Monday, June 27, 2011

Drew Building

DREW Building

There is this amazing building on the corner of California Street and Broderick in Pacific Heights. Sometimes I'll go on short walks in the surrounding areas of my work, and one day I came across this small urban college preparatory school for young people.

The outside of the building is covered in pockets in which plants and flowers grow from. On Drew's website it's described as a vertical garden. I have never seen anything like it, but every time I pass by, I can't help but smile and marvel at the idea.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Got Braces

So I got Braces! (yes I know I look like a dork!) They were put on my teeth May 26th 2011 and I am expected to have them on for 20 months! Clear on the top metal on the bottom. After years and years with crooked teeth I finally took the plunge. With turning 30 years old, there were a number of aging elements going on; from hitting a wall with my weight gain to crows feet and a significant streak of grey hair... I thought, it was time to take control of something that would improve my looks and self esteem. And my teeth became something that never really bothered me until now.. Well that's not completely true, they would bother me on and off, but for the most part I love imperfections on people's faces and in their mouth. I actually love the look of crooked teeth, braces, and facial scars.

I had always needed braces for crooked teeth, a gap, and cross bite ever since I was a child. But my parents could barely afford to feed us (well my mother) so getting the care I needed was out of the question. It has actually been very liberating to take charge of my life and making this decision, to do what for myself what my parents could not. They are taking a huge bite out of my savings but I was ready.

What I was not ready for was the pain! I consider myself to be a tough cookie, but I didn't think having braces would be this bad. They feel like metal boulders on my teeth, it was so scary to eat anything (which by the way I can't). It actually hurt to eat scrambled eggs, and at one point I was feeling ill and week due to a liquid soup diet.. Hey, maybe I'll conquer that weight issue after all?

But we are still early on in the game and I can only expect things to get better. All of my friends and family have been very supportive and playful. I think I can even notice some slight changing in my teeth even now... Here's to a very long 20 months and looking forward to a straight smile.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween in New Orleans

I have always wanted to go to New Orleans, and Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year, so combining the two and having a life partner that was just as, if not more excited to join me on my very first trip was incredible. Dylan and I hit the Lafayette Cemetery, The Garden Disrtict, Bourbon Street, and the Mississipi River. We took a haunted french quarter tour, a swamp tour, ate some incredible food and had some major alcohol beverages! The Stealers were in town to play the Saints, plus the Voodoo Music Festival was in full effect. Basically it was a chaotic long weekend filled with beauty, darkness, and drunkeness.
Beautiful tombstones decay in the Garden District's Lafayette Cemetery #1.
On our swamp tour we saw alligators, snakes, birds and turtles. Our guide was funny and super smart. He knew everything there was to know about nature, the people and animals. On the way to the swamps, we witnessed homes still in ruins from Katrina and on the water we got a real feel for the residents and shrimp catcher's stories who are also facing the BP spill today. Such sad times for such an amazing town.

Everywhere we looked, there were balconies covered in green plants. Fluer de Lises are all over this city, people were tossing beads left and right from up above, no one was without booze. Because this was such a football-crazed weekend, black jerseys out numbered costumes, but I chose to stick with the pretty stuff and would actually like to visit during a more mellow time. However there are hundreds of festivals in New Orleans through out the year, so quiet really isn't it's thing. I felt at time is was a shame to see neon lights displayed when I was really trying to take in the spanish architecture. However, it is what is is, the locals are warm, and seem to enjoy both aspects of mystery and frat-like atmospheres.
The food was really great. We ate gumbo, rabbit-sausage jambalaya, po'boys, beans and rice, and these incredibly delicious french-style donutes from Cafe Du Monde. I recommend hitting Coop's place and Port of Calls for the best burger I've ever had. Also the voodoo hurricanes from Laffitte's Blacksmith Bar (which I thought was the coolest bar at the end of Bourbon street (soft lighting, piano tunes, out door patio, more locals than not)).

Here is the oldest Catholic Church in America, Central to Jackson square where proffessional and no-so proffessional street performers, psychics, and vampire freaks hang out.

My costume this year.

On our haunted tour we visited the Jackson hotel, an old abandoned french-style home where Interview with the Vampire was filmed, dark allies, and the infamous LaLaurie Mansion now owned by Johnny Depp.

My souveniers to take back home with me consisted of cigars, pralines, and a voodoo doll.

Anne Rice's Former Home.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Top 5 Breakfast Spots in SF

#1. Zazie's in Cole Valley for their Cream Cheese Coffee Cake and Challah french toast with orange and cinnamon batter. They also have the prettiest back yard deck/patio, but the wait to sit is forever, however well worth it.

#2. The Pork Store on Haight (Upper Haight). It's an Old School simple Diner with loud plates crashing and servers running all over the place, I would get the blue berry pancakes (real blueberries), or the biscuits and gravy, or the Eggs in a Tasty Nest. There is usually a line out the door, but they seat you and serve you fast! Sit at the bar and watch the cooks in action!

#3. Gussie's in the Fillmore District. Chicken and Waffles, Bacon Gravy and Biscuits, The place is crowded with church people on a Sunday morning, lots of families dressed up. They also have a peach cobbler in a skillet with homemade cream. I would also recommend the green pepper potatoes.

#4. Kate's Kitchen in Lower Haight. They have really great ginger butter pancakes and have been here for years (very big in the 90's). The decor is chill and all around pretty descent menu.

#5. Outer Lands way out by the Sunset Beach. This place serves blue bottle coffee, its really rustic and cozy-cabin like. They serve green salad with their breakfast dishes, and the "Eggs in a Cage" as well as the Orange French Toast are pretty amazing (Really thick bread). It's usually chili while you wait for a seat outside so bring a scarf.

Monday, August 23, 2010

San Francisco Street Vendor Food Fest

This past weekend was the must anticipated Street Vendor Food Festival held in the heart of the Mission (Folsom Street between 24th & 26th and surrounding areas) where various vendors, restaurants, trucks, carts, and the like provided small bites, larger bites and complimenting beverages exposing the public to innovative fusions and creative experimental signature dishes. I don't know if I would necessarily qualify myself as a big'ol foodie, however I do love to eat, and when I try something new (and often) I tend to form a strong opinion about what I just tasted right off the bat, thus I spent much of my Saturday here stuffing my face.
The place was super packed with lines crowding the streets, local performers, beer gardens, and a plethora of local hipsters adorning roof tops, sidewalks, and front porches licking their fingers, whipping their mouths, and boozing it up. Here are the highs and lows of what we tried, what we loved, and what didn't blow us away.

Our first order was the best by far. We got a small Tamale bite to start, then a "Metallica" and "Whiplash" from Brass Knuckle: A "Metallica" is basically a roasted pork and ham sandwich with melted Swiss cheese and herbs between two rosemary belgium waffles (not buns)!! It was really yummy. They served it with a watermelon mint cooler, or "Whiplash" as they call it, which is basically watermelon juice with jalapeno and basil. That too was really delicious. Brass Knuckle is a traveling vendor, so unfortunately the best booth by far was one that we can't dine at here in the City, what a big tease!

Our next stop was pretty mediocre, we tried the flank skirt steak kabob, a fire stick (pepper) and lime-cooler. (Not so great, chewy, bleh.) I believe this was from Water and Flour. However the stand next to it was serving $2 pulled porksandwiches that rocked. Over on Treat Street we tried a lemon-cookie ice cream from Three Twins Ice Cream in Lower Haight which was to DIE FOR!!! It was so good we had to pick up a pint the following day on our way home. Three Twins serves organic gourmet stuff all over the city, and some of their flavors included peanut butter chocolate and seasonal peach, Thank you Jesus!

Lastly, we craved something salty towards the end and tried some fried chicken and grilled corn on the cob (since the asian tacos and gourmet smores' were all sold out) which was pretty juicy and the spices very tasty. But then again, how wrong can you go with fried chicken? Am I right?

Other items that we didn't get to but might have had better luck with and looked great this year included a meatball sandwich, those asian tacos and gourmet smores' I mentioned, a honey cola, bbq'd ribs, and funnel cake...
Well there you have it, my first experience attending the Street Vendor Food Festival
in San Francisco, a City known for its innovative and delicious cuisine, organic, and culturally dynamic plates. I ain't no food critic despite depositing my two cents over on yelp. But thought I'd document the experience if only to savor the memories of tasting, smelling, and romancing the memories of the yummy and diverse food we had enjoyed.
For more information and future times and dates for this particular event, A listing of all sponsors and participating vendors or items, I would visit

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Peach Pie in a Jar

Peach Pie in a Jar! YU-UM!
There is this really great arts n’ crafts joint called the workshop, just one block from where I live in the NOPA area of San Francisco. There you can learn how to sew, create art, and perform all things trendy and crafty. They even have a Metal jazzercise class where you do muscle curls with cans of Pap’s blue ribbon as your weights! Fun! So I’m walking around the corner and take a quick peek at the up and coming class schedule and notice that there is one on how to make pie in a jar. “Pie in a jar” Really? That same week I came across actual pies in jars for sale at the local Mission Indie Mart. They were so adorable and looked so yummy I decided to try and recreate them on my own. Last year I made canned jams and jellies for Christmas gifts, so I was feeling pretty brave in the baking and canning department.

Here is how I did it, using ½ pint jars to make 10 individual pies.

The Crust: I made generic pie dough (like you would for any recipe asking for crust) using:
2 ½ C of Flour
1 Tsp salt
2/3 C butter flavored Crisco
1/4 C cold water 
In a med size bowl I mixed all of the dry ingredients and added the shortening in chunks (small spoon-full’s at a time). After blending a bit, I added the cold water little by little and used my hands to start molding and mixing everything together. You may need more H20 if the dough seems a bit dry, but don’t let it get too wet or else you will need more dry ingredients.I wrapped the dough in plastic and put to the side until I was ready for it (you can also place in the fridge for later use).

The Filling:
5 1/2 C organic peaches from the local farmer’s market) peeled, seeded, and chopped.
2/3 C white sugar (you can use more or less depending on the sweetness of the fruit).
3 Tsp Flour (once again use more or less depending on fruit (something dry like apples may not need much or it may call for a squeeze of lemon to wet things up a bit).
3 Tsp cinnamon (maybe more, I love the smell of this stuff while it’s baking!)
In the same sized bowl I mixed all of these ingredients until the peaches were caramelized and shiny and delicious.

I then rolled out the dough with some flour and used the jar lids (using ½ pint jars) as cutters for the bottom layer crust. I then took strips of dough and pressed then into the inner walls of the jars. (I will have to admit, this part (and peeling fruit) was the most tedious). Get your boyfriend involved if he’s hanging around to help out, that’s what I did, put his ass to work!

Fill up the jars with the fruit and top off with a crumb topping. In a small bowl mix these ingredients: 
½ C brown sugar
½ C flour2 Tsp. oats
½ Tsp. cinnamon
Dot the top of each pie with a few tsp. of butter.
Bake um! Place the mini pies on a baking sheet and pop in the oven. But DO take off the lids. Bake for about 45 min to an hour in a 375 deg oven. The filling should be bubbling and the tops nice and brown, and your apt should smell sweet. 

The nice thing about this recipe is that if you wanted to freeze the pie jars for another time (before baking them) you can, and when you have the craving for something sweet, just pop in the oven! Also I have found that after I bake’um, I can place the lid back on (careful they are hot) and transport them to a party, picnic, the office or wherever. The heat concealed in the glass jars keeps them warm for about 45 min, so by the time you and your friends are ready to eat you won’t need a microwave or oven near by. Awesome right?

As for me and my little helper (aka boyfriend), we had to have ours right away. I topped off mine with cool whip, his with honey flavored Greek yogurt, and they were perfect.
Perfect gifts, great idea, and you can also create cute packaging for a bake sale or just to impress the hell out of your friends and family, because I find that life is really fun when you focus on the aesthetics and presentation. It just makes eating pie that much more special. Enjoy.