Monday, December 13, 2010

Feeling Crabtastic

I love the winter months, for the togetherness of the holidays, bright orange rain boots, and of course the daydreams of a killer ski season to come.  But just as much, I love the opportunity to indulge in fresh Dungeness crab!

Last week, for a catch-up dinner with Rachel, we went to Woodhouse Fish Company to do just that.  We enjoyed a lobster roll as well as a whole crab steamed in white wine and garlic, accompanied by a glass (or two) of white Bordeaux.  What a great way to spend a rainy evening!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Regal Beagle

I found my new neighborhood dream bar. 

Unfortunately for me, it's not in my neighborhood. 

The Regal Beagle in San Diego has everything a beer- and fun-loving girl could ask for:

1.  A broad and rotating selection of craft beers that appeals to every mood.  Victory's Festbier when the Chargers are winning (this, however was not Sunday)... Anchor's Old Foghorn when you are missing SF ... and the Wheel of Indecision to spin when you just don't know.
2.  A dizzying array of sausages (Moroccan lamb, German garlic, smoked onion, turkey and cranberry, jalapeno and cheddar ... ) that you can even add to a salad if you are really so inclined.   
3.  Witty and cool bartenders that can give you recommendations on not just the beer and sausage, but also your fantasy football plays. 
4.  Mac n cheese bites. What Christmas would be like if you had Mac n cheese under your tree!
5.  Tater tots.  Yes, I said tots, and I'll say it again.  TOTS.
6.  A kick-ass mustard bar.  Just try me.   
7.  Games galore.  Jenga, anyone?
8.  And finally, a keepsake koozy to take home.  Beer me!

I will be hitting up the Beagle before and after every SD airport visit.  I am hoping they open up something Regal someday soon near me...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Belizean wahoo

Nothing beats freshly grilled fish ... except, of course, when you catch it yourself!

On our last morning in Belize, we went deep sea fishing.  With quite a struggle, I pulled in the first fish ... a four-ish foot long barracuda with some NASTY looking teeth.  The boys pulled in a couple of tuna and a nice wahoo that put up quite a fight.  The last bite was mine, and after about thirty minutes on the reel, I wound up with a big fat wahoo!  Our first estimate was thirty pounds, four and a half feet, but now that I have had some time to reflect, I am quite sure he was at least five feet long and forty plus pounds. 

Catch of the day, coming up! 

Our fishing captain cleaned the fish and cut us some steaks, which a local restaurant prepared for us for lunch.  Salt, pepper, lime, oregano, chile ... we definitely enjoyed a full plate of delicious wahoo! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Locanda da Eva

If you haven't made the trek over to Berkeley yet to eat at Locanda da Eva, do your own self a favor and get there... before I get back and eat all the strozzapreti!

I first caught wind of this place in August a couple weeks after its opening, via a TastingTable email, which lauded its approach to Italian cuisine and its neighborhood vibe. I actually skimmed the email, took a mental note to check it out, and upon a re-read noticed that the executive chef was someone I knew from my childhood.

After that, review upon review crossed my path, all talking about the must-sample pork trotter fritters, until finally I succumbed to the 5 mile (45 min) journey across the bridge. I don't know why that was so hard, but I will definitely be going back ... regularly, I hope.

The menu changes daily based on the local ingredients they source, offering Italian interpretations with a heavy pork leaning. Don't miss the pizzas, especially the wilted kale pizza with lardo (imagine the texture of a gooey melted cheese, but the taste of extra delightful bacon). Props also to chef Huw Thornton for giving me another idea for how to use the kale in my farm deliveries!

Last week they refreshed their decor, which is the only possible complaint I could have conjured about the place.  This restaurant has landed squarely in my top 5 ... and I cannot wait to go back. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Taco stop in Aguas Calientes

Saturday, on my way up to Sonoma with Gidget and Christine, we were so ravenous after a soccer game that we had to make a pit stop for some lunch.  We pulled into a Mexican market in Aguas Calientes and enjoyed some carnitas tacos served with onion, loads of cilantro, a squeeze of lime ... and of course a Jarritos!  YUM!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Le Bernardin

This post is long overdue but I was almost daunted by how much there was to say about our epic dinner at Le Bernardin.  In New York in September for an annual soccer rivalry match between Olympic Club and New York Athletic Club, seven of my girlfriends and I decided to gear up for an all-out meal at one of New York's legendary restaurants.  For years I have dreamed of going to Le Bernardin and was luckily able to convince my friends that they, too, were eager to experience some of the city's finest seafood.

Seated in the center table, the eight of us attracted a lot of attention amidst tables of older couples or heady business dinners.  With little hesitation, we all agreed on the tasting menus with wine pairing, the only difference being one of the girls opted for the 8 course and the rest of us selected the 7 course Le Bernardin tasting menu.

The first course was a thinly pounded piece of tuna, served with olive oil and chives over a toasted sourdough crisp with a layer of foie gras.  Rich, buttery, and decadent, I could have used a little acidity but enjoyed the velvety texture of the fish.

 My favorite course on our tasting menu was the second, a charred octopus in a fermented black bean sauce with a miso vinaigrette.  This dish tasted the most balanced, with a hearty piece of seafood matched against more full bodied and earthy flavors.  

And of course, the highlight of the meal was not only that Eric Ripert and team cooked it for us, but gave us a tour of their kitchen and the opportunity to view and question the kitchen activities.  His kitchen was an amazingly efficient, sparkling clean, top quality operation with friendly and talented staff.  They showed us how they fire and deliver courses with precision, and where they seat frequent diners such as Robert deNiro.  Coming from San Francisco where the food philosophy leans largely toward sustainable, local, and seasonal, I was shocked to learn that the menu changes very infrequently and more "at the inspiration of the Chef," but Chef Ripert can command the freshest of ingredients based on his dominance in the restaurant scene and apparently once he creates a dish he seeks to perfect it. 

As we wrapped up the meal, we received well wishes for our match, and a hug and a souvenir photo with the Chef himself!  Le Bernardin was the dining experience of a lifetime!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Salmon sandos

I have been experimenting with salmon sandwiches quite a bit, but last night with a little Farm Fresh inspiration I came up with a new creation that might become a winter staple.

I received another head of cabbage in my Farm box yesterday.  For the last few deliveries I have sadly let the cabbage go to waste (as well as the massive quantities of green beans they have delivered), lacking either inspiration or a cabbage-friendly recipe.
Now, however, I have just the thing to use the cabbage this winter and satisfy my salmon cravings at the same time.

I baked a salmon fillet in a foil packet, lightly seasoned and with a little EVOO, at 400 degrees for about 20 min until the flesh was opaque and tender.  On a toasted brioche bun from la Boulange, I layered the salmon with a chilled Moldovan slaw (cabbage, dill, oil, s&p).  I steamed the green beans and enjoyed their crisp fresh flavor with a little salt and pepper.  I was quite pleased with my healthy, satisfying dinner!


Here are some photos of the owls in action. 

I thought we would be the most popular animals at the party, but I have to say our friends Jade and Jill really caused a commotion with their narwhal costumes. Anything that can get the crowd singing along to your costume is undeniably a hit!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I haven't participated in Halloween costumery for several years, but this year I felt a teensy bit inspired.  I am creating an owl costume as an homage to my favorite animal, and for once the idea in my head is actually coming to life!

I coordinated an array of brown and camel tweedy haberdashery fabrics (one herringbone, one exploded plaid, a camel stripe, plus a wide wale brown corduroy as an accent) to create the feathers.  After cutting fabric squares, I used pinking shears to create a feathered edge.

An overlapping pattern of feathers created my new drop-waisted owlish tunic, to be worn over brown leggings and short booties. 

The finishing touches, of course, are the shoulder-length feather earrings and the horn-rimmed glasses I will be sporting, in addition to the hipster owl accompanying me to my Halloween party lineup. 


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Roosevelt Tamale Parlor

What makes for a heavenly Sunday?  Rain, Philz coffee, and a tamale from Roosevelt's.

Yesterday was my first introduction to Roosevelt's, where a couple of hours before a big soccer game, I tucked away a plate of huevos a la mexicana (scrambled, with tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos) and a few delightfully tangy bites of chilaquiles.

This morning, I couldn't think of anything I desired more than Roosevelt's, especially without the limitations of choosing only what I could run on.  Thank goodness for that, because a couple hours later I am lying on the couch reflecting on the meal, my very full stomach, and my new favorite restaurant.  After eating their perfect chicken tamale, enveloped in the fluffiest masa and doused in a thick and smoky ranchero sauce, I can't wait to go back!   It was absolutely knock-your-socks-off delicious. I actually want to live next door.  Or maybe inside.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lunchtime at Onigilly

Yesterday we working folk stationed near Justin Herman Plaza gained a new addition to the lunchtime circuit.  Onigilly opened a cart which will serve onigiri six days a week (barring Sundays) to those craving a briny treat.

I of course opted for the Lunch Set, a $7 sampler of the three rice balls they offer:  Japanese seaweed salad (hijiki), a miso eggplant combination, and a gingery chicken, served alongside edamame and pickled daikon radish.

I have always loved the crispy chewy texture of nori and found it a particularly interesting contrast with the meaty eggplant, as well as the salty, crackly hijiki.  There was nothing special about the flavors of the chicken but it was the most hearty and satisfying of the three choices and a solid way to finish off the meal.  I left the plaza thinking I was still a bit hungry, but quite sustained by the time I reached my office.  Lunchtime onigiri might be a great choice for me after all! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

NYC Eats: Salumeria Rosi

Nothing makes a girl's day like cured Italian meats.  This girl, anyway. So, my first stop in New York, for lunch on Friday, was Salumeria Rosi on Amsterdam and 73rd. An upscale meat counter on one side, and a small batch of tables on the other (including a bit of sidewalk seating), this place was the ultimate neighborhood establishment and a great place to park for an early lunch. 

I heard about Salumeria Rosi from a friend who described the piles of charcuterie as a snacking extravaganza.  With a distant gleam in his eye, he spoke of an afternoon where he and friends lingered for hours and wrapped up the experience with a cigar and a stroll in the Upper West Side.  Oddly I did not ask what he ordered, but my guess is he enjoyed the buttery and delectable Prosciutto di Parma, an array of rich aged cheeses, a slice or two of porchetta, and more than one bottle of Brunello. 

Anthony Bourdain spoke of it in a slightly more colorful light, featuring this stop in his Food Porn episode.  Tony also lauded the Prosciutto di Parma, which was paper thin and positively dissolved in your mouth (though maybe I was drooling as I looked at the pile of cured meat before us).  

The empty corner you can see in the photo above belonged to the prosciutto before my lunch companions and I tackled each other for the last slice.  It was fantastic, as was the seductive and spicy Bresaola (the dark slices in the lower left corner of the plate). 

My own stroll down Amsterdam after this meal was jaunty for sure.  I remain incurably addicted to eating in NYC!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Yesterday a friend asked me for a recommendation on where to go in SF for Italian.  After chatting about what she was looking for (rustic? modern? pasta? pizza? daring? classic?) I sent her to Emmy's Spaghetti Shack in Bernal for some downright awesome meatballs.

In addition to the classic spaghetti and meatballs, enough to feed you for days, Emmy makes an excellent salad.  Try the heirloom tomato and peach salad while those fruits are in season!

The last time I went to Emmy's, I left with a to-go box I couldn't wait to crack into.  Someone ate my leftovers (hint, hint) so I need to go back soon for round two!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yummy Yummy

Feeling a little blue about the weather yesterday, and a little under the weather besides, I decided to venture out into the Inner Sunset for some lunchtime pho. I ended up checking out Yummy Yummy, on Irving and 11th. 

I parked and sat down quite easily and chose between 14 or so different varieties of pho ... based on my morning sniffles and sneezes I chose pho ga (chicken soup) and waited briefly in the company of a NYT crossword puzzle for my soup to arrive.   

One of my favorite things about eating pho is the process of adding ingredients and seasonings to make a perfectly personal blend.  I start by adding a pile of bean sprouts and as much cilantro as made available.  Sometimes this requires asking for more, as I think every bite tastes better with at least one cilantro leaf.  I add a touch of fish sauce to get the right salty balance.  Last but certainly not least, I add a layer of heat including red chili oil and Sriracha until the broth gains a spicy tinge of red.

The broth itself was nothing special and did not offer a particular depth of flavor, but it was improved by the seasonings, and positively offset by the quality of chicken inside.  Every chicken piece was meaty, lacking gristle, and totally tender, and the portion of noodles, meat and broth was far more than I could tackle in one lunch sitting. 

Overall I left Yummy Yummy feeling much improved in health and mood.  I would definitely return for another Yummy lunch break!  

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pupusas at Balompie #3

After all this talk of pupusas, I had to get one, and fast.  What better company than my Dad ... who first introduced me to pupusas at El Calderon as a kid? 

Dad drove up from Sunnyvale to meet me for dinner and a little father/daughter time.  There were a few other diners at Balompie when we arrived, but we had our choice of tables, and Dad chose the single table without any kind of view of April's Barca/Real showdown on replay on multiple TV's.  I guess it made for better conversation but I was surely missing the view of Iker.

We both ordered special #14 (my lucky number): two pupusas with rice and beans.  After a little negotiation we landed on four different types of pupusas to try; Dad ordered one chicken/cheese and a bean/cheese, I opted for pork/cheese and spinach.  I am shocked to report that the spinach was my favorite because of the way the spinach played off the cornmeal masa, closely followed by the bean/cheese that was my preferred choice as a girl.  All of them were quite tasty especially when washed down by a Negra Modelo. 

We were both quite impressed by the light, fluffy masa that encased the pupusa... not greasy or heavy whatsoever and the cornmeal flavor was quite heavenly.  Though we were pleasantly overwhelmed by the choice of fillings, I believe that none topped my memory of the El Calderon bean and cheese flavors.  Guess I still need to head down to Mountain View for a reminder!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Parada 22

When Parada 22 recently opened in my neighborhood, I was super excited to have Puerto Rican beans, rice, and maduros at my fingertips!  I personally think the Upper Haight needs some new life to the eating scene.  I love the food at Alembic, when you can get a seat, and am perpetually obsessed with Ploy II, but am otherwise finding the options kind of tired. 

Friday night, after hearing a friend's band play at Milk, I was looking for something tasty and quick and hopped into Parada 22 right as they were closing up the kitchen.  At the recommendation of the cashier girl (whose taste I assumed was impeccable considering she commented on and correctly identified both my ring and my bracelet!) we ordered two sandwiches to split: a Cuban and also a bistec.  Of course, I couldn't resist a serving of maduros on the side.

The atmosphere was charming, with turquoise walls, an array of pendant light bulbs, and a litter of photos and odds and ends evoking a hint of San Juan street corner. We waited inside for the sandwiches, which arrived fairly quickly, and were still warm and toasted by the time I got them home.  The platanos, not so much, but I was honestly too lazy and too hungry to heat them up.  The bistec was definitely the better of the two sandwiches, a nice version of encebollado, although for me it could have used a little spice.  I actually most enjoyed the sandwich with a bit of plantain added to each bite.  The cubano, on the other hand, was at first a little dry and also a little bland ... it did grow on me, but I think a cubano is one of the last things on earth that should be bland, really. 

As far as neighborhood eats go, I would go back to Parada 22 (although I would probably try a plato vegetariano or the camarones a la criolla next time versus a sandwich).  It will be nice to occasionally take a break from Ploy II, but if I am really jonesing for good Puerto Rican food and have a little time on my hands, I will still head up to Sol Food in San Rafael.  That place gets it right.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Philz Coffee

For years I had given up on the weekday cup of coffee, cherishing the alluring aroma and jolt of energy as a special treat meant only for weekends. Only recently, after being introduced to Philz Coffee, have I reintroduced the weekday ritual. You can now count me amongst the devoted.

Founded in 2003, well before the current SF craze of individually dripped cups (although admittedly I have been known to queue up at a Saturday morning Blue Bottle kiosk for years now), Phil Jaber and team have been serving coffee "one cup at a time" and crafted with love. Even reading the menu of blends is part of the experience at Philz. I began with an interest in sampling the entire menu, but got stuck on dark roasts and now count on the large Arabic as a morning kickstart several days a week.

I like to say good morning to the baristas, sit outside at the Castro location, greet the neighborhood dogs, and begin my day with an invigorating chat and a warming cup.

If you see me in the morning with a cup of Philz in hand, know that I am having a very good morning indeed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Although I grew up in the South Bay (Saratoga, to be precise), I have really spent very little time in Mountain View.  As a kid my family used to drive over at least monthly for a family dinner at El Calderon, where I would indulge an early but deeply-rooted love for pupusas.  My Dad used to suggest we were going to El Salvador for dinner, but really, it was just Mountain View.  No wonder I got lost. 

So, driving to Mountain View last week for a girls' dinner, I had zero recognition as I pulled up to Castro Street, where I could not drive or park due to an inordinate amount of foot and road traffic ... firemen alongside their trucks demo'ing fire hoses for small children ... and other telltale signs of a suburban street fair or farmers' market.  No clue what actually was going on as nothing appeared to actually be for sale. 

Anyways, I digress.  After a 1.5 hour drive from the city, and a little extra time glued to Google maps, I finally found Cascal and my girl friends.  They were perched at the bar and ahead of me by a cocktail ... at least one cocktail.  I needed to cheer up, and fast.  Luckily tapas with the girls was just the thing.

We ordered an array of tapas (surely more Latin American than Spanish as advertised):  beef short ribs atop a Venezuelan arepa; a hearts of palm salad served with watercress, pineapple, and jicama; crab and shrimp tostaditos; wild mushroom empanadas with manchego cheese; a scallop ceviche; and lamb enchiladas in a mole sauce.  We each got a couple bites of these tasty treats and enjoyed some Malbec alongside. On top of this it was a lovely evening to dine al fresco ... which put me in a much better mood for the drive back!  If in Mountain View again, I will consider this a fun back-pocket option, especially for a group up for sharing plates.  Thanks, ladies, and hope to see you all again soon!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Namu tacos

On this dreary Monday morning, I am waxing a little nostalgic about sunny Saturdays at the Farmers' Market.  Flipping through my food photos, I was reminded of a great little taste I picked up on my last visit.

Hurrying back toward Cap'n Mikes for a lox breakfast, I was almost too hungry to make it to the last aisle of stands without a snack and was completely drawn in by the rare lack of line at Namu.  I am not sure I know many others who have to have a snack on the way to their meal. I, however, picked up a $3 Korean taco and enjoyed it while I waited in line for salmon ... a strategy I may replicate next time! 

I thoroughly enjoyed the three bite combination of seasoned rice, Korean short ribs, and a kimchee salsa wrapped up in a toasted seaweed "taco shell."  I don't think two tacos would have been satisfying for a breakfast, but one certainly was as an appetizer!

Namu is a great example of the wide array of street food choices we enjoy here in San Francisco.  I am going to check my twitter feed and figure out where I am eating next for lunch ...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Porchetta, Revisited

Men's Health magazine just voted RoliRoti's porchetta sandwich the top Street Eat in America.  It reminded me of my inaugural blog post, and also that it is almost lunchtime! Wishing it was Thursday so that I could get one at the Farmers' Market...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Before you begin reading, I feel compelled to warn you that I am constantly prone to bad puns and geeky math jokes.  And having eaten last night at a restaurant called Pi, here they come, irrational or not.

Now that we have the disclaimers out of the way...

As we cozied up in a (square) table alongside the wall, the first thing I noticed was a stellar beer selection up on the board featuring many of my favorite local brews:  Moonlight Death & Taxes, a Trumer Pils, and some Russian River selections including Blind Pig, my choice for the evening.  No Pliny the Elder, though, or I surely would have indulged. 

The menu actually pleased me with a simple typeface and a simple selection, including a couple of apps, a couple of salads, and the ability to craft a pizza out of a limited but thoughtful selection of meat and veggie toppings.   We ordered a spinach salad, which came with Belfiore feta (props to Pi Bar for supporting a local cheese producer), red and yellow toybox tomatoes, and ground Italian sausage ... the perfect way to get your date on board with the salad!  We also ordered a pizza with pepperoni, kalamata olive, and mushroom which arrived as pepperoni, olive and onion.  No worries as my love for pizza is infinite!

Also noteworthy, the classic pies at Pi r still round (not squared).

Groan.  And with that, I will leave you with my favorite geeky math cartoon.  Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Le Garage

Oohh, Le Garage, what delight you brought me on a meandering Monday afternoon!

We sailed up for a quick glass of wine to celebrate Rachel's engagement. (Congrats, Rachel and John!)  After a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape and a hello from Chef Gaby (our French cuisine instructor from Kitchen on Fire) we decided to linger a while longer. 

Gaby brought us out a special treat, a smoked salmon tartine with creme fraiche, delicately nuanced with lemon verbena.   Merci, Gaby!

I could have remained all day savoring the second bottle of Chateaneuf, the gentle sunlight, and the flavor of anticipation. 

We ordered also a smattering of snacks, including Dungeness crab stuffed squash blossoms, a beet salad, and PEI mussels with merguez sausage, shallots, white wine and pastis. 

And then we ate happily ever after ...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lunch at the Rotunda

The weekend really began over a bubbly lunch at the Rotunda. 

Of course we sampled the popovers with strawberry butter (which tasted like a warm and spreadable version of Haagen Daaz strawberry ice cream).  I warmed up with a split of Moet rose and nibbled on a shrimp and quinoa salad.  We finished the meal with a shared dessert ... a chocolate bombe that was a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.  Well, most of you reading this probably know I didn't exactly eat the chocolate, but my friends seemed quite delighted.

I was feeling spoiled, spirited, and a little bit sassy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


A couple nights ago, I met a childhood friend for dinner and a glass at Spruce.  For a Tuesday night, the place was packed and we were lucky to get seats at the bar.  Once seated, however, we hadn't a care in the world as we checked out the artwork, chatted with the bartender, and caught up on the last few months of each others' lives. 

I knew coming in that I was compelled to order the burger, having heard it lauded as one of San Francisco's finest.  Despite that, I read every word on the menu (multiple times) and tried to subtlely influence Ryan to order something I was interested in tasting!  He ended up with butter poached lobster served with braised lettuces and gnocchi, and I, with the Spruce burger and fries. 

The burger, which I ordered with gruyere, was served with all sorts of amazing house made accoutrements: pickles, pickled onions, and a tangy remoulade.  After one bite of the burger, on its buttery brioche bun, I chose to eat the rest in unadulterated fashion and save the condiments for my next visit.   The fries were the only element of mild disappointment, of the perfect size to deliver a crispy exterior but a soft interior, but perhaps a little over-fried.  I rarely can leave a fry untouched but I suppose there's a first time for everything. 

I will also say that the wine list alone is a good reason to return.  With over 1300 selections it formed a mighty tome on its own... Would have been good bedside reading! I ended up with a 2007 Willakenzie Pinot that I enjoyed.  And, they have a Tokaji by the glass ... something else to look forward to!

Spruce pleased on every dimension, with impeccable service, memorable food and presentation, and an artfully chic environment that happened to make a great backdrop to our conversations about home decor and design inspiration. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Farm Box #3

As if my day wasn't already amazing, I just received my farm box filled with Capay Farms treats.  I screamed with delight and my whole team came running over to take a look, and help me artfully arrange the produce for a portrait.

The onion is frankly the biggest I have ever seen - the size of a small child's head - and I am not sure what I will do with it.  Anyone up for enchiladas?  I am really excited about the sweet corn, the broccoli, and the apricots. 

And the strawberries ... were delicious.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

OC Ski Team

Most of you know about my ski obsession.  I spent just about every winter weekend up in Tahoe (except for the weekend I was skiing in Vail with my brother).  I'm not sure, however, if I have mentioned that this winter I raced in my first slalom event for the OC.  I had my rookie race at Squaw out on Exhibition and had so much fun dodging gates and pretending to be Julia Mancuso. 

It was a pretty decent day on the course for a rookie ... I placed into 7s, finished in first place, and have plenty of opportunity to strike next season and work my way up.  Does that mean I earned a tiara?

See if you can find me in the above pic.  Hint:  unlike Waldo in stripes, this kid is in plaid (Um, and still wearing my helmet?). 

Can't wait for next winter already and a season on the new sticks!

Monday, May 17, 2010

B2B Madness

Bay to Breakers hardly requires any commentary.  Yesterday we camped out for a while on the panhandle, near a rowdy lifeguard team (complete with an oversized lifeguard chair they had constructed on the corner of Oak and Cole, and carried across to Fell St).  Their whistles and bullhorn antics attracted a lot of B2B's finest, including this guy dressed like ... well, I'm not sure really.

We walked a couple miles into the Park to check out the overpass, headed back to Shrader/Fell to a friend's party, and late afternoon somehow found us out at Buckshot Tavern playing skee ball, drinking Tecates, and eating prolific amounts of onion rings. 

As dusk fell, I was back on my couch hanging out with Anne, waiting for Thai food from Ploy II (which always tastes amazing after such marathon days), and watching Almost Famous.   I awoke today rested up for the week ahead... well, almost. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Festa di Pesto at Farina

Last night Gidget and I celebrated at the Festa di Pesto at Farina Foccaccia and Cucina Italiana.  What did we celebrate? 

1- A lovely glass (or two) of Toscana
2- Mandilli di seta al pesto, a Farina specialty (its flavor being the equivalent of sticking your nose deep into a bouquet of the freshest basil)
3- Another great girls night out!

We got a great deal through Bergine, which helps local SF merchants provide great offers and services to people in the area. They post an offer a day as well as a weekly offer.  I jumped at the chance to go back to Farina, which currently holds a post in my top 5 SF restaurants.   Mille grazie a Bergine!

... e Salute a tutti!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vino, te quiero

Tonight in between stops we paused for a glass of Carmenet Pinot Noir at the Wine Bar on Polk.  The place was surprisingly decorated with what looked like personal nostalgia items ... big plastic sunglasses, "vintage" iPods, wine stoppers, and more.  We had a glass and then "shared a glass" and the amazing $21 worth of wine, smelling herbal but tasting subtlely rounded and provocative like any good pinot, makes this place worth a return visit. 

I think, however, that the bartender spoke a sum total of two words: "It's Nice."

He was right ... the pinot was nice, and the place was nice. I'll try it again.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dry Creek Passport Weekend

This weekend, taking a rare timeout from Tahoe, I joined some friends in Dry Creek for Passport weekend.  A friend of a friend is the winemaker at Martorana Family Vineyards, and to prepare for the Passport festivities he invited a group of people to volunteer at the winery.  Somehow I was in the right place at the right time, and got a coveted invite to join in on an amazing weekend!

I drove up Saturday evening in time for a home cooked feast and a night of camping in the vineyards.  Sunday, after an early morning walk through the vineyards and an hour or so of reading on the porch swing, I headed to the winery to begin the volunteering.

We showed up at the winery and began quickly setting up for the crowds.  I managed to get a place at the sales table, where I chatted with guests, poured from a selection of 7 wines, and rang sales for the day.  Not only did I have a great time meeting so many new people (both my fellow volunteers as well as a dizzying stream of customers), I also got to sample the array of excellent wines and debate with myself all day which I wanted to bring home.  I ended up with a case of the 2006 Dry Creek Zin as well as an '06 Cab, an '05 Merlot, and a bottle of Olio di Gio ... I plan on cracking open at least two of these bottles tonight when I reunite with my farm box over a home cooked meal.  Don't worry, one will be the olive oil.  Happy, healthy Monday!

Teagan's first slumber party

Saturday morning after waking up to a fresh cup of espresso (doppio, certo!), a big smile and a speed-crawl-to-hug maneuver from Baby Teagan, and some chit-chat with the girls, we walked down to Glen Park for a little breakfast and a dose of fresh air. 

We stopped in Higher Grounds coffee house to enjoy breakfast crepes (mine: pesto, feta, onion with a side of potatoes).  Teags kept fighting off sleep to hang with the big girls.   I am sure she had a BIG nap that day!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Farm Box Part Deux

Tonight after a coed soccer game, I skipped beers and came home for a healthy night in with my Farm box.  I sauteed the red chard in olive oil and garlic, added pine nuts and a squeeze of Eureka lemon, and enjoyed over brown rice pasta. 

It was actually quite tasty, and I have enough leftover for tomorrow's lunch!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Banh Mi

Today for lunch I tried something new near work ... a pork banh mi sandwich from Little Saigon Deli just around the corner.  I have hardly noticed this place, despite countless trips to Perry's, because it is just a windowfront out of which they serve a limited variety of banh mi (pork or fancy pork? chicken or tofu?), green coconut waffles, and spring rolls. 

I ordered the pork banh mi (just straight up pork, not fancy, although I will probably try that combo next time) and enjoyed the crusty roll, sliced pork, marinated carrots, and especially fresh cilantro.  A simple sandwich but oh-so-tasty ... made all that much more enjoyable by a sunny afternoon and time with a friend eating near the waterfront. 

Oh, did I mention it was only $4.50?  I have a new regular lunch spot.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

On a gorgeous spring day

Today at the Farmers' Market, I bought a bouquet of ranunculus to brighten up my day.  I also picked up some Yukon gold potatoes to add to a spring vegetable soup ... my first home cooked concoction with the Farm Fresh ingredients.  After a Dailey Method class, I am excited to get into the kitchen!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Farm Fresh ... to ME!

I just received my first delivery from Farm Fresh to You.  It is a gorgeous assortment of seasonal, organic vegetables and fruits from Capay Farms and their local partners.  I will be receiving these deliveries every other week in the hopes that fresh produce at my fingertips and perhaps exposure to some new ingredients will liven up my attempts at healthy eating.  I also love supporting local farms, sustainable production and consumption, and eating seasonal foods.  I have never been so excited to eat a vegetable in all my life!

- 2 Hass avocadoes
- 2 Navel oranges
- 1/2 lb strawberries
- 1 Eureka Lemon
- Chard
- Green leaf lettuce
- Bunched carrots
- Broccoli
- Spring onion
- Garnet sweet potatoes

Monday, April 5, 2010

Belle's Camp, I like your style...

I like the style of Belle's Camp, at the top of Blue Sky Basin in Vail.

This little lodge offers the usual assortment -- coffee, soda, chips, sandwiches, cookies -- of a mid mountain stop.  Outside, however, they fire up grills for your usage.  Man them yourself.  On a series of chairs on the way out to the Basin, people were talking with excitement about the bratwursts they were packing in. Inside, groups were camped out on picnic tables running in the burgers and dogs from the snowy outside grill area. 

One particular group, featured in the photo, really had their system down.  Not only did they pack in meats to grill, but also checkered table cloths, cheese and crackers, and several bottles of vino! 

(Mind you, this was 10:30 in the morning when I popped in for a brief caffeine break.)

While impressed with their style, I would also like to point out that they were missing some of the best powder I have ever skiied in.  Knee deep in Colorado fresh, I will pass on the vino, thanks!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Book Club goodness

Last week (or maybe it was the week before? Time is flying...) I hosted my book club for dinner, wine, and discussion.  We had selected Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, in honor of his passing, and hoped to reflect on all that was meaningful to us about his books during our adolescence as well as what continued to be relevant in adulthood.

For dinner I served salmon (baked in a foil packet with Moroccan spices) alongside a salad I adapted from a friend, Ann.  Butter lettuce, red onion, sliced mushrooms, avocado, halved grape tomatoes, and Annie's organic Goddess dressing for the lemon and Tahini flavors.

A couple of the girls brought wine, and Dolores brought dessert, pictured above ... delightfully buttery palmier cookies with some whipped cream and strawberries alongside.  What a beautiful and decadent little treat!

Monday, March 29, 2010


I have been longing to try Kasa in the Castro, but every time I try to swing casually by on my way home it is impossible to find a parking spot. So, for a year plus, I have been stuck with drive-by daydreams about kati rolls and Kingfisher beer.

Last week, the parking gods were with me!

I popped in to grab a quick dinner on another night I was late leaving work.  Per their advice, I decided to try two kati rolls and selected the chicken tikka masala (because it draws rave reviews on Yelp) as well as the daily vegetarian special, aloo gobi.  I generally eat vegetarian when eating Indian because the options are so varied and flavorful, and I loved that Kasa has a rotating veg special on their menu. 
The roti wraps were buttery and pliable and the fillings spicy and well seasoned.  As excited as I was for the veg option, I don't think the cumin and coriander did enough to offset the blandness of the cauliflower ... overall it could have used a bit more kick.  I did appreciate the healthy dollop of raita in which to dip my kati. 
One of the nicest discoveries at Kasa was their commitment to natural, local ingredients.  Thank you, Kasa, for your commitment to good homestyle neighborhood food and a greener environment.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sriracha mayo: obsession?

For dinner tonight I am enjoying a crab cake courtesy of Whole Foods, and some steamed broccoli ... served with my current favorite side, sriracha mayo.  Obsession?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Roadside Project Readers' Poll

The Roadside Project continues this afternoon when I get on the road to Tahoe.  Looking to you all for advice on where to stop next:

1- Eppie's
2- Cattlemen's
3- Little Wren Cafe
4- Other

What roadside joints have you eyed alongside I-80 and always wondered about? Let me satiate your curiosity while I satiate my appetite...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Breakfast at the SF Farmers' Market

Saturday morning I took advantage of being on the wrong time zone (operating on EST after a trip to eastern Canada) and enjoyed an early morning jaunt to the Farmers' Market.  Though there was no line for the porchetta sandwich at Roli Roti, it was too early to think about digesting pig fat, as tasty as it was. So, I headed for the Cap'n Mike's Holy Smoke salmon at the back of the market.

This time I tried the sockeye salmon, served with capers, Meyer lemon, and pickled onions on the usual Acme bread with cream cheese.  The sockeye was a bit bolder in color and flavor than the other choices of albacore or northwest style salmon, but I was in the mood to try something new.  I'm converted.  The sprinkle of lavender salt on top was a perfect accent!  I love Farmers' Market breakfasts!