Blog Archives - AM Musings
 
Picture
David Chang's Lucky Peach Journal
Yes we are a bourgeois society where everything is "special".  I was at Green Apple Books on Clement Street recently and saw this new quarterly Journal on food.  The person behind the counter said these were selling fast here in San Francisco.  Surprising since all publications seem to be withering away. 

We are a foodie town.  Lucky Peach, started by foodie bad boys Anthony Bourdain and David Chang, feeds our current obsession with food.  Yet we all need to eat, so it might as well be good, interesting, healthy and sustainable. Besides, it's a damn good read.  Check out this article that includes a look inside the magazine.
 
Picture
Incanto Exterior Wall Decoration
We celebrated Chris' birthday at Incanto Restaurant.  Located at 1550 Church Street at Duncan in Noe Valley.  At 6:30 PM parking was easy, but parking may be difficult at later times.  Featured in an Anthony Bourdain TV episode on San Francisco, it has a reputation for it devotion to pork and offal.   I love pork, but I'm a little quesy about innards.  Katie, however, is adventuresome and ordered the lamb heart tartar.  I admit it was good, but I stopped at a taste.  Katie gobbled it up.  

The design of the restaurant has a nice traditional Italian feel about it, but still crisp and contemporary.  The front of the restaurant faces east and at 6:30 PM the summer late afternoon sunlight reflected off the walls of building across the street -- backlighting and making the faces of my dining partners difficult to see.  It's a difficult lighting problem.  You either boost the lighting on the inside to balance the light from the outside -- or you shade the windows from the outside glare.

The salumi platter was available in three sizes and the mid-sized platter was generous and the selection good.  My slow braised pork shoulder lacked the succulent moisture I was expecting.  Best dishes were the ragu handkerchief pasta with duck egg on top - deliciously rich and Bay leaf panna cotta.  They have a great looking website and an interesting read.  Take a look here.
     
 
Picture
Anglo American Glasses
I saw these frames at eiwear on 4th Street in Berkeley and are the same brand I wear.  Several iconic architects of the 20th century wore glasses similar to these.  Round thick plastic frames like these usually in black or tortoise shell were found on Corbusier, Phillip Johnson and I.M. Pei. 
Picture
Left - Corbusier Center - Phillip Johnson Right - I.M. Pei
Someone once commented when they were reading a note from me that I wrote in that distinctive architect's printing style.  It's true, a uniformity of printing style was demanded during the days of hand drafting.  Filling out a job application meant you were judged not only by the content, but also by your printing ability!  

As I wrote about the architect Robert Stern, the image of the architect is always carefully crafted and how your present yourself to the world represents how you approach all things in life -- with care, precision, thought, and artistic excellence.  If only it were as simple as donning a pair of glasses.
 
Picture
Demonstration Sign from the Vietnam War era
Richard Nixon is perhaps the most controversial 20th Century political figure in American history and his flawed "reign" seems to herald the modern era of  deep distrust of  leadership.  This silk screen poster on cardboard was used in an anti-Vietnam war  demonstration and is a brilliant example of political commentary.  Its prescient commentary, draftsmanship and composition are superb.  My compliments to its unknown creator.

Almost 40 years later, just change the person and it still seems relevant, when pulling strings behind the scenes affects the destiny of millions.   
 
Picture
San Francisco Main Library Handrail and Brackets
I'm continuing my examination of handrails and brackets. 

I wrote about missed opportunities of the San Francisco Main Library and the architect I. M. Pei in May 2011.  Since I'm always passing by the Main Library, I was there to pick up a couple of books on the 4th floor and went up the stairs.  I hadn't noticed these handrail brackets with the little rectangular box attachment to the wall before. 

This was an interesting detail as it looks to be specifically designed for this building with its high round atrium "lobby".  Beyond its simple geometric shape, I'm trying to discern how it fits into the overall design concept of the library.  Not everything needs to have "meaning" but I was just wondering . . .  

 
Picture
Left - Berkeley Main Post Office early 20th century - Right Florence Foundling Hospital early 15th Century
On my way to a meeting with the Berkeley Planning Department, I passed one of my favorite buildings, the Berkeley Main Post Office at 2000 Allston Way near the Civic Center.  Like many neoclassic public buildings of the late 19th and early 20th century, they are inspired by the renaissance buildings in Italy.  The post office is clearly a descendant of the Foundling Hospital in  Florence, Italy designed by the great architect Brunelleschi at the beginning of the renaissance.  Consider one of the first renaissance buildings, it has inspired buildings around the world.  The post office was designated an historical landmark in 1981.  Not bad for a copy.
Picture
Cobb Elementary School - San Francisco
Follow-up note:  Just two blocks down Pine Street is Cobb Elementary School - another descendant of the Foundling Hospital.

 
Picture
Expresso Chocolate Cake with Butter Cream Frosting
Picture
Birthday cake with ice cream
Celebrating three birthdays in our family, Katie bakes a Expresso Chocolate Cake with Butter Cream Frosting!

 
Picture
Ann Sacks Ceramic Tile being delivered to Pine Street
I ordered ceramic tile from Ann Sacks on June 28th and they said it should be delivered in 7-10 days.  I always thought Ann Sacks was pretty high end, but the last time I went in, they had some moderately priced tile.  It's hard looking on-line and at small samples to figure out how it will look.  The showroom is a better place to try and visualize the final result.

Sure enough, it got here July 8th within 10 days via ABF delivery from the east coast.
Picture
a 1,000 lbs of tile
I ordered two different tiles and everything looks in good shape -- except I think I got an extra box of one type and was short one box of the other.   Oops, double checked - its all ok.  I had to make a little space for it in our packed garage.  Thanks Katie, for helping make space.

 
Picture
Fashion statement on Valencia Street
 

 The evolution of design in architecture moves relatively slowly while the look of fashion, graphics and electronics can  change almost overnight.  Those who follow fashion will notice the slightest change in fit, color, length and other minor details that add up to the "new " look.  I admit to being a little ignorant about fashion, but I follow an interesting blog called the Sartorialist started by a guy who photographs people on the street around the world.  Sometimes trendy, sometime very ordinary, he photographs people who obviously pay attention to how they dress. 

This guy on Valencia Street in the photo above obviously pays attention too.  You don't just happen to roll your jeans up above your ankles, add a sport coat and run out the door.  That's a big "look at me"  statement.  Sometimes it's great and sometimes it's not.  We all need a little self-knowledge and confidence to know what works.  It's the same in designing buildings.  If you design something that attracts attention, it better be good. 

I was walking along Valencia to a restaurant when this guy walked by me.  I thought, what the heck and snapped a picture.  This is my first attempt at a Sartorialist type photo.  Check out his blog here. His photos and the look of the website are great.  
 
Picture
Fog City Diner Interior
 

Fog City Diner at 1300 Battery is in a beautiful section of town adjacent to the Levi Gardens (designed by the noted landscape architect Lawrence Halprin)  with a view down the Embarcadero.  Situated at the tip of a triangular shaped corner you get great views much like Zuni Cafe on Market Street.  Although designed as a diner, it's more reminiscent of an old luxury train car like the Orient Express with polished dark woods and booths.  Fog City has been around for a least 20 years and although not the hot spot it once was, it is still popular.

Picture
Fog City Hamburger
Any diner must serve a decent hamburger and Fog City is no exception.  Alex almost always orders a burger if it is on the menu.  Fog City's is classic in every way and served with fries!