Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy 4 Year Blog Anniversary

On June 27th I've been a blogger for 4 years.  Time got away from me to post that day, but I still love using this place as a creative outlet and sharing my travels and food adventures.  I really thought this blog would be more about food, but when I took an edit of the site I realized I post more travel adventures then food.  Which makes sense as travel logs are my favorite types of books to read.

Here's a few I keep going back too and recommend. And yes E I do read my books more then once and thus I do need a bookshelf (more to come on that later).

I follow David's blog and now on twitter....he is hilarious.  
A great view on what it's really like to live in Paris.

Another book I re-read just about every summer.  I want to buy a house is Tuscany in another life.
I've read most of Frances Mayes books all are very good: Bella Tuscany A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller and recently read Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life.

Recently I discovered Bill Bryson.  I read A Walk in the Woods and laughed out loud so I just picked up the book above, Notes from a Small Island. And again, I lay in bed laughing out loud.


And finally Peter Mayle.  I tried to read this book in my early twenties when I was just started my advertising career.  I wasn't into it.  Give myself a number of years later and I reread this book and loved it.  Peter is an old ad guy moved to Provence and writes a witty tale.  I've read just about everything he's wrote Encore Provence: New Adverntures in the South of France, Toujours Provence, French Lessons: Adventures iwth Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew and one of my favorites A Good Year, also love this movie with Russell Crow and Marion Clotilde.

I personally hope to find new fun reads and enjoy yet another year posting away and snapping pictures of interesting things I see and hear.  Thanks to the very few followers for coming by to check up on the adventures.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New York, New York

So for the second leg of my work journey it took me to NYC.  First few days WOW super humid.  Bad for us curly haired people.  Was so hot and gross.  Next two days I have to say were the nicest days I've ever experienced in NY, lovely breeze, perfect temperature. I felt like I was walking to my own soundtrack those days.  Super weather.

Here's a stream of conscience of my trip though:  Taxi'd from one location to another, saw our NY office, conducted research on Park Avenue, presented analytics in 5 minutes on a conference call with over 20 peeps, walked thru Eataly, bought notebooks from Mugi, shopped up and down Broadway, bought cannolli's from Little Italy shop, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (a dream fulfilled.)  Met some old friends and made some new ones.  Now here's a few snapshots from my iPhone.

I only have one story about the image above.  This is Jacques Torres Chocolate shop on Hudson.  Or as I wanted to call it "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."  I have been trying to go to his shop in Brooklyn Heights forever.  I Yelped this store and found out the "mother ship" was in Soho.  

So I made my way down here with a few friends as we were walking in the neighborhood.  I had heard that the hot chocolate is like a liquid brownie.  So despite the heat I was determined to try it.  When we walked in the ladies behind the chocolate counter immediately asked me what I would like.  I told them "I just need a minute to absorb it all."  Then a man walked up to me and asked "du you hav un allergy du peenuts." (that's my bad spelling of a French accent.)  I said "no I don't."  He asked me "wood you like du try a scholate peenut butter cookie."  "Why yes I would."  I ate that bad boy so quickly and then went on an ordered my dark chocolate box of goodness and a "liquid brownie" hot chocolate.  Then I realize, "oh lord that was Jacques Torres."  Seriously by then he had talked to my friends and went back to making chocolate behind the scenes. But now I can say "Jacques Torres made me a chocolate peanut butter cookie."  Voila.

Stayed at 60 Thompson Hotel.  Here's their lobby.  Great location, descent size rooms.  This place was within walking distance to many great restaurants and shopping.  However, I think next time I'd try the Ace Hotel as that lobby was really hopping and seemed like a really cool place to stay.

 View from rooftop bar at 60 Thompson.  Pretty amazing and great cocktails.

Nice architecture while walking Broadway shopping my little heart out.

 View from Brooklyn Bridge of Lower Manhattan.

Finally got to walk across the Bridge.  Was so excited about this, my new friends said it was refreshing to see their city thru a fresh pair of eyes.  It's the same way for us and the beach.  We see it all the time so we take it for granted.

I should have taken some Black and White, but I was walking with other people who all had a destination and time to be somewhere, so well you know how that goes.

Da Bridge at Night.

 Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights.

And in color.

 Flatiron building.  Right near Eataly.

 One of my favorite parts of NY is that you can jay walk anytime.  
Walk thru a red light, just don't get in the way of a taxi barreling down the road.

I was talking to a co-worker while walking down this street.  I told "hey I'm on the loveliest street right now."  He said "is it Washington Mews."  Uh yes it is, how in the world did he know.  Well I did tell him what direction I was walking in and he said he use to go out of his way to walk down this street on his way to NYU.  Lovely little lane, right near Washington Square.

Washington Square.  Apparently many a famous person has live across from this park.

So the only think SB asked for while I was in NY was cannoli's.  
So I went to Ferrara bakery.  Oh man these are the best ever.  So tasty.

And the cannoli.

Wow to be in charge of this window treatment.

I saw this window while I was walking back from picking up my cannoli's at 10:30pm.

Rooftop dining is the best.  I seriously wanted to buy myself an iconic I HEART NY t-shirt.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

San Francisco

Everyone knows NOBODY walks in L.A.  But I recently traveled to two great U.S. Cities that everyone walks in.  San Francisco and New York.

I rarely get to travel this much.  What a great exception, London and Paris in March, and San Francisco and New York in June.  Wow, four great cities all in the Spring, my favorite time of year. 

San Francisco and NY were for business, so I didn't take my camera as I took "carry-on" luggage and my multiple electronic devices, oy vey (laptop, iPad and 2 iPhones - Business/Personal).  Ridiculous.
(not me, but Anna, san bangs)

I went to some great restaurants in between walking to and from the office and the meeting facilities.  When your out of town on business you get to try all kinds of interesting places.

So here's a sampling of where I went, all courtesy of my iPhone(s).
The Salt House
545 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94104

Reservations are recommended, but we walked in and sat at a communal table with our client. 
Food was fresh and delicious. 
 Asparagus soup.

 Lobster cannelloni.  Rich and amazing.

I dig the skull stamped milk jars maskings as water jugs.

Next day lead us up and down Nob Hill.  Great exercise.  I seriously had to stretch out my calve muscles the next day after this jaunt to the Swam Oyster Depot.  I had a recommendation from a team member that this was the most amazing seafood that he ever ate.  I was expecting white table clothes and candles, great wine and an overall dining experience.  What I got was this....
Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA  94109

No reservations required.  We were fortunate enough to walk right in and take a seat at the counter.  I believe my co-worker is a foodie thru and thru.  This place had great fresh fish, nothing is cooked.  Everyone came in ordering crab legs, fresh shrimp, mussels and clam chowder (which is cooked).  I order my childhood favorite appetizer.  Jumbo shrimp cocktail.  It was the freshest shrimp I've ever eaten. I have to admit I must have given my Mom many a heart attack growing up.  She'd occasionally treat us to a dinner out and when she'd get up to wash her hands the waitress would come up and ask me what I wanted.  As SB knows I have Champagne taste on a Beer budget.  So I'd order a Shrimp cocktail, Lobster you know the expensive stuff and she'd be left ordering a Salad.  Money was tight, but I seemed to be obviously.  I found out many years later when I traveled with my Dad to Cuba and he order Shrimp Cocktail, that this is where I got this fetish from.

They served this with big crusty bread and I ordered a glass of white wine.  Was well worth the hilly walk.  I've heard most people have to wait in line for up to 30 minutes to get in.  This day we just hit it right.
 Here's their story.  Not fancy place, but you can't beat the friendly service, and it was authentic.

This place is as busy behind the counter as it is in front.

My next stop was a place I'd read about in Bon Appetit.  In fact I tore that page out of the magazine and took it with me to SF.  I found the closest place to where I was working and walk to Sons & Daughters.

Here's what the Bon Appetit review said:
New American Cuisine with a touch of molecular gastronomy is showcased here, with four courses going for a reasonable $54. Just up Nob Hill from Union Square shopping, the cozy room serves a fine squab breast with squab leg confit, squab pâté, pear, and hazelnuts. 

Sons & Daughters
708 Bush Street
415- 391-8311

Here's the menu.  I did the tasting menu which was 4 course for $58.  Does not include wine.  Wine is an additional $42. Yikes.  Everything I ordered was great except the dessert.  I'm all about trying new stuff, but I should have gone with my gut.  Instead I order the Candy Cap mushroom cake with Black truffle ice cream, porcini, cinnamon and carmel.  It was way to black truffle, over powering.  It needed more sweet and less dirt.  Wasn't the best way to end the meal.  I thought the service was really good here, but I've never had my silverware taken and replaced so many times.  It seriously was crazy, waiters with cigar boxes of silverware sneaking in swiping old with new, even if I hadn't used it. This was for every course and quite disruptive to the conversation flow.

Decor was cool.
Interesting little courses that slid in and out between plates were delicate and tasty.
We did have a quick drink at a bar in the Tenderloin called Rye.  I liked this place, had lots of character.

688 Geary St
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 474-4448
Next China Town.

I didn't take a picture of the restaurant only the walk to the place. 

Great Chinese food at R&G.  This is the second time I've been here during my San Francisco travels.
R & G Lounge
631 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94108-1810
(415) 982-7877

Now for all the random fun pictures while experimenting with my iPhone.

 Random murals tucked into all the alleys.

 Love that San Francisco appreciates Bansky enough to put some plexiglass over to protect.

 Another Banksy.

 From my hotel room.

Random building, but I was drawn to it.  San Francisco is a great city to explore on foot.  I thoroughly enjoyed the week.  Be prepared though. It's cold up there especially when the sun goes down.  Bring scarf and a rain coat.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wino Wednesday

I know your saying finally or maybe your saying anything.  But I'm back to my regularly scheduled or not posting.

This week I have a guest blogger.  Dr. Subs straight from England with a nice European wine.  Enjoy his lovely take on this ancient beverage.

Baron de Barbon
Seleccion Especial
Cosecha 2009

What the bottle says: Baron de Barbon is made purely from Rioja's noble grape, Tempranillo, harvested by hand to ensure the highest quality. The fruit was traditionally vinified, then twenty percent aged in barrel (sic) for further complexity. It has a deep cherry-red colour, with aromas of ripe blackberries, strawberries, cloves and a hint of vanilla. The palate is smooth and rounded, with concentrated spicy black fruit flavours and a subtle touch of mocha on the finish.
First smell: blackcurrants, vanilla
Second smell: dark summer fruits, nutmeg
First taste: blackberries, cherries

Observations: a wonderfully deep plum coloured with a well constructed, rather forward nose of dark summer fruits, and more subtle notes of chocolate and vanilla. Crisp acidity with medium tannins and a beautifully balanced flavour with notes of strawberries and chocolate and a peppery finish with hints of fennel. A fruity wine, but balanced with a smooth creaminess, making it a lovely daily drinker. But would also benefit from being kept for 2-3 years and developing some more complexity.

After a difficult evening dissecting the aesthetic benefits of glulam columns and aluminium profile sheeting my comrade and I were in urgent need of some sort of refreshingly fermented beverage. After rummaging amongst the dusty bottles in the under stairs cupboard, we communed with Messr. Barbon and allowed his dark potion to deliver us as though on wings of eagles to the clouds of misty paradise high above the plains of sobriety. Banzai!
Thanks Dr. Subs, love this and can't wait to find this nector in the States.


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