Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Kindness of the Twitterverse

Sometimes, people surprise you. In the same way that sometimes friends may disappoint you, sometimes, people will surprise you. Even strangers.

I've recently been spending a lot of time thinking about Twitter. This site that allows you to throw your random thoughts and feelings out into the world. Unlike Facebook, if your profile isn't protected, anyone out in the Twitterverse can 'follow' you. Anyone can read your updates. And slowly, they become invested in your life. At the same time, you begin following people. People you don't know. And yes, you slowly become invested in their lives.

I've made some awesome friends on Twitter. People that I barely know--some that I have never met. For one reason or another, your lives have been intertwined, and you've been brought into each other's lives for a reason.

These strangers. They are my sounding board. They are my support group. They are my people. I've been blown away more than once, about the things they've said or the things they've done to support me. I am so thankful to have these people in my life.

And the odd part? I don't even know if I want to meet these strangers. Maybe it's better to just have these people indirectly involved in my life. I'm not sure yet. What's stopping these people from being my 'real friends'?

In the meantime? I'm determined to give back some of this good Twitter karma I've been on the receiving end of. Why not pass it forward and keep the love flowing?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad blogger. I admit it. I've had a lot going on, and haven't been able to focus on my writing! It seems as if the last week weeks have been crazier than usual, and as a result, my writing has suffered.

The good news? I've got lots going on. This weekend? Had not one, but TWO dinners Friday night with a friend that was in town. Saturday? Pilates to kick off the day. And then some MAJOR cleaning of the apartment as I continue to get ready for my move--purge and pack, purge and pack. Then I drove my scooter off to a test meal at the new Out the Door Bush Street where Chef Grace Nguyen WOW'ed us with an amazing breakfast. The poached egg over the braised beef brisket was perfect, the BBQ pork bun delish, and the iced Vietnamese coffee was exactly what I needed to keep me going all day long.

From there, my friend and I checked out an apartment she's hoping to get in Hayes Valley, and then went on my sofa/couch hunt. We scooted down to Room & Board, and then to Sphere. We were scooting all over town! It was fantastic. And I was getting more and more comfortable on my scooter!

We popped in on a party some friends were having over in Buena Vista Park/Duboce Triangle area, and then finally zipped home where the night ended with a simple heirloom tomato salad I whipped up.

I realized that in just a few short hours, I had driven on Fillmore, Bush, Gough, Franklin, Market, and all over SOMA/Potrero Hill too. The traffic, cars, walkers, buses, etc. were bugging me less and less. And the hills are getting easier with time. I'm excited to see where my next scooting adventure will take me.

My Sunday morning was spent in Berkeley with a friend perusing through the furniture/design stores on Fourth Street. Then some errands and back into the city. About a third of my kitchen is packed up now, more of my closet has been purged and three loads of laundry later, I am finally hitting a wall.

The detox continues as I get ready for my trip to the East Coast and New York later this week. And then once I return? All packing all the time. SO. My little blog may have to take a back seat for another month. But I'm excited for what the next few weeks hold for me. And getting even more excited for the fall/winter dinner parties in my new home!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Favorite: French Fries!

Ok. Who doesn't love french fries? Yea, thought so. One of my favorite foods of ALL time. One of my GREATEST food weaknesses. I can never pass them up.

Here they are from Starbelly's opening night party. With a trio of house made sauces. YUM!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Foggy Surf

A foggy morning along the Monterey coast--just another Saturday. When walking along the beach, we spotted a ton of surfers ready to take on the waves.

I love both of these photos. So calm and peaceful--yet one look at the waves and it's a completely different story! Here's to those adventurous surfers hitting the waves every chance they get!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Favorite: A Thoughtful Treat

I have some amazing friends. From near and far. Friends I've made through work, through my previous job in the NBA, through college, high school, even from back in kindergarten.

But recently, a new friend of mine, that I haven't even met yet, did something so incredibly kind. I've been having a bit of a hard time with some personal stuff, and when she got wind of that, she sent me the sweetest little thing in the mail.

This gorgeous Michael Recchiuti chocolate box. Such a sweet (literally!) thing for her to do. And I can't even tell you how much it brightened up my day. The best pick me up a girl could ask for.

Thank you to Kiki and ALL of my good friends for your love and support!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Saying Good Bye to Russian Hill

I've been so lucky to be a Russian Hill resident the past 5 years. The hills, the ding ding of the cable car, the classic SF Edwardian style buildings, views of the water and both Golden Gate bridge as well as Bay Bridge.

It's a great neighborhood-with a real neighborhood feeling. Little boutiques, coffee shops, and cute restaurants on tree lined streets. I've got many friends that live nearby, and are literally only minutes away from me. Making it easy for that last minute invite for dinner or that much needed post work glass of wine. And not to mention, my sister and uncle are both blocks away from me. My uncle always joked that if I needed anything and yelled loud enough, he could actually hear me.

What more could a girl ask for?

A place of her own. And so, as I began the search for a new place to live (and quickly put an offer in on a sweet spot!), it hit me. In a matter of weeks, I mayno longer be living in this place I've been calling home.

Second to my childhood home, this is the place I've lived in the longest. This is the last apartment of mine that my mom saw. And thinking back now to that last move-in day, I'm not really sure how I'm going to do it this time without her there. I know she'd be excited for me. I know she'd love the new apartment, and be so happy that I had a place to call my own.

I'm trying not to dwell on all of that. And while there's still a long process ahead of me and I may not even be moving, I am instead focusing my energy on spending as much time in my neighborhood as possible. Gotta duck into two of my favorite shops, Belle Cose, Limonia and Picnic a few more times. And MUST buy a few more old used books from Russian Hill Bookstore. And let's not forget the Jug Shop! Wonder if Chuck will miss seeing me in there as much as I'll miss going in there?

Must hit up my last Taco Tuesday at Nick's Crispy Tacos, sushi at Okoze, another meal at the bar of Pesce, coffee and brunch at Nook, take-out (including the pork fried rice and HUGE potstickers) at U-Lee, bubbles outside on a sunny weekend day at Bell Tower, ladies night at the Cafe Meuse, ice cream at Swenson's, ZA pizza, wine and eye candy at Amelie, burger at Polkers...the list could go on.

Russian Hill. It's a great little neighborhood. And it's been my home. Some of the best spots in the city. The upside to all of this? Hopefully I'll have a new neighborhood to discover!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Isn't it cute? The greatest surprise ever! I received this in the mail in a few days ago. And I was literally laughing hysterically when I saw the name of it--Bacon. So so SO awesome.

A HUGE thanks to my friend Melissa (over at Under Construction) for the treat in the mail. It's been a stressful, crazy, and emotional few weeks for me, and this was JUST the pick me up I needed. It's beautifully handmade, and well, perfect for me. It's currently sitting on my kitchen table. I haven't hung it up yet in hopes that it'll have it's first home in my new home.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Happy Day

Today is a special day. The day when one of my closest friends gets married. I am so happy for them, and so excited to be there on his special day. Here's wishing Bahram and Kristin a lifetime of laughter, love and happiness.

The site of the special occasion! Monterey, California

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Favorite: Some Patriotism

Thinking about September 11th a few years back...to exactly where I was, who I was with, what I was doing. Feeling a little patriotic today, so thought this photo of these red and blue berries seemed appropriate!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Lola's not perfect. But she's beautiful. And she's mine. A little beat up, but nothing a little love can't fix.

Who's Lola? She's my scooter. After soliciting names for her from friends (some of my favorites included Silver Bullet, All Clad, Gavin, Coors Light, Quick Silver, Ag, Silver Streak, and Herring), I finally settled on Lola. One of those names that always make me smile when I hear it.

Why you ask? Because of an awesome song from the Kinks. It just makes me smile, and laugh. And hey, why not name my scooter Lola?

Leaving you with the brilliant lyrics:

I met her in a club down in old soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola
C-o-l-a cola
She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said lola
L-o-l-a lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola
Well Im not the worlds most physical guy
But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
Oh my lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola
Well Im not dumb but I cant understand
Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man
Oh my lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola
Well we drank champagne and danced all night
Under electric candlelight
She picked me up and sat me on her knee
And said dear boy wont you come home with me
Well Im not the worlds most passionate guy
But when I looked in her eyes well I almost fell for my lola
Lo-lo-lo-lo lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola
Lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola
I pushed her away
I walked to the door
I fell to the floor
I got down on my knees
Then I looked at her and she at me
Well thats the way that I want it to stay
And I always want it to be that way for my lola
Lo-lo-lo-lo lola
Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
Its a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for lola
Lo-lo-lo-lo lola
Well I left home just a week before
And Id never ever kissed a woman before
But lola smiled and took me by the hand
And said dear boy Im gonna make you a man
Well Im not the worlds most masculine man
But I know what I am and Im glad Im a man
And so is lola
Lo-lo-lo-lo lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola
Lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Spotlight: Confections of a Closet Master Baker

A love letter to her mom. That’s what my friend over at A Blithe Palate told me about this book. My immediate reaction? “Is it going to be sad?” But it’s not. It truly is a love story, from Gesine to her mom, but also a love story between Gesine and her passion.

The book is a touching memoir of Hollywood agent/producer turned baker, Gesine Bullock-Prado. It got me thinking a lot about my own mom. The foods that I grew up eating. The foods that make me think of my own mom. And the foods that comfort me.

And sadly, my mom didn’t love sweets. So as much as I love to bake she never really did. She did however, make us incredible home cooked meals virtually every night as we were growing up, and the older we got, the more and more special the meals became to me. My love for food had increased, and I’d often go to mom with special requests. In the mood for this or that, and wanting her to make this specialty or that. And as I got older and tried to learn how to make these different dishes, the ones I began to crave became the ones that were harder for me to recreate.

As I read “Confections of a Closet Master Baker”, I got to thinking about these dishes that I wish I could eat once again. It made me wish I could pick up the phone, call mom, and tell her about my latest craving so that she could whip it up for me. One of the things that she use to make was steamed whole fish. And while it’s not too difficult, the best part about this dish was that it was a whole fish. And while I’m totally ok butchering meat and handling a whole chicken, a whole fish is different. Some how, it scares me a little bit. So, after reading this book, I was inspired. Why not make this dish—wish just a fillet instead of a whole fish? I realize this isn’t exactly the same, but it was worth a try. My first attempt turned out pretty good. You can barely even see the fish under the sea of mushrooms and green onions. A few tweaks next time, and I’ll be on my way to attacking a whole fish soon.
Unlike my mom, while I enjoy cooking savory food, I equally enjoy baking. I don’t have a sweet tooth myself, but there is something relaxing and comforting about baking. Cupcakes relax me. I loved hearing about Gesine getting up bright and early to head down to the bakery. Here are some red, white and blue cupcakes I recently made for a friend who was officially becoming a U.S. citizen. In the midst of a crazy week for me, this actually was a very comforting thing for me to do.

I’m going to leave you with a fun little Q&A with Gesine—enjoy!
Q: What are five things you always has in her refrigerator/pantry?
A: Butter, Sugar, Eggs, Flour and Yeast (and Salt!) That’s six, but I never bake without salt

Q: What are your favorite things to bake/make?
A: It changes with the season and my lady cycle. But I find some of the most satisfying things are yeasted. Croissant I adore because of the complexity of the rise, between the lamination and the yeast, it’s magnificent. Hence it’s uber tasty!

Q: What is your favorite (sweet) thing to eat?
A: This also changes all the time. But there’s something to the textural mix of crunchy/flaky with chewy. Macaroon for example. Or Mandelhoernchen, or a nut infused meringue.

Q: What is a dish that makes you think about your mom?
A: Mandelhoernchen. Hands down. I spent a good 2 hours one summer sitting with my grandmother in Germany ‘vacuum’ packing mandelhoernchen to take back to the states for my mom. WE sat there with ziplco bags, zipped them almost all the way up and sucked out the rest of the air to make an airtight seal. I was loopy and dizzy at the end of it. But I knew, since she’d missed her annual trip to her homeland, that she’d be thrilled to have this one luscious thing from home.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Love Lost

I'm a hopeless romantic. Believing in silly notions like true love, love at first site, soul mates, romances that last the test of time...

I have a hard time when I see romances end. While I know sometimes it's for the best- and that not all relationships were meant to be, I'm still so sad.

Recently it feels that many of my friends are going through relationship challenges. Some are just going through a rough patch. Too many external stress factors. Others are seeing the end of their relationship. And in some cases? Not a mutual decision. And in other cases? A complete surprise.

Regardless of the situation, or who's right and who's wrong, it is still the end of something. And one would hope, that it was the end of something that was at least good for a little while. There's sadness. There's anger. There's relief. There's frustration. There's hurt.

Sometimes the end is for the best. I'm not disagreeing. But recently, I've been finding myself mourning the end of so many of these relationships. And consoling my friends. And trying to stay positive for my friends. And trying to bring out the romantic in me.

I'm not sure what's been getting me thinking about this and motivated to write about it. But like I said, it feels like something's in the air. For too many of my good friends. And I hope it passes quickly.

Because the romantic in me? Still thinks if it's meant to be, some of these couples will be back together in just a matter of time. Or that true love is around the corner. And most importantly, that there's someone out there for all of us.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Favorite: Ding Ding!

How picture perfect! I love this loaf of bread (from the SF Chefs. Food. Wine. Festival a few weeks ago.) Of course you all know why I love this so much. Because while it's an iconic symbol of San Francisco, it's also a part of my every day life!

My mode of transportation to work most days, the short ride to work on the cable car gives me the much needed moments of quiet before my day begins. Whether I'm shooting out a couple of personal emails via my BlackBerry, or catching up with friends via Facebook, or getting my dose of morning 'news' via Twitter, I often find myself almost wishing my commute was a little longer!
Other times? The BlackBerry is in my purse and I've got my earplugs in and I'm zoning out. Thinking about the weekend. Or thinking about the day ahead.
Sometimes there's sadness. I'll see something that brings a tear to my eye. Strange how that quiet time on the cable car can leave me so vulnerable.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Meal of the Month: August 09

I think it was a record month. Record number of amazing home made meals. Whether at home or at a friend’s house, I feasted on elaborate home cooked meals that would rival most restaurant meals. Really. An amazing Indian feast at Sabine and Rohit’s house, followed by an amazing Japanese feast at Sarah and Evan’s. Both meals shared with great friends. Lots of wine and laughter.

There was the night the girls came over and we had wine and cheese night, the Top Chef Master’s finale viewing party night where even more wine and cheese was served, and then the night of the summer salads (since it was almost 90 degrees in SF that day!) There was the night my friend Michelle brought over a delicious French Onion Soup (thank you Huie and Mah!) for a chilly SF night. The perfect comfort food.

I had two amazing home made meals. One was a simple steamed fish with soy sauce and mushrooms, and the second? These delicious fish balls that I had been craving! Made with green onions, Chinese sausage, and dried shrimp. Not quite as good as how my grandpa or my mom use to make them, but I’m getting there.

Then there were a slew of casual, but perfectly tasty meals. Tons of nibbles and tastes were had at the SF Chefs Food Wine Festival and even more yummy street food nibbles from Poleng Lounge at the SF Street Food Festival.

I had a casual and comfortable meal at a local Chinese food restaurant, Golden Horse, with my dad and sister, a delicious meal with friends Chris, Tatiana, Easton and Shawn at King of Noodles (delicious dumplings and of course, the hand made noodles!), and then pho on a chilly night with the Michelle’s. YUM!

Some great nights with friends at Fish & Farm (you HAVE to get the corn soup), midi (pork chop please!), Tomasso’s (pizza pizza pizza!), Woodward’s Garden (I felt like we were in the middle of Paris!), Flour + Water and Beretta (umm, thanks to Ryan for the delicious cocktails and for making sure we never had an empty glass!) So ok, there was some indulgence this month.

I checked out the newest restaurant in town, Starbelly, on opening night and for brunch, delicious! And then I had to return to Maverick for brunch, one of my favorites in the city. The tomato and bread salad was PERFECT for a hot day.

Yea. Sorry guys. Those were all pretty amazing meals. But none of those were it. Hard to believe. But there were actually two additional meals this month that ended up making the top of my list.

The first? A simple and last minute meal at Park Chalet on one of the absolute hottest nights San Francisco saw all summer. The reason it was so great? It was a chance to catch up with an old friend and his family. A friend that I haven’t seen in years, and it was a great reminder of why we were ever friends. Yummy food, beer, great company, and the perfect warm summer night outside? Done. Meal of the Month worthiness.

The second? A celebratory drink and snack at Nopalito after passing my scooter/motorcycle permit test! First enjoying a refreshing summer sangria by myself at the counter, then sharing nibbles with my good girlfriend Michelle. Including the most delicious corn!

That wasn’t enough for the celebratory night. And we were on a corn kick by then. So? Off to Incanto for more nibbles. And a DELICIOUS corn gnocchi. We knew well enough we wouldn’t be able to eat much on our own. So our strategy? Call up the girls. Oh yes. Wendy and Grace came and joined us. Random Thursday night turned into Girls Night. We shared a number of dishes (and a lot of bubbly), including, a yummy dish playfully called “This is Your Brain on Drugs” (get it? From the old commercials?), the corn gnocchi (the craving that sent us there in the first place!), and well, yes. Of course. My spaghettini.

Thanks to all of my many friends that made all of these meals for me and to those that shared these meals with me. What an amazing weekend!!