Happy Hour Mondays: Brave Horse Tavern

I have been to Brave Horse Tavern in South Lake Union at least twice. Once, for an office kickball team pre-game drink a few months ago, and once just the other day to catch up with a friend who lives in the area. I like this bar because it feels adult and upscale without being too pricey. It is located up some stairs from the street, on top of another bar that looks out onto a wide staircase and courtyard for an office park. As you’d expect, this location makes them very busy all the time, so if you have a group of more than five, I would call ahead. With the exception of a few tall tables at the far end of the bar, most of the seating consists of long benches and tables, so you could make friends with strangers, though climbing out from between your neighbors can be tricky if there’s a lot of you. Two of the walls are filled with windows, letting in the sun, though if it’s cloudy, there is still ample lighting. I love me a well-lit watering hole. The decor and architecture is slightly old west, but with clean lines and clean glasses.

The servers are quick to help you decide what to order, showing an impressive knowledge of the menu, and they are so friendly and welcoming, I always feel like coming back. I know working at a restaurant isn’t the most fun job in the world (with exceptions, I’m sure) but showing an enthusiasm for the items you’ve tried gets me excited about trying new things too.

One thing I do wish were different is the food options. They like to take typical bar appetizers and make them complicated, which always makes it hard for me to decide what to order. It can’t just be tomato mozzarella toast. It has to be tomato toast with mozzarella, red and yellow bell peppers, and a mix of jalapenos and baby green bell peppers, all of this swimming in a light pesto sauce. Drinks are easier because everything is so fun and tasty that I can just eeny-meeny-miney-moe it. The cocktails can be pretty creative, with interesting names, but they are still good. I haven’t had a drink here that I didn’t love.

So whether you are having a team happy hour or just catching up with a friend, go check out Brave Horse Tavern and try something delicious with some weird ingredient. Surprise yourself!

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In my kickball jersey, enjoying a slushie Moscow Mule 
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Tomato toast with mozzarella, red and yellow bell peppers, and a mix of jalapenos and baby green bell peppers. Cava brut and cava rose wine. Wasabi deviled eggs. 
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A little blue in the sky

Last year, I decided to go to a therapist to talk about why I have such a hard time controlling my emotions. My avoidance of this problem has resulted in arguments that go on too long, lying on the couch in a state of depression most times that I’m alone longer than a few hours, and heightened anxiety turning into paranoia about my relationships. I saw one therapist for five months before she moved her office to Bellevue, and I, without my own car, considered that too far to take the bus, especially in rush hour, so I decided not to see her anymore. If I’m going to bus to the east side, it will be to see a friend and it will be on the weekend so I have lots of time.

Talking to a professional really helped. I put it off for way too long. She taught me to practice mindfulness and take a step back from my own conflicts and look at them objectively, pinpointing why something made me feel a certain way and what I could have done to de-escalate instead of escalating further. Everyone around me noticed it helping. When she moved, I told myself I would find a new therapist soon. I didn’t. It showed. Was it laziness? Depression? Self-doubt? Fear that I wouldn’t be able to find another person who listened as well as she did or validated my feelings as well? Regardless, my lack of a healthy outlet quickly became a detriment to my emotional well-being. It was almost seven months later that I finally began my search for a new therapist. It was almost too late for at least one of my friendships. Almost.

I’ve now been seeing someone for about a month or two. I only see him every other Thursday because of cost, even though he is charging me well-below his asking rate since it’s all I can afford. Meeting every other week certainly makes it hard to remember what happened since we last spoke, but most times, I will just pick some argument or tense moment that happened recently as a result of someone’s (usually my) insensitivity or insecurity and we’ll focus on that and talk about what I learned from that. We dig deep. I am learning where my emotions come from again, and though I’m not perfect, I think I am doing better at handling them. I think I am getting better at expressing my needs while recognizing others’ and knowing that what I want isn’t always what someone else can give. It is certainly difficult, but it is so rewarding to talk to someone whose whole passion in life is listening to others’ problems and helping them understand why they feel that way and figuring out what they can do about it. I hope that one day, I will have a firm enough grasp on my emotions that I won’t need a professional, but I am still learning. I have a long way to go, but it is helping. I am doing my best.

For the last few weeks, Seattle has been covered in a frosted glass snowglobe of smoke and ash. There has literally been ash falling from the sky, coating cars, floating in and landing on tables in pubs, trapping in the summer heat, forcing asthmatics to stay indoors… Walking through the city, with our new white skies and orange sun, feels like walking through an apocalyptic wasteland. It had already started to feel like the new normal until today. Today, the smoke has started clearing (for now), and a little bit of blue is peeking in. That’s what being in therapy feels like for me. Not addressing my issues and letting them eat me up and ruin my life feels like the end. It feels like dying. Being in therapy feels like blue skies peeking in.

Happy Hour Monday: Six Arms

Six Arms is a Capitol Hill branch of McMenamins, a chain of 65 pubs, music venues, and hotels that started in Portland, OR. I came here with a guy I hung out with once. We met online because that’s how I make new friends. We’d been bar hopping and this was the second bar we ended up. I love all the chandeliers and random art on the walls. Best happy hour prices I’ve ever seen! I was absolutely shocked to stumble in at 10 pm and find the prices so low.

Location: Pike St and Bellevue Ave

Happy Hours: Daily 3pm-6pm & 10 pm-midnight

$2.65-4.25 beers

$6.5 wine

$2.5-4.5 food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Hour Monday: Benihana

I used to come here with a girl I hung out with for a while. We’d go to musicals at the 5th Avenue Theatre, which was just across the street, after happy hour here. Sushi, pot-stickers, dumplings, edamame, and Shirley Temples. She didn’t drink, so I didn’t either. But I imagine the drinks they do have are great! I’m not a huge fan of sake, but I’m sure it’s different everywhere, so might as well try it sometime! Check out those food prices! If you can get here before 6, might as well have enough to make it your dinner and save some money. I’m not the most well-versed person in the world of quality sushi, but I always enjoy what I have here, so it can’t be that. They say you get what you pay for, but this stuff is really good despite the price. Check it out!

Location: 5th Ave and Union St

Happy Hours: Mon-Thurs 3pm-6pm

$5 sake

$5-7 beer

$5.5 well drinks

$7.75 wines

$7.75 cocktails

$3.25-2.5 appetizers

$4.25-7.5 sushi

 

 

Happy Hour Monday: Easy Joe’s

First time I came here, the main bartender made fun of me for not knowing how to order a drink. But my company comes here for  CEO-funded happy hours, so I don’t mind too much. We’ve come here several times, actually. And I’ve come here with the coworkers I’m closest too, just by ourselves. It’s a nice relaxed place, a little small, the kind of place that has its regulars without being too hole in the wall. Their pork tacos are to die for. One of the other bartenders was happy to tell me all about where she got her lipstick and what products are similar for a better price after I complimented the color. I like that in a bartender. Please don’t me seriously. I like this place for the food (they also have great nachos), but they also have a great selection of beers, if you like beer.

Location: 1st Ave and Cherry St

Happy Hours: Daily 4pm-7pm

$5 drinks

$5 food

 

 

 

 

Happy Hour Monday: Contour

Seattle is a place where everyone is busy, doing all kinds of different jobs with all kinds of different schedules. Social time is hard because people are hard to get a hold of. And no, I don’t believe in the “Seattle freeze” because I don’t believe that it’s limited to Seattle or that it’s something that just happens to people. I think it’s a “young person figuring out who they are and what they want to do with their life and trying to pay the bills” thing. Some people make a conscious effort to hang out with their friends and some people focus on work and relaxation time instead, but regardless of why your social life is failing, it is, so where you do find human interaction?

I find it at work. Most everyone at my job is around my age, and the company is really good at hiring people with great attitudes, so there isn’t anyone I dislike. I can get along with anyone there. And when you need social time outside of work, you ask your coworkers to join you for happy hour. In one of the three bars on the ground floor of the building. Because it’s right there and you get off work when the prices are best! Contour is one of these places. This doesn’t mean I go there a lot. I’ve been there maybe three times since September. But I like it. It’s actually where I first met the girl who recommended me for my job at Clarity (now SCI Solutions. There was a merger; Google it).

Contour has classic and modern décor and looks very Seattle, without trying too hard. Casually Seattle. Nice big booths. Great place to meet up with a friend and talk. Apparently it’s a pretty hopping night club when night time rolls around, but I am all snuggled up in bed by then, so I’ve never experienced it.

1st Ave and Columbia St in the Colman Building

3pm-7pm

$4.50 well drinks/$8 doubles

$3-6 beer

$5 wine

$4.95 food

 Oo, also, they have outdoor seating, so if the weather is nice and you want to sip a drink while enjoying the sunshine, you can do that here!

Wonderful Wednesday: New Job

The last time I mentioned my job, I described it incorrectly. That was what I thought I’d be doing. I’m not disappointed in what I’m actually doing, don’t get me wrong. I’m quite indifferent. I love what I do. Originally, I had said that I would be helping people sign up for the best health insurance for them based on their lifestyle and their financial situation, but that was wrong. I’m not sure where I even got that. Here’s what I really do:

You know when you go to your family doctor and the person at the front desk scans your insurance ID card, you see your doctor, and the doctor refers you to a specialist? Maybe you need an MRI or a CAT scan, or you just need to see a dermatologist about a mole. When you go to the specialist, your appointment sometimes needs to be authorized by your insurance. If it isn’t, sometimes the appointment can’t even be scheduled. And when you get to the specialist, their office needs to know how much to charge you based on what your insurance covers. But if your primary care doctor’s office doesn’t have the most current information, things can get messy.

Here is where we come in. We are referral authorization and insurance eligibility verification service. Hospitals and practices hire us to basically “catch” referrals before they get to the specialist and check that all the information is correct. Much of the process is automated, but what doesn’t get caught by the computer programs (trying hard not to use terms that people who don’t do this wouldn’t understand) that automate the process, I catch and fix, then send to the specialist. Sometimes, like with the main hospital that I work, we receive referrals from the specialist, because they are the ones who hired us. If the information is incorrect, sometimes we have to send the referral back to obtain more information, but sometimes, through some sleuthing, we can figure out what’s wrong ourselves, update it, and send it on its merry way.

The goal that we are working toward is making the healthcare process easier for everyone: family care doctors, patients, specialists, insurance companies; everyone. The quicker that a patient’s appointment and procedure is authorized and their insurance information is verified, the quicker their appointment can be scheduled. The quicker their appointment is scheduled, the more likely they are to even go. 

So. I love my job. We are doing a great thing, and I am surrounded by tons of people who also love their jobs. It’s full of positivity. Plus, there’s free snacks.

Happy Hour Monday: Fado

 

Blogging again. Starting a series of happy hour profiles. It will be irregular, because I’m not going to go to happy hour all the time just to have something to blog about. I figure this blog is called Country Girl in the Big City, so I might as well blog about what I know, and what I know is how to navigate this city, but not very well. Because I haven’t been here long. 

Fado is an Irish bar that doesn’t feel like an Irish bar. There are multiple rooms (without being closed off) and levels, so all the guests are broken up enough that you still feel a sense of community with the other patrons, but you don’t have to yell to talk to your friends. The ceiling is painted with a beautiful fresco of a powerful woman in a toga straight out of a renaissance painting of ancient Greece.

I come here with my coworkers sometimes.The booth seats and the chairs are so tall my feet never touch the ground, which is strange and makes me feel like I can’t relax, plus the booth tables are really far from the backrests so you’re either on the edge of your seat or too far from the food, but honestly, this is not that big of a deal to me. The servers are always really nice and don’t hate me for my “make me something fruity and tropical.” I need to stop doing that though. Also, they have really great fries and tacos!

Location: 1st Ave and Columbia St in the Colman Building

Happy Hours: Mon-Thurs 4pm-7pm, daily 9pm-close (even better prices)

$4 beer and wine

$5 whiskey

$5 food

 

Go check out Fado if you’re ever in downtown Seattle, near Pioneer Square. Great service, great food, great drinks; what more could you want?

I would have included a picture, but I want to include pictures I’ve taken myself instead of stealing one from the internet, because I have integrity. But I don’t have pictures. So there will be pictures in the next post!

 

 

small resolutions

It is the 3rd day of the new year, and so far, I have not failed at any of my resolutions. This is because I made most of them very vague. I am awful at sticking with things, so I have to make my goals small and easily attainable to be able to say I achieved something. So these are my resolutions:

  1. Start a new 365 project (like this one). I have at least started. Will I finish? Who knows.
  2. Work on my books. I have 2 (or 3?) young adult novels I am writing, but I haven’t worked on them in years. I want this to be the year I at least add SOMETHING. I don’t care how much. A little is better than nothing.
  3. Dance more. This also means making more friends who live and dance in the city. I am working on this.
  4. Seek therapy. Whether I just end up with someone to talk to or on medication, there’s no denying anymore that I have issues that need professional help. Lots of people go to therapy and there is no shame in it.
  5. Read more. I listed my goal on Goodreads as 24 books this year. That’s two books a month. No sweat. Still probably more than last year.