Blog Archives - AM Musings
 
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Mussels Provencal
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Chez Papa Window
I always thought mussels and french fries were a strange combination until I went to Brussels and saw that they seemed to be almost a national dish!  Now I see why - it's good.  Chez Papa Bistrot in San Francisco's Potrero Hill makes an excellent rendition. 

 
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Whole Foods Green Onions
When Whole Foods Grocery opened in San Francisco, they went to great lengths to differentiate themselves by  displaying their whole fish on a slanted tray of crushed ice and positioning the fish as though they were swimming in the water.  After the opening they scaled back their display efforts, but yet simple gestures can be pretty effective.  Here, just stacking and alternating the green onions heightens their colors and textures. I applaud these simple things.
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Paris Food display
Of course leave it to the French to display their products in their own distinctive way.  This display was in the front window of a restaurant in the Latin Quarter in Paris. Voila!

 
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SF Chinatown's Great Star Theater
 Back in the day, San Francisco Chinatown boasted at least 5 movie theaters.  My favorite was the Great Star Theater on Jackson between Kearney and Grant Avenue and across the street from the old Sai Yuen Restaurant where my grandfather was an owner.  It was at the Great Star Theater that I saw all the great Shaw Brothers Martial Arts films during the 1970's.

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Sadly they are all gone.  The 4 Star Theater on outer Clement is about the only place to see the latest martial art films from Asia.  The theater itself is pretty plain and doesn't have the grandeur of the Castro.  It doesn't matter.  Kudos to the owner for keeping this tradition alive.
 
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The Red Cat Restaurant - NYC
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Sparkling Water in Candlelight
The Red Cat Restaurant at 10th Avenue near 23rd Street in New York's Chelsea District was a lucky find.  Arriving in Manhattan late at night, I called the restaurant and asked if they could seat us at 11:45 PM.  They said yes so we hurried over.

The interior had a comfortable settled-in look as though it had been around for many years.  I tried their Pan Roasted Tilefish served over a cucumber salad with pureed chickpeas.  The combination seemed unusual but surprisingly good --the start of an auspicious vacation!

 
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Chrysler Building - New York
The Chrysler Building in New York's Manhattan seems to endure with timeless grace.  The gray building set against a gray sky enhances this feeling of grace.  If I were to analyze the design of the building, I would probably tell the architect it should be more restrained and will look old fashioned and dated after a while. 

Well it does look "dated" in the best sense of the word, as it is a masterful design with beautiful proportions showing that the rules of "good taste" don't always apply.  Rising on the horizon, it seems to wink a welcome to me whenever I visit.  It's no wonder it's a favorite and instantly recognizable.
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San Francisco Marriott Hotel
Contrast the Chrysler Building with this hotel in San Francisco built about 30 years ago.  It uses some of the same curved elements at the top.  Which do you think is the most successful?

 
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Airplane Sketch
One long airplane flights you can usually watch movies, read, or listen to music.  I'm always telling myself, I should sketch more so I bring a sketchbook with me on flights and start drawing whatever I see.  When you are constantly moving in flight, I find it a challenge to draw. 

This is a drawing I did last year, shaky lines and all.

 
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Multiple sketches on Yellow Trace
 

I'm expanding on my first post on yellow trace.  Exploring ideas is sometimes the most exciting part of architecture.  I use yellow trace and the free Goggle 3D computer program called Sketchup.  With yellow trace or just trace for short, you can quickly sketch over your existing drawing to make changes or revisions.  Drawing is a process of discovery whether by hand or by computer.  My first boss would sketch like this and have layer upon layer of drawings, sometimes using multiple fragments of bits and pieces taped together leaving you to figure out what he was trying to do.

When exploring you can't be not too invested in your current idea so you can quickly move on to investigate more ideas.  Experienced designers soon learn how to draw freehand to scale.  It's very satisfying to draw a 10' by 10' square at 1/8" scale freehand and then lay your scale down and find that you are right on.  Of course Sketchup does this for you and you can "draw" very precisely.
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3D sketchup images
Sketchup allows you to quickly visualize your ideas in 3D.  You can build a simple model, then edit, mulitply, copy and rotate the computer images quickly.  On the other hand some ideas are still quicker to express using hand drawings.  It's cheaper to explore on paper or on the computer than in the field.

 
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Roasted Figs
Chris loves them.  Here they are roasted with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinigar drizzled on top.
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Figs at the Bastille Market - Paris
Growing up near Fresno, California where fig trees abound, I never had a fresh fig when I was a kid. We didn't know anyone with a fig tree and they weren't sold at the local supermarket. The only fig I had was in a fig newton. 

 
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Fatted Calf Charcuterie is located  at 320 Fell Street in San Francisco's Hayes Valley.  I happened across it when I took a walk after getting my Blue Bottle Coffee around the corner.

I normally don't talk pictures of raw meat, but this store is so well designed in every detail -- it even shows in the way they prepare and display their meats.  Their products are shown to their best advantage and everything seems to work together in harmony.   Fatted Calf is dedicated to all things related to meat products.  According to their website, they just had a class on hog butchering!  Perhaps not for the feint of heart. 

I do, however, recommend their pates.
 
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Dancing Ganesha - Asian Art Museum
As part of my studies to become a docent at the Asian Art Museum, I'm studying  Indian art.  The Hindu God Ganesha is an auspicious symbol and believed to be the remover of obstacles and often found at the entrances to temples.

According to the Hindu stories, Ganesha is the son of the Hindu God Shiva and his wife Parvati.  Shiva cut off his head by accident, but restored him to life by giving him the head of an elephant -- elephants being  symbols of fertility and plenty.  This lively sculpture is particularly nice with the curve of his trunk echoed by the curve of his dancing body followed by the curve of his hands.  His  holds an upraised weapon to cut away obstacles, a bowl to sweets to feast upon, and his broken tusk - broken in a battle with a demon.