Weekday Gourmet – Rustic Fireside Tortilla Soup

This is the best dry soup mix we've found!

With busy schedules and full-time jobs, ‘gourmet’ takes on different faces throughout the week.  So when we find a recipe or a product that can add a little more gourmet to a hectic work day, we get pretty excited.  Our latest find is Canterbury Naturals Rustic Fireside Tortilla Soup mix.  It’s a dry mix, containing various dried vegetables and different spice packets.  The beauty is, all you need to add is water and a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Preparation couldn’t be easier.  Add all the contents of the dry mix and spice packets, along with 7 1/2 cups of water, to a large pot.  Submerge the chicken breasts into the water/spice mix.   No need to cook or dice the chicken first.  Then you just bring to a boil and let cook for 20 minutes.  After that, you’ll need to pull out the now cooked chicken breast and shred with a fork.  Add the shredded chicken back into the soup and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.  That’s it!  You won’t believe what a great soup this makes.

Rustic Tortilla Soup

Add your own touch with an array of toppings and garnishes.  Some of our favorites are;  crushed corn chips, grated cheese – pepper jack is especially good with this, diced avocado, cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream.

Our only warning, this soup mix is not always easy to find.  My local Whole Foods used to carry this, along with some of their other soup varieties, but then one day, I could no longer find it.  Same scenario happened at my local Sprouts market.  Missing our tortilla soup, and not having a ton of luck finding it in the store, we bought it on Amazon.  Of course, a week later, there it was on the shelf at Albertsons!  Seek it out, you won’t be disappointed.  Bon Appetit!





Thanksgiving for Two

fallAs we work our way through November, the first of the big holidays is right around the corner.  As lovers of food and wine, Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays.  But this year, our original plans fell through and Thanksgiving will be just the two of us.  So, do we cook the big turkey?  Indulge in a fancy meal at a restaurant, or perhaps a little of both.


A Little About The Vintage Gourmet


Hiking in the Cascades

The Vintage Gourmet blog has been around for a few years – owned by Jen (me) and Eric – sometimes referred to JenEric.  It started as an online photo album and journal of our move from California to Seattle, and the adventures we were having in our new home.  It originally debuted as Seattle Tales.  Our target audience at the time was our family and friends as we embarked on our new journey in the Pacific Northwest.  Eric has done the majority of the writing and the photography.  I mostly posed for photos and did some proofreading.

As we settled in to normal life, The Vintage Gourmet blog started to collect dust.  We’d post here and there Continue reading

We Will Miss You Seattle…

Jen and I left Seattle three months ago for a fantastic opportunity in California. And while I can say with all certainty that it was a sound career decision, it has come at a cost. We spent 3 wonderful years in the Pacific Northwest and have very fond memories of the scenery and people who made this area arguably among the best places we have every called “home”. Simply put, we miss it tremendously.

Fortunately our beloved city by the Sound is a short two-and-a-half hour flight from Burbank Airport. In addition, we have a wonderfully supportive friend and family network in Cali – so I suppose it is important to take a moment and recognize all that we are thankful for. Nevertheless, we still find ourselves longing for that spur-of-the-moment ferry ride to neighboring Bainbridge Island for wine tasting at Eleven, dinner at Hitchcock or an afternoon beer and burger at the Public House. And who can forget our favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant Serafina (miss you guys) next to one of the best damn cocktail bars in city: Cicchetti. Or how about our afternoon strolls to the ballpark or to the Clink for an exciting Sounders soccer match. Sunday afternoons in the quaint and bustling Ballard scene or a leisurely stroll along the waterfront in Fremont.  Honestly, I could go on-and-on! Continue reading

Seattle Snow Storm – Jan 2012

The weatherman said it was coming. I wasn’t a believer and vowed not to give way to the hype. After all, everyone loves a snow day! So the best thing to do is not get your hopes up. But then again, the thought of kids racing down the hill on sleds stirred thoughts of classic Americana, Norman Rockwell style, with puffs of warmth billowing from chimneys and laughter echoing in the streets! I can just see it now, visions of the Saturday Evening Post right here on our street. Nah, put yourself in check. I mean, it seemed highly unlikely that we would see 6 inches of snow in the hood. And that’s when I made my bold prediction to Jen: “It’s NOT going to snow”.

We awoke Wednesday morning and rubbed the sleep from our eyes. Instantly the thought rushed into my head, could it be? I slipped on my PJ’s, socks and slippers. Brrr, it is quite cold in here. A few cracks, pops and stretches later, I made my way to the window. Why was it so dark? Perhaps I had misread the time? Strange that I could’t see out of the skylight. Oh, perhaps because it was completely blanketed with snow! I quickly moved to the next window and instantly realized that my doubt in the weatherman was completely off-base. And by 9:00 AM, the streets were alive with fellow Seattleites frolicking in the winter playground below! It was at this moment that the day was officially labeled Snow Day 2012!

We made our way downstairs, gulped down some breakfast and cup of coffee, wrapped ourselves in warmth and charged out the door. The sky was clear and the snow was really white! I know that sounds funny, but considering that I am a California kid, it is not something I am accustomed to. It’s particularly interesting how a layer of snow can make everything appear so uniform, so clean and so perfect. Something about the consistency of color appeals to the eye, hiding the blemishes of the old neighborhood and giving life back to the sparse trees. There is a certain nostalgia that emerges and just about everyone is captivated by it. Of course, we live in an area where snowfall is very uncommon. I can understand how those who have to live in these conditions with more regularity have a dramatically different view.

My first peek outdoors on day 1
 We’re at the base of the ski slope!
 Looking down our street from the top of the hill.
Jen looking rather cute in the backyard.

It seemed after that first day the magic would leave us as quickly as it came. We hadn’t seen any additional snowfall and the weatherman was foretasting overnight rain. I wasn’t about to question him twice. I suppose the neighbors heard the same news as they sledded their way to pure exhaustion. Finally, the streets fell silent and we prepared ourselves for the daily grind. All-in-all, it was a good Wednesday.

Much to our surprise, the next day brought more snow…much more snow! It came down from early morning to the late afternoon. At first the cold weather conditions kept sledders indoors, but as the wind subsided and the conditions improved, there were just as many people out on the second day as the first. So I decided to take a break from work and go for a walk with Jen. Here are a few shots from our jaunt:

At the very top of our hill on 71st Street.
On the way to Starbucks.
The big ski slope at 65th Street.
 This dude was moving!
 And there he goes – long way back up!
Up on Phinney Ridge, making our way to lunch.

We did have a good laugh at our cat’s expense. Maggie is always trying to find a way to sneak outside. She’s an indoor cat with limited skills so her outside time is infrequent and monitored. Well on this particular occasion with snow about 5 inches deep on the deck, I opened the door and took a step back. Wasting no time she leaped out the door burying all four paws deep in the frigged snow! Just as soon as she hit the deck she was back inside with a look of shock on her face. With a whip of the tail she turned, gave us a nasty look, chattered off some kitty expletives and scampered off. People: 1, Kitty: 0.

And so it went. Lunch on the ridge, a warm afternoon coffee at Starbucks and a nice inviting home to thaw our bones. Plus 2 full days of snow-filled fun! Sure I could be back on the Central Coast of California in 70 degree weather, but then again I would have missed a life experience that I’ll remember for a good time to come. Thanks Seattle, much appreciated!

Last photo taken on Thursday night of our Backyard.

To see more Seattle Snowmageddon pictures, click here >>

Historical View of our Home

We thought it would be fun to post an old photo of our home that we found on the King County Assessments site. Unfortunately there is no record as to when the photo was taken, but still fun to see how things looked “back then”!

First Post in 2011 – We Bought a House!

How time flies! I suppose the biggest news in our lives is that we recently bought a house (more pictures posted soon, we promise). It’s a lovely 1925 Bungalow in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood, roughly 5 miles north of downtown Seattle. While we will miss the hustle & bustle of the city, we are quickly (and quite happily) getting used to the down-tempo-city-neighborhood feel. I suppose it just fits our lifestyle a little better.

Fortunately there are some really great spots within walking distance of our front door. These smaller venues give off a more local feel as opposed to the corporate chains & tourist spots that are more prevalent in the downtown area. Another perk, the prices are much more reasonable which means we can save up for that kitchen remodel we’re planning later this year – woot woot!

Our new place is also close to a fantastic little gem that is Green Lake. There is a 3-mile loop around this lake with really beautiful views of the water. The path is lined with classic Seattle homes residing in the adjoining neighborhoods, including Green Lake, Wallingford and our very own Phinney Ridge. Plus there are nice little restaurants, cafe and pubs along the way providing much needed “nourishment” during our “exercise” outings.

This morning I received an email from a co-worker which merely read “wow” followed by a link. I thought our readers might find a little humor in this short newsclip!

Thanksgiving in Seattle

The weather was cool, football was on the television and we had a full day of good food and relaxation ahead of us. We had done our shopping as well as our homework and had a solid plan for a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner! Now I must admit that it was a little strange being away from family during such a festive time of year, but we made up our mind to serve a helluva bird-day feast and I’d say that our dinner lived up to the most pretentious of any food connoisseur’s critique!

Our turkey breast marinated in sage, rosemary and thyme (does it get any more traditional than that?) along with a little olive oil, garlic and lemon juice to add our own flair. The stuffing was enhanced with sausage, butter, sautéed onion and celery giving it a little something extra that paired very well with the bird. We topped our meal off with sweet potato spears immersed in brown sugar, butter and maple syrup as well as fresh asparagus roasted to perfection! Our evening was complimented with a few tasty Eggnog Martinis to warm things up and a lovely Baileyana Pinot Noir paired with our feast!

For those that have not visited us here in the Emerald City, here are a few shots of our apartment to give you a feel for our surroundings…

Dining Room Table set for two!
 Warm and inviting home just perfect for our Thanksgiving experience
 A very bountiful dinner
An after dinner game of Backgammon over wine!

In the end we found a way to make our Thanksgiving holiday homey and warm. It just goes to show that a little love and attention can go a very long way. It was a day that neither of us will forget anytime soon!

Gobble Gobble!!!

Seattle Snow Storm – Nov 2010

Jen took this great shot of a loan pedestrian braving the elements

It’s been 11 months since we decided to make the Pacific Northwest our home and we have done our very best to enjoy everything this beautiful area has to offer. Now, with nearly a full Winter under our belt (Jan 2010 – Nov 2010) we are excited to celebrate our first full year as Seattle residents in early January 2011. Restaurants, sporting events and walkabouts have helped us gain a full appreciation for our new home; and now it’s time to embrace the official start of the holiday season with a firsthand taste of true Winter conditions! The first snow storm of the year dropped over 4 inches and we just had to get out and take a peek.

So we wrapped ourselves in Winter armor worthy of a frigid adventure, grabbed our cameras and hit the streets. It was 9:00 PM on 11/22/10 and we were at the height of the storm with winds whipping through the city, tugging at our scarves and wool caps testing our will. It’s interesting to witness snow in these conditions as it offers a rare opportunity to see wind patterns weave through the buildings, gusting along the streets following the contours of the city. We even managed to pull off our gloves long enough to snap a few photos to share!

 Looking down from our balcony at the Metropolitan Tower
 Maggie taking in the snow sights
 Snow covering our balcony at the Metropolitan Tower, Seattle
 Nordstrom sign weathering the storm in downtown Seattle
Footprints show how deep the snow was on our deck
 Downtown view from our balcony showing snow-top roofs in Seattle
 Windswept streets of Seattle during November 2010 snow storm

A short time later we found ourselves “cozying up” in a local bar ordering a few cocktails and enjoying the storm behind a barrier of windows! Oliver’s was just the place to take in the sites while warming our spirits.

Rumor has it that more snow storms are on the horizon; we say bring them on, there is nothing like a true winter holiday season! Cheers!!!

Five Photo Favs – October 2010

Here are our top 5 favorite photos from October. Make sure to click the link “Click Here to Read the Full Story” below to see all the photos!

Sunset on Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Roasting Oysters on Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Bike ride on the Burke Gilman Trail – Seattle, WA
Cool old ship in Lake Union – Seattle, WA
Water feature in the new Lake Union Park – Seattle, WA