Tag Archives: food

“Fries, eh?” – Trying poutine (Canadian fries)

Poutine, photo credit Guilhem Vellut via Flickr, used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 Attribution license

Photo credit: Guilhem Vellut via Flickr, used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

I love French fries, so I’m pretty excited about trying poutine, which people tell me is fries with gravy and cheese. Sort of like the concept of nachos, but with fries, and from Canada. That’s what I hear anyway.

We’re at a bar at a ski resort in Idaho (but not to ski, story for another time). The Winter Olympics (hosted in Canada) are playing on the TV, and we sit with it in view. The server comes by and tells us they’re having some specials in honor of the Olympics, and hands us a piece of paper with several items, including poutine.

Okay, the description doesn’t sound that great (because I prefer ketchup or Ranch on my fries, not gravy and cheese), but it’s unique and something that I haven’t tried yet. So… one order of poutine for the table, please!

When it arrives, I pull out one of the fries hanging over the edge, and it comes out with a bit of gravy and some melted cheese. That looks promising, I think, because it reminds me of other melty-cheese foods I like.

But, when I taste it, I’m not sure if I like it.

I’m not sure why it’s weirding me out so much. Mashed potatoes have gravy, and baked potatoes have cheese. I love both. But this is different somehow. Maybe the fried taste with the gravy?

The second fry has more gravy and I like it much less. This poutine adventure isn’t as great as I’d thought it would be. That’s sort of disappointing.

But with the three of us, we eat most of them, until the rest are a soggy mess at the bottom, wallowing in the gravy (actually, those aren’t that bad, they’re more like mashed potatoes, but by now I’m pretty full, and this is a very salty food).

Still, the most memorable thing about poutine is yet to come:

When we get the bill, the poutine is listed as, “Fries, eh?” 

Makes me smile every time I think of it! 🙂

So, while I’m grateful for the opportunity to try a new (to me) food, it’s probably the top way to ruin good French fries. But maybe it’s because I didn’t eat them in Canada. Either way, I’d be open to trying again, at least once. At least the receipt made it worth this first experience!

Have you eaten poutine? Do you like it? 

“Center of the Universe”: 50+ ways to spend a weekend in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle


Fremont Troll under the bridge – Photo Credit: Sue via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

The self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe,” the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle is a great place to spend some time, whether you’re just visiting or exploring the city you live in. There’s enough going on that you could even make a weekend trip for this neighborhood alone.

Fremont is known for its eclectic, artsy feel and its many festivals and events. It’s located north of downtown, and is easily accessible by public transportation, car, or walking, so there’s no excuse not to stop by.

There’s a ton of interesting things to see and places to visit in this neighborhood, so I’m sure I overlooked something. Several people helped me with this list, and you can be one of them: if you think of something that I’ve left off and should include in the next round, leave a note in the comments!

Who and what’s included:
I came up with a list of places I recommend checking out (indicated by an asterisk). Then I contacted several of those places and asked anyone working there if they had additional recommendations (you’ll see their ideas in each category below). These are the businesses I talked with:

  • Jill at Ophelia’s Books
  • Danielle at Fainting Goat Gelato
  • Lauren at Portage Bay Goods
  • Nancy who owns Hotel Hotel Hostel
  • Hal who owns the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse
  • Josh at Uneeda Burger

Our recommendations include food and drink, services and shopping, activities and sightseeing, and accommodations. (Click to jump to your favorite section or read them all!)

Note: If I didn’t put an asterisk next to the recommendation, it doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s probably just that I haven’t been there yet to personally recommend it. There’s so much to see and do that I haven’t been to all of these!

See the list!

“Always say yes to the next adventure” – Interview with Susan McNulty of The McVagabonds


Susan and Ryan of The McVagabonds – Photo provided by and used with permission from Susan McNulty

Today’s interview is with Susan McNulty, a travel blogger at The McVagabonds, and a friend of mine. We met during our AmeriCorps VISTA year, and now she and her husband are adventuring in Europe after completing a long road trip from Seattle to Pittsburg!! In this interview, Susan shares about some of her travel and blogging journey so far, one of her ongoing Europe bucket list items, and the best advice she’s ever received.

Name and Blog:
Susan McNulty, half of The McVagabonds!

Fun fact about you:
I love food, both eating and cooking it. I love it so much that I decided to go to culinary school a few years ago, and trained at The Art Institute in Pittsburgh. I have a dream to one day eat my way through France.

Funner fact:
I’m working on getting to all four “corners” of the United States, a list that I made up a couple of years ago after moving to Seattle. I’ve been to Bellingham, Washington (top left); San Diego, California (bottom left); The Everglades, Florida (bottom right). Once we get back to the States next year I hope to make it up to NE Maine to get to all four points!

Funnest fact:
My husband and I are currently on our longest trip together: travelling around Europe for six months! We love to explore new places and have since the day we got married, but this is by far our biggest endeavor to date. We’re using it as a trial run to hopefully spend part of the year travelling from here on out.

What do you think has been essential to your success as a travel blogger?
I’m quite new to the blogging game, so I’m only just now starting to hit my groove. I think I’ve started having little milestones because I’ve been treating it like a job. Every day I have a certain amount of time set aside to write and edit posts, upload photos and reach out to other bloggers via comments. I think it’s been good in many ways, especially with helping to find my voice as a blogger.

What was something that surprised you about blogging?
How much I’m enjoying it! I’ve kept a journal since I was young, so I’ve always had a record of things that have happened in life. But with blogging, my journaling is taken to a whole new level. I’m able to add photos and include more facts and history. Plus I’m able to share my experiences with friends and family which they appreciate, especially when we’re abroad.

If you had to describe your blog in 6 words or less, what would you say? 
A collection of adventures and memories.

Who or what inspires you?
I think travelling, and all of the people I’ve met along the way, inspire me. There’s a big world out there, full of people so different from myself. I love meeting new people and learning from them. They inspire me to be a better, kinder and more conscientious person.

What is your all-time favorite bucket list item (of yours or someone else’s)? 
I have an ongoing bucket list item for our time in Europe: eat one pastry in every city we go to and document it. Before we left Pittsburgh a dear friend of mine told me I had to eat a pastry in Paris all by myself, no sharing with my husband. The idea not only stuck with me but it grew from there! It was the first item on my European bucket list and by far my favorite – who doesn’t love pastries?

If you aren’t doing anything related to travel, what are you doing in your free time? 
I’m an avid reader, so I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting books. I love going into second-hand shops and finding new-to-me books that have a history of their own! I’m also obsessed with my dog, who stays with my parents when we travel. We go for walks, try out new dog parks and area always on the lookout for new doggie recipes.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Always say yes to the next adventure, no matter what it is. Don’t be afraid of life! I’ve been living by this philosophy for the last couple of years, and it’s been working out pretty well so far!

Readers: Join me in thanking Susan for sharing her time, stories, and advice with us! If you want to learn more about her, check out her blog The McVagabonds, with all the links to the usual social media sites.

Want more interviews like this? Leave a comment and let me know who you would like to see featured. Be sure to sign up to stay updated on all the latest posts. Also, get on the Insiders list, a monthly email with a summary of blog posts, cool surprises and printables throughout the year, invites to insider-only online events, and chances to be featured in the blog.