Day 6: 3 Personality Traits I’m Proud Of

Today will be short and sweet. I’m having an amazing lazy day and want to continue it. If nothing else, this should act as proof I’m writing these daily and not cheating by scheduling…yet.

Puppers
Cozy and sleepy.

Personality Traits I’m Proud Of

1. Stubbornness

2. Empathetic Heart

3. Trusting

Me

I’m just me.

Slàinte

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Day 5: My Guilty Pleasure

Sports movies.

There you have it. I think most people would add this to their “cute facts about me” list, but not me. I’m too much of a badass. I was the bad cop with my kids and barely flinched. I broke a leg and walked on it for nine days before I thought I should go see a doctor. I come from a long line of awesome Irish women. Needless to say I don’t cry at movies.

Old Yeller– dog was put out of his misery.

Marley and Me– that dog was a handful.

It’s a Wonderful Life– Ya, it is.

Steel Magnolias– Disease happens.

Toy Story– Um…they aren’t real people; they’re toys.

But sports movies? Yes, this girl cries. Sometimes she ugly cries. It could be We Are Marshal and I cry because the team dies in a plane crash, and the new team overcomes everything and I cry again. It could also be Miracle where I cry because of the fabulous win at the Olympics. And don’t even get me started on Rudy. (Remembering major scenes and biting my knuckle now.)

Rudy Poster
gstatic.com

Worse is no one my family is the same. They cry at those other movies I mentioned and make me feel bad about not crying. Then when I cry, they stare at me as though I have the strangest soul on Earth.

I think it’s cool to appreciate a beautiful workout montage or painful team building scenarios including burpees. Don’t you?

I share this information sparingly, until now, to insure my “street cred”. I had to share it now because I love a challenge… no correlation to sport movie worship, I’m sure.

-Slàinte

Day 3: The Meaning of My Business Name

Hello dear readers. This is an easy one. “The Sunken Cake” stems from my ability to do most things incorrectly and with lots of laughter. I’m super awkward and lack basic coordination so even if I’ve successfully done something before, that doesn’t mean I’ll do it right again…ever. There’s no telling with me.

So…I bake fairly well. I also get a sunken cake every now and again that needs a little extra icing to be presentable. But then, don’t we all need a little extra icing sometimes?

Sláinte

Savanna licking batter
We all love icing.

Day 2: 20 Facts About Me

Day two is here and so am I. I’m a blogging success already! I will proceed with the 20 facts shortly, but first a home-building rant.

Everyone is smarter than me but somehow dumber than each other. Our general contractor, who has a tendency to “require” fancy finishes, says we need XYZ to pass inspection. Our sub-contractor says we only need ABC to pass. I’m going to have to call the municipality, and my gut says they’ll want XAYC. This project has really stressed my firm “work humbly with smart people” rule.

Puppy
Chow with my dealing with contractors face.

Thanks dear readers. I needed to get that out. Now for the facts you came for:

1. I’m Irish/English American. 23andMe says 74% Irish

2. I have two daughters in college

3. I believe cursing is using the English language well (see fact 1)

4. I live in Alaska

5. I am happily married (most days…see fact 1)

6. I have a BA & MA

7. I truly enjoy beer & whiskey

Whiskey
Irish Whiskey

8. Fashion is a weakness although I don’t have any great skills

9. My parents live in FL part-time; it’s called snow-birding

10. I am building a log home with my hubs because we’re insane

11. TikTok proves people are mostly good- no really, go watch

12. I’m new to audiobooks but I’m really liking them

13. I appreciate art but have no abilities

14. I only have a small group of friends but they’re good stock

15. I really really hate talking on the phone

16. I’m introverted to the max

17. Apres sport only although oddly competitive

Outdoor pup
Outdoor fun.

18. Three dogs live with me

19. I am a snow lover

20. I think streaming is a problem. I like it too much.

Day 1: Introduction

Hi all! This is Traci Hollowell again.

So why am I introducing myself when I have a perfectly good “About Me” page AND my blog isn’t new? I fell off the blog wagon and it sucked because writing and sharing adventures make me pretty damned happy.

Me! 2020
The 2020 Traci

The solution? A 31-day blog challenge! (Shout out to Baby J & Little A.) That’s right, I’m going to go from slow, inconsistent posts to every single day posts. I’m sure there’s a successful blogger somewhere who just got goosebumps and a sense of something very very ominous.

I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.

-Lily Tomlin

Oh well. This girl’s gotta do something. To make things even better, I’m building a house and preparing to move. Stress and boxed up blogging tools are helpful. (Say it like a mantra.)

I can’t promise great content, but I can promise this Stella is working on getting her groove back.

Slàinte

Charlou

Charlou Sign

Soft Opening & Beyond

May 11, 2019

Welcome to Charlou‘s soft opening! As a La Bodega club member, I was invited to enjoy the evening of discounted food in return for reviewing my experience afterward. Being me, I jumped at the chance to bring Derek on a different kind of date night.

Same Place, Different Place

The location will be familiar to Alaskans as it has housed many restaurants in the past. Most recently, La Potato. Most memorable, The Fly by Night Club. Parking was a breeze due to the large parking lot on site. After a quick walk, we were greeted by the hostess warmly and pointed to the bar because the kitchen was running behind schedule. We took our seats on the bright red leather stools and took in the comfortable, bright atmosphere. The remodel was welcome as it wasn’t too loud or a bit dark and sketchy as in previous incarnations. Children would definitely be welcome and some were already there. A quick glance at customers behind us revealed familiar La Bodega faces, and two open tables. Due to this observation, I made the assumption the owners wanted some feedback from the bar and therefore recommended our seating as such.

Charlou Decor
Charlou Decor
Charlou Wine
Charlou Wine

A Bit Behind…

Our bartender greeted us with a friendly introduction and we were told a second time the kitchen was running behind, but she was quick to offer wine tastings. I always find this to be a nice, upscale touch. After making a wine decision, I took the time to peruse the menu. Even though it was limited, everything available had delicious descriptions. Derek ordered the AK Bacon Burger, and I ordered the Hot AK Halibut Sandwich.

As time passed without food we were checked on not just by our bartender, but by owners and servers alike, and there was genuine concern in everyone’s voices. At one point, about an hour into our wait, the bartender apologetically said, “I have no idea when your food is coming.” I saw this as a plus because at least it was honest. Although I have to admit an offer of a free appetizer would have gone a long way. It’s important to note we weren’t upset in the least. We knew what to expect from a soft opening and the staff was excellent. A snack just would have been a nice gesture.

Wonderful Staff

During our wait, it was clear the staff was very concerned about getting things right despite the struggles they were facing in the kitchen. Derek and I had reservations at 7:30 and we received food at 9:47. That taken into account, I’d still call the team on deck that night superheroes.

Hot AK Halibut
Hot AK Halibut

Wonderful Food

The star of the show was the Hot AK Halibut. It was the perfect amount of sweet and spicy, and the portion of halibut was almost too large for the sandwich. Most Alaskans get perturbed if their serving of fish is too small- it was not the case here. The bread struggled to keep things together, but it was so delicious I didn’t mind the “fork to face” situation.

Derek left satisfied with his burger, and though he was a bit worried about the beet ketchup, he ended up enjoying it a lot. Sadly, he didn’t have any over-the-top review for this burger. To be forthcoming, he happens to have a favorite burger in town that nothing has surpassed so far… tough standard.

Review Time
Review Time

Final Thoughts

Final service lacked a bit as all hands were not “on deck” for water and plate clean up. We saw employees look at plates which were clearly “finished” and walk away without picking them up. Although I think this could be easily remedied.

We will be back- it’s hard to beat and Alaskan Chef is using locally sourced food.

Second Visit
Second Try

July 18, 2019

We’re back for dinner with friends! Our group of four opted to sit outside this time, and there was no trouble due to the lack of customers. (Pause for “uh oh”.) We were greeted with a smile and quickly visited by our server, Ty. The group was offered samples of drink choices before commitment was required- a welcome carry-over from the soft opening. Also, it should be noted that Ty wasn’t afraid to say he needed to check with “smarter” people about possible drink pairings. I considered this a major positive at a restaurant owned by a very formidable local liquor store.

Wine/Sake
Wine/Sake
Beer
Beer

All of the menus had increased in variety of options as expected. I opted for a Rose’ as Derek was going to order beer. Ty was attentive and both selections were enjoyed and refilled promptly.

Small Plates

Halibut Ceviche
Halibut Ceviche

I want to take time to discuss Charlou’s small plate selection. It’s quite varied and enticed two of us to order only those for dinner. We each ordered two small plates. I will focus on my choices, the Halibut Ceviche and the dressed Oysters in vodka with watermelon.

First, the negative. For small plates, that were actually small, the price was a bit high: $7-$12. Second, the positive. The presentation was beautiful and the flavors were awesome! My ceviche was light and fresh with a little kick of heat, and my oysters (which I usually enjoy plain and raw) were a delight in my mouth as the watermelon snapped crispy and juicy between my teeth. It was a hot day and both of my plates satisfied.

Oysters
Oysters

I don’t want to spend much time on what the boys ordered because they matched what our order was at the soft opening. Derek had the AK Bacon Burger, and our guest had the Hot AK Halibut. Both stood out as meals they would reorder. The only difference I noted this visit was the addition of homemade chips. Very tasty.

Good Luck & Cheers!

It’s easy to say that Charlou has more than potential, but it’s a hard market in Alaska. I highly recommend going for after work drinks and small plates. Hungry for more? Stop in for one of their main courses. You’ll love the staff and the food, and please ask them about their wine, sake, and beer offerings. They are one heck of a knowledgeable crew.

Cheers!
Cheers!

*Apologies for the odd formatting. I had to switch back to the classic editor and, well, it didn’t like that. 

LEE

My heart breaks. Disolves.

She doesn’t love me.

Years of love; years of sacrifice.

Her father sleeps

out of overwhelming pain.

Nothing I can do;

nothing he can do.

Silence.

Anger.

Truth.

She is ours. We love her.

He sleeps so he doesn’t feel.

Yet it isn’t true.

He just sleeps.

We love.

How does one ignore ignorance

when it’s one’s job to teach?

One ignores because of ignorance.

I am alone in this.

An atom.

A singularity; the strongest feelings

of love turned inside out.

Boom.

Love łives here.

He’s broken.

I love him. I love her.

I still love her.

I still love him.

He rejects me to keep her.

I’m no longer allowed to love freely.

All is controlled by him. By her.

She is his. We love her.

Now our love is ticking.

Boom.

Sunday Beer Blog: Amber Earth ESB

Today I partook in Arkose Amber Earth ESB. It poured medium gold, and was actually a lot like the print on the bottle. It’s small amount of head gave way to a yeasty, ordinary beer “non-smell”. Think Coors or Bud. (Don’t be upset Arkose!) I was a bit hesitant to take the first sip, but was met pleasantly by effervescence and a wonderful barley-yeast-hop combination.

ESB
Arkose ESB

I felt a little embarrassed by my hesitation because I should have known better. This is Arkose and they rock beer. They are a very consistent brewery.

A note on the hop bitterness- it was only slightly bitter. Online, the description shays “light hop bitterness” and I would agree. I wish it was a warmer day because it was very easy to drink and refreshing, but it still hit the spot overall.

Amber Earth
Arkose Amber Earth

I have to admit to drinking this without my husband. In my defense, he was having a beer with his buddy without me at the same time. I was a woman scorned. (I saved him a taster. I’m not an animal.)

Brewery: Arkose Brewery

Style: ESB

ABV: 5%

IBU: 30

Purchase Location: Wine House