Oct 292014
 
Weed Bowl Tshirt at Pike Place Market

Weed Bowl T-shirt at Pike Place Market

 

After the Seahawks romp over the Green Bay Packers in the opening game of the 2014 NFL season, the 12th Man was expecting another run to the Super Bowl in 2015. Perhaps Seattleites should expect to play Denver again in the “Weed Bowl” rather than the Super Bowl this year?

Since the dominating performance over the Packers in early September, the Seahawks have not resembled last year’s championship team by any measure.  The Seahawks pass rush has struggled this year and, as a result, interceptions and forced turnovers have taken a nose-dive. The running game has not been consistent and receivers can’t separate and make big plays. The Hawks special teams, a shining star last year, lost the Rams game when they were fooled by a couple of trick plays that resulted in touchdowns.

At 4-3, the Seahawks are still in contention for the playoffs but, given they are in the toughest division in the NFL, a run for the Super Bowl doesn’t seem likely this year. I’m guessing that they will need at least a 10-6 record to make the playoffs this year. Given they still have two games against the Cardinals and 49ers, and an away game at the Eagles, the odds of reaching 10 wins are not good.  Meanwhile, the 6-1 Broncos, sporting a much improved defense, look unstoppable and appear poised to win it all. But, the parity-focused NFL, is unpredictable and anything is possible. At least this Seahawks fan hopes so.

 

 

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Oct 252014
 
Shen jian bao meat dumplings  at Dough Zone

Shen jian bao meat dumplings at Dough Zone

My mother-in-law has had a healthy addiction to dumplings ever since we spotted them on the streets of Xian while touring China in the 90s. Yes, Seattle and Xian are several Great Walls apart culturally but I figured we could get her a dumpling fix at the dumpling house, Dough Zone, near the Crossroads Mall in Bellevue WA. My family left very impressed and our belts were a little more snug by the end of the evening.

Determined to bite into our dumplings quickly after being seated, we filled out our order on the restaurant’s menu during our 30 minute wait outside. Warning: if you come during regular dinner hours and weekends, be prepared to check emails and pass the time with your smartphone during the long wait.

We started with youtiao, Chinese bread sticks fried to a delicate crispiness. They were done just right, slightly crispy and not at all greasy. Unfortunately, we wanted to have congee for dipping our youtiao but they were all sold out for the day.

Youtaio at Bellevue's Dough Zone

Youtaio at Bellevue’s Dough Zone

The dumpling barrage started as soon as the breadsticks were devoured. The first dumplings were wontons in spicy sauce. They were wonderful, firm meaty wontons coated with a tangy, spicy sauce.

Wontons in spicy sauce, Dough Zone

Wontons in spicy sauce, Dough Zone

 

Meat potstickers were next to arrive and they did not disappoint. The flavorful meat filling and the crispy brown bottoms provided a great contrast in textures.

Meat potstickers at Dough Zone


Meat potstickers at Dough Zone

 

We knew that the best was yet to come when we spotted large hot bamboo steamers approaching the table. The first one was filled with steamed pork dumplings. They disappeared quickly after being smothered in a mixture of soy sauce and chili peppers.

Steamed dumplings at Dough ZoneSteamed dumplings at Dough Zone

Steamed dumplings at Dough Zone

 

And then the grand dumpling finale – xiao long bao. These petite juicy pork soup dumplings come 10 to an order. After savoring the first one, you realize why they are served in groups of 10. Few people have the will power to eat less than 10 of these tasty morsels!

Pork soup buns at Dough Zone

Pork soup buns at Dough Zone

All in all, the Dough Zone was a great place to reminisce about the savory street food we experienced many years ago in Xian, one of the most interesting regions in China. Good food, even better memories.

 

 

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Redmond Watershed Preserve Hike

 Posted by on October 14, 2014 at 10:16 pm  Outdoors  No Responses »
Oct 142014
 
Hiking trail in the Redmond Watershed Preserve

Hiking trail in the Redmond Watershed Preserve

Here are some photos from my hike in the Redmond Watershed Preserve the other day with my daughter and her friends. There’s a decent network of trails for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians although we saw mostly trail runners that day. All the trails are wide, level, and well maintained and great for small kids. We saw and heard a wide variety of birds, small mammals, lizards, plants, fungi, and people!

Lizard at the Redmond Watershed Preserve

Lizard in the Redmond Watershed Preserve

 

Mushrooms at the Redmond Watershed PreserveMushrooms at the Redmond Watershed Preserve

Mushrooms in the Redmond Watershed Preserve

 

Fungi growing on trees in the Redmond Watershed Preserve

Fungi growing on trees in the Redmond Watershed Preserve

 

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Flyfishing for Largemouth Bass on Small Lakes

 Posted by on October 7, 2014 at 11:20 pm  Outdoors  No Responses »
Oct 072014
 
Largemouth bass fishing

Largemouth bass fishing

 
It was much too warm and sunny yesterday to stay inside so I took the opportunity to explore a small lake near Carnation, WA. I had read that this lake had a decent population of native trout and was anxious to check it out with my float tube and 5 wt fly rod.

Largemouth bass on a green frog fly

Largemouth bass on a green frog fly

When I scanned the new lake, there was no surface activity whatsoever so I was a little worried.  I first hugged the shoreline casting my woolly bugger into the banks and weeds. I didn’t get any strikes for the first 10 minutes so I was thinking the trip would be a big bust. But, as soon as I reached an area full of lily pads, the woolly bugger was suddenly devoured by a fish. After a good fight, I was surprised that a good size largemouth bass was attached to my fly! After that, I caught one bass after another. I switched to surface flies and the great action continued. The bass took a variety of dry flies especially grasshoppers, but my favorite “fly” had to be a green frog imitation. When I opened the bass’ mouth, it was obvious they could even swallow a frog much larger than my fly.

Bass are not typical targets for Northwest flyfishermen, but I’ve become a big fan of bass fishing. Catching them on surface flies is a special treat.

 

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