All pictures from the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week website.
All pictures from the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week website.
Because I love food, I read through the long list of semifinalists for the 2013 culinary James Beard Awards and noted all the restaurants from the list that I’ve had the honor of dining or drinking at below. Winners will be announced mid-March. Full list is here.
Rich Table, San Francisco
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
Pegu Club, NYC
David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC
Michael Tusk, Quince, San Francisco
Melissa Chou, Aziza, San Francisco
Laura Sawicki, La Condesa, Austin
Foreign Cinema, San Francisco
Greens Restaurant, San Francisco
The Slanted Door, San Francisco
Caroline Styne (A.O.C.), West Hollywood, CA
Phil Suarez, Suarez Restaurant Group (ABC Kitchen), NYC
Michael Mina, San Francisco
Quince, San Francisco
A16, San Francisco
Nopa, San Francisco
Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, CA
Jörg Rupf, St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA
Danny Bowien, Mission Chinese Food, San Francisco and NYC
Thomas McNaughton, Flour + Water, San Francisco
Matthew Accarrino, SPQR, San Francisco
Nicolaus Balla, Bar Tartine, San Francisco
Mourad Lahlou, Aziza, San Francisco
Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
Here’s a glimpse at what’s on the market in SF. Yeah, it’s pretty insane what people pay to live in the city. I can only imagine what it would be like if we moved anywhere else in the U.S. with the exception of NYC. The conversation would go like this, “$350,000 for a house? Yeah, I can put 50% down.”
1015 Florida Street, $665,000
Can’t say I love the ‘hood, but price looks like a steal for a 2 bedroom with a little character. I’ve never been a fan of the newer buildings with a ton of units; kinda like living in a dorm. I like the older buildings. Price is right for this one.
3691 Market Street, $699,000
This one’s gorgeous if you don’t mind living in the hills near Twin Peaks.
109 1/2 Germania Street, $629,000
I love this one, but no parking. Too bad, so sad.
744 Moultrie Street, $649,000
I don’t know Bernal that well, but here’s a cute condo.
374 11th Street, $729,000
I am not a fan of lofts. Too much air, I guess. But this one’s a beauty! I really like how the bedrooms are compartmentalized too. I used to live on this block with an ex, in a loft, and hated it. Way too close to the club scene. But so pretty, right?
Unlike Dean who has story after story of, not just celebrity sightings, but celebrity hang-outs, I can think of no one. Hmmm, I did see Pope John Paul II (the best Pope ever) in the pope-mobile when I went to the Philippines for a medical mission in January 1995. I went to high school with basketball star Jason Kidd who now plays for the New York Knicks. But that’s all I’ve got. Wait, there’s one more. I did wait in line at the The Jug Shop in Russian Hill to get a bottle of Devotion vodka signed by Mike The Situation. That was pretty awesome. He’s my big celebrity crush. Those abs? Mmmmhmmmm!
While I’m obsessed with celebrity gossip, I’m not one to stalk them (except for The Situation) or go visit their homes in Hollywood or what have you. That’s just silly. But I did, unknowingly, meet a celebrity on Sunday after working all day.
I, in fact, worked all weekend. Because I want all of you to feel sorry for me, I’ll repeat: I worked almost 20 hours this weekend. This is in addition to battling illness (the never-ending cold) since December 27th.
Anywho, at about 9pm on Sunday night after work, I headed to L’Ottavo which is an Italian restaurant a block away from our apartment. We have no food in the house since we just returned from vacation and still have yet to go grocery shopping. Hence, we’ve resorted to eating out. L’Ottavo is like Cheers, but a restaurant. Everyone has worked there forever. The patrons are regulars. It’s like a family, so much so they feel bad taking your money. Here’s an example: After Dean joined me mid-way into my meal, we decided to order one more glass of wine. I told the waitress one glass was enough for us to split. She set out a new glass for Dean, then proceeded to pour each of us full glasses of wine to the brim. Obviously, she only charged us for a glass.
There’s this older man at the bar sitting by himself, eating a full meal, drinking wine. His face looks like its deteriorating with pockets of skin sagging. He must be in his seventies. He’s slightly hard of hearing and takes a couple seconds longer than normal to respond, but otherwise academic-looking and dapper in his glasses and houndstooth suit. We all got to talking about where in the city we lived, which sushi restaurant in the neighborhood is best, then we branched into politics and his time on the SF Board of Supervisors and as District Attorney. Lucky for me, he handed me his business card, saying, “If you ever need a lawyer, give me a call.” I couldn’t wait to google this guy when I got home. Lo and behold, the man has his own Wikipedia page and comes from a storied family. Unbelievable.
Dean said, “We can’t leave the city. You don’t bump into these kinds of characters anywhere else.”
While I’m no art history major, I have never formally studied art, nor can I draw a respectable circle or square, I still nevertheless know art. I love art. I have a passion for art. I make note of gallery openings and new exhibits in my calendar, then I find the time to visit. I’m always inspired by what I see.
More than any other tourist attraction, I was most looking forward to the Tate Modern. What a huge disappointment! The curator should be shot. It’s like the curator vomited art into the building, leaving the visitors nauseous from the experience and wanting to leave as quickly as possible. I hated it. There was no rhyme or reason to what was inside. No themes, no curation. Completely random works of art thrown together. It was so bad that often times I could not tell which description went with which work of art. That’s how confusing it was.
A colleague who lives in London gave me a list of all her favorite sites. She specifically mentioned that a lot of people go to the Tate, but she personally wasn’t a fan of modern art. I’m pretty sure that it’s not modern art that she dislikes. The Tate Modern is such a poorly-organized, horribly-curated museum that people who visit think they don’t like modern art! So sad. Whoever is in charge of the Tate needs to do some reconnaissance at the MOMA in NYC or SF. Until then, strike the Tate off your list of sites to see in London. You’ll thank me for saving you from wasting an hour of your life.
That wasted hour could have been better spent at the Victoria & Albert Museum which was AMAZING!
From now on, I’m going to make an effort to take more pictures. I think it’ll spice up my blog. Keep in mind, I am a bad photographer so don’t expect much, but a couple pics to tell a couple thousand words.
We went to the Woodhouse Fish Co. to try their famed split-top lobster roll. I wish I had my camera to take a picture. That’s when I decided I need to start taking my camera everywhere. While the presentation was pretty, it did not live up to my expectations. I’ve only had one other lobster roll: Mary’s Fish Camp in NYC. That lobster roll rocked! Saucy goodness.
Mission Chinese, noted as one of the best new restaurants in the U.S., is my very favoritest restaurant in San Francisco. My stomach is a black hole when it comes to chowing down on the salt cod fried rice. I’ve learned my lesson. Going forward, one order for myself, and another for the rest of the table to share.
I was bubbling over with jealousy to discover that the dive was opening up a spot in NYC. When I learned that my trip would coincide with the restaurant’s opening, I had to investigate!
I knew as we turned onto Orchard Street in the Lower East Side exactly where the restaurant was located because people were spilling out of it and hovering in the drizzle outside. I stupidly thought that strolling in at 9pm would secure us a table. Ummm, no.
The young, respectful attendant told us the wait was about an hour and a half, but we were welcome to wait and tap the keg for free beer! Nice! We put our name down along with our cell phone, and returned exactly 90 minutes later. Even without a phone call, I was hopeful. We were up next! Yippee!
Before I progress into our dining experience, I have to mention that unlike the SF location, the NYC spot does take reservations for the bar. When I called they were booked for the night, but could put me down for the following night. I declined because we already had Friday night plans. Free beer and reservations? Already NYC is ahead.
All around, the staff is young, helpful, and friendly. We passed by much-revered Danny Bowien on our way to our table and I gasped, “OmiGod, there’s Danny.” He turned around probably wondering how people know him. Hello? Danny, your name and face is scattered all over the foodie-sphere. You are a food god! We also passed by Aziz Ansari, who ironically, we always cross paths with whenever Dean is in NYC.
Now the food. Well, just like the rest of NYC food (during this trip), a disappointment. I mentioned the distaste I had for NYC cuisine during brunch with Marc and I thought he was going to jump out of his chair and chew me. I’m sorry, but nothing–not even Mission Chinese–was as good as SF. There were only a trifle of things that stood out in terms of food in NYC. 1) Dinner with Care at the Fish Tag–my single amazing meal during the trip, 2) Mission Chinese even though it IS better in SF. 3) The $9.95 Indian Kati roll which is a smorgas of meat and veggies wrapped in a very light pancake roll. 4) The hot dog I got from the stand after exiting the MOMA on 54th Street.
I’ve already mentioned the wine, but given the context, it’s worth pointing out again. Trader Joe’s $2 Buck Chuck, doesn’t matter which one (Syrah, Cab, Merlot, Chardonnay), can beat any glass on any wine list in NYC. No question.
Summary of NYC Mission Chinese:
+ Free Beer
+ Ambience. A much cooler vibe in the LES than the Mission, that’s for sure. I like how the front wait section is separated from the back dining section by the kitchen. And I love that they’ve got a bar area.
These are just a few things I’ve observed that seem strange to me. Not strange to everyone, but to me—a Bay Area Californian.
What is up with the handful of pet shops I’ve come across peddling puppies to the public? I think California must have outlawed these shops because I haven’t seen one since I was a child. The dogs come from puppy mills and are known to have major health problems. If you want a dog, go to the SPCA or get it from a breeder. Don’t get a dog while you’re out boutique shopping!
Most women in NYC get dolled up. I think most Californian women tend to go natural and consider lip gloss makeup.
Do New York restaurants have something against California wine? If I’m lucky, I’ll find one California variety on a wine list. Most don’t even carry California wine. Ummm, don’t you want to source products from the best places? If so, then why not buy from Napa or Sonoma? Nope, New York restaurants seem to prefer buying the worst wine possible. I have been opting for cocktails rather than stinky wine.
Love the subway system. Amazing. I always make a few mistakes whenever taking the subway: wrong line, wrong stop, missed connection. Anywho, you’re held accountable for all the mistakes you make. Let’s say you realize after entering the subway and inserting your metro card that you’re at the wrong station. You can’t get a refund. You’re stuck. You paid your $2.25 and now you need to pay another $2.25 to correct your mistake. With BART (the Bay Area’s public transportation system), if you immediately exit, you won’t be charged. The system will know that you entered/exited at the same spot and should not be charged. With BART, you get charged for the distance you go. With the subway, it’s a flat fee. I’m ok with the different charge methods, but making a mistake and getting charged for it, is a bit annoying.
I’m fanatical about Airbnb. With hotels gouging customers with service charges and resort fees, I’d rather stay some place and know exactly what the total cost will be up front.
We will be in NYC next month and I’ve been searching for a place when I’m done with work and Dean flies in. I honed in on this cute apartment in the Meatpacking for $199/night. I emailed the owner and it was already scooped up for the Memorial Day weekend.
So instead I’ve locked in this studio in the village. Kinda reminds me of our place here in SF. $165/night. Great place, great rate.
Have you bought your lottery ticket? I actually went to the California Lottery website because I wanted to see which retailers sell winning tickets. I have this theory that people who win the lottery never come from the city of San Francisco or NYC. In fact, no retailer in the whole county of San Francisco has ever sold a winning ticket. Winners come from podunk towns like San Lorenzo. I told my parents to buy me some lottery tickets over there in the East Bay because I know that buying a ticket from a lottery retailer in say, the Financial District is wasted cash!
$540 million. You know what I would do with $250 million (after taxes)?
1. Pay off all my debt.
2. Pay off my immediate family’s debt.
3. Quit my job.
4. Set aside a trust fund to pay for any family member to get educated (private school, college, acting classes, culinary school, voice lessons). I would only pay for the education. I would not pay for dorm rooms, student housing, apartments, living expenses while in grad school. I see this as an incentive so people wouldn’t constantly be in school. At some point, they’d have to become employable!
5. Make charitable donations.
6. Travel around the world, spend as much as possible, and anything left over would go to charity.
7. I do not believe in passing wealth down generations. It makes latter generations complacent and lazy!
My nickname is Vixen. I’m a barely-published, newly-married, 30-something writer. An almost mommy, I am forever changed by the loss of my baby. I post daily about living in San Francisco, traveling around the world, and trying to keep up with over 1000 Facebook friends. With a passion for books, reading, and writing, I take pride in sharing my musings with you.