Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Villages, FL

The Villages is a golf cart community. Driving around in a golf cart feels a bit like traveling in Candyland.

Some of the carts are really souped-up.

We had half-price margaritas in one of the town squares, while Shaelin enjoyed a kiddie cocktail.

We spent most of the day in one of the many swimming pools.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Orlando Airport

I really love the idea of airport hotels. Some of the best money I've ever spent has been on a good sleep during a layover.

This one, however, feels a bit too "Mall of America" to me. And I'm sitting within spitting distance of a bookstore. Danger!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Urban Tavern

I walk by this place nearly every day and the people inside always look like they're having fun, so Louise and I stopped in the other day. It was fine. Can't say that I'd recommend it. Louise was bothered by the smell of dirty feet. I thought it smelled like cheese. I was more troubled by the touristy crowd and the expensive drinks.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Remember that lame bunch of hyacinths I bought last week for $5? Well, look at these gorgeous irises - plus greenery and baby's breath - all for $8.

I think I've found a new flower vendor.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pistachio Heaven

The Civic Center farmer's market includes the "pistachio man." Seventeen different flavors. After consulting with Mom - a pistachio fanatic - I bought plain, honey-mustard and tequila lime. Yum.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


It seems I'm becoming a locavore without really trying. My meals are now based on what's available and what looks good at the farmer's market rather than what tickles my fancy.

On Sunday, the pickling cucumbers looked excellent and I got a big bunch of dill for 50 cents.

Needless to say, I got home and whipped up a batch of refrigerator pickles.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Quality Time with Holden

On Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of babysitting for Holden. We went to the park, read a book and did some browsing of Bi-Rite's fresh flower selection. However, the highlight was dinner as Holden has a voracious appetite. He enjoyed broccoli (!) and tortellini.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I bought a small bouquet of hyacinths for $5 last night and when I got them home, they were so wilted they wouldn't stand up in a vase. No wonder they were so cheap. Anyway, I chopped the heads off and put them in a bowl of water. Now, my whole apartment smells lovely.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Smuggler's Cove

When I asked Eric for a chance to pick his brain about Cuba, he suggested meeting at Smuggler's Cove, a new Tiki-themed rum bar.

I was saddened to learn this bar was formerly Jade, one of my favorite watering holes. The new owner easily spent $1 million completely revamping the space. It could be kitschy, but it's not. The bartender was friendly and knowledgeable and the atmosphere was cozy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Faithful followers know that I lean towards compulsion. In the past, I've been on knitting kicks, juice jags and, most recently, roasted veggie fixation. Well, my latest target is Katharine Hepburn. In the past few days, I've watched three of her classics - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Summertime and Desk Set.

What stuns me most about the latter two is the characters she plays. In both movies, she's a never-married, independent career woman. Yes, she's on the hunt for a man, but I don't think that's the point.

She made both these movies when she was 48 and 50, respectively. Where are those roles today? Meryl Streep aside ... when is the last time you saw a woman "of a certain age" starring in a movie without kids, without an ex-husband, dressed to the nines and living life to its fullest?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dinner and a Movie

Remember that show? An annoying couple cooked while they chatted about the movie in between commercial breaks.

Last night, I watched "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" What a great movie! How is it possible I'd never seen it?

For dinner, I roasted asparagus in olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. The ahi that accompanied it was not as photogenic.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Tucked in an inconvenient spot near 16th and Mission, Starbelly is a really pleasant-looking restaurant with beautiful wood paneling and great fixtures. (Holden especially liked the lighting.) Linda, Liz and I tried it over the weekend on the advice of food blogger friend Single Guy.

Linda had chiliquiles, Liz had stratta and I enjoyed fish tacos. Oh, and Holden had french fries. My one complaint was that the menu was very meat heavy. Their pizzas looked delicious and the next time I go back it will be for lunch.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ahi Salad

I made a commitment this week to eliminate quick trips to overpriced bodegas and eat only what's on hand.

I got this beautiful head of lettuce and an avocado at the farmer's market and I had the ahi steak in the freezer. I rubbed the fish with wasabi paste, coated it with black sesame seeds and seared it for just a few minutes. I also whipped up a spicy mustard/balsamic vinegar dressing for a scrumptious feast.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spice Cabinet

Remember these old-fashioned spice cabinets? Actually, I think they were originally ironing board cabinets. Anyway, when I first moved in and a friend suggested I put a large work table in front of it, I didn't have the heart. Besides, I love to have a place to see all my spices.

Milwaukee has a great spice store called the Spice House. (I know Penzey's is more popular, but I've never tried their stuff.) I used this Moroccan blend along with some curry in my wonderful cauliflower soup last night.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Scenic San Quentin

San Quentin is perched on a gorgeous piece of land that juts out into SF Bay. Pictures don't really do it justice.

The folks incarcerated there remind me a bit of my dad when he was taking in the beauty of Vietnam a few years ago and remarked that the last time he was there he didn't have to pay.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli

Oh my goodness! Have you ever roasted broccoli and shrimp? I used this recipe and it was so very, very good. Roasting with the olive oil and lemon juice plus the Indian spices really bumped this dish up several notches.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Farmer's Market

I've started going to the Civic Center farmer's market pretty early on Sundays. The upside is that everything's freshly unloaded and spirits are high. The downside is I really have to walk a gauntlet of human detritus to get there. (Don't worry, I won't take photos of that.)

Yesterday's haul.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Boston Rob

I think this season of "Survivor" is one of the best yet. I know, I know. I say that every season. But this time, everyone has played before - some more than once - and it's a completely different game. The "old-timers" are also having a tougher time because the game has really changed in the years since they've played.

Boston Rob definitely falls into that category. I was really sad to see him go.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's Day

I don't like April Fool's Day. The dread of this day goes back to my childhood for reasons I won't go into here. (Hint: Ask my mother.)

Anyway, a fellow San Quentin volunteer, masquerading as me, sent out an email to everyone outlining new prison policies. They include new "rules," including one that forbids any pen that doesn't use green ink. I hope you'll appreciate the prison humor.