Saturday, November 14, 2009

Blood Mary Garnish Party


Everybody brings a garnish! I just found this photo of the Bloody Mary Garnish Party I went to, and remembered how much fun it was.

Possible garnishes include:

Cheese sticks
Salami
Beef Jerky Swizzle Stick(Maybe a Slim Jim?)
Cornichons (Dill or sweet)
Green Beans
Asparagus
Celery
Cherry Tomatoes
Olives
Pearl Onions
Carrots
Mushrooms
Shrimp

Ingredients to mix in:
Cholula
Tabasco
Horseradish
Worcestershire
Lemon Juice/lime juice
Clam Juice
Black pepper
Sea Salt

The Wikipedia entry includes variations on alcohol mixers like a Bloody Murder with gin instead of vodka, a Brown Mary with whiskey or a Bloody Caesar with clam juice. Prune in New York offers an inspiring array of bloody beverages on their brunch menus. Mmm. Makes me want a hair of the dog right now.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

That's It Market

My boyfriend and I are trying to complete a tour of all the places that Anthony Bourdain visits on the San Francisco episode of No Reservations. We recently made a pilgrimage to That's It Market on 23rd and Mission (2699 Mission Street), home of the largest Cuban Torta. This sandwich is truly a behomoth. For $10, you can get a sandwich that really is the size of two sandwiches.



The Cuban Torta includes beef milanesa, chorizo, egg, ham, bacon, sliced hot dog, avocado, queso fresca, and tomato, and it's finished with jalapenos, sour cream, and mayonnaise. It was rich, delicious, and intense. Here is a picture of my boyfriend trying to tackle the sandwich.



That's It Market is inside of a liquor store that sells lots of Mexican candy treats and Spanish language magazines. They had the chili mangoes that I love. You can eat your gigantamus torta at the marbled counter they have installed right next to the deli cooler and in front of the grills. We were under the impression that one could enjoy a beer at the counter, but were informed that open beer wasn't allowed, so we mosied outside and finished our torta on the sidewalk.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Magic Apple

I was recently gifted with a magic apple. Magic because the apple is unexpectedly pink on the inside and appears like a normal yellow/green apple on the outside. This was the second time that I enjoyed such a hot pink(!) treat.

In college someone told me they had a "magic apple." Later, I discovered one upon my desk. We took a picture of me holding the apple roast pig style.



This time around, I sliced up my gift and ate it over yogurt with toasted walnuts and honey.



Aren't they pretty? They're just like a blood orange.



The magic apple is actually called a Pink Pearl Apple. According to Wikipedia, it was cultivated in 1944 by Albert Ettle from a Sparkle seedling. They are in season from late August to mid September.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Blue Foot Chicken Feet

Last night I ate a blue foot chicken foot at Ottimista restaurant. The foot was confit-ed and finished off in the deep fryer.

This is what the foot looks like before being prepared. Kind of like a little dragon claw, huh? Or maybe the sort of thing you would grind up to make a magic potion.



The blue foot chicken is a larger type of chicken that has the ability to fly and possesses beautiful bright blue feet. See below. Click on the image to see the enlarged version and get a good view of those bright blue feet.



Blue foot chicken according to Wikipedia "is slaughtered later than the usual chicken and then air-chilled. It is believed that these two factors give it a stronger flavor and texture." Also, blue foot chicken is said to be salmonella free and it is one of the only breeds to be used in sushi (a special license is required to serve raw chicken in Japan).

The chicken foot I ate last night was the the final embellishment on half of a cooked blue foot chicken. Sadly my camera ran out of batteries and I had to resort to my cell phone camera, so my image of the dish is rather dim, but you can totally see those claws hanging out on top of the food!

I gnawed off as much skin as possible, and the toes had a similar texture to the end of a corn dog.



I found a New York magazine article from 2005 about blue foot chicken that discuessed the blue foot chicken's emergence as a boutique bird. Blue foot chickens have only been bred in North America over the last 20 years or so. They are a stateside version of the mythical French "poulet de Bresse." Restaurants often serve the bird with head and feet on, presenting it like a trophy. The one that I ate was juicy and supple and delicious, definitely the best chicken I've had in a really long time.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Vegas, Again? Bananas

I ended up in Vegas for the second time this year for my friend John's wedding. Dollar margaritas, baby dolphins, fancy hotel surprises with subsequent upgrades to the 25th floor, and an SUV stretch limo . . . whoo hoo.

A few highlights:

Hemingway Daiquiri at the Rhumbar in the Mirage Hotel:



Dolphin in the Secret Garden behind the Mirage:



and a surprise ride in a stretch SUV limo in post nuptial celebration. John's face is priceless:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Calistoga and beyond!

This weekend was filled with lots of sunshine and good eats. Saturday meant breakfast at Miller's East Coast Deli with a walk up to the Marina and up to the Marin Green field by Fort Mason where everyone flies kites. The weather was perfect.

Sunday started early. My buddies and I treated ourselves to doughnuts from Bob's. I went for a cake doughnut (my standard) and a maple crueler. Whenever I have a Bob's doughnut, I absolutely must have a cup of coffee to accompany it. If it's too late, I'll do decaf. It's just a magical combination.

We plugged the ipod into the rental car and headed North.

First stop: Yountville. We showed up early for our 1pm reservations at Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller's more casual affair. We used the extra time to walk up the street and gawk at French Laundry and the accompanying garden. On the way we saw a huge line outside of Bouchon Bakery. They should consider renaming Yountville "Kellerville"

There were people in sun chairs at the traffic lights making bicycles stop at the stop signs. I fully agree that people should obey traffic laws but the attendants in lawn chairs seemed a bit excessive. We walked around the mini downtown, surveying overpriced gourmet ingredients, blown glass sculptures, and sheepskin jackets. We still were close to an hour early.

Ad Hoc seated us early. The brunch menu that day featured "Roscoe's their way", chicken and waffles with trumpet mushrooms and pecans. For starters, there was a tray of Bouchon Bakery goodies, and for dessert peach sorbet with cookies. We also partook of the strawberry sangria. The chicken was extra crispy like KFC's, and the mushrooms were nutty and soft. Sooo good.

While we were at the restaurant, the server recommended some wineries that were "by appt" The first Schramsburg was booked, but the second place, Terraces, booked us when we called. We drove with our full bellies up the Silverado Trail to the tiny winery. We were given the security code to enter the gate and drive up the dirt path. The tasting room was more like their home and office. They made 5 small batch varietals of wine, and I picked up some Chardonnay.



After the winery, we headed to see the "Old Faithful" Geyser in Calistoga California. The geyser, one of only 3 or 4 geysers that actually go off regularly, was an adorable and beat up roadside attraction. You pay $10 to see the geyser, surrounded by a ring of palm trees erupt about 40 ft in the air for 3-4 minutes. I saw it when I was little so it was good to have my memory revived. In addition to the natural wonder, the park boasts a pen full of Tennessee Fainting Goats. If you don't know about fainting goats, than please for the love of god, watch this.



In reality, these goats are way too cute to scare. Also, they were in a pen, and I think you need to chase them to scare them. I felt too shy to scream right there in the middle of the park. We fed the goats some alfalfa pellets and dried corn. We took pictures with the llamas, and called it a day.



We finished off our evening with some sushi Donburi bowls and then saw Boat at the Hemlock tavern.



A full weekend indeed!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

37 Degrees

Formerly called 100% Healthy Dessert, my friend and I went to 37 Degrees on Taraval and 21st last night. Wow. What a delicious treat!

I ordered the Cold Noodle with Mango and Strawberry Soup, and my friend ordered the Mango Gi Gi with Honey Sea Coconut. I looked up some Yelp reviews and the Mango Gi Gi seems to be one of the most popular dishes to order.



We thought about getting the Osmanthus Jello but it was sold out. My friend commented that strawberry soup with noodles seems like a dish that a little kid would come up with "I want . . . stawberry SOUP with noodles!"

Both desserts were delicious. The menu was huge, and featured photos of everything.

The posters on the wall mentioned the health benefits of some of the menus ingredients like Aloe Vera, Coral Weed, and "Tadpoles." I want to go back and try everything.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Carte 415 Update



Went back for more yesterday. This time, the cowgirl three cheese sandwich with grilled rapini, sunburst tomato confit, and majoram. I liked the rapini inside my fancy grilled cheese, but I thought the sandwich as a whole tasted like pizza. Again, it was accompanied by a little cup of pickled vegetables, which I forgot about until after half my sandwich was consumed. I kicked myself mentally for missing out the chance to combine flavors.

I was still hungry after finishing my pizza sandwich, so I decided to splurge and follow up with their homemade yogurt with summer berries for $6.



Oh my god.

I was happy that no one was around me in the atrium where I was eating, because I made gratuitous mmm noises for the entirety of my consumption. The yogurt comes with granola and a cup of mixed berries. It was the best thing I've eaten in weeks. The yogurt was thick, creamy, and very likely strained like a Greek yogurt. I was sad that it came in a recyclable plastic container, and not a compostable container, but wow, I was okay with a little ecological transgression after the first bite.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Carte 415



Carte 415 has opened! The food cart, housed in the atrium of 101 Second Street is helmed by ex-Stonehill Tavern chef, Joshua Skenes. The cart is two blocks away from my workplace. I was excited about a new sustainable, gourmet lunch option, after receiving both a Daily Candy, and a Thrillist email announcing its arrival about a month ago. I marched down to second street on my lunch hour to find an empty atrium. I checked the website, I checked the address, and I posted on Yelp about it. Someone replied saying that they hit some delays.

I had almost forgotten about it when one of my co-workers informed me today that it had indeed opened. When I got into line, at least three people, including myself, were taking cell phone photos of the cart for blogs and Yelp reviews, I'm sure.

I ordered the charcuterie sandwich which featured boccalone cured meats on a baguette, a watercress type green, gruyere cheese and a sweet chutney. Attractively packaged, the sandwiches come in little balsa wood boats alongside a tiny corn plastic cup full of pickled vegetables. I wondered about the sustainability of the wooden boat, but I'm sure it might have something do with its ability to be both composted and re-used. My sandwich for $8 was satisfying but not large. I get scared of cured meats sometimes, because they can be too salty, but I found that the quince jam on the bread made a nice balance.



Other items offered on the menu were crudites, packaged upright in a plastic drink cup with a dome lid, as well as dirty girl tomato gazpacho.

Tomorrow I'll try the three cheese sandwich, and maybe I'll bring back my balsa wood tray to be re-used.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Delicious new food to try in San Francisco

via.

Gobba Gobba Hey! Gobs
. Little cakes with frosting in the middle sold in flavors such as Orange Cardamom Ginger with Saffron Frosting, Strawberry, and Black Cherry Chocolate with Lime Butter Cream Frosting. I'm pretty sure they are sold at the Ferry Building, and each gob comes in a white paper sack with a great graphic branded sticker. I think this is a mobile food man just like the Creme Brulee Guy (who I also have yet to track down and can only be stalked by twitter).



Photo via.

Pal's Take Away.

This is a gourmet sandwich counter inside a tiny liquor store in the Mission on 24th and Hampshire. They have delicious sandwich creations like Almond Butter with Fresh Fruit, and Pork Sliders and roast beef with figs and . . . mmm. They are open Tues - Sat from 11 to 2:30.

This is the photo from the Burrito Justice Blog that led me to discover Pal's. It's from a post about the Sunday Streets Event that recently passed. Oh pork sliders:



On Yelp, you can see photos of a big line of hipsters waiting to eat these sandwiches. Soon I will be in line behind them.

Henry Slocombe ice cream



Gourmet ice cream on 24th and Harrison. They offer flavors like Andante chevre-strawberry jam, dulche de leche, foie gras, McEvoy Olive Oil, and carrot mango sorbet. Toppings like whipped cream, and balsalmic vinegar. I could use a milk shake right now.

Anthony's Cookies

I have cookie cravings on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. I will try these cookies out asap. They have headquarters on 25th and Valencia. In my dreams, they are open late, so that I can get a cookie after going to the Attic or the Phone Booth.


Saison

Another nomadic or pop-up restaurant (Does anyone out there know the term for this restaurant phenomenon?) in the Mission. This Sunday dinner is housed in the Stable Cafe on 17th and Folsom and serves French Cuisine. Two seatings a night for a prix fixe of $60 ($30 extra for wine). I have yet to experience one of the many restuarants that only appear on one evening inside another restaurant like Mission Street Food inside Lung Shan Restaurant, Radio Africa Kitchen inside Coffee Bar, and Melissa Claire's Kitchen inside Velo Rouge Cafe. Also, I think there was one called Just Herbs on Sutter, but I can't find it. Anyone out there know what I'm talking about?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Crucishiv


A German photographer's photos of makeshift weapons and tools made by German inmates like this "Crucishiv" above. link

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Food Sex Love



Two very intense scenes from Tampopo, the sadly out of print movie about food and love. The first scene, two lovers exchange an egg yolk back and forth unbroken. The second, a man accepts an oyster from a young diver girl and cuts his lip on the oyster shell . . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"This is the outfit for the day"


I watched Grey Gardens last night, not intently, but between putting away laundry. It makes me wonder how languished hopes and undealt with emotions led to decades of isolation and codependency for both women. Both Beales had failed romances, and failed career aspirations. Little Edie lost all of her hair at a young age, and Big Edie had various health problems. At some point they chose to close themselves off. It doesn't appear that the Beales are seriously mentally ill, but they both are delusional and have lots of unresolved issues in their life.

It is in many ways very sad. Two vibrant, capable women living in squalor and secrecy, but part of me found it positive in that: their lives may have led them down unfortunate roads, but at least they had each other. The Beales bicker constantly through the movie, but what would they do without each other? There is love, understanding and hope along with raccoons eating wonder bread.

I really do hope that my life is filled with love, understanding and hope, but I also hope that it doesn't include me wearing a dish towel on my head as a scarf.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Who should play Gargamel?



A live action / CGI version of the Smurf's is coming out next year. What actor should play Gargamel? My co-worker suggested Bill Murray. I agreed that would probably be the best but also thought about Kevin Spacey, Danny Devito, and Eugene Levy. What do you think?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Bucket List


Last night's Life on the D-list with Kathy Griffin inspired me to make a bucket list, a list of things you want to do before you die. Kathy makes her mother create a bucket list. Kathy's mom says she wants to meet Don Rickles and visit "the wine section of California."

In response, herein lies my bucket list:

1. Pee in one of those Japanese toilets that makes noises while you tinkle so that the person next to you can't hear.
2. Purchase a mixed drink from a vending machine. (Pictured here.)
3. Appear on a game show. Jeopardy would be tops, but I would settle for Wipeout.
4. Ride in a sequeway to work.
5. Spend the night in the penthouse suite of some swanky hotel. I intend to wear the terrycloth robe, take a bubble bath in the huge bathtub with a glass of champagne, and so many bubbles that you can only see my head and my toes. I want a mint on the pillow, I want to order room service. It would also be great if it had a balcony with double doors that opened so that I could do this.
6. Run with a pack of miniature ponies.
7. Play flight of the bumblebees on the xylophone.
8. Sit on Javier Bardem's lap and tell him what I want for Christmas. Whether or not he's dressed up like Santa is optional.
9. Toss an ice cube into a volcano.
10. Receive a love letter by carrier pigeon.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vegetable Soup




I started making soup at 10 pm last night after starting a load of laundry. This might have been a mistake as I ended up going to bed at 1 am, but the soup was tasty.

The recipe for my soup came from the Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Herrman Loomis. It's a curious cookbook as the recipes are interspersed through sections and commentary about traveling to different farms across America. Loomis "spent several years criss-crossing the country in search of 'the soul of the American family farm.'" (Library Journal).

I chose this soup for its list of simple ingredients that I knew I could pick up at the health food store down the street from the yoga studio I just started going to. It contained leeks, potatoes, carrots, and fuji apples. The apples added a nice thickness and sweetness. I boiled the vegetables for 45 minutes with some peppper-corns and coriander seeds tied up in a coffee filter. The recipe called for cheesecloth, but I forgot to buy it. I was able to google the coffee filter replacement. The recipe also called for bay leaves but I didn't have them and went ahead.

After boiling, you puree the veggies (which I had to do in my bedroom because it was so late and because our blender sounds like a wood chipper) and then you add 2-3 cups of broth back in. This soup is made with just water instead of broth, and I was afraid it was going to be bland, but the sweetness of the apples and the simmering of the carrots and leeks made the broth tasty enough even sans bay leaves.

The recipe has you make a parsley/crushed garlic/olive oil garnish, but I also enjoyed a scoop of plain yogurt on the top.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I confess . . .

I've been getting spider bites. I found two on my hands, then one on my foot and I got one right in the center of my neck! I googled images of spider bites and found some really really gruesome pictures with rotting flesh, in particular one alleged image of a brown recluse spider bite that is on someone's hand. I don't even want to include it in this blog post. It's so gross. You can see it here. I looked around my room and couldn't find any spiders, but they recently subsided, so I'm hoping the little eight legged guy/gal found something else to dine on . . .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cordon Bleu - A Delicious Deal

Last night I ate at Cordon Bleu, a Vietnamese restaurant on California and Polk. It was delicious, and cheap. I haven't gobbled up my food like that in quite awhile.

I ordered the number five meal (only $8.65!!) which includes a piece of five spice grilled chicken, thin slices of grilled pork, an imperial roll, and jasmine rice with "meat sauce" over it. The meat sauce was like spaghetti sauce, but less tomatoe-centric. It tasted like it was made with ground beef, onions, tomatoes and some corn starch. Mmmmm, meat sauce, wait, let me say it again, mmm, meat sauce.

The menu says they have the "best chicken you will have outside of Vietnam." I ate the chicken again today for lunch. Yum.

The restaurant features a single counter and you watch the staff make the food right in front of you. This is a great place to have some bun, and then go see a movie at the indie theater next door.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Crawfish / Crawdads / Crayfish / Yabbies



Last night I attended a Crawfish boil at Magnolia Brew Pub here in San Francisco. The little crustaceans were flown in for the event that day and boiled up for $9/lb. My friend and I easily finished 3 lbs with cornbread, mushrooms and potatoes on the side.

My friend, who has spent some time in Lousiana, informed me how to consume the crawfish. First you snap off the head, then you squeeze the head and suck the juice out. The flavor of the brains and the boil comes through. Then you take your thumb and squeeze the bottom of the tail, and continue squeezing up the tail to release the pinky sized meat inside, which you can then bite off. Wikipedia says "A popular double entendre laden phrase heard around crawfish season in Louisiana derives from this practice: 'Suck the head, pinch the tail'" They are fun and messy. I got some yellow crawfish juice on my white shirt and had to use the spray n'wash when I got home.

The spiciness of the crawdads will depend on the boil used, which will often contain ingredients like salt, cayenne pepper, lemon, garlic, and bay leaves. My friend says that few people in Louisiana make their boil from scratch, and most pick a favorite brand like Zatarain's depending on if they like a little more cinnamon or hot spice.

When the crawfish are prepared, they come in big barrels and they have to be rinsed many times because they live in the mud in the water, which earned them the title "mudbugs." This is often when crawfish escape. My friend says she once saw a crawfish crawling across the floor of the restaurant trying to escape a steamy fate. This reminded me of a story I heard about a group of lobsters in Berlin who escaped from an Asian Supermarket and were seen walking together down the the street.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cold weather style inspiration



I'm really inspired by this cold weather white ear muffs/gray scarf/red beanie/sad face with mascara look. I love how soft her face looks, bundled by the soft fabrics with her sad eyes about to cry, streaks of mascara about to appear.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Leaving with more than a pack of gum . . .


I bought this bag, the Alabaster Crackle Bag, today with my Anthropologie gift cards. I had two stacked up, and it made buying something bigger than a candle easier to qualify. I've had these gift cards burning holes in my wallet for awhile now. Anthropologie is like going to the supermarket of frilly girly clothes. You have everything to choose from, and sometimes you only leave with a pack of gum, if that.

I figured who doesn't need a white handbag? The leather is weathered so it has that crackled white leather appearance. I'm down for anything that looks old.

Shopping their online store, and comparing it to the items in store was eye-opening. So many of the items I admired online were seriously lackluster in person like this purse, the linked spectrum purse,



and this bag,

the essential washed hobo. I had seen the Alabaster Crackle Bag online and was unimpressed. The crackled quality of the leather didn't really come through online, but it was so much cooler in person.

Also, I tried on this dress, the skywriter dress.



It wasn't much on the hanger, but was really pretty in person. I would have to take a few inches off the bottom. It swept the floor on me, but I'll think about it . . .

Oh my god! The eerie-ness continues!

Woman who missed Flight 447 is killed in car crash

This is like how Daniel Faraday's Mother, Eloise Hawking tells Desmond about how the universe "course-corrects" to prevent people from straying too far from their fate right before he is going to buy the ring for Penny. She tells him that a man with red shoes is going to die, and even he isn't killed one way, he will die another way. The "course correction" happens with Charlie on the island, where Desmond is plagued by constant visions of Charlie dying.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thoughts on the Air France Crash

I'm sucked into the drama of the Air France flight crash. Each piece of debris found sends a shiver, the bright orange life vest, the kerosene can, the 21 ft cylindrical metal piece they found recently. The span they are desperately surveying is huge, nearly 300 square miles, with a 12 mile long oil slick in the middle of it.

I try to imagine the thoughts of the passengers as they went down. I also, somewhat perversely, immediately think of the TV show Lost. I wonder if anyone on the plane was a fan of Lost and had twisted thoughts as their plane descended, "Hey, this is like Lost except it's not, I'm really dying." The plan allegedly went down in a huge flash of light that was witnessed by some. The debris "was found about 650 kilometers (400 miles) northeast of the Fernando de Noronha Islands, an archipelago 355 kilometers off the northeast coast of Brazil. It included an airplane seat and an orange float." (CNN.com) The details are so eerie.

Turbulence and lightning should not have brought the plane down. This is not Lost, but this crash is so mysterious, so ripe with questions.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Letting Go of Electromagnetism



I stared up at the aiwa boombox on the top shelf of my closet today. I thought, "you haven't pulled that thing out in a really long time, you should get rid of it." Then i remembered the tapes.

The cassette tapes.

Tapes were the format that you received mix tapes in, the junior high form of the love letter. I scoured record stores for the right tapes to give myself credibility among my friends, I kept myself entertained on long and sometimes tortuous bus rides home with them. Cassettes were where my love of music really began, listening to them by myself on my bunkbed with a giant grey boombox shoved between the mattress and the wall. Should I completely give up on this outmoded form of audio playback? The boombox I have now still has a functioning cassette player. I don't think it records, but memories could be had.

I know I should let it go, but I feel the need to give my cassette tapes some kind of eulogy, some homage.

Help me decide if I should let go or hold fast:

Beck - Mellow Gold
Detestation - Unheard Cries
Black Sabbath - Greatest Hits
Smashing Pumpkins - Pisces Iscariot
Smashing Pumpkins - Gish
Reed College Orientation Tape
Beck - One Foot in the Grave
Tom Waits - The Early Years
Nirvana - Bleach
The Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk Talk
The Best of Judas Priest - Living After Midnight
Ramones - S/T
Nina Simone - Best of
The Velvet Underground and Nico - S/T
The Clash - S/T
Wire - 154
Slant 6 - Sodapop Ripoff
The Cure - Wish
The Cure - The Head on the Door
The Cure - Seventeen Seconds
Sonic Youth - Live Recording
Billie Holiday - Billie's Blues
The Smiths - Meat is Murder
The Smiths - Strangeways Here We Come
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
Belly - Feed The Tree (A CASSINGLE!!!!!!)
Crass - Penis Envy
Submission Hold - Veterans of the Cola Wars

I can't do it!! I just can't bear to give any of these away! There are also a few mixtapes in here that I gotta keep around. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll find a smaller tape player to help me relive the memories with. This all really makes me wish I had this colleciton on my ipod :( . . . .

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

27



Lunch at Absinthe in the sunshine. Beginning with a bloody mary, ending with a plated candle. One of the drinks on the cocktail menu "is Juanathan's homage to the intricate relationship between whiskey and horses." Amazing. In the bathroom, I thought about how you are supposed to sing Happy Birthday twice when you lather the soap to wash your hands. I made the bubbles and thought, "It's true."

We strolled down the street, discovered a tiny park between Haight and Page, and hopped onto the 71 to go to the Academy of Sciences. When I thought about what I wanted for my birthday, one of my thoughts was I want to see something beautiful, which brought me to the fish. The new museum is really nice despite my memories of the previous version, that I visited for so many weekends and school field trips. Looking at the upside down jellyfish, the tree frogs, the chameleons, the anemones, it all makes me feel so small in the good way, a humbling happy smallness. No matter what happens to me, there will always be lionfish, octopi, and penguins, and all they need to do is breathe.

From the park onto another bus downtown for sushi before the Show. VIP seats at Wicked! Fabulous costumes, great music, epic scenes. Being up close was really a special experience. A criscendo to a fabulous day, the first day of being 27 . . .

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Look What I Made

Look What I Made

Puking, vomiting, upchucking, rolfing, ralphing, yawning in Technicolor, blowing chucks, losing your lunch, spewing, barfing, bringing up, driving the porcelain bus, disgorging, dry heaving, expelling, gagging, heaving, hurling, kecking, losing it, regurgitating, retching, throwing up. It has many names.
My friend Jarred said that his favorite thing in the world was vomiting. His least favorite thing: the feeling before and after vomiting. All pleasurable things in life involve tension and release. Puking is no exception.

Food Related Blunders: Oh God, Why Did I Eat That?

Yesterday: I almost vomited all over a banana. I prefer slightly unripe bananas with a light green tinge around the edges. I underestimated the tinge and selected a banana I thought would be just perfect with sweetness and firm texture. Upon taking the first bite, shivers went down my spine. I tried to chew the dry pasty banana. It tasted like aspirin. I forced myself to eat the mouthful. Bad idea. The banana triggered my gag reflex, and if it had not been for a nearby trashcan, I would have splattered little banana bits all over my shoes.

Once I ate 2 cloves of raw garlic, because I thought it would be good for me. My roommate was of the health conscious variety. Everything he ate was vegan, organic and possibly local. Henry would pick up raw cloves of garlic and pop them in his mouth while eating a bowl of pasta. Imitating his healthy gesture, I ate one and then two cloves of garlic with my food. All was fine for about 5 minutes after finishing my meal, when I suddenly had to race to the bathroom, where my body made evidence of its strong disagreement with my healthy gesture.

Booze: Highway to the Toilet Bowl

16, at a Halloween party, dressed up like the Saint Pauley Girl, eight beers too many. I strolled out onto the patio, and found an unassuming bucket. I released the contents of my stomach, and then picked up the bucket, shouting confidently, “Look what I made! Look what I made!” I put the bucket back down, sat on someone’s lap, and began to kiss him with my unrinsed lips.
After a bit too much at a different party, I escaped to the bathroom. Lamenting the rejection of some forgettable fellow, I began bawling while I was vomiting. Really, crying while vomiting is one of the most awful things ever. You feel as though you are leaking from every corner of your face.

“I think I’m gonna hurl”: One more puke related memory

I used to not believe that anxiety had the power to affect your gastro intestinal system. Then I fell in love for the first time. I hadn’t been sleeping regularly. The butterflies of novelty had my stomach in knots. Eating was difficult. A road trip to San Francisco with friends put 4 days distance between my new love and I. Now this may not seem like a long time, but in new lover time, this is ages, eons. It’s like exponential dog years. I couldn’t stand the waiting. Finally back in Oregon, after a 10-hour drive, we made plans to see each other that night. While I waited I forced myself to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and did the only thing that would put my anxiety to rest. I took a nap. An hour later, I shot out from under the covers on the couch, where I was sleeping and ralphed into another conveniently placed bucket. (They seem to appear for me)
Waiting for him could be equivocated with the moment one clutches the toilet bowl, groaning with nausea, or Jarred’s least favorite moment. In the moments in between our meetings I was often dizzy, stupid, weak in the knees, and glazed with an expression of euphoria. When we were together, I vomited fireworks into the air and all the little sparkling remnants fell down around me as time passed. My heart released without hesitation.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pants are like love . . .

. . . a different pair is right for everyone.

Act Four of this week's This American Life podcast hits upon this exact idea. I never thought this sentence would be actualized in story format and lo and behold.

Act Four. Pants Pants Revelation.

Joel and Kate were both working in a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. They both like each other, and she tries to impress him by always wearing her favorite pair of jeans. Little did she know, the jeans were maybe the only thing about her that he didn’t like. (8 minutes)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Don't Go for the Food, Go for The Toilet

I'm kinda obsessed with bathrooms.

There's nothing better than excusing yourself at a restaurant to go to the bathroom, waiting in a long line to use the restroom, and being pleasantly surprised when you get into the can to see that the owners have taken creative license to make the experience of passing fluid in their establishment an interesting and memorable one. I can't count how many times I have been disappointed that a fancy restaurant hasn't gone to any measures to make their bathroom an either memorable or luxurious experience. If I am paying $60 for a meal, I want their john to be one that I could never afford or imagine myself peeing in at home. It's annoying when you are paying so much for a meal and you get in to relieve yourself to find that the toilet seat is loose, the soap dispenser gives out neon pink industrial soap, and all the fixtures are everyday stainless steel. I remember eating in one fancy restaurant on my birthday, where the soap had run out and they put out a plastic squeeze bottle with a broken cap to pour soap out of. Sad.

I had two seconds of fame once for my Yelp list, "The Best John's in SF" that was featured in a weekly email newsletter. In it, I describe some winners in the category of making peeing interesting. You can make it pretty like Pauline's Pizza (whose black throne in a pink tiled room with chandelier and flamingo light switch cover can't really be topped), pictoral like Minako sushi with a tropical fish mural, luxurious like Rose's Cafe in the Marina (with lilies and wooden toilet seat dispenser) or entertaining like B44 or Pizzetta 211 (with mini televisions looping footage of interesting and culturally appropriate footage in line with the cuisine served, like B44, a Spanish restaurant whose bathroom has reels of a festival in Spain where people make human towers every year at a festival, the paramount being when they send a six or seven year old child up to the top to climb over five stories of people to add an additional 48 inches or so to garner a win) or to the truly wacky bathrooms like the hot toilet water at Sushi Groove. I am still waiting to find a restaurant with a real life bidet or a Japanese Toto installment.

Until then, I will continue to pee pee like a plebeian . . .

Friday, April 10, 2009

Quote from Russell Brand on NPR's Fresh Air

"I don't know if you've ever smoked crack Terry, but it makes you do some very eccentric things." -- Russell Brand

Friday, April 03, 2009

Adventures in Adult Disneyland - Day One

Reporting from the land of sin, prowess, and confidence.

Our day began early very early, 5 am to be exact. When you are at BART at this hour, pretty much everyone on BART is going to the airport.



You can see the casinos when you land in the airplane, the Luxor and the Wynn are basically backed up against the landing strip. On our way in, we were all thinking the same thing, "Wouldn't it be weird to live in Las Vegas, a town full of visitors?" I asked the cabby if he lived in Vegas. He did for all of his 45 years.

I took photos from the cab like a cheesy tourist. Vegas really does feel like a theme park at certain moments, and the roller coaster and miniature buildings of New York, New York fit right in with that.



Unable to check into our hotel, we grabbed some breakfast at the Starbuck's in the casino. The pastries there were not normal pastries, they were huge and all covered with inches of thick icing. The sticky buns were the size of baseballs. They must have gotten them from somewhere in the area.



We then headed to the jacuzzi, mind you, it's probably about 9am in the morning. The desert had yet to heat up the strip, and it was really cold. I kept my knit cap on while cooking in the bubbles.





We ate at Diablo's, a Chevy's-esque Mexican food restaurant in front of the Monte Carlo. We ordered some spicy mojitos that contained jalapeno seeds. I was doing fine and then one of the seeds lit my tongue on fire. I pleaded the waiter for an ounce of milk and he obliged me with a whole glass.


Still unable to check into our hotel, we wandered the strip and checked out the interior of the Bellagio with the Chihuly ceiling and botanical butterfly house installed in the front area. The Bellagio was definitely my favorite hotel of all the ones they visited. I loved the waterfall/waterworks that happen every hour in front of the hotel in their giant man made lake where spouts of water erupt from the lake to the tune of popular songs. It's a big, glorious, beautiful use/waste of water. We wondered what it would feel like to be on top of one of those water jets when they go off, to which my response was, "That'd be a hysterectomy."



We also went into the Venetian with it's faux-canals, replete with gondola rides and clouds painted on the ceiling inside the casino shops. The cloud motif, I later discovered continued in most of the shopping areas within the casinos, including Paris, Miracle Mile, and Caesar's Palace. Vegas is all about simulation and the being outside while you're inside feeling makes sense, especially in a city where temperatures top one hundred degrees on a regular basis.



Vegas is full of vacation items that are temporal and useful only in their gratuitous celebration of the moment and one's ability to push that moment to the limits of it's ostentation for a relatively cheap price. I am speaking of the mardi gras like necklaces that are sold and the yard long margaritas that you can drink in public.



Finally getting back to the hotel, we napped, got dressed to go out and went to the Paris hotel for the dinner buffet. Having long heard about the Vegas buffet, this was an event we were looking forward to. We arrived and I was both surprised and disappointed. Disappointed that it looked like a regular buffet, no ice sculptures or gold, but surprised that things like crab legs, bouillebaise and cod were available in an all you can eat format. Even though my peeps weren't as crazy about this buffet, it still was the first evidence I had that Vegas has some of the best buffets anywhere. We ate to the point of bursting and were comatose afterwards.

Hoping to earn some free drinks, we played the penny slots at the Paris. The food expanded, the wine they gave us was awful. My friend who played the Kenny Rogers machine had the hot machine. I realized that the old slot machines are better odds-wise than the strictly video machines. It's funny to me that all the casino's look different inside, but their slot machines and tables all pretty much look the same.

Everything in Vegas looks so close, but is actually far away. Space and time are distorted. This is especially true when you are full and trying to get back towards your hotel. Having finally made it, we decided to check out Diablo's. Inside, a cover band playing 80's and 90's rock, a la Lynard Skynard and Pearl Jam, with additional hot pants clad gogo Dancers offering shots in your mouth.



And then we went to sleep . . . .
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