Moving from one block to the next can make a great change in neighborhoods in San Francisco. In some instances, just crossing the street can make a difference. The south-west corner of Geary and Larkin is just plain nasty! Cross the street to the north and you start leaving the bad parts of the Tenderloin. Not posh mind you, but better.
Thai House Express is located on the north-west corner of Geary and Larkin. It is our favorite Thai restaurant in the City. The staff is friendly and there is an open kitchen. Of all the cuisines, Thai seems to be the spiciest and they ask how spicy you would like the food. Medium seems to be hot enough for me. If you like fried bananas with coconut ice cream, they have it here.
Roasted Mussels with Bread Crumbs
Bar Jules is on the edge of an interesting couple of blocks at 609 Hayes Street in Hayes Valley. Simple in design and presentation, it's a nice spot for lunch and a stroll afterwards for window browsing.
What caught my eye was the Bar Jules sign in mixed colors and different typefaces and sizes. Somehow that simple statement explains the sensibilities of the owner of the restaurant.
Halliday & Baillie has solved my problem. I've been looking for a simple elegant handrail that attached seamlessly (at least visually) into the wall. It also needed to attach to the handrail without obstructing the flow of the hand as it glides along the top and inside surface of the handrail. So I've found the solution for the Pine Street handrail. I should get them in about a week.
Kenji is working on our bathroom remodel. Trained in Japan, he still uses traditional Japanese saws when it suits him. He also built the cabinet that we had in the bathroom and are saving to re-use again. Click here for a link to Kenji's website.
Carmel must have very strict design guidelines in order to have maintained its "Spanish Colonial" look for so many years. Even this little vent grille set in the exterior of this thickly plastered wall maintains the look.
Very little if any of Carmel actually dates from the colonial period. Probably the only building that does is the restored Carmel Mission built by Father Junipero Serra in 1770. All children going through the California public school system learn about the California missions and I was no exception. My Dad took us on a special trip just to see the Mission.
Because these new reproduction buildings are already 80 years old, they have acquired a certain patina that lends an air of authenticity.
Although the heat of summer is still baking most of the country, San Francisco is an exception. In San Francisco, you can wear a sweater almost any day of the year. Still, winter is coming and like all of nature, we start preparing for cold weather. Chris bought some yarn at Atelier Yarns on Divisidero Street and has started to knit a scarf of rich harmonizing colors. See above. Some lucky person will be looking very dapper this December.
My Scrapbook Entry for Dagnino
Last year Chris' friend in Rome said Pasticceria Dagnino had the best pastries in all of Rome. Before moving on to Bologna , we thought we'd better check it out. The bakery also had a cafe that served lunch so we sat down and had a bite to eat.
Next to us a 3 generation Italian family sat down and immediately ordered these delicious looking fried balls. As soon as the plates were on the table, the entire family dived in and devoured them. Not being able to resist, we asked the waiter to bring some for us as well. Arancini are cheese stuffed balls of risotto that are deep fried. They are delicious and we thought we found a new and unique Italian dish.
Lo and behold, when I returned to my normal routine in San Francisco of shopping at Trader Joe's -- what do I SEE! Arancini Bites in the frozen food section! I guess Trader Joe's is on the ball for finding things new and exciting.
Summer House Kitchen on College Avenue near Ashby in Berkeley is a new restaurant and bakery with a simple farmhouse look. The pulled pork sandwich reminded me of my hometown of Reedley, California where the annual Fiesta was held every year in October. For a small town it was a big affair with a parade, live music and food. When I was a kid, the old timers would dig a pit in the park and make deep pit BBQ of gigantic hunks of meat wrapped in gunny sacks and cooked in the ground overnight. Moist, smoky, and simply delicious.
Summer House is near the ICI Ice Cream shop and that's where we headed after lunch.
19 August 2011: Today I climb the stairs to an unknown future. I feel like a nervous novitiate about to enter a monastery and start a new life - excited and apprehensive at the same time. I start the three year long training program at the Asian Art Museum. Most of the 60 of us are unfamiliar faces to each other, yet in the course of three years, we will be comrade in arms.
If I start talking about Asian Art a bit more on this blog you will know why.
Growing up in the San Joaquin Valley, I never heard of dry farmed tomatoes. With 100+ degree weather for days on end, growing vegetables and other crops was only possible with irrigation. Dry farmed tomatoes wouldn't be possible with this intense heat. The tomatoes my parents grew were sweet, big and flavorful because of the intense heat and proper watering. Too much water and the tomatoes' flavor would be diluted and the tomatoes could also split.
Dry farmed tomatoes are perfect for the Bay Area's cooler marine climate. Dry farming means there is no irrigation after the tomatoes are transplanted and this forces the roots to extend deep into the soil to search for water. Tomatoes farmed with this technique are small but the flavor is intense. 2011 has been a cool year for Northern California and tomato afficionados have been lamenting the effect of this year's weather. I sometimes check the Two Dog Farm's website to see when the tomatoes will be harvested. I just checked and as of August 16, 2011, they still are not ready for market. Usually they will show up near the end of July. The ones at Bi-Rite Market I bought last week were only ok. Anything good is worth waiting for!
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