Friday, April 30, 2010

a pastry break

i love the fact that in less than a week from now i will be officially moved into my new place in the city.

i love just being able to type that.

i love thinking about it.

it makes me want to wiggle my boodie in my office chair like a total happy fool that i am.

no matter how tired i am from work craziness or packing, all i have to do is think about how i will soon be living in the city and i can't help but smile.

speaking of my soon-to-be new home, i'll be meeting up with the heart sister tonight in the city and it seems like she and the fam have been hit with some odd stomach virus which had almost all of them ill for at least a day or two. as they are all in different stages of being able to keep something down, it was a bit of challenge to think of an appropriate treat.

but alas, i can be quite resourceful on occasion and decided that this was yet another opportunity for me to hit octoberfeast bakery to grab some pretzel croissants....


which i think will go over pretty well and are also still quite good the day after. bready things are usually pretty appropriate when recovering from stomach sickness. so they can each have one depending where they are in the whole stomach virus thing. i also took this as an opportunity to get something for me as well. unfortunately, they were all out of reaper buns but they did have these almond croissant-like pastries on hand......



which i have been able to nosh on. i think octoberfeast's pretzel croissants will be one of the things that i will miss the most about berkeley.

you know....now that i think about it....perhaps.... before i leave.... i should compile the foodie hunter's top spots in berkeley.

hmmm, that could be interesting.

hmmmm. something for me to think about.

anyway, well, break time over.....until later dear hearts...

xxxooo


octoberfeast bakery, 1954 university avenue (between bonita ave & milvia st), berkeley, ca 94704, +1 510 207 2320

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

moving moment

i've been slowly but surely going through my things in preparation for the upcoming move. the last move was a bit unexpected and there wasn't a lot of time for thoughtfully sifting through my things. during the last move a few years ago, we (me, the heart sister, and AC) pretty much threw everything into boxes in about 2 days....well everything except anything that B had given me, anything we had purchased together, or anything his family had given me.

or so i thought.

as this upcoming move to the city is something that i am very much looking forward to and actually have the time to thoughtfully sift through my belongings, i am finding a few surprises.

like the ring that B bought for me for my birthday one year and decided to spontaneously propose with said ring.


he ended up buying me an "engagement" ring later on and one of his best friends made the wedding band later....but it was this ring that he proposed with.

i actually thought i had lost it, so i didn't leave it with the other rings on his desk the night i left about three years ago.

as i looked at the bday ring....i waited....and waited some more....hmmmm.... and was remotely surprise that i didn't feel anything like sadness or anger or anything other than surprise. surprise at finding something that i thought i had lost and surprise that it didn't elicit more of a reaction from me.

then, of course, that wasn't all i found. i also found a drawing he did....

while we were together and i thought, "oh, that was sweet." but again....nothing earth shattering. but the pièce de résistance that i came across while going through old things was the folded note....



hmmmm.

this gave me much to think about as i noshed on my lunch that day.

as i was eating my soup......


i thought about how fascinating it is to see things like this....now.....as i have a different life...a life that i've always wanted....which wasn't the life that i had when i was with him. when i read through this note through much older and much wiser eyes, i don't doubt that he was sincere in that moment. it also reminded me how there were some lovely moments being with B and how it is now possible to look upon those moments and see them for what they are....lovely moments....from my past.

it was a reminder of how much my life has changed in the past few years and how i am very thankful for those changes....changes that i have decided upon, worked towards, and learned from.

i suppose it is appropriate that i came across these things that i didn't even realize that i still had....as i am on the verge of embarking on another significant change in my life....and how excited i am about this change.....how it makes me grin even now...just thinking about it.

while i don't know for certain what the future holds for me...i know that i will be ok....no matter what happens....and that is a nice feeling to have. real nice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

discovering BodyWorld


one of the benefits from post-poning my trip to the uk due to the volcano was i was able to attend "the rise of the graphic novel" hosted by inforum, a division of the commonwealth club. i look forward to these events and i find that i always walk away with perspectives that are thought provoking or spur some reflection. after my rush of morning meetings, making progress on a couple of key projects, and saying good bye to some old furniture in the late afternoon in preparation for the big move....


i realized that i was starving. i had gotten so caught up in the day that i hadn't really eaten. i thought this was an opportunity to get some take out.......


as well as stop off at the comic relief bookstore to buy the print version of "BodyWorld" by dash shaw....


who was one of the artists on the "rise of the graphic novel" panel last night. as a former editor, i'm willing to bet that shaw's pantheon publicist is probably going to be glad to be able to point to an example of how an author appearance results in a purchase of said author's book as well as getting a non-solicited mention on the interwebs. just to be clear, i don't know shaw, didn't speak to him at the event,....and to be honest, i hadn't heard of him before i attended the event. i went to "rise of the graphic novel" event because i wanted to see gene luen yang, the author of "american born chinese." i was definitely not disappointed in listening to gene luen yang. gene luen yang is intelligent, incredibly personable and, well, adorable. i loved how he mentioned how he sold his comics to his mom, what it was like being apart of this bay area community of cartoonists that would get together every week to work on their work, as well as seeing him giving other people on the panel a hard time in a very good natured and supremely supportive way....such as pointing out that joss whedon had purchased one of lark pien's illustrations....when she (who was also on the panel) couldn't immediately think of a "fan" story. i already own work by yang.

yet, i found my curiosity completely peaked after listening to shaw's perspectives about comics, the creative process, and his perspective regarding that there will be less books but better books as we move more and more toward a digital/online age (i am of course, paraphrasing). i was also surprised when i found myself charmed by his mixture of watchful intensity, composure, sometimes indifference, and honesty.

he was very different from the other members of the panel.

very different.

i pretty much knew mid-way through the event that i was going to seek out his work online, check it out, and probably buy it.

i was intrigued.

i've just started "BodyWorld" while noshing on some the takeout......



yet already i am draw in by the exterior as well as the transformation of something that is usually incredibly mundane such as the copyright page....


did you not see that last line?

in case you can't see the image very well....the last line is: "please read in bed naked."

how unexpected and expected at the same time.

i wonder what sort of in-house conversations occurred at pantheon over this copyright page. as a former editor, i can just imagine.

hmmmmm.

i have a feeling that i'm going to be continued to be intrigued by dash shaw and look forward to delving deeper into "BodyWorld" as well as some of his other work.

Monday, April 26, 2010

reminders

after speaking with a few loved ones, i realized that i need to make a couple of clarifications regarding some of my cryptic postings recently re: my ruminations on losing faith in certain people and on people with very flexible moral compasses using their intelligence for evil.

to be clear, i'm not talking about anyone that i love and hang out with.

hopefully, this clears things up a bit.

yet, this doesn't mean that i am going to be any less cryptic.

it is a challenging balance to maintain in this blog....being open yet still ensuring that i am protecting myself. yet, i didn't intend to worry loved ones that i don't talk to 1:1. so rest assured, if we talk, see, and hang out 1:1 with each other, i'm not referring to you.

things seem quite "wack-a-doodle-doo" (i'm stealing an expression from DB here...) at the moment. there are quite a few things going on (yes, this is me being cryptic again). yet, when the culmination of things seem a bit overwhelming, i am reminded of what is really important. this has happened a couple of times over the past week. the first happened when the family dropped into berkeley a bit unexpectedly and we all hung out over burgers at oscar's. you would think that the smarty pants foodie hunter wouldn't need to be reminded on an ongoing basis of what is really important in life, but it is true. yet, i hope that i never reach a point where i don't recognize this or take what is truly important in life for granted.

another instance of being reminded about the important things in life occurred yesterday evening at the lamb roast.





isn't that just beautiful?


LM did a great job on the grill and is also a very talented musician. the music you hear in the background are sounds from "gypsy jive" which is a debut album from lou lou and the gypsy jivers.

although i was only able to attend the roast for a couple of hours, it was a reminder of how good it is to connect (albeit briefly sometimes) with loved ones over a wonderful meal. it also reminded me that i know some very talented people and how fortunate i am to know them.

there were so many homemade goodies to choose from. such as CK's homemade pita bread....yum yum....


and other goodies like homemade pickles and grilled onions....



and more....



do you see what i mean?

a delicious meal of so many homemade goodies to go with a tender and succulent lamb......hmmmmm....it is good to have a reminder or two about what is truly important in life, isn't it?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

moral ambiguity


you may have noticed dear hearts that i have been quite a bit more quiet than usual.

my trip to the uk was postponed but that did lighten things up any work-wise. also, there are moments when i wonder whether i will get everything done in time. there are moments where things feel a bit overwhelming. then there are better moments when i think about what it means to live in a place that i deliberately chose to live in....because it is where i want to be.

mixed in amongst all of these moments, is my processing about what it means to be around people with flexible moral compasses....or should i say....very smart people with very flexible moral compasses. this has been something that i have been processing about for a while and i've tried to offset it with various snacks i've made for myself recently. recently, i've tried to make myself things with bright colors, various textures, and popping flavors.

such as this roasted beet and apple salad that i made for myself the other day.




simple...yet...lovely colors....and with the addition of a homemade purple basil vinegar, maldon sea salt, mcevoy extra virgin olive oil, and black pepper....


provided me with various sweet, sour, and savory flavors.

i don't think this sort of salad is for everyone.

yet, it is perfect for my recent thoughts and ruminations. food is more than sustenance for me. it is comfort, medicine, and life. it helps me say the things that i may not be able to say. it helps me sift and distill through a seemingly tornado of thoughts and emotions as i try to understand what is going on with me.

sometimes it takes a while for me to understand or put a coherent voice to what is going on.

traditionally, i have surrounded myself with very intelligent people....and all intelligent people have the capability to be very bad people. all of them. yet, this is true in converse as well. all intelligent people have the capability to be very good people as well. i believe everyone...whether more intelligent or less intelligent.... are the sum of the choices and decisions we make.

we choose to be who we are through our actions.

everyday.

an intelligent person with a very flexible moral compass that decides to be bad has the potential to have a much more devastating impact and is perhaps even more evil than someone who is less intelligent....because they know what they are doing is bad and know how to be very effective in their badness. yes, i realize that there are many types of intelligence. yet, for me, i am speaking of the motivation or thought behind the action......and oftentimes, intelligent people with flexible moral compasses know what they are doing is wrong....but they decide to do it anyway. ...and this dear hearts....makes the foodie hunter (aka me) very angry.

yes, i have higher expectations of behavior from people that are intelligent than those who are not as intelligent. i will freely admit to this.

from my perspective, as a pretty smart person, i believe that there is a certain responsibility that comes with being smart. there are two general themes that i have used as guidelines my entire life....the first being "do no harm" and the second is "be the change you wish to see in the world".

or perhaps both of these themes could be communicated more crudely but still accurately with "don't deliberately fuck with other people to their direct detriment and your direct benefit."

yet it happens. i see it happening. i see how other people don't see it happening. i see how other people know that it is happening but choose not to say or do anything. i see myself planning 3-5 steps ahead of these people to ensure that i and others are protected. there is an inherent dishonesty about these sort of shadow manipulations and points to deeper game that is being played that many are not aware of.

i am pretty angry about having to play defense in this game of shadows. i feel like i am being drawn into a game that i had no intention of playing....and perhaps....what really disturbs and angers me the most....is that i'm not bad at it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

sakura matcha kitkat


over the weekend, i needed to do a few things at my new place in the city and i decided to take a walk around the area of my new place.....heading more in the polk street direction rather than the filmore direction. as i was taking my wander down vallejo toward polk and i came across the candy store. as i have a rather ginormous sweet tooth, i was intrigued by this candy boutique. as i walked in, i was immediately drawn to the dark chocolate kitkats from england.

"SCORE!" i thought to myself.

i buy dark chocolate kitkats every time i visit the uk and very carefully dispense them among loved ones. i must admit that i'm not a big US kitkat fan, but i am definitely a fan of two uk versions: the dark chocolate and the orange dark chocolate flavors...because, well, they actually taste like chocolate. i've also never gotten that sugar granules texture left on my tongue from uk kitkats that i get from US kitkats...or well, the last time i had US kitkats anyway.

the gal behind the counter noticed my purchase and enthusiasm about the uk kitkats and pointed to the green tea kitkats. i had heard of them in the twitterverse and blogsphere but i had never seen them in person. heck, why not try them? so i bought the green tea kitkat as well.


as things have been quite crazy at work over the past few days, it wasn't until today that i decided to try it. it is a rather dreary day and i thought it would be a good time to try the matcha kitkat.


the japanese really know how to do packaging....that is for certain.









when i popped a small section into my mouth and just let it melt......


i was surprised. the first thought that came to mind as it melted was "hmmm....white chocolate" and then i noticed a very subtle tea flavor......there was this other flavor at the end that i couldn't name....but it definitely was not tea. it almost reminded me of the sweetness of red beans. my surprise was that the kitkat didn't have a sole and primary green tea flavor. this definitely peaked my curiosity, so i went to the internet.

i love the internet.

one of the things i noticed after doing a search was that the matcha kitkats have different packaging that does not look like the packaging that i have. after a bit of further digging online, i realized that i had purchased the sakura (cherry blossom) matcha kitkat. i remember that there was a paper place card next to the kitkats in the candy store...but did i read it? nope. i'm guessing that is what the place card said....but as i didn't read it, i don't know for certain. yet it makes sense doesn't it? especially with the cherry blossom festival that was happening last weekend, it seemed quite appropriate that these kitkats would be making the rounds.

mystery solved!

well, i better get back to some of my projects. yet, i can't wait until i move into my new 'hood and do even more exploring. i love how i just wandered around and came across this candy boutique.....i have a feeling that i'm going to be regular at the candy store.

until later dear hearts...

xxoooo



the candy store, 1507 vallejo street, san francisco, ca, 94109, ph: +1 415-921-8000, http://www.thecandystoresf.com/home/



UPDATE: thanks much to @cheapskate2009! @cheapskate2009 tweeted 'the sign at The Candy Store said: "matcha green tea kit kat bars Japan $4 ea"'. good to know what the sign actually said! yet, dear hearts, i'm pretty certain that this variation is the sakura matcha flavor.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

dress the part

late last week, while i was rushing down a berkeley street near the BART station in order to get to the meatpaper and blue bottle event "food & thought" on the SF MOMA rooftop, i was taken aback when i heard a passing youth say loudly enough to pierce through the tunes blasting on my ipod "you hella pretty yo."

he didn't break his stride and i didn't break mine.

it took a millisecond or two for the comment to register and i was like "WTF?" then quickly glanced behind me to see who he was talking about.

there wasn't anyone else there.

humph. odd.

then once i was on the train, i decided to write about it in my journal. this event puzzled me quite a bit more than say, the evening before when i was walking through hayes valley and a group of young men...about 10ish of them or so...decided to provide their unsolicited feedback so that i could hear it down the street. i didn't speed up or slow down but rather pretended they weren't there. as a female who travels quite a bit by herself, this happens often. i'm not being immodest here. the foodie hunter is quite pragmatic. it has nothing to do with what i look like. on a good day with my style going on, i am cute (tops) but i'm no knockout a la angelina jolie/halle berry/christina hendricks/joan chen.

also as the majority of you dear readers have never seen me, you don't know that i'm a bit of prude. so there is no flashing of T&A thank you very much.


so it isn't like they are struck by what i look like, flashing bits and bobs, or anything like that.

it has to do with being female (and a small one at that), alone, and young 20ish year old men feeling the need to be dumb asses on occasion. i look at their dumb ass actions as one of their rites of passage and don't take it personally.

it took a long time for me to be in this sort of space about this sort of thing.

the much younger version of me (aka total UCB post-colonial feminist) was full of fire and brimstone about this sort of thing....objectification of women...of me...of my sexuality...blah blah blah blah....the younger me would write scathing diatribe-like poems about emasculating frat boys in my preppy baggy clothes and publish them under pseudonyms in campus literary journals. oh the anger. the anger. i'm shaking my head as i write this. if i could go back in time, i'd probably say something like this to my much younger self: "sweetie, it doesn't matter what you wear, they are still going to say stuff, even in that unsexy preppy baggy stuff. just be cool with yourself. they aren't worth getting all worked up about." which would probably have just pissed the younger me off even more. sigh. the anger. oh the anger.

yet, now i'm like, hmmm, "whatever. you won't be able to tap this ass...not even in your dreams".

but this youth was different. he was alone and he was, like, 16 years old!!! also, i didn't see it as him being a dumb ass as i don't think he wasn't trying to heckle to get my attention or anything like that. he said it like it was a declarative statement. this added to my puzzlement. is it my imagination or are youths getting bolder and bolder? or maybe as i am getting older and older, they are all looking younger and younger?

oddness.

thankfully, the next couple of hours went by without any hitches and i was able to have a great time at the sf moma.


they are having these "now playing" events on thursday nights and folks can get into the museum for half price. the meatpaper and blue bottle event was a part of the "now playing" event and i had been looking forward to it for over a week. beer and wine were complimentary and tasting plates were $5 each. the food at the event was inspired by the movie vertigo which was playing on the ground floor of the museum.

after having a bit of a nosh and taking some pics of the venue.....











i decided to wander around the museum and found myself spending an inordinately long amount of time (especially for the foodie hunter that is) in "the view from here" photography exhibit. overall, i had an absolutely lovely time. i think i will be going back to look at that exhibit again.

perhaps the next time i visit that exhibit, i will be living in the city.

just writing that sentence makes me grin.