Sunday, September 25, 2005

Building a berm...

Today, Jeff and I finished adding a new succulent bed to our garden. We planted 40 varieties of succulents and over 50 individual plants. The idea was 1. to create some visual interest in front of our compost bins--not to hide them, but to distract from them--and 2. to find a place for all the cool succulents we keep finding. At first, Jeff thought we could get away with a few small planters here and there, but when we started looking at the succulents, we found so many cool varieties that we couldn't decide. Soooooo, we bought one of each :) The results are stunning. And this new bed will also serve as a visual edge to our new back yard terrace. More picture soon on that development, we hope. But first, some pictures of the garden from start to finish.

We started this idea as a place to put some excess dirt as we were moving stuff around the back yard. So, I began a kidney-shaped pile, covered with a weed inhibiting tarp, and topped it with "cactus soil". We planted in this special soil, and then used small pebbles to create a covering. Very nice coloration that compliments the succulents well.

Our supplies (rocks, weed tarp and border) all came from Broodmor Landscape Supply in South San Francisco. The succulents came from Floorcraft Nursery (San Francisco) and Target--yes, Target had a really nice selection of succulents.

Total time to create this new feature? Two weekends.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Things I love to eat...

Lists of restaurant recommendations are always fun. Personally, I usually read them only to find my favorites--somehow it validates me--perhaps a shrink ISN'T such a bad idea. Anyhow, I ran across a list a year or so ago in San Francisco Magazine of the "Top 50 Things To Eat in San Francisco," or something along those lines. This format intrigued me, because as I describe restaurants to people, I usually talk about one or two things that they HAVE TO TRY. So, here's an attempt to capture some of the things I love in the City and elsewhere. I plan to keep coming back and that cheating?

  • Chow and Park Chow--I just love these places. Casual, cheap, relaxing. And yeah, I'm in a rut. I always have either the Hobbes pepperoni pizza or the spaghetti and meatballs. The spicy Thai chicken salad and grilled flattened chicken are also quite yummy.
  • Eric's in Noe Valley--We do takeout from this yummy Chinese restaurant on a regular basis, and the General's chicken, Mongolian beef, and Shanghai chicken are all I eat. I'm obsessed.
  • Sandwich Gourmet--The husband and wife that run this tiny sandwich shop up the hill from the Omni Hotel on California St. make a BLT the way that I like it. It's the only BLT that give's my mom a run for her money.
  • Soup Freaks--I'm not a big lunch eater, but I have found a recent craving for the Freakin' Cheese Burger sandwich at the Soup Freaks on Pine St. in the Financial District. This organic "cheese burger" is freshly thick-sliced beef au jus topped with slices of brie cheese. I usually pair this with a cup of lentil soup. Not nearly the heavy lunch it sounds like.
  • The Bar on Castro--Not quite food, but the frozen cosmos are quite addictive.
  • Also on the drink front, I'm a huge fan of mojitos. Yes, its not novel any longer, but I love them, and I search for good ones. Lime and Home in the Castro do an excellent job on most nights. But to date, the best in the area is La Bodeguita del Medio in Palo Alto (many thanks to my friend Mahesh for THAT addiction).

  • El Torreador in West Portal--Gotta have the chalupitas (little boats).
  • Another benchmark of comfort food for me is a good hamburger. I don't need fancy, I just need flavor. My favorites? Mo's Grill is my favorite so far. But I am never disappointed by the burgers at 21st Amendment, the new De Young museum cafe (honestly, this may become my favorite!), and Sliders. But I must add that if you want to travel, you really should go to Two Bell's Tavern in Seattle for the blue burger (with an order of cheese bread while you wait, right Jeff?).

  • Fuzzio--My two can't-miss dishes are the firecracker pork fusilli and the crispy calamari linguine.
  • Left at Albuquerque--Chain-smain. I love the ribs here. I'm not sure I've ever had better. So sue me.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Entering San Marco...

1 8 piazza 2
Originally uploaded by John Coe.

One of the most amazing passages into San Marco in Venice is from the far end. (Entering along the side that runs along Calle Larga de lÂ’Ascension.) You walk through an archway and the world opens up in front of you. Day or night, San Marco is an experience. The archway, fyi, is also a nice vantage point from which to observe, but not be overwhelmed by, the daytime crowds.

During the day, we enjoyed scooting through quickly and people watching. Tourists from all walks of life crowd into this square...fresh off the train or (worse yet) recentlydisembarkedd from a cruise ship. Still, the open minded people watcher finds enjoyment in the chaos. I get a kick out of watching the various native cultures meld seamlessly. It was comforting to find that the "ugly American" was more of a myth here. All tourists are...tourists. :)

At night, San Marco comes alive again, but with a different vibe. Gone are the train and boat dwellers, and in come the hotel dwellers. People walk and dance. Me...I take pictures. Love it.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Day 1 (or so)...

So I suppose that the real challenge of creating a journal is how to jump right in, given that few of us had the privilege of keyboard in hand when the doctor snipped our umbilical cord. So, here I sit, 37 years and more than a few days past my first meal, in search of a suitable place to begin.

Well, it was sunny today, and I had some amazing tacos for lunch (Mijita in the San Francisco Ferry Building, if you're curious). Not a bad Saturday.

So, I'll just begin with that. Let's see where this takes me :)

Oh, and lastly, the picture above is of Buster, a.k.a. Old Crooked Head. I'm certain he will appear regularly.