Category Archives: summer

Fall Book Sale!

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It is definitely fall here in Portland, Oregon.

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Air is cool and dry. Trees are popping into beautiful colors. Kids are back in school.

In honor of the changing of the seasons, something we do pay attention to at Taste Life Twice, I’m putting on a book sale!

No, not a book swap, although that’s an excellent idea too! But a sale. A big one. As in:

YOU CAN GET MY NOVEL FOR FREE!

That’s right. For 3 days at the end of this month, the Kindle version of Memory’s Hostage will be available for download from Amazon for free. So if you’ve been futzing around wondering how to get that Kindle app for your Android or desktop computer, do it now! Get ready! It’s a-comin’!

In other news, I’ve been doing some research for my third book, ruminating on what I saw and heard in Scotland and England on my trip there last month, and piecing together a whopper of a good story. For more details, sign up for the Book Newsletter (or should I say MUSE-letter), where you’ll soon be getting more nitty-gritty on the book development process.

~Otherwise, stay tuned here for more travelogue details to come!~

Why Some Places Call to You Again and Again

Stop Look Enjoy reminder

Last year, I visited San Francisco.

Sam's Log Cabin, Berkeley

I was yearning to breathe free of stifling DC, and so planned a trip to a place I knew I loved to explore, and added a few activities with people I loved to be with. I had an awesome trip (a short one, at 4 days, that packed a punch).

Then I went home to DC.

 

 

 

San Francisco building

This year I returned to San Francisco with the glorious excuse of it being on the way to Yosemite, where I was headed for a quadrennial Family Reunion (posts coming soon!).

I once again got lost in the foliage, the sea air, the cityscapes.

Union Street Papery graphic

Oakland gondolier

And yet, when I contemplate the life change of moving cross-country, I shy away from SF- why is that? The city calls to me, and I know I would love living there, but my mind stops at the “Oh, but it’s so expensive” line. Hmph. Apparently the ninja is not yet ready to be trained…

I’ve done some reading about places, how environment affects one’s thinking, and experimented with some of my own place-based habits. I still find there are locations that seem to call to me. Scotland is one of those places. San Francisco is another. It varies. It may be an attempt to balance what the mind believes is an imbalance:

Too much citified noise and agitation? –> go to the quiet, misty hills of Scotland

Not enough creative energy amid the strait-laced DC crowd? –> let loose with the hipsters and entrepreneurs of the Bay Area

But I also think it might just be that some places make you feel at home, and they call you. Where do you feel you belong?

San Francisco blue day hill

 … and is that where you currently live?

Books Fly in San Francisco

Do I need a more obvious sign that this is where I should be?

Comfort Friend and Comfort Food at Hudson Lounge

I love getting visitors here in the District of Columbia. I get to be a tour guide, a hostess, a Resident Foodie (we need badges, no?)… well, usually I get to play these roles, but this summer I had a different kind of guest. One who had already lived here, already had favorite places, and was on a mission. Kind of like me! Hi, Rooske!

So no tour guiding. But there was lots of talking over life plans and adventures, and figuring out the work projects we want to do.

I did get to put on my Resident Foodie hat, though, since restaurants change in DC so quickly, and being out of the country for a year will definitely provide you with a panoply of new places to try. It so happened that Hudson Lounge, which was new when she was living here, had never made it on her top list to try. Enter my Groupon.

The menu has the mouthwatering descriptions, but I’ll give it the personal touch here. Above is what I had as an appetizer: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with currants and pine nuts. For the past year or so, I’ve been diving into any version of roasted brussels sprouts at restaurants, since I tried it at Potenza— but Potenza has closed! I just found out last week. It’s sad, and it’s probably because they never put the sprouts back on the menu…

But I digress. These were very good, but not with the flash fried crispiness of other places. Rooske had a cauliflower soup, which was nice, but didn’t make me do cartwheels. And that’s really what life is about, right? Doing things that make your heart do cartwheels?

Next were the entrees: Caramelized Cauliflower Risotto (above) and Fried Chicken (below). The risotto, while rich and creamy, really was over-the-top with the amount of cheese. Very heavy. I no doubt would have erred in the other direction making it at home, since I don’t like the tedious grating of pecorino or parmesan.

What had really beckoned me to try this place though, was the report of its fried chicken- duly noted as being from Murray Farms, a group of Pennsylvania farms. Instead of being wearied by all the name-dropping on the menu, I rather like when restaurants note the purveyors of their ingredients. It shows that they have formed a relationship with a producer that they’re proud of owning up to. Hooray for transparency in the food industry, I say! Did it live up to my view of transparency begetting good product?

Fitting leftovers into containers…

Nice crispy skin, and succulent meat, even as leftovers (contained curiously at right) reheated in the oven, was the answer to that question. And of course there were leftovers- duh! That’s what the civilized person does when confronted with American-sized portions but wants to sample the diversity of the menu!

That diversity, of course, Rooske and I both agreed,  involved sampling dessert. And speaking of American-sized portions, Hudson offers a Half Pound Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie. Half a pound. Of cookie. We shared a half and put the rest in the container to take home. Also good later.

 Was it really necessary to top the cookie with powdered sugar? I think not.

As I post this, it seems like a while ago that Rooske was here and we were having those conversation, but they continue in different form, and always bring me comfort on my journey with extra inspiration for the road. I hope I can do the same for others in my life… Feel free to test me. :)