Farewell 2011. A year of dramatic colors vivid against a white background etched into the yearbook of my mind. From time immemorial, beautiful flowers have been used to commemorate important occasions. Now faded and wilted, these lilies have been preserved digitally and offered for your viewing. One lily turns left tracing the passing year, the other anticipates tomorrow. Flowers bear the seeds of the future. Farewell 2011. Welcome 2012.
La Mission Mexican Grill
Winding up some last minute shopping at Berkeley's 4th Street, we saw that traffice on the freeway was completely backed up. Not wanting to sit in traffic we decided to have a simple meal in Berkeley before heading over the bridge. Yelping nearby restraurants brought up La Mission Mexican Grill on University Avenue at Chestnut Street.
The reviews were tempting so we decided to try it. La Mission is housed in what looks like a former Taco Bell - not very inviting and although I have passed this place many times, I never considered stopping. Order at the counter and the food is brought to you. What a great surprise -- really good food, the best Posozle and Mole, we've had in a long time. Yelpers got this one right.
Squaw Valley, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics: Walking around the village, I searched for remnants from the Olympics like the building shown in the Life Magazine cover. Some of the buildings remain, converted to other uses and shoved aside for the newer resort structures serving the ski slopes. Looking down, I saw an interesting trench cover on the ground. On closer examination, I saw that the design was actually an Olympic motif - perhaps remaining from the original 1960's construction. Nice to see that the Olympic theme was carried out into "minor" details.
Tree leaves fall revealing the architecture of branches -- the air clear and brisk. I stroll purposefully towards the Embarcadero admiring the view of the Bay, grateful for the demise of the elevated freeway that once blocked this magnificent view.
We needed to move our Chinese bed The entire bed, canopy and all comes apart piece by piece without tools or hardware -- a genius of ingenuity - truly a Chinese "puzzle".
There is a logical sequence of taking it apart and putting it together, so we took pictures to help us remember the sequence. I'm not sure how many generations have slept in this bed, if it could only talk!
With the installation of the marble countertop, the bath remodel is almost done. All that's left is installation of a new mirror and some painting. Click here to see how Fox Marble made a template to fit the counter-top flush against the walls.
Chris's Tart Tartin
Hard to beat Poilane Bakery's Tart Tartin in Paris, but Chris' comes close. Tart Tartin is a French relative of the traditional American apple pie. A lot of great recipes don't have too many ingredients. Instead they depend on the quality of the ingredients and the technique. This is one. Our family has a long tradition of making apple pies starting from my father, who worked in restaurants as a kid and young man. I made them for a while, but not any more.
The tradition is now carried on by his daughter-in-law Chris. Did I tell you that Chris makes a great apple pie?
Every December the Civic Center is lit up in festive lights of red and green. This time I caught City Hall bathed entirely in red lights.
I was sitting on a bench in Golden Gate Parks Botanical Garden where the squirrels are so tame this one came right up and touched my camera. Cute little critters.
Deviled Eggs with Crab
Chez Panisse has been a Bay Area fixture of fine dining for 40 years. Reservations can be difficult to get and you have no choice in the set menu that changes every day offering the best of what is now the mantra, " seasonal and local". An easier alternative to get a taste of the Chez Panisse experience is the upstairs Chez Panisse Cafe. Here reservations are easier to get and you have choices from the menu. More crowded and noisy than the formal dining room downstairs, it offers the same attention to detail in the preparation of the food.
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