Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bryant Park

Yes, I spent a week working in New York. No, I hardly left the hotel. But I did manage to make a few forays into the outside world.

This is Bryant Park near Times Square. It's a green respite in the heart of the city. It began in the 1800s as a potter's field. It also was used for military drills during the civil war.

In the 1970s, it was known as "Needle Park" for the drug addicts and prostitutes who had taken over. But in 1992, it was completely refurbished. Apparently, daily attendance counts often exceed 800 people per acre, making it the most densely occupied urban park in the world.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Upstairs at the Kimberly

On a picture-perfect NYC night, I checked out this new rooftop lounge at the Kimberly Hotel. (How could I resist?)

While quite pricey, it was a really nice break from work. They served incredible popcorn seasoned with black pepper and tarragon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Swords to Plowshares

I've always loved this saying, but never realized it came from the Bible.

I was wandering around last night near the United Nations headquarters building and happened upon this wall.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


How can you not love New York?

View from my hotel room.

I had this yummy salad at a place called The Perfect Pint. I sat outside and watched the world go by.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stewed Tomatoes

Inspired by the fresh tomatoes in Guerneville, I went to the farmer's market on Sunday and bought 3 1/2 pounds of "early girls." I don't know anything about varieties, but they were the best looking and had a cute name.

I stewed them with some onion and garlic, removed the skins and put them in jars for freezing. I'm anxious to try them. Hope they taste as good as they look.

And, yes, you can call me Martha.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Heaven's Dog

Odd name, great restaurant.

After a disappointing excursion to a brand-new restaurant called Bar Agricole, Louise and I ventured over to Heaven's Dog to make up for it.

We enjoyed a dish called "ants climbing tree," cellophane noodles with trumpet mushrooms.

And we shared spicy blue lake beans. Yum!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Red Cafe

Linda and Holden, my trusted brunch partners, and I knew only we wanted to try someplace new. As usual, Yelp came to our rescue. The Red Cafe is in the heart of the Mission and serves both Mexican and American breakfasts.

I had the chilaquiles and was not disappointed. Somehow, they tasted light and healthy. I also had a side order of the highly recommended fried plantains. Those were fine piping hot, but as soon as they cooled down a bit, they were incredibly greasy.

Overall, though, it was a great experience. I can't remember the last time I had such friendly and attentive service. The place was packed with a diverse crowd and the ambiance was cute and cozy. Despite a line outside, we didn't feel rushed. Oh, and did I mention the prices? Excellent.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cauliflower and Kale Salad

I made the most incredible salad for dinner last night. I'm dying to share it here and I demand that you, my faithful readers, try it yourself. Yes, it's THAT good.

It would never occur to me to shred cauliflower and I suspect if you're not a big fan, you won't mind it here. The dressing is light and lemony. The kale is crisp and crunchy. Heavenly in its simplicity.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The World According to Garp

What a charming movie! Well, I wasn't able to watch the whole thing, but I'm anxious to see how it ends. (No spoilers here, please.) I'm surprised it's derived from a John Irving novel - he's an author I really don't like.

It came out in 1982 and everyone looks so young!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Guerneville

The yard. If you squint, you can see the cottage through the fruit trees. Apples and pears were dropping at my feet.

For dinner, I made further use of those ripe tomatoes and bunches of oregano growing outside my front door. The farmer's market provided the corn. And Safeway provided the shrimp.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I spent the weekend at Jim and Kathy's Cottage in the Redwoods and it was lovely. For the non-Californians among us, the Russian River is an area about 70 miles north of San Francisco. And when SF is socked in with summer fog, up north it's clear, hot and sunny - hence the perfect getaway.

View of the redwood "fairy ring" from hammock #1.

Clearly, I preferred hammock #2.

Manxie kept me company.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I don't like tomatoes. Over the years, I've learned to tolerate tomato sauce, bruschetta, bloody Marys - even an occasional caprese salad. But I've never been the type to eat a tomato with salt and pepper and a knife and fork - until now!

Yes, at 40 years old, this city girl finally tasted her first straight-from-the-vine tomatoes and what a delight!

Yesterday's breakfast - eggs and tomatoes.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Apartment

Recently, I had a professional photographer take some shots of my apartment.

Isn't it lovely? And clean?

Thursday, August 12, 2010


A small group of San Quentin volunteers is organizing our first-ever fund-raising event! Stay tuned. You will definitely hear more about that later.

For our first planning session, we met at Jupiter, which, apparently, is something of a Berkeley institution.

We shared the Galileo pizza - artichoke hearts, spinach, mushrooms, garlic, asiago and fontina cheese. Plus the magnificent crust was brushed with truffle oil. It was fantastic.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mushroom Risotto

According to Chef Gordon Ramsay, a perfectly cooked risotto is a hallmark of any decent chef.

I made this wonderful mushroom risotto the other night. Yes, it's time-consuming. Yes, it requires patience. But it's darn tasty in the end.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

bin 480

Beth and I met after work yesterday at the swanky bin 480 located in the Union Square Marriott Hotel.

For Happy Hour, wines by the glass were $6 and small plates just $5.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Crepe House

Faithful readers will recognize when I've fallen off the weight loss wagon ... more eating out posts. Must stop.

But first ... I enjoyed a Crab Cake Crepe (say that three times fast) at The Crepe House in Hayes Valley. It was quite tasty and not enormous, which was helpful. I also enjoyed the lightly-dressed greens and grilled potatoes. And may I also say the coffee was fantastic.

Friday, August 6, 2010


My homeowners' association deserves its own television show. There is near-constant drama, a colorful cast of San Francisco characters and hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake.

Last night, the board decided to spend $16,000 to install sconces in the hallway of each floor. Sconces? C'mon. I'd rather they reduce my monthly fees.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Europe vs. America

As many of you know, I work with a lot of Europeans these days - primarily in London and Geneva. And I've been struck by the disparity between the American and European work ethic. Now, I don't wish to denigrate our neighbors across the pond, in fact, I'm more than a little jealous. No matter that we've got a big event coming up Aug. 30 - holidays are more important. And I don't mean a three-day weekend - I mean three, four, six weeks off. Yes, in a row!

This article in today's New York Times really struck a chord.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I feel the need to rave about my latest obsession - Nip/Tuck. I don't have cable, so I'm often late to the party when it comes to hip, new TV shows. (Mad Men, Dexter, etc.) There are six seasons available on Netflix and I'm blowing through them. Can't seem to watch anything else.

Yes, it's soapy and sexy and superficial, but the characters are compelling, the story lines fascinating and I'm learning a lot about plastic surgery.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cable Car Cafe

Breakfast is my favorite going-out meal. On Saturday, I turned to my good friend, Yelp, and looked for a spot in my neighborhood that I hadn't tried. I wanted to sit and read my book, do a little people watching and eat good breakfast food that I couldn't make at home that didn't cost a lot of money.

Cable Car Cafe totally fit the bill. Yes, there were a lot of tourists, but it was amusing watching them in their shorts (bad idea for summer in SF!) and talk about how to get to Fisherman's Wharf on the overpriced cable cars.

Their specialty is crepes - and I had the $7 Healthy Start Crepe, which was stuffed with veggies and just the right amount of pesto sauce. It was scrumptious.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Book Group

I'm sure I've mentioned my book group here before, but I'm going to do it again because I feel the need to recommend our August book, "American Pastoral" by Philip Roth.

After many years and dozens of books, I feel I know the tastes of my group pretty well, but, admittedly, they surprised me last night. I thought Philip Roth's book was one of the best I've ever read. They ... did not.