Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas at the Mayan Beach Garden

More from the inn:

And, of course, if there's a golden retriever, I'll find her. Meet Sadie (and Jennifer from New York).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Blondes

Meet Johanna from Stockholm.

Why do we meet the best buddies while traveling?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mayan Ruins

Wednesday was "ruins day." I visited sites in Tulum and Coba and the latter was definitely the stand-out. I arrived as it opened and hired a Mayan guide who'd been working there for 12 years, so he really knew his stuff. Tulum, on the other hand, was very crowded and touristy. It reminded me of going to "see the redwoods" at Muir Woods.

Two photos from Coba - the huge pyramid is the only one in Mexico you're still allowed to climb.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ides of March

I don't go to the theater very often, but when I do, I'm reminded of how pleasant the experience can be.

This holds true even when the movie isn't "all that." Such was the case yesterday when I saw Ides of March. So predictable, it was almost boring. Well, it WAS boring - until the big plot secret is revealed - maybe 30 or 45 minutes into the movie.

That said, watching good actors and beautiful people - like George - is always pleasant.

This flick came with a decent recommendation from family and friends, so I'd love to hear what you think.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I love, love, love this neighborhood sushi place. Cute place, great ambiance, reasonably priced sushi.

Last night, I took Mike and Kristine there and introduced them to my favorite roll - the Volcano!

It's an unusual mix of shrimp, jalapeno, cucumber and ... peanut butter! Not as weird as it sounds. I promise.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dong Baek

A group of friends and I checked out Dong Baek, the Korean restaurant adjacent to my apartment building. I had hoped to replicate the awesome food I enjoyed in Seoul. While it definitely fell short of that goal, it was an interesting culinary experience.

The vegetarian bibimbap was definitely the highlight for me.

But I also really love the banchan or little dishes of pickled and spicy yummy things. I'll definitely be back - but maybe just for take-out as the service was lackluster.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Sugar pie pumpkins are different than jack-o-lantern pumpkins. The former are used for cooking, while the latter are used for ... well ... jack-o-lanterns. I wondered whether pumpkin pie and other goodies would taste better with real pumpkin vs. canned.

I picked up two cuties at the farmer's market, then took them home, sliced them in half and cleaned them. (Yay! More seeds to roast!)

They only needed about 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven to become wonderfully soft and scoopable.

I pureed the pulp, then drained it and popped it in the freezer. Minimal hassle for what, hopefully, will be maximum taste.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Asian Pear Pie

The Asian pears at the farmer's market were so affordable and so beautiful, I could not resist. Figuring out what to do with them was a bit tricky, though. I ended up using this recipe.

Eight pears peeled, cored and sliced. Thank goodness for my food processor.

My first-ever double crust pie - ready for the oven.

Ah, beautiful!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fortune Cookie Chronicles

Adventures in the World of Chinese Food.

Written by longtime New York Times reporter, Jennifer 8. Lee, this is a unique look at the impact of Chinese food in America and elsewhere. That's the quick synopsis, though. It's really much, much more than that. Read it.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Thanks to Louise for introducing me to Chaya. It's a lovely spot on the Embarcadero that's a bit off the beaten path, so not too crowded.

We shared a yummy ahi on a rice cake appetizer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Outside in the Rain

Listen to Brian's new song and enjoy some lovely Wisconsin scenery in his video.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

I think the Early Girl bounty is just about finished, so Louise and I hit the farmer's market yesterday to load up. She made a savory jam, while I decided to slow-roast mine.

Here they are drizzled with olive oil, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper and ready to go in the oven - at 200 degrees for 10 hours! Yes, 10 hours! Needless to say, I forgot to take a photo when I popped those babies out at 11 p.m. and stuck them in the freezer. They looked (and smelled!) delicious.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bar Adagio

Pay no attention to the meat. The pizza - topped with kale, pistachios and apples! - was superb!

Even though it's technically a hotel bar, Bar Adagio enjoys a mix of locals and tourists. The bartenders are great and the Brewers won! What more could a girl want?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Summer Bounty

I know I keep saying I don't like tomatoes, then I keep eating them. Something about summer farmer's market tomatoes are so very yummy. Last night, I mixed together Early Girls, cucumbers, dill and feta and added some couscous for a quick and summery supper.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Book Thief

This book by Australian Markus Zusak has ascended to my Top Five Ever list.

While it was not universally loved in my book group, it certainly was roundly respected. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chickpea Cauliflower Curry

I love putting a few ingredients I have at home into the computer to see what kind of recipes pop up. Last night, I made this healthy chickpea cauliflower curry.

I left out the carrot (didn't have any) and the cloves (don't like them) and I increased the curry powder and added a bit of cardamom and garam masala. I couldn't believe how easy it was and how I didn't need any oil. Unlike most Indian dishes, it was very waistline friendly.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Corn Chowder

Soup and Packer games just seem to go together.

Yesterday, I was intend on crafting a menu around the farmer's market, not the other way around. A few friends came over to watch the game and we enjoyed this incredible corn chowder with cobs fresh from the market. (For the record, I used two peppers, not one.) I also made a couscous with fresh cucumbers and Early Girl tomatoes. Delicious!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Heirloom Tomatoes

Sunday's farmer's market was a feast for the senses! Tomatoes, corn, stone fruit - in California, they're all hitting their peak.

Now, I'm not a tomato fan, but sometimes ... just sometimes ... a good tomato can send me over the moon. The heirlooms are here and at $1.75 a pound, they're certainly not a bargain, but they make up for it in deliciousness.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quinn's Lighthouse

Georgia, Janie, Beth and I ventured out to Alameda - yes, Alameda - and enjoyed Sunday lunch at a great waterfront bar and grill-type place.

The food, the company and the ambiance were delightful.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gracias Madre

Gracias Madre is a vegan Mexican restaurant in the Mission. Yes, vegan Mexican. To me, that means heaven.

I had wonderful enchiladas with mole sauce and cashew "cheese" and a side of greens.

Louise ordered the tamale. Both were scrumptious!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


It's great watching this lucky lady let her personality come out. The progress she's made in just four days in SF has been amazine! She attracts a ton of attention on the streets. I think we need to go to Fort Funston this weekend.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Giant Run!

Margaret ran a half-marathon on Saturday and it was my job to meet her at the finish line. While I didn't quite get there on time (Margaret was a speed demon!), we did enjoy hanging out in the VIP section (pictured) and later, across the street at Momo's.

Friday, August 26, 2011

John Legend and Sade

I met Michelle after work yesterday for drinks and planned to take the train home. When our restaurant suddenly filled with people, we wondered what was going on. Turns out John Legend and Sade were playing right across the street. I ran over, bought a $50 ticket and enjoyed an unexpected night of great music!

My view of Sade strutting her stuff. She changed clothes four times and looked beautiful as ever.

The very sexy John Legend also was a fantastic showman.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Last night, Beth and I checked out Jasper's, the new gastropub in the old space occupied by Ponzu. What an improvement!

In addition to a cute bartender from Wauwatosa, the place now offers a better menu, tastier food and a more pleasant ambiance. The crudo - thin strips of fish marinated ceviche-style - was superb. My only complaint is the dim lighting, which made the menu nearly impossible to read. (I'm sure the problem isn't my aging eyes.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Muttville is an organization that specializes in older dogs. They rescue them from shelters, clean them up a bit, then find new homes for them.

I've decided to foster this guy. He was seized from his owner who left him in the backyard for more than a year with no food or water. He survived because of the kindness of a neighbor who fed him through the fence. Stay tuned for more details.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Golfing with Shaelin

My nephew is 7 and, boy, do they grow fast when you only see them once or twice a year!

Grandpa and Grandma gave him golfing lessons this summer.

Look at that form!

You can't call it a golf outing unless you finish it off with lunch.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Miller Park

Brian, Mike, Kristine and I went to see the Brewers win - again! - on Tuesday night. If you're following baseball at all this season, you'll know that Milwaukee can do no wrong. World Series? In my hometown? Time will tell.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

V Bar

San Jose, hip? Who knew? Last night, my colleagues and I met at V Bar on Santana Row for happy hour.

First off, Santana Row is an outdoor promenade and shopping area. I thought it had a really quaint, European feel.

Then, V Bar is a rooftop bar with lovely views and stunning decor. Every place in San Jose has outdoor seating because the weather is always so lovely - certainly a nice break from cold and foggy SF.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

HSBG (to those in the know)

From Elbow to Emmylou. And Ryan Bingham to Fitz and the Tantrums. I'm already excited about the 11th Annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Usually, I hate big outdoor concerts, but I've attended every one (except two) of these extravaganzas and they keep getting better and better.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ranch Dog #2

This is a photo of Lulu, courtesy of her owner. If this photo doesn't make you smile, nothing will.