Divisadero Art Walk

There are a couple of art walks here in the city and I know the first Friday of every month they have on in Oakland but until last week I had never been to one. I’m usually lazy when it comes to art and I always miss the Divisadero one (even though I can literally walk there) but this time I made an effort to stop in – and by effort I mean my friends were showing art so I had more of a reason.

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The concept itself is actually really cool. For about a 5 or 6 block stint on Divis there are open shops with people’s art displayed. My friends had their art showing in a gallery but there were first floors of apartments that were open and some first floor shops that were displaying works as well.

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It was a really cool community thing to do in such a little-big city and in such a cool neighborhood. It’s a great spot to meet people and to see some really amazing art (aka. my friend’s art – shameless plug, I think yes). You can check them both out here and here.

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For a little night cap we visited the La Urbana garage bar (sounds weird, but it’s cool) and had a couple tacos and brews to celebrate our artist friends. It was a great place to celebrate whenever they both got a text to tell them something had sold!

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SF Half Marathon

Remember back in January when I said I was going to do this as my New Year’s Resolution? Thinking back, I’m not sure if I actually had any intentions of fulfilling that resolution at the time but yesterday I did. I ran 13.1 miles for the first time ever and let me tell you, it wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done but it was one of the best!

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Here is a quick recap…

Miles 1-5: All in Golden Gate Park (where it was cloudy), there were a couple hills but we were cruising along just fine.

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Miles 5-10: Left the nice clouds in the park and ran down Haight street (pretty perfect). Some of our friends gathered to cheer us on. And after seeing them we were jazzed, the sun wasn’t too hot yet and we were excited to go downhill for a bit.

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Miles 10-13.1: Were R-O-U-G-H to say the least. Our legs were tired, it was hot (something we weren’t prepared for knowing the race was in SF and it’s NEVER hot here), and the water stations for the second leg felt really far apart. But we didn’t stop or walk and we talked each other through it. The finish line, bright blue with balloons and music, promising beer and water, was a welcome sight.

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Saying that I feel accomplished is an understatement. I have always been more inclined to water sports. I would rather swim a mile then run one, so this was a true test of my will power and I still can’t really believe I did it. It was hard, to say the least, but I’m so glad I did it. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my running partner, and my one piece of advice for you if you are thinking of running a half or a full – is to get someone to run with you. It makes all the difference. With one half marathon under my belt, I’m ready for the next one – Disney Half 2015 here we come!

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Pickling 101

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Tiny cucumbers in a jar with some vinegar are just not really my thing, but give me some red onions in a jar with some pickling fluids and I’m in! For some reason I am not a fan of the actual pickled pickle but I like pickled everything else. Nate on the other hand could have pickles with every meal and still want more – so for Valentines Day I got us a ‘Pickling 101’ date.

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Workshop SF is an awesome little group of teachers and crafters that hold sessions for just about anything and everything crafty. They have classes ranging from beer making to burger making, and from sewing for floral arranging.

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We chose the late night pickling class (aka bring some drinks), and while they give you everything you need we also brought a couple extra veggies. We walked to the workshop and sat at the long tables with about 12 other people all happily chatting and drinking beer or wine. Our teacher, Kelly, was an adorable pickle entrepreneur who spoke to us about the value and necessity (for those lovers of pickles) of the art of pickling.

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First we made a fermented cabbage slaw. The colors of this one were gorgeous, we used all fresh ingredients and then selected any spices to go in it. One trick she told us, was that you want to massage the mixture to release all the juices and make it as watery as you can for the best fermentation possible.

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Our second batch was just the regular pickled variety, and for this we did green beans, and asparagus and carrots. The selection of spices was overwhelming so I just added the pickling spice (unoriginal I know).

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Kelly brought in some of her McVickers pickles that she made for us to sample. The brown sugar brussels were my favorite, I could have eaten the whole bowl. We tried to recreate these when we got home. They are still in the pickling process, but I’ll let you know how they turn out.

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If you are in the mood for something different and want to maybe take a stab at learning something new try Workshop SF. They have a class for everyone and you can take home and show off your skills after!

 

Farmer’s Market

It’s a little rainy here today, and a little snowy and icy in other places so I thought I’d share some pictures from the warmer days (or just last week in SF).

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The Ferry Building is a SF icon, she sits at the aquatic entrance to the city, right next to the Bay Bridge (remember the lights) and is a welcome sight to all. Not only is the Ferry Building a huge commuting center for the city by the bay, it’s also home to some of the coolest little shops and restaurants, as well as a pretty famous farmers market (rated one of the top farmers markets in the nation).

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The market is a popular tourist attraction but it’s also full of locals doing their weekly grocery shopping. Out front are all the veggies and fruits and daily shopping needs.

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They have local honeys (good for allergies) and huge baskets of fresh flowers.

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Out back is where you get the good stuff. There are food stalls and food trucks full of amazing snacks. We stopped at Craftsman and Wolves for and egg muffin – to. die. for. Amazing bacon, cheddar chive muffin holding a perfectly cooked soft boiled egg!

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We also stopped at Miette for a macaroon, because it was Saturday and why not have one, or three for breakfast?

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As you wander down the aisles of tents and food stalls you are greeted by all the fresh colors and friendly sounds of local growers and sellers and buyers. Everyone is smiling in the sunshine buying their bread for the week or their hummus for their dinner party. It makes for a perfect start to a sunny Saturday morning.

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Chinese New Year

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Happy Chinese New Year friends! This is year 4712 in the Chinese calendar and it’s the year of the horse! I just learned the story behind the animal that represents each year so I thought I would share (drop some knowledge on you on this lovely Friday).

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The story is that a long long time ago, Buddha invited all the animals to his Chinese New Year party. But only twelve showed up, so he named a year after each one of them. Buddha also decided that the people born in those years would be represented by that year’s animal and have similar characteristics to it. It’s said that people born in the year of the horse are perceptive, witty, talented and good with their hands.

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In honor of the new year and in preparation, the SF Chinatown put on a flower market last weekend. Everyone comes out and buys their flowers for their new years celebration. Our Chinatown is the largest outside of Asia so you can imagine how packed it was!

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It was more like a street fair, with lots of booths filled with not only flowers, but good luck bamboo and festive toys.

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The flowers were gorgeous, so many different kinds of orchids in so many colors.

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Happy Friday and New Year – I’m celebrating with dumplings for dinner tonight!

Make Eat Easy – Part I

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YOU GUYS – there is a seriously cool new company that you need to try out. It’s called Make Eat Easy and it does just that! This great SF based company allows you to pick and choose delicious, and fancy looking/tasting/sounding meals (all of the above) to try at home – but the best part is that they do all the work for you!

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First, you go to their website and select the kind of meal you want, and for how many people. They have appetizers, brunch items, dinner items and dessert items. Then you order your ingredients and pick a day for the package to get delivered. You can also add in tools you might need to make the meal, like a  mortar and pestle or a pastry brush (really handy gadgets that I never think to buy, but always need).

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Now, prepare yourself for my gushing because this is basically the coolest thing ever. The folks at Make Eat Easy took a good idea and made it great. I picked out what I wanted, they delivered everything to my door and all I had to do was stir the ingredients together and cook it a little bit. It’s simple and convenient, fresh, fast and (wait for it) actually really tastey.

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The tastey part I wasn’t expecting. I thought it would be easy and fast, but not as delicious as it turned out to be.  I ordered an appetizer and a dessert to make. The appetizer will get it’s own post next week because it took 10 minutes to make and it looks like something Martha Stewart made. But for now, let’s talk dessert and let’s talk pizza.

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I chose to make the berry pizza, mainly because I had never made one and I was intrigued.  It kind of felt like I was eating dessert for dinner! And when they say they make eating easy, they mean it. The ingredients come in clearly labeled, pre-measured containers – all you need to do is add them together in the right order and stir (fo reals, that easy).

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You can get the recipe for the berry pizza here (along with all of their free recipes) and let me tell you – berries + cream cheese + pita bread = mind blown. Such simple ingredients and so little time should not have made something this delicious, but it did! If you live in the Bay Area and want to try something new for dinner or make dinner for friends try MakeEatEasy, and cook smart – you will not be disappointed!

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Nopa

Word on the street is that Nopa is one of the best (if not the best) restaurant in the city. I feel a little embarrassed that I have lived here for three years and just went for the first time last weekend. After enjoying a lovely brunch, I would definitely put it in the category of top restaurants in the city (right up there with Beretta and Magnolia) and I’m already planning to go back to try the dinner menu.

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The decor is perfect, I don’t know how they did it but they managed to make it feel homey and warm, while still being modern and cool.

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One unique thing that I had never experienced in a brunch menu was that they offered the menu like a dinner menu. There were three sections, starters, small plates and large plates.

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For starters we got the scone, and it was literally the best I’ve ever had (I’m going to say this a lot in this post so just be prepared). It was warm (always a good start) and soft and moist on the inside. This date scone was savory with a light crunch of sugar baked into the top and it was served with creme fraiche – perfection.

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For our small plate we ordered the baked egg, kind of like a dinner egg dish. It was an egg baked in the oven with tomato sauce and couscous (Israeli couscous to be exact, the best kind) and it was really tastey. Out of the ordinary for a breakfast dish/appetizer but completely satisfying in a really great texturally interesting way.

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The mains we got were epic. The french toast is pretty famous in the city so we obviously got that and we also got the italian sausage.

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The sausage was so flavorful, the spices and juices worked perfectly together. You got that great snap when biting into it and crunching with the pickled onions. So much flavor for such a simple dish.

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Watch out world – I’m going to tell you about the french toast – even though the picture speaks for itself. Hands down the best french toast I’ve ever had. If you haven’t tried it, go to Nopa and get it. If you don’t like french toast, learn to love it, and get it. If you are gluten free endure a stomach ache for a day because this is worth it, and get it. That’s all I have to say, oh and that this butter and egg soaked bread topped with fruit is to die for.

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Rubbing Elbows

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{Ashley, me, Cara and Weston}

Last Thursday was the Refinery29 30 Under 30 party and lucky me got invited to go along. My friend Cara asked if I wanted to go with her and I literally jumped at the chance (I sent her a confirmation gchat, email and text right when she asked me – you know, just in case). It was a blast, there were fancy cocktails, fill-your-own donuts and a photo booth (see ridiculous pictures below). I wore my Freda Salvador shoes (remember the ones I WON?!) and while we were standing in line for drinks Cristina (co-founder and designer for Freda) spotted me and remembered me from the raffle night. We all chatted and exchanged cards. I felt like I was rubbing elbows and chatting it up with some really talented people the whole night!

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{Cara and I being our goofy selves and finger dancing for the cameras!}

Summer Bucket List

After the summer solstice and noticing it’s almost July (wait, where did June go) I realized there are a lot of things I would like to do this summer. So in the spirit of the first official day of summer, and the longest day of the year – I thought would make a summer bucket list of things I hope to get out and do in these warm summer months.

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1.) Go to the beach more (we went to Baker Beach for the summer solstice and it was beautiful)

2.) Make summer summer dishes with fresh produce for dinners at the farmer’s market and dine al fresco

3.) Enjoy some summer sangria

4.) Host a Hawaiian shirt themed party (possibly housewarming – I love this one)

5.) Swim in a lake – going on a girlie weekend in July to my friend’s cabin and renting a pontoon boat on Pinecrest Lake

6.) Buy tickets for Summer at the Symphony – we went last year and saw the Wizard of Oz while the symphony played the along, it was so cool!

7.) Travel – many weekend trips and a big vacation are in the works for the summer!

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Freda Salvador

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YOU GUYS – I won something AWESOME! You know how people say they never win things – I’m not going to say that, even though I can’t remember the last time I won something – but I do know this is the BEST thing I have ever won…

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My friend hosted an event for ENCORE (SF Ballet group) at Freda Salvador (awesome little shoe boutique in the Marina) last night. The SF Ballet is doing a Cinderella production so the event was centered around shoes (get it – shoes, glass slipper, so clever!).

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Freda Salvador is an awesome brand started by two awesome ladies, Megan and Cristina, who have their shoe making and designing down pat. I love their aesthetic – they said it was a combination of their two very different styles. Megan is more bohemian and she loves prints while Cristina’s style is more monochromatic, clean cut and tailored. This shoe is the perfect marriage of those unique styles and it shows throughout their entire line.

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They have a Fall and Spring line out right now but they are working on larger lines for the next seasons. [Enter boots here]. They even said a men’s line is in the works…

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I won these beautiful babies in the raffle and I was told they are going to be featured in a magazine next month – I am so ahead of the game! Cristina and Megan were so nice, they literally let me have my pick of any shoe in the store! It was such a Cinderella story (yep, it’s all coming full circle now).

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I want to give a huge thanks to ENCORE for putting on this event and to the lovely ladies at Freda Salvador for the amazing shoes!