And the award goes to . . . .  Citizen Chain Cyclery!  One evening last year I was walking through North Beach San Francisco came across a closed bicycle shop. This sign in the window was back-lit and glowed on an otherwise dark street.

Starting from the alliteration of the store name, the powerful image rendered in black and white recalls so many things on so many different levels.  It evokes   nostalgia of earlier days and what many people consider one of the greatest movies of the 20th Center, Citizen Kane.  There's the San Francisco connection as Citizen Kane was modeled after the infamous publisher William Randolf Hearst.  There's also a distant bicycle connection in the movie that you will find if you look at the  Citizen Chain Cyclery website. 

The NB SF CA  letters on the lower right hand corner reminded me of seals on Chinese paintings and prints.   The guy stares straight at you, his head partially blocking the store name - even more powerful than the movie poster.  Is this an invitation or a challenge?  Is he protective or welcoming?  The clenched hand around the wrench looks like a weapon.  Speaking of weapon, Patty Hearst of SLA fame is William Randolf Hearst's grandaughter -- another iconic image.  Ahh there are so many questions!

I really didn't take a survey of logos, but this is one of my favorites.   The folks there are pretty cool too!

At Vega Cafe, Folsom Street, San Francisco

Tuesday 8:00 AM financial meeting today at the office.  These monthly meetings aren't too exciting, but they're needed to run a Design firm.  

As a student, it was design, design, design.  Now I know you can't spend all your time designing.  Design only represents a small percentage of time you spend in a design firm.  I think of design as dessert after dinner - a treat after the basics.  If we pay attention to the basics, we can have a treat.

After the meeting, I worked on a new color scheme for this home in Pacific Heights.  Much more fun!

Grey, drizzling Monday morning.  I'm feeling a little blue.  The front steps are slippery and the cold steel handrail jolts my hand as I go to work.  Passing through the Civic Center I remember to stop at Vega Cafe for more Blue Bottle Coffee beans.
I turn onto Folsom Street and park.  This sunny gold baja 4 stroke cart at Vega greets and cheers me.    Wouldn't it be cool to drive around in this?  The day looks better already.

Sunday, time to take Mom grocery shopping.  99 Ranch Market has everything in the way of Chinese groceries and deli foods -- all in one location so I decide to take her to one in Daly City.  The heavy fog along Highway 35 near the Pacific coast reminds me of  winter tule fog in my central California Valley hometown of Reedley,  I switch on my headlights.
99 Ranch Market  emerges out of the fog and I turn into a handicap parking space  in front of the market.  The enticing aroma of crispy fried fish permeates the entire store - like fish and chips take out.  The seafood section brims with fresh and live seafood -- and if you want, they will fry the fish for you in their industrial sized deep fryers.  Seems popular, but the oil looks dark and suspicious.  I'll still steam my fish at home.  Mom loves shopping so she spends time making her selections and finding the best buys.  Ten pounds of rice or twenty?  "Oh Gwok Boh (Koko Rose) rice makes the best jook."  The thrill of the kill!  We stop for lunch before lugging the treasures home.

Live uni (OOOOH-ni sea urchin), too bad Chris isn't around.

Yesterday I was at the Asian Art Museum and the Main Library in San Francisco's Civic Center.  The library is right next to Market Street so I decided to take a bus home.
I see one of the historic trollies clink-clanging down Market Street, this one bright orange  -- a restored beauty from Milan -- the F line.  I hop on.  I decide to ride to the end of the line.  The polished dark wood puts me in another time and placed.  The F line starts in North Beach and ends at Castro Street.

I think about the lives of those who have stepped up for a ride. Going home or in seach of something?

Northstar, Tahoe December 20, 2010
The i-phone as a camera continues to fascinate me.  Its always there and always ready.  The A part of the AM family has been hanging together at Northstar near Lake Tahoe in December for the past few years.

Taking a walk, I try a few concious camera shots.  When composing a photo, conventional wisdom tells us to avoid placing the subject dead center in the photo.  Here I broke this rule and I think it works.  

This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.
Chris and I have a little bon voyage breakfast before she heads off to an art retreat in Sonoma, we sit at the counter at Plow Restaurant.

The new Plow Restaurant at 1299 18th Street is in the thriving Portrero Hill District overlooking San Francisco Bay. The tables are filled but we're happy to sit at the counter because we love to  watch the cooks prepare our food. 

Near the front door, my eye catches a subtle touch (see top photo) of one of the owners who is Chinese American.  These little heavy polychromed Chinese bowls were everywhere when I was a kid.  Now they're scarce and collectible.  The design of the restaurant is simple and straightforward and the space benefits from the north-facing large storefront windows and high ceilings.  It has a happy generous feel.  I read that the space was formerly an architect's office (another casualty of the economy?) and I remember walking by and noticing it before.

The food matches the space.  Simple, hardy, and good.  I have the scrambled eggs with crispy (deep) fried potatoes and rustic toast.  Chris has the french toast with fresh strawberries.  Good Equator coffee is served.  Worth a repeat trip.

The drip method versus the aeropress method.
Coffee - drip versus aeropress



I notice that the Chinese concept of yin (moon) and yang (sun) expresses itself everywhere (duh).  I recently bought an aeropress coffee maker after reading many reviews about the great coffee it makes.  We've always relied on the individual cup drip method as the best we found to date.  After trying the aeropress, I think it makes a better cup, but it takes more effort.  Worth it?  Yes for me and for Alex, but Chris prefers the drip method. 

The drip method is a perfect expression of yin - passive, yielding - while the aeropress is the perfect expression of yang - active, forceful.  With the drip method, you just pour the water over the coffee and it just makes coffee.  With the aeropress, you pour the into the cylinder containing the coffee, stir, and then use the plunger to force the water through the coffee.  Yin and Yang - is it a coincidence that the males in the family prefer the aeropress and the female prefers the drip method? 

Perhaps the standard for Tart Tartin
August 13, 2008 - We've come to appreciate how many good bakeries there are in Paris.  One of the best  (according to Chris) is Poilane Bakery at 49 Boulevard Grenelle 75015 Paris.  On this trip we stayed at the Paris Hilton (not recommended) almost next to the iconic  Eiffel Tower (recommended).  Nearby in walking distance is one of the Poilane Bakeries.

Beautiful sight isn't it.
 Did I tell you Chris makes the best apple pie?