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I am a big fan of the Thanksgiving holiday, and this year was better than ever because my sister was here!  We spent 10 days catching up, puttering around the city, giggling and eating way too much.  It was perfection.  Some of the highlights: she met my dog and they bonded so quickly it was scary.  I went from Second Option to Third Option within 90 minutes of K’s arrival, and I didn’t mind one bit.  She got a “big city haircut” and looks even prettier than she did when she got here.  She met more of my friends, accidentally, at the Sunday market and the grocery store.  I got to show K the holiday lights around town: the greenery and retro-looking ball tree at the Space Needle, the Macy’s star, the lights at Westlake.  We went to Carkeek Park with R and saw chum salmon swimming upstream, a first for all of us.  And then there was the food.

Last Monday, we braved the rain to procure pork and beef from the incomparable Rain Shadow Meats and made Swedish meatballs to celebrate our Nana’s birthday. I think Nana (and Mom and Aunt E) would have been very proud: they were tender and flavorful and, even though they weren’t quite as awesome as she used to make, we were pretty close to the mark and awfully happy with ourselves.  It was so much fun.  I will have to post that recipe soon.

We made the Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins from Baked Explorations.  Seriously good.  I know I have gushed about the Baked cookbooks before, but if your shelf of cookbooks does not include at least one and preferably both of these books, I want you to break out your Christmas wishlist right now and write them down.  My muffins were not pretty enough to photograph, but the ones on the link look just fine– I will be making some of these again soon.  They were as good cold the next morning, which is not always the case for muffins.  If you’re not pumpkined-out, I highly suggest making a batch.

After much pre-arrival deliberation, I narrowed down the restaurants to which I wanted to take K to a few choice spots.  I decided that this visit would be about new cuisines and places we hadn’t been to previously (though we did go to Gordito’s, of course, and get a Trophy Cupcake and some good coffee along the way).  Monday, we had lunch with M at Baguette Box, where K tried her first bite of bahn mi and enjoyed a “General Tso’s sandwich”, aka their Drunken Chicken baguette.  We went to Moshi Moshi to celebrate CJ’s birthday with cocktails and sushi rolls: with a bit of big-sisterly pushing, she enjoyed her first few bites of raw fish.  Oh, the proud moments in life.  Later in the week, we went with R to Habesha for fragrant, flavorful Ethiopian food: doro wot, sega tibs, gomen, kike, and gursha were our favorites and it was so exciting to see K experience all the new spices and textures.  On our last venture downtown, the day before K left, there was another lunch that was so memorable, so special, it will get its own post later this week.  You will have to check back in to hear about that…

It’s crazy to sum up ten days of fun in four paragraphs, and I didn’t even mention our Thanksgiving holiday!  This account covers maybe a tenth of all the things we did.  We had a much-needed, highly-anticipated, terrific time together and I am already counting the days until I can see K again.