San Francisco Eats and Cliche Vitamin D Deficiency Rants

I’ve been terrible at blogging…amongst other things (mainly split end and desk organisation related). And yes, you can consider this spur of the moment random posting a full-arsed effort to beef up the frequency of my posts so that I can hopefully meet the application criteria in order to receive a Feast Portland 2014 Blogger Pass.

The past couple of months, my work responsibilities have substantially increased and while this has been incredibly exciting, motivating and fruitful- it has also been exhausting- mentally, physically and every other condition that ends with -ally that you can think of.

Plus the harsh and S.A.D.-activating Portland winter has caused my skin tone to lighten up another two shades- enough that my ethnic ambiguity has cancelled out people guessing that I’m of central/south American lineage. I mostly just get “vaguely Persian looking or Lebanese” these days. Oh well. Winter is tough. Life is tough. Who wants to get some tapas and craft cocktails with me tonight?

I’ve also become slightly malnourished. And by slightly I mean a vitamin D, iron and electrolyte deficiency possibly due to my recent diet of premium fair-trade chocolate samples, Stumptown hairbender, and well…champagne because champagne is ever present in my life.  Oh well, more the reason for me to blog more and get that Feast pass I suppose.

So now that you have read skimmed past my slightly self-deprecating rant; I do indeed have a stunner of a food post prepared for you. Last week, I was sent on my first business trip- and perhaps the most fantastic sort of business trip I could have possibly been sent on: A trip to San Francisco to attend the Winter Fancy Foods Show- essentially a showcase of over 1300 gourmet food brands and distributors  and plenty of delectable samples (amongst networking and work of course).

My Fancy Foods badge
My Fancy Foods badge

San Francisco is one of the nine cities I consider a hometown. I was born there and used to live not far off in Marin County up until starting college in Portland- one of the things I wanted to do in my free time on this short business trip was to reconnect with some friends and dine at a few of the city’s fantastic restaurants. The first night I arrived, my best friend from high school, Marta picked me up from SFO and we headed to Gitane, a delightful eatery in an alley near the Financial District.

Gitane was stunning. The craft cocktails were beautifully constructed albeit not too strong while the food was beautifully executed. The braised lamb stuck out in particular, amazingly succulent.

My second night in San Francisco; after spending seven hours on the floor at Fancy Foods, I met up with my dear friend, Olive for mezcal cocktails at Delarosa and supper at A16 in the Marina District.

The burrata was fantastic; rich, creamy, and simple. A16 is also known for their pizzas, but after walking around all day I wanted nothing more than a beautiful slab of steak and some veggies.

And, my final night in San Francisco, I headed to Bar Agricole with my coworker, Trevor and some friends of our COO. Bar Agricole is a Portland-esque spot in SOMA with a stunning craft cocktail list.

Bar Agricole was on point. I’m not typically a deviled eggs person- but from the approximately 17 times in my life I have had deviled eggs, these were by far the best. I also discovered that night that I am actually NOT allergic to Brussels Sprouts and probably just ate some slightly rancid ones back in college that led me to believe that I was. Exciting. Too bad Brussels Sprouts season is coming to an end. Now I know.


A Lesson and Luck

It’s not even 5pm yet, and I have one hell of a Saturday

A day of lessons and personal limit stretching spanning from getting lost (or rather detoured) driving in the sketchy-as-hell drug dealer and crackhead-laden Tenderloin neighbourhood of San Francisco to…you guessed it, losing my wallet.

Allow me to backtrack…

It all began with a little bit of this:

Don’t even for one second think this is just some average “meeting for coffee” experience. Nuh uh, not any “meeting for coffee” experience can warrant braving the nightmare of driving through the streets of San Francisco (in a sketchy yet slowly gentrifying hipster-infused area nonetheless) and using an entire canister of quarters for an hour of parking…unless it’s Sightglass Coffee, aka the epitome of a hipster coffee bar and roastery which has been garnering a ridiculous amount of press whether in the New York Times or on Natalie’s blog recently

Sightglass is located on 7th Street in the SOMA (South of Market) area of San Francisco, which though seems decently safe is still verrrrrry close to the Tenderloin and the infamous Mission & 6th Street corners.

And with me being a Paranoid Penelope, I spent around two hours on Google Earth this morning trying to find a route to get to Sightglass without having to drive through or near the Tenderloin. In addition, I forewent any blatant designer items, put on a pair of skinny jeans and left my REGULAR wallet at home just to put my credit card, driver’s license, and a relatively small sum of cash in a credit card holder to put in my front jeans-pocket.

Call me ridiculous. Go ahead. But I am absolutely terrified of the idea of ever being purse-snatched/mugged/etc and my life mantra has always been to ‘better be safe than sorry’, and to take all necessary precautions and preparations as preventative measures.

Anyhow, dear Hallie met me at Sightglass, we ordered our drinks; her- a Cappuccino and me a freshly brewed pot of some sort of a full-bodied Kenyan brew tasting of tropical fruits- mango most notably; it truly was perhaps one of the most exquisite, unique, and robust cups of coffee I have ever had

Of course I would have loved to photograph the place for your viewing, but that would be SUCH a faux pas and the non-ironic hipsters (unlike myself) would probably shoot me dazed better-than-thou glances. It’s a large open space though, very warehouse-like with an intense collection of coffee-roasting equipment, a display of enticing baked goods, and you order and pay via ipad…oh and if you enter your phone number they send you a text message asking if you want to start a “tab.”


Apres our java jaunt, we set out for what we do best (besides coffee connoisseur-ing of course) and that would be eating

We headed to the Ferry Plaza at the Embarcadero and parked at some random office centre parking garage nearby and randomly decided to have brunch at Market Bar

We both were craving a satiating plate of grub, and ended up ordering the same thing:

Omelette with forest mushrooms, spring onions, and gruyere along with roasted potatoes and buttered Acme toast.

As usual, I maintained my Clean Plate Club elite status

And quality bread and cheese makes everything all the better. You know, in case you didn’t know that

Market Bar on Urbanspoon

Oh yeah and we had a pretty glorious view of the Farmer’s Market, and this rather pessimistic looking “Cycle Rickshaw” driver:


(Now this is where stuff gets intense)

Hallie and I paid the bill, headed back down a few blocks to the centre we parked, but stopped over at the restroom in the complex we parked in which is when I discovered my wallet was gone. Not in my pocket. Not in my bag. Nope. And we had JUST paid the bill minutes earlier.

*Cue adrenaline*

Let me preface by saying this has NEVER happened to me before, I am a self-proclaimed caution-phile as I am sure you have sensed  and in fact the ONLY reason i had been keeping my wallet in my front pocket was because of my irrational fear of being purse-snatched while dealing with a parking metre or the like.

Alors, Hallie and I lunged in a frantic run retracing our steps from the past few blocks. I felt that unmistakable surge of fight or flight I have always read about in books; an instant jolt of energy to whiz into the streets blind to any semblance of self-consciousness and disregarding the fact that attractive men in the vicinity may be pondering the silliness of our intense running form (actually that’s a lie, it was totally in the back of my mind but I did not care). We headed back to the restaurant…it wasn’t there…

…we raced back to the parking garage. All I could think in my head were hushed expletives, yet still a sense of relief that it only had my credit card, a small sum of cash and a replaceable driver’s license. I found myself almost accepting it’s loss, or perhaps not quite believing it, hoping that whoever found it needed it or had the decency to return it- my only wish in regard to if it was gone was that it would “not be spent on crack,” (as said to Hallie)

Hallie headed back to the restroom to see if I had possibly dropped it en route there again as I walked into the other side of the parking complex to see if I could give my contact information to the Reception in case it were to be found and returned. Sure enough the Receptionist dude stood up, i started to speak and…

He pulled out my credit card holder

Everything was there. Credit card. Driver’s License. Cash. There is a reason that Marc by Marc credit card holder has “Bonne Chance” (Good Luck) emblazoned on it (it also was my money transport device when I studied abroad in India)

I realised today that I have changed for the better, unbeknownst until now. A couple of years ago I would have had a panic attack and bawled until my eyes resembled balsamic-speckled cherry tomatoes. Instead, I kept calm, and even while the wallet was not in my possession I was thinking of solutions, and trying to foster an optimistic look on human nature; and the best part was perhaps that I had accepted it’s loss before finding it- going through the whole cycle.
A Lesson in Disguise?

Everything happens for a reason

Of course that was the main catastrophe of the day so the fact that I had to deal with the aggravation of getting lost in part of the Tenderloin on the way back to Union Square (thanks to the OBNOXIOUS fact that you can’t do any LEFT TURNS ever on Mission or Market Streets); but luck continued to show it’s face in another way:

I was the lucky 50th person at the cellular store so I received a coupon to get any SmartPhone I have unlocked for free.

And why am I getting my Blackberry unlocked? You’ll find out soon. Very soon. It’s the same reason why I had to purchase a new trench coat and a bunch of new Minimalist chic t-shirts recently

Have you ever lost your wallet? How did you react? Did you find it?

What fears or phobias do you have and how do you deal with them?

What is your coping mechanism in times of distress?

Ever got lost driving/walking in a sketchy part of town? Do tell…

Laziza Aziza

Laziza is Arabic for delicious

Aziza is the Michelin-starred Moroccan-Californiafied restaurant opened by Iron Chef winner, Mourad Lahlou

It is also where Marta, Emily, and I went out to celebrate a (two days early) birthday dinner


Aziza is not like most Moroccan restaurants you see in the States. Most typical Moroccan restaurants are elaborately decorated with floor cushions and low tables where multiple courses consisting of Harira (lentil soup), salata (Moroccan salad), Pastilla (chicken in phyllo dough with cinnamon/powdered sugar) and plates of couscous tagines, lamb shanks, and succulent preserved lemon are laid out to be shared (and eaten with the hands of course). There is no subpar belly dancer or rose water rinse to get the scent of harissa out of your fingers

Instead, this is an upscale California-fied restaurant where the dishes are elaborately assembled, looking nothing like your expectations, yet still containing the robust flavours of Moroccan food

A close family friend of ours (from Morocco) knows Mourad Lahlou personally and has been telling us about Aziza for years and the various pinnacles of success this talented chef has reached between Iron Chef, a PBS programme, a book deal, and most recently a Michelin star for 2010 and 2011.

In other words, a perfect choice for a pre-birthday dinner

Parking lot pics: Emily and Marta

 I insisted on us documenting ourselves with some photos despite the lack of aesthetic appeal in this particular Richmond district parking lot

Everything above “Cauliflower” is an appetizer, everything below (and including) is an entree

We decided to start with flatbread and spreads for the table

Grilled flatbreads with smoked eggplant, yoghurt-dill, and piquillo pepper/pine nut spreads

This was absolutely divine- the bread had a fresh chew, yet possessed that charred griddled flavour which perfectly complimented the three delicious spreads

As for main courses:

Emily: Cauliflower (Couscous, almond, castelvetrano, harissa)

This came with an accompanying bowl of couscous (the photo came out blurry so I decided to omit it), it was absolutely stunning- look at that foam, the slivers of almonds and roasted cauliflower. Plus the couscous was fluffy and definitely freshly made- what a lot of people don’t realise is that couscous is NOT a grain, but little rolled balls of semolina, so it is quite an arduous task to make it fresh

Marta: Halibut (Almond, cabbage, padron pepper, tomato)
Look at how ADORABLE those little shriveled padron peppers are! Those are the almonds encrusting the filet, a tomato broth, and the cabbage whipped up into a delicious puree-like substance

Soft and succulent, the way a regal filet of halibut should be

Me: Chicken (Tomato+preserved lemon marmalade, bean, eggplant)
Look at those moist, succulent discs of poulet, and the crunchy "spring roll" tube of Moroccan tomato tapenade.

This dish was phenomenal! The eggplant was in the form of a spread and the array of vegetables were so full of Moroccan tastes and flavours, yet everything was assembled in such an ‘haute couture’ arrangement


After the entrees, our very knowledgeable and friendly waiter brought us the dessert menu, and unfortunately we all feigned fullness and asked for the bill

I was a little confused however when he started bringing more silverware and said to me, “I know you weren’t serious when you said no to dessert.”


Or perhaps the fact that I slipped at the beginning of the meal that this was my birthday dinner

And they brought me a birthday cake! Chocolate ganache, cocoa nib, chicory cream, licorice root ice cream, and date.

 And let me just say this is the dessert I WOULD have chosen anyways!

The ganache was part about birthday week is having a different type of chocolate cake every night

Absolutely amazing…and the third night in a row this week of having a different form of chocolate cake (hey, it’s BIRTHDAY WEEK!)

I was admittedly a bit sceptical about licorice root ice cream since I’m not a fan of licorice taste in my desserts, but it was surprisingly subtle and a perfect compliment to the innovative cake rendition

This is what I call stopping when you're full...even if it's a fingernail-sized morsel of ganache left

But that wasn’t even the conclusion to the meal, this was:

Caramel sea salt chocolates...had a rice krispy-like chewy texture at the bottom
BEST way to conclude a fantastic meal

Verdict: I am obsessed with Aziza, not only is the food OUTSTANDING and worthy of it’s Michelin star, but the service is impeccable and the atmosphere lacking any semblance of being ‘uptight’ (and the restroom has a dressing table/boudoir in it)!

I will most definitely be back!

Aziza on Urbanspoon

Have you ever had Moroccan food?

What’s the most innovative rendition of chocolate cake you’ve ever had?

Last Lunches: A Progression of Sandwiches

Sandwiches, again?

Perhaps just a Sharpie underlining of my prior post point about the infinite sandwich species which have permeated our still slightly culinarily heterogeneous world

You shall see what I mean.

Today marks the first day of the holy month of Ramadan; 29 (or 30) days of fasting from sunrise to sunset- abstaining from any food, drink (yes, including water), sexual activity, smoking, and being mean (or passive-aggressive I assume) to anyone or anything. It is a time of reflection for Muslims, strengthening ties with God, and upping one’s piety quota. Alors, it is the summer time and the days are LONG- very long- here in the  Bay Area the sun rises at 4:50 am and sets after 8:30pm

For a coffee guzzler like my father, that is an extremely taxing and exhausting work day as he rises at 4:30am to have his cream-cheese slathered industrial-sized bagel and Chobani, fills up on his 10-12 cups of Java and starts the day at work  bright and early to return thirteen hours later to a table set with Arabic Mezze prepared by my chef extraordinaire mother

Alors, this weekend my father and I made sure to make the most of the last of lunches- a preferable form of father-daughter bonding

Saturday, we drove to our favourite ethnic grocer, a market on 22nd and Irving in San Francisco to stock up on all the usual Ramadan food staples:

  • 12 bags of freshly baked Caravan whole wheat pita bread
  • Ackawi Cheese for mama (it’s an Arabic cheese)
  • 6 cans of Cortas Hummus
  • 6 cans of Cortas Babghanouj
  • 6 cans of Foul Mudammas
  • Pickled Lebanese Turnips
  • A LOT of parsley, cilantro, aubergines, lemons, and Mexican courgettes
  • Phyllo dough for Sambusak
After the Mezze haul, we stopped for lunch next door at the delicious Sunrise Deli, home of San Francisco’s BEST falafels!
Falafel Sandwich: Pita stuffed with hot falafel patties, lettuce, tomato, tahini, hummus, and pickled turnips/cabbage
Absolutely delightful (yet simple). Sunrise Deli is the one place where I am perfectly alright with forgoing my regular kebabs in lieu of some Palestinian fried chickpea patties. And the pickled cabbage/turnips are pink because they’re pickled in beets and vinegar, and are splendid

Sunrise Deli on Urbanspoon

Then, on Sunday the pops and I got ready bright and early (just kidding…more like at 11:30) in our preppy workout clothes (which was really an old tennis skirt and a Burj Dubai polo tee for me and a beloved pair of Harvard sweatpants for him) and set out to do the Dipsea steps slash walk around the luxurious wilderness that is Mill Valley
Of course, doing so builds up a substantial brunch appetite, hence we headed over to Toast Mill Valley for yet another variety of sandwich sustenance:
Daddy: Nutella banana crepe with whipped cream on the side

Can you believe he’s NEVER had a nutella banana crepe?!

Your daily source of potassium, hazelnuts, and cocoa-fied bliss

Delightful…but being a crepe connoisseur-ess, I still believe that Suzette in Bombay and Pereira Creperie in Portland are superior

Moi: Chicken crepe with a side of boring fruit
Stuffed with grilled chicken, mushrooms, avocado, pepper jack, & sundried tomato pesto

It was tasty, filling, and had a generous amount of avocado; however in terms of the actual crepe, Suzette and C’est Si Bon (at the Portland Farmer’s Market) are far better- perhaps it’s because they use buckwheat crepes
Toast on Urbanspoon

Nevertheless, the weekend was passed in fine company with a three day consecutive “sandwich” extravaganza and now I can get the excitement juices flowing for tonight’s Iftar (Ramadan dinner); oh yes and I’m finally going to introduce my family to kale chips- I know they’re reluctant and don’t believe me when I emphasize how glorious they are, but they are soon to be surprised!

Are you familiar with Ramadan? Ever eaten a Ramadan Iftar before? 

What’s your idea of parental-bonding time? 

Fan of falafel? Fan of crepes? Tell me your favourite crepe-stuffings!

(Wo)man vs Food: He Made Me a Sandwich

Who doesn’t like sandwiches?

Luke, Kaylie, and I were discussing this on Friday afternoon as we sat atop the “Grand Canyon at the top of San Francisco,” (aka Corona Heights in the upper Castro) with a 360 view of the city by the bay as the wind blew our hair and our napkins into a distracting whirlwind

Home ❤ and a gorgeous view, n'est-ce-pas? Thanks for discovering this Luke!

 Of course, we were devouring sandwiches (and not any sandwiches…just wait) as we questioned how anyone could possibly be against the meal rubric made famous by a British Lord several decades/centuries back.

Sandwiches come in a multitude of forms

-A burrito is a type of sandwich and so is pizza

-Stuff something inside pita/lavash/tameiz/focaccia/chapati/ANY type of bread and it’s a sandwich

It can be open-faced, panini’d, rolled, sealed from all sides (Smuckers uncrustables…or even a samosa/sambusak/empanada)

It can be made with biscuits as the “bread” or arguably even lettuce (I’m lookin’ at you protein-style In n Out burgers)

The filling can be ice cream, frosting-like concoctions, or perhaps a sirloin patty or a fried aubergine cutlet…

…It can be hot, cold, lukewarm, toasted, chewy, crunchy, sweet, bitter, salty, umami, cheesy, saucy, vegetarian or vegan, fried, baked, raw, an artery clogger or the healthiest and  most balanced of meals

It can be portable- scavenged anywhere on the go and it can be an explosive mess of aioli-drenched lettuce particles and soggified crust requiring several handfuls of napkins and persistent lavender-soap-hand-washing for the next week to vacate the sandwich scent from the fingertips

You get the point.

So what kind of sandwiches were we eating exactly? Well, first of all, are any of you familiar with the infamous Travel Channel show Man vs Food?

Yup, I thought so. See where I’m going with this?

It was my Norwegian neon-embracing homie Luke’s phenomenal idea to hit up the famous Castro sandwich shop, Ike’s Place to get some saucy San Franciscan sustenance. Ike’s has over 3,500 Yelp reviews (mostly 5 stars), a menu boasting HUNDREDS of sandwich combinations with everything from the $19.91 Kryptonite sando (roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, salami, turkey, bacon, ham, mozzarella sticks, stuffed jalapeno poppers, beer battered onion rings, avocado, pesto, extra pepper jack) to the Vegan [Your Favorite Sesame Street Character] which includes cucumbers, avocado, lettuce, tomato, soy cheese

At Ike’s, you select the type of sandwich you want, choose the bread you want it on (they’re famous for their Dutch Crunch) and each sandwich is slathered with their secret dirty special sauce and if you are so inclined you can toss on some add-ons ranging from innocent cucumbers to jalapeno poppers and fried mozzarella sticks. Then, every sandwich comes with a free bag of fusion chips and a caramel apple lollipop (REMEMBER THOSE?!)

Cool. And there’s no indoor seating and a line that stretches out onto the street. Yup, you know this place is good 🙂

Alors, with hundreds of sandwiches it was a vair vair difficult decision to make, but LUCKILY Luke and I had our eyes on the same two finalists so we decided to get em both and split them. Alors, let me present the glory:

: Halal chicken, honey mustard, avocado, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, on dutch crunch”]

And here is the photo from Ike’s site so you can see the innards a lil more clearly:

Oh mon Dieu this was absolute HEAVEN! First of all, Ike’s gets an A+ for using halal chicken, second whatever they do to that chicken when they toss it on the bread makes it all the more heavenly. Oh and in regard to the avocado, I swear they use an entire one in the sandwich, no skimping there

Apparently, most people only eat half an Ike’s sandwich as a meal…but come on you know my appetite is better than that

Spiffy Tiffy: Halal chicken, pesto, avocado, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, provolone, pepper jack on dutch crunch

And the Ike’s official photo:

Woahhhh Tiffy blew me away indeed, the pesto just added such a complimentary zing to all the other cheesy meaty veggielicious crunch-encasement going on in this sando. Luke and I made the right choice for our two halves for sure!

As for Kaylie, she chose one of the vegetarian sandwiches which also looked like a glory-fest all on it’s own:

Sometimes I'm A Vegetarian: Grilled mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts, pesto, provolone, lettuce, tomato, avocado on whole wheat

 Gotta love the names of the sandwiches here…I think my favourite is the Hot Mamma Huda (halal chicken, ranch, Frank’s hot sauce, provolone)

Post-sandwich demolition, we all got out our caramel apple lollipops (sorry no pic, taking photos with a janky-functioning Blackberry touchscreen while simultaneously having pesto dripping on your hands AND the wind blowing is quite the task) and started going to town on those suckers

Plus I love how LONG those lollies last, I was sucking on mine for the entire drive back to Marin. Nothing screams San Francisco summer like non-ghostriding to Zion I across the Golden Gate with a lollipop stick coming out the corner of your mouth.

I’m definitely coming back to Ike’s though. Definitely.

Ike's Place on Urbanspoon

I was full though, so full that this was my dinner (and i should add it was consumed ten hours later)

As usual though I was an indecisive Ingrid and managed to swirl all ten flavours into that cup (Yellow cake batter, peanut butter, chocolate cordial, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, tart, pomegranate tart, some other tart, and yet some other tart). Dinner of the champions, and yes I know I was just hatin’ on fro yo a few days ago (because ice cream really is better), but I had just consumed an Adam Richman-status sandwich for lunch so aerated low-fat colourful dairy was perfectly suitable at the time.

Have you ever eaten at Ike’s Place?
What’s your favourite type of sandwich? You can be as creative as you want!

Have you ever eaten at a Man vs Food certified restaurant? 

Thoughts: Advanced Notice No Longer Necessary

I am a planner by nature.

It used to be absolutely vital that I have advanced notice regarding what is going on when and where and for how long so that I can enter it into my iCalendar, set the appropriate alarms on my Blackberry, and facilitate my laundry and ironing schedule so that the event-appropriate attire is clean and presentable

I get it from my father, the Scandinavian side of the family

We both might have messy desks full of Financial Times articles we cut out and phone numbers and business cards for our hairstylists and Nordstrom personal shoppers, but among those are eloquently crafted to-do lists. To-do lists featuring everything from a cover letter to write and a flight to reserve to something as mundane as “wash delicates.” My to-do lists tend to feature time assignments, frequently exaggerated amounts of time I allocate per task in order to compound my pride when I beat my estimated time at completing a task.

As children, daddy always allocated Sunday evenings to creating Excel sheets for Nora and I that hung on the fridge listing our daily chores along with their respective time slots. Empty dishwasher on Mondays and Wednesdays, play 30 minutes of guitar after school every day, an hour of basketball in the backyard…you get the picture. Of course, I always whined about it, about how silly it was for a ten year old and a six year old to live each day without much room for spontaneity, but in truth I understood it and have always been a planner myself.

That’s not to say that I am a completely rigid no-fun spontaneity-shunning type A of a person. In fact, my college years (I feel quite ancient and wise talking about college in the past tense) helped me become less reluctant to spontaneity and understand the meaning of impulse. My study abroad to India: Perfect example, there was no plan, I didn’t know where we were going or how long we were going to be there and when the next time I would be able to shower or fill my phone card. While it was painful in the beginning and inevitably resulted in reaching an epic struggle climax of “I want to go home and be comfortable again and have my greek yogurt and coffee at 8am and be able to straighten my hair,” I got past that and started to even delight in the chaos of unpredictability, of trusting that I have the skills to adapt to an unforeseen situation, and to stop expending an exorbitant amount of mental energy stressing out.

Plus, when you’re a college student most of the time people don’t know what they’re doing on Friday night until Friday night- and even if they do, that’s no guarantee- maybe there will be an impromptu Riesling and Brie party (yeah unlikely unless I’m the one putting it on) or it starts raining like the next apocalypse so no one wants to get soaked going downtown.

Lesson in all this: It’s okay to be an organizer, a planner, a punctual early-rising person whose heart melts into an Illy-Scharffen Berger caffe mocha at the degree of efficiency and rule-abiding present in havens such as Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and all the Scandinavian countries. However, it is also healthy to have a “weekend” from all the planning, to be okay with not knowing, with waiting, with “seeing how it goes,” “playing it by ear” when appropriate.

So yeah, about my living situation. All my instincts are yearning to return to Portland despite the lack of career-oriented job opportunities and despite the fact that San Francisco has much more to offer.

We’ll see. I’ll decide next week on my next POA (plan of action).

Until then, I really do have to go wash my delicates and call my hairstylist.

Are you a planner?

Do you embrace spontaneity? Have you always?

If you’ve graduated college did you move back home, bum it somewhere else, or find a job? 

Play the Part: Audrey Hepburn

Friday was an Audrey Hepburn day for me; as in a day in which I channeled the icon-ess of eternal elegance in how she would go about her day if she were still around, aged in her early twenties, and a resident of southern Marin

I sound ridiculous, I am aware.

However, this “channeling” if you will was completely unintentional. It was only towards the onset of the evening as I was fastening a pair of freshwater pearls into my earlobes and spritzing my pulse points with Givenchy L’Interdit in preparation for my classy bevandes & dîner alongside Hallie in downtown Mill Valley (oh look that rhymes!) did I realize that my whereabouts and musings of the day were quite Audrey-esque in nature.

For instance, I spent the afternoon running a few errands with the sister in downtown San Francisco:

There is something joyous and euphoric infused in the ribbons of shopping bags from Tiffany & Co or Chanel- even when neither contains contents meant for you (I was running errands after all…the Chanel containing a major stock-up of the rare and elegant Chanel Gardenia fragrance)

As for the Saks bag…it contains a Christian Dior face wash with iris extract.

I know, I’m thinking the same thing: Qu’est-ce-que le hell, who needs a DIOR face wash?

I fully admit and am cognizant that I fell for one of those “Let me do your make-up for free” sales techniques while I was feeling self-conscious about the state of my skin and was left in that obligatory position of making a purchase, and I thought “what the hell,” since the truth is the last thing I purchased for myself was a Chambray shirt at H&M for $24.90 over three weeks ago…

…I would have purchased the Dior airbrush foundation if it were not $60 and if I were not about to embark on a duty-free shopping filled airport adventure. It’s actually CRAZY how good and subtle it looked and felt when the mademoiselle applied it- I admit I know very little about make-up technique and as a result don’t even wear/own foundation or concealer. Oh well, Nora also got sucked in and paid $30 for some so-called limited edition DiorShow mascara.


En route back to Marin, I suppose I did something a little un-Audrey-esque: Jaunted over to Safeway to pick up the following ingredients: 2 bottles of Sriracha sauce, one large packet of frozen Stouffers Mac n Cheese, two packs of Trident Layers. Once again, the only thing for me was the Trident Layers but that did not stop Mr. Surfer dude buying really cheap hamburger ingredients (think sketchy corn-fed 75/25 ground beef and generic brand white wonder buns) from commenting on my purchases and inquiring on whether I plan on eating the sriracha with the mac n cheese. NONE OF YO BUSINESS. I told him yes though, that is exactly why I am buying an incredibly disproportionate 214 servings of sauce to 2.5 of mac n cheese. (Well I didn’t rant on that long…I pretended to be very immersed in a LinkedIn discussion e-mail on my Blackberry).

ANYHOW, back as Audrey:

Admittedly, donned the same cocktail dress as I did for Nora’s graduation (silver high neckline shift) with a pair of black patent pumps, black pashmina, Burberry tote, Chanel sunglasses, pearls, and yes…Givenchy.

Hallie, who I am sure you remember if you’ve been following this blog long enough is from Petaluma, which is around 25 minutes north of Mill Valley (my town) and drove down to see me in cougar-central for an evening of restaurant hopping.

We FIRST tried to get into the ever popular Bungalow 44 sans reservation (fail), then at Tyler Florence and Sammy Hagar’s new restaurant, El Paseo (which has ridiculously attractive front of house staff and chefs)- but would have had to be wait-listed for that too, so finally just grabbed seats over at Vasco– an upscale and popular Italian haunt.

Hallie, always being tempted by meat and mushroom went with the delectable skirt steak over wild mushroom risotto and balsamic reduction:

After much debate between the countless sumptious-sounding menu items, I decided on the Insalate di Arugula with cannelini beans, shaved fennel, roasted red peppers, pecorino cheese, wood fired chicken, and an olive oil based vinaigrette:

It was amazing. And probably something Audrey may have selected if presented with the same menu. The cannelini beans were creamy and freshly soaked, the pecorino pungent, and the chicken full of tender char and flavor.

Vasco on Urbanspoon

Apres le diner, we headed back to Bungalow 44 for a dose of the authentic Mill Valley experience and some good conversation.

Besides the usual dose of reminiscing about India, Portland, college, discussing career aspirations, and catching up on the past month’s events we had an enjoyable time playing our true roles as posh and ripe young power women promising one another that we would never end up being like the plethora of intoxicated, botoxed “cougars” preying persistently on unsuspecting male patrons trying to watch the Giants game and guzzle their whiskey sours. Oh dear. Something a liberal arts education has given me is an intense need to observe and psycho-analyze various cultural contexts (whether truck stops or Mill Valley restaurant scenes).

Who is one of your favorite classic fashion icons? 

Do you make conversation with people you don’t know or tend to be to yourself?

San Francisco: Andalu

I believe I mentioned in a prior post that when I come home to Marin, I tend to have a much less bustling social life and trendy happy hour schedule. However, considering this time I am only home for a week, I have managed to be busy enough to have to retweet clever diatribes from those I follow via Blackberry and to have to forego my regular “funemployment” schedule from Portland (meaning sleeping as late as I want and then taking five hours to rise/blowdry/exfoliate/outfit-test). Now, it basically means I have to put on one outfit and just hope it isn’t a fail…

…it’s good practice though for my career power-woman paparazzi-escaping future.

Anyhow, last night I managed to meet up with two of the most beautiful women I know, two ladies who I try to ALWAYS make a point of seeing when I hit the Bay (unfortunately the third, Adrienne was not there so I did not get to see her lovely lil visage this time). Bethany, Liz, Adrienne, and I all met by fate two years ago and have managed to keep in touch and get together each time at least two of us are in the vicinity. Bethany is a hot, ridiculously fun, fashionable, and down to earth about-to-be-famous San Francisco lady with a fiery mane of curls and the most gorgeous eyelashes humanely possible. Liz is a sexy stylish Belvedere-bred siren who can crack a wit-infused joke and rant about hipster culture with me like NO OTHER. In other words, I ADORE spending time with these women and LOVE them even more

Last night, Liz and I hit up the Upper Haight in San Francisco to fetch Bethany from her trendy-mama apartment (with a bed to die for) and we headed to a chic tapas jaunt, Andalu in the Mission district (which is a very very much hipster-laden part of SF if I may add) for some small plates and good times:

Rocket, fromage, beet salad with a light, delectable dressing

Ahi Tuna tartare mini tacos with mango salsa: Delicious

Gremolata Fries

Beef Carpaccio with capers, aioli, grana, wild mushroom

Shrimp Pil-Pil with a garlic/red pepper/lemon juice/AMAZING sauce & grilled bread (x3…we each got one)

The food was incredible, I’m a huge fan of tapas/small plates/shared meals- it definitely brings more variety and a non-binding opportunity to try something you normally wouldn’t. ABSOLUTELY coming back to Andalu in the near future.

Andalu on Urbanspoon

It was also such a treat to spend time dishing, laughing, and catching up with these two beautiful ladies who I am so grateful to have in my life.

Do you prefer your own dish/meal or sharing dishes with your dining companions?

Favorite places to eat in San Francisco?