Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Battle in Seattle~ Fencing, Friends and Fantastic Food

Larkspur Landing- Bellvue
Last Friday found David, Mary and I- along with fellow fencers, Cristina and Rebecca- heading north on I-5 towards Bellevue, Washington for a USFA Division 1-A fencing tournament. the Battle in Seattle. David was going to fence both men's epee and foil while I was signed up for women's foil. We were also going to be coaching fencers Clare, Paulina as well as Rebecca during the weekend. Mary had come with us to help coach and to give support. We left in the early afternoon which got us to Bellevue by 5:30~ allowing us to drop off Cristina so she could fence veteran epee before heading over to the hotel. After a few wrong turns, we arrived at Larkspur Landing,
Time for pasta
at Romio's
our "home" for the weekend. We had chosen to stay there as David had stayed there with another fencing family during a previous tournament. Besides the price, we always look for somewhere to stay that has a good-size breakfast when David comes with us! Larkspur Landing met those expectations with both a nice one-bedroom suite, including a full kitchen, and a well-appointed breakfast selection. When we were done checking in, Rebecca, the kids and I talked about what we wanted for dinner. Everyone decided on pasta, so we used our iPods to find somewhere that was not too expensive, and hopefully locally owned. We then headed to dinner at Romio's, a family-owned Italian/Greek restaurant in Factoria. Their menu did not disappoint as it had a large variety of pasta dishes that all sounded good. David chose shrimp fettuccine, Mary had fettuccine alfredo, Rebecca enjoyed her eggplant parmigiana, and I ordered tortellini with red sauce and cheese. All of the dinners came with salad plus we ordered dolmaes (stuffed grape leaves). The servings were so huge that we were able to take leftovers with us for Cristina when she finished fencing. The service was terrific, and when we left there were a good number of Seattle's finest law enforcement officers having dinner. We then knew for sure this was a good choice~ even though our well-sated appetites had already answered that question!

We spent the rest of Friday evening at the hotel. The kids and I used the workout room before heading to bed. Using the kitchen in our room, I put together sandwiches for lunch the next day. Upon rising Saturday, we all got dressed then headed down to breakfast before driving to the venue, Rain City Fencing Center. The tournament was really fun. Our SCF fencers did well, and I was able to meet two goals- not coming in last and scoring some points in my DE bout. I also qualified for veteran women's foil at Nationals this July in Columbus, Ohio! After we all finished fencing Saturday, Cristina, the kids and I went to Sacred Heart of Jesus for Saturday vigil Mass. We then drove back to the hotel, picked up Rebecca and headed to downtown Bellevue for dinner with the SCF crew. Originally, we were going to try the Cheesecake Factory, but the wait was really long. We then were going to try California Pizza Kitchen, and then Clare's dad decided to run across the street to check out Rock Bottom Brewery. They could seat us right away, so we all headed over. What a good choice. The food was delicious, the service was great and the beer was very tasty (at least my brown ale was)! We got to talk a lot which was really fun too, and by the time we left the girls (Clare, Mary and Paulina) were all sporting drawn on mustaches.

Rock Bottom's Mac & Cheese
with bacon and chicken- yum!
The next day we had a bit more fencing for David, Cristina, Clare and Paulina on Sunday before we could head home. David had an early check-in time, so I drove him to RCFC then headed to Tully's. I ended up trying their dark chocolate eclair mocha. One should know when a coffee drink has so many words in its' title, it is most likely going to be either really good or not able to stand up to its' name. Thankfully, this one stood up to its' name- rich, chocolately goodness along with a good coffee flavor. The others were all ready for me to pick them up when I arrived back at the hotel. We headed off to the salle where the girls got ready to fence their final event. Cristina did really great in the first round- coming into the round of direct elimination in 2nd place. Paulina also did really well, coming in the top 16 while Clare was the youngest fencer in the event and did great, too!
Heading home, we stopped for gasoline and a cup of coffee just south of Tacoma. We also stopped in Longview for a quick bite of dinner at Burger King. Since by then we were all hungry, the food tasted good. As Socrates said, "Cibi condimentum esse famem, potionis sitim" ( loosely translated- hunger is the best appetizer).  
We arrived in Salem tired and very glad to be home. We'll be heading back up to Bellvue in April for the Super Youth Circuit, and we're looking forward to seeing what other places we'll be able to find some more fantastic food. Before we go there, however, Mary and I get the opportunity to travel to Reno, NV~ the biggest little city in the world, for a North American Cup tournament. Know that we'll be checking out some of the food there and sharing it here!

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