Monday, August 25, 2014

Seattle Spotlight // 8oz Burger & Co.

I moved to Seattle a little over a year ago, and while I love exploring all of the fun places the city offers, I realized that I very rarely share them here on the blog. So, I'm starting a new feature that I'll update on occasion showcasing different places (food, sightseeing, etc.) in this wonderful city that in my opinion, are definitely worth a visit. :)

I'll start today's Seattle Spotlight with 8oz Burger Bar on Capitol Hill. A friend of mine has been talking up 8oz for months, telling me that I must try their veggie burger, so on Saturday, I went with Adam and my brother to check it out.

The feel of 8oz is old school southern with a modern twist. There's a chalkboard above the bar with a chicken, a pig with the word "bacon" scribbled inside of it, and a cow who has its insides numbered the way a butcher might label them. Obviously, this is a very meat friendly joint. Being the vegetarian that I am, I appreciate when meat heavy restaurants not only offer a veggie burger, but actually take the time to put some creative thought into it. I immediately liked this place for that reason.

Their veggie burger consists of: a house made patty, watercress, tomato, onion, pickle, avocado, and herb aioli, all on a vegan pretzel bun. Yum! They also have a really appetizing snack menu featuring things like mac & cheese (Beecher's cheese, cinnamon), popcorn chicken, a "plate o bacon", short rib poutine (Kennebec fries, house gravy, mozzarella), brussels sprouts, sweet potato tots (cinnamon powdered sugar, honey curry aioli), and grass fed sliders.

"Not all burgers are created equal," is the motto of 8oz and that's something I picked up on right away, as it seems they pride themselves on using only local and organic meat and ingredients. As stated right on their menu, "Our house blend patties are made from naturally raised, antibiotic free, hormone free, 100% local black angus from Open Prairie, located in Pasco, WA." Can't argue with that! They also boast that they offer vegan pretzel buns as well as gluten free buns, making it obvious that they strive to please all customers.

When we sat down, our waitress was extremely friendly, asked if we had ever been there before, and then gave us the spiel, going over the menu with us and giving suggestions on what to order based on how hungry we were. The vibe while we were there was laid back and even though almost every table was full, it never felt like a rowdy burger joint. Classy burgers done right, is how I'd describe 8oz.

Along with our burgers, we also ordered the sweet potato tots to share as well as a couple of milkshakes. (Adam got the chocolate shake and I got the salted caramel.) We both ordered the veggie burger, and my brother ordered the 8oz, their signature burger. The sweet potato tots were really good, and the honey curry aioli they served them with was amazing! I think I may have enjoyed those more than my burger... The burger was good, don't get me wrong, but I really enjoyed the tots. I also thought my shake was delicious; I'm a sucker for all things salted caramel.

So, if you find yourself on Capitol Hill and are craving a creative and delicious eco friendly burger, head over to 8oz Burger & Co.! They also have a location in Ballard. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Iceland // Riding Icelandic Horses

Adam and I had the incredible opportunity to ride Icelandic horses on our second day in Iceland. Adam had never been on a horse before, so he was understandably a little nervous at first, but he figured it out quickly and we had so much fun.

Icelandic horses have two extra gaits which make them unique among other breeds. One of their gaits is said to be so smooth, you can drink a pint of beer as you ride and not spill a single drop. We learned that if an Icelandic horse is taken out of the country, it isn't allowed to return due to their immune systems, so if a disease were to enter the country, the breed would be in grave danger.

Since there are no dangerous animals in Iceland, the horses have no natural predators which probably explains why they're all so well behaved and aren't easily spooked like other horses tend to be. While they're small in size (standing roughly 52 to 56 inches high), the people of Iceland never refer to them as ponies. Icelandic horses are beautiful, fascinating creatures and I really enjoyed spending time with them.

Even though the weather wasn't great and we were soaked and freezing practically the entire time, it was still the highlight of our trip for me. We rode through a forest where I had to duck a few times to avoid hitting tree branches, and I held on tight as we went up and over steep hills in the rain. We galloped alongside steaming hot springs in a beautiful valley that smelled of fresh sulfur (mmm, rotten eggs) and near the end of our journey, we crossed a flowing creek full of slippery rocks and rushing water that the horses all sauntered through with grace and ease.

After we said goodbye to our sweet horses, we headed back to Reykjavik and found the perfect lunch spot where we devoured warm noodles and blabbed on to each other about how amazing our day had been. I spent the remainder of the afternoon fantasizing about owning a horse or maybe moving to Iceland someday just to work on a ranch like the one at Eldhestar. Wouldn't that be lovely? 

Ah, yes... A girl can dream, can't she? :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Iceland // Geysers and Hot Springs

Adam and I are big fans of Airbnb. It's a lot of fun getting to meet new people when we travel and it's definitely an added bonus that while we're making these fun new connections, we're also paying way less for a room than we would be paying at a hotel.

That being said, for a few days we stayed with a family we found on Airbnb in Hafnarfjörður, a town just south of Reykjavik. The owners were nice and welcoming and even left fresh milk, granola, cereal, juice, and fruit for us to eat in the morning. Our room was itty bitty (roughly the size of a walk-in closet) and we shared a bathroom with another couple staying in the room down the hall. The only slightly unfortunate situation was the fact that we could hear someone puking upstairs for a little over an hour while we were trying to get to sleep, and there seemed to be a handful of cat fights happening just outside our window on and off for most of the night. Minor mishaps in the grand scheme of things... Plus we only paid $27 a night to sleep there, so hey, no complaints here!

On our last free day in Iceland, we headed to "Around Iceland," a tourist information center in downtown Reykjavik and picked up a rental car. (The people there are super friendly by the way, so if you have plans to visit Iceland and need help with anything, don't hesitate to wander in there!) We drove from Reykjavik over to the geysers and hot springs to the east, and then traveled back south to Grindavik where we stayed a night at the Blue Lagoon. We stopped along the way to photograph the awesome scenery and adorable sheep standing near the road in almost every yard we passed.

The colors of the hot springs and geysers were beautiful! The weather wasn't great, but that's Iceland for you. :) We were soaked from head to toe by the time we got back to the car, but it was worth it. I'm so happy we took that time to explore more of the country.

I have a million other photos to share, so I'll try to not slack any longer on posting those!
Promise. (Gah, I'm the worst!)

Friday, June 27, 2014

ONA Camera Bag Giveaway

Hello friends out there in the blogosphere. I have a great giveaway to share with you today organized by Elizabeth of Oak & Oats. I partnered with a sweet group of ladies to give our readers the opportunity to win an ONA Camera bag and strap (up to a $450 value!!). Ooooooh, ahhhh... These bags look amazing and I'm so happy to be a part of this giveaway. If you'd like to enter, just follow the directions below. :) Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway