A Whale of a Time

Seattle is all of the wonderful things I love about Portland and reminds me of all the fun things I enjoyed in San Francisco.

I had chosen to visit The Whale Wins based on a picture that popped up in my Instagram feed (@thisvalleyblog) a handful of months ago. Naturally, I looked up the restaurant (and its sister restaurants) and obsessed over their menu*.

When I learned of the cookbook Renee Erickson had written, I immediately pre-ordered it.


I got to relive all the dishes I gushed over at The Whale Wins and The Walrus and The Carpenter.


Here are a few pictures of the most amazing meal I’ve ever had. Enjoy.

2014-08-26 20.14.002014-08-26 19.41.052014-08-26 19.37.312014-08-26 19.17.372014-08-26 19.07.192014-08-26 19.02.582014-08-26 18.56.12Things that make The Whale Wins my most favorite restaurant to date:

  • the food (the most amazing marrow bones and the goat cheese plate that stole my heart)
  • the perfect date night ambiance (look at that kitchen, the lighting, and the patio)
  • the wonderful staff (that was so very accommodating)

If you ever get the chance to visit Seattle, go to The Whale Wins. I promise you will have the best dining experience.

*I will fight someone over marrow bones and tartare makes my heart skip a beat.


We got to pump our own gas

Adam and I went to Seattle for the day. We planned on doing all sorts of fun things. Like watching grown men beat each others faces in.  UFCticket

Washington is reeeeally close to Portland. Like twenty minutes close. I was excited because I was running out of gas. I got super excited when we got to pump our own gas (you can’t do that in Oregon or the gas pumping police will come after you). PumpingGas

Three hours later, a ton of Seattle traffic, and several blocks of driving in circles later (I seriously cannot drive with Adam. He is awful with directions) we found Key Arena. And the Space Needle. I learned that you can actually take an elevator to the top. I also found out that is is not nearly as tall as one would think an object called the Space Needle would be.


As soon as we got inside the arena I made Adam take the obligatory couple photo. Not much to see other than our faces. And my cute bow tie necklace. How neat is that?! I love it.


When we got to walking around and we regained feeling in our limbs, the layers started flying off and we wore our Chive Ugly Sweater Shirts proudly. We also got several high fives and “Chive Ons”. Seattle has some awesome Chivers.



Had to take a picture of all the boys with bathroom line envy. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s glorious. When I was leaving the bathroom at one point there were several  guys in the bathroom stalls next to mine.


It’s amazing how many people come for just the main event. When the fights started at 1pm at least 50% of the seats were empty. By the main event the place was packed.



Chive on!

Road trip! Day One..

Yesterday Adam and Sierra came to visit!!!

We are staying in the Gaslamp District of San Diego at a hotel chain that we absolutely love. It’s Sierra’s first hotel stay and I was a little scared she wouldn’t like elevators or being in a hotel room. But she actually enjoys elevator rides and the big comfy bed.

After we got settled, we walked Sierra around the block. A lady with a dog told us about The Park at Petco Park. As it turns out, it’s only a block and a half away from the hotel so we took a nice little walk through the park and Sierra loved it.

We went to a fun little gastropub last night that we’ve already decided to frequent while we’re in town. Partially because of the shuffleboard and partially because their mac n cheese is to die for delicious.

Stay tuned for day two…

The last day in May

So lets do a fun little recap of May because I can’t even believe how fast my life has been moving.

Lets start with Cinco de Mayo weekend. It started off with a bang! We were going to have Cousin Shane over for some tacos and sangria so we decided to spruce up the kitchen and gather necessary utensils. About five minutes later I realized I was flooding the kitchen. The sink sprayer tube had busted open and leaked water everywhere. Adam headed to the garage to get some tools to do a quick fix when he noticed our toolbox was missing. We also noticed a box with an old desktop computer was missing. So we spent an afternoon being angry someone snatched our stuff, eating delicious tacos, and drying out our kitchen. (Dad came the next day and fixed the sink for us because he’s awesome like that) This incident was pretty much the straw that broke these Modesto dweller’s backs.


I had some complications with my fancy new phone and had to get a new one but all was well and the new one is working just fine!

Went to the parent’s house to celebrate Mother’s Day to celebrate how amazing Kathy is. In typical Ashley’s parents style, Kathy wasn’t home when I got there. But we had a great day hanging out and relaxing.

Throughout the month I had been aggressively job hunting. I wasn’t happy with where I was. I wanted a job I loved and that provided growth. I had applied for some things here and there and I’ve just been waiting to hear back.




I pulled an adult move and chose to celebrate 26th birthday by running the Bay to Breakers. Like big girl corral no getting hampstered along the way sweating costumed running. So I somehow convinced Adam and Dad to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning on a Sunday to run with me. We rocked it by the way. Ran the full 12k (we walked up Hayes Hill because we aren’t completely crazy) in an hour and 38 minutes. Considering I hadn’t been able to run since January I’d consider this a win.




And then we got Humphry Slocombe. Because it’s not Ashley’s birthday until you have a scoop of Blue Bottle Coffee accompanied by Secret Breakfast.


Adam and I celebrated my birthday at the Nuts game. It was my actual birthday/Taco Tuesday so we couldn’t say no. The weather was perfect and, despite being a losing game for the home team, we still had a great time.


I got the best birthday presents from the best people. A Keurig from Adam and the prettiest polishes from my best friend, MaddySho. (Also Zoya is the best nail polish ever. Prettiest colors, best coverage, and it lasts at least a week without chips.)



And since I turned 26 and am on the backside of my 20s I decided it was time for a new hair do. Something different, something slightly blonde and fun. And right after I got my hair done, I had a job interview. So exciting!!



After such a huge week, a fun Memorial Day weekend was in order. We had a nice little BBQ one day and went bowling the next.

Can you guess which score is mine? *

I officially got the job and will be moving out to San Diego County for the summer. It’s such an amazing opportunity. It’s not going to be easy for Adam and I but it’s such an amazing opportunity that we think we will be heading to Portland much sooner than we planned.

*If you guessed 52, you’re right!!

New Year’s Resolutions

My new years resolutions this year took some good thought and creativity.
Now.. these aren’t resolutions so much as they are goals I have for myself. Coincidentally they are start with the letter P. And I lovingly refer to them as The Four Ps.

Here they are, in true Ashley form… A list:

First P is Portland- Adam and I have set our hearts on Portland. Modesto is doing nothing for our personal growth, about negative ten for my career/financial independence, and there aren’t any dog parks/friendly places for our bearded lady. Why Portland? The lifestyle, the breweries, the food… I can also go on and on about my knowledge of Portland but I won’t bore you with that. We thought we might give Chico a second shot but it’s not enough of the city life we crave. We are young and are severely lacking in a social life and we want to change that.

Second P is Philadelphia- I miss this lady.

Third P is Pretty Dresses- I wear a lot of jeans. Sometimes I’m not so good at separates. 2012 will be the year of Ashley dressing like a 25 (almost 26) year old adult lady. I love dresses and I will incorporate more into my life this year.

Fourth P is Planning Meals- In an effort to eat better/try to learn to cook, I want to attempt planning meals before I buy groceries willy nilly. When I go to the grocery store I usually load up on a lot of things that don’t go together. As long as I go in with a recipe, I will save myself the hassle of having to end up throwing something together for dinner and I will save myself some money. Hopefully this will lead to less waste.

Those are my ridiculous resolutions. Bring it, 2012.

New years day

Oh new years day…

Found this awesome chair in the lobby.


That was the coolest part of the day. By the way I felt fabulous but everyone had wicked hangovers and felt like they were dying/having a seizure. Adam and I got to ride back to Sacramento in a complete silent car. Yup. That’s right folks our friend didn’t play music on the way to Reno or on the way back. Awkward silence for 2 hours!

And if that wasn’t bad enough we drove around Reno for a half hour looking for somewhere to eat that was playing the Niners game. We settled on Denny’s in boomtown. It had an hour wait just to be seated. Adam didn’t want food and I wasn’t going to wait an hour to sit down. Did this stop our friends from eating? Of course not! So Adam and I sat around for almost two hours waiting for them. If you know me you know how I get when I’m starving and people are being ridiculous.

About an hour into our drive we made a pit stop. And it was the most awesome pit stop ever because they had food!!!


Thanks for the ridiculousness, Reno.