Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Whimsy and Wonder of Treehouse Point

I've been eyeballing Treehouse Point, located in Issaquah for some time now via the interwebs. Places like this are magical and surreal. A retreat not so far away from the luxaries we find necessary.
I booked a night for my husband and myself as a tiny getaway. No kids, no dogs, no work. Just the two of us taking in some much needed rest, relaxation and nature! Tensions have been running high being as we both were working full time and juggling our schedules (seems to be the problem for many). Him and his 50+ hours a week and me with maybe a plate too full of projects while working six days a week between two part time jobs for most of August. (this doesn't include hours doing the kind of work I admire like writing, assisting with art bus and volunteering with Peace Out, things that at this stage in my life I am unwilling to give up. I've reached a time in my life that community building takes a great priority. I want my kids to take great pride in their community and have big thoughts and big dreams....right here.)
We are amidst "living the America Dream" and too busy to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
So I decided we were going to hit the pause button for 24 whole hours. With the help of my magnificent baby sister who house/baby sat for us.
Off we went.
This was our room!! Now for those who don't know, Treehouse Point is a B&B consisting of a main lodge with a few available rooms and 5 or 6 treehouse rooms of varying sizes that serve as lodging. I'm a all or nothing kind of girl when the circumstance allows....I booked the big kahuna of treehouse rooms, Temple of the Blue Moon. The only treehouse with an emergency bathroom (the rest have to make a short walk to the shared restroom) and the largest room available. Besides check it out!!!! I witnessed atleast 3 people walk to the edge of the bridge and take this exact photo. See the large tree going straight up the middle?! Le Sigh.

We ventured to the nearby stream and discovered LOADS of rock pillars. So many that you want to watch your step as to not knock over the handiwork of others who have visited....there were dozens. Big ones, little ones, all different sizes and differing strategies.....there must be a psychology to the building of rock pillars me thinks.  

Serene sounds of the water. Absolute Bliss. I love Washington State so much. There are natural sources of water just about everywhere. Calm and quiet. Loud and raging. The trickling around rocks and chirping of birds is absolutely one of the most magnificent things about this place. You can pause, think your own big thoughts and dream your own big dreams...then go home and manifest them.

We decided that rock towers is a kind of tradition and had to make one of our own. I'm quite proud of our shared project. Placed in the water on a sturdy knook. It was still there in the morning, I wonder if someone will build one nearby. This was one of the highlights of our trip.....it's not everyday we comb the ground for perfectly suited rocks together. xo

Seating areas can be found through out the grounds some amonth the rocks, some lonely chairs and hammocks placed along the trails and this guy right here. I want this in my yard, I'd write, read, sip on vino and smile. Fairys and gnomes use this stage for dancing.

DEEP DEEP SIGH. Smiling Hearts all the way.

Our room. This is the Blue Moon Goddess. Windows give a view from every angle out of the treehouse.

This is just a little guy. Maybe even easily missed by some. Welcoming those who enter Temple of the Blue Moon. It is truly a temple. Temple of the treehouses, temple to all those who revel in what the forest has to offer.

This plank was a wobbly guy but the least of our adventures. We climed into lookout points up steep ladders, making me realize my age. As children I think such things as heights unfaze us as we climb to the summit of large trees like wild animals. Then that practical, safe little demon of doubt matures....and ladders to the treetops is an intimidating idea. Which means, I think, I have officially gotten old.

One of the walls in our room, to the left is the opening to the deck and a closet.

The front steps to the main house. There had been a wedding there recently and these balloons had made their way to float lazily upon the entrance steps.

By the entrance of our little temporary home was a window, a close and loving gaze onto the giant tree supporting us, fresh water, a selection of teas and this darling Buddha guy.

One of the many chairs. Look closely, this one has a full on view of the rock pillars. A meditative resting spot and a shrine to the river.

Now on the the food of the trip, because let's face it, I love me some food. Breakfast in the a.m. was divine. The main lodge was full of the welcoming and comforting aromas of freshbaked goods, jazz music and good coffee. THP prides themselves on this infamous housemade granola and for good reason, it's delicious. Among the goodies there was fresh cut fruit, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, pastries, orange juice and coffee. I should have take more photos of the lodge itself there was a library, a chess table and a large communal eating area. Throughout the grounds there were several dining areas as well. Too much for words, I'll have to take pictures of those next time.

For dinner we drove into Issaquah to check things out. Only a 15 minute drive from woodsy retreat to a good selection of dining establishments. AGAVE Cocina and Tequila is where we chose to rest our rumps and fill our bellies. We happened to arive during happy hour so had a great list of cheaps eats. And damn were they tasty. These goat cheese filled jalapenos were wrapped in bacon and grilled to perfection. Served with a pineapple and serrano salsa. A little too much sweet for my taste in the salso but delicious all the same.

MMMM, Chicken Nachos. Tres Queso nachos, I feel disappointed that I didn't find out what cheeses this included because it was unique....a bit of a sharp taste with a nice balance. Maybe even some goat cheese. Fresh jalapenos, corn, black beans, tomatoes, red onions and gaucamole.

$5 Margaritas! Nothing exceptional but still good. My husband as a tequila and margarita snob  (what do you expect from the Matadors GM) thought they could stand to be stronger and less lime-y. I'm ashamed to say I didn't take photos of the Diablo Wings because they are perhaps on my top 3 wing list. I love me some wings and these were SO good. There was a nice spice that didn't overwhelm you while maintaining a delightful flavor and just a hint of sweetness. Not traditional by any means but not so outside of the box that the traditional wing lovva would be turned off. We got a second order even and I was too gung-ho to get a pic either time. In my mouth right now.

24 hours in the first days of fall. In a nutshell. Because this trip was so much more and we will definitely be returning. I'd like very much to retreat to this very location, by myself, (maybe even one of the smaller rooms) and write to my hearts content....I have a story brewing in my bones and so much STUFF at home that I lack focus. Some writers can be magnificent in the busy-ness of life....I've had some difficulty.
Until next time friends.


My Mister reminded me that I failed to tell you about our favorite little gem of this trip. In the room, on the bookshelf there was a journal. This journal was written in by people who had visited that very room. Some had just gotten married and started their life together, some were celebrating many years together, birthdays, Valentine's Day, and some were some getting away from it all like us. There were poems, drawings, musings, paintings. Some people were eloquent, some were hilarious. It was intimate and lovely.
It was our favorite. As we sipped on wine out of tea cups and listened to the river we read through these words and were so blessed to be a part of it.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Diggin on Some of This Right Now

I can thank my soul mister for that.


Vader Bling~

Another adventure in random tipping practices.
This time it played in my favor.

As we have established before, I pride myself on giving good service. I can be an odd duck, essentially a super dork with social skills that dazzle. A rare combination. Which is why some of the coolest kids in the industry work in the back of the house. It takes a lot of ego and non-dorkness to be a front of the house body. Truth.
For the most part, I think folks can walk away and feel like they've received a dining exerience that was a delight.

Sometimes (whether it be change in demographics of diners or an off day) I will walk away with far less than I feel I've earned. Some people don't understand the rules of thumb when tipping out....or assume the living costs of today are much like the 1930's. Some people have tip envy and feel bitter they don't work in an industry that they too receive tips. As though a higher hourly rate and opportunity for benefits is such a bummer.
Any how today is not about bad tips, rather a random one that turns out to be AWESOME. It may have not been so awesome to another server....but this girl must have been a long lost sister in geekdom.

My first table of the evening. A couple of gals comprable in age to yours truly, having a girls night. They were a pleasure. Made me chuckle a bit and were not high maintenance in the least! Score. They say you can judge your evening by the first table that walks in the door.

It seems to be the case, though that could be my super mind powers manifesting.

As I was cleaning the table I could have easily dismissed the black form as garbage and chucked it without a second gander but instead I picked it up with a curious "What the hell?"

And was met by this:

This is my kind of tip. Hell yes, I thought. She could have left zero dollars and this and I would have felt a sense of victory....I must have done something right because I got this AND a hefty 40% tip.
Mystery geek girl, I heart thee. You made my night. Thank you.
If it happened to fall out of your purse and it was a mistake, I will absolutely hold my vader bling at a high ransom. Or claim complete ignorance, "Vader bling? I have no idea what you are talking about."
Though the stamps received were an unusual tip this beats them all.....and in a fine dining establishment in which I work this was a rare and welcome find.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

The MANHATTAN Project: Maxwell's, Keeping it Classy

It hardly seems fair to cover Maxwell's twice in a month's time but what can I say, I dig the place. Charming, candlelit and some of the best craft cocktails in Tacoma. Former bartendress Lilliana Franz (Johnson) concocts tasty, flavorful and adventurous adult beverages that include house infused spirits and rarely seen liquors.

Naturally the Maxwell's Manhattan is no exception. This tasty potion earned a spot on the top 5 cocktails in Tacoma in the Weekly Volcano (while Maxwell's Paris on a Shoestring earned an honorable mention with it's vanilla vodka, earl grey infused vodka and agave syrup).
Woodford Reserve, cocchi vermouth and sage extract stirred and topped with a luxardo cherry.

Woodford Reserve is smooth and oaky making it very nice for a manhattan since there's no mixer to take the edge off.
The sage extract is mild, without knowing of it's presence it may go unnoticed, but entertains a slight earthy note to the cocktail.

My partner in crime, also known as my husband seemed like a natural subsitute for a drinking buddy but sucks as far as reviews go...he likes booze, this is a good drink. That's about all he had to offer on the subject. Now get him on the subject of tequila or sports and he's sure to chime in his fair share of the conversation.

The only criticism I can offer of this cocktail is that I like my manhattans shaken. Tiny ice particles serve to keep the drink chilled and dilutes it just a touch so that I can take big sips rather than little ones. In turn making it a much shorter journey to that delectably rich cherry awaiting me at the bottom.

Have you tried this manhattan or the one previously mentioned? Share with me your thoughts. No need to be a booze snob...just a lovva of the bourbon/whiskey.