Monday, September 10, 2012

new england at it's finest.

I was about to board my plane back to San Francisco after my new england adventures when I realized that just under a year ago, almost to the day, I had been at the same gate on my one way trip to San Francisco. I felt a bit sentimental and tried to reflect on the prior year, though that didn't last long because I saw a woman with a miniature husky and my attention was immediately drawn to the dog, naturally.

I've been thinking more and more about the point of this blog. Originally it started as a way for me to 'document' every I do in San Francisco and remind myself of all this area offers. Then I thought about how useful this could be for anyone who visits, a way to get to know the city from my perspective. Now I'm feeling like it's evolved a bit and want to share more than just my favorite restaurants, bars, etc. Not sure where this will go, but if it starts to really suck, let me know.

My new england week was one for the books. I finished my four year stint at Jumpstart and am lucky to have a break in between. First destination on the list was Amherst, my second home, to see two dear friends (Paul and Paige) get married. We rolled into town and immediately went to Antonio's Pizza - our college staple. We headed next to Amherst Coffee after for a drink, never disappoints. The night ended on the earlier side since the next morning everyone needed to be up early for wedding prep and festivities (though a second piece of Antonio's was definitely purchased). I could go on and on about the wedding, but for those of you who know Amherst, it incorporated the town's charm through and through: setting - Bramble Hill Farm, flowers - all purchased from the farm and arranged by Candice, catering - People's Pint (yum!), music - Rusty Belles (local trio), and dessert - cider donuts. It was so perfect, as we all knew it would be. Congrats to the happy couple!

We were lucky to have a gorgeous day the next day and after a little coffee and pastry from Amherst Coffee, we were back on the farm to deconstruct. The day ended with a Bueno Y Sano burrito - my favorite east coast burrito joint. All in all, a successful visit to Amherst. My excitement was building the entire ride back though since my next destination was Martha's Vineyard. My friend Kristin is spending the summer singing and managing a jewelry studio in Oak's Bluff and I couldn't think of a better person to spend my days off with. Dave, also between jobs, joined for the mini vacay - it took no effort to convince him to come. Off we went, down to the ferry for a four day jaunt in MV.

All was timed perfectly, until we had a minor set back: we missed the ferry. Never fear though, another was on it's way not too long after. And really, I don't think anything could have spoiled my mood at that point because I knew what waited for us on the other side. After boarding the ferry, beating Dave at many games of speed and hopping on a bus from Vineyard Haven to Edgartown, we had made it. Kristin was singing at The Atlantic that night and we caught the second set, and it was AMAZING. I didn't really fit in that well (I was wearing an oversized flannel) and everyone else was dressed in the traditional new england style (read: critter shorts), but it was a great time. The next day we headed to South Beach and on the way stopped at an awesome grocery store/farm stand. One thing about MV that is so great is a lot of food is grown on the island (love). Highlight of the beach day - group nap. On the way back we stopped at a place called Featherstone for musical Monday. Jon Zeeman, someone Kristin sings with was playing so we stayed for a set - it was a really cute outdoor set up where people brought food and just hung out. Worth checking out if you're ever on the island! We made dinner that night and headed out on the town, first attempting to play pool, but then ending up listening to more live music with more musicians Kristin sings with. The final stop of the night was Back Door Donuts. Holy crapple fritter.

The next day we got a bit of a late start and headed to The Scottish Bakehouse  where we spent a good 15 minutes trying to decide if we should order breakfast or lunch. Breakfast won, as it always should. And I was treated to literally the best breakfast sandwich I've ever had in my life. I can't explain it's amazingness, but I can say that I will be back to MV next summer and I will go to this place every day. EVERY DAY. We hung out near Kristin's place at a nice little lagoon in the afternoon before going to a beach drumming performance. It's a small group of people that get together once a week during the summer and drum for a couple hours for anyone who wants to come listen. We headed to The Chowder House for dinner to visit Kristin's lovely roommate, Amanda, and have some award winning chowder. Yum. A few games of pool at The Lampost ended the night.

So the last full day on the vineyard was arguably the best. Dave humored me and my need for adventure (granted he drove the whole time) and we rented a moped for the day to putz around the island. I use the word putz because we couldn't go faster than 30 mph and the cars, well, they hated us. We headed out from Oaks Bluff after a good cup of coffee and breakfast at Mocha Mott's we headed out to see the island. First stop in Chillmark and then off to Menemsha where we hung at the beach for a bit. Final stop was Aqquinah, an absolutely gorgeous lookout. We decided to stay an extra night (so glad we did!) and went to the Red Cat Kitchen at Ken N' Beck (with a stop at Offshore Ale House beforehand). The food at Ken N' Beck was spectacular and we even had a celebrity siting - Kenneth Cole. And no, I did not recognize him, our waitress told us. He was quite stylish. Very nice shoes.

The next day we had to head back to Boston so I could catch my flight (though I contemplated changing my ticket to stay longer...). I couldn't have asked for a better mini-vacay (and vacation buddy!). Thanks so much to Kristin, Amanda, Adrian, and Dan for hosting us. YOU DA BEST.

Note: this post was belated, and so will the next one. But promise Tahoe brings good stories.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

outside lands, etc.

In just a couple of weeks I'll be at the one year mark of living in San Francisco and I can definitively say that it has seemed like a full year. I mean that in the best of ways. I've become spoiled by the weather and excited that we're heading into the best season here of all: fall. I do miss the hot summer nights though, I'll admit.

The past couple of weeks went by quickly so I have lots of things to report on, but I'm going to do it as quickly as possible. If I were to report on everything, it would be a novel complete with words like 'flannel' and 'Embarcadero', two that were constantly repeated the weekend of my Boston visitors (love you guys, you da best). And this is also going to be in categories, I like categories.

- Outside Lands (Golden Gate Park): For those that don't know, this is a three day music, food, wine, beer and art festival. I had ten visitors from Boston/New York here for the weekend to experience what it has to offer. Consensus? Stevie Wonder is the man, Alabama Shakes were a very close second and having a UMass pennant helped us locate each other when the group text failed. I will absolutely go back to this festival - exceeded every expectation. 
- Amnesia (Mission): So this is a bar just as much as it is a venue, but I've put it under entertainment because the reason we were there was to check out the band my brother was touring with, Great Elk (shameless endorsement - check them out!). It was small, but a great space and there was a great turn out for a Tuesday. 
- Night Life at the California Academy of Sciences (Golden Gate Park): Night Life is a 21+ evening event on Thursdays that attracts a older crowd around a theme each time. We purposefully went because Of Monsters and Men played a show the night before Outside Lands began. Unfortunately, we didn't actually make it outside to see them (long story), but watched from behind glass. Almost as good. Good thing we got to see them a couple of days later - they rocked.
-The Dark Room (Mission): so gems like this place are discovered when you've lived here a while. The Dark Room has comedy, plays, movies and more. A friend and I went to check out a live production of The Princess Bride. Yes, you read that right. It was, in one word, memorizing. In more words, one of the best plays I've seen to date. I'd like to check out more at The Dark Room - funky crowd, really small, very 'Mission'. 
- MAPP (Mission): I went to this a few weeks back and almost forgot to include it. MAPP is a great arts project that incorporates local businesses in the Mission where live performances are held. Poetry readings, bands, DJs, etc. all come out. We went to a couple different places, one of which was a clothing store to see a small Latin group. Very cool and very free. 

Beer (yes, it gets it own category):
- Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa): I took an extra day off besides the first day of Outside Lands so I could show some of the guys that came in early a little more of the bay area outside of the city. We hiked first (mentioned below) and then make the trek up to Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa. I have been dying to go since moving here because of it's reputation (try Pliny the Elder) and it was totally worth the wait. We met a great guy named Don who shamelessly hit on me and befriended the group. We bought him a beer, obviously. I can't wait to go back and stay for hours - who wants to be DD?
- Beirgarten (Hayes Valley): I tried to go to this place the first weekend they were open, but they had run out of beer. They've stepped up their game since and don't mess around. Limited beer selection, but cool space with picnic tables, very communal. Definitely worth going back to.
- City Beer Store (SOMA): A former Jumpstart co-worker in Boston made the move to SF (the first of many east coasters I hope) and we checked out a place right across from his new office. Really great beers on tap (cheap too!), but the coolest thing is you can buy a bottle and drink it there. A small 'corking' fee applies.

- Nopa (NOPA): I don't think I reported on the last time I went to Nopa (for brunch when Candice visited), but either way, it's worth mentioning again. Mike, Dave and I finished our beers at Beirgarten and Dave decided he would find us a dinner spot. JACKPOT. We celebrated our new jobs over a bottle of wine, olives, lamb, pork chop and albacore. An amazing meal.
- Lers Ros Thai (Hayes Valley): I'm still in awe this meal actually happened. After the final day of Outside Lands, the standing eight decided to find late night Thai food. We were all exhausted, but hungry and this place totally hit the spot. Really good food thai food at a pretty reasonable price.
- Heart of the City Farmers Market (Civic Center): I've known about this farmers market for a while, but not until the other night when a friend made me dinner with her spoils from a recent trip did I think about going. It's a few times a week - I went today (Sunday) and there was a great selection of fruits, vegetables, and novelties. I bought some sesame almonds and couldn't stop eating them on my walk back. I'll definitely go back in the future.

Drinks (dranks):
- Marks Bar (Tenderloin): This is the kind of place I would assume wouldn't have a website. And sure enough it does not. The guys found this randomly and set up shop after a night at Outside Lands. They befriended the bartender (who loved them) and she was happy to see us a second night. No, I do not recommend it in the future, but it was cheap, empty and good after our long day.  
- R Bar (Polk Gulch): I was kind of lacking on the bar suggestions because I'm not as familiar with the Tenderloin/Lower Nob Hill area in the way of going out. We discovered this place, which in my mind is kind of a hidden gem. Good crowd, reasonable prices and overall cool vibe. The linked article says it all.
- Kozy Kar (Polk Gulch/Nob Hill): If you click on the actual site for this place, you'll know why I didn't link it. An experience.

- Steep Ravine Trail (Mill Valley - Mt. Tam/Muir Woods): Figures that I would leave the time spent outdoors to the very end. This trail was so great (once we found the trail head). It was like walking through a jungle. All down hill pretty much to Stinson Beach (unfortunately it was foggy so we didn't have the view in the link) but surprisingly not that taxing on the way back. Though my sweat soaked shirt may show otherwise. I'd really like to do all of the Dipsea Trail (this trail goes on part of it).
- Coastal Trail (Marin Headlands - Tennessee Valley): I went with my friend who works for the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy (cool job, I know). We didn't do the 9.4 miles that it says on here, but we did hike from Tennessee Valley to Muir Beach and back (5+ miles). It was a very foggy day so the trail wasn't packed and it was kind of a cool and eerie hike because of the fog. Muir Beach is awesome and I'd really like the check out the Pelican Inn mentioned on the linked site; we saw it but weren't in the mood to sit around.

Wow, so that turned into a longer post than anticipated. Thanks to those who made it to the end. This week marks my last week at Jumpstart and on my one year anniversary in the bay (I think to the day) I'll be starting a new gig at Uber. I think a way to become a true San Franciscan is to try out start-up life for a bit - we'll see if that's true.

- D

Sunday, August 5, 2012

san francsico summer.

I'll start off by saying that I've been incredibly spoiled this summer. The weather has been amazing. And while the cool nights took some getting used to, I can't imagine better summer weather. This week I got a teast of what normal San Francisco summer weather is like - cloudy, misty, and cold. It was a welcomed change, but I couldn't imagine that for 2 months straight.

The week back after a long work trip is always fairly relaxing so not much to report on the weekdays. Thursday I went to see The Dark Knight rises with Maddy and another friend at Kabuki Theater (pretty sure I've posted about this theater before). It's such an amazing theater experience since you can drink and get great food. I didn't partake in either, but it's there! I was impressed with the movie, but 2 hours and 45 minutes is, well, a long freaking movie. Definitely worth a visit to the theater though.

Friday I decided to do my long run after work so I wouldn't have to do it later in the weekend. I didn't reach the mileage I intended to run, but was able to get in around 13.5. I had a night of cooking to look forward to which definitely kept me going. A friend (my almost roommate) brought over some fresh tomatoes, beets and greens from his garden (so yum) and I grabbed some pizza dough from a nearby joint - Za Pizza. I have never actually had their pizza, but hear it's amazing. They were taking pizza's out of the oven when I was in there and I wanted to jump over the counter and house one (I was hungry). Maddy and her boyfriend joined as well - it was a great dinner. It always feels good to eat at the dining room table. We ended the night watching the Olympics, which I'm obsessed with and have been spending most of my nights watching.

Though my run killed me a bit, I was pumped to get up and go hiking with Lindsay (a friend and hiking enthusiast) the next morning. Usually she picks the hike and surprises me - it's great! We went to the Tennessee Valley and hiked a trail past Pirate's Cove to Muir Beach. It was really foggy so there wasn't much of a view, but the trail was a good mix of strenuous and scenic. It definitely drained all of my energy though. That night, I got to catch up with another former coworker and hear about her recent trip, as well as another coworker, over dinner. We headed out to the Mission for MAPP. We all were keeping an open mind and Christina certainly didn't lead us astray. We saw a great Latin music group in a clothing store and went to someone's house for more music. I won't explain that situation, because it wouldn't do it justice. All in all, a great night of the arts.

Today was a lazy day for me. I had been hoarding ingredients for one of my favorite cookie recipes and finally made them - Marathon Cookies. Got some work done, cleaned, laundered clothes, etc. Turned on the Olympics, of course, and saw USA Volleyball play Turkey. We may be seeing a lot of my friend Courtney since the starting setter may be injured...

A great end to the weekend when the sun came out in the afternoon. We have a table in the back area of our apartment now - huzzah! Looking forward to using it a lot.

This coming week is going to be a doozy. Cannot wait to see all of the UMassers for Outside Lands. Gonna be cray cray!

Have a great Monday!

Monday, July 30, 2012

reunited and it feels so good.

Yes. It's been 6 months since I've posted anything. There is no one reason why I stopped posting, but I'm excited to be back on the wagon!

This past week was not spent in San Francisco (so maybe not the best time to revive the blog) but it was a great week at that. Monday I flew out to Boston for the third visit since I moved for work and decided to stay through the weekend to spend time with friends. Some highlights from the week days:
  • Monday: stayed in Jamaica Plain with Kelly - a great run around the pond and then some amazing Indian food (totally hit the spot).
  • Tuesday: stayed in Woburn but I saw Ian M. - such a wonderful unplanned dinner! I also enjoyed a Pretty Things Jack D'or in the proper glassware - couldn't have been happier.
  • Wednesday: Jumpstart outing, always a good time.
  • Thursday: stayed in Somerville at Kristin's and grabbed dinner with Lena, Kristin, Jess (the happy almost bride!) and Katy at Five Horses Tavern. Really good food, really good beer, hilarious conversation.
  • Friday: CLOVER FOR DINNER! Then straight chilled with Candice. Watched the opening ceremonies, which were kind of a miss, especially the huge baby thing. Matt Lauer put it best - "I don't know if that's cute or creepy." 
The weekend had to commence with a Saturday morning run. It took very little convincing to get myself a partner in crime for the training run - although I was the bum that was running late (sorry Pete!). Stayed at a 9:10 mile pace, which gives me some hope that, as out of shape as I am, I could actually meet some of my goals this time around when I run the Nike Women's Marathon in October.

Mike made us a huge power breakfast before heading to the Merrimack Valley Country Club for the Ellen's Heart and Soul Summer Classic. Nothing better for bonding with the guys than a little golf. The dream team (me, Ian, Seth and Mike) were not the best, but definitely not the worst. I sucked, to be expected, but added color commentary and some good shots (almost). Play of the day goes to Ian with the 30+ foot putt and a very animated celebration. The Jameson and Bud Light were also key players in the day. A little rain cut things short but we were all anxious anyway to rest up and rally for the evening activity at House of Blues. It's always great to have events and reasons to bring the entire group together so it wouldn't really have mattered where we went, it was bound to be a good time. Stellar dance moves by all!

Sunday funday started a little later than my normal Sunday's due to lack of sleep. I was happy to make it up to Cambridge again for brunch at Russell House with Paul, Paige and Candice. As if I hadn't had enough alcohol, I had an amazing Bloody Mary - too good to say no. I then checked out their new digs (so cute!) and am obsessed with the kitchen. The walk to Sofra Bakery is insanely close - jealousy oozed out of me. I can't wait for more good times to come at that place. Next stop - Local 149 in Southie to visit Jay and drink a few beers (I should have ordered a new liver for this trip). Had a couple local brews that I'd never heard of and it's always great to see Jay. Especially since he gave me a ride on his scooter! I'm hooked - I want one. Immediately.

Last night we ate at one of the better restaurants in Southie - Franklin Cafe. It was a precursor to Outside Lands since they all are coming out less than two weeks for the festival. Discussion was mostly focused on bands to see, what to do about nightlife and how the hell to keep track of each other. I cannot wait for their visit - Boston invades San Francisco!

Well, this flight has seemed like the longest ever, but it's great to have the Olympics to keep me busy. Go Courtney Thompson and the entire women's volleyball team! Bring home gold to Kent!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

five months, going strong.

Clearly I'm not keeping up with my goal of posting every Sunday. From now on I'm just going to attempt to post once a week, at some point during the week (I'm sure that change). Since last Tuesday there were more visitors, new restaurants, more cooking and outdoor adventures. Although, possibly my shining moment was eating popcorn for dinner (only partly kidding).

On Saturday Maddy, our weekend visitor, Chase, and I drove down to Pacifica so he could surf. Before we headed out we stopped at House of Bagels for a little breakfast - bagel with lox, capers, onion, tomato, cream cheese, yum. It was a really cool little place and all kosher. Our destination was Rockaway Beach and were definitely weren't alone. Maddy and I posted up in a nice spot and watched the children and dogs run around in circles. We had a few 2-year-olds hit on us, which is always flattering. It's still amazing to me that in early February we were getting some sun. One fun fact about Rockaway Beach is that there is a Taco Bell...on the beach. It's probably the nicest Taco Bell in the country. Sarf - when you visit next, we're going.

The goal was to visit SFMOMA afterwards, but it was so nice out, the thought of going inside was just not cutting it. So what's the next best thing? Sitting outside drinking Bloody Mary's. I did a quick "best of SF" search and came upon Cafe Des Amis - though not in the ideal neighborhood (the Marina) it did make for great outdoor seating and good people watching. Solid Bloody's too, but I bet there's a better one out there.

That night the next visitor arrived - Leeeeeenster! We promptly headed for dinner close by to a place that my friend Brandon had recommended called Sushi Groove. The groove part of the title is no lie - the music was as if we had gone out to a club, which weirdly made the experience even better. After dinner we headed to The Wine Jar on Filmore. It had a really cool vibe and wasn't too crowded. It wouldn't have been a good night with Lena if something ridiculous hadn't happened. So when I knocked over a small table (while sober, nonetheless) and we laughed (rather loudly) we knew it was a good night.

Coy pond in the garden
On Sunday we ventured off to fulfill Lena's one request - visit the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. It was amazing. We walked around a bit and then we sat for some tea and sweets. Lena ordered us some of her favorites and since she'd spent ample time in Japan, I was excited to try everything. It was such a great place to go with the weather being so nice. On our way back through the park, we walked by a wonderful rendition of "Thriller" by a group of people on roller skates. If you know Lena, ask her to show you the video. Later in the evening we tried a Korean place called Coco Bang that I'd walked by a few times so I could get some bibimbap. Not the best I've had, but still solid and definitely worth a trip back. Afterwards we headed (actually ran) to Hotel Utah Saloon to see an amazing singer song writer and a close family friend of mine perform. The singer's name is Whitton and her voice is incredibly unique (as was the venue). My friend said that some bigger names had come through there, which doesn't surprise me.

Almost done, promise. On Monday, we continued the miso Monday tradition and made a baked tofu dish, thanks to Lena's ingenuity. The Monday night cooking is going to live on for sure. Tuesday, Lena and I headed out to the Mission to get food at a restaurant I heard mentioned multiple times since I moved out here - Gracias Madre. It's vegan Mexican food, which seems like an oxymoron, but they did it very smartly. Lots of cilantro, lime, avocado and then cashew cream (not so authentic). The food was great and aside from the fact that I was literally in pain after eating too fast, it was totally worth the trip out there.

Alright. I'm done. You've probably stopped reading. Caio.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

cooking up a storm.

I realized that I hadn't posted yet for the past week, oops. I'm officially at the end of my mid-twenties as of last week - which I feel like is constantly debated - when do you enter your late-twenties? And really does it matter? I am totally fine with getting older, I think I'm an old soul anyway.

Maddy celebrated with me on the actual day and we made an amazing dinner: butternut squash and leek risotto, roasted brussel sprouts and baked, stuff apples. Everything turned out awesome and also spawned a new Monday night cooking idea. Yesterday we made a Miso Sesame Winter Squash dish from 101 cookbooks, my favorite food blog (partially because the author lives in SF). The abundance of leftover miso may just mean Monday's will be miso Monday's. Miso soup? Yes. There has got to be more miso dishes...

Over the weekend I made dinner with a coworker, somewhat of a deconstructed risotto: farro, leeks, mushrooms, and parmesan. It was delish; we were pretty proud of ourselves. On my walk over to her place (in the Panhandle) I noticed a restaurant called Herbivore and made a mental note to return. Well, upon starting my walk back (which was a hour) after dinner, I decided to walk in to see what it was all about and left with a piece of vegan carrot cake. Best decision of the weekend.

Otherwise, I spent much of the weekend just getting some things done that I've been putting off and/or meaning to do. I bought a bookshelf on craigslist for my room (and stupidly brought it up to my apartment solo); caught up with Katy, Lauren and Becky; finished some work and enjoyed the SF winter weather.

That's it for now, I'm le tired. Have a great week!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

back in the bay.

Well, that game was disappointing. I was really looking forward to a possible Patriots/Niners Super Bowl, but alas, the Niners couldn't pull it out in the end. It's great to be back in San Francisco, even though I had such an amazing time in Boston. I wasn't planning to say much about my time there, but it was more than I had hoped for. Here are the highlights:
  • Veggie Galaxy - the second restaurant from Veggie Planet. I'd be looking forward to it opening all last summer and was pumped to go with Candice my first night in town. I ordered my favorite vegetarian "diner" food - vegan reuben. Yum.
  • Of course I went to Clover. I went twice. In one day. My buddy was working so we chatted a bit - I tried to persuade him that migrating to SF was in their best interest. 
  • A new beer bar opened last summer that I'd wanted to try called Meadhall - a ridiculous amount of taps (great beers!) and the food was pretty tasty. Jay and I headed to the closest we could get to Moan and Dove after that - Lord Hobo - for some more beer. Such a great idea. 
  • For a low key Friday night, we met up with some of the boys at Stanza dei Sigari. I'm always down for a cigar and apparently Churchill's is no longer open (a shame). 
  • It's embarrassing that I never went to Petsi Pies the entire time I lived on Green Street because it is blocks away from my old apartment. Great first visit since I had good company, good pie, and a good latte. Pretty sure Kristin and I were the most animated people they'd seen in there in a while. Love ya, Kris. 
  • I'd heard a lot about Ball Square Cafe and was excited to check it out with Jess (and her new apartment!). Solid food and great to hear about Jess' adventures to SF when I wasn't in town, haha. 
  • The highlight dining out experience was by far and away Mad Martha's! The banana fosters french toast? Bomb. Kyree - you rock and I'm so happy for you and your success. Keep on, keeping on
  • Homemade meals also were stellar - vegan mac and cheese with Lena and Kristin; pizza with Lauren L.; and fish prepared by Mike with the UMass crew; and bagels, lox, the fixings and Sarf and Kelsey's Bloody Mary bar with the Cambridge contingent. Amazing. 
  • A little football and an insane melding of various friends also made the long weekend fantastic - thanks for hosting Mike and Paul! 
Clearly I did a lot in Boston. Thank you Candice for the shelter, food, conversation and general merriment. You are one awesome ninja.

This weekend I had another couple of visitors. Friday, Evan was just finishing up a week in town for work so we met up for a beer at Leopold's (I've posted about it previously). Saturday my mom came to visit for my birthday (so sweet of her) and I took her to one of my favorite places downtown - The Plant. Really good, solid food that's fresh. After our late lunch we did something I'd been meaning to do for a while - framed and hung some pictures in my room. Well, first we spent a couple hours going to get the frames, then we began the process after a quick dinner at Lemongrass (I've also posted about this too). As you can see, I'm starting to go back to the same places. Anyway, now have pictures on my walls! One awesome thing about old SF apartments is there is molding around the tops of the walls so you can hang pictures by wire. I love the look and also the general idea behind it. They turned out great (pictured below).

Today I saw my grandma and aunt as well, who came into the city for lunch. Afterwards I headed to the Marina to CC's Cocktails, where CC herself bartended. She was not so thrilled about bartending, but did seem to love the Niners. So hilarious and strange at the same time.

All in all, a great past couple of weeks. Tomorrow is another birthing day and also Chinese New Year - happy new year all!

Monday, January 9, 2012

flying ninja.

I was barely settling back into San Francisco before I was back to the airport yesterday to leave again, this time for Chicago. The four day week last week was definitely welcomed, especially after coming back from a two week jaunt (I know, poor me). Maddy and I were able to spend some time together on Tuesday, catch up on the holidays and relax - it was good to just chill for the evening. Wednesday I went to get a haircut at a place in the Castro that my coworker recommended called Spunk. It was small and the name of it certainly fit the aesthetic, which I appreciated. The art on the walls actually kept me distracted for most of the haircut, especially one piece in particular. It was a picture of Stevie Nicks, but all of the materials were junk. I asked the stylist about it and she said that the guy who did it was a friend of the owners and does all celebrity junk art. Pretty cool stuff. Anyway, I'm always a nervous wreck when I get my haircut because it's been hacked up so many times but I had a lot of trust in this girl. I told her I wanted bangs again and then afterwards I had the
what was I thinking thoughts racing through my head. It's not the 90s, let alone the 80s. But I've gotten used to it and she actually did a stellar job.

On Thursday, Maddy and I headed to the Mission for dinner so we could spend some time together before I took off for my trip east. We've been talking about Mission Chinese for months, ever since it was featured in Bon Appetite as a top 10 restaurant in the country. Corey was kind enough to give us a gift certificate as a thank you present for housing him last month (so unnecessary, but gifts are always welcomed) and so the meal was super cheap. It's not an expensive place anyway, it just takes forever to get a table, so we got there early (6:15PM) and sat down almost right away. The highlights of the meal were the mussels and salt cod fried rice - so good! Oh and the $3 beer.

My intention was to check out a running club on Saturday morning, but that will have you wait because I overslept by about 30 minutes. Oh well. Instead I took advantage of the beautiful weather and headed out to Golden Gate Park, which I've been meaning to do for a long time. I went on a long run all throughout the park and it was exactly what I needed. The smell of the trees was overpowering and I did some "trail running". It's too bad that the park is so far away from my apartment; it will be a treat whenever I can get myself out there to run because it's really serene.

I met up with Maddy and other Santa Clara folk for a couple of people's birthday celebrations and had a mid-day Bloody Mary (my favorite) at The Lookout in the Castro. The bar itself was uneventful other than the fact that it had an outdoor deck and it was close to 65 degrees outside. Is it really winter? We headed to the Marina to another bar and then I headed home to pack. I've been joking that I can't remember what 45 degree weather feels like and that certainly made packing a struggle. Now I'm in Chicago and it is cold, but I'm glad that I'll get to put some of my cold weather gear to use. I'll be in Boston tomorrow night for a week and am looking forward to all of the shenanigans that will ensue. And of course CLOVER. I'll probably skip next week's post since I'll have no SF news to report, but you better believe I'll be taking full advantage of my stay in Boston. Thanks in advance, Candice, for the bed!

Have a great week, ya'll.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ciao 2011, Ciao 2012

Happy New Year! I've said that to pretty much every person I've talked to in the past 48 hours - the guy at the grocery store, the security worker at the airport, friends, family, in emails, to dogs (of course). I have a lot to look forward to in 2012 and pretty pumped to be leaving 2011 behind (although there were some good times had, for sure). Inaugural Beer Olympics, to name one.

So it's been a couple of weeks since I last posted, I've been a couple of places (Seattle and Kona), and have only been back in SF for a little more than 24 hours. Therefore, this will be a fairly short post. I spent Christmas in Kona with my family and some family friends. We had a great time and I won't go into any details about the trip, but below are a few of my favorite photos. Oh, and I'll also share my favorite fact that I learned about the big island - there are 11 out of 13 climates on the island of Hawaii. We experienced at least six of them, so cool! I also was obsessed with the different vegetation; half of my pictures are of trees. I felt so lucky to spend time with my parents and brother since it had been three years since all of us had in the same city/place/room. That's pretty pathetic considering it's just the four of us. We all agreed that it wouldn't be another three years before that happened again.

Waipio Valley

Black Sand Beach

One of the many rainbows we saw!

It feels good to be back in the bay, especially when the weather is 60 degrees in January. I had zero food at my apartment when I got back yesterday so went on a walk to the grocery store. Along the way I discovered a small theater called Lumiere that only has three screens. After a little research, I found out that they play mostly independent and foreign films so I'll definitely be keeping tabs on what's playing there. They happen to be playing Drive right now and my brother mentioned how good it was so I went to a showing last night. I'd definitely recommend it!

Today was a good day to just decompress after being gone for so long (no complaints) and I went for a long run down to Marina Green. Finished the day off with a pot of chili - something I haven't made in a long time - it is the perfect winter meal. This week is going to fly by and then will be spending some time back east - watch out Chicago and Boston.

Looking forward to the first week of the new year!