track on what was amazing to sip on while in Washington.  And it was a fun time!

I love flying into Sea-Tac on a clear day, the views are amazing!  I arrived at a good time in the morning and my dad and brother, Scott, picked me up just in time for lunch.  Since we had plans on going to Ghostfish Brewing Company when they opened at 3pm, we had time to kill.  Scott found a little fish and chips place that had a dedicated fryer for gluten free foods.  I loved the fact that he did research ahead of time, read reviews and planned this for us.  It meant so much!

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The fish and chips place that we went to was called Emerald City Fish and Chips.  It may not be the biggest place to eat but it packed a punch!  It turns out that they only batter their items in a Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free batter so the only things that aren’t gluten-free are their sandwiches.  It was awesome getting a great meal and knowing it was totally safe!

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We then headed downtown-ish Seattle.  We parked close to Ghostfish Brewing but Scott wanted to take us to Letterpress Distilling.  It was a gorgeous, sunny fall day so we walked there.  Letterpress is right around the corner from SafeCo Field, home of the Mariners and they currently make vodka and Limoncello.  Their vodka is super smooth with a hint of vanilla at the end, very enjoyable.  The Limoncello was smooth as well and lemon-y but not overpowering.  More like a lemon drop without too much sweetness.  We also got a tour of the facility which was really cool!


Ghostfish was a place I was DYING to go to.  They brew only gluten-free beers and it was awesome to get to go to a brewery and drink a beer!  Since I’d never been there, I had a flight and my brother and dad shared a flight with other flavors.  I’d never had a saison before and fell in love with the light flavor with a hint of flowers.  Just a beautiful blend!  The other flavor, much to my surprise, that I loved, was the stout.  I’d never been too much of a stout fan, it’s usually got too much of a coffee flavor for me, but this one is less coffee and more chocolate.  Wow!  Talk about a beer you can sip and savor!  Needless to say, we took some beer home with us.


A couple of days later we ventured to Anacortes.  If you have never been there, go visit.  It’s a beautiful sea town with a marina and fresh sea air.

IMG_4746 IMG_4745 IMG_4747We ate breakfast at the Calico Cupboard.  They have many gluten-free items including thick, fluffy pancakes for breakfast and carrot cake (my favorite!) and cookies to take home.  I didn’t get a picture of the carrot cake the next day but it made for a great breakfast!  IMG_4744On the way home, we stopped at a store and picked up a bottle of Ground Breaker Dark Ale.  This was also a great beer with a full flavor.  Not as deep as a stout, obviously, but had a great finish to it.  IMG_4791

That Saturday was our “Tour day”.  Scott took mom, dad and I out to see a couple more of his clients.  Our first stop was Temple Distilling.  Temple, for the time being, makes gin.  Disclaimer:  I’m not a gin drinker.  I always think that someone put Lysol in my drink.  Not Temple’s London Dry gin.  Super smooth, no bite, it might make me a gin drinker.  Put it into a gin and tonic and…wow.  So good.  You have to try it to believe it, really.  They also just released a Navy Gin which is a bit more potent.  (I’m also a photographer and the next day Scott and I did some publicity photos for Temple, they turned out so good!  Sorry, a little self promotion).

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After Temple we headed to Elemental Hard Cider.  Elemental does all gluten-free hard ciders and MANY flavors.  They also have lunch which is all gluten-free sandwiches. Whoa…lunch and cider and it’s all gluten-free?  I’m in heaven!  I decided to go with the classic grilled cheese and it was amazing.  But the ciders…oh, the ciders!  From a classic dry apple to cherry to spiced apple to spiced pumpkin to acai…these are just a few flavors.  And they just introduced a root beer, not for the kiddos to try!  All of them are so good but the acai was bottled and I took one home with me.  The root beer was to be bottled a few days after I left so I may have some mailed to me.  It really was hard to pick a fav but I loved the spiced apple or the spiced pumpkin.  Two distinct flavors and perfect for fall!

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It was an amazing trip and I had a great time visiting family too, it wasn’t all about the beverages.  My family is super important to me and I got to surprise my 4 1/2-year-old niece and my 2-year-old nephew.  Spending time chasing them around was so precious to me.  Seeing my brother and sister-in-law and having time to hear about their future was amazing as well.  It’s so hard being so far away…but the memories of this time helps get through to the next time.

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There’s so much fun in traveling.  I love going to a place and seeing what that place has to offer.  I just arrived home to Grand Junction from visiting my brother and sister in law, and their kiddos, north of Seattle. 

When you are flying people ask “where are you going?”  “What is your final destination?”  On the way to Seattle I love the question.  On the way home it’s a different story.  I love visiting my family up north.  I see them about every year to year and a half, depending on how my money flow is.  And going home gets harder as the kids get older.  My niece is 4 1/2 and my nephew 2.  My niece is starting to get that auntie comes…and leaves.  It’s starting to get harder as we play harder and I find out things like my niece loves running and photography, two passions of mine.

And I sit on the Tarmac in Salt Lake City watching videos she and I made and pictures we took and the tears roll down my cheek.  I’m sure I look a little crazy:  yoga pants, ball cap and tears but going home is the hardest right now.  

Miss these two munchkins, and their parents, a lot right now…and always…


Never forget

I haven’t forgotten, I just didn’t know what to write quite yet.  It’s a day that we can’t get out of our heads and even when 9/11 appears in one of it’s many forms, we think back to that day.

When asked where you were on 9/11/01, every one of you in the US can remember.  So many stories, so many feelings.  Each one of them valid, each one of them real.

Here is my story:  on 9/10 my brother had left with two of his friends to move to Seattle from Sioux Falls, SD.  My brother and I had lived there for years and it was hard to say good bye to him (especially after seeing the rattle trap van they bought for $500 for a cross country trek…but I digress).  That was before we had cell phones attached to us 24/7.  There really was no way to know where he was at any point unless he called.

The next day I had the day off from the pawn shop I worked at and had an interview scheduled with one of the local radio stations.  I got up, turned the TV on and, as I watched, I saw a plane hit a building.  My initial thought was “I wonder what movie this is for” only to realize a few seconds later that it wasn’t a movie, it was real life.  I was as stunned as the morning crew at Good Morning America, only they were on TV and I wasn’t.

I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a phone so quickly in my life.  I called my mom.  That’s who you want when everything is going wrong in the world and this was exactly that instance.  She and I sat on the phone for a while, watching another plane hit the second building and then the footage from the Pentagon.  We had no idea what was going on, no idea where my brother was and no idea if they would attack again.  It was a scary, scary feeling.

I got ready for my interview, went to the pawn shop and hung out with the guys there, they were the family I needed at that time.  At my interview, all of us had problems concentrating.  TVs were on everywhere and, honestly, who could think about a job at this time?  After my interview I went back to the pawn shop for a couple hours and then home.  Only there the only thing on TV was the terrorist attack and we kept reliving it.

The skies became silent as airports were shut down, we were told to stay away from malls and places where large groups congregate.  Fear was in the air.  Fear and anger.  How dare they?  Why did they?  Who are they?

Slowly we had answers but it wasn’t the comfort that people wanted to have.  It’s still not comforting as we are threatened every day, although it’s not spoken.

The only good thing, if something good can be taken from something like 9/11, was that it brought our country together.  Men and women, young and old, skin of every color, they all came together to comfort, to offer hope, to bring strength to each other and to our nation.  Something that has fallen by the wayside, something we’ve forgotten.

Let’s remember those who died heroically, those that died tragically and those that sacrificed that day and many days after.  Let’s never forget, always remember.