Alternatives to Everyday Grocery Shopping: the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

donut muffins and other sweet treats from the Downtown Healdsburg Bakery stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market in San Francisco.

I hate grocery shopping.

No, really. I hate going to grocery stores, pushing a cart around under the fluorescent lights. Going to smaller markets like Bryan's or the Haight Street Whole Foods is a nice compromise, but it is still going to the grocery store. Which is firmly planted on my no fun list.

Which is why today we did our shopping for the food we'll cook and eat this week at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Saturday market.

We started out with brunch at the underrated Market Bar, where I had a friend egg, cheese and pork sandwich (with chipotle aioli, avocado tomatillo salsa and plantain chips) that was simply amazing. When it arrived I thought to myself there was no possible way I could eat it all. But I was wrong. I only left a crunchy bit of crust on my plate!

Sufficiently fueled up, we spent an hour scouring the market for ingredient's for the week's dinners. Highlights of what we brought home:

There is just something so inspiring about buying food in the fresh foggy air, often from the people who are growing it. I can't wait to put all our produce and assorted treats to use this week.

Birthday Week: Incoming!

jewelry cat is keeping an eye on you

I always make a point to take my birthday off from work to ensure its chances of awesomeness. The one year that I *did* work on my birthday, I had to manage a PR issue that nearly made me late for my own birthday dinner. Never again!

This year, I'm ratcheting it up a notch and taking off my birthday week AND the following week. The second week will primarily consist of a trip to Portland, a city I've had on my "to visit" list for over a decade. But the first week will be all about getting out and about in San Francisco. Agenda includes:

Now, to just get through this week -- only 5 days standing between me and some serious fun...wish me luck!

Take Me Out to the Ballpark

SF Giants

I made it out to my first SF Giants baseball game of the season on Friday night, thanks to L's Stub Hub browsing. A nice big order of garlic fries was consumed, as was much local beer. And I rounded out my evening finally obtaining a panda hat, which was handy for the long cold bus ride home.

Most years I've gotten to go to 2 or 3 games, often thanks to work-related excursions or folks having additional tickets and taking me along. It's been the only sporting activity I like to watch for well over a decade now. I like the strategy -- and watching the runners on base psyching out the pitcher...adn getting in a nice long hard slide into base on a steal...good stuff. Of course having a gorgeous ballpark with Bay views and yummy food and microbrews also helps.

It's been a pretty quiet Summer so far. Well, other than the train wreck of a Jesus and Mary Chain show we went to a few weeks back. That was noisy and disappointing. Incredibly disappointing. At least I knew all of the words even though a certain someone else seemed to forget a number of the lyircs. Ahem.

Still trying to pin down dates and details for a small trip up to Portland in Mid-August after my birthday. I'd asked for PAX weekend off, but since we didn't get tickets for that after all, I need to revise my request. Plan is to stay at the Ace in downtown Portland since it appears to be an excellent area for walking around. It will be my first visit to Portland -- my only prior Pacific NorthWest experience having been a trip to Seattle a number of years ago for work and a mini vacation. So if you have Portland must-see and must-eat suggestions, leave 'em for me!

Speaking of August, I very briefly toyed with the idea of having a cocktail hour or some such social event for my birthday this year, but then decided against it. I can't fool myself into thinking I'd somehow love a big shindig if it were for me. I truly prefer having the opportunity to have more meaningful one-to-one conversation than is ever possible in a large group. I'm hoping instead for a fancy dinner at Jardiniere with my sweetie, and hopefully a number of individual lunches and post work cocktail hours with friends in addition instead. Yes, Bay Area peeps, THIS MEANS YOU!

And now, back to my Fortnum & Mason Royal Blend tea and playing on Pinterest.

8 Things People Who Do Not Live in San Francisco Think they Know About the City

Every so often, I am reminded that having lived in this city for almost 2 decades, I have a distinctly different point of view on a number of items related to our fair CIty. And thus, I share with you this list of things people who do not live in San Francisco often are certain they know about San Francisco. Please leave me some of your favorites in the comments!

8 Things That Are Not True About San Francisco But Many People Seem to Think Are

1. It is OK to call us "Frisco" for short.

2. Every place from Marin County to San Jose to Oakland is all San Francisco.

3. When you tell me you're coming to San Francisco and want to meet up, but are actually in San Jose, that's OK because I can just take BART there.

4. Parking is plentiful in the Marina, on a weekend night, so we don't need to pay for parking/valet. We'll just circle the block again...

5. Everyone lives in one of those adorable Victorians.

6. There are no straight guys in the City, so if you move here as a single lady you are on your way to spinsterhood.

7. If you come to visit, be sure to pack shorts, you'll want to be wearing them for your trip to Ocean Beach.

8. Cabs are plentiful and can be flagged down from any street corner throughout the City.

A Perfect San Francisco Weekend

image from farm2.staticflickr.com
It's one of those rare incredibly sunny and warm weekends we never expct in San Francisco, and I've been taking advantage of it.

Last night, L's mom and stepdad came into the city and we enjoyed a leisurely walk down Geary and a tasty family style dinner at Ton Kiang. My favorite entree was the sweet and sour pork, hands down. It was brought to us sizzly from the frying pan. Almost too hot to eat, even. Which made it that much more delicious. The Kung Pao chicken and the basil beef were also very good, but I was a little less impresssed with the Mongolian Beef. It didn't have quite the kick I was expecting. But it was a good dinner overall anyhow.

Because we are spoiled, L's mom brought us a huge bag of the bounty from their garden. Tons of fresh herbs, butter lettuce, baby red onions, and leeks. There is going to be an amazing salad in our future tonight I assure you. Given that it is 90 degrees in our 4th floor apartment, however, it may have to accompany something we order in. Even the convection oven feels like too much additional heat to add to the house tonight...

Brunch was someplace new for J, L and I, Cafe Bunn Mi on Clement. The place was packed with a line out the door, but luckily for us, it was mostly take-out orders so we were able to quickly claim a table and sit down to enjoy some graet viatnamese sandwiches, thai iced tea, and assorted tasty fried foods. An excellent way to start a Saturday. And will definitely be going back there. This reminds me to note: our nieghborhood needs more sandwich places!

I was able to cool off for a bit and catch up w/an old friend, Beth, who was in town today taking her daughter to a swim meet. I met up with them for ice cream at Joe's up the street, then introduced them to our kitties. Even our bravest kitty, Bolvar, was a little taken aback by the fast moving spirited children. I'd forgotten that this was their first time meeting non-adult people.

It does make me feel a little old to be meeting children of friends who are older than the age at which I met those friends. 


I envision an evening of playing on Pinterest and in SWTOR. Until next time...

xo me


What I'm Doing During my SF Holiday Staycation

burger and shoestring fries at Zuni Cafe in SF

It's hard to believe I am only halfway through  my holiday staycation! Needless to say, I'm definitely finally feeling relaxed, as one should on a vacation. Even the kitties are cooperating by being good.

So far, this staycation has been a busy one. I kicked off the week with getting all my holiday cards completed, and shipping out a few packages. But Tuesday is what felt like the real kickoff.  I treated myself to a long leisurely lunch at Zuni Cafe, long one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco. I even splurged on a great glass of pinot noir and saved room for dessert -- the always delicious espresso granita. Despite being a one-top in a sea of larger parties, I was well taken care of, and had a prime seat in the sunny main room, with plenty of people watching.

After lunch, I hopped on the F Market Streetcar and made my way to Macy's Union Square, for my two-hour shift volunteering for the SFSPCA and their holiday windows fundraiser and adoption event. If you're not familiar with the SFSPCA holiday windows, check out the window cams of adorable adoptable kitties and puppies now. Be warned that you may be overloaded with cuteness.

I've volunteered for this annual fundraiser at least a half dozen times over the past 12 years. This year, as with most years, I was on duty to answer questions about the adoptable pets in the windows and the SFSPCA. There was not too much foot traffic, which is not surprising given we were on the O'Farell side of the building, post-lunch and pre-evening crowds. But I still had the opportunity to talk to a number of animal lovers about their pets, which is always one of the nice side effects of this volunteering.

I gathered about $100 in my collection box, and spread the word to dozens of folks. And I think a 4-year-old poodle may have found himself a forever home as a result of our shift too. A rather enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. I highly encourage SF peeps to sign up for a shift. But don't blame me if you end up coming home with a new furry family member...

The rest of this week has been consumed with plowing through the Hunger Games book series (I am 75% of the way through the third book now), and getting started with playing the new Star Wars MMORPG. If you're interested in learning more about that part of my week, peek at the blog I've started that focuses on my SWTOR adventures.

Next week, I am most looking forward to my significant other finally being able to eat solid, chewy food again after 3 weeks of post-surgery recovery, and making a lovely Christmas Eve dinner at home, then heading up to Sonoma for Christmas Day. So nice to have a relaxing holiday season for once, instead of trying to cram in all the to-do's after work in the weeks leading up to the holiday. I hope to have the opportunity to take this time frame off again.

Just What *are* those "Period Details"?

I recently saw a listing for an apartment out here in the Fog Belt that has a curious selling point "period details."

Now, if you've never been to San Francisco's Richmond District, perhaps you think of our quaint and often photographed Painted ladies-- the gorgeous Victorian and Edwardian buildings on all our postcards and tourist literature.

But as a long-time neighborhood denizen, living in a 1965 building, I started to think, what exactly would I consider to be a 1965 period detail? Original powder blue and baby pink kitchens? (NOTE: that is what my place had before I signed the lease and they ripped it out.) A lack of windowsills or mouldings? The introduction of the open floor living plan?

I'm not sure that any of those details would entice your average renter, but I could be wrong about that...

TGIF and a Happy Long Weekend to you!