Monday, July 21, 2014


A while back, my friend Kinzie proposed a trip to Marin to attend Sommerfest at the Nature Friends Tourist Club up on Mt. Tam. Of course I said yes.

On Saturday, I drove up to Kinzie's aunt and uncle's home at the tippy top of Mt. Tam. It may be the most lovely home on the planet and I can't imagine a more relaxing spot. We all had dinner together (including their 14 year old cockatiel Isabel, who crunched on chicken bones all throughout the meal - something I found oddly fascinating) and then headed in for an early night. I slept with the windows wide open so I could breathe in the smell of the redwoods. 

In the morning, Kinzie and I met up with our friend Kala at the house and then hiked out to the Tourist Club. The hike took less time than we had anticipated and we arrived an hour or so before the festivities started, only to find a huge line already in place. We waited (somewhat) patiently until we could have our hands stamped and wrists braceleted and finally headed in to enjoy some midday beer and bratwursts. Kinzie and Kala even put on dirndls for the occasion (I stayed in my boring - but warm - hiking outfit). Such a fun summer afternoon.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

the weekend and some bourbon

We experienced another reasonably quiet weekend in these parts. I had a work event Friday evening (karaoke was involved) and spent Saturday tidying up the apartment and hanging out with my family. In the evening, Daniel and I drove to Berkeley to meet his parents for a terrific dinner at Da Lian, which I must have walked by on an almost daily basis when I was in college but somehow never visited. 

Today we walked over to out to The Plough and the Stars to watch the World Cup (Steins was, unfortunately, full). After the game,  we took our time walking home, stopping in at the wonderful Green Apple Books (I scooped up very cheap copies of this and this) and Healthy Spirits. We had a lovely conversation with the proprietor, bought some bourbon*, and meandered home. In the evening, Daniel fixed us Manhattans and I made rack of lamb with an arugula and tomato salad and garlic toasts. All in all, a very nice weekend. 

*Daniel bought Old Weller Antique. The fellow working at Healthy Spirits spent a long time talking with us about the various merits of the bourbons on their shelves and recommended this based on our expressed desire to buy something that would be good for cocktails as well as sipping. We were very happy to take his advice and can confirm that Manhattans made with Old Weller are quite delicious. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

with each passing month

This weekend, we were pretty much homebodies. Daniel was slaving away at his computer most of the time and I was curled up on the couch reading novels (this and then this), avoiding the gray weather. We did take a few breaks though, mostly to walk around our neighborhood and stretch our legs. On Saturday, we made our way over to 34th and Balboa to check out the newly opened Marla Bakery, and ended up stopping in for xiao long bao and potstickers at Shanghai Dumpling King. This afternoon, we headed back to the same neck of the woods for lunch at Cassava (photo above is their Japanese Breakfast) followed by a quick visit to the Legion of Honor, where we stopped in to see the restored Salon Dore from the Hotel de la Tremoille. I love our neighborhood more with each passing month.

Anyway, I'm just starting to see the sun peek out from behind the thick layer of fog that has been enveloping us all day (all weekend?) so perhaps it's time for me to go enjoy the sunlight while it's here. Hope everyone had a lovely and relaxed weekend. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

happy fourth of july

Happy Fourth of July weekend, folks. Things are pretty quiet over here - Daniel is finishing his thesis (due in two days) so we ended up staying in town and made very last minute plans to have a quiet dinner with friends. I made an American flag cake because...well, why not?

I admit, it was borderline disgusting stirring all of that food coloring into the cake batter and I did end up spending the better part of my afternoon baking the six cakes needed to put the dessert together. But I've always kind of wanted to see if I could pull one of these surprise cakes off and it was fun to cut into after dinner, so I'd say it was worth it. 

If I were to do this over again, I'd be sure to freeze all the cakes ahead of time to make leveling and splitting them easier. The cake was very soft, which make the cutting and frosting somewhat of a challenge. I also don't own an offset spatula, so I wasn't able to do anything elaborate with the frosting. But it still turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. Oh, and in case you're curious, I used this recipe from Food52. 

Hope everyone had a lovely Fourth of July and was able to enjoy some good food and fireworks. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

whatever works out

Happy Thursday! I'm about to head in for work but, like most people, I have the 4th off, so I'll be spending Friday-Sunday lazing about. Tonight we're meeting friends for a birthday dinner here and then possibly heading up to Napa on Friday or Saturday, depending on Daniel's schedule. I'm feeling pretty good about just having an extra day off this week, so I'm happy with whatever works out. 

The picture above is of our dinner last night and it was so simple, there's hardly a recipe to give you. A few fingerling potatoes roasted with herb salt, some sauteed summer squash with garlic, and a lovely piece of seared ahi. I love fish but we rarely eat it at home because it's so expensive - unless you buy it at Costco, where I went last weekend with my parents. Thank you, parents! Anyway, it was a very nice, simple meal; just right for a Wednesday. 

Ok, time for coffee. Have a great 4th of July weekend, everyone!
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