Wednesday, September 25, 2013


One of my favorite photos from Pebble Beach a few weekends ago:

Lone Cypress

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

VDP: Paella

Our most recent Virtual Dinner Party was an incredible success.  Not only was it one of the most well-attended, but we also were cooking with authentic Spanish and Portuguese ingredients.  The end result was Paella, and it was one of the best meals we've made!

We were extremely fortunate that our co-hosts had recently traveled abroad, and they brought back some incredible authentic ingredients, including Spanish saffron and paella seasoning, and Portuguese olive oil and port!

With this recipe as my guide, I added calamari, mussels, prawns, Spanish chorizo, and chicken thighs to pull together this flavorful and spicy dish.  I purchased the fresh seafood from the local store, Mollie Stone's (similar to Whole Foods); Spanish chorizo can be found near the meat counter, but it is not refrigerated (it's similar to dry salami).  

The three-city dinner party was a success, and this meal made us feel as if we had all traveled to Spain with our co-hosts.
This meal will definitely grace our dinner table again in the future!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

San Francisco Snapshots 3

Another zoom in at some of the photos on our map.  We're celebrating two years of living in San Francisco this week.
In fact, two years ago today, we somehow stumbled into the awesome apartment we live in today; the address had been posted incorrectly on craigslist, so the fact that we figured out the correct address (thanks, google street view!) and arrived at the showing (only 1 other person found it, apparently!), won us a place to live.
And we still love it.

Today, though, I am focusing in on the Neighborhoods.

Admittedly, we have stuck to the neighborhoods closest to the true center of the city, but from the map above, it's clear the we have branched out substantially from the one we call our own.  Sometimes our weekend adventure is simply to walk to another neighborhood and just browse around and explore--eating, drinking, and shopping, as we come across cool places.

We have the below framed poster in our apartment, and we have checked off the various neighborhoods around the city.

ork posters

Financial District - Will's SF office is located in the financial district, although he is often in the office in Palo Alto when in town.  The financial district is a mix of touristy (it's near Union Square) and totally business that closes early, since business people have ideally left by dinner time.  Some of our favorite restaurants are in the Financial District, though: Tyler Florence's Wayfare Tavern and the iconic Tadich Grill!

Nob Hill - We love Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, and we enjoyed an absolutely incredible dinner for Will's birthday at Seven Hills (after drinks at Cafe Muse) in Nob Hill.  This great neighborhood also features the famously curvy Lombard Street.

Russian Hill, a small neighborhood between Nob Hill and North Beach, has some great restaurants, and is the true host of Telegraph Hill, where Coit Tower stands.  There are wild parrots in San Francisco, and you can almost always hear and see them in Russian Hill.

North Beach - The Italian neighborhood--lots going on here!  Not only is North Beach prominently featured in Clint Eastwood's movie Dirty Harry, it's famous for the great Italian restaurants and seafood.  Vicolleto, Tratoria Contadina, Liguria Bakery, and Park Tavern are our favorites.
Rogue Brewing Company has a brewpub here, too!

Fisherman's Wharf (Pier 39) can be quite the touristy area--it's where tourists buy sweatshirts when they have arrived to our city with only shorts and tanks.  People: San Francisco is cold and foggy is the summer!  Go ahead and buy a $64.95 sweatshirt if you don't come prepared for this.
Our favorites are the seafood options on Pier 45, our salmon fishing boat Wacky Jacky, and the Bush Man.  You have to visit to know what that is :)

South of Market (called SOMA here) - We know SOMA as the neighborhood near the ballpark and the Caltrain, one of our public transportation systems.  In addition to these, we love Zero Zero, RN74 (amazing anniversary dinner here for year #3!), and the various bars near the ballpark.  We also have a number of friends who live in SOMA, so we are here fairly often.

Pacific Heights is a great neighborhood: entertaining during the day and relatively quiet at night.  It's where the moms wear the "Pac Heights uniform TM": capri workout pants and a fancy designer jacket when they drop their kids off at one of the numerous private schools.  We love Fillmore Street, with the various go-to restaurants and bars: Delfina Pizzeria, Elite Cafe, the new Palmer's Tavern, Florio, and Woodhouse Fish Company.  Yoppi frozen yogurt is another staple there.

Cow Hollow - overflowing into the Marina, Cow Hollow hosts Union Street.  A convenient place for shopping, eating, desserting, sports-watching...Union Street has it all.  Except parking spots.

Marina The Marina has the reputation of being the fratty neighborhood.  Often times, that description is correct.  But there are some hidden gems, like Bistro Aix and A16--two INCREDIBLE restaurants, amidst the excellent fratty bars (Tipsy Pig, Balboa Cafe, etc.).

Presidio - I have posted numerous shots from my various adventures in the Presidio--Immigrant Point Overlook, Inspiration Point, the Bay Ridge and Coastal hiking trails... In addition to these beautiful overlooks, the Presidio also has some great restaurants, like Presidio Social Club (old favorite) and Dixie (still need to try.)

Richmond and Inner Richmond are known for having a variety of ethnic food and shops.  In addition to some interesting restaurants, like Q and Eats, this neighborhood is a decent place to buy ethnic groceries, like nori and rice noodles.

Seacliff is a beautiful neighborhood on the coast between the Presidio and Lands End.  The views are awesome, and it would be amazing to have a house here...someday...

Sunset and Inner Sunset host a sleepy bunch of people, some international restaurants, and surfers.  The Outer Sunset is near Ocean Beach, close to some of our post-surf favorites, such as Outerlands, Java Beach, Trouble Coffee, Tacos at Underdogs, and the General Store.  The Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods are separated by Golden Gate Park, another favorite of ours.

Twin Peaks is home to not much beyond the Twin Peaks.  Great views.  Awesome place.  My favorite photo from Twin Peaks is the background to this blog.  See?

Noe Valley is known for being a family-friendly neighborhood.  Sure enough, you will dodge Bob strollers and loose kids here.  The brunch opportunities are plentiful, and their Farmer's Market is excellent.  Their Whole Foods sells kombucha on tap....if you're into that kind of thing...Blech

Diamond Heights isn't a place we have explored enough.  However, last weekend we explored Mount Davidson--the highest peak in San Francisco.  It was awesome.  And really foggy.  Karl the Fog might live here.

Hayes Valley is a really interesting neighborhood (and one we had hoped to live in...before we got outbid by $500/month over the asking price for an apartment!)  We still have more to explore here, but the shops, cafes, and bars are SO San Francisco.  A very fun place.

Mission - This is one of our favorite places to visit for restaurants and bars.  When we moved here, W's friend told us we weren't "hipster enough" to live here.  Probably true.  But we love the Mission.  Great place to visit; so easy to get to; and then it's nice when we return to our quiet(er) and clean(er) neighborhood later in the evening :)  Some of our favorites places are Mexican Food shops everywhere, Monk's Kettle, Southern Pacific Brewing, Limon, Farina and Delfina Pizzeria, Bi-Rite Creamery, El Farolito, and probably 30 others I can't think of right now.  We have the longest list of places we'd like to visit in the Mission.  Also, Mission Sunday Streets can't be beat!

Potrero Hill - On the outskirts of the Mission, there is a lot to explore in Potrero Hill.  We have wandered the streets and enjoyed the food!  The famous Anchor Brewing Company (Anchor Steam) is located here.  Will got to experience a VIP tour there!

That's just scratching the top of our adventures around the city.  Which neighborhoods would you want to explore?

Catching up on other snapshot posts?
Photos of SF Bridges
Touristy Sites for Non-Tourists, Too

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

San Francisco Snapshots 2

If you missed it earlier, we're celebrating two years of living in San Francisco.  This has turned out to be an incredible place for us to live and explore.
For this installment of snapshots, I am focusing on touristy sites that are fun for non-tourists as well.  We explored a few of these places with friends who were in town visiting, and for others, we donned overly-summery clothes, fanny-packs, and big cameras, and just tried to blend in with the crowd...


Ferry Building (the Saturday morning Farmer's Market at the Ferry Plaza is at the top of our list of favorites!)

Cliff House

Golden Gate Park

Coit Tower

Trolley Tour of San Francisco (The more authentic cable cars are fun too!)

Lombard Street

Catching up on other snapshot posts?
Photos of SF Bridges

Friday, September 13, 2013

San Francisco Snapshots 1

In the two years since we have lived in San Francisco, we have explored so many small corners and larger icons around this city.  In this week's post where I placed photos around the map, it was interesting to see photos land all over the city (and I had 100s more I could have pasted).  But now I'll zoom in a bit.  
Today, photos of the bridges.  The Golden Gate bridge is obviously my favorite--and the city's icon--but the Bay Bridge is pretty spectacular, too, and a new half of the Bay Bridge just opened less than two weeks ago (still need to check that out!)

Day and night, fog and sun and sunsets:

If you are visiting San Francisco, biking across the Golden Gate bridge is a pretty awesome experience.

The new wing of the Bay Bridge has biking and walking lanes.  That could be an interesting adventure!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

San Francisco

Two years ago today, we moved to San Francisco.  September 12th, 2011.

We've made tracks all over the city--here's a small fraction of what we've covered in 2 years.  I'll post larger versions of these thumbnails in the upcoming days.
This city is awesome.  Looking forward to exploring more 7x7 hidden gems in the upcoming year!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Salmon Fishing

We've had three awesome weekends in a row now...
and I'm going to share in reverse order.  

Saturday we went salmon fishing off the San Francisco coast.  It was my anniversary gift to W, though I was just as excited as he was.  

We were awake and down at Fishermans' Wharf well before sunrise.  

Pulling out of port, we had some incredible views of the city before the sun rose.  


We left the Bay and passed under the Golden Gate bridge, rounded Point Bonita, and were just pulling up to salmon territory when the sun came up.  We fished off the coast of Mt. Tam most of the day.


The boat captain explained that salmon season was drawing to a close, and the salmon were just not biting much lately--they're full after a summer of eating.  

We had gorgeous weather the whole day--in the 80s--and the 10 people on our boat got very excited with each of the fish our boat caught.  

The fourth time a fish took the bait, the deckhand selected me to reel it in.  I was a little nervous, especially when he guessed the fish had hooked itself through the chin/neck area instead of the mouth, making the chances of the hook slipping out and me losing the fish very high.

W helped me hold my fishing rod steady, because we were in for a fight and my arms got tired very quickly; it seemed like I reeled and reeled and fought to gain ground for 20 minutes.  (It was probably <5). 

The deck hand was able to net my salmon at the very end, pulling it into the boat.  I was thrilled!

Biggest salmon of the day--25 pounds!

That was the final fish our boat caught, and after no bites for several hours, we called it a day and headed back to port.

Salmon roe. 

We got some great views of the city on the way back.  It was such a beautiful and clear weekend.

Back at the dock, the deck hand filleted the four salmon and divided it between the fisherman.  We returned home with two huge bags of gorgeous salmon filets.  

I enjoyed some last night; it was the best salmon I've ever had.  It was incredibly tender.

This guy got several bites too!  The boat captain hand-fed him.

We're planning to fish again next year, this time at the beginning of the season.  I can't wait!