I’m coming down with a cold and have already been to too many holiday parties, but my friends are throwing a Russian-themed holiday party. So off I go!

When I’m tired and sick I tend to crave junk food, so I convince Zach to stop at Dick’s before we go to the party. When you’re in the right mood, Dick’s burgers can be incredibly satisfying.

We arrive at the party and they have a nice assortment of fancy appetizers, but the only thing that seems to be Russian is the bottle of vodka I brought. But the appetizers are delicious (and all from the Epicurious website, so I’m told):

Rosemary tartletts with onions and walnuts
Goat cheese, lettuce and roast beef on crostini topped with roasted peppers
Stuffed mushrooms

After the party, we drive through Ballard and Zach gets nostalgic—so we stop at one of his favorite bars: the Tin Hat. It’s a smoky, casual bar that has lots of board games and I immediately like it. We end up playing cribbage and scrabble for several hours, so of course I get hungry again. Zach says the food is good, but I’m skeptical (by nature). I order a grilled cheese thinking that’s a fairly safe bet. It’s made with American cheese and it’s delicious; made with just the right amount of butter and seasoned with dried oregano and served with good hand-cut fries. Nothing I’d drive across town for, but… okay, maybe I would.