Friday, July 31, 2009

packing for london

it has been a long week. there have been some crappy moments and some great moments. quite a lot to process. it is almost 1am and i am packing for my train ride into london tomorrow morning. as i am packing and listening to random music this song came on and it seemed appropriate.

i've posted it here:



i know that i haven't written very much this week. yet, i think i'll be able to catch up over this upcoming week.

you'll probably hear from me a couple of times a day....

well, must go back to figuring how everything is going to fit into my carry-on.

hugs and love,

me

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

small world


location: manchester
time: after 11pm

i was checking through my various email/twitter/facebook accounts this morning while eating my breakfast at the hotel

and to my surprise, i received a notification that i had an email waiting for me at yelp. it was an email from someone at angeline's louisiana kitchen asking for permission to use the pics of their food i posted on yelp. it never crossed my mind to even say no. each time i've gone to angeline's the food has been great. i've even blogged about this place before. i am assuming that one of the pics that they will want to use is the pic of their beignets (see top image). for those of you who read my blog regularly, you'll recognize the beignet pic. this is one of the few times that i'm willing for a pic to appear in more than one posting.

being the nosy person that i am, when i got back to my hotel this evening i decided to google the person that sent the email. sure enough, when i found them i realized that it was extremely likely that we know someone in common given this person's work history.

talk about a small world. sigh. such a freakin' small world sometimes....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

lessons learned



DH and i went out for dinner in manchester this evening. DH ended up taking me to this pub called the metropolitan (after the paris met). it was a cute pub with lots of book shelves, high ceilings, and a bit of a "gastropub" menu.

the last couple of days have been quite long for the both of us. we were both very weary as we nibbled on our food and sipped at our bottle water.

yet, DH started to feel comfortable enough to prod and probe about a few personal things including why i married B. it was an interesting conversation and one that i think i'll be thinking about for a while. i don't think i'm going to blog about it right now as i doubt that i could do it true justice, i am so weary. yet, i think this video from alicia keys will let folks know what is going on with me as i process this conversation...




alright, it is off to bed for me. i have a very early day tomorrow.
hugs and more hugs-
me

Monday, July 27, 2009

all about the tea


location: manchester england
time: 7:25am


the jet lag definitely hit this morning. i woke up around 4ish and couldn't get back to sleep. i think it may take me a couple of more days to acclimate to the time zone. yet, it doesn't feel as harsh as it did the last time i was out here.

i grabbed a "hot breakfast" at the hotel breakfast buffet this morning.

oddly enough, this reminded me that the last time i had a hearty breakfast like this one was the last time i was in the uk. there is still quite a bit of novelty factor of having baked beans, boiled mushrooms, and broiled mushrooms as a part of my breakfast.

also, while i try to stay away from caffeine when i am at home, i don't follow this when i am in the uk as i end up drinking huge amounts of tea.

i can see why the brits are so obsessed with their tea....and can understand the perspective that there is nothing in the world that a good cup of tea can't help with....

i find myself converted to this perspective while i am in england. when i am at home, i am all about my hot chocolate for comforting any discomforts.

yet, in england, i am all about the tea.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

made it to manchester

location: manchester, england time: 4:30pm

i made it safe and sound.

i am a wee bit punchy. i haven't slept since i woke up yesterday. yet, i didn't want to immediately crash as i am hoping to get my body adjusted to the new time zone as quickly as possible. as an incentive to stay awake, i ordered room service. after perusing the menu, i decided upon the kashmiri lamb kofta curry with rice and nan. i am eating it right now as i write this posting. yum yum. i am also sipping on a half pint of boddington's to go with it.

there is something quite naughty about looking at the time on my computer and realize that it is about 8:30am-ish in the morning in the sf bay area...and here i am, sipping on a beer!

it doesn't take much though....i can already feel it. i think i'll be heading off to bed very shortly.

well, just wanted everyone to know that i arrived ok.

hugs and love-

me

Friday, July 24, 2009

tasty piggy day: carnitas at la taqueria and boccalone prosciutto ice cream at humphry slocombe

it has been a bit of a nutty day as i get ready to leave for the uk tomorrow. between the meetings, research, writing, and packing....i'm not certain how it happened, but i looked up from my computer and it was almost 4. i hadn't eaten anything all day. i decided i should take advantage of the opportunity to have all of my day's calories in one sitting and head over to the mission district. this way, i could engorge on a carnitas burrito at la taqueria and then stop over into humphry slocombe for some sophisticated sweet savory ice cream.

so i did and it was wonderful. i love la taqueria.

i've been going here for well over a decade.

yes, i always order the same thing....a carnitas burrito with cheese, avocado, and sour cream.



yum yum. sooo goooood.

then i walked down 24th street toward humphry slocombe....taking in the scenery and some of the beautiful murals....

and had to smile when i saw the google marker in front of humphry slocombe....

and smiled when i tasted samples of the the balsamic caramel and the boccalone prosciutto flavors...



decisions....decisions.... i was having a hard time deciding what my second flavor was going to be. the flavor that i was absolutely going to have was the secret breakfast (bourbon and corn flake ice cream that i've blogged about before)....and it was very difficult to choose between the boccalone prosciutto or the balsamic caramel. in the end, i decided upon the boccalone prosciutto

because i don't think that one is in rotation as often. i have a feeling that i'll be getting the balsamic caramel the next time i see it.

there aren't a lot of places where i would willingly ask to try prosciutto ice cream. yet, i'd be willing to try any flavor that humphry slocombe puts out. they are that amazing. the integration of the subtle and complex flavors...the savory...the sweetness...the creaminess...oh so heavenly. i'd even go so far as to say that they make succulent ice cream. it is incrediblely sexy stuff. sigh.

as i was walking back to bart, i think folks could tell that i was enjoying my ice cream. i mean, it was pretty windy and cold, and there i was savoring each spoonful...practically oblivious to everyone and anything else that wasn't in my compostable cup.

by the time i finished my ice cream and was waiting for the train in the station,

i was thinking about what an amazing meal and dessert i just had. truly. it was a great way to sate the senses and the tummy before my 14+ hour journey tomorrow. sigh. so lovely.

until later dear hearts....

xxxooo-

me


la taqueria, 2889 mission street (at 25th), san francisco, ca 94110, +1 415 285 7117,

humphry slocombe, 2790 harrison street (at 24th), san francisco, ca 94110, + 1 415 550 6971, hours: tuesday-sunday, 12pm to 9pm, closed mondays, cash only

Thursday, July 23, 2009

uncomplicated snacking

today was a day of uncomplicated snacking.

this morning was kicked off with a large cup of black tea with these chewy dim sum rice cakes that were stuffed with sweetened bean paste. i have no idea what the chinese name for them are....



but they are pretty good.

then, later in the afternoon, i decided to take a quick break from work to pay a visit to the thursday's berkeley farmers' market. i was glad to see that there were lots of folks milling about.....buying produce and such.

unfortunately, as i take off on saturday for the uk, i had to resist the temptation to buy some of the lovely produce in many of the stalls. yet, i could still stop into frog hollow to buy one of their pastries. after quickly perusing their wares, i decided upon the white peach and plum tartlet. it was quite juicy and yummmy.


i must admit that my all time favorite frog hollow pastries are the savory ones....the ones filled with carnitas (my all time frog hollow fave)....or the butternut squash ones ...or the mushroom leek ones....hmmmm....just thinking about them makes my mouth water. but alas, you have to go to their permanent stall in the sf ferry building to get the savory ones. yet, the sweet pastries are quite lovely.

normally, my snacking would have ended there, but i decided to be quite the glutton today and stopped by the ici ice cream stall

to grab a scoop of peppermint chocolate chip as well...


yum yum. as i walked back to my place today, eating my artisan ice cream, i couldn't help but be thankful for living in the bay area. i mean, look at what i was able to nonchalantly snack on today! such lovely food. sigh. it makes the foodie hunter quite satisfied.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

just the thing

i am getting ready for my upcoming trip across the pond. i must admit that i'm feeling a wee bit frantic as i am trying to get everything done before i leave. even seemingly simple things like obtaining currency before i leave become rather inconvenient....

i hate going to currency exchange places or paying the various withdrawal fees out of international atms. usually it isn't an issue as one of my bank branches does currency exchange w/o charging fees. yet, they have limited hours these days and there is a new gal working the currency window. i miss the one that was there before.....that one knew what she was doing....the one working there now is a bit questionable. when i asked to withdraw pounds and euros from one of my accounts, the new gal tried to tell me that they didn't have any pounds. i just raised an eyebrow as she explained that they don't carry scottish money. i said that i was going to england.

fascinating.

naturally, this comment caused me to question her abilities in general and i actually checked over my receipts (something i never had to do with the last one) and i'm glad that i did, because she withdrew the funds out of the wrong account.

nice.

then, i went off to go pay my august rent early. as i went into the agency's office, the front desk lady took my check and put it in a box and thought we were done. oh no, we were not done. i asked "may i have a receipt please?" and just smiled politely as she got all huffy and puffy. i have learned my lesson with this agency. the first time i paid early and i was traveling around on my epic multi-city and multi-country induction into my company, i get a call from JB who was looking in on my cats saying that the agency stuck a notice on my door saying that i hadn't paid rent (which of course i had). so now, i ask for a receipt and leave copies of said receipt with the building manager as evidence.

it is usually pretty difficult to do something to me twice. quite.

by the time these errands were complete i was in a pretty crabby mood. as folks could tell, i'm not really looking forward to next week. i am absolutely looking forward to spending time in london and rome, but in order to get to the london and rome part....i have to do the manchester part first. given my crabby mood, i decided that i should hop on BART and just immerse myself in some vietnamese food.

so i did. you know what, it was just what i needed.

i had already had done my weekly visit to kim huong and had the pho tai (gasp! i tried something new). don't believe me? here is the evidence...




but today's visit would make it twice in a week! this time, i sat at the bar

and i had my usual...the bun bo hue


one of the owners provided some the spicy homemade chili paste that he makes that is influenced from a trip he made to africa a while ago.

i love mixing it into the soup....



i didn't stop there with the vietnamese food. i also made a stop into cam huong to get some bánh giò and che togo for my lunch tomorrow. i also picked up some almond pudding which i pounced on once i got back home.

my change in mood was pretty amazing. after i had my soup and purchased the goodies, i could almost feel a skip in my step by the time i got back on BART. it shouldn't be a surprise that i would find such solace and comfort in vietnamese food. it is something i turn to again and again....and will likely continue to do so. obviously, it was just the thing.....just what i needed. sometimes it is really nice to get what i need.


kim huong, 304 10th Street (between Harrison St & Webster St), oakland, ca 94607, (510) 836-3139, www.kimhuong.net

cam huong, 920 webster street, (between 10th St & 9th St), oakland, ca 94607, (510) 444-8800

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

shutting down

i take off for the uk on saturday. there is much to do before i leave. i'll be in all day "workshops" for the first part of my stay in the uk. i can feel myself frowning as i think about it. you know, the words "all day" and "workshop"....definitely enough to strike....well not fear...but not happiness either....into the heart of the foodie hunter. i definitely do not foresee a lot (or even a little) of alone time next week. as a result, i can feel myself begin the process of shutting down, almost like trying to gather my energy into a reserve, as i mentally prepare myself for next week. thankfully, i do not have to do any presentations. it is just the deadlines for regular projects remain the same despite these "all day workshops". this has translated into some creative scheduling on my part for the past few days.

as a result of feeling this shutting down...almost a mental cocooning really.... i was rather uninspired regarding what to have for lunch today. egad! what is coming over me?

i found myself just wandering around downtown today to see if there was anything that would pique my interest.


after wandering around for a bit and a stop into the comic book store (comic relief) so that i could browse and carry ember around the store.... i found myself at a local thai noodle bar. i ordered my usual, roast duck noodle soup...in the hopes that it would a bit soothing and comforting.




as i was slurping away, i realized that what i was really preparing myself for is the upcoming politics....in an odd way, it is like mentally preparing oneself for battle....or getting into a "zone" right before a game or a meet. despite being absolutely nonathletic now, i did do a round of team sports when i was a neophyte (i.e., basketball, volleyball, and swimming). surprised? me too. i'm rather surprised myself as i look back on it. yet, the feeling is the same....preparing yourself for being "on your game."

i suppose we'll see what happens. it is all going to happen whether i want it to or not. i am just going to try to prepare as much as i can and then take it as it comes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

oh yeah, i was promoted



so i've been officially promoted and i am not moving to the uk at this time. this is the reason why my hours have been so incredibly nutty. i am certain we will just have to see how it works out. there seems to be a lot of that going on in my life these days.

last night, the best friend and i were going out to celebrate my recent promotion. originally, we thought we were going to stop into corso. yet, when we arrived the wait was a bit too long for our liking and headed over the cesar instead. absolutely not a tragedy. i love cesar. there was a wait at cesar as well. yet we were able to sip on drinks by the bar while we waited.


i think this is kind of key factor in the waiting process. the bartender (as usual of all of the bartenders i've interacted with over the years) was great. we also lucked out and had a top notch server last night as well. the food, as usual, was absolutely lovely.

we ordered a lot.






we ate a lot.



we talked and talked and talked a lot.

i actually finished an entire tequila love cocktail,


for the low alcohol tolerance foodie hunter, that was rather amazing.

it all reminds me that i am quite lucky. i love and am loved. i live in a wonderful foodie neighborhood. i am appreciated and recognized at work....and guess what? i am heading to rome for vacation in a few weeks. yes, i know it will be scorching hot and a lot of places will be closed.....but it is ROME! i've always wanted to go. i'll just stomp around during the mornings and early evenings. i have a feeling i'll be doing quite a bit of blogging during the hottest parts of the day...so you may be seeing quite a bit from me during my vacation.

well, i think it is time for me to get to bed and try for an early night. early nights a bit rare these days. until later dear hearts....

hugs and love-

me


cesar: 1515 shattuck avenue, berkeley, ca 94709, +1 510 883 0222