Monday, November 9, 2015

feels like fall

After coming home from my (very nice) trip to D.C. last night, I spent today being pretty much of a homebody. We slept in and then I made us bagels with eggs, which were pretty awesome. I suppose it makes sense to use a vehicle that comes with a pre-made hole in the middle when you're planning to cook an egg in it. The result was a part crispy, part fluffy bagel with a poached egg in the middle. What's not to like about such a concoction?

Anyway, D.C. was great; I sat through a bunch of training meetings but also had the chance to socialize with a bunch of my new colleages, go out for a lovely Thai lunch at Soi 38 with my friend Ellie, see the Vermeers at the National Gallery, and enjoy a very nice meal of langoustines and fresh pasta at Fiola Mare with my father and brother.  So all in all, a very worthwhile trip.

So now I'm home, doing laundry and preparing make-ahead meals for the week, which is actually quite nice. I have a pot of beef and barley soup on the stove and a chicken roasting in the oven. It's supposed to rain tomorrow. It finally feels like fall.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

sunday post

Happy Sunday!

I hope everyone enjoyed Halloween. It's been a few years since I did the whole dress-up-and-go-to-a-party thing, but we had a lovely time yesterday walking around our neighborhood and watching the cute little trick-or-treaters collecting their candy and then heading to Spruce for cocktails and hamburgers. Pretty much my idea of a perfect Halloween.

I had a nice, slow start at work this past week - thankfully my firm did us a solid by giving us a lot of time to ease into the rhythms of the office. I'll be spending most of this coming week in Washington, D.C. at a firm-wide orientation for new hires and I'm looking forward to a few days on the East Coast. I've managed to squeeze in a few non-work related items, one of which is definitely going to be a visit to the National Gallery to see Vermeer's Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, which is at the museum until next month. I can't wait.

Anyway, it's 8:30 and I'm basically ready for bed (oh, Daylight Savings). So I'll sign off for now and hopefully be back soon with some stories from D.C. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

new chapter

After two weeks away on vacation, I have to admit it feels nice to be back in San Francisco. We had so much fun on our trip but we're also lucky to live in a place that always makes me feel happy to come home.

Today was my first day of work at my new job. It's mildly terrifying to be back to work after three years of student life, but it's exciting as well. Thankfully they're easing us in slowly this week (I spent all of today in a conference room learning about my health plan options and how to use the document management system) so I'm managing to keep my anxiety levels reasonably tamped down.

Anyway, it's the start of a new chapter; here's hoping it's a good one!

Friday, October 16, 2015


When we planned our vacation to Morocco, we knew we wanted to stop somewhere in Europe for a few days on the way home to break up the trip a bit. We had a number of options - Paris, Madrid, Rome - but we ended up going with London. My last trip there converted me from a skeptic to an ardent fan and I was looking forward to experiencing the city in the fall. 

We arrived in London late Saturday evening, taking the express train from Gatwick to Victoria; it may as well have been a party bus for all the drunken girls onboard. But eventually we made it to the flat we'd rented in Notting Hill.

The next morning, Daniel was feeling a little under the weather, so I ran out to pick up breakfast at Ottolenghi and we had a little early morning picnic of coffee, scones, and pain au chocolat in our rental flat. Feeling braced, we headed out to wander the city in the crisp fall air. 

We completely lucked out with the weather - London was cool and sunny, perfect for strolling and a nice change after the heat of Morocco. We spent our first morning wandering around Westminster before heading to the Grenadier in Belgrave Square for a pint and some lunch (bangers and mash for me, steak and ale pie for Daniel). 

In the afternoon, we walked around Mayfair before heading back to Notting Hill.

By happy coincidence, my parents were also in London for the week due to some business of my father's. With Daniel feeling a little under the weather and my father busy with work, my mom and I had the chance to meet for a lovely dinner of fish and chips at Geales.

The next morning, Daniel and I went our separate ways: he to the Imperial War Museum and I to a bridal atelier in Marylebone. Quite the divergent experiences.

Since I did not go to the War Museum, I can't comment on it; but I can report that the wedding dresses I saw were quite lovely and that afterwards my mother and I had a great deal of fun wandering around Selfridge's and gawking at all the merchandise.

In the afternoon, the three of us met up for lunch at Murano in Mayfair for a very lovely lunch. After three courses, including a vast cheese plate, my mother headed back to her hotel and Daniel and I headed out for a late afternoon walk.

We initially thought we might try to visit the Tower of London but because it was getting rather late, we opted to walk along the Thames instead. It was a beautiful, golden afternoon.

On our last evening, we ended up staying in the flat watching Bridget Jones's Diary and eating takeout because we couldn't face another big meal after lunch. It was lovely. 

The morning of our final day in London, we stopped into Daylesford for a quick bite and then Daniel took the tube to the Natural History Museum and I went to yet another shop to look at wedding dresses (turns out the perfect dress is rather hard to find...). And then, just like that, it was time to head to the airport. 

Like all good trips, ours went by too quickly, but it was a wonderful reminder of the rewards of travel. It was such a treat to get away together, just the two of us, to explore some very remarkable new places.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


From Marrakech, we took a three hour bus ride to the coastal town of Essaouira. A friend from law school who had lived in Rabat recommended it as the perfect counterpoint to Marrakech, and so we headed off for a few days.

The bus ride was reasonably uneventful. I took a Dramamine, which meant I was practically comatose for the majority of the ride. However, as the bus drew close to Essaouira, we were amazed to see goats perched up in argania trees along the side of the road. It was truly astonishing; I only wish I could have snapped a photo.

We arrived in Essaouira and were packed off to our serviceable riad in the northwestern part of the medina. We dropped our things off and headed to lunch at the charming restaurant Umia, just inside the sea walls.

After a lovely French-fusion lunch, we were prepared to go explore the town, starting with the medina skala. It was a clear, windy day - apparently the city is famous for its wind - and we were treated to the sound of crashing waves as we walked along the old fortifications.

Again, so many cats. But these looked somewhat better cared for than the ones in Marrakech. Perhaps it was the restorative sea air.

We had dinner at a funny little Italian restaurant because, well, why not?, and wandered home through the cool evening streets. In the morning, we woke up early so Daniel could check the surf.

There weren't a lot of surfers out, but there were a number of windsurfers. We watched a while (there were some spectacular wipeouts) and then headed to the port skala.

The port was busy with fishermen hauling in their nets and hawking their wares. It was also lousy with seabirds; I've never seen so many gulls in my life. Seeing all the birds kind of made my throat close up. I was also pretty sure I would end up with bird poop on my hair and/or clothes; Daniel let me borrow his hat as cover. Miraculously I made it unscathed. 

It was very windy.

Because Essaouira was much quieter than Marrakech, exploring the markets was much easier and we spent a lot of time poking around the shops. I was particularly interested in the argan oil, which I hadn't realized was exclusively produced in the area around Essaouira, and housewares made of thuya wood. 

On our last day, Daniel went surfing after breakfast and we met for lunch at the fish markets down by the harbor. There are a cluster of small restaurants that display the fresh fish of the day - you walk by, pick your fish and they cook it for you in a matter of minutes. 

We ended up with grilled sardines, tiny shrimp in their shells, calamari, and a whole sea bass. It was absolutely fresh and the perfect way to wind down our trip to the coast.

After a week in Morocco, we had one final stop on our way back home: London. 

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