I like cheese, but I'm not as passionate as some.  Passionate cheese lovers love the smell as well as the taste of a good cheese.  Nothing, however, prepared me for the onslaught of the wonderful heady aroma enveloping me when I walked into this small shop in Bologna, Italy.  As I recall I was walking down via Oberdan a few blocks from the Piazza Nettuno when I saw this small shop on the corner.  
The Great Departure - 100 - 300 CE Gandhara (Pakistan) carved in Phyllite
The story of the Siddartha, the historical Buddha is a fascinating one.  Pictured above is a carving at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco titled, "The Great Departure".  It was predicted that Prince Siddartha would either become a great king, or if he left the palace, a great religious leader.  His parents tried to shield him from experiencing the real world of both joys and sorrows, by preventing him from seeing anything cruel or sad.  They failed and Siddartha left the palace and went on to become a great religious leader and the founder of Buddhism. 

This scene shows Siddartha leaving the palace without his parents' knowledge.  The gods  help his escape by lifting up the hoofs of his horse so the sound would not alert others of his departure. This image of the "Great Departure" is one of the earliest depictions of this story.  
Highland Park with benches and planting
Planted paving
The Highline Park in New York's Chelsea district is an example of how the liability of a crumbling relic from a by-gone era, has been transformed into something exciting.  It's a buzz as a "must see" among visitors, especially design and landscape aficionados.

The "park" uses an old elevated railroad line that has been long abandoned and weed infested.  As they say, the most sustainable design is one that re-uses what is existing and this is exactly what they did.  Look at the narrow gaps of the paving at the left.  Some still contain the steel rails of the old railroad.     On the Highline you can stroll 3 floors above the street level through the west side of the city near the Hudson River -- a little removed from the hustle and bustle below.  There are elevators so the park is accessible for wheelchair visitors.

Potrero Hill View
There no shortage of fantastic views in San Francisco.  The hills help to create great vistas framing the beautiful bay and bridges.  This one is taken near the top of Potrero Hill looking north toward downtown.  It's a terrific location being close to the freeways to zoom down to the airport and the peninsula as well as being close to downtown and the bustling SOMA area. 

Discovered long ago by people looking for great value, it's no longer the affordable working class neighborhood it once was.
Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible
I've been blogging on the Mock/Wallace website about the German industrial designer Dieter Rams who was the primary force behind the look of the Braun products starting from the 1960's.  Dieter Rams design philosophy had a profound impact on Jonathan Ive and Steve Jobs and the look of Apple products.  With the passing of Steve Jobs, I've been thinking about Rams' legacy even more.  See my blogs here.
Pine Street Bath 06 October 2011
Work is moving slowly.  A late decision to replace the window delayed work as we ordered and waited for it.  The tile installer is busy for another two weeks and our contractor hurt his back!  The new tub has been installed and the backing board for the tile is in place.  Right now we're deciding on paint colors and carpet.  Stay tuned.
We're picking paint colors for Pine Street now.  Lots of choices aren't there?
La Boulange - Burlingame
La Boulange is my favorite bakery and I wrote about the Pine Street location last June.  In that blog, I complemented the designers who were able to create an authentic looking "old" French bakery that didn't feel phony.

Walking down Burlingame Avenue in Downtown Burlingame last week, I saw how they do it.  These craftsmen were working quickly for a scheduled grand opening the following week. Notice the overlay painting technique of the exterior blue paint, where the under-painted light orange paint is allowed to peek through occasionally.  After the paint is dry, they apply a paste wax over the surface to protect the paint.  The sign painter was carefully delineating the letters above.  Click the images below to see the sign painter and the waxing of the exterior.  I hope the pastries here are as good a my local Pine Street location!
Winter Melon Soup
I remember as a kid, coming home to the welcoming smell of the long slow cooked soups that Mom made.  Now, Alex has moved into his own apartment and he surprised me by saying, he misses the Chinese soups we make at home . . . . and the other night, Katie asked me to teach her how to make Winter Melon Soup.  See my recipe here.

Gahm Mi Oak Restaurant - NYC
Sul Lang Tang is a Korean soup of beef bones boiled carefully until the stock turns white. Whenever we visit Los Angeles, we always order Sul Lang Tang as San Francisco doesn't seem to have a Korean Restaurant that serves a good one.

Gahm Mi Oak Restaurant in Manhattan's Koreatown on 37th Street near  Broadway -- and right around the corner from the Empire State Building -- serves a superior Sul Lang Tang.  Chris has  declared it perhaps better than our Los Angeles favorite.  The intense beef flavored soup with slices of beef comes steaming hot.  Season it yourself at the table from large bowls of salt and slices of green onions.  This is a dish that isn't easy to attempt at home.  One the surface it is easy, but getting the right flavor and color seems mysterious to me.  When I went by the kitchen, the stove seemed to be a clay- like structure.  They wouldn't let me take a picture so I guess it is their "secret".