Saturday, September 24, 2011

before i leave for my trip

i've been away from the blog this week. i've been working and getting projects completed before i go to this work-oriented conference for a few well as doing prep for the conference. when i saw sus earlier in the week she mentioned that hapa ramen may need some help at a saturday this also meant that i needed to get all of my day job stuff and prep done by saturday morning.

which i did.

yet, this also translated into not writing for the blog so much this week. i still write in my personal paper journal. i doubt that i can go a day without scribbling something.

so when this morning came around, i didn't go to market. it doesn't make sense to go to market when i won't be around for a few days. also, there were a few trip-related things i needed to take care of. yet, i when i headed out this morning, i planned on taking the 19 down polk street to the event where hapa ramen had set up....yet, when i walked to polk street, there was some sort of festival thing being set up. alas, this meant that the 19 was being rerouted but i didn't have time to figure out where exactly it was. so i walked to a different bus stop to catch a different line.

it is funny how a single change can impact who you meet.

i'm not sure what it is about me. tourists, especially non-american tourists, ask me questions a lot. there was this lady from the uk in the bus stop. she asked me if it was the right bus to go to the hospital....that she walked there yesterday but was too tired to walk there today. i assured here that she was waiting for the right bus. she proceeded to tell me where she was from....and was probably relieved (which i was later to ascertain) that someone knew exactly where she lived in the uk. also, admittedly, when i speak to people from the uk.....i do mirror the way they speak. it is english....but in many is its own language filled with its own expressions, cadence, and meta-language.

before the bus arrived she asked me to help her go through the bus system....she had her money out but wasn't sure who to pay and that sort of thing. i assured that i would. i suppose i have moments where i'
m not an asshole. she was obviously in that state of stressful exhaustion.....running on fumes....terribly worried about her such a typical british stiff upper lip fashion. i stood there....listening intently....tryi
ng to put in a word or two of support, suggestions on practical alternatives to the local hotel she was staying at.....since she was worried that her room would be needed for an upcoming show at moscone center. i recognized that sometimes when we are in the midst of crisis, there are moments where we want to speak of the mundane....and there are moments when we want support....even from random strangers. her son was in yosemite when he collapsed and is now in a coma. she rushed to the states from the uk to be with her son.

when the bus arrived, i gently told her where she should put her money into slot and said that the driver was going to give her a ticket. then i asked the driver to announce the stop to the hospital as she needed to get off at that precise stop. the driver took over from there....he pointed to the seat across from him and said "sit there, i'll let you know when to get off." i said my good byes and well-wishes....and then moved to the back of the crowded bus. as i rode the bus, i couldn't help but try to put myself in that lady's position. how frightened she must be. how overwhelming the despair must be. how difficult it must be to try to be hopeful. it is so british to talk about things in passing as if they aren't a big deal.....when everybody fucking knows it is a big deal. naturally, i was hit with a wave of empathy. this doesn't surprise me. for being such an asshole, i have a rather strong sense of empathy....even for complete strangers.

after i got off the bus, i stopped into jane for a cappuccino "to go". i mean, why not?....since i had to transfer to another bus anyway. so i took a moment to sit outside, drink my coffee, and think about what it means to not know from moment to moment whether those we love will be with us. i sent out a tweet about how people should hug who they love. feeling quite emo i was.

then i hopped onto my second bus which would take me to the event that hapa ramen would be having a presence at. when i arrived to the event, i pretty much enclosed all that empathy into a box. being all emo is not appropriate for service. interestingly enough though, i thought i'd be doing primarily cashier stuff but i ended up doing a mix of things....some front of house, a wee bit of food prep, some garnishing, etc. i did this standing in my new clogs that i bought at dsw in union square.

yup. i bought clogs. (see top pic).

i do realize that this purchase is a bit loaded. i'm too tired and i don't really feel like going into it now.

anyway, after helping out, i caught the 22 line toward home. i realized that the 22 line goes right by wing wings.....and since i was hungry, i decided get off the bus to stop into wing wings for some food. this time i bought the buffalo wings (hot) and a chicken on a biscuit.....

and then one of the folks that work there offered up a scallion bacon biscuit to myself and someone else that was eating in the place.....

this biscuit was flaky, moist, and quite good. these folks have a way with biscuits. oh yes they do. the food in general was tasty and comforting. it is also such a casual atmosphere that i didn't feel out of place....being a wee bit grubby and smelling porky from helping out in the stand. the folks here have always been really nice. they really hustle to keep it clean as well which must be a feat given the amount of people in-and-out well as how late they are open. it is a place where i can let my hair down (literally).... where it is ok to eat with my hands..... a place where i could just enjoy the food.....taking big deep breaths and sighs. while i may enjoy experiences such as coi quite a bit....there is also something really nice about visiting a place where you can just step in for a moment, have a quick bite of good food, and then move on to other things. "other things" in my case being packing and getting ready for my trip tomorrow.

Monday, September 19, 2011

the other night at namu in the inner richmond

the other night, i ended up having an impromptu dinner with sus + a couple of folks she knows. we ended up at namu in the inner richmond. most of us in our dinner party have eaten at namu before...whether it be what they provide at the ferry building farmers market on thursdays and saturdays.....or at the restaurant on balboa and 6th ave. i was pretty confident that the food was going to be good, i've eaten there for dinner before. there were a couple of things different about this experience, i was there with sus who is friends with a few of namu's extended family of folks and two, this was the first time i'd eaten namu's food since the asian culinary event where the chef, dennis lee, was on the panel. i attended that panel event to support richie......(the top pic and the below pic are of my waiting with the food richie was planning to plate...and my eating at il cane rosso before the event started...i didn't take any pics at namu)....

and listen to him clearly articulate his passion about producing good food with good well as efforts to push food a public setting. from my perspective, it doesn't matter how many presentations i give....or whether there are only 30ish people or hundreds of people in the audience.... i find that it is always nice to have at least one friendly face in the crowd. this was my primary motivator for attending the event. yet, at that event, i was also able to listen to dennis lee speak about the journey of how namu came to be. the family effort. the challenges that they've experienced and overcome ....during the past few years. how cooking at home was still important despite the busy nature of the everyday lives of the folks at namu. the support that they receive from industry folks that enjoy namu's food.

i already knew that i enjoyed the food i had at the restaurant before, but it i entered the restaurant the other night with a different set of eyes....and a stronger appreciation of what they have been able to accomplish business-wise. i also knew i was going to have a unique experience because sus, in her typical charming self, knows quite a few people at market....including folks that are a part of the extended namu family. eating with industry folks is a unique experience. don't get me wrong....the food is just as good when i don't eat with industry folks....there are usually a couple of "extras" to the experience.

these extras include various table visits to say hi (in this say hi to sus....and be very gracious to everyone else at the table)....and sometimes something that may have been whipped up on the spot. something not on the menu that the kitchen feels like sending out. while we ordered quite a bit of food that was delicious (i.e., oysters, seafood + rice in a pot, sizzling squid, gai lan, and the "korean fried chicken" w/dashi gravy).....things like yummy succulent "duck tenders" appeared at the table as well....which were not on the menu that night....and some kind of korean alcohol at the end of the night that i have NO idea what it was....but we all ended up doing a couple of shots of it at the table. the combination of the food and hospitality helped underscore a truly lovely evening filled with laughter, commiseration, poking fun at various stereotypes, as well as sharing....and much good food.

it is gonna hurt tomorrow (or later this morning)

earlier this evening, i was talking to the heart sister and i mentioned as we hung up that to i was going to get to bed since i have some early morning meetings happening.

when i hung up with the heart sister, i really did have complete and utter intention of just curling up in bed, reading for a bit, then going to know, like a responsible adult that i am.


then i get a text message from sus indicating that there was an extra wrist band for an after party at slanted door. it seems that one of the people that was helping them plate an event tonight wasn't able to stay for the after party. this was an opportunity that i wasn't about to ignore. i don't personally know charles phan but i am a fan of his food and have heard him speak at a couple of commonwealth club events (which has been well documented on this blog and twitter). for my rather blow out bday party a few years ago, i rented slanted door's private room and had one of my best birthday experiences there. the combo of being able to have some drinks, nibbles, and hang out with some loved ones was an opportunity worth missing sleep for. so i got dressed, grabbed a cab, and headed to the ferry building.

the food was delicious.....goi cuon....chicken wings.....dim sum....ribs....all so delicious. there were also this yummy punch with a hint of spice.....that went down so smooth. it was the kind of drink that you know is very dangerous because it doesn't taste like there is booze in it....but there so obviously is booze.

so, i'm pretty buzzed at the moment. when a friend came to pick both sus and i up, she mentioned that she could tell that i had been imbibing. i'm get rather silly when i'm buzzed....or more than buzzed.

in my fuzzy buzzy brain, i fully realize that i'm going to seriously pay for this in a few hours.....but at this moment, i don't seem to care very much.

yes, i know that is the booze speaking.

well, i should go nap.

until later dear hearts.....

Friday, September 16, 2011

growing me

ell. it has been an interesting week. this is for certain.

after my morning meetings were over, i decided to end the week with having some of the homemade creme fraiche w/amarena cherries for breakfast.....

and paired it with some slices of a frog hollow farm nectarine.

i've been having this combo in my head since i made the ice cream and completely delighted with it. having ice cream for breakfast is one of the perks of being an adult. admittedly though, by the time i ate really was more like lunch since today was a super early morning meetings kind of day.

then, after my work day was complete, i headed over to wing wings in the lower haight as i've been having some severe cravings for the chicken salad on a biscuit as well as the wings with the jerk/herb/garlicky goodness sauce. not only do i enjoy noshing here....the folks here are always super nice. this combo helps with ending the week on a positive note.

while i was waiting for my order to come up, i may have evilly taunted someone working by sending them a pic of the sauces.....

with the caption of "guess where i am at?" ....since i knew how much we both really really like this place. their response was quite appropriate in their displeasure at my being there and them not. hee hee.

as i was making my way through my delicious chicken salad on a biscuit.....

and the wings with the herb sauce......

"tell me what you want from me" by mase piped through the place. i inwardly simultaneously groaned and laughed.

earlier this week, certain things finally came to a head because me and my blunt self was belligerently saying things like "what do you want from me?" well as a few other things...and well...they read the posting about my saying that they needed to let me go. i didn't name them...but they knew i was referring to them. at this stage in my life, i'm not tolerant of ambiguity. i have too much going on to try to figure out what games someone is playing....and have no desire to play them....even with someone that i've known for over a decade and will always be someone that i love and care for. whether folks be family, friends, or lovers....i don't want to have any doubt regarding where we stand with each other. none. life is too short and too complicated to be wondering if care is reciprocated with those that we....or i care for. i spend quite a bit of time ensuring that those that i love and care for know without a doubt that i love them, respect them, and support them. for all of my crystalline robotic assholeness, i am quite the paradox this way. yet, this is just who i am. i've accepted it.

it was a lot to think about while i finished up my delicious and rather comforting meal.

after, i finished up, i hopped on muni and decided to pop into jane for some coffee and a bit of writing and processing.

as i was taking sips of my cappuccino, i was also taking in what it means to no longer have this person in my life. actually, to be honest, i'd been thinking about what this means for quite some time. so i've probably had a lot more time to process what it means then they have.

while i am sad, i am also relieved.....because there is clarity. because....i confess.... i feel free. it feels so good to feel free that i feel guilty about it. when i wrote those words...."i feel free" in my journal....i felt lightened...incredibly i am no longer being held promises about working things out when it was not good for me.

because what do you do when you realize that someone that used to know you....almost better than you knew yourself.....wasn't aware of some of the most significant changes in your life the past couple of years. especially when they write this

"I've watched you slowly and meticulously paint yourself into a corner, your world growing ever smaller."

when i read those words, i cocked my head to the side....trying to puzzle this out. because this is so incredibly odd on so many levels.

ummm. ummmmm. my years of growing my world has been well documented in this blog. i kinda felt like i was at know when someone says that you haven't sent them something via email....or haven't told them something....and you (or me) ends up forwarding them various email archives pointing to evidence that they are wrong. i kind of felt like pointing to links to the 800 or so postings that are publicly available that detail the changes in my life....and growing my world.

of course, me and my empirically-oriented self, had to ask a couple of people that have known me just as long...if not longer....and asked them if they thought my world had gotten smaller.

they all were in disbelief that i even asked that question.

then i realized that someone hasn't been listening or paying they used to.....for quite some time. sometimes, certain statements are incredibly revealing. also, it made me realize that there was also the extremely strong possibility that i withdrew a lot earlier than i thought i did....while trying to be there for them and supporting them.....i did not want them to be there for me. i did not want to tell them some of the wonderful things going on....because i was weary and wary of what this person might do with the information. somewhere along the way, i stopped trusting them. i didn't stop caring for them. i stopped trusting them.

for good reason.

very very good reason.

then i realized that despite the trust being broken, they made no efforts to make up for it. it wasn't like there wasn't opportunity to do so. hell, with everyone else in my life, if there are misunderstandings, miscommunication, and whatnot, there are efforts on both parties to make up for what happened for a affirm the re-establish the trust....then it goes back to the normal flow of the relationship and connection. yet, it only works when both people do this. it doesn't work when it is one-sided.

i have no idea how i am going to feel about this later. yet, for now....i'll just stand here.... with my strange simultaneous mix of sadness, relief, and i stride toward continually growing my world....and me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

guest chef ryan farr at baker and banker

i'm winding down for the night and thinking about the lovely dinner i just had. i've been looking forward to the ryan farr's guest chef appearance at baker and banker. sus and i were planning to go and put ourselves on the waitlist for a party of four. we were quite happy when a spot opened up. it turned out to be serendipitous because some friends were also available. there was quite a flurry of text messages happening that day.

i was very excited about the dinner for a few reasons.

while i don't personally know ryan farr, i've been eating his food for couple of years now. the 4505 meats stand is one of my regular stops for a sausage or burger at the thursday or saturday farmers' market at the ferry building. i've lost count of the amount of bags of chicharrones i've bought for friends and loved ones in the bay area, new york, atlanta, and the uk. when i travel, i usually carry a bag with me....not only to share with folks but also because it is like carrying a bit of home with me. also, a couple of my pics of his food made eatersf's best pics of yeah....i'm a fan and advocate of his food.

this has been well documented in the blog....and well...twitter.

i've also been wanting to try out baker and banker for a while....and i was happy to find out that friends were available so that we were all able to sit together. while i had zero idea of what was going to be on the menu, i didn't mind. i was just looking forward to having a lovely evening out with friends over some good food and wine.

we all met in front of the restaurant and when i checked in with the FOH, i was quite surprised when the host asked me if we were going to be joined by anyone from the BOH for dinner. since i didn't say anything to the reservation folks about who was going to be at the table when i made the reservation, i almost texted a certain mischief-making homie who was helping out that evening in the kitchen to ask what EXACTLY did he say to the FOH. sigh. my response was that we hadn't planned on it but if anyone in the back would like to come visit the table, that would be great. this was reaffirmed by others that would be at our table. i was actually thinking about whether the mischief-making homie was going to hang out for a bit....but also wondered if they would really have time to do so....since i assumed that they would be cooking.

if you are reading this mr. mischief are soooooo lucky that i love you.....i will be asking you about this when i see you and there isn't an audience.


the menu included 6 tastings (4 savory, 1 intermezzo, and a dessert). my favorite tastes of the evening included the tender tongue pastrami, the young chicken galatine, the tiny crispy succulent fried offal (...gizzard i think), the thompson grape sorbet (from humphry slocombe), and the warm elephant heart pluot upside down cake.

the space itself felt very warm, comfortable, and cozy. it felt like a neighborhood where it would be easy to become a regular. i didn't realize that they had a bar....which is ideal for i prefer casual eating at the bar. as this is almost literally a hop, skip, and a jump from my place, methinks i'll be back on a weeknight to check out the regular non-guest menu.

yes, the table did receive some nice visits during the evening....but to be clear...i wasn't the one that folks were visiting. it was for the rest of the folks at the table.

as i walked back to my place, i was rather thrilled with the novelty of knowing i'd be home so soon. no need to get on muni, catch a cab, etc. etc....which is so freaking great. well, must go to sleep....have my first meeting in a a few hours.

night night.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

oooohhhhhh aahhhhhhh - creme fraiche ice cream

sometimes things work out pretty well.

yes, sometimes they do indeed.

if you could see me right'd see me with a massive cheshire grin on my face.

one of the reasons why i enjoy being a home cook is being able to make food how i like it. i made a creme fraiche ice cream based on a recipe from the perfect scoop from david lebovitz and it was sublime. i made a couple of small i only had medium size eggs from marin sun farms (instead of the large he mentions) i used a couple of more egg yolks and as i bought two 8oz tubs of creme fraiche from cowgirl that did not add up to 480 grams, i added a bit of organic sour cream from straus to compensate.

then i kinda crossed my fingers and hoped that it would turn out ok.

it only took about 15 minutes in the machine for it to firm up.

i of course, was doing mini tastings as it was firming up.

it was incredibly sublime. i think this may become an addiction....a serious addiction. i adore creme fraiche becomes a food group when i visit i wasn't surprised that i would like it.....but the level of adoration i have for this flavor.

as i still had quite a bit of the jar of amarena cherries left over from the rye whiskey party, i decided to layer them into the ice cream. quite delicious.

there are so many opportunities for variations of pleasure using the creme fraiche ice cream as a starting point.....for example, how about ribbons of honey! swirls of homemade plum preserves! or how about topping it plain with chunks of frog hollow nectarines! oooooohhhhhh ahhhhhh, the pleasurable gluttonous possibilities are endless.

i'm so pleased at this moment.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

first time: making ice cream

just got off the phone with the heart sister and am winding down for the evening.

we were talking about quite a few things and one of the things i mentioned was how i was probably going to write about my first ice cream making experience....and how it didn't exactly go flawlessly.

it started out with planning and excitement. i bought the ice cream machine, an extra bowl, and a hard cover copy of lebovitz's the perfect scoop. i placed markers throughout the inspiring food-porn pic book and gathered the ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator.

i decided to to make lebovitz' vietnamese coffee ice cream recipe as my first foray into making ice cream. i whisked together sweetened condensed milk......with some straus half and half.....

then added some strongly brewed four barrel coffee.......

and placed it in an ice bath......then had an impromptu inspiration of adding some bourbon.....and then put it all in the fridge overnight.

i was very looking forward to having the combination of sweet cream, coffee, and bourbon. just typing out those words makes me sigh with an almost blissful happiness. yet, the next day, after putting the ice cream base in the machine......i realized that after 20 minutes of churning that something was wrong. it wasn't solidifying.

such disappointment. such excited expectation then followed by disappointment. figures.

at first i wondered if i put in too much bourbon. then i went back to the recipe and then realized that i made an assumption that 12 oz is equal to 1.5 cups....but then realized that a single can of sweetened condensed milk at 14oz was actually only 396 grams....and the recipe called for 1.5 cups or 600 grams.

when i realized this, i thought "oh shit." there wasn't nearly enough of the binding agent in the current mixture to make ice cream. this was a key lesson in realizing that i needed to pay attention more to grams. one that i should have remembered while i was reading the recipe. this was total user error.....and the user being me.

as i looked at the churning liquid that i knew now would never solidify, i almost wanted to would this mean starting the recipe all over....waiting overnight for the mixture to chill....and then try again the next day?

yet, in the midst of my disappointment and self-pity, i decided to try something. sure, the mixture had added moisture from running in the machine...but what if i removed the mixture....added more condensed milk.....whisked would still be chilled yes? i also had that extra bowl already frozen which would enable me to try it again....right now. this way i wouldn't have to wait another day. if i ruined it, i ruined it....but i should at least try it and see what happens.

so put the mixture in a clean bowl, added more condensed milk so that it was at least 600 grams in the liquid, whisked it together, grabbed the extra frozen bowl in the freezer, and tried to churn it again. this time, i refused to look at it while it was churning. if it worked...if it didn' didn't. i didn't want to stand there with my eyeballs glued to the churning machine....stressing even more about the potential outcome. i set my kitchen timer to 20 minutes and then went back to my laptop to do some work.

when i heard the timer go off, i was thrilled when i looked into the churning machine.....

it worked! it really worked! it really did!

i scooped the majority of it out into a container so that i could put it in the freezer for a bit more overall firming up, and then i ate the rest out of the ice cream machine bowl. it was delightful. i felt like i was eating gelato. i could feel the heart race and the brain go alight.....typical reactions to consuming a mixture of coffee, condensed milk, and bourbon.

later on, when i was scooping some out, i thought back on this experience and was glad that i tried to make it work.....that i didn't just give up....or throw the entire batch out to start again.....

sometimes it can be easy to be disheartened when something doesn't go according to plan. it can be difficult to see within the midst of things "going all wrong" that there are opportunities to work things out by trying an alternative path or something different in order to make it work....for you as an individual. it also doesn't mean that working things out equates to having to follow along someone else's plan or expectation either. that someone being society in general, a group of people, even friends.....or former friends. methinks that a good portion of my life hasn't followed according to the "typical" paths....yet....they have been my paths with my general "big picture" goals in mind. it has been very much about what i discover and who i decide to share the journey with along the way. it also doesn't mean that despite my not knowing very much about something (like making ice cream) that it should stop me from trying.....i mean, look what i've done with the blog over the past few years....with taking pictures and whatnot.

it shouldn't surprise me that my first experience making ice cream was quite appropriate. there is something about food...the making of it...that is definitely reflective of what is going on with me. it was a good lesson relearned.

Monday, September 12, 2011

i sense waffles in my future

just a random food porn moment. i sense waffles will be in my future.

i actually bought this one last week at the blue bottle kiosk at the ferry building.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

861 and beyond

number 861.

this is posting number 861.

those that have been with me since the beginning, know that when i started this blog in march 2008, i started it with the intention of pushing my uber private awkward self to being more open and being more in the moment....and you've seen dear reader.... how i've pursued my passions for food, photography, and writing over the i type out posting after posting....within this sanctuary.

the hundreds of postings have been filled with ups, downs, and everything in between.....some of my most random private thoughts, rants, ideas, and moments have been typed out in flagrantly lower case type and with way too many typos. quite a few loved ones who know who i am "in the flesh" have expressed surprise and support over the years at just how honest i've been. also, i am continuously surprised when i receive the emails (and sometimes....interestingly enough....tweets or facebook messages) from folks....letting me know that they can relate to a certain situation...or saying how i am able to put into words what they wish they could say.... or appreciate that i am able to "see" them in the pursuit of their own passions. yes, there are haters/trolls....but i am continuously surprised by the level of random kindness i've received from complete strangers.

admittedly, it hasn't been be so honest here.

it hasn't been easy to know that such moments are being read, evaluated, and know that who i am as a person....warts and being evaluated and judged. because, let's be frank, this blog isn't primarily about food porn pics. over the years, as more and more people read the blog......i do have moments where i feel like i'm taking quite a few deep and panicked breaths. this pushing to be more open has yielded a full spectrum of results. yes, there have been awkward moments. yes, there are moments that i've been hurt. at the same time, there have been some truly lovely moments.

when i started this blog, i never imagined that i would have written over 860 postings. i never would have imagined i am where i am today.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

birthday brunch at spqr

while i was finishing up at market this morning, i received a text message from sus that said "i'm up! i'm awake!". i chuckled out loud. we were scheduled to meet up for her bday brunch at spqr in about an hour. i picked spqr for a few reasons, i'd been wanting to try it since matthew accarrino took over, marcia reaffirmed that i should visit especially since it is close to my place, and speaking of is also close to where sus is living as well....which means that she could sleep in and then basically roll out of bed to meet for brunch.

when i arrived at spqr for our brunch reservation, i was in for a surprise. sus was already there talking to someone that also works at the monthly monday night hapa ramen pop ups at bar tartine, it seems that this person also works at spqr.

my gawd, this is such a small teeny tiny world.

i've seen this person quite a bit at the hapa ramen pop ups and do think that they are very good at what they do. they have been the server for many tables i've been at for the hapa ramen pop ups. yes, i'm being deliberately obtuse and vague. the only folks i've named or described in this blog have been folks with a very public presence or because i've directly asked their permission to appear in this blog. it turned out that this person also became the server for our table at spqr.

needless to say, we received excellent service.

i really had no idea when i booked the reservation. i'm extremely glad that it turned out this way though. as it was sus' bday, it definitely helped make the outing lovely and special. we each ordered the prix fixe (2 courses) from the brunch menu in addition to some other things because we wanted to try as much as possible.

we had the chicken liver with strawberry jam and the grilled bread.....

when that arrived to the table, the aroma of the grilled bread was incredibly enticing. i was busily sniffing away when sus reminded me that we were sitting in prime picture taking light. isn't that funny? this kind of thing actually happens a lot....where friends i'm eating with and know that i am "foodie hunter" ask if i wanna take a picture or very strongly suggest that i do so. chortle.

next up was the crispy pig ears....which was one of my favorite tastes of the afternoon.....

i liked them quite a bit. the crispy fattiness coupled with the pickles. i also really loved the aesthetics of the slate. our next dishes included the salt cod croquette....

i should also take a moment to say a couple of things about the beverages..... i was also enjoying my glass of red wine...which i don't remember what it was. given that shelley lindgren is the owner and wine director, i had full confidence in the wine list. i asked our talented server to bring me a glass of whatever would be good with what we ordered. the server asked a couple of very good specific qualifying flavor palate questions and brought me a lovely glass that paired very well with what we were eating. also, i had a sip of sus' elderflower mimosa...which i must say was very yummy as well.

anyway, back to the we also had the buckwheat spaghetti with suckling pig ragu.

one of the things i thought that was particularly interesting about this dish was the greens. as you ate them, there was a spiciness to them....the kind of bite and spiciness that clears the sinuses a unexpected yet appropriate touch....a way to cut through some of the richness of the dish.

then there was a dish of baked eggs with sausage and polenta.....

which i honestly don't know what the name of it was. it was something that sus ordered. then we had our first dessert of the salted caramel ice cream from mr. and mrs. miscellaneous.

after the first bite, i totally understand why people like their ice cream. i totally get why people have told me to try their ice cream.....even complete strangers. this......was very very good. despite being quite full, the ice cream did not stay very long in the bowl.

our second dessert was a muscat wine. my goodness was that delicious as well. i don't know what the name of it was because it was something chosen by the server.

unsurprisingly, after the bill was settled up.....

we were in buzzing along in a very good mood and decided to do some shopping on fillmore. after we did some shopping, we headed to jane for some caffeine....since we both like four barrel coffee and jane serves it.

when we arrived at jane, i broke out in utter giggle fits because there was this dog that was larger than me just outside the doorway. i'm not kidding. this was a big doggie. sus (aka susanna ok) took this picture.

someone from citizen cake was taking a break and let us know that the dog's name was charlie. sus thinks the dog is probably famous and i have a feeling she's right. this doggie was incredibly sweet as well. of course i pet the dog. a couple of times. such a sweetheart. sigh. it made me miss hector.

anyway, we pretty much ended the bday brunch adventure over a couple of cappuccinos.

the jane folks were super nice as usual. it was just what i needed as a pick me up from being so full and enabled me to dive head first into a project when i returned home. today was a pretty productive day........good finds at market, lovely time hanging out w/sus, and extremely productive work-wise. it was quite a nice balanced day that i look a back on it.

well, methinks i'm going to end my well balanced day with bath, book, and bed.

nite everyone.