Monday, February 25, 2013

Skiing Tahoe

We spent this past weekend up at Lake Tahoe, getting in one more ski session this winter.  

We drove up with our friends on Saturday morning.  It was beautiful scenery, and we were driving through snow for the last half hour.  We arrived at Sierra at Tahoe just as the lifts were opening, and the bit of fresh snow made for good conditions.  Horsetail was our favorite run of the day.

When the lifts closed that afternoon, we packed up and drove down towards the lake, to the Lakeshore Lodge and Spa.  We promptly took beers, chips & salsa down to the hot tub right on the beach.

Sitting in the 100 degree water when it's 30 degrees above the surface is such a weird feeling!  It's also funny to see snow on the beach (the girl in the photo above was sledding on the snow, on the beach!)

Here we watched the sunset and relaxed until we got hungry.

For dinner, we wandered to MacDuff's Irish Pub near our hotel.  This spot received high marks from all of us--it was the perfect way to end a ski day.

Our second day we skied at Kirkwood, which is an awesome mountain--it definitely became one of our favorites!  Unfortunately, on our second lift of the day, the chair lift faulted and lost power when we were almost to the top.  Four of us sat about 20 feet from the unloading area, swinging in the wind, which had picked up significantly from earlier that morning.  The chair lift started and stopped seven different times, each time inching us a foot closer to the unloading ramp before faulting again.

Our jokes about jumping off the lift early turned more serious as the lift showed no signs of starting up again.  My fingers and toes were completely numb by this point.  Finally after 25 minutes of being nearly blown off the chair, we had inched close enough to the unloading ramp that we decided to jump off.  Ski patrol arrived right as we made the jump--definitely the most "exciting" event of the day.

Since the trail had completely cleared off during the time the lift was inoperable, we enjoyed a perfectly empty run to ourselves.

By the end of the weekend, we had built up to more challenging trails with views (and signs!) like this:

I finished the afternoon with two back to back runs on a trail that was like a mini version of a half pipe--I think it was my favorite ski run ever.
It was a great way to close out the Winter ski season.  I will be looking forward to future skiing adventures after such a fun couple of experiences this year.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Taco Shop Hopping

Happy Friday!

This short week flew by--I'm glad another weekend is almost here.
Last weekend's extra day allowed for plenty of downtime and adventure around here.
Friday night we attended Butchers & Beers, a San Francisco Beer Week event down in the Mission, hosted by our buddy's Almanac Beer Company.

Saturday we were extra lazy until we geared up and went bodysurfing at Ocean Beach.  The water temp must have dropped 10 degrees since the last time we surfed.  It was really, really cold.

Sunday we took a day trip to Point Reyes to hike, eat, and explore--details to come.

Monday we wandered around the Mission and taco shop hopped to compare taquerias.  Specifically, we were out to find the best carnitas.  Though I think Will could have hopped all day, I tapped out after three taco shops.
Our consensus?  First prize for best carnitas went to Pancho Villa, second prize to El Buen Sabor, and third prize to El Toro (though their carnitas was still really good, and I actually thought their taco al pastor was my favorite bite of the day).  Since I was the weakest link and couldn't eat anymore after the three taquerias, we agreed that there will be repeat tests in our future.

We're heading back to Tahoe for some skiing this weekend with friends.
Hope you have a good weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

San Francisco Weekend Tour - Part II

After a packed day in the city with our visiting family members, we woke up early the next day to do it all again!  We fueled up at the Ferry Building with Blue Bottle coffee and Cowgirl Creamery breakfast sandwiches before hitting the Golden Gate Bridge for the Marin Headlands.

We took the scenic Conzelman Road once we exited the Bridge so that we had views like this looking back at the city:

The plan for the morning was to hike Hill 88 in the Marin Headlands.  I had hiked those trails before with my family, but it was a first for Will, his brother, and our sister-in-law.   I like this route because it has a nice balance of views: Marin and the Bay, the Pacific Ocean, Rodeo Beach, San Francisco and the Bridge.

Some of the views:

We couldn't hike in the Headlands without taking G and A to Sausalito to try Fish afterwards.  The guys went a bit overboard (ordered 75% of the menu), but we relaxed, enjoyed the sunny weather, and schemed about our next trip together until the food had disappeared.

Surprisingly, we eventually did get an appetite for dinner later that night, and Delfina Pizzeria served as an excellent spot to close the weekend together.

This weekend gave us confidence in our knowledge of the city--some of the history, some well-known favorites, some hidden finds, and so many untested places we still want to visit!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

San Francisco Weekend Tour - Part I

Last weekend Will's brother and sister-in-law visited San Francisco.  As I mentioned in my weekend recap, we packed those two days full of food, activities, and sights: some old, famous SF favorites and some off-the-beaten-path places we've found in the 18 months we've lived here.

Once they arrived, we drove straight to brunch at the Presidio Social Club.  The weather was so pleasant that we ate outside.  Look at the color of that sky!
While we digested brunch, we drove through the Presidio, admiring the clear views out to the Bay and the Pacific.  They got to see some of the views from our favorite running paths--Inspiration Point:

and Immigrant Point Overlook:

Leaving the Presidio via the Seacliff neighborhood, we showed them Lands End and shared the story behind the Sutro Bath ruins:

 and the Cliff House:

The city recently finished construction of their Visitor's Center at Lands End, which was a nice place to get a bit of history and pick up souvenirs for our nephew who didn't come on this trip.

After driving by Ocean Beach, we headed towards Union Square via Golden Gate Park.
Just a few bison relaxing in the sun on the way...

We wandered Union Square and Downtown before meeting up with some friends at Irish Bank.
Plenty of Irish s.w.a.g. here.
With renewed strength, we wandered Chinatown, which was bustling with energy and fireworks in preparation for Chinese New Year the next day.

The guys bought firework poppers to join the festivities.

As the sun began to go down, we settled at a table on the bay at Waterbar.

Two Old Fashioneds, a Greyhound, and an Anchor Steam
 We ate oysters and watched the sky get dark and the Bay Bridge light up.

Tadich Grill is San Francisco's (and California's) oldest continuously-run restaurant; it opened in 1849 as a coffee stand during the Gold Rush.  It's known for its authentic San Francisco cuisine, so we thought our city tour had to include the incredible seafood Tadich has to offer.  For dinner, the guys both ordered the famous cioppino, which is served with a bib (fuel for some light jeering).

Not ready to call it a night, we found ourselves at Lefty O'Doul's downtown after dinner.  It was half Irish bar, half Southern-style cafeteria, and it was the right dose of randomness after our packed day.  
We all slept well that night.  Good thing--up next was another equally full day in the Bay Area.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Hope you had a nice Valentine's Day yesterday!
We settled on a repeat of last year's home-cooked celebratory meal, since it had been one of 2012's top-ten meals: surf & turf.
We seared sea scallops and ribeye steak, with a key lime pie to round out the evening.  It was excellent.
(Thank you, Kat, for suggesting this great recipe!)
Our TENTH Valentine's Day (!)

I'm very much looking forward to the three-day weekend ahead of us.  Not many plans aside from Almanac Beer Co's Butchers and Beers event tonight!

I'm happy it's Friday, and that it will be sunny and 70° today.  Keep rolling towards Spring!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Weekend Recap

Scenes from the weekend:

G and A came to visit this past weekend.  We packed an incredible number of activities into two days, yet we somehow came out feeling pretty relaxed.  We had the best time together.

In just over 2 days, we covered via car/foot/square-inch-of-stomach-space:

Presidio for brunch
Inspiration Point/Immigrant Point Overlook
Sutro Baths, Lands End, Cliff House, Ocean Beach
Golden Gate Park & bison paddock
Union Square and the Financial District (with a peek at the views from the tallest building in the city)
Irish Bar #1
Drinks on the bay in SOMA
Dinner at San Francisco's oldest restaurant
Irish Bar #2
Coffee and breakfast at the Ferry Building
Golden Gate Bridge
Marin Headlands
Pacific Heights
Fillmore District
Noe Valley

It will probably take me the same length of time that they were here as it will to write about our fun adventures.
One thing's for sure: we have settled on several excellent San Francisco favorites.  It is so fun to have visitors who we can introduce to these great spots.

It doesn't hurt that we had perfect weather.  I am ready for Spring!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Focaccia Bread

After gaining some confidence with other bread recipes, I was ready to try something a bit more challenging, and focaccia bread seemed like a fun experiment last month.  Following this recipe, I completed the rising steps throughout the afternoon, and by the time dinner was ready, we had perfect focaccia bread.

The fresh bread was perfect next to pasta with tomato cream sauce.

I probably could have cut the recipe in half, considering it was just the two of us, buy the leftovers were just as good.  The next night, we used up some leftover flank steak and made steak and arugula sandwiches on focaccia bread.

If you've ever been inclined to try to make bread at home, I highly recommend you give focaccia bread a try!