21 November 2013

Austin Bakes for Austin

At the end of October, the Austin area experienced heavy rainfall that lead to flash flooding all over the city and surrounding areas. The storms and floods took the lives of at least six people and are estimated to cost upwards of $14 million. Much of this cost is being felt by the residents of Austin and Pflugerville who lost their homes. Over 450 families have turned to the Austin Disaster Relief Network for help.

We've baked for Japan, we've baked for Bastrop, and most recently we baked for West. Now the Austin Bakes team is coming together for our neighbors and baking for Austin. On Saturday November 30th, we'll be hosting a city-wide bake sale from 10 AM - 2 PM at five different locations. If you're in Austin that Saturday, please come out and join us! We'll have tasty treats that will go towards a great cause. Better yet, if you're able you can also volunteer to help out at one of the locations or even drop off baked goods. If you're not able to come out, there's also an online giving site set up for donations.

Central: Foreign & Domestic
306 E. 53rd Street, 78751

Downtown: Whole Foods Market Lamar
525 N. Lamar Boulevard, 78703

East: Sugar Circus Bakery
2613 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702

North: Make It Sweet
9070 Research Blvd #203, Austin, TX 78757

South: Crema Bakery*
9001 Brodie Lane, Suite B, 78748

*Come say hi to Ramona and me at Crema!

18 November 2013

Meal Plan

This has nothing to do with anything except that my kitchen is in the picture too.
I haven't posted a meal plan since I don't know when. I never ever stick to the meal plan either, but I figured that we needed to get used to trying to eat in more, so I'm going to try to post a weekly meal plan on Sundays.


arugula + cheddar quiche, bacon, refrigerator pickles

meatballs + pierogi

Thursday (note to self: get some cheese)
butternut squash casserole

spaghetti squash + tomato sauce

10 November 2013

Jiffy Cornbread Muffins

Sometimes you just need to make boxed cornbread muffins because a) I paid $3 for 6 boxes, b) they bake up awfully pretty, and c) they taste very much like a Michigan childhood.

09 November 2013


Half chicken with medium piri piri sauce served with rice and zucchini 

We were looking for a place to eat lunch today after Ramona's music class and made our way on over to Mueller. I've been looking for new places to eat, so we decided to check out BoneHeads. They serve chicken and fish in various forms with some signature sauces that feature piri piri, or African bird's eye chilies. Since I'm still feeling my way around blogging again, I'll be brief: they can't cook anything particularly well, but the sauces are really good. Colby got a super fishy-tasting rockfish with broccoli. I got the pictured chicken with zucchini that basically had grill marks for show since it was basically raw otherwise. Their medium sauce is on the spicy side, but it's pretty flavorful. They sell bottles of the sauce for $4.99 each, so my next trip to BoneHeads is likely just to get a bottle of it.

03 November 2013

Morrocan-spiced Lentils and Beef

Remember when this blog was actually about just me posting my recipes that seemed to work? That was probably like 5 years ago. Let's start that again because I don't have any witty stories or pictures, but this was tasty and Ramona ate it, which is important.

evoo, s + p
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
2 T tomato paste
1/2 t Ras el Hanout
garlic of some sort
1 1/2 c french lentils, rinsed
28 oz whole or diced tomatoes
2 c chicken stock

Heat a dutch oven and add olive oil until shimmery. Sweat onions + pinch of salt until tender. Brown ground beef and season with salt + pepper. Add in tomato paste, Ras el Hanout, and whatever form of garlic you're using and stir until fragrant (~1 minute). Add in tomatoes and break with a spoon if they're whole. Add lentils and chicken stock as well and then cook for another ~45 minutes - 1 hour until the lentils are tender.

06 July 2013

cold brewed coffee

Welp. That photography challenge came and went. Oops. I did take a lot of photos, though, while we were in Michigan and right after we came back home and hadn't downloaded the pictures to our computer.

Om nom nom lake perch from Scalawags. Because they don't have this in Texas.

Mostly, I'm here because I wanted to use this blog how it was intended, for a recipe. For me. Not for anyone else, although you're welcomed to use it, but I can never remember this by myself.

Cold Brewed Coffee
6 c cold water
4.5 oz ground coffee

combine, put in the refrigerator for some amount of time between 12-24 hours. Filter through cheesecloth and then a coffee filter. Dilute in half when serving.

03 June 2013

30 Day Photography Challenge: Something you wore

We took Ramona to a splash pad yesterday to see if she'd like it. There were a ton of kids there, which scared her and the water features were a bit... aggressive. I carried her around to see the less violent features and got soaking wet in the process. Mostly, I dried off rather quickly, but not my shoes, which though waterproof, remained squishy for the next couple hours while I walked through Central Market.

Also, these shoes are giving me the most ridiculous tan lines.

02 June 2013

30 Day Photography Challenge: Self-portrait

I miss blogging. I miss the food blogging community here in Austin too. I just don't think I have the time to do it on the regular yet, and I'm doubtful that I will until I graduate; however, I did find something that I think I can do and will let me satisfy that blogging urge I get now and again.

The 30 Day Photography Challenge at White Peach is doable, I think. I'm not going to join their forums, but I will post to this blog. Hopefully daily, but if not, I'll be taking daily pictures. So here's my first picture, a self-portrait. We took it at St. Theresa's in Austin right after Ramona's baptism. And since I'm in this picture and I'm never in pictures, I'm going to call this close enough.

06 May 2013

thank you! thank you! thank you!

Austin Bakes for West was a resounding success. Bakers, baked-good aficionados, and online donors raised $19,377! This was well over the $15,000 goal. Thank you so much if you came out to the sale or donated your time, money, or goods! A super special thank you to Kathryn of Austin Gastronomist for organizing this and all of the site leaders as well. Megan of Stetted and Steff of The Kitchen Trials were the site leaders at Stiles Switch BBQ and they helped us have a fun, productive sale! Also greatly deserving of credit is Stiles Switch BBQ for making tray-upon-tray of delicious sausage kolaches, letting the bake sale run late, and being a great party host to boot!

If you missed the bake sale, the online donation form is still open here.

I would totally post pictures, but in the interest of actually getting a post up, here's a link to some pictures and the wrap up post over at Austin Bakes.

27 April 2013

Austin Bakes for West

Another interruption in my silence here.

If you've paid attention to any Texas news, you already know about the devastating fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas that left 14 people dead and up to another 200 injured. West, Texas is a tiny town along I-35 and anyone who's made the drive from Austin to Dallas has gone through West. What makes it so well-known is its close-knit Czech community and the bakeries, like the Czech Stop, within that served up delicious kolaches.

The Austin Bakes team is getting together again to host another city-wide bake sale on May 4th from 10 AM - 2 PM to support the people of West. There will be eight locations and delicious treats at each! All proceeds will be donated to AmeriCares.

So what can you do to help? If you're in the Austin area and have some time, donate baked goods or volunteer to work at the bake sale. If you're pressed for time, but still in Austin, come out to the bake sale and get some tasty goodies for your monetary donations. If you're not in the Austin area, or you simply can't wait to help, you can donate in the name of Austin Bakes to AmeriCares via the FirstGiving page.

Colby, Ramona, and I will be at the Stiles Switch BBQ location. We're planning on bringing strawberry lemonade cupcakes and mojito kits, and maybe some other goodies, if we can get our act together. So come out and visit us on the 4th to help out some people in need!

10 April 2013

I'm still here, lurking somewhere on the internets.

The last time I posted for reals was on my birthday and my extended absence is probably going to get longer, but I wanted to post something that wasn't just random code (THAT HAS A SEG FAULT IN IT. GRR). So... here's a picture of Ramona "taking" a selfie.

29 March 2013

fucking thesis.

      subroutine lineplot
c     this routine plots individual Fe and Ti line abundances versus
c     E.P. and log(R.W.)

      implicit real*8 (a-h,o-z)
      include 'quants.com'
      include 'characts.com'

      integer ion10(4)
      data (ion10(iqq),iqq=1,4) / 221, 222, 261, 262 /
      real*4 xline(200), yline(200), zline(200)
      real*4 xmin, xmax, ymin, ymax, xpos, ypos, style(1)
      real*4 ptypeneed(4)
      data (ptypeneed(iqq),iqq=1,4) / 40.6,  30.8, 243.7,  41.9 /
      integer sm_device
      character*60 shortline
      character*3 plotname(4)
      data (plotname(iqq),iqq=1,4) / 'Ti1', 'Ti2', 'Fe1', 'Fe2' /
      character*1 chars(80)
      equivalence (chars,lnpsfile)

c*****create and open the line plot postscript file
      line = '.plnxx'
      if (niter .lt. 10) then
         write (line(5:6),1020) niter
1020     format ('0', i1)
         write (line(5:6),1021) niter
1021     format (i2)
      call meld (starname, line, lnpsfile, ifile)
      if (ifile .lt. 10) then
         write (shortline,1003) ifile
         write (shortline,1004) ifile
1003  format ('(13hpostlandfile ,a',i1,'$)')
1004  format ('(13hpostlandfile ,a',i2,'$)')
      write (line,shortline) lnpsfile(1:ifile)
      if (sm_device(line(1:13+ifile)) .lt. 0) then
         write (*,1005) shortline(1:ifile+13)
1005     format ('FILE OPENING ERROR:',a60)

c*****set up, label, etc., the upper plot window for trends with RW
      call sm_graphics
      call sm_erase
      call sm_location (5500,30500,4500,30500)
      call sm_defvar ('y_gutter', '0.70')
      call sm_expand (1.0)
      call sm_window (1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2)
      xmin = -6.2
      xmax = -4.2
      ymin = -0.7
      ymax = +0.7
      call sm_limits (xmin, xmax, ymin, ymax)
      call sm_lweight (4.0)
      call sm_ctype ('black')
      call sm_expand (1.01)
      call sm_box (1, 2, 0, 0)
      call sm_xlabel ('log RW')
      call sm_ylabel ('\\gD log(\\ge)')
      call sm_ltype (1)
      xpos = xmin
      ypos = 0.
      call sm_relocate (xpos, ypos)
      xpos = xmax
      call sm_draw (xpos, ypos)
      call sm_ltype (0)

c*****write the star name and the assumed stellar parameters in the box
      xpos = -5.20
      ypos = +0.55
      call sm_relocate (xpos, ypos)
      call sm_putlabel (5, starname(1:iname))
      write (shortline,1001) int(teff+0.001), logg, fehadopt, vt
1001  format ('T ', i4, ' g ', f4.2, ' M/H ', f5.2,
     .        ' v_t ', f4.2)
      ypos = -0.40
      call sm_relocate (xpos, ypos)
      call sm_expand (0.85)
      call sm_putlabel (5, shortline(1:32))

c*****draw the mean trend of Fe I abundance with RW
      call sm_ctype ('green')
      xpos = xmin
      ypos = rwintercept(26,1) + xmin*rwslope(26,1) - abfe
      call sm_relocate (xpos, ypos)
      xpos = xmax
      ypos = rwintercept(26,1) + xmax*rwslope(26,1) - abfe
      call sm_draw (xpos, ypos)

      xpos = -6.25
      ypos = +0.80
      call sm_relocate (xpos, ypos)
      call sm_expand (0.80)
      call sm_ctype ('black')
      call sm_putlabel (6,'(mean,sigma,#)')
      xpos = xmin +0.1
      ypos = +0.60
      call sm_relocate (xpos,ypos)
      call sm_putlabel (6,itercomm)
c      if (disaster .gt. 0) then
c         xpos = -5.20
c         ypos = +0.65
c         call sm_relocate (xpos,ypos)
c         call sm_putlabel (6,'GROSS CHANGE!!')
c      endif

c*****find and plot the individual line abundances for Fe I,II, and Ti I,II
      do iqq=1,4
         nlo = 0
         nhi = 0
         if (ion10(iqq)/10 .eq. 22) then
            call sm_ctype ('red')
            call sm_ctype ('blue')
         pause 'L131 get nline?'
         print*, 'L132 nline = ',nline
         do j=1,nline
            if (lineid10(j) .eq. ion10(iqq)) then
               nlo = j
               do k=nlo+1,nline
                  if (lineid10(k) .ne. ion10(iqq)) then
                     nhi = k - 1
                     go to 10
               nhi = nline
               go to 10

10       if (nlo .ne. 0) then
            nplot = 0
            do j=nlo,nhi
               nplot = nplot + 1
               yline(nplot) = real(linerw(j))
               if (ion10(iqq)/10 .eq. 22) then
                  zline(nplot) = real(lineab(j)-abti)
                  zline(nplot) = real(lineab(j)-abfe)
            style(1) = ptypeneed(iqq)
            call sm_expand (2.0)
            call sm_ptype (style,1)
            call sm_points (yline, zline, nplot)
            ii = ion10(iqq)/10
            jj = ion10(iqq) - 10*ii
            write (shortline,1010) plotname(iqq), specab(ii,jj),
     .                             specdev(ii,jj), specnum(ii,jj)
1010        format (a3, '(', f5.2, ',', f4.2, ',', i3, ')')
            call sm_expand (0.80)
            xpos = -6.30 + 0.45*iqq
            ypos = +0.80
            call sm_relocate (xpos, ypos)
            call sm_putlabel (6,shortline(1:19))

c*****set up, label, etc., the lower plot window for trends with EP
      call sm_expand (1.0)
      call sm_window (1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1)
      xmin =  -0.05
      xmax =  5.00
      ymin = -0.7
      ymax = +0.7
      call sm_limits (xmin, xmax, ymin, ymax)
      call sm_lweight (4.0)
      call sm_ctype ('black')
      call sm_expand (1.01)
      call sm_box (1, 2, 0, 0)
      call sm_xlabel ('E.P.')
      call sm_ylabel ('\\gD log(\\ge)')
      call sm_ltype (1)
      xpos = xmin
      ypos = 0.
      call sm_relocate (xpos, ypos)
      xpos = xmax
      call sm_draw (xpos, ypos)
      call sm_ltype (0)

c*****draw the mean trend of Fe I abundance with EP
      call sm_ctype ('green')
      xpos = xmin
      ypos = epintercept(26,1) + xmin*epslope(26,1) - abfe
      call sm_relocate (xpos, ypos)
      xpos = xmax
      ypos = epintercept(26,1) + xmax*epslope(26,1) - abfe
      call sm_draw (xpos, ypos)

c      pause 'it will crash after getting to i=3'
c*****find and plot the individual line abundances for Fe I,II, and Ti I,II
      do iqq=1,4
         nlo = 0
         nhi = 0
         print*, "L214 iqq = ",iqq
      pause 'L215 before print'
        print*, "L216 nlo =",nlo," nhi =",nhi
        print*, 'L217 ion10(iqq)/10 =', ion10(iqq)/10," iqq=",iqq
      pause 'L218 after print'
         if (ion10(iqq)/10 .eq. 22) then
            call sm_ctype ('red')
            call sm_ctype ('blue')
       print*, 'L224 iqq=',iqq
         do j=1,nline
            if (lineid10(j) .eq. ion10(iqq)) then
               nlo = j
               do k=nlo+1,nline
                  if (lineid10(k) .ne. ion10(iqq)) then
                     nhi = k - 1
                     iqq2 = iqq
                     go to 20
               nhi = nline
               go to 20
20       if (nlo .ne. 0) then
c      pause 'I think the problem is in the do loop below'
           nplot = 0
           print*, "L243 nlo =", nlo," nhi= ",nhi
            do j=nlo,nhi
           print*, "L245 j=",j," nlo =", nlo," nhi= ",nhi
               nplot = nplot + 1
           print*, "L247 iqq = ", iqq
               xline(nplot) = real(lineep(j))
           print*, "L249 iqq = ", iqq
               if (ion10(iqq2)/10 .eq. 22) then
           print*, "L251 iqq = ", iqq
                  zline(nplot) = real(lineab(j)-abti)
           print*, "L253 iqq = ", iqq
           print*, "L255 iqq = ", iqq
                  zline(nplot) = real(lineab(j)-abfe)
           print*, "L257 iqq = ", iqq
c       pause 'it seg faults if this pause isnt put in'
           print*, "L260 iqq = ", iqq

            style(1) = ptypeneed(iqq2)
            call sm_expand (2.0)
            call sm_ptype (style,1)
            call sm_points (xline, zline, nplot)
           print*, "L268 iqq = ", iqq

c*****add a legend to identify the species symbols
      do iqq=1,4
         if (ion10(iqq)/10 .eq. 22) then
            call sm_ctype ('red')
            call sm_ctype ('blue')
         call sm_relocate (0.40+real(iqq-1), -0.45)
         style(1) = ptypeneed(iqq)
         call sm_expand (2.0)
         call sm_ptype (style,1)
         call sm_dot
         call sm_expand (0.75)
         call sm_relocate (0.55+real(iqq-1), -0.45)
         call sm_putlabel (6,plotname(iqq))
         if (nlo .eq. 0) then
            call sm_relocate (0.55+real(iqq-1), -0.35)
            call sm_expand (0.75)
            call sm_putlabel (5,'(NO LINES)')
            if (iqq .eq. 1) then
             call sm_ctype ('black')
             call sm_relocate (2.2, -0.25)
             call sm_putlabel
     .         (5,'--> model has been forced off the grid <-- p="">            endif

c*****end the plot, close the file, note in the log
      call sm_gflush
      call sm_alpha
      call sm_hardcopy
      write (99,1006) (chars(iqq),iqq=1,ifile)
1006  format (' made a plot of Fe and Ti line abundances: ', 40a1)
      if     (machine .eq. 'pcr') then
         if (ifile .lt. 10) then
            write (shortline,1011) ifile
1011        format ('(14hgv -landscape ,a', i1,
     .              ', 2h &', '$)')
            write (shortline,1012) ifile
1012        format ('(14hgv -landscape ,a', i2,
     .              ', 2h &', '$)')
      elseif (machine .eq. 'pcl') then
         if (ifile .lt. 10) then
            write (shortline,1013) ifile
1013        format ('(26hgv -orientation=landscape ,a', i1,
     .              ', 2h &', '$)')
            write (shortline,1014) ifile
1014        format ('(26hgv -orientation=landscape ,a', i2,
     .              ', 2h &', '$)')
      elseif (machine .eq. 'mac') then
         if (ifile .lt. 10) then
            write (shortline,1015) ifile
1015        format (
     .         '(37hgv -orientation=landscape -scale=0.5 ,a', i1,
     .         ', 2h &', '$)')
            write (shortline,1016) ifile
1016        format (
     .         '(37hgv -orientation=landscape -scale=0.5 ,a', i2,
     .         ', 2h &', '$)')

c      pause 'note stuff in log'
c*****comment next to lines to supress atmosphere pop-up plots
      write (line,shortline) lnpsfile(1:ifile)
c      call system (line)


14 February 2013


We interrupt the string of poorly-written posts on San Francisco for my annual birthday check in.

I've officially left my mid-twenties for my late twenties and so far, so good.  Twenty-six was a very good year for me, mostly because of this face:

I can only hope that twenty-seven treats me so well.  So happy birthday to me and happy Valentine's day to everyone else.

12 February 2013

San Francisco Day 5

We're back in Austin now.  We've been back for several days now, but things always get hectic when you're home, right?

Wednesday we woke up and decided to check out North Beach.  North Beach is north of the downtown area and Chinatown.  It's got a prominent red light district (that we had to walk through to get to dinner the night before), but it's also filled with ridiculously delicious Italian food.  One of the "don't miss" places I was told to visit was Stella Pastry. It turns out that it's also a coffee shop, so Ramona and I had a latte and got some cookies for Colby.  Maybe only one of us had a latte.  We walked around and found a kitschy little store that sold random souvenirs   Next door was a little specialty food store that featured only products that are made at small businesses.  Most of the products originated in San Francisco or the bay area, but I did spot some Zhi Tea on the shelf!  The person at the register was clearly bored out of his mind, so we started chatting and I was talked into  buying a locally made chocolate bar.  He also pointed me to his favorite sandwich shop in the area, so Ramona and i headed that way.

We made our way to Petite Deli and ordered a prosciutto and cheese sandwich for mama and an "Italian hero" for dada.  It was, sort of surprisingly, run by an old Korean woman who had a granddaughter who was only a few months older than Ramona.  Ramona was again ogled and we exchanged baby stories as she made our sandwiches.  Wednesday was also the day that I decided to check out the SPIE meet's career center.  I found out that no one under the age of 11 was allowed on the exhibition hall floor (lame), so Colby watched Ramona while he ate his sub.  I found a lot of different places that had positions that were perfect for... Colby, but none for me.  I was fine with that, though, because i'm not looking for a job yet, but I have a better idea about what I need to work on for next year.

After that, Ramona and I went to the hotel and I ate my sandwich and Ramona had some "explore the room" time.  And by that, I mean, she got to be unstrapped from the Ergo and just crawl.  I was about to strap her to me and go again, but she was hungry, so I nursed her to sleep, actually, and so we just took an afternoon to hang out because she sort of needed it and i was tired of acting as a pack animal.  Colby got back to the hotel room around 5:30 and later that evening, we met up with my cousin Scott and his girlfriend Tony.  Scott and Tony live in Sunnyvale, about 45 minutes south and it was nice to see him again, as we keep missing each other when everyone comes home around Christmas.  We met up at the Warwick Hotel bar and then moved onto the sushi restarant, Sakana, which was only a few blocks from our hotel.

Sakana was great and we had a bunch of random things that Tony mostly ordered.  I really enjoy madai and toro (obviously), and this place had some really wonderful, fresh fist.  Ramona even got in on the action and had some chicken skewers (still too young for sushi!).  Afterwards, we walked around looking for dessert and ended up in the basement of Macy's and eating truffles from Godiva.  It was the first time I met Tony and she was really interesting, grew up mostly in the bay area, and has really pretty hair. (I know, sometimes I surprise myself and remember that I'm a girl.)  After that, we turned in and tried to pack up, but Ramona was super angry because her tummy hurt and we tried to just sleep for the night.

06 February 2013

San Francisco Day 4

Tuesday was the first day that Ramona and I had to go it alone, but it was okay.  I wanted to get a MUNI pass to ride around the city, but had a problem with my cash* situation.  Long story short: MSUFCU is awesome and now I owe them like $6 on a cash advance and it's probably not going to be worth it.  I purchased a $22 MUNI pass with the hopes of taking a cable car at some point and zipping around town on the bus system.  The cable car lines are insane and the buses that I tried to take that night either didn't come or were so overcrowded that, at one point, I got hit by the door because the bus driver didn't know someone was standing on the stairs and I had no way of knowing that he was closing the door.

We took a street car to the Ferry building for lunch.  I knew that the farmers market was going on that day, but I wasn't sure what to expect.  There were some prepared food vendors, but they were all crazy busy, especially Hapa Ramen.  I would have loved some ramen, but Ramona makes ramen-eating precarious at best.  All of this happened outside of the Ferry Building and as I walked in, there were TONS of shops, mostly having to do with food.  It was amazing and I went into the Cow Girl Creamery store and bought a half round of Red Hawk and then went next store to a bakery and bought a sourdough baguette and that's what I had for lunch.  Best decision ever.  I spotted a bakery called Miette and saw that they had macarons and bought a pistachio, a vanilla, and a chocolate to meet the five dollar credit card limit and to try my first macaron.

Afterwards, we left the Ferry Building and I started to walk up the Embarcadero towards Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf.  Big mistake.  It's a bit over a mile to get there and having a Ramona on your front and a backpack on your back makes for quite strenuous walking.  I made several stops, including on a (supposedly historical) promenade where I tried my first macaron... and then shortly after my second.  They were wonderful.  Not at all what I was expecting, but that's okay because wow.  SO good! 

Along the Embarcadero was a bunch of buildings that housed some of the America's Cup stuff and that was sort of interesting to look at, although at that point, I was just stretching for things to be interested in during my arduous sojourn.  (I'm not being dramatic. Not at all.)  I finally saw the Aquarium of the Bay and realized that we had reached Pier 39.  I didn't see any walruses or sea lions or whatever you're supposed to see, but this might have been because that part of the pier was closed.  Or because I'm an idiot and never found the lookout point. 

Either way, it didn't matter because what I did find was a miniature playground complete with two slides and some stairs.  We were set!  Ramona played for awhile and then I changed her diaper and we were all happy again.  I've been complaining on tumblr, facebook, and twitter about how smokey San Francisco is and I think some people don't believe me.  I just want to show here that I'm not being crazy.  Here are two people who are smoking right by a playground.  I actually stood back until they left and held Ramona so that she didn't need to be all up in their secondhand smoke while she navigated the stairs.

Exhibits A and B.
So after that, we walked around Fisherman's Wharf, which I had been advised to avoid by anyone who lived in SF for longer than a year.  Was it a tourist shit hole?  Yes.  Did it have a whole lot of people who looked like carnies?  Absolutely.  Am I glad I went?  Yes, but not for the reasons you would expect.  I mean, I knew what I was getting into and now I can say that I went there.  It's also easier to have a screaming baby at Fisherman's Wharf than it is at the Museum of Modern Art.  Not that she was screaming.  We had a playground.  Playgrounds = magical.  After awhile, I ducked into an In-and-Out (I still don't get the hype) and got a pop because I was thirsty and under caffeinated.  On my way out, I passed some (probably homeless) dude without a full set of teeth crouched behind a garbage can.  It took every ounce of willpower I had to not scream, so I was proud of myself.  About 30 seconds later, I heard a huge shriek come from behind me.  I guess that guy got someone else.

As I was about to give up and leave and call the place a bust, I stumbled across the National Parks Visitor Center.  It had a huge exhibit on the port of San Francisco and different parts of the city that pertained to the parks.  It also had brochures on a lot of the local National Parks, including Muir Woods.  It was great and it meant that going to the Wharf wasn't completely stupid.  If you do decide to go to the Fisherman's Wharf, this is what I suggest:

1) clam chowder in a bread bowl - there are several vendors on the street and then there's Boudin Bakery.  There's also a Boudin Bakery in the giant Macy's downtown.
2) at least walk in the public restrooms.  Those things are kind of hilarious and they'll talk to you if you'd like.
3) National Park Visitor Center

After leaving the Visitor Center, we left the area.  I wanted to take a trolley back, but the lines were crazy so I found a bus stop and waited for it to come.  There were several not the right buses that came and I finally talked to someone at the bus stop and realized that I was headed the wrong way anyway so I found the right bus stop and went back into town.  Colby met us back at the hotel room and then we went to Sotto Mare for dinner.

Sotto Mare is in North Beach and I didn't want to deal with the hills from last night, so we opted to take the bus.  That didn't come for a long, long time to the point of missing our reservation time, but that wasn't a big deal because we called them to let them know and they didn't have a problem.  Eventually two different buses came that didn't let us on because they were too full, so we all said "fuck it" and walked.  It turns out that North Beach houses some pretty nice hills along with a vibrant red light district.  That was great to walk by, but it was't a huge deal.

When we got there, the owner was IN LOVE with Ramona.  Between her and our waitress, Ramona was giving ridiculous amounts of attention.  It was kind of cute and sort of creepy, but the food was great and Ramona seems to like scallops and pasta now.  We got oyster shooters, a wedge salad to split, and the cioppino also to split.  When dessert came around, we were informed that they don't do dessert, so we went back to our hotel room and ordered room service cheesecake.

*side note: whenever I type cash, I always type CASH first because that's the acronym for my thesis project (the Chemical Abundances of Stars in the Halo).

San Francisco Day 3

Colby had to start working on Monday, but only in the afternoon.  We wandered around the downtown area until we ate lunch and went in and out of a few stores. We're staying in the Grand Hyatt, did I mention that before?  It's across the street from the largest Macy's I've ever seen.  It's a high rise and in the basement is a food court featuring a few interesting restaurants, including Frontera Fresco.

Frontera Fresco is basically a food court presentation of Rick Bayless' Mexican food and it's a lot easier to get into than his other restaurants.  There are several in existence and they're all in Macy's, with most being in Illinois.  I got the shrimp tacos, Colby got a cubana torta, and we split a bowl of the tortilla soup.  It was way tasty and made for a great lunch.

Afterwards, we went to Chinatown to walk around and see it during the daytime.  Last year, Colby stayed in a boutique hotel in Chinatown and said that everything was dead after about 6 PM.  San Francisco has the oldest and largest Chinatown.  It covers an area of 1.34 sq miles (Austin's Chinatown, by comparison, is a shopping center.) and is filled with crazy souvenir shops, dim sum restaurants, food markets and more.  It seems like there's a lot of haggling going on which, quite frankly, scares the crap out of me.  We walked into a jewelry store and some guy offered a Pandora charm for $25 and then $20.  We declined because Colby is a killjoy.

Chinatown is intensely crowded, busy, and vibrant.  It was a lot of fun to walk through just to see all the people bustling about.  I really wanted to buy Ramona some slippers (they were soo pretty!) but did I mention that Colby is a killjoy?  We stopped in at a dim sum restaurant to pick up an afternoon snack (a steamed pork bun, these little chewy bean paste? cookies, and a couple of pieces of har gow) and then headed back to the hotel room. 

Afterwards, Colby went to the Marriott next to the convention center and did his work stuff.  I tried feeding Ramona some fruit and discovered a couple new things about her: a) she really likes watermelon and b) she is TERRIFIED of pigeons.  I found yet another playground (huge slides=lots of stairs for her to climb!) at the Yerba Buena Gardens and let Ramona play for awhile.  Eventually, she got grumpy, so I put her back in the ergo and she fell asleep while i walked around some sketchy looking areas and waited for Colby to be done.  I ended up back near the play area at the YBG and at a little cafe called Beard Papa.  I ate a cheesecake stick while waiting for Colby and then we regrouped and went back to the hotel room again.

We ventured out for dinner up Nob Hill to the Nob Hill Cafe.  Up until this point, I didn't really remember that San Francisco was known for its hills.  The downtown area around us isn't too bad and I had managed to avoid the hills around Chinatown.  This hill was NO JOKE and we ended up going up one street that had stairs carved into it because of the inclination.  OMGWTFBBQ?  But seriously, the problem isn't going up the hills, it's trying not to fall on your face while you're going down.  ANYWHO.

The Nob Hill Cafe was great.  We had a 40 minute wait, which sucked, but Ramona was asleep on top of Colby, so the worst part about waiting (the potentially grumpy baby) was not a problem.  It's a really tiny restaurant, but we got there as part of the last group that ate, so we weren't rushed out as we were finishing up.  This is something that people have complained about on Yelp, but I wasn't too bothered.  We got a misto something or other appetizer, which was basically par-cooked vegetables drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar along with some mozzarella, prosciutto, and olives. (Again, pictures when we get home).  Colby got lasagna and I got the gnocchi.  Colby won dinner that night, but the gnocchi were great and Ramona seemed to like the little bits of ground meat from the sauce.  She also like throwing food on the floor in a mostly non-disruptive way.  By the time dessert came around, she was about ready to leave, so we got tiramisu to go and we walked back (down, slowly) to our hotel to eat it.

04 February 2013

San Francisco Day 2

So this is what we did today:

View Larger Map

We met up with my friend who drove all the way from Santa Barbara (!) at the Velo Rouge Cafe.  She got a coffee and we made our way up to Clement Street to pick up some dim sum from the Clement Restaurant.  We took our spoils to the Presidio (or it might have actually been Mountain Lake Park) and ate lunch at a picnic table in the park and then walked over to the playground area and let Ramona burn off some energy.

Afterwards, we made our way to Green Apple Books and then back to the Velo Rouge Cafe where my friend left San Francisco back home so she could go to work tomorrow.  Colby, Ramona, and I made our way to the Rossi Playground on Arguello where she burned off some more energy and then we headed towards Golden Gate Park to walk around the Japanese Tea Garden, which was sort of disappointing because they were cleaning out a lot of the ponds.  After that, we walked around some more and headed over to the Koret Children's Quarter Playground and then walked to Little Star Pizza to get deep dish pizza and garlic bread.

Afterwards, we tried to get back to our hotel, but were diverted off three buses because the downtown area was closed off due to the Superbowl and got into our room right about the time that the game ended.  I was really glad that we got in before the rioting started. ;)

San Francisco Day 1

We've been in San Francisco for almost two days now and it's been a lot of fun.  I'm hoping to summarize each day for both the memories and to regain some blogging mojo.  There will be a bit of food involved (since we obviously need to eat), but a lot of "stuff we did".  Here's hoping that it's not too boring, but I'm not going to try to make it interesting, it's mostly just me chronicling our adventures here.

We flew in on JetBlue, which is seriously my new favorite airline.  They moved us to a row with an open seat in the middle so that we could have an entire row to ourselves and they gave Ramona stuff to play with on the flight.  It was awesome.  We came in on the BART and were able to check in early to our hotel, which was great.  We then headed to the rental car company and made a harrowing drive out of San Francisco (seriously, when someone claims that a city is "walkable" it ALSO means that it's basically impossible to drive in) to Muir Woods.  It was pretty, though crowded, but we took a ton of pictures and I'm hoping to post them soon.

After we got back and clean, we went to Osha Thai on Second and Mission.  Their tom kha soup was fantastic and the right amount of spicy to help me with my cold.  We also got beef wasabi rolls and those were great and served with this amazing sweet and sour sauce that I could have drunk.  Colby got the pineapple fried rice and he was sort of okay with it.  He said it was a letdown based on how good the first two items were.  I have no way of telling if his meal was good because I hate pineapple fried rice and on the unfortunate bite I took, there were raisins it in. Gross.  I got the crab fried rice and thought it was great.  The place was super clubby and dark and dun dun dun dun dun with the music, so no pictures.  Also, I think they weren't thrilled that Ramona was there and were super slow with the service.  We called it even after Ramona puked on the floor and so we left a nice tip.  There are other locations that are apparently cheaper, but the one by our hotel was in an area called the Tenderloin.  It's apparently not a good neighborhood and between the loud dundundun and the fact that Ramona was super tired, she was way overstimulated and I ended up going outside with her and walking around to try to get her to calm down.  Needless to say, I'm glad that we ended up going to the not dicey neighborhood.

27 January 2013

San Francisco recommendations

Colby's got a work trip in San Francisco coming up and Ramona and I decided to tag along.  I'm going to take advantage of the free admission to the conference and the fact that his company is situated next to the job fair.  Because in about a year and a half, I'll be looking for my first grown up job... at the age of 28.  Ugh.

I solicited some people about places to visit/eat/see/eat again in San Francisco and this is my synthesis of their responses.  Props to my friends for being awesome.  Now to decide how to proceed.  So basically, this post is for me.  :)


Bistro Boudin
160 Jefferson Street

The Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Manufactory
900 North Point Street (corner of Larkin Street)

Ferry Building Market Place
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111
(415) 983-8030

181 Third Street, San Francisco CA 94103

Greens (vegetarian)
300 Page St, San Francisco, CA

Aziza (Morrocan)
5800 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

Chez Panisse Cafe
1517 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA
(510) 548-5525 ‎

Osha Thai
149 2nd St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 278-9991 ‎
696 Geary St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 673-2368 ‎

South Seafood Village (dim sum) ???

Brandy Ho's (chinese)
4068 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 252-8000

Papalote (mole sauce)
1777 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 776-0106 ‎

Little Chihuahua (garlic shrimp or plantain burrito)
292 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 255-8225 ‎ 

Savor (brunch)
3913 24th St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 282-0344 ‎ 

Kate's Kitchen (brunch, cash only, biscuits)
471 Haight St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 626-3984 ‎ 

Honey Honey (brunch)
564 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 255-6858 ‎ 

Little Star Pizza (deep dish)
846 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 441-1118 ‎ 

American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
1 S Park St #103A, San Francisco, CA
(415) 243-0107 ‎ 

Pearl's Deluxe Burgers (Spicy Sly)
708 Post St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 409-6120 ‎ 
1001 Market St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 861-1605

Bossa Nova (mojitos)
139 8th St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 558-8004 ‎ 

Stella Pastry & Cafe
446 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA
(415) 986-2914 ‎

XOX Truffles, INC
754 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA
(415) 421-4814 ‎

Places to go:

Golden Gate Park

Fulton & Stanyan Street

San Francisco Zoo  
1 Zoo Rd, San Francisco, CA
(415) 213-4781 ‎ 

Japanese Tea Garden
75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA
(415) 752-1171 ‎ 

Muir Woods National Monument
Mill Valley, CA 94941
(415) 388-2595

Ocean Beach
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, CA 94122

Yerba Buena Gardens (carousel, bowling alley, ice rink, shops, tea lounge)
750 Harward St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 820-3550 ‎ 

The Presidio of San Francisco (Chrissy Field; Land's End Trail)
Pacific & Lyon


Fisherman's Wharf - tourist trap
North Beach - little Italy?
The Marina - coffee shops and stores
The Pier 
The Richmond District - Eastern European/new Chinatown
Noe Valley

20 January 2013

Thai Cuisine

We went to a place called Thai Cuisine in way north Austin with some friends the night that we took Ramona to see Santa.  It was great, especially for the price.  I'm pretty sure I could eat their coconut ice cream every day.  Gotta love good strip mall Asian food.  We went back last week and got mostly different things, which were all similarly good.  We'll definitely hit up this place again.

By the way, I'm going to try to start adding in contact information for all the restaurants I review, where I'll have the website, address, and phone number (when all available, of course) for each restaurant.

Thai Cuisine
4104 W. Parmer, Suite F
Austin, TX 78727
(512) 835-7888

tom ka soup (large) - $8.95

green curry with chicken - $10.95

coconut pineapple ice cream - $3.50

fried banana - $3.95

15 January 2013

I'm still alive

I'm still here, though I've been hit with a case of the busies. There's a post in the making, but I need to find my camera cord and decide what I'm going to do about running over my Picasaweb limits.

In the mean time, I'm making this colcannon tonight.

Stay tuned.