Tuesday, May 21, 2013

your own company

sometimes the best company is your own company. when i was a young twenty-something and a server at a restaurant i used to see people come in to have a meal by themselves. initially i thought it was sad and assumed they didn't have anybody else to hang out with. but as i matured, i realized that sometimes people prefer to sit by themselves and have some time without others. upon this epiphany (at about 22 years old) i decided to spend a day doing things that people would typically do with others and experience them solo. i remember going to get a bowl of ramen at Katana Ya and then watching a chick flick at the theater. in both cases i first felt like people saw and took note that i was by myself, then wondered if they thought the same things i did about the solo diners i had encountered. but after ten minutes, i decided that i didn't really care. it didn't really matter what they thought. plus, i was having a good time eating the food i wanted to eat as well as watching a stupid movie i'm sure nobody else wanted to see. it was nice to not have to coordinate with others about when, where, who and what we were going to do. also, it was quite liberating.

since then, i often do things by myself. i think it's important to spend time alone to take a moment and just relax. do the things only you want to do. have no conversations. take time to just be. so yesterday i decided i needed a spa day in Sonoma. i threw in a couple of restaurants i wanted to check out as always! and on my way back i stopped to take some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge at the Marin Headlands because there are never enough pictures of that gorgeous structure. 

The Fremont Diner is a great place to grab what you might stereotypically think of as 'grub.' it's just hearty, homey kind of  food. i hear their milkshakes are really good but i went for breakfast and decided that ice cream at 8am probably wasn't the best call. but don't think it didn't cross my mind.

sausage biscuit. i added a fried egg because if you're going to eat shittily, do it the best way possible. take note at that crisped cheese. that's the good stuff! also,  a single ricotta pancake. 

after breakfast i went to the Spa Terra at the The Meritage Resort. i haven't had too many 'spa' experiences. my massages usually consist of a small asian lady and a table covered with a blanket you'd find at the flea market (don't knock it till you've tried it! no frills, but gets the job done). though i'm fairly inexperienced in pampering, i'm going to have to say that i think Spa Terra is probably one of the better spa spots in Wine Country. if you get a treatment done (whether it be facial, massage, etc) you can use their facilities for the whole day. they've got a large steam room, jacuzzi, nice 'serenity' room for relaxing, and you can use the hotel pool which has cabanas and food/drink service. my experience at Spa Terra was spectacular. super peaceful and relaxing. very cleanly and equipped with anything you might need. i can't wait to go back and make use of the pool. next time i'll spend a whole day there.

entrance. to the right, wine tasting. to the left, the spa.

serenity room. i spent an hour relaxing here.

rehydration station. they also had trail mix and apples.

with a bun in my hair, i felt like i looked monk-ish. 

this notebook was in the serenity room for people to write about their experience or any positive message.

this was mine....

lunch at Boon Fly Cafe. Kobe beef burger with blue cheese and bacon. good stuff! 

fresh fried donuts with chocolate dipping sauce. yummmm! just the right amount of chew. 

aaahh this city. 

everybody always takes pictures of the bridge but how about these rock formations along the headlands, hmmm? they're pretty awesome looking too, y'know! 

such a sight!


the iphone/instagram version

Monday, May 13, 2013

recent happenings

after too many years spent not hanging out with the old carpool crew, we all finally got together! for two years through x-ray school, Jeff, Tony, Adrian and i all hung out in compact cars driving to and from Richmond to KPSAHS. each week one of us took the driving responsibility. for two years every single day at least one of them was late and i will never let them live it down. when it was my week to drive i threatened to leave them if they were late, and one time i actually left Tony behind. i can't remember, but i'll bet he just gave up and didn't go to class that day. sounds about right. ironically, this night that we met up, i (for once) was the one who was late. over time these guys became my older brothers. fairly younger than them, i was like the naive, green girl in the car who didn't know movies, music and presidents that they referred to. when you spend hourrrrrs in cramped quarters with three guys, you really get to know each other. i've also gotten to know their wives who are all awesome! it's too bad that we all don't hang out more often, but it was just like old times with these guys.

a bunch of us did the Rave Run (more like the Rave Stroll) in San Jose this past weekend. it sounded like a really fun idea but unfortunately it didn't live up to the hype. the ground was really gravelly and dusty and there were so many effing people that all you could do was walk. it turned out to be pretty uneventful but we still had a decent time overall i suppose. 


you guys! check out Off The Grid Picnic in the Presidio. it's sort of like Off The Grid except half of the vendors on the lawn are that of the farmers market variety and the other half are of local restaurants serving up delicious eats. also there are guys walking around with wagons that bring mimosa kits, beers and wines to you as a "blanket service." it's dog/kid friendly so bring the whole family! it's a great way to spend a day hanging out with people you like, taking your time to just hang out and try a bunch of good food. i personally enjoyed the oxtail over grits from Streatery and the poutine from Fins on the Hoof. favorites like The Creme Brulee Cart and El Porteno are also there. it's waiting there for you every Sunday through October so make sure to check it out at least once! a tip: get there after 1pm when the sun begins to break away the San Francisco clouds. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

eggplant lasagna

so with intentions to eat healthier, i've decided that i'm going to swap out a lot of carbs whenever possible. craving Italian food, lasagna seemed appealing. i swapped the noodles for eggplant and the meat for mushrooms. i also used lowfat mozzarella and low fat ricotta. i'm aware that bottled pasta sauce has lots of sugar and blah blah blah but nobody said i was doing this super hardcore. little changes here and there add up so for now i'm okay with bottled sauce. plus, it's delicious.

there's no real specific recipe for this...

to get the bitterness out of eggplant, slice and sprinkle with salt on both sides. let it rest for half an hour or so to draw out moisture. rinse before cooking. who knew? i never knew you were supposed to do this. apparently it also helps during the cooking process with softening. i've cooked eggplant a few times where it didn't quite cook through the way i've known eggplant to be when cooked. voila! it works!

mushrooms cooked with rosemary, basil and red pepper flakes for some heat

eggplant cooked in a skillet with just a bit of oil

the layering process. sauce, eggplant, mushrooms, ricotta, repeat. then topped with a hearty amount of low fat mozzarella. 

also topped it off with some parmesan before baking it at 350 degrees F until cheese melted and browned and the sauce bubbling.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

he who knows me well...

...knows that i don't like flowers because i am then forced to clean a vase. and (in the voice of Sweet Brown) ain't nobody got time for that! i'm not huge on jewelry either. pretty much all i ever wear is the necklace that stays on me 24 hours a day. as i've said before, it's the little things that get me. because it's the little things that let you know that someone is really paying attention to who you are and the things you place value on. for some people it is the jewelry or the flowers. but for me, those specific things are lame and generic. for me, keeping our plans our plans is important. or coming with me to family dinner without hesitation. or actually caring how my day is...every day. or it could be sending me a giant box of my favorite popcorn while you're away in Beijing because you know i love it. and you know my roommate also loves it. so rather than fighting for the last bag of popcorn, you've supplied us with more than an ample amount (though the box says 79 servings, which in our reality is really 28 servings). so thanks so much for knowing me. like actually knowing me. =)

Monday, May 6, 2013

tuna with olives and fried capers

such an ugly looking dish...but pretty tasty!

first, know that i typically don't like canned tuna. there has never been a moment in my life in which i craved canned tuna in any way, shape or form. tuna melts, tuna casseroles and tuna nicoise salads simply remind me of cat food and i instantly reject the notion that it could even potentially be food for humans. so why in the world would i ever make a dish where the star of the show was hideously smelly canned fish? wellllll i recently saw a recipe in a magazine for "brown rice pasta with tuna, olives, fried capers." i initially thought that the recipe might call for chunks of tuna that you cook. aaaand...kalamata olives, love. fried capers, love. also, the recipe is Gwyneth Paltrow's and i wanted to see if her recipes were any good. when i found out it was canned tuna, i was a little discouraged but decided to give it a shot anyhow. turns out, it's pretty damn good! the anchovies, capers, olives and lemon really do a great job of masking the fishiness that usually accompanies canned tuna. it satisfies the need for salty savoriness with the right sour note from the capers and lemon while bringing just enough heat.

*the original recipe is meant to be served with brown rice pasta but in my attempt to avoid excess carbs in my diet, i served with alongside some sauteed kale.

not a whole lot of ingredients = my kind of cooking

fried capers! if you like capers, these are like crack! if it weren't weird, i would eat them all day long as a never ending snack! "granola bars? ppssshhh...fried capers please!"--see how weird that is? it would never be accepted as social norm.

brown rice pasta with tuna, olives, fried capers

-8 oz brown rice pasta
-1/3 c olive oil
-1/2 c capers, rinsed and dried
-12 canned anchovy fillets
-8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-16 oz. canned tuna, drained
-1/4 c Kalamata olives, halved
-juice from 1 lemon

1. cook pasta as directed on package. drain, and set aside.
2. in a skillet, over high heat, heat oil
3. stir in capers and cook until crispy (this happens very quickly!)
4. with a slotted spoon, remove capers and set aside
5. allow the same oil you cooked the capers in to cool some, then add anchovies, garlic and pepper flakes
6. cook, stirring, until anchovies dissolve and garlic browns
7. stir in tuna and olives, making sure to break up tuna 
8. add lemon juice and cook until tuna has warmed through
9. in bowls or plates, pile first pasta, then tuna mixture and sprinkle with capers

Friday, May 3, 2013

chronicles of a chunk: part VII

good god, people! i've been eating like a madwoman. if you could see all of the deliciousness i've consumed over the past year or so, you'd probably picture me as big as Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (but please don't actually picture me like that because it'll make me sad. ha!). you can probably see a lot of it via Instagram. it's truly ridiculous. after having scoped his dad's Instagram feed, my boss' son has said "dad, who's 'always_awesome'? that person must be fat because all they ever post is pictures of food." aaaaand i can't say that he's wrong. for nearly a solid year i've paid little attention to health foods and have eaten anything and everything i've felt like. like, it's to the point where i don't even have cravings anymore. i eat so much yumminess that i rarely really feel like a specific food because i've probably eaten it in recent time. i've been indulging often and working out far less than my intentions, which have lead to more love in my handles. while i like to share love, i could do with less. so i'm pretty fed up with myself at this point and would prefer to feel better in the clothes i wear.

it's been fun, but it's time to buckle down. i've got a wedding in Hawaii to attend as well as a wedding i'm partaking in as bridesmaid in the fall. this means it's get fit time. this means no more porchetta sandwiches from Roli Roti or extravagant five-course meals. if you see me walkin' 'round town with a giant sub sandwich in hand or a macaron, i give you full permission to slap it out of my grasp and onto the ground. and after that, if it looks as if i'm reaching down towards the dirt covered germified grub, you can push me down in the same fashion as you might tip a cow. in fact i not only give you permission, i welcome it and it might provide for a funny story if anybody actually follows through.

with that said, maybe you'll see more cooking from me rather than restaurant posts. they will likely err on the healthier side as i (hopefully) whittle away.