Saturday, October 29, 2011

ms james

i love music.

i enjoy all different types of music....yet, it should surprise no one that reads this blog that the types of music i am the most drawn to...is that of soul music, old school jazz, some r&b, and hip hop. from my perspective, music....like any kind of art form....it is about the connection between the artist and the audience....not everyone is going to like the same thing.....not everyone is going to connect with the same type of music or song...and they shouldn't have too.

i was rather thrilled when i was on muni a few weeks ago and saw that leela james was going to be at yoshi's. i've been listening to her music for years. i love her rendition of sam cooke's "a change is gonna come"....and i'm pretty certain that i've linked to her songs such as "mistreating me" and "my joy" before in this blog. i pretty much re-arranged my schedule so that i'd be able to attend her performance at yoshi's. there was a chance that a couple of friends of mine were also going to attend...but because i wanted so much to see her perform...i wasn't going to put it to "chance" and bought myself an assigned seat ticket.

what can is say? when i want to do something....i just do it. i don't wait for anyone. i make it happen for myself.

i later found out that friends went to a later performance...and while i love these friends....i wouldn't have been a happy camper about arriving to the show after ms. james sang two songs. i'm very glad that i decided upon purchasing my ticket separately as me and my anal self was early to the first show of the evening.

i was very excited to be there. i took a couple of pictures....but only before the show began.




from my perspective, it is a bit disrespectful to take pictures when the house indicates that there are no pictures and audio recording. also, folks that take pictures with a flash are a special sort of assholes in my opinion. what do you think happens to the performer when they do that? i'm rather amazed how folks forget that performers and artists are actually human beings.

anyway, i enjoyed the performance. when leela james came out on stage, i had read that she was a petite person...but didn't realize just how petite until is saw her. such a petite person....and such a booming lovely voice. since i was so close to the stage, i was also able to see that she was wearing sparkly heels that were a size or two....too big for her. this made me smile and just shake my head a bit. it then became no surprise to me that she eventually just took those shoes off while she was dancing on stage. she has a rather adorable and sassy stage presence.

while i had no expectations about the songs that she was going to sing, i felt my heart leap to my throat when i heard the familiar tunes to "my joy" being played.....




this is one of my favorite songs from her. she sang it so beautifully. i could feel myself swaying....listening to her very powerful voice....and whispering the words along.

for me, it was a rather perfect moment.

a moment when i could literally just feel the music, the mood, the emotions, and the seductive presence of the moment. there are few times in my life when everything else just fades....and i am just utterly and completely present in that moment. it felt like i was given this amazing gift.

i haven't been out to see music in ages and ages. i had forgotten how seductive it can be....to just put yourself in the music....forgetting everything else...willingly....as you let the melodies wrap around you....and embrace you....whispering stories about life....and letting you know that your experiences, anger, or heartbreak were understood, shared, and part of what it means to be human..

there was a time when i was younger and a hella lot angrier....when i used to go quite often to venues to listen and dance. i'm pretty certain there is a direct correlation to my level of anger and my attachment to rap and hiphop during that time. quite candidly, that is the case now....to a lesser extent. i'm no where near as angry as i was when i was a young-un. thank the gawds.

yet, if folk hear me streaming the likes of AMG, NWA, Easy-E, Public Enemy, Too Short, Dre, and the like ....it is probably best to leave me alone.

i suppose i stopped going to venues to listen and dance because i've never been interested in the "scene"...or the seen and be seen.....that comes with it. i was only interested in the music and the opportunity to dance with the music....just so not interested in the games that people play......not interested in "catch + release" or the many variations of it. methinks the last time i went to a venue and just felt myself give myself over to the music was at donna's in new orleans.

that was a long time ago.

yet, after listening to leela james on friday, it was lovely to have a reminder of what it can feel like....to just give yourself over to music that you really and truly enjoy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

funny universe


another night...another winding down for the evening before i head to bed. there was a mini earthquake this morning about 5:45am-ish and i just decided to use that as my alarm clock instead of going back to sleep. after a few hours of working, i needed to take a break....to get away from my place.

i've been doing some rather nutty hours recently....and just knew that i needed to take a break...away. one of the challenges of working remotely and the hours that this job requires is not turning every space into a "work space". i've started doing that with the rooftop at moma....and in hindsight, i probably shouldn't have done that. i probably should have kept that space a 100% non-work sanctuary space. i'm finding that those places for me are dwindling.

yet, i knew that i have done zero work at il cane rosso....and also knew that farro porridge in addition to the view would be lovely...and so i thought that perhaps that would be what i needed.

when i arrived to il cane rosso, placed my order, and paid....i sat there for a bit....just looking outside and realized that the hours are not sustainable on a continuous basis.....that i do need to make time for breaks and down time....not just hanging out with loved ones and friends....but true "down time" as well.

there has been a rather significant imbalance recently.

i'm not certain what the answer is.

it may involve me withdrawing for a bit as i regroup.

or it could be that i'm just tired now and thinking about my presentation at 7am and then the follow up meetings for the next 5 hours.....just makes me feel more tired.

i'm also thinking that universe has an odd sense of humor sometimes.

i mean...odd...in a not so nice way.

i have a feeling i that i know where the universe is going with this. sometimes, it is a rather pain in the ass to have the type of brain that quickly identifies certain probabilities and the likelihood of outcomes. frankly, work wise, this has worked out quite well for me. very well. yet, personal-wise, it makes things complicated. there is a not so small part of me that wants to tell the universe that "i've already been there and learned that lesson. i really don't need to learn it again. thanks!"

despite where i am today, there is still the part of me that will always be the punk ass rebellious little kid that wants to tell the universe to fuck off.....and i'll do things my way.

i suppose some things don't change.

not my intention


i've made some great progress on a very large work project which has me breathing a bit easier. i'm winding down for the evening and processing some pictures i took this morning of my breakfast of some very yummy coffee that sus brought back from hawaii for me as well as the duck fat pecan pie i bought from humphry slocombe yesterday.



as i was processing the pictures and such,


i've been thinking more about anonymity these days....specifically, my anonymity. i've actually only "come out" too about three people in the industry....and it is quite fascinating to me who knows especially because i wasn't the one that told them.

i rarely, if ever, mention the blog in my real life everyday conversations.

the other night i was at a party and someone who knows that i am foodie hunter decided to tell me what they thought about my being anonymous. lets just say that they didn't think it was a positive thing. there have definitely been times when folks (who i haven't told that i'm foodie hunter) have decided to give their opinions on what i "should" write about and whatnot and most of the time, i just smile....because by them telling their opinions on how or what i should write....tells me right away that they haven't read the blog.

or else, they would know that i write for me and only for me.

i'm pretty clear about that.

yet sometimes, folks will say things that i'll think about....as it presents an angle that i had never considered before.

during that party the other evening, someone indicated that my being anonymous equated to a kind of asshole like behavior. what i hadn't realized before.....was that for those folks that i visit regularly .....and eat their food regularly....my anonymity can be perceived as an insult....a sort of...."you eat my food, you like my food, but you aren't interested in getting to know me as a human being?"

i had never even considered this perspective before. it actually made me feel a bit horrified. it isn't my intention to be disrespectful with the anonymity. if i love your food, of course i'm interested in you as a human being. i just don't feel entitled, don't want to impose, and don't want to put you in the position where you think i'm trying to take advantage.

while i don't shy away from the "asshole" label....this is definitely one circumstance where it wasn't intentional.

when i visit a place regularly, i go because i enjoy the food....and in some cases....these places are my also "breaks" away from work.....or mini-sanctuaries where i can just relax. i don't "announce" that i'm a blogger, foodie hunter, whatever...because i don't want the folks to think i expect handouts or special treatment. i also don't feel a sense of entitlement in distracting folks from what may be a busy service.

heck, i think everyone knows how much i love hapa and i don't go anywhere NEAR the kitchen portion of the tent if it is 12:30pm on a market day as that is the height of the busy service.

if i visit a place regularly as a customer....i'm there because i enjoy your food and want to support what you are doing. from my perspective, i'm trying to be respectful of your business, your food, and your time.

while friends have scolded me about not announcing myself.....like a certain homie has scolded me THREE times....for my eating once at one of his best friend's places in nyc and not saying a peep....my argument was like..."what was i suppose to say? i've never met her before. what if she thought i was just looking for a handout? i really didn't want to put her in that position."

yet it is different for them. these friends of mine who are prone to scolding. they are industry. i am not. not really. i may help out with hapa on occasion....because.....as i have written about before....i believe in what they are doing and want to support them....but that doesn't make me industry.

i totally understand the comping and trading system for industry folks. there is definitely a sense of balance that comes out....also a sort of honor system. the times i've worked random events for hapa...i'm always intrigued by it....a mutual feeding/nourishment between farmers and cooks.

yet, it is different for me. i don't have anything to trade. so hence, this is just one reason why i don't foresee myself lifting the veil of anonymity anytime soon when i visit places.

yet, i definitely wanted to take a moment....to say that if you know by some odd twist of fate (or have figured it out on your own) that i'm foodie hunter and are kind of pissed off that i've never said anything when i visit....it definitely wasn't my intention to be rude or disrespectful.

it really isn't.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

spacey wiredness

heya.


it is about 7:45 pm and methinks i've gotten about 2 hours sleep since monday morning.

i'm in that spacey wired tired state....where things seem a bit surreal.

i suppose i should apologize in advance for random ramblings....but then again....folks that visit the blog (as opposed to just following me on twitter, google +, or flickr) are probably used to my random ramblings by now. i pretty much just stick to pictures on the other forms of social media.

i'm winding down for the evening with some yummy greens as well as black eyed peas over rice from some folks from good foods catering that did a soul food dinner popup tonight in the lower haight. i'm also sipping on a beer which, unsurprisingly, pairs very well. i'm hoping that i'll stay up at least for another couple of hours...as i don't want to be waking up at 4am or something like that.

my spacey wired state is my own fault of course....there was a meeting this morning scheduled for 4:30 am. it was a meeting that i needed all of the synapses afire for....it wasn't one of those meetings where one could just "phone in" and "tune out". nope. it really wasn't. i tried to go to sleep early...and get at least a few hours of sleep before the meeting....but alas, i think i ended up psyching myself out. i think i was so worried about oversleeping and not being awake for the meeting that my brain registered it as my needing to stay awake. so hence...i didn't get to sleep. at all. by 2am, i said "fuck it" and just got back up, got online, and did some work. when i got up, i saw that a friend i haven't seen in a while sent me a note asking if i'd be up for having lunch at the ferry building around noon-ish. i wrote to her about having a meeting at 4:30 said that i'd have to play it by ear as i was thinking that i'd be asleep by that point.

fast forward to 8:30am and i'm still working. at this point, i've been up for well over 24 hours. i figure that i've wrapped up enough things to head to bed. i think i fall asleep by the time i hit the pillow. yet, when i wake up...fully wired awake...not like eight hours later but two hours later...i'm like "WTF?" someone i work with mentioned that he thinks my body thinks i'm in the uk....it is well known at work that i do this kind of shit to myself all of the time when i travel for work.

nothing like training your body to do something and having it backfire on you.

sigh.

on the plus side though, it meant that i could meet up with my friend at the ferry building for lunch...and i'm glad that i did. i normally do not go to the ferry building at noonish....i'm usually there about 10:30 ...which gives me a chance to pick up the things that i need from the market and say "hi" to richie, susanna, and mrs. hapa ramen before the crowds start lining up........


so my being there at noonish was kind of odd for me. yet, it was great to see my friend. we had a chance to catch up over a lovely reuben sandwich from wise sons. she already had the sandwich in hand when i met up with her....and was very gracious in sharing her sandwich with me.

quite tasty.

then i went to sodacraft to buy a ginger ale soda (my fave) to wash down the sandwich. sodacraft's spot seems to be nestled away with humphry slocombe on tuesdays...so if you are looking for either of them....if you are facing the clock tower...they are on the left side toward the back...behind a couple of farmers. i also later bought a duck fat pecan pie from humphry slocombe which i'm saving for later on in the week.



oh yes indeed. i may be spacey tired wired....but not that spacey to know that i would absolutely positively enjoy this treat later on in the week. priorities people!

i'm rather loving the fact that humphry slocombe is at the ferry building on tuesdays.

when my friend and i were wandering around the ferry building....oohhing and ahhing over cheese at cowgirl and whatnot....it definitely reminded me what i had written before....that despite crazy ass work hours for the "day" job and being tired....it really is important for me to take the time to do stuff like have an impromptu lunch with a friend at the ferry building.

hmmmm, methinks the beer is doing its job at the moment.

it may be time for me to sleep now.

finally.

please keep your fingers crossed for me and that i won't be waking up wired at 4am.

until later dear hearts,

xxxooo

Saturday, October 22, 2011

vices

on the way home from an extended time at the market today, i was on muni trying to figure out where i was going to eat. it was about 3ish and at this point, i had basically consumed an energy bar, a few sips of coffee, water, an xtra dry ginger ale courtesy of jesse/sodacraft (methinks folks already know how this is one of my fave flavors from them), and a korean taco from namu all day. i was rather spacey. so flipping spacey, that i missed my bus stop to get to my place.

i figured that this was a sign of some sort.

so i stayed on the bus and hopped off at fillmore to grab an iced coffee from jane. methinks the iced coffee is one of my favorite things from jane. the iced coffee is from a siphon so the flavor is very clean and crisp. methinks that it is becoming (or has already become) a vice of mine. the FOH folks are also super nice as well. i got it "to go" as i didn't think that my smelling of pork, sun, and smoke would be a complement to their atmosphere and their typical clientele....especially on a saturday afternoon.

as i was walking around fillmore sipping on my coffee, i was trying to figure out what to eat. i knew that it had to be quick as i needed to get back home to work on some things for my "day" job. yet, i did consider going to OTD on bush...but again, my smelling of pork, smoke, and sun wouldn't really fit into the atmosphere....i couldn't see myself sitting at the bar ordering pho or the egg noodles with wontons....just two of the soups i usually order there. then i saw the 22 coming down on fillmore....so i decided to hop on and go to upper playground to do a wee bit of shopping. again, another vice. yet, i think i also realized that i needed to have some "down time" before starting work again. there was a sweatshirt from upper playground that i've been wanting for the past few months....yet, the times i've popped in....they haven't had my size and it isn't available on the web site. yet, i was in luck today as not only did they have the color i wanted....they also had my size.


i love that the player is not holding a polo stick. this greatly appeals to my sense of humor.

after i left upper playground i was about to hop back on muni, but there was this seductive siren call ......wing wings is only a block away....and i was imagining what some wing wings housemade biscuits with ck's homemade early girl tomato jam would taste like. ck's hubby dropped off some of her jam last night and it too has been calling out "open me! open me! open me!" since he dropped it off. i didn't buy acme bread at market today. i actually forgot. i can't believe that i forgot, but did.

gawddammit.

anyway, so i decided that i'd get a couple of biscuits "to go" so that i could have that with ck's jam. as i got closer to wing wings, there was also this little voice in my head reminding me that i didn't have 4505 meats today......so that means that i could also indulge in some chicken wings. those that read me and/or follow me on twitter have probably figured out already that i usually have a weekly "treat" for myself.....usually it is something from 4505 meats on a thurs or saturday....but for the past few months i've been alternating between 4505 and chicken wings from wing wings.

i just ignored the other voice in my head that reminded me that i was just there a few days ago.

dontcha just love rationalization?

anyway, i put in my order (small order of dry rub wings + 2 biscuits), paid, and then me and my spacey self chatted a bit with the friendly FOH folks. i won't name them...because...well, i don't have permission to do so. the conversation at one point turned to biscuits (no surprise, considering that these deceptively humble things are quickly becoming a well known vice of mine) and they mentioned that there was a new sort of sweet on the menu today.....inspired by a philly-based dessert pie from a company called tastykakes. while i had the unexpected opportunity to explore philly for a few days when i was snowed in there...and discovered how much i really do love that city....i had never heard of tastykake or tastykake pies. methinks the FOH folks are further enabling my vice-maybe-addiction-at-this-point by providing me with one to taste.

while it was tempting to just eat it right then in there....i waited as i thought it would be a good idea to have something more substantial in my stomach as i was already kind of spacey yet wired (courtesy of the iced coffee i was sucking on).

so, it wasn't until i arrived home, cleaned up, made my way through the tasty dry rub wings (again, so deceptively humble....i mean..."dry rub" is quite innocuous....yet the flavor is neither humble or innocuous. love that addition of lime).....


that i decided to dig into the pineapple sweet cream cheese pie.


my oh my.


i like this one a lot.

figures.

it really figures.

Friday, October 21, 2011

hamilton + severson

ck and i attended the severson and hamilton talk on thursday night. i'd been looking forward to this for some time. i've been fortunate to have heard kim severson speak before.....so i already knew how witty, sharp, and wickedly funny she is. quite frankly, she was the reason why i wanted to buy the tickets. she absolutely delivered. during the talk, there was an earthquake/after shock and she suggested that the bloggers write that gabrielle hamilton "rocked the house"....and i couldn't help but think that it was ms. severson that rocked the house. while the focus of the talk wasn't on kim severson's spoon fed, i am a big fan of this work. i am also a fan of gabrielle hamilton's bones, blood, and butter. both books, from my perspective, are brave works. both are brave in their willingness to show vulnerability and truth. i have much respect for the books.


ck hasn't read either books but that didn't stop here from borrowing mine to read later and attending the talk. up until the day of the talk, we were trying to figure out how we were going to spend the evening and decided upon a visit to the just opened biergarten (on octavia), then dinner at sebo, and then finish up with the hamilton and severson talk.

as i walked down hayes and made my way to biergarten on thursday, i received a text from CK indicating that she was already there sitting with some friends. i just shook my head. small world. such a small world. i had no idea that these friends were going to be at biergarten.....and it seems that for them....it was an impromptu visit. san francisco is such a small town.




anyway, after our visit to biergarten, we headed to sebo. i was extremely excited about our visit to sebo. while ck hadn't been before....i have. i find that after a visit to sebo, i end up recalling it for some time afterward. i love the food. just love it. i love the way it tastes. i love the way it looks. i love the clean flavors. we had the omakase (6 course tasting menu), the broiled eggplant, and the brussels sprouts. i was rather thrilled that ck loved it as well. it was a great addition to the evening....before we headed to the talk. the plates were pretty clean by the time they were cleared away.

i took zero pictures.

let me tell you what i usually don't do when the people that cook my food are literally right in front of me....is take pictures. there may be about three exceptions to this....because these folks know who i am. also the atmosphere at sebo is one where pictures don't seem appropriate. if there was spare moment within chatting with ck, it was us letting the cook know how much we appreciated the beauty and deliciousness of the food. he was also great with the timing of the courses since he knew that we had a show to catch.....and we definitely thanked him for this before we left. yes, we also tipped well....but i don't know if sebo is pooled tip system.

by the time thursday wound down, i was on a high......lovely company, lovely food, and lots of lovely laughter courtesy of kim severson. the next day, i saw on twitter how marcia aka ms. tablehopper indicated that she thought kim severson should have her own show....i couldn't agree more.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

twice unexpectedly


i ended up at wing wings twice yesterday.

i think that is a first. you know, being at a place twice in a day.

i have been a fan of wing wings and the care they put into their food since they opened in june earlier this year. here is post i wrote about visiting opening day....and a pic i took later made eater sf....


yet, it was completely unplanned for me to show up twice yesterday.

over the past few months, i've been making my way through the menu....and if you follow me on twitter, not only do you already know this....you're already aware that i'm a big fan of the house made biscuits in particular. i'm rather hoping that the biscuits will show up at different venues. one of the things i like to do is get the biscuits "to go" and have them with tea and/or coffee at home. here is an older pic of their brown sugar and black pepper biscuit with some of my homemade creme fraiche....


and when i had some in my kitchen and the heart sister took a nibble of one (she likes to go searching through my kitchen for treats when she comes over) and was like "OMG" when she tasted one. deceptively humble looking things....but not so humble flavor and texture wise.

i feel that way about a lot of the food that wing wings puts out....very deceptively humble. yet, when one takes a step back and thinks about the sourcing of their ingredients such as the chicken.....as well as some of the flavor combinations of the sauces (just one example...a gochujang influenced sauce called the "angry korean"?...someone has a wicked sense of humor)..... not to mention the components that go into the chicken salad on a biscuit.....these are combinations that would not be out of a place in "higher end" places with different proteins and plating. the technique is there as well....but it doesn't scream it.

see what i mean by deceptively humble? talk about hiding in plain sight.

i have a feeling that the FOH folks were aware of my continuous popping into their place because one day, a magnet appeared in the biscuit togo bag which is on my fridge...



speaking of FOH, the folks i've interacted with have always been super friendly. the service and food combined with careful touches within their place make it, for me, a comfortable place to visit. the touches include the elegant black and white framed photos on the walls, the dark wood stools and counters to perch on, the different types of sauces (hella hot is a fave), to the hiphop/r&b/soul streaming through the "boom box"....to even the tiny bowls filled with moist towelettes to clean one's hands. small touches chosen with obvious care.

so, given all of these things....it wasn't a surprise that after i was rather annoyed about finding out that someone was using a card with my details on it outside of the country committing some fraudulent activities (i took care of it), i decided to take my comfort food break at wing wings....and had what has become a usual for me ....the chicken salad on a biscuit......


and some of the house flavor wings (it is the wing wings flavor)....




it hit the spot.

then when i was texting with sus a few hours later, she mentioned that she was on muni, was going to drop into wing wings, and was wondering if i'd be interested in joining her. i replied that i'd already been a few hours earlier but that i'd keep her company. i was still full from my earlier meal. yet, it would give us a chance to catch up....i was curious about how her visit to hawaii went. given how busy both of our schedules are, i saw this as a good chance for us to hang out for a bit.

it worked out pretty well because i ended up being able to try a couple of pieces of the fried oyster mushrooms (very tasty) and then have one of their sweet "biscuits" aka chocolate coconut raspberry buns for dessert....while i hung out with sus.

so that is how i ended up at wing wings twice in one day.

completely unexpected....but in a good way.



wing wings, 422 haight street, sf, ca, 94117, +1 415 834 5001, http://wingwingssf.com/

Monday, October 17, 2011

a pic of richie's foie on eater


i was rather wrapped up in work and a visit with the family that i didn't realize until later that a pic i took of richie's foie dish at the last hapa ramen popup at bar tartine made eater sf. just wanted to share in case you don't follow me on twitter. i tweeted the original link over the weekend.....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

donuts and bacon

i'm rather lucky in the friends and family department.

really and truly.

methinks it was well over a month ago when CK indicated that she was interested in doing a donut brunch. i definitely blocked off the day for that event. i also had a feeling that it wasn't going to be just one type of donut. i suppose, it would be a reasonable assumption that if someone was going to make donuts for brunch....they'd only make one kind. well, CK is not the average or typical person....or cook.

it was a couple of days before the brunch when i received an message from CK asking me to purchase some bacon from hapa for the donut brunch. i texted sus about it....as i wasn't certain how much bacon was in the kitchen...since they plated and sold out of the brussels sprouts, bacon, and slow cooked egg dish (which i loved) at the last popup at bar tartine. while hapa obtains whole riverdog pigs on pretty much a weekly basis....and then breaks down and uses all of the piggy......i wasn't certain how much of hapa bacon was available. it seems that i was in luck as richie had just recently smoked a batch.

i must admit that it was a bit surreal to be brokering a bacon purchase....for both a batch of sliced bacon and a slab. i also talked to sus and richie about it at market when i dropped by to do some shopping....and promised to bribe sus with a treat if she could deliver it to my place. i fully realize how fortunate i am in my friends.




yet, this is just one example of how important it is to many of my friends that they know exactly where their food comes from......who is the farmer? who prepares it? who is cooking it? it is a thread of respect for the food that carries through from the farmer, to the cooks, to those that eat it with pleasure and relish.

so when the fam + i arrived to CK's with the bacon (as well as a couple of bottles of hudson whiskey for LM as a belated bday present), the donuts were already underway....


naturally.....there were many different types of delectable donuts and glazes.....



of course.

CK immediately started to cook the bacon.

there was an amazing moment when i was hanging around the kitchen and inhaling the aromas of donuts and bacon cooking. my goodness.....i think that smell must have triggered more synapses than i can count at that moment.

everything was ready very quickly after we arrived, was plated, and brought to the table. LM also took some terrific food porn pictures which i was able to have a sneak peek at on their computer.....not only is LM a very talented musician....he is also a very talented photographer. in the future, there may be a collaboration between CK for food and LM for music...soooooo.....stay tuned.


there were lots of delectable donuts to choose from on the donut brunch tasting table.




among my favorite tastes were the banana cake donuts with the chocolate glaze....



and the donuts with the earl grey tea glaze......





i also liked the chocolate cake donut....even just the cake donut itself....



of course, CK didn't just do donuts but also made this very delicious frittata with spinach, guyere cheese, and i think leeks (but don't quote me on the leek part).does it really surprise anyone that i was the first one to dive into the frittata? i really loved that frittata. there was a part of me that wanted to sneak away with the cast iron skillet filled with that frittata.




....and the bacon....


sweet, smokey, savory, succulent bacon. sigh.

the hapa bacon was a huge hit.

i wasn't surprised.

there was point when pictures of some of the kids at the brunch were being taken and instead of saying "cheese"....they were saying "bacon!"

i kind of wished that i had a video camera at that moment....just to be able to show richie the kind of reaction his bacon produced.

the adults loved it as well.

now, as the weekend is coming to close, i'm thinking about the past couple of days. it was lovely to be able to spend quite a bit of time with the goddaughter and introduce her to just a hint of why i love being at the farmers' market on saturday mornings. i'm still chuckling at how much she enjoyed the "pork puffs" aka the chicharrones from 4505 meats that morning. it was also a treat to have the heart sis over for an evening as well...as we made it a "girls" night family dinner over soba, veggies, and eggs from the market....before the entire family met up on sunday in order to go to CK's for the lovely donut brunch.

it was a pretty great weekend. i'm very fortunate in my family and friends.

until later dear readers....

xxoo

Friday, October 14, 2011

"when you were little...."

"when you were little did you know that you would grow up to be a godmother?"

asked EC as we were walking back from having dinner at delfina where we had pasta (they actually have kid menu pasta items that they don't advertise), pizza, and arancini.....and right before we started running around a local park.

sometimes, i have no idea what EC is going to ask me or how she prefers to refer to me. for a while there, she was telling folks that she had two mommies. admittedly, i was rather amused by some of the speculative looks i received when she said that she has two mommies. i didn't feel like elaborating or clarifying that i was her godmother as opposed to her mother and i being in a committed relationship as co-parents. given that families these days are made up of folks that care for each other and are committed to being a family....i think folks should get used to families that may have multiple adults that care for the next generation.

my response to EC was "i didn't plan on being a godmother when i grew up. it was a nice surprise. you know, how things happen and they are a surprise? a good kind of surprise? that is the way i see it."

she seemed pretty satisfied with that answer.

by that point, we had reached the park and she started running around the park. this was all part of the foodie hunter strategy. i see kids like dogs.....you've got to wear them out....hence the running around the park. while this was going on, i was thinking back to when we were at the delfina and she was coloring on a picture of a pig playing a guitar....then she asked me "do you know how to cook everything?"

again, random question.

"no, i don't know how to cook everything."

"mommy says you know how to cook everything."

ah.

well.

"i know how to cook a lot of things. yet, i still have to read books for things i don't know how to cook."

funny, huh?

anyway, after we finished up at the park and walked the rest of the way back to my place, i ended up dishing out a scoop of some ice cream from three twins that i had picked up at a local grocery store for our dessert. then we did some washing up, got into our pjs, settled in to watch an episode of a pbs kiddie show, and then finished the evening with reading a story.

as she is in bed right now, i kind of wonder how long it will truly be before she goes to sleep. the sounds of the city is just so much background noise to me.....that i hardly even register it....but it is a bit different when you are five years old and not used to it.

i wonder if she is going to remember tonight, other things that we have planned for this weekend, or how once upon a time she asked me unexpected questions that i tried to answer as candidly as possible. probably not. yet, i have a feeling that she will know that she is loved...because she is.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

choosing tired

i'm tired.

methinks that being tired is the status quo these days.

yet, this is my choice. i fully realize my tiredness is a result of the choices i have made with my life.

my everyday job requires 12-14 hour days, then you add hanging out with loved ones, blogging, taking pics, and randomly helping out with friends' ventures here and there....it makes complete logical sense why i am tired.

the other day, after four hours of meetings for my "day" job, i showed up at market to help out during the busiest part of a service shift. i was talking to a young cook i know about how i'd be doing a few hours of service to help out and then would go back to my "day job". you know, to work another 8 hours at the day job. the young cook said he doesn't understand my job. he's not the only one. most of the loved ones in the food industry think my "day" job is some odd abstract thing....but realize that if i have enough advance notice....i can schedule in a block of time to help out before going back to my regular job.

then, i was speaking to my deliciously wicked godfather....who has a corporate executive history at various technology companies....and he was asking me some questions about what i'm doing with this "food stuff". he understands why i'll have work meetings at midnight, 2am, or 6am...because that is what you do when you work for a corporate office of a global technology company. his hours at his current company are usually 7am-9pm.but he doesn't read the blog or really follow the food industry at all. it was difficult to explain how my passion for cooking and food is manifesting itself these days....and i had a feeling that i wasn't explaining it very well. sometimes it is difficult for me to articulate things that are important to me....especially when i'm not able to put words to the feelings and their importance. i just ended up saying, that "i'm happy" before the probing began regarding my sex life and marital status. sigh. families. gotta love them in their predictability sometimes.

then the other night, i was talking to the heart sister...who has very good grasp on my job (hello, former youngest public affairs director for a food-oriented government agency...ever...and makes my sense of drive look like i'm an amateur while she has gone pro a hella long time ago)....and who also has a very excellent grasp on my pursuit of passions for food, writing, and photography. she indicated quite bluntly that the combo of the blog and the helping out with hapa occasionally, it is like i've taken on another job.

ummm, yeah.

i was thinking more about this last night, after i took a break from work to grab some dinner at the hapa ramen popup at bar tartine.


i stopped into the mission and took a sneak peek of what folks were going to plate for service.....which included sardines....

richie's latest foie dish....




susanna's charcuterie board.....



and then returned later to eat dinner. while i was starting to eat my dinner of yummy charred pork rib and brussels sprouts with a slow cooked egg and bacon (it is pretty much guaranteed that i'm going to order the slow cooked egg dish when they put it on the menu), mrs. hapa ramen came by and mentioned that she thought i looked frazzled.


this is true. this seems to be my state these days. trying to balance everything....i was also thinking about the hours of work i would have to return to after dinner was over. as i was eating by myself, folks working that night came by to visit with me when they had spare moments. it also gave me some time to observe the buzz of service and think about the folks that have been involved in hapa....about how many people have contributed to and believe in what the chef, richie, is working to achieve.


there was also the moment when i was in the kitchen, watching....i enjoy watching richie cook....and richie ended up making me a bite of foie ...almost like a mini sandwich bite with the main ingredients of his plated dish....and sus handing me a dash of chopped almonds so that i could taste what his dish was about. i had to laugh while this was going on. my being in the kitchen area reminded me of when my goddaughter hangs out in the kitchen while i'm cooking....seeing if she'll score a bite here and there. my being able to taste the latest yummy version of richie's foie was a definite score. unsurprisingly, my feeling frazzled had disappeared at this point....between the food, quick moments of connections with folks that i admire, and thinking about why monday, october 10th was a such a big deal.....the stress i was feeling melted away for a moment. this was a gift in itself.

yesterday was a very big deal.

richie formally announced to the press that the lease was signed on the new spot on fillmore.....which will be the restaurant space for hapa. "hapa ramen" will continue to be at the market on tuesdays and thursdays....yet, "hapa" the restaurant will be on fillmore.

this is a significant milestone.

from a selfish perspective, i look forward to when i'll be able to leave my place and just walk to the restaurant.

after the meal was over, i was thinking about the culmination of the various conversations i've been having over the past week or so....and how my tiredness is a result of choices i've been making. a sort of taking stock of why i am doing what i am doing....or why i've decided to do certain things.

i work hard at my day job because i love working within technology. i love the ever changing nature of it. i love being able to delve into what is going on and how it has the potential to impact life on a macro and micro level. i know that sometimes (well, a lot of times) i'll be bitching about politics and whatnot at work....but at the core....i work hard at my job because i enjoy it. i'm also good at it. then, with the blog.....where i can combine my passions for cooking, food, writing, and photography.....i love this as well. i do it for me and only for me. i don't do it with the expectation of being read.

then there is the rather unexpected aspect of helping out with hapa on occasion. having a teeny tiny little toe in the industry but not really. if someone told me over a year ago that this would be a part of my life....and not an unusual part of my life...i would have told them that they were doing too much LSD or something. yet, looking back...i shouldn't have really been surprised. when i believe in something....or believe in what someone is trying to achieve....i will participate or find ways to be supportive. i'll find the time. i'll make the time.

it should surprise no one that i believe in what richie is doing with hapa....his vision for it....his passion for providing good food, with good ingredients, and with good intentions....food that doesn't fit into any traditional box or pre-defined category...because why should it? it is pretty transparent how he pushes himself and his food...as well as arguably......for better or worse....provokes others....into thinking about their own food. as an outsider whose day job is to be aware of trends within markets....i've been able to keenly identify how certain folks have taken "inspiration" from the offerings that hapa has produced over the past year or so.

this is what it means to innovate rather than follow.

it should also surprise no one that i adore what susanna is doing with food as well. i remember thinking (and telling friends...and probably.....now that i think about it... readers of this blog as well) the first time i tasted her food that i thought this is someone i could be friends with. it was like falling in love with someone's food. it was rather added bonus to find out how charming and smart she is in addition to being such a talented cook. she is also rather mind boggling modest about a lot of things as well. i don't think folks are really aware of what her background is or what she has accomplished before she started at hapa. this is all i'm going to say about this because i don't want her to get pissed off at me.
i am fortunate that we are friends and want to keep it that way. sigh. plus, her food....like richie's... really does stand on its own. proof of talent is on the plate. what sus has done with the charcuterie program at hapa is pretty great and has definitely contributed to the uniqueness that is hapa.

i suppose what i've taken such a long time to say is......... i'd rather be tired because i'm trying to pursue a life filled with my passions, support those that i believe in, and spending time with those that i love....than living a energy filled life without passions and belief in others. i'm assuming that i'd always....no matter what...spend time with those that i love. i can't even imagine a life without that.

for some people.... i suppose there could be a different sort of balance....not an either/or sort of life....a middle position....but that is not the case for me.

for better or worse....i'm an all or nothing sort of person. always have been. always will be.

so i chose tired.