Thursday, December 23, 2010

This is what SUCCESS looks like

It was finally here.  The day we’ve been waiting for.  What all the wind sprints, tuck and rolls, illegal u-turns, and Arby’s roast beef sandwiches prepared us for – dinner at Canlis!  The day was filled with anticipation and excitement as Team Menu Impossible prepared for their final prize. 

When the clock hit 4PM, Blake Light and I got ready in our little black dresses while Hot Sushi waited patiently in his dapper blue suit and in famous John Varvatos boots.  We headed down to the coffee shop/bar where our favorite barista popped open the celebratory bottle of champagne that Blake Light had generously provided for us.


Back in Blake Light’s car, the scene of so many Team MI fails, we could barely contain ourselves as she carefully drove the several miles to Canlis.

After finally arriving at Canlis and being greeted by an enthusiastic hostess, we were seated at Table 29 (the best one!) and immediately ordered our pre dinner martinis.

Our wonderful server, Joe, brought us our menu and began to explain the rules (what we could order, how much, and no, I couldn’t order one of everything and a very big To Go box).  Then began the appetizers.

Chestnut and Chocolate Soup with Foie Gras Creme Brulee

Steak Tartare

Canlis Salad

We had found out earlier in the day that Monday was B Canlis’ only night off!  What?!?!?  We had done this all for him!!!  We were disappointed, but figured this just gave us an excuse to go back again.  However, while devouring the third course, we saw him.  Coming down the stairs in a jacket and jeans (tisk tisk) was B Canlis himself!  He stopped by just to see us!!

We felt so happy that he took the time to come see us (and would like to send a note of gratitude to R Canlis for lending him to us for half an hour).  We were a bit saddened that M Canlis wasn’t there to see us as well, but don’t worry M – we’ll meet again.
After B sadly left, it was time for the main course.  Since the 1950s menu was technically just for two diners, Hot Sushi and I decided to take advantage of the deal and go with the Muscovy Duck (highly recommended by Joe) and Blake Light picked the Filet Mignon off of the regular menu.  The Duck was first presented to us as a whole duck, and then brought out to us a few minutes later cut in half.

The whole Muscovy Duck

The Duck Presenter

Half Muscovy Duck

Twice Baked Potato

Wagyu Filet Mignon

I must say – that duck may have been the best meal I’ve ever had.  Hot Sushi and I both went to sleep that night dreaming of ducks.  If I were to go back to Canlis, I would have a hard time ordering anything else (although one bite of Blake Light’s filet and I know that her meal came in a very close second).
About this time was when the piano man started playing some recognizable tunes.  Thinking there was no way he would know it, we sent Joe over with the request of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” (a sort of anthem for Team Menu Impossible).  Not 5 minutes later, piano man began one of the best renditions of “Bad Romance” I’ve ever heard.  Blake Light and I just had to accompany him with the words.

Next up – after dinner drinks, compliments of B Canlis.  He ordered us a round of Café Diablo and told us to ask the waiter to get the flame above his head.  Instantly intrigued, we relayed this information to David, who wheeled out the cart of goodies for the drinks.  David did an amazing job getting the flame to go well over his head (while I’m sure losing several arm hairs).  We appreciated the show, as did all of the diners around us.

David preparing our drinks

The Flame going above David's head
Cafe Diablo


While David was preparing our drinks, out came our desserts. They were absolutely delicious.

Chocolate covered Chocolate

Creme Brulee

Earlier in the night, we had joked that we should ask piano man to play “Dynamite” (a favorite of the team), assuming that he wouldn’t know it.  Well, to our utter delight, he started playing our song!!!  Blake Light and I couldn’t resist throwin’ our hands up in the air.

The last surprise was a plate of mini peppermint cupcakes, courtesy of the restaurant (and the 9 different employees that came up to us throughout the night to tell us how happy they were that we found a menu and that they read our blog – we love you too!).  The cupcakes were the perfect final course to this fabulous meal.

Mini peppermint cupcakes and chocolates

Hot Sushi demonstrating how mini they really are

We couldn’t believe that our dinner that we had been anticipating for months was now (4 hours later) finally over.  It exceeded expectations in every way possible, and we all vowed to come back very very soon.  Thank you Canlis family for a truly unforgettable evening.  We appreciate it more than you know.

Until New Years Eve,

Hot Sushi, Blake Light, and Wink Wink ;)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 50: No More Menus To Go

Clue #50: May the past provide you (with clues to guide you) great pride for what’s ahead! 4:6:3, 1:3:2, 21:3:11, 45:9:2, 18:4:4 #canlismenus

As you may or may not have heard, Menu: Impossible found our meal ticket. That being said, we did not find it fair to attempt the final hunt (that and we were all tied up in other ways). Now with that being said, the real work was about to begin. We have two phases of training ahead of us.
Phase I: prepare for what is to be a fantastic evening. We have consulted with the best nutritionists out there on how to expand our stomachs so that there is no disparity between our eyes, appetite, and gastronomic capacity. Wink Wink has been put on a strict nuggie diet and is perfecting her "nuggarito" recipe as we speak; Blake Light is training with the master hot dog eating champion from Japan; and I get all the Arby's I can handle. This gluttonous free-for-all only lasts through our Canlis meal, and then it is on to the hard work.
Phase II: prepare for the final hunt. We have been tossing around costume ideas, and will be ready to work of Phase I's presumably massive impact. Emphasis on massive. Wink Wink will go back to her wind sprints and is challenged to get herself down to a 12.37 minute mile, tucking and rolling over and under hurdles at the track. Blake Light is taking a "crash" course driving tutorial - I recommend you all stay off the roads of West Seattle the next couple of weeks. I will be purchasing some state of the art running shoes so as to give my boots a rest. They were made for walking, yes, but not for running - in the rain - uphill.
We are proud of our success and look forward to the next leg of our journey. See you all soon.... watch your backs!

Best of luck,
Hot Sushi, Blake Light, and Wink Wink

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 49: 1, wait!

Clue #49: Eagle red! As seats, eyes rest.
Well my friends, it looks like this is it! Menu: Impossible has finally realized our collective dreams of SUCCESS! To be honest, we really didn't know if this day would come true, and the fact that is was #49 only added to what was to be a dramatic hunt. This is our story.
It was the day of our organization's Holiday party. Wink Wink was at the party-planning helm and made for a beautiful event... not to mention the food. Way to go Wink Wink! We knew the clue was coming around 4:00 pm - smack dab in the middle of the celebration. Blake Light and I were armed and dangerous and out the door within seconds of the clue's release. We instantly figured it was the Olympic Sculpture Park and with stakes this high, had no time to second guess.
We parked and ran for it. And ran. And ran. I started at the eye benches. Blake Light made for the Calder statue. Was this too obvious? Those Canlis brothers have been mighty tricky as of late and we knew that it would not be so easy this close to the end. To make matters more intense, there was B. Canlis, circling the park waiting for that lucky person to make the discovery. After searching for what seemed like an eternity, Blake Light and I regrouped.
There is something else we are not seeing. We reviewed lessons learned from all those many past FAILS! and had an idea: word puzzle! These guys love those! First we saw "taste" from seats in the clue. Nope - not at the restaurant. Then it happened: as if the clouds parted and divine intervention pulled the letters of the phone in front of our eyes- DaVinci Code style. ERASER!!! The first letter from each word.
We ran for it - Blake Light to the path, me to the sculpture. After a tongue lashing from beyond, I was relegated to the path. It was there, but where??? B. Canlis yelled out that the menu was NOT out of bounds. I saw a small boundary fence and thought that this was the closest you could get to the sculpture while obeying park rules. I searched and there it was. WE FOUND THE MENU!!! A calm washed over me as I yelled to Blake Light that I had it. She started jumping for joy, yelling to B. Canlis that we found it.
It was a great way to end the first leg of the journey. Our only regret - and it is a big one - is that Wink Wink could not be there. We tried to have B. Canlis call her to tell her the news, but alas! there was the party. We could almost see her tuck and rolling between the sculptures. The upside is we three will be having a lovely meal together, as it was meant to be. Now the hardest part: What do I wear? Should I buy them wrist corsages? See you soon B. and M. Canlis!!

Winning Team! (Wink Wink played by Mirabelle)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 48: 2 Menus To Go

Clue #48: Wake up and take your vitamins.
Vitamins? More like the hair of the dog for ol’ Hot Sushi! After a rousing two rounds of cocktails and eats for the full Menu: Impossible team, Blake Light and I thought it best to find a nice cozy spot to hunker down in and plan for the remaining three menus. Again – only three left – no room for error here. As we were in my neck of the woods, which just so happens to be Canlis’ neck of the woods, we thought, “What better spot to strategize in than the home base??”
So we went for it. We sauntered into the Canlis bar and found a nice spot in front of the piano man. We mulled things over, trying to draw inspiration from the point of inspiration. We were feeling good, but of course that could have been the cocktails talking. After a lovely drink, dessert, and a Kenny G sighting, we departed for the car and headed home; a sparkle in our eyes and a kick to our step. Again, the cocktails.
My 5:00 am wake up call was not a welcome sound, especially after tuck and rolling into bed around midnight. As has been customary, I quickly went to the Facebook page to my utter disappointment. The clue was released and found – all before 5:00 am? I thought I got up early, but I guess only the really early bird catches the worm. Or menu as it were.
So there it was: we would not meet our stretch goal, but still have two chances left. Things aren’t looking so good.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 46 & 47: 3 Menus To Go

Clue #46: Use an eclipse to make a period, but red, white and blue would be out of character for the first and last of its kind.

After wrapping up a few morning meetings, I was back at my desk, Google all ready to go, waiting for the clue that was to come around noon. As Blake Light and Wink Wink were out of commission due to a long meeting of their own, I was flying solo on this one. I was a mixture of fear and optimism. Fear because I was all alone to pull off the research, solve the clue, and get to the destination – all the while still being “at work.” Optimism because I thought, I am now the underdog and the underdog has to win. Too optimistic??
Luckily my meetings were done for the day, save a departmental potluck at 1.30. The clue came, but the answer did not, at least not to me. I searched and searched – ranging in ideas from old Seahawks uniforms (Qwest?) back to Sunset Park in West Seattle (ah, memories). I was feeling the sweat bead up on my brow from the panic that was starting to set in. Blake Light was messaging me left and right, but it was no use.
Then it came! A clue? That is what I first thought, but no! ANOTHER CLUE!!

Clue #47: Who’d have thought Gato would look so graceful, but Micah must have known.

I felt like a circus juggler who just had one more chainsaw thrown into my purveyance. What to do? Focus on the new clue or stick with the track I was on. Opting for the devil I knew, I continued on the history of Seattle eclipses. To add yet another bowling pin to the chaos at hand, a clue for #46. Again: I AM ONLY ONE MAN!

Hint: Bikes are best or bring a friend, there is no parking at the end.

That did it! I figured it out! Being a frequent guest of Discovery Park, this clue made it click for me. Also, it was on our list of perspective hotspots, which I was at that moment consulting for good measure. The bad news was 1) I had no way to get there, and 2) it had just been found. Meanwhile at a clue across town…
I was utterly stumped. I will be honest and tell you that I could not even adequately make any attempts to Google this one I was so stumped. I just wanted it to be over. Soon enough, I got my wish, the menus were found, and I could return to my optimistic state. Three more menus to go, after all. That was what we set out for those many weeks back. We’ve got to be spot on from here on out – a lofty task indeed, but not impossible for team Menu: Impossible.



Day 45: 5 Menus To Go

Clue: The organ stops, the circle drops, and captives cry in vain.

With Hot Sushi working late, Blake Light and I decided to co-locate for the evenings clue over a few glasses of wine.  As this has proved to not be our strong suit in the past, we limited our consumption.  After waiting around in Belltown and getting no hints, we decided to make our way closer to my home in Greenlake.  While on our way, we saw that the clue would be announced around 8PM.  This would be perfect (as long as it’s on the north side)!  We ordered a glass of wine at the wine bar and let the bartender know that we may have to suddenly run out of the bar at a moment’s notice.  After a little explaining, she understood.
When the clue dropped, we were confused (surprise!).  After a few Google searches for organs and circles in Seattle, we thought the Paramount seemed like a good idea.  I threw my credit card at the bartender, told her we’d be back, and away we flew in the pouring down rain towards downtown in Blake Light’s trusty wheels.
With Hot Sushi on speakerphone, we discussed the possibility of the Paramount, as well as St Mark’s Cathedral.  When I got a phone call from a fellow hunter/poker buddy saying that he was on his way to Benaroya Hall (where they have a huge organ and a circle in the middle) we decided to deviate from the original plan and head that way too. 
I did my now famous tuck and roll out of Blake Light’s car and ran as fast as my rain boots could take me to Benaroya.  I scoured the lobby and was even approached by someone to see if I was here for the “event”.  I quickly realized the event in question was not a menu hunt.  I updated Facebook again and found out that it was actually at Woodland Park.

Of course it would have to be right by where we were having our after work wine!  We drove right past Woodland Park on our way downtown.  Had we figured this one out, we easily could’ve been the first ones there.  We went back to the bar, cold and depressed.  The bartender couldn’t even hide her disappointment in us as she took our picture. 


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Letter to The Brothers Canlis

Dear Mark and Brian Canlis,

When I got home last night after an evening of holiday shopping with Blake Light, I was tired and ready for bed.  I washed my face, took out my contacts, and put on my cozy Christmas-themed pajamas (don’t judge).  I was just about to hop into bed when I got a text from a coworker reading “free drinks at Canlis?”  I was instantly intrigued.  After debating back and forth about whether we could make it on time, we decided to go for it.  I’ve never gotten ready so fast in my life (as you could probably tell at the first sight of me)!
You two were so gracious to invite all menu hunters to your restaurant for free drinks and truffle fries.  My drink was refreshing (just as the waiter suggested) and the truffle fries were gobbled up in a flash.  It’s not like me to get up and go out at 10PM on a Tuesday night on a whim, but I am so glad that I did.  Meeting you two was the highlight of my week, month, and year. I was so giddy after I got home I couldn’t fall asleep!
Mark – Thank you for making us feel famous.  It makes the whole team happy that you read this little blog and are rooting for us to find a menu.
Brian – Thank you for being so excited to meet the 3rd member of the team.  Your face was priceless when I told you I was Wink Wink.
Thank you both for your words of encouragement as this epic journey comes to a close.  As you know, Menu:Impossible will be there til the end. 

Wink Wink  ;)