Sunday, May 13, 2012


Mother's Day is probably the one of the most popular days to eat out at a nice restaurant. Count me in! I got a reservation for an early dinner (brunch was booked, alas!) at Tilth, a neighborhood place featuring organic, locally sourced food. Besides having delicious cuisine, it's a super cute place, located in a green Craftsman house with a lovely outdoor eating area and excellent service. According to the restaurant's website, Tilth was voted one of the best new restaurants in the country in 2008. Its executive chef and owner, Maria Hines, is a James Beard Award winner for Best Chef of the Northwest, as well as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs of 2005.

Luckily, it was a beautiful sunny day, so we got to eat outside. We opted to get the five-course tasting menu; I got the vegetarian version and Chris and Oscar got the carnivore version. The first course, savory apple soup with a gruyere and caramelized onion-topped crouton, was Chris and Oscar's favorite. My favorite was the second course, roasted garlic flan with cauliflower, green onion, and caper. I also had carnaroli risotto with firm chunks of carrot, stinging nettle, and pine nuts and house-made potato gnocchi with English peas, morel mushrooms, and lemon thyme. (Oscar and Chris had sablefish and hangar steak for the last two courses.) For dessert, we got chocolate ganache cake with cocoa cream and a salt-topped chocolate cookie the size of a pencil eraser. It was a great meal, and even Oscar ate most everything, and at least tried everything.

Tilth's menu changes monthly, which makes me think it might be a good idea to visit at least seasonally! I'm still determined to eat brunch there one of these days. I need a special occasion. Or a visitor! Anyone?!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Free Comic Book Day

Today is the first Saturday in May, which is one of my favorite holidays: Free Comic Book Day! It's such a fun way to preview the latest comics from all types of publishers. The best contain complete stories; some have previews of a few pages of several titles the publisher is promoting. There's even a full-cover hardcover freebie anthology of Mouse Guard this year. There's a huge array of samples, but the stores I've been to set limits on the number you can take. Last year at our local Oakland, California store the limit was three; at our neighborhood store in Seattle today the limit is six, but either way if you bring several family members, you can get a good supply of reading material for free! Be careful of flip comics or you might pick up the same comic twice like I did: Even though it was clearly labeled as a flip comic on both sides, I didn't realize that Anna & Froga and Moomin Valley Turns Jungle were two sides of the same comic. I was too excited by the Anna & Froga artwork (check out the pic of the worm, cat and frog below). So pretty!

Our local comic book seller, Comics Dungeon, was mobbed when Oscar and I arrived at 11 a.m. Besides shelves of free comics, the store has marked down its kids' comics by 35% and its graphic novels and trade paperbacks by 25%; T-shirts and toys are also on sale. Like most of the crowd in Comics Dungeon, we took advantage of the lowered prices. (The cashier told me Free Comic Book Day is by far the busiest day of the year!) I got a hardcover Nancy book by one of my favorite old-school artists, John Stanley; Oscar bought a Skullboy Army comic. In terms of comics, I gravitate to the all the kids' comics, and my favorites consistently come from Fantagraphics and Drawn & Quarterly. I also love Bongo, Top Shelf, and Kaboom! And I should mention the Voltron Force comic that my friend Traci at VIZ Media edited is in Free Comic Book Day preview form as well. (I don't know anything about Voltron Force and generally avoid the superhero-type action stuff, but I know if Traci worked on it, it's awesome!)

Anyway, free comic book day goes on all day long, so be sure to hit up your local shop!