Friday, May 29, 2009

Good Book

If my book group knew that Anna Karenina was an Oprah selection five years ago, I'm sure they never would've picked it. I can't wait to hear what they think. It's a classic Victorian novel, but it's oh-so-modern and really surprisingly readable. Apologies to all of you who read it in high school or college. This is my first time and I'm quite enjoying it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Wine

Northern California has spoiled me. You can buy a really nice bottle of wine for $10 here. I thought I'd share one of my favorites: Pomelo sauvignon blanc. It's light and citrusy -- perfect for a warm afternoon.

I didn't realize it was produced not too far away -- Kelseyville in Lake County. I should've guessed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hidden Springs Campground

I can't say enough great things about Hidden Springs Campground in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Nearly every one of 159 sites was full, but you'd never know it. Well, aside from the kid across the way with a xylophone. Seriously, parents, do not let your toddler bring a xylophone to a campground!

Many thanks to Liz and Mark who lent us everything we needed for 72 hours in the woods.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Camping in the Redwoods

I'm happy to report the Kim, Brian and Ginger weekend getaway was a rousing success! No traffic. No mishaps. No rain.

It's tough to get a sense of the size of these trees without posing in front of one.

Walking the trail.

On the way home, we stopped for a dip in the Russian River.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Avenue of the Giants

Brian wants to see giant redwoods. So, we're heading up to the Avenue of the Giants this weekend.

We'll be camping in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which is about four hours north of SF. Wish us luck!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Martin Mack's

Last September, a fire gutted much of Martin Mack's, one of my favorite neighborhood pubs.

Last night, Beth and I walked by and realized it had reopened. Yay! It looks better than ever and everything is shiny and new.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cheese and Spinach Enchiladas

I made these last night for dinner and they were YUMMY.

For those of you who know I'm trying to lose weight, yes, it's a WW recipe. Six points for two enchiladas.

Cheese And Spinach Enchiladas

Serving Size : 2 enchiladas / 16 total
6 Points Per Serving

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 cups onion -- chopped
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons garlic -- chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 ounces tomatoes -- chopped
4 ounces green chilies -- canned or fresh
2 cups skim milk
2 cups fat-free chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 packages fat-free flour tortillas -- 16 total

16 ounces frozen spinach -- thawed and squeezed dry, chopped
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, lowfat -- grated
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, part skim milk -- grated
4 ounces black olives -- chopped
1 bunch green onions -- chopped
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream -- garnish
1/4 cup lowfat cheddar cheese -- grated, garnish

Combine spinach, cheeses, olives and green onions. Sauté onion in water. Add garlic;
cook 1 minute. Add butter and melt; stir in flour and cook about 2 minutes. Slowly
add tomatoes, chilies, milk, broth and salt, stirring after each addition. Simmer
about 10 minutes to make a sauce.

Spray a large, shallow casserole with cooking spray. Pour a small amount of sauce
on the bottom of the dish. Dip each side of the tortillas in warm sauce.

FILLING: To assemble: Spoon a heaping tablespoon of Filling into each tortilla; roll
cigar-style and place, seam side down, in casserole. Pour remaining Enchilada Sauce
over enchiladas.

Cover and bake in 350ºF oven about 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes.
Let sit 15 minutes before serving. Enchiladas can be made ahead and baked just
before serving.

Garnish with sour cream, chopped green onions and shredded cheese, if desired.

Yield: 16 enchiladas Per serving: 304 Calories (kcal); 12g Total Fat; (33% calories from fat)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I usually avoid Bay to Breakers. Every year, tens of thousands of people -- many of them drunk and stupid -- descend upon my neighborhood for a street party disguised as a 12K foot race. They leave tons of garbage, urine and other unmentionables behind for me to "enjoy" for days afterwards.

But Brian wanted to experience it, so we headed a few blocks down to watch the "parade" go by. There was a valiant attempt this year to ban alcohol and alcohol-transporting floats, so the event was tamer than usual. And it was HOT! So there seemed to be more naked people than usual -- also officially banned.

While there still were many drunk people -- passed out by noon -- the city says their garbage haul was seven tons lighter than last year. Wow!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pier 23

Brian and I went to see Zigaboo Modeliste at Pier 23. Admittedly, the "King of the Funky Drums" wasn't quite my style, but I really enjoyed checking out Pier 23, which looks like nothing much from the outside.

But, inside, it's got a great vibe and a huge patio! I wondered why I've never seen this place.

Yelpers said the food sucked, but I had a shrimp po' boy that was to die for!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hobson's Choice

After work yesterday, Brian, Gin and I headed to Hobson's Choice on Haight Street. It's a fun bar to hang out in if it's not too crowded ... and it wasn't. We chatted and watched the world go by from our excellent window seat.

Another great thing about Hobson's is you can order food from Asqew Grill next door. We had two skewers (Asqew? Get it?) with ahi, veggies and rice with a side of grilled asparagus. Yummy and enough for two at $16.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wave Organ

Again, using 10 Free Things to Do in San Francisco as a guide, Brian and I checked out the Wave Organ near Crissy Field.

The structure was built with stone from a demolished cemetery. A series of PVC tubes in the water bring cool klunking sounds up through the pipes and into your ear. It's also a great picnic spot.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rosamunde Sausage Grill

Inspired by a Facebook post from Liz, Brian and I decided to check out the Rosamunde Sausage Grill. I don't eat meat, but this is California, so I figured there would be a veggie option and, for Brian, it could be a taste of home.

I had the tofu sausage (!) with sauerkraut, hot peppers and spicy mustard and Brian had an andouille sausage with ketchup and mustard. I thought that was boring, but the sausage seller called him a purist. The sausage was super-tasty and each was only $5.50.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Shins

Yes, I've been seeing way too many concerts lately. Can I help it that all the great bands come through SF and its environs?

The Shins played Saturday night at the wonderful Fox Theater in Oakland. I cannot recommend that venue highly enough.

Celebrity Sighting

After Blame Sally's CD release show, Brian, Laura and I stopped by a couple bars before we decided we weren't really finding the right vibe. Because we had a great parking space, we decided to poke our heads in NOPA before heading home.

Lo and behold, we had a celebrity sighting. Sean Penn and SF Supervisor Matt Gonzalez (an odd combo, no?) were standing outside chatting. Brian said that guy looks too much like Sean Penn NOT to be Sean Penn.

We went inside and enjoyed a fitting end to a good evening.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Iron and Wine

When tickets went on sale a few weeks ago for Iron and Wine at the Swedish-American Hall, I immediately bought two. Both shows sold out in minutes. Why? Iron and Wine aka Sam Beam is an awesome singer-songwriter (you may know his "Such Great Heights" from the Garden State soundtrack) and the venue is tiny!

The show was wonderful. It was like being sung to in your living room. Sam was funny, articulate and self-deprecating.

Afterwards, we went downstairs to Cafe du Nord and listened to a band from Minneapolis called Graycoats.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Finding myself with time to kill in Hayes Valley the other night, I steeled up my courage and stepped into Jardiniere. I knew my jeans and tattered suede jacket would be out of place, but c'est la vie!

May I say the place is gorgeous? The bartenders were friendly and I enjoyed people-watching while sipping my $10 glass of wine. Next time I secure some unexpected funds, I'll have to go check out the food.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Seared Ahi With Lime Ginger Vinaigrette

I found this recipe at one of the food blogs I check out regularly. It was so easy to make and so very beautiful! Yes, it tasted as good as it looked. My only suggestion? Go heavy on the wasabi paste. Searing the tuna takes away most of the bite.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Blinds

One of the blinds in my living room broke. But you can't have one shiny, new blind and two dirty, old, yucky ones. Then, you can't have new blinds in the living room, but not in the kitchen. Then, you can't have new blinds covering dirty windows.

You get the idea.

I bought four new blinds and Brian was kind enough to install them for me. I handed him tools and beer and stuff.

He also washed the windows. I didn't take a picture of him standing on a narrow ledge on the side of my building.

Now, the whole apartment is brighter. If her boyfriend is happy, Gin is happy too.

Monday, May 4, 2009

This Town

Some days this town gets me down. I think today is one of them.

An obviously drunk and homeless man got on my bus this morning. He drank from a large can of beer, didn't pay his fare and sat at the front of the bus. It was 8 a.m. and the bus was packed. Someone mentioned the can of beer. He got angry and started cursing and threatening to kill those standing around him. Not a good way to start a Monday.

Yes, SF has a homeless problem. We're a city of about 800,000 with an estimated 6,500 homeless people. Many of these folks came here from other places. Most are drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill. We spend $190 million a year -- the highest per capita amount in the U.S. to fix a problem that won't go away.

Friday, May 1, 2009

SF Ballet

Tonight is the last ballet of the season. With the exception of last week's "Jewels," I consistently enjoy everything this company does. The dancers are incredible athletes, the artistic director is edgy and hip and the costumes and sets are stunning. As a season ticket holder, I get discounts on additional tickets, so if you ever want to check it out, let me know.