And the Winner Is

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

San Francisco Home Tour

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?


Celebrity Sighting

CNS photo/Grzegorz Galazka

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.”

Contrasting Museums: Tate vs V&A

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!