Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Russian River

There are many wonderful small towns along the Russian River, but my favorite is Monte Rio. I opted not to cancel a trip I planned with Ginger and spent the weekend in a rustic, little cabin.

My "home away from home."

My private "hang-out" on the river.

Monte Rio - early Sunday morning.

C'mon. How cute is that?

Friday, June 18, 2010

I am NOT a pool player.

But I won $5 from a guy who bet me $1 that I'd lose and $5 that I'd win. Good deal for me, huh?

While my brothers spent hours in Grandma's basement learning the finer points of billiards, I was upstairs with the womenfolk - doing whatever it was we did - dishes, gossiping and discussing our family tree. As a result, I'm not too handy with the cue. I think last night was a fluke. Or maybe I just need a financial incentive.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Ramen Girl

I watched a really cute movie last night starring Brittany Murphy. I'd seen her a few times before and liked her - despite my better judgment. It was only last night, though, that I realized she's the blonde actress who died a few months ago. So sad. She really had a Julia Roberts-type, movie star quality. I can't recommend The Ramen Girl for its insightful intelligence, but it's a lighthearted, fun romp made all the more enjoyable by its star.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Several years ago, I received a gardenia lei from a friend in Hawaii. It was made up of dozens of blooms and was exquisite.

In San Francisco, most flower stands sell single gardenias for $1-1.50 each. They come with stick pins for wearing, but I prefer to drop mine in small bowl of water. One flower makes my whole apartment smell wonderful for several days. If you don't see them, ask. The good flower sellers stash them in a cardboard box away from the sun where they get droopy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lunch on the Bay

On Sunday, Louise and I took advantage of the sunny day and enjoyed lunch at Hi Dive at Pier 28. Despite its name, it's not a dive bar. In fact, my turkey sandwich was pretty incredible.

Later, we strolled down the Embarcadero where I spotted this quote by John Steinbeck, one of my favorite authors.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I wasn't the only one basking in this weekend's sunshine ... Arthur looked so luxurious stretched out on the kitchen table, I couldn't resist taking his picture.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Margaret and I shared a Mediterranean salad at Fly. We just missed their incredible Happy Hour specials, but it was still quite reasonable. Definitely one of my neighborhood favorites.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Margaret, Ginger and Me

What began as a dog-sitting gig turned into dog ownership more than nine years ago.

I couldn't commit to such a responsibility, so Margaret became Gin's official owner. When Margaret got engaged, I argued that if she got the husband, I should at least get the dog.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mountain Winery

The Mountain Winery in Saratoga is my favorite concert venue in the Bay Area.

Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson are playing next week and I really think I'd enjoy it. But now that I don't have a car, out-of-town decisions are made MUCH more carefully. Ticket, ZipCar, parking, food, wine. It all adds up.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flower Stand

Near Union Square, there are many flower stands. This is somewhat surprising to me, but, apparently, tourists DO buy flowers. Anyway, I've found the best stand with the freshest flowers and the friendliest people.

Admittedly, I also like them because they give me free stuff - like this rose. Did you know all roses are edible? Good to know in case the food sucks at the next wedding you attend.

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's Cherry Season!

I could not resist the allure of freshly picked cherries at the farmer's market yesterday.

Who knew my olive pitter doubled as a cherry pitter? This ingenious device saved a lot of time ... and mess.

The berries (are cherries berries?) coated with sugar and a bit of flour.

The finished crumble or crisp or buckle - whatever you want to call it. I used this recipe, incorporating Hensen22's suggestions on the comments page and reducing the sugar to 1 cup.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hotel Bars

So, I got stuck in Asheville, NC earlier this week. Long story.

Anyway, I spent the night at the Clarion Inn. Jet-lagged and too tired to sleep, I headed down to The Hangar, the hotel bar. Imagine my surprise when I encountered the best karaoke EVER! The locals (I think I was the only hotel guest in the bar.) sang mostly country songs, but WOW!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Asheville, NC

The Grove Arcade in Asheville, NC was one of the country's first indoor shopping malls. It also houses Carmel's, a bar/restaurant where my colleagues and I celebrated a productive day of meetings.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Le Zinc

Linda and I enjoyed a very pleasant brunch at Le Zinc in Noe Valley yesterday. Unfortunately, it was too chilly to sit on the back patio.

I had something called a vegetable brik. It was several layers of philo dough stuffed with red peppers, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese. Yum!