Saturday, February 16, 2013

all you need is ____

I saw this sign outside Biondivino wine shop on Russian Hill the day before Valentine's Day.

in pursuit of magic and wonder

An early morning in Japan town revealed these gems. 

after school snack SF style

I spent the afternoon with Kindergarteners and a few of them spoke Spanish only while others were bilingual. Madeline was read in english and then we reviewed Chinese Lunar New Year and I read a book about a little boy in NY Chinatown as he gets ready for the celebration. It's moments like this that I see how cultures overlap and enrich this city. After school a kind young guy was selling sandwich bags of fruit slices (watermelon or mango) with lemon, salt or cayenne sprinkled on top and then steaming hot corn slathered with mayo, dusted with crumbly dry cheese (like parmesan) and then a little cayenne pepper sprinkled on top. I bought an ear of corn with everything on it and it's about as amazing as you'd expect. All the treats are $2 each and the little kids line up after school to pick out one treat. Oh, there were fried chips that looked like big wagon wheels as big around as a grapefruit that were sprayed with lime juice too, but only kids that were leaving school to head home could buy them as they're not allowed at after school programs. I love these little carts, they're not at all schools so it's a great delight to see them when I do. I hope to make a version at home with yogurt instead of mayo and I'll post it when I figure out the ingredients.

Friday, February 15, 2013

I just love palm trees

soaking in the winter sun

We spent the late afternoon lounging in the sun by the Golden Gate Bridge. My left flipflop strap broke on the walk to the Ferry Building so I found some raffia at a garden store and rigged it to stay together until I picked up my boat shoes. After basking in the afternoon sun we picked up lamb kebab sandwiches in the Mission before heading up to Bernal Hill to watch the sun set behind the city as the fog rolled in. Winter in SF

lunch by the bay

lunch at the Plant Cafe with a view of the bay. I ordered the California burger which is a veggie burger that's a little red from the beets inside so it looks a little like a rare meat burger. Between the sandwich, potatoes, and Transamerica building there's a pattern of triangle shapes above. After lunch we walked back to the TCHO chocolate factory for a cool treat.

land clouds

A Seattle friend came to SF for a little sunshine on a long weekend. Locals say that winter weather in SF is the best as it's usually our summer with warm temps and calm wind. After devouring our burgers we headed to Ocean Beach to catch the sun setting on the Pacific Ocean. It didn't take long until I was chatting with our surfer neighbors and they shared their thin mint girl scout cookies and stories. There were a few kids in the bunch and it was their energy was impressive as they raced up and over the sand dunes and through sea foam for hours. I was more than a little captivated by the sea foam and it was like cloud watching on the beach. Eventually the sun set and we were all still sharing stories until the cold night air sent us in. The street lights and graffiti on the sand walls reminded me of Berlin and only fed my wanderlust a little bit more. 

where the buffalo roam

I made it to Roam Artisan Burgers and the rumors are true, the burgers are delicious.You can order a beef, turkey, bison, elk (seasonal) or veggie burger. I ordered the classic burger with bleu cheese and my friend Trisha and I shared a strawberry milkshake and fries before heading to the beach.

pretty ladies

After a lovely all day picnic/birthday celebration at Golden Gate Park in the winter sun I ventured home and passed these pretty painted ladies just before sunset. Behind was a backdrop of silhouettes dotted with tripods and eager photographers watching the famous pastel Victorian homes below.

early morning stroll in Hayes Valley

Showed up for work to find that I had an extra hour so I went for an early morning stroll around Hayes Valley. I stopped to see my favorite little pig, pink storefront with little ruffled awning that feels like a little piece of France, and picked up coffee at Blue Bottle before walking by new sidewalk art and this fabulous green home. Having a little extra time in the morning is always a welcome surprise, especially with fancy coffee.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

late night

chocolate peanut butter coconut bliss ice cream with frozen berries by computer light. I first fell in love with coconut bliss when I lived in Portland, OR and when I moved back to SF I was so sad to find that it was a NW product that hadn't made it's way down the coast... yet. It's made with coconut milk instead of cow milk and it's amazing and thank goodness it's sold in SF now. I use to get the coconut flavor until branching out and now the chocolate peanut butter is a current fave. I've made my own before with a can of coconut milk and an ice cream machine so if you're feeling inspired I'd say go for it. 

dim sum lunch break

I was teaching in Chinatown today and thought I'd grab dim sum for lunch. Chinese Lunar New Year translates to super frenzied shopping in Chinatown and today was no different so I patiently waited in a line that meandered out the door and down the crowded sidewalk. Once inside your one of three to five people in line at the chest high counter with three ladies trying to help everyone at once. There is a lot of pointing at the large steamer baskets full of dumplings and buns and you point to the ones you want and show how with your fingers, unless you speak Chinese. This can be stressful and kinda fun and with a bbq pork bun (pictured above) and 3 small shrimp and scallion dumplings for $2.60 it can be worth the adventure. I walked out with my little steamed lunch to see a few whole pigs being delivered to the BBQ joint next door around noon. I admire how Chinatown really doesn't hide the reality of all that goes into the day to day business. This did leave me rethinking ordering pork for a bit.

2nd place

Well, the SF 49ers made it to the Super Bowl and ended up in 2nd place which meant free pudding for SF. I spent the day at home trying to get over the lingering cold, but managed to rally in time to see the whole bit. Former 49er and Super Bowl champ Ronnie Lott passed out the pudding cups while I had Bill Cosby Jell-o commercials running through my mind. I ended up handing a few of them out to transient guys and they were overjoyed so in a way this made both cities winners.

afternoon in the Mission

I started the morning with an almond latte at Four Barrel Coffee before ambling around the Mission District. This was one of those days were the city was just buzzing with life and there was something new to capture on every block. I snapped a few pics along my way to Tartine for a ham and cheese croissant (favorite treat) for lunch and then walked around a little more. There's so much to see in this small city and someone is always adding new street art or the light catches something in a new way as the sun shifts and all of a sudden something looks new and undiscovered.

Super Bowl + gelato

Mikayla and I went to Naia for a little gelato break during the Super Bowl. After sampling a few decadent flavors I ended up with a scoop of cinnamon atop a scoop of Recchiuti burnt caramel.

Monday, February 11, 2013

walking inspiration

A little walk around the block revealed these gems. The blue and white tile may be my absolute favorite and I'm always a little giddy when I see it in an entryway. Artivism and repeace are both on the school block and I served as inspiration.


a city still life that had me feeling gratitude for what I have and wishing for more for others. flowers at the market and the abundance of electric citrus fruit and my provisions for the rest of the day to help get over a lingering cold. I passed these fellas on my walk home from the market and ladies who lunch (in Chinatown)

Friday recess

Saturday, February 9, 2013

beat poets and pastel ceramics

I stopped at Caffe Trieste for a little treat before walking to work. Caffe Trieste has been serving coffee in SF since 1956 and I like to think of all the beat poets and artists that have lingered here. Walking out out of school the rain moved in and this corner store sparkled like a gem with all the pastel hues shining through the rain.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

salty, sweet, sour, and bitter

 I was given a brown grocery bag loaded with citrus from a friend of a friends backyard in Palo Alto. I decided to zest the tops and bottoms for citrus salt and then slice the centers for lemon marmalade.

Citrus Salt!
Inspiration for the citrus salt came a few years back with this article on how to make fragrant salt and then my friend Emily Katz recently made citrus salt and had me thinking this would be the perfect way to use up the extra lemon zest with minimal effort. Voila!

I used a super fine zester to zest the lemon ends into a pint mason jar and when I remembered I added an equal amount of salt to the zest and just alternated between a layer of salt with a layer of zest until all of my lemons ends were zested. I screwed the lid on and shook the salt and lemon zest mix to release the oil into the salt instead of pulsing it in a machine. I ended up with about a 1/2 cup of fine lemon zest and added1/2 cup of sea salt. Of course you can use more or less zest depending on personal taste. I put the salt mixture on parchment paper atop a drying rack on a small stool and let sit and dry in the sun over a few days until the zest was dry and crumbled when pinched. Store it in an air tight jar and should keep for a few months+.

I don't really use salt to flavor my food on a daily basis and mostly use it in baking so this batch may find itself atop homemade caramels.

Lemon Marmalade
I sliced the lemons (minus the ends zested and trimmed ends) into thick rounds about a 1/4 inch thick and tossed them into the pot. I covered the lemon slices in sugar (I use unrefined organic cane sugar), a thick coating, and then placed a layer of parchment between the lid and pot to avoid any oxidation with the metal rim and wrapped it up in a dishtowel before leaving it to sit on the counter until the work week passed and the weekend came. I added enough water to cover the fruit plus another inch and brought it to a boil and then simmered the lemon, sugar, water mixture for about 2 1/2 hours. I added a little more sugar to cut the bitterness from the pithy white part.

I had a lot of lemon that led to this rustic recipe and now I'm itching to make grapefruit marmalade. I just made this "recipe" up as I went along, but I did a little searching and found this lemon marmalade recipe that looks like a more measured version of what I made and it's British and marmalade always makes me think of the Brits so they've gotta do it well, right?