A blogger seeking a richer life... in a wasteland called the suburbs... for my family, myself, and anyone who will listen!

Friday, October 29, 2010

SF Restaurant Mania

I was a little crazy about where we were going to dine in SF...  with only four nights and memories (11 years worth) of great meals in this foodie, forward thinking town there was a lot of pressure... Our first meal was at La Mar, a Peruvian hotspot that was good ('cebiche') but not great, with the exception of the servers... they were terrific, and not just from our experience but afterward we heard a buzz about them too.

Prospect, Nancy Oakes' new restaurant (1st hit... Boulevard) with chef Ravi Kapur was outstanding in it's contemporary American cuisine including cocktails.  The dining room is warm and relaxed, but a bit nondescript... 
Wagyu Zabuton
Chicken Roulade

Wagyu Zabuton is a Japanese steak with marbling that makes it melt in your mouth!
I don't usually order steak at a restaurant, but this came highly recommended and it was worth every bite.
My husband had the chicken which they transformed into a most delicate and tasty dish beyond our expectations too.

Our last and final dining spot was a hit and a great way to end our stay in SF... it was Campania, Italy (southern part near Naples) by way of San Francisco.  It was casual, warm, boisterous, and chic... serving fabulous pizzas (and much more) paired with unusual wines... oh, and we let our server choose the wine... good decision.
We had a guest dining with us so I was distracted and we ate all the delicious food before I had a chance to get photos... sorry, but this is a must on your visit and you'll be on Chestnut street where there is great shopping so you can kill two... 

Bon Appetit... and Happy Halloween!
I love candy corn and the way it melts in my mouth... what's your favorite candy?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

From San Fran

It was great to go back and see old friends and old places in San Francisco.  When we first arrived so did the first winter storm with colder temps and lots of wind and rain...
Last Sunday
So we spent a good part of the afternoon at the Ferry Building Marketplace which is filled with gourmet food shops and restaurants... 
...from coffee to fungi... from cheese to crab we managed to eat our way through...
By Monday morning the weather had cleared and it was sunny in the low 60's, perfect for walking the city and we did... somehow after all these years, I never forgot my way around and the memories of a distant life came rushing back...
Tomorrow I'll tell you about great restaurants we dined in... North Beach, my old school and more...

Friday, October 22, 2010

My San Fran

This is where I'll be tomorrow... my old stomping ground for over a decade!

The kids (12 and 14) are staying home... we'll be flying NY to SF... and what it took to make arrangements for them for 5 days... well, I hope it was worth it.
Thanks to my sister-in-law and great friends the arrangements are set, with the kids all over the place on the weekend (homecoming weekend) and to all their scheduled activities during the week I consider it quite a feat... so will it be out-of-sight out-of-mind or will I be worrying and calling the whole time! 

Or worse, will they be calling me while I'm taking in every moment of only the second time my husband and I have ever left the kids (last year in New Orleans was the first)...  just the two of us!
This time it's harder they're older, with one in high school, it's way more complicated this time.  The homework, the activities... OMG my head is spinning and I'm stressed out, but I'm hoping that 6 hours on the plane I'll decompress and the excitement will build... there's not much I can do 3,000 miles away and 3 hours time difference... just have to enjoy every minute of this beautiful city by the bay.

I'll be taking tons of photos... not touristy stuff, but what San Francisco has meant to me and of the SF that's new after 8 years since my last visit.
I hope to eat my way through this great culinary city starting at the Ferry Building Marketplace to the Mission District... and we'll be walking off all that food by walking everywhere we possibly can including all my old neighborhoods... Russian Hill and Protrero Hill... seeing my old school, The San Francisco Art Institute, where I hear they have a cafe at the school with spectacular views of the bay and beyond and where I once used to hang out with artist friends.  
One of four murals in the Bay Area painted by Diego Rivera

Have a great weekend and I'll be back blogging next Thursday the 28th.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Driving & Texting, Texting and Driving... Watch Out!!!

Yesterday, I was driving home with my 12 year old from his music lesson down a country road behind a teenage driver (girl) with all the tell-tale signs of of one who was texting/reading and driving.  This went on for about 2 miles!!!  I could see the lit screen she was holding up while she was slowly and erratically driving her Mercedes.  When the road became two lanes I pulled into the lane beside her and I could see clearly that she was scrolling and reading info on the small screen.  She looked over at me while I looked at her in disbelief... her face was expressionless as she turned back to her business... as far as I was concerned, it was 'lethal business'!

In this months issue of AAA's Car & Drive Magazine there is a very telling article, "Albany AWOL on Texting" on stalled legislation in Albany regarding texting and driving.  It's already illegal but not as a primary offense which ties the hands of the enforcers...

The statistics are glaring... the NTSA reported that 16% of traffic fatalities in 2009 were due to distracted drivers and of all distractions texting poses the greatest risk..."because it distracts drivers visually, manually and cognitively, creating a trifecta of deadly distractions."

Your NY community needs your support, let them know you want tougher laws to protect us...
Visit  www.capwiz.com/aanys/home to weigh in on this important issue!... when you click the link it only takes about 30 seconds to fill-in-the-blank email those politicians in Albany.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sale I Missed

Today I'll be calling the BCBCMAXAZRIA store at my local mall... I bought these earrings yesterday... they are perfecr for a Nicole Miller dress I recently purchased, but I thought they were a little over-priced, and today they're on sale online for $61.60... this photo doesn't do it justice, they're darker more like a gunmetal grey...

I saw this bag and really wanted it, but restrain took over... now it's also on sale and it's a great looking bag, just the right size, should I or shouldn't I?...  

Well, first I'll be calling the store today about the earring price drop, to see if they are going on sale in-store too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Powerful 11 Minutes

We're leaving on a trip to San Francisco soon, a beautiful city I lived in for 11 years before moving back to New York... "Why did you move back?", people often ask... well, that's another story for another time.

So last night when I thought I was tuning into Amazing Race, which was pushed back due to football running late, I caught the end of a story on 60 Minutes (an old favorite) about a man who recently found an old film, shot in San Francisco on Market Street only days before the 1906 Earthquake destroyed most of the city... 
A week later this happened...

...eerie, really eerie and sad, and a little scary since I wasn't thinking about earthquakes, only thinking about visiting my favorite spots, seeing old friends and of course eating my way through what I believe is the best city to enjoy a myriad of fantastically creative ethnic and fresh American cooking and not break the bank, like in NY.  

I experienced 3 earthquakes in California while living there... two in SF and one in LA. I'll be taking lots of photos and will write about the trip when I return.

Many new ideas come from California, a place where experimentation is the norm.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Sunny Holiday Kitchen

It's not too early to start planning for Thanksgiving if you're the host... I mean as far as your kitchen tools, dishes, etc....  or if you're a guest invited to a Thanksgiving feast, what will you bring your host?
Don't wait until the last minute and putting thought into a gift really shows you care...  Here are some ideas of things I liked at one of my favorite sites, Anthropologie... I love yellow, so here are some great gifts with a sunny theme... 
Oh, and the price is right too!

This reminds me of my something my grandmother had in her collection...

You can use this to limit the kids TV time too...

This is great for everyday cooking... I have so many tops with oil splatter stains...

If there are young kids around, these illustrations by Charley Harper are unique...

Italian Cooking is my favorite and this book gives you a glimpse into the folk culture also...

I'll be keeping you posted on my Thanksgiving menu plans.

Share your ideas with us by leaving a comment.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Cool Whip Thing

Ode to Cool Whip... that sweet, light, pillowy thing that doesn't try to be anything else... no nothing like real whipped cream at all... I love you, not you Cool Whip, but your Lite sibling Cool Whip Lite... shhhh don't tell your foodie friends... wait... tell your foodie friends and if they're not foodie snobs they probably like it too!

So I've written about Cool Whip before, why not, I always have the big tub on hand for a frothy cup-o-joe, to a dessert topping, to lemonade pie, etc... so when i saw this recipe for Chocolate Almond Frozen Mousse from the Pioneer Woman I just could'nt resist passing it on to you for a quick and easy dessert in a pinch.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bargain Bags

Is it the right shape, size, color and weight?... buying a bag or pacabook (in new yorkese) is not as easy as it seems... it's a very personal thing.  So I though I would pass along these 5 beauties which I think are great looking and even better on the wallet!

Accessories, accessories, accessories... they make the woman!

Now, just for fun... what's the most unusual thing you carry in YOUR BAG?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time Stands Still

Making our way to the roof
Big Bambu'
The stunning 'Khubilai Khan' in the China exhibit

The lobby of the Met

After a great time at the Met on Sunday seeing the outdoor installation of "Big Bambu' we headed downtown to Chinatown for dinner.  I had a list of possible restaurants I did some research on but nothing definitive... the foodie in me was not confident about anything on my list as I even tried to pin one place down (using my Droid) on the cab ride down to Chinatown.  We wanted Szechuan, but my sister-in-law was pushing for an old-fashioned Cantonese reminiscent of our childhood... we landed at Wo Hop on Mott Street, a solid choice with classic dishes like lobster cantonese, sweet and sour pork, egg foo young, etc... maybe not as good as I remembered.  While they waited on line, I walked over to Joe's Shanghai, a better choice for a gourmet treat, but they were ready to seat us so my family called me back to Wo Hop...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Big Bambu'

Yesterday we took the kids into the city (NYC) for a day of high and low cultcha at the MET and dinner in Chinatown...
The artworlds twin brothers, Mike and Doug Starn, were asked to create a site-specific installation on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art... the monumental bamboo structure is an ongoing work in progress constructed by a team of artists and rock climbers.  This network of 5,000 interlocking bamboo poles tied together with nylon rope is like a forest at the base and is walkable above on elevated pathways if you book the walking tour.  We came too late in the day for the tour yesterday, they were sold out by noon, but it was still very cool...

It was a spectacular fall day and the people watching was one of the best parts!
Tomorrow, more about our day...