A Letter to My Bear – Season Two

To my Bear,

Here you are already – your second football season! (I suppose we could say it was your third season since you arrived with more than 2 quarters left in the 2011 Super Bowl, but let’s only count full seasons.) Last year’s season was one of the greatest you will see as a football fan – and at the same time, one of the worst. Look at you here – so full of hope as we sent you off to day care the Friday before the Super Bowl. So happy that this time, this time Tom Brady would not blow it with an interception and your first football season would be capped with a Patriots Super Bowl victory.

Then there was this.

That was a rough night for your mom. Not only did no amount of Patriots swag or beer drunk from a Patriots mug turn the night around, but you turned one the next day. I cried myself to sleep that night (perhaps aided by the amount of beer I had) but so sad that you were growing up so fast. Your dad suggested that if the Pats had won, I would not have been so maudlin, but we may never know.

Here we are again. You are such a different little person than you were in February. Clearly hardened after that Super Bowl loss, not to mention two first round exits by your favorite college basketball teams, a Baylor women’s basketball win and the all but cancellation of the UConn men’s 2012-13 season. You are truly a sports fan now. You love to play basketball (and by play I mean carry the ball around and ask someone to hold you up to the hoop) and you hold your hands over your head and yell “touchdown!”

Despite all the sports setbacks in the last year, you have proven yourself to be your father’s daughter. You watched a Rex Grossman season and yet here you are – declaring the Redskins to be number one this year and ready for the RGIII era to begin.

Sure, you’ve heard that no one picked the Skins to do better than 3 wins this season, but you, in your DC sports fan heart, know that they can and will to do better. After all, at least Graham Gano isn’t kicking the ball this year.

LC, thanks for taking something your parents love so much and making it so much more. We know you’ll grow and one day refuse to let us put you into the jerseys of our own choosing, (Your favorite colors are purple and yellow, so it is possible there is some PAC-12 brainwashing going on at your day care.) but we’re glad we have this to share with you. I look forward to some cozy afternoons on the couch, shouting touchdown, while you enjoy blueberries and Momma eats baked potato skins. (Baked potato skins are not for LC’s, sorry. Blueberries only, kid.)

Love, Momma

Top of the Food World

While it remains an unconfirmed rumor, it appears that the next season of Top Chef will be filmed in Seattle.  A and I have been Top Chef fans for a while.  I loved the first season almost more for the San Francisco locale than the food (A was attending school in Berkeley at the time), but I soon grew to love the food.  While the past couple of seasons have not been as great as others, I have high hopes for Seattle Top Chef – if for no other reason then they have been filming blocks from my office.
As a long time fan of the show, I have a bit of an idea of how the show works.  Being a Seattleite who likes food, while not try to guess what some of the challenges would be.
– Pike Place Market – the easiest to guess (and basically confirmed that filming has occurred there) is shopping for ingredients at Pike Place. Lots of local favorites, pretty colors and delicious foods – not to mention lots fun shots running through the market and catching some fish.
– Gates Foundation – the Gates Foundation works to help people around the world to live healthy and productive lives.  Their international flair will be the perfect place for an around the world challenge – chefs assigned countries/regions from which their cooking style will come.  Or you could take a more “self-aware” approach and perhaps make the chefs cook with rice – the meal most people around the world eat for dinner each day. 
– Cafeteria challenge – there are many large companies with large corporate cafeterias (Microsoft, Amazon, GroupHealth).  Why not take over a corporate cafeteria – cooking large scale food for people to enjoy.  Perhaps the only issue with this is that these cafeterias are pretty high end to begin with – I’ve eaten at the Amazon Garage more than once and the daily portions of Beecher’s Mac and Cheese is not the only highlight. 
– Sports – Sure, it would be great if Top Chef could herald in the arrival of an NBA team, but short of that, Seattle-ites love their football club.  A Seattle Sounders challenge – park food, soccer foods, I haven’t quite figured out the angle here other than Seattle likes soccer. And scarves. 
– Jet City – home of Boeing, Seattle has been known as the Jet City.  Foods than can fly?  Food that factory workers will love?  Union workers love union food?  (I do not know what union food is.  But go with it.)
– Cardboard box challenge – fans of Amazon.com probably have a living room or recycling bin that looks like ours – filled with the familiar brown box.  I think the chefs could do a Chopped style challenge – finding ingredients in a brown box and then creating a meal from it.
– Restaurant Wars! – though always such a train wreck, Restaurant Wars is always a favorite episode of Top Chef fans.  While the challenge itself always follows the same rules, I propose that dueling Tom Douglas restaurants would be used for the locations.
– Book challenge – Ok, so Amazon is an easy suggestion but it certainly helped to put Seattle on the map.  A literary inspired challenged – food inspired by authors, novels, it is pretty easy to pull one together.
– Grunge – I’m not entirely sure how one pulls food and grunge together, but I think Seattle would be the place to do it.  Music inspired?  Maybe Kurt Cobain had a soft spot for haute cuisine?  A broader music challenge – pulling in Jimmy Hendrix, Nirvana and newer acts like Modest Mouse.  Challenge of course could take place at the EMP.
– Organic – Oregon Tilth sure loves Seattle and is a big deal in the food world up here – sustainable, organic, local – those words are thrown around in just about every restaurant opening announcement.  It would be hard to feature Seattle and not involve the organic movement.
– The obvious choice.  Ok, so Seattle probably is probably known for coffee more than anything.  A Starbucks challenge may be the only thing as sure as the Pikes Place challenge.  Chefs could develop the new bistro box, a new pastry, a new favor combo for drinks – or simply cooking with coffee.

If you stop and think about it for more than a few minutes, there really are endless possibilities.  Seattle is a pretty great city, especially for food and hopefully more than those of us who live here will know that after this season of Top Chef.