Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 4, Seattle, March 31

Day 4: Seattle

Rain, and more rain, until 3:30, when the sun finally came out when we were walking around

Pics: Please excuse old-shaky-hands if some of the pictures in the blog are blurry. This is not something THB is doing to provide artistic merit…wait, maybe this is something that has artistic merit. THB rescinds his apology. It sure isn’t the camera’s fault!

Rental car, inside and out of the Turrell at the Henry (the roof is closed, not easy to tell from the pic other than that THB has been saying “NO SUN” for the last few days), cherry blossoms (and a surprise “before” pic from May of last year...or is it an after pic?) including DB and THB posing, a few street art shots one shot of a pic of a pic that THB took last year of Akio piece outside Whole Foods, two shots at/of Sitka and Spruce.

Fitness center. Breakfast at Lola with other NCECA folks and E&J, eggs overcooked (omelet for THB, scrambled for DB), good potatoes, bacon, scone, stuff the others have, and doughnuts (shared, fortunately). $150 for 7

Start with the Bellevue Art Museum: four good to very good exhibits (one focused on ceramics, two with some ceramics and one pure art jewelry). Slide back across Lake Washington to UW and the Henry for another show of early work by local ceramicists; it’s good to know that these artists all had a lot of growth in them! Across campus to a juried college (undergrad and graduate) student show which gave us a chance to see the spectacular cherry blossom display (see lots of pics).

Lunch at a local hot dog spot: rajun Cajun for THB, a shared veggie burger, beef stew, fries, a brewski, coke and iced tea (THB), $50 for 4

Finally back to a few galleries near Pioneer Square, then to the hotel to rest up for dinner at Sitka and Spruce, where we join S&C. The meal tonight is also family style, and we get to pick the dishes rather than using a set menu. To THB, tonight was better, that was not the consensus when compared to Staple and Fancy (all these … and … restaurants!).

House-made sourdough and butter (excellent); ful, carrots and avocado mezze with coffee soaked egg and dukkah (say what?); smoked sardines with parsnip skordelia and hazelnuts (more what?); chicken liver pate on toast, stinging nettles (soupy) and poached egg; chicories, arugula shoots and turnip greens with bagna cauda; artichoke, green garlic and grilled haloumi salad with lemon from the fireplace (similar ingredients to Cantinetta, much different in the eating); charcoal grilled chicken, preserved lemon, almonds and cumin; gateau Basque with Mount Adams huckleberries; licorice fern root semifreddo with poached rhubarb; 3 teas, two glasses of wine, 2 bottles of Gruner Veltliner, $420 for 7

Book Review: Sacred Trash, The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza, Adina Hoffma and Peter Cole (Kindle). Another oddity from THB’s pathological readings. A geniza is sort of a burial ground for Jewish documentation (like it can somehow be saved from a horrible afterlife or tainting the current life), and in the late 1800s, one such “tomb” was found nearly intact in the attic of a synagogue on the outskirts of Cairo. It contained 100 of thousands of scraps on paper and parchment in various stages of decay and disfigurement from the late 900s (yes, about a thousand years old on down to only 800 years ago), and is still being catalogued and analyzed, with ever more scraps being discovered in other collections and attempts to connect them with this other tomb. The story is mostly on the individuals that have been taking in the task of re-envisioning life from that period, focused (though not exclusively) on the Jewish communities and the mundane to the exotica of what was written and kept.

For those of you who want a more detailed view (THB may give it a go), here’s the first volume (of six?) by the last and most famous of the interpreters (now dead), S D Goitein: A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza

Friday, March 30, 2012

Seattle, Bellingham, La Conner, Seattle Day 3, March 30

Day 3: Seattle, Bellingham, La Conner, Seattle

Intermittent rain, with temps dropping into the 40s at night

Pics: DB’s feet all clean and pretty, Alexis breakfast spot, Japanese winners (no pics of pieces allowed), Serra, Maya Lin, Bellingham downtown and trash bin, Staple and Fancy

Breakfast at the hotel: dutch baby (okay on outer rim, way too doughy on inside) for THB and scrambled eggs and toast for DB, one cold coffee, $30 minus a daily food credit of $25 for a total of $5

Today we take a ride…quite a ride, an hour and a half all the to Bellingham, to see a Japanese women’s traveling show (one we could of seen in Sacramento!) at WWU (Western Washington University). The show is great, we have a piece by Mishima (sorry, no pics of the work allowed) and the director is very helpful, even giving us access to their chair collection in the room behind her office (see pic of chair by Maya Lin). WWU also has a great outdoor sculpture collection (see pic of Serra right outside the gallery).

Lunch at Bayou: fried chicken sandwaich (THB, not near as good as Bake Sail Betty), pulled chicken sandwich, Caesar salad, pulled pork sandwich, sweet potato fries, iced tea, pepsi, Arnold Palmer, $50.

Then we visit the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham to see a traveling Israeli women’s ceramics show. To THB’s aesthetic, the Japanese women shut out the Israelis by a score of 17-0. The others do not see it that way…ah, the joys of art.

A long drive back towards Seattle to the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner to see the show of tulipierres (tulip vases) ceramics show…another winner (and way better than the Israeli women, who have been eliminated, having lost twice in the double elimination round robin). Lots of very interesting pieces; unfortunately, the 750 tulips used in the opening last Saturday have dwindled down to about 20, so we have to use our imagination (DB suggests to the docent that they take the pics from the opening and display them alongside the exhibit, a great idea!).

Another almost two hour drive to get back to Seattle (we get caught in Friday rush hour) to dinner at Staple and Fancy, another restaurant we ate at last year. Just as good, and just as much food: we order the $45/person set meal for the table, along with 3 glasses of white wine, a bottle of malbec and two coffees. $310 total

Here’s what we had: smoked whitefish crostini, raw squid salad with chickpeas, fried oysters, buffalo mozzarella and shallots, prosciutto and olive oil (aka speck), escalar ceviche, grilled radicchio salad, gnocchi and lamb ragu (shades of Cantinetta two nights ago), tagliatelle with meat, beef tenderloin with more grilled radicchio and onion, branzino, cheesecake (not THB’s fave) and apple and rosemary tart with apple jack ice cream.

Lastly, J is right: Buffalo mozzarella (Italian: mozzarella di bufala) is a mozzarella made from the milk of the domestic water buffalo. THB has only one thing to say: that’s pure buffaloploppen.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Seattle Day 2, March 29

Day 2: Seattle
Weather: Rain, some more rain, and finally rain…all day

Pics: Fitness center in its entirety, Ginny Ruffner outdoor piece, work by artists we own or would like to own (like the gigantic ceramic drone), two restaurants + Macrina Bakery, and DB’s dyed (not bruised) feet after a day walking the town

Fitness center, such as it is: 3 pieces of equipment and a mirror. Breakfast at the hotel: lousy whole wheat pancakes for THB and granola and yogurt for DB, one coffee, $38 minus a daily food credit of $25 for a total of $13…and THB thinks we overpaid!

Catch a local (free) bus to the convention center (CC) and start our day of hunting down as much ceramics as possible.
- Airstream Gallery (CC)
- Santa Fe Clay Gallery (CC, pic of Lisa Clague piece)
- 10 ceramics artists working in 2D (CC, great show)
- 40 years of Seattle ceramics (CC, also a great show with early work by many well-known local artists)
- Barney’s window (See pic of Beth Lo plate)
- Facere: ceramics jewelry
- Fancy Gallery
- Friesen Abmayer Gallery
- Paper Hammer Gallery
- Patricia Rovzar Gallery
- Grover Thurston Gallery
- Suyama Space: architecture firm, we’ve seen Kiff Slemmons and Trimpin shows here in early trips. This time: a pipe configuration with “piped” in music
- Traver Gallery
- Foster White Gallery for the Archie Bray Foundation reception
- And several more, including a cupcake outlet (damn, we were too full to try the local fare)

Memorable work (for sale):
- Display Nick Blivin of dinner ware that crossed the lines of design, art and craft (sorry, no pic)
- Predator/drone plane in ceramic by Adam Shiverdecker (see pics)
- At a pop-up gallery in Pioneer Square, a piece by Susie Lee that lights up filaments when you send a text message that is “received” by the device, with the piece expecting a regular interchange (it sends text messages out as well). Fascinating!!
- A set of small biographical figures with bees by Judy Hill

Lunch at Serious Pie (another repeat): Two pizzas (sausage; artichokes and green garlic), kale salad, two brewskies and one Mexican coca cola: $76 for 4. See pics

at Macrina Bakery: 4 cookies, consumed throughout the day and as dessert at dinner, $10

at Tin Table, up a long flight of stairs and across from an active ballroom (damn, too tired to stay for the $7 for all night dancing), and not noisy (a pleasure!): Burger and shoestring fries, lentil soup and two orders of chickpea fritters (falafel in another life), salad, and steelhead on ratatouille (THB, fish slightly overcooked, dish very good otherwise). $100 for 4