Sunday, December 18, 2011

two zero eleven coming to a close.

The week before leaving on vacation is always the longest. This week was also complete with a major low and major high (I'm glad the week ended with the high).

Around this time last year I was bombarding people with letters and cards asking for donations in support of Jumpstart and my marathon training. Although I've started running again regularly, it doesn't compare to training in the Newton hills. I'm hoping to join the 2012 team on a training run next month when I'm in town and hoping that my daily hill walking in SF will be a good training substitute.

On Thursday I welcomed visitor #5 (I think?): Brooke! I found out that she would be driving to Lake Tahoe from her home in Abilene, TX so I bribed her with a burrito from the Mission and a little site seeing (on top of the always present hug and high-five). It was amazing to see her and I am so thankful that we had some time to just chill and chat before she deploys in January. Friday morning we woke up to gorgeous weather and took off to the Golden Gate bridge. Along the way we saw the Palace of Fine Arts, which I've been wanting to check out for a while. I'm so glad we stopped because it's a very impressive structure. We walked around a bit, took some pictures of ducks and talked about how envious we were of the people who lived across the street and walked out their door in the morning with the palace as their view. Next we drove across the bridge to the lookout spots and then back into the city to see the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square. And yes, we sang the Full House theme song as she parallel parked impressively (there is photo evidence) on a hill.

We were in the market for some sushi for lunch, but stumbled upon an eatery right next to Mad Dog in the Fog called Greenburger, on Haight Street. It was the perfect place to stumble upon - I had a vegan sloppy joe (I never even thought to make one, but will definitely try on my own) and Brooke got a veggie burger. Really solid meal and I'll definitely go back if I'm in the area. Brooke needed to get back on the road and I had to get some work done so we parted ways after lunch, but it was such a great visit. Thanks for taking a bit of a detour, Brooke! It was a Christmas miracle!

On Saturday I helped Maddy with some cooking for a Christmas party (I'm always happy to lend a hand in the kitchen) and then off to the airport in the evening to head back to Seattle. Today I finally was able to visit a friend (Hope) who lives in Ballard and pick up a set of drawings that I asked her to do for our apartment. First off, they were even more beautiful than I thought when she sent me a picture, and second, they were EXACTLY what I was imagining. I'll post a picture when they are up in the apartment.

Well, I'm off tomorrow on vacation for the holidays so no posts until 2012 (where did 2011 go?). Happy holidays everyone - safe travels!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

running in the country > running on a treadmill

I can't believe it's almost Christmas. I hate to gloat (although it sounds like the New England has had it's fair share of nice weather) but it has rained only three or four days since I moved here. I've been told this is unseasonably nice; I'm pretending that isn't the case though. The weather has changed to sunny and brisk; I pulled out the gloves for the first time this week, but I don't mind.

Corey left Tuesday morning so we had Monday night to cook dinner together. Our meal consisted of fresh black pepper pasta (bought at the Fort Mason farmers market), butternut squash and sage sauce, and roasted brussel sprouts (on the stock - also form the farmers market). I learned a new trick from Corey - put a tiny bit of water on the pan of the brussel sprouts before you put them in the oven; it cooks them a little more thoroughly so they are nice and tender. It totally worked and they were delicious!

Tuesday I did some baking for my work Christmas party/cookie competition. I made Ginger Molasses Sandwich Cookies, which turned out alright. I did not win, but did get an intense sugar high/crash after tasting seventeen different types of cookies. What were we thinking? I also did not win the ugly sweater competition, but did wear mine the entire day (including out to lunch) so I should have at least won a prize for that. I did some more cooking that night with a friend and it was my first time making souffles. Saying that word makes me feel weird about making them, like they are too fancy for me. I contributed the swiss chard side dish, a little more up my alley.

This week consisted of two back to back concerts at the Masonic Center, a concert hall literally four blocks from my apartment. On Thursday I went to see the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and man were they awesome! Two of my co-workers sing in the group of 275+ men and they sounded great, had so much energy and were hilarious. I love Christmas music and was happy that a bell choir accompanied them on some of the songs (I know, it's weird to like bell choirs). All in all a great concert and was so happy to support Kenyon and Chris. The second concert on Friday was a show put on by KFOG (a local radio station) called Concert for Kids. My aunt was really excited for me to move to San Francisco because she wants someone to go to concerts with; I was happy to oblige, especially when she picks up the tab. The opener was Airborne Toxic Event with headliner Death Cab for Cutie. I was happy to support the hometown boys - Death Cab is from Seattle. The audience was such a wide range of people (which I expected going into it). The sixteen year old girls behind us yelling "I love you, Ben" every five minutes was a bit overplayed; I think he heard them the first time.

The rest of the weekend I spent out in Brentwood on my grandma's farm. It is so peaceful out there, I could just sit outside for hours staring at the sky. We spent a few hours at my uncle's house yesterday and played a card game that I grew up playing - Liverpool Rummy. It brings back good memories of my grandfather because he loved playing. \We are always way more competitive than necessary and (tame) trash talk is a requirement. Aside from seeing my family, which is obviously the highlight, I was ecstatic about running both days on the road around my grandma's. It's so nice to run on flat ground and breathe the air out there.
I look forward to those visits to the farm when I can essentially go into hibernation mode for a while.

Only one more week of work until a vacation (holler). Have a good week!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

food is best stumbled upon.

This past week was the first Sunday that I missed an entry, but my excuse is that I was home for Thanksgiving and when I'm home everything else in real life stops. It was a bit of an unconventional Thanksgiving - went to the movies (saw The Descendents), had salmon for dinner (and brussel sprouts - obviously) and played a few rousing games of bananagrams. My parents recently renovated their kitchen and it was a dream to cook in; in fact I could live in this kitchen. I might be moving back to good old Covington at some point in my life just to be with this kitchen. I returned to SF on Monday night so I had a solid six days at home.

Some highlights from my time in WA/Seattle include: sushi with Emma, going out with high school folks and singing a little karaoke (along with it, more so), eating brunch with Janelle and Kenzie, making Italian bread with my mom, hearing all about Portland from an old friend and confirming that Portlandia is mostly true, and talking to my dad about his new band. All in all, a great trip.

This week I took it pretty easy and crashed most days after work. Mine and Maddy's Friday night consisted of laundry, bad TV and buying a mini Christmas tree. It's small, but fits perfectly in a nook in our apartment. Enter visitor #4 - Corey - a friend from UMass and current resident of Denver (I must visit Denver now that I've heard all about it from an insider). He arrived on Saturday around noon and we wasted no time, heading to the Mission for lunch. Our friend Eric recommended Tartine Bakery and I've been meaning to go for a while so we checked it out. There was a line, but it moved quickly and the shortbread I had was so tasty.

From the Mission, we walked through the Castro and up to Alamo Square to see the infamous Painted Ladies (essentially the Full House houses). Alamo Square is just north of the Haight and I wanted to go to Amoeba Music - my brother and dad have been talking about it for years and now I know why. It is the mecca of music stores. New, used, obscure, everything. I can't wait for a rainy day to just go there and spend hours searching through albums. We then headed to Mad Dog in the Fog to meet up with a group and I was immediately distracted by the tables right as we walked in that have taps and kegs at the table. The system tracks how much you pour, which could get costly and dangerous, but is equally awesome. We enjoyed a few beers (and also experienced a record three beers spilled in less than 15 seconds) then headed in search of food. We ended up to be across the street at Rosamunde Sausage Grill because the smell of onions and sauerkraut lured us in. They had a vegan sausage ( surprisingly good) but what isn't good when it's smothered with the fixings and spicy mustard? Next we walked to another bar close by called The Page - very fitting because it was on Page Street. We called it an early night after that then spent two hours listening to Tiny Desk Concerts on NPR (which blew my mind) and ate popcorn made over the stove (best decision of the day).

Sunday funday was spent doing more walking, but started off right with a run outside. The weather has been amazing these past few days and I'm still in denial it's December. Lombard Street is not far from my apartment so we ran to the top to look down - it's amazing that people actually use it for the purpose of getting from point A to point B. We did a lot more walking today - up to Coit Tower then to the Wharf to see the sea lions, smell the seafood and see the Bushman. Who is the Bushman you ask? Click on the link. I remember this guy from when I was a kid and he's still doing his thing. Funnily enough I was telling Corey about him only moments before we ran into him. We then stumbled upon an amazing farmers market at Fort Mason and purchased spoils for dinner tomorrow. We ate samples for lunch, discovered a new dip (roasted leeks, lentils, and garlic) and I bought kale (obviously).

The afternoon consisted of a Bloody Mary at Nook (I'm obsessed), bananagrams (I'm obsessed) and sitting in the sun. Although it started to get windy and a bit cold, we had our minds set on playing a game of bocce in Alta Vista Park. The views from the park are amazing. I still am in awe of every view I see of the city - it's just surreal. For dinner we headed out to Richmond for sushi at Sushi Bistro on the recommendation of someone I met while home for Thanksgiving and also from Eric. I got a tip to get a roll that's off the menu, which I won't divulge what it's called, but if you visit and want sushi we're going there and getting it. Best sushi roll ever.

I'm looking forward to a full week and some time out in Brentwood this weekend. But what I'm really looking forward to is the feast Corey and I will be making tomorrow. Thanks Fort Mason farmers market!

 Outside of Tartine Bakery with the building across the street reflecting off the window