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Destination Inspiration: Nielsen’s Authentic Danish Pastry

Nielsen's Sign

As a Scandinavian food blogger, Daytona is always looking out for good food from the Nordic countries. Having heard about Nielsen’s Authentic Danish Pastry in Seattle’s lower Queen Anne neighborhood a while back, she set out for lunch on a recent February morning and was excited to discover a new favorite bakery–and one that’s perfect for writing.

Nielsen's Tosca

Food and Beverages

Kringle… snitter… kransekage… Tosca… If you don’t know what these confections are, then hurry up and head to Nielsen’s. While danishes are perhaps the most commonly-known of the Scandinavian pastries here in America, the world of Scandinavian baked goods expands to many other delicious treats as well. In business since 1965, Nielsen’s knows what it’s doing.

The Tosca is a Scandinavian’s dream-come-true, with a smooth and rich almond cake layered with raspberry jam, topped with caramelized almonds, and dipped in chocolate. The pastries are the big draw at Nielsen’s, but if you’re looking to round out your meal a little, you can also get soup or a sandwich.

Nielsen’s is especially known for their beautiful handmade wedding cakes. The creations are artistic, mouth watering and bound to add an extra stunning touch to an already beautiful occasion. They also serve Olympia Coffee, which is rich, organic and always fresh from the roaster.

Nielsen's Soup

Location and Atmosphere

Outside the little shop in lower Queen Anne, the greasy smell of fast food mingles with the alluring scent of warm pastries–it is a quick-paced, urban part of town after all. As you drive by and notice Danish flags flying outside, you’ll see what appears to be a tiny sliver of a shop. Walking down the stairs and through the door, however, you’ll find it opens into a cozy and charming shop with a woman sitting with her laptop at a windowside counter, a couple of men having a business lunch at one of the tables, and young man and woman lounged in the armchairs in the back corner.

It’s lunchtime on a Tuesday in February, and people come in and out at a modest yet steady pace. The shop, with its juxtoposition of country touches and play and concert posters, has the feeling of a well-loved and lived-in neighborhood cafe that’s always clean and never pretentious.

Nielsen's Interior

Writeability and Purchased Presence

As long as there’s room, we’d say pull up a chair, pull out your laptop, order some pastries and coffee, and get writing. Order a refill and a sandwich if you’re going to stay a while. And tip well.

Price: $

Typical pastries range from $2 to $4 dollars. A pastry, a cup of soup, and a drip coffee will run you about $10.


Street parking is your best bet if you want something inexpensive and don’t mind walking a block or two. Pay attention, as some streets are free.

Nielsen's Seating

Writer’s Tip

Take a moment, as you are sitting with your pastry or lunch, to think about the origins of the treats you are enjoying. Consider the culture behind the recipes and how you might let that influence the piece you are working on. If you don’t have a work in progress yet, perhaps start a short story about a character with a Nordic background. Is this a cafe they might frequent? Play the ‘what if’ game and see where your story goes!

Find It
520 Second Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119

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Have you ever had a great line that you had to pull from a piece because it just didn’t work? Did you save it? I usually do. I have a pile of great lines and paragraphs left over just waiting to be used. Try pulling those out and re-inventing them into something new.

English muffin

Just yesterday I had some a little bit of chili, a lone English muffin and a hand full of shredded mozzarella. These leftover scraps came together to make a tasty lunch. In the same way, your cast off lines or dialogue snippets can come together to start a great new work. Give it a shot this week and see what you come up with.

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21 Moments Writing Challenge with Christina Katz


As writers, we can never get too much encouragement and inspiration. Even the most seasoned writers still have a brain and imagination that need to be continually stimulated in order to produce good work. Such assistance need not take much time or money, however. That’s what I love about the 21 Moments Writing Challenge with Christina Katz. I recently signed up to participate, and am thoroughly enjoying the process so far.

Here what it involves, in a nutshell:

Over the course of one month, participants write 21 “moments,” which are brief but well-written scenes, vignettes, or whatever else they choose to write. Each day for three weeks, starting on the first of the month, Christina–an author and writing instructor–sends an e-mail with a sample text, and then the writer gets to work. The writer works on his or her own schedule, since there’s an entire month to complete the 21 moments. At the end, the writer will polish one of the moments and send it to Christina to review.

What’s so wonderful about this process is that the goal is to write for oneself, not for publication. Christina encourages writers to enjoy what they do and to just focus on writing the best they can. I’m using this challenge as a way to build up some content for my book, and I can already imagine taking part in the challenge again and again. It’s a little like NaNoWriMo, in that there’s a time-based challenge to it, but for this rather than NaNoWriMo, the focus is on quality over quantity.

If you’re interested in learning more or signing up for the “class,” head over to Christina Katz’s website.

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Destination Inspiration: 21st Amendment Brewery

21st Amendment Draft Beer List

Having home-brewers for husbands means that we’re never in danger of being in a new city and not knowing where to find good beer. Take San Francisco, for example. Until a few weeks ago, Daytona hadn’t been there in five years, and although Sarah still visits her family in the Bay Area from time to time, it’s been over a decade since she moved away. Yet on our recent weekend together, as our first afternoon in the city drew to a close, our husbands whisked us over to 21st Amendment Brewery in the city’s historic South Park neighborhood for a pre-dinner refresher.

Food and Beverages

We’ll be honest, we came here for the beer not the food, even though it is a brewpub and we could have eaten if we wanted. But having enjoyed a great lunch earlier at La Boulange and having dinner plans with Sarah’s family, we stuck to our mission and ordered beverages. That is, after all, what 21st Amendment Brewery was founded upon.

Daytona’s choice, the South Park Blonde, was refreshing and light yet flavorful, with a friendly wheat profile. The Red Dwarf IPA, which both of the men ordered, was described as “A red IPA with caramel and Munich malts combined with Simcoe and Amarillo hops, like peeling an orange in a redwood grove.” Sarah chose a cider from the Two Rivers Cider Company.

Location and Atmosphere

Near the financial district and San Francisco Giants baseball park, we can only imagine that 21st Amendment is a favorite stop before and after work and games. The atmosphere is light and almost lodge-like with lots of wood and warm colors. The chalk art on the walls and the menu is also really impressive!

21st Amendment Brewery Interior

Writeability and Purchased Presence

It takes little than a pint apiece to add a sense of camaraderie to a gathering, which makes 21st Amendment a great place to meet your writing group after a day at work. Sit back and enjoy the convivial atmosphere as share your successes and what you’re writing on at the moment. As long as no one’s waiting for your table, feel free to linger.

Price: $$

The price is just what you’d expect from a brewpub, with draft beers ranging from $5.50 to $6.50 for a pint of most beers.


We had no problem finding street parking, on what seemed like a pretty slow afternoon. It was New Year’s Eve, after all, and at an hour too earlier for dinners and parties to begin.

Looking outside from brewery

21st Amendment Brewery Interior Horizontal

Writer’s Tip

There is a history behind 21st Amendment that makes it a ripe place for brainstorming with your writing partner, possibly about a story that could be set during Prohibition. Whether or not your story has anything to do with historical references, there’s nothing like gathering with friends over good beer. (

Find It

21st Amendment Brewery
563 2nd Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

21st Amendment Interior





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Daily Writer’s Fix: February 4-8

How to use Daily Writers’ Fix



Paint Palette

Paint something today–in your mind. Describe the process in words in such a way that will make the reader envision the image start to form on the canvas.



Drooping Flowers

Why won’t your character get rid of the drooping flowers on her mantle?



 Piano Keys

Take whatever scene or project you’ve been working on lately and spend a little time thinking about what it sounds like. Close your eyes and sit back and place yourself in the scene. What faint hums of traffic or buzzing of bees do you hear that you hadn’t noticed before? What’s the music being played at the cafe your character is walking into? You may or not choose to incorporate these details, but stretch yourself to think a little further into this part of your scene than you had before.



Dog Bowl

Rain. Dog fur. Enough said. Start writing.



Anchovies, Garlic, and Capers

Never underestimate the role of taste in your writing. Even if you’re not a food writer or you’re writing something that seems totally unrelated–take science fiction for example–practice the art of writing about food every once in a while, because you never know when describing an alien’s first taste of a croissant will help make your otherworldly character seem just a bit more relatable. Today, take the flavors shown here–anchovy, garlic, and capers–and make a pretend recipe. What is your character making with these ingredients? How does he go about doing it? What does he–or perhaps his guests–think about the flavors?

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Friday Forum: 2/1

Vintage Typewriter

It’s the start of a new month. All of January we’ve been discussing how to keep up the momentum of resolutions made in the new year. How did your January go? What are your plans for February? I’m planning on giving my goals for writing fiction a second look. Cheers to you if you’ve stayed strong in your goals through January, and godspeed for an equally productive February!