Monday, January 31, 2011

the lovely bits

I had such a delightful weekend. It was full of apartment improvements, good food and friends. And also some much needed time to relax.

Some particularly lovely bits included:
  1. A new bookshelf for the bedroom.
  2. Yummy Little Star pizza.
  3. My hilly walk from NoPa to the Marina, and back again. 
  4. The best cookies ever, with French gray sea salt.
  5. Brunch at Nopa. Heaven.
  6. A Sunday afternoon tea-tray in bed.

It all passed much too quickly and I felt resentful of my alarm clock this morning. 

Hope everyone had an excellent weekend. Only four more days until the next one!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

wednesday warriors

Yesterday evening, Daniel and I went to a Warriors game at the Oakland Coliseum.  This is somewhat out of character for me- I don't attend many sporting events- but every once in a while I enjoy it.

Mostly I enjoy the excuse to eat junk food and drink a huge bucket of watery beer on a weeknight without shame.

I ate my whole hot dog but could only manage about half of the beer before my stomach started to ache. But I consider that part of the experience.

Then it was time to watch the game. I don't know a thing about basketball, but I appreciate that it's fast paced and I can never quite stop marveling at how huge the players are (really, it seems almost unfair- it can't possibly be that difficult to make a basket when you're practically as tall as the net.) Also, I find all of the other rituals of the game fascinating...the dancing cheerleaders, the distribution of pizzas to the audience, the half-time show...really, there's so much going on besides the game.  I always feel so utterly clueless at these events that it's almost like being a tourist in a foreign country where I don't speak the language.
It's kind of awesome.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

weekday frittata

This is a broccoli and gruyere frittata.

It's what I made for dinner this evening while listening to the SOTU. It's on the lumpy side and the edges are a little flat, but I think that's the broccoli's fault and not mine. It was still delicious. I am a big fan of eggs and especially love having them for dinner. Frittatas are easy to make and can accommodate any number of different ingredients, according to your preferences. The perfect mid-week dinner.

Broccoli & Gruyere Frittata

5 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 lb roasted broccoli
6 large eggs
1/2 cup gruyere, grated
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Cut the bulky part of the stems off of the broccoli and place the florets on a baking sheet and toss with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. There should be enough room for the broccoli to rest in a single layer. Roast the broccoli for 20minutes, until the broccoli is crispy and brown around the edges.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions for 10-15 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, scramble the eggs. Add salt, pepper and cheese, followed by the broccoli and onions.

Heat the remaining Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat and then add the egg mixture, distributing it evenly in the pan with a spatula. Reduce heat to low and cook for 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and slide the frittata onto a large plate. Place skillet over the plate and invert the frittata back into the skillet on the opposite side. Cook for 3 more minutes then invert onto plate to serve.

Serves 4 as a main dish, preferably with a husk of bread and a glass of white wine.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

settling in

Oh, the apartment is a mess. 

Things were starting to looking marginally okay on Friday, but then a bunch of my things arrived from storage and suddenly we were swimming in boxes and packing material. 

That's only about a third of the trash littering our little home. The rest I stuffed more deeply into the kitchen, just to get it out of my sight. Right now it sort of feels as though we'll never be settled. I'm trying to exercise my patience. 

I would give myself about a C+ on that front.

Yesterday we spent most of the afternoon unpacking and then making an Ikea run (see assembly of TV stand above). I had a partial meltdown midway through unpacking the bowls I'd made in high school ceramics class- why do I still own this crap?- but then Daniel shooed me out of the house to buy us root beers at the corner store and I pulled it together. Well, you know, sort of.

It's funny- it feels like a new phase of life. Last week I went in to Bed, Bath & Beyond at lunchtime to buy a featherbed (my new obsession) and a bath mat. It's like Toys"R"Us for grownups.  Or at least grownups like me

(Am I a grownup?)

And when did kitchen appliances replace Legos and Barbies as toys?

Also, I've never lived with anyone before. I mean, I've had roommates, but I've never lived with anyone. And it's different. Things that you never would have noticed before suddenly become illuminated. The other day I shrieked like a tea kettle when I watched Daniel mis-fold a towel. And he scolded me for eating graham crackers in bed ("Crumbs in the sheets!")

You never realize how set you are in your ways until there's someone else around to notice.

But I am not complaining. Right now I'm having a glass of wine on the sofa while my roommate is making me dinner in the other room.

It's the best.

Friday, January 21, 2011

new hood

It feels like a long while since I've been here, but really it seems it's been scarcely more than a week.  Huh. How is that possible? We didn't have internet at the apartment until yesterday, so that is the simple reason for my absence. But now it is up and running thank heavens and I can get back to my photo posting and general blathering. 

Speaking of the internet, one of my favorite things when connecting to wireless internet in a new place is to check out the names that people have given their personal internet connections. Some of my favorites from our new spot are as follows, in no particular order: 
  • Flash Gordon 2
  • Boba Fett
  • PeoriaRocks
  • TroutfarmNorth
  • there's rumors on the internets 
I wonder what these names say about our new neighbors?

Anyway, I have to say right away that I love our new neighborhood. I adore it. I am besotted. 

First of all, there is seemingly endless variety- from street to street, the personality of the neighborhood shifts. There's everything from elegant, old San Francisco charm to housing projects, all within a few blocks of one another. I think it's just marvelous.

And the food. There is so much good food around here it's positively sickening. I just tried Little Star Pizza for the first time. I am so happy we are neighbors. 

When I lived in San Francisco a few years ago, fresh out of college, I moved into the Russian Hill neighborhood. My apartment was right at the base of the twisty part of Lombard Street, which was both charming and irritating, depending on the number of tourists camped out taking photographs. It was a lovely place to live, but when I found myself contemplating a move back to San Francisco after my stay in Paris, I thought perhaps I should try a new area. And I'm so glad I did.

Where I live now is perhaps not quite so as refined as Russian Hill;  it's a little dirty under the fingernails in places- and yet that's part of it's charm. I love the color and the movement, the hint of the unfamiliar. 

I think I'm going to be very happy here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


My dad is in town this week for a conference and is taking me out to dinner tomorrow night at Saison. I am seriously excited by this dining prospect- it's a fixed menu and the food looks to be fairly spectacular.

An excellent way to spend a Wednesday evening, if you ask me.

Photo credit: SaisonSF

Monday, January 10, 2011

before and...

I was thinking of this post as the first step in a sort of "Before & After" of my new apartment. Except, there's no "After" at this point, since we haven't even moved in yet.

On Saturday, we took our first day-time visit to the apartment in order to take measurements and start thinking about how we might want to decorate the place. It's a clean slate now, which is both kind of exciting and kind of terrifying.

All the bare walls! The expanse of hardwood floors! It's not a massive apartment or anything, but the choices in terms of decor hang rather heavy on my mind. I don't own a stick of furniture- as I've moved so much over the past...well, forever, it never made sense to buy anything worth hanging on to. But I'm feeling a little fed-up with that mentality. However long I'm in this new place, I want it to feel like home. 

And so today, I bought a bed. Like a real bed, with a headboard and frame. It was deeply anxiety-inducing at the time, but when I dropped by the apartment to pick up the keys this afternoon, I looked around and thought how perfect it would look in the bedroom. And suddenly decorating the apartment seemed like it could actually be fun rather than something that would drain my soul and my pocketbook.

Though the pocketbook will definitely be taking some serious hits. This moving/furnishing business is not cheap. But I won't focus on that right now. 

Anyway, Daniel is traveling for work this week, so I'm on my lonesome here- eating leftover stew for dinner, watching movies he doesn't want to see, and other such spending-the-week-night-at-home-alone-in-the-apartment-you're-squatting-in-until-you-move-on-Saturday activities. Ho hum. Is it Saturday yet?

Friday, January 7, 2011

new digs

Today was a better day than yesterday. First, we've found an apartment! We won't be moving for another week or so, but the lease is signed and it's an amazing relief. I can't wait to be in our new home.

As a sort of celebration, we went to PPQ Dungeness Island with Daniel's roommate and his girlfriend. It's one of those restaurants we walk by all the time and have always meant to try but never gotten around to. We shared the fixed dinner for four, which included deep fried soft shell crabs, cabbage salad with chicken, peppercorn crab, steamed shitake sea bass, smoky pork, braised string beans, and garlic noodles.

My god it was good. We were all kicking ourselves for having waited so long to have tried this place. I'm so happy it's the weekend and I can relax on the sofa with my very full stomach!

PPQ Dungeness Island
2332 Clement Street
San Francisco 94121

Thursday, January 6, 2011

for niki

I got a message from my mother saying that our family's golden retreiver, Niki, died today.

She was 15 years old- very old for a golden retriever, and my mother said she died very peacefully, so I am thankful for that. It's was hard for me to think of her as old- I still remember picking her up as a six week-old puppy. She was a dog who would always great you at the front door with high-pitched squeals and lots of excited jumping.

I'm not sure exactly what year this picture was taken- it have must be '96 or '97. I love how Niki almost looks as though she was photoshopped in, with us posing and her leaping into the picture. That's just how she was. She was a sweet dog. She was part of our family.

Monday, January 3, 2011

new year's, chicago

It's always hard for me to wrap my head around a new year. That it's 2011 seems incredible to me and I know it will take a while for it to really sink in. 

This year, we went to Chicago for New Year's. It's a bit of a tradition for Daniel, since some of his closest friends from college- David & Lindsey- live there. They very graciously offered to let us stay with them at their lovely apartment in the Aqua building and acted as tour guides for us, which I was especially grateful for, it being my first trip to Chicago. 

On our first day, we arrived at O'Hare to beautiful weather and were picked up by David, who promptly drove us directly to lunch at Smoque BBQ. I still blush to think of the quantity of pork products I consumed, but everything was so good. Between the three of us, we managed to try Texas sausage, pork ribs, brisket, pulled pork, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and peach cobbler. 
I practically had to be rolled back to the car. Completely worth it. 

We spent most of the afternoon relaxing and settling into the apartment. We watched The Dark Knight, which I had never seen, until Lindsey woke up from her post-call nap (both Lindsey and David are physicians) and we got ready to go out for cocktails at the Violet Hour over by Wicker Park. The Violet Hour is, hands down, one of the coolest bars ever. Dimly lit, with high-backed armchairs and a roaring fireplace, it has a private feel. I had a Juliet & Romeo (gin, mint, cucumber, rose water) that I thought was fantastic. Have I mentioned before how much I like cocktail bars?

After drinks we went home to get some rest. Those of us on vacation 
slept in late and the next day went out to explore the neighborhood around the apartment. We lunched at Pastoral where I ate a vegan sandwich in an attempt to counteract the meat overload from the day before. Afterwards, we strolled through Millennium Park. It was cold, but not nearly so bad as I had expected.

We also saw the Bean. Which I still don't really know the significance of, but think is pretty cool anyway. 

Directly across the park is the Chicago Art Institute

Right before Christmas, I went to a tea with my mother at her friend Susan's house. Susan is from Chicago and when I told her I was going, she told me that, if nothing else, I had to see the Art Institute. So I went into the museum expecting it to be good, but really not knowing that it was great. Stupid, I know. I spent most of my time looking at the 19th-20th century French paintings but also made it to the Modern American section for a bit before I faded. 

For dinner, we went to Tango Sur, a BYOB Argentinean steakhouse with an intimate feel and the largest portions of steak I have ever seen. We drank some wonderful wines (including a Luna Moon Tsai, a gift from Daniel's mother) and positively gorged ourselves on red meat. It was spectacular.

The next day had an understandably lazy start, and because the weather was poor, we ended up going to see True Grit. After we left the theater, the weather had broken and we were able to walk around.

Chicago feels so different from any other large city I've been to. I love that.

Anyway, as it was New Year's Eve, we eventually went home to get ready for the evening. We went for drinks and dinner at the Bristol, which was lovely, and then back to the apartment at 11:30. We stood on the balcony and watched fireworks explode over Lake Michigan. 
To stave off the cold, there was whiskey. And cigars. And some ridiculous fur.

After a somewhat mangled version of "Auld Lang Syne" and some dancing in the living room, we said our goodnights and goodbye to 2010.

January 1st was Saturday, and our last full day in Chicago, so it was devoted to more touring, and of course, more food.

We started with deep-dish pizza for lunch.

After pizza, we all piled into the car to drive around and see the sights. It was really too cold to spend much time outdoors, so I was very grateful for the car tour. 

I was also grateful that we stopped at a wonderful coffee shop called Intelligentsia for some afternoon refreshments. I had a ginger beer and tried Askinosie chocolate for the first time. I also bought a Honey Badger Espresso sweatshirt, which I am wearing at this very moment.

Afterwards, we drove down around Jackson park and to the University of Chicago, which was beautiful and vaguely spooky in the dark wintry weather. 

We drove through Barack Obama's neighborhood and past Louis Farrakhan's house. We drove through part of the Southside. We dropped off pizza for Lindsey at her hospital and spent half an hour studying the wall-mounted class photos of medical students from the University of Chicago since 1950. 

The next day was our last in Chicago and Daniel and I went for a walk along Navy Pier in the morning and took some pictures. It was cold and perfectly clear.

The fair on the pier was not really my cup of tea- too much blaring music, too many fast-food stands, but the views over the lake and back at the city were quite lovely.

By the time our walk was over, it was time to head to the airport. Not without a last meal, though- we went to the DMK Burger Lounge to feast on hamburgers, three kinds of french fries (truffle and parmesan cream; wisconsin cheddar; sweet potato) and macaroni and cheese- necessary before the strenuous activity involved in sitting on a plane for 5 hours. I could die very fat and happy in Chicago. 

Anyway, it was a marvelous trip (in spite of our delayed flight to San Francisco and extra 2 1/2 hour layover in Cleveland, yuck.) and I already have a hankering to go back and see the city in the spring, just to see what it's like in another season. Though really, it's time to settle down a bit and focus on San Francisco for the present moment- there's enough excitement here to last quite a while. 

So welcome, 2011. A wonderful start to the new year!


Smoque BBQ
3800 North Pulaski Road
Chicago 60641

The Violet Hour
1520 N Damen Ave
Chicago 60662

53 East Lake Street
Chicago 60601

Tango Sur
3763 N Southport Ave
Chicago 60613

The Bristol
2152 North Damen
Chicago 60647

3123 N Broadway St
Chicago 60657

DMK Burger Bar
2954 North Sheffield Ave
Chicago 60657

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