Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Today I give you jellyfish . . .

Thank goodness my friend tricked me into coming to The Academy of Sciences 
with her and her little guy this morning. 

Otherwise I would have missed out on this:

Does this look familiar?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Part 2: Does anyone have a rusty fork I can put in my eye?

There's this really interesting new phenomenon that happens at outdoor festival type things nowadays. I guess it might not be that new. The beer garden. Deceptively named.

Beer Garden spectators at the SF Street Food Fest
"Don't the ani-mals look so sad and lonely?"

I experienced this at the last two outdoor events that I attempted, both of which included either a three mile line to the entrance and/or fighting with 20 year olds with feathers in their hair over where the line starts. And me crying.

I get it. It's a great way to try to keep the youngin's from gettin' their hands on a brewsky, and it keeps the neanderthals separated from the neo sapiens. It's a peace keeper in theory. But what about us aging neo sapiens who want to enjoy our beer and tacos like normal animals, walking down the street or sitting on the lawn at a concert, not trapped in a cage with fist-bumping frats?

If you ask me, it sounds more like a recipe for disaster. All the drunks are pinned in together in a tight little caged lump, instead of neatly dispersed amongst a crowd that comfortingly minimizes their power. It's like diluting your white wine with ice cubes.

You also have to stand in (another!) line to get your i.d. checked for a wristband. The line for this is really long, you can imagine. And then you stand in another very long line to get your beer. And then you just stand in the cage. Drinking your beer and fending off elbows, fringe and high-waisted shorts, not actually experiencing the event. The combination is kind of a deterrent. I didn't drink at either event, which is sad. I like beer.

Another note on crowds and why I shouldn't be allowed in them sometimes:

No kidding. We went to the Railroad Revival Tour a few months back at the Port of Oakland, and I swear to Pete that we walked in a line two miles long just to get to the entrance, all the while fighting off line cutters who stumbled along and just happened to stop in front of us and weasel their way in. Really?! I can see you!

After the third time it happened, I snapped. I got all passive-agressive snooty and started saying things like, "Oh, I'm sorry, we're actually in line. It starts back there," and "Oh, sorry! We're in line! Sorry!" which then progressed to crotchety and growly, "Hey! We're in line here! There's a line here, and we're in it, see?! Were you raised by wolves?!"

Also, not kidding: A group of four not-adolescents actually cut and stayed in front of us. So I snickered from behind them more than loud enough to be heard, inching my way in front of them whenever possible. My foot ahead of their's, them stumbling forward. My elbows inching out, them walking faster. Me giving my best evil eye, them ignoring me. It was an ugly dance. For two miles. And nobody else around us was alarmed, growling or attempting to stake claim on their place in line.I was the only one. I was that one.

Railroad Revival Tour @ The Port of Oakland

I should have known how big the crowd would be by how cool the tickets looked.
Isn't the Port of Oakland pretty?
Photos by my sweetums.

Sometimes the clouds are just right. 

It was a beautiful concert, though. We sat on the lawn with about 20 feet of vacant grass surrounding us because everyone else was in the beer garden. So there's that.

A little Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros for ya.

The End.

Part 1: Street food, hipster heckling and other reasons to brave the crowds...

Just call me chompers.

Ok, so I'm not big on crowds, and sometimes that keeps me from experiencing some of the greatness that surrounds me. I'm not ashamed to admit that I would rather be at home, either perched at my computer or snuggling under a blanket with my knitting and whiskey. I don't know why it's so surprising that I find myself caught off guard and wanting desperately to retreat by the crowds at places like, oh I don't know, outdoor summer concerts, baseball games, Dolores Park on a sunny Saturday or street food festivals in the Mission. Where did all of these people come from?!

We went to the SF Street Food Fest this weekend. We rode our bikes over and got into the free bike parking lot quickly and easily. It's a great cause, and my mind was aflutter with the fresh air, the smell of bbq's and my intense determination to find a pulled pork sandwich and a taco. I mean, this was my dream! Food and drink, on the street, everywhere! I didn't have to stop eating until I wanted to!

We were holding hands and dreaming of puppies, cupcakes and fuzzy socks as we walked to the entrance at 22nd and Folsom. All was right in the world.

Cut to about a billion people packed into a 6 block radius. I was sucked out of my dreamy haze and dropped into an alternate swirling reality. How did all these people hear about my food festival?

SF Street Food Fest

Here's what I ate:
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich & Strawberry Basil Lemonade from Good Foods Catering - Mother F-ing wow. That was the best I've EVER had! It was juicy and had a spice that was so distinct - definitely a cumin/cola something or other. Sadly they only cater, so I'm trying to think of a party to throw asap. 

I don't have a picture of the sandwich because I inhaled it. Also, they ran out of the Pork Belly BLT while I was in line, so that tells you how awesome that must have been.

  • Estrellita's Tamales & Pupusas: One chicken and one spinach tamale, plus one bean & cheese and one pork pupusa.

  • Falafel from Tibi's with the best cilantro saucy stuff at the bottom. Duh-die. And a cookie of some kind from this lady. It was interesting.

They got the food right, for sure. Amazing. So many to choose from, ranging from the regular street trucks you can find on any given day in SF, as well as some of the best restaurants in the city. By far my favorite was the pulled pork and lemonade from Good Foods Catering.

Another great thing, although ridiculously misplaced at times, were the tables that were set up to eat at. There were lots of standing height tables along the sidewalk (where people were trying to get in line), and lots of other pallet tables to sit at along the side streets. We found a table right away, even with that many people, which was great for our friends who came with their toddler. We used it as a central place while one or two of us went on a hunting and gathering expedition, returning with the yumminess.

The crowd part, not so much. My patron feedback to SF Street Food Fest is two-fold: Thank you, that was awesome! And Better Organization Next Time, Please.

There has to be a better way to get that many people flowing in a way that actually works. The food lines were so long and winding, and there was no clear path for the pedestrians. Everybody ended up cutting through hither, thither and grumpily; there was clearly no organization or thought put into how to make the traffic flow between those in line and those walking to the next stand. This part was a real mess, and I didn't really see anybody who represented the fest monitoring safety or flow. It could have been a disaster if anything had gone wrong.

It was overall really awesome, and I'm so glad I live in a city where this is all possible. 


Thursday, August 18, 2011

In case you feel like dancing . . . please do.

Inspired by OhJoy!'s post today, and also my therapist's diagnosis of my revisionist tendencies and most recently {and by far my favorite} my being deep in the throes of a gripping depressive spell, I give you Kevin Bacon.

Sometimes you just gotta dance it out.

This movie and my watching it on a constant rotation in the summer of 7th grade is responsible for me leaving my small town as soon as I could.

But. . . I. Gotta. Dance!

 I was a little dramatic. Sorry, mom.

Paramount Pictures

But seriously. Look at him. I feel better already.

Depression got a spell on you?
{unemployment, boredom, loneliness, no motivation, infertility, confusion, loss of identity, pressure, fatigue, katy perry and/or ke$ha} 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend In Review: Wake up, just do it and all the rest.

I got a hip new app, known in our house as My Instagram Problem.

Just call me the assimilating non-conformist. And enjoy the fruits of my new addiction.

Morning, usually.

House projects commencer!
{i hated the outcome, so this is going to be redone.}

Saw Ted's band at
The Makeout Room

{where topics of convo included rectal thermometers & projectile vomitting, avocado allergists and that curious camera-looking device above the toilet in the bathroom.}

This is what I have to deal with.

{Ginger got a new herringbone collar. 
And also, her eyes look like chocolate chips.}

And then there's this, too.
{can a sister ever get a break?} 

Point & click never disappoints.

Tea, not whiskey. Unfortunately.

Knitters Anonymous.
{i had to rip out all the stitches twice, and i just found that it's still twisted. forging on anyways.}

Sunday dinner at the Schmitchell's

"Knife & Kale, In Stove Light"

Sweet potato, black bean & kale tacos.

What did you do, see, eat?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

EAT Fast Food: Peppercorn Steak w/ Heirloom Tomato & Summer Corn Salad

There's nothing like eating summer when it's summer. 
This is a quick little ditty I whipped up last night in 25 minutes flat. 


For a video tutorial on cooking this 
peppercorn steak with the cuuute 
Ali Wentworth and Jessica Seinfeld, 
Ingredients List:

1 NY Strip Steak (1" thick)
1-2 large heirloom tomatoes
1 ear of corn
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
Handful of arugula
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (substitute basil for you cilantro soap-tasters)
1/2 a lime
1/2 tbsp. black peppercorns, crushed (not ground)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. canola oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Tip: Use a heavy bottom sautee pan to crush your peppercorns. Make sure they're all "popped" or else somebody's gonna lose a tooth.

Total prep & cook time: About 30 minutes  |  Serves 2

  1. Start boiling the ear of corn in salted water. 
  2. Trim the steak of the hard fat, and pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Use the canola oil, crushed peppercorns and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt evenly over both sides of the steak. 
  4. Bring a heavy bottom pan (cast-iron or stainless steel) to heat at med-high. No need to add any extra oil - the steak has all the oil needed. 
  5. Once the pan is hot, put the steak on. This is going to make a crunchy, flavorful crust. It's also going to get a little smoky in the kitchen, so open a window.
  6. For medium-rare, cook about 4-6 minutes on each side, about 125-130 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
  7. While the steak is on the first side, large chop the tomato(es) and cilantro. Put them in a salad bowl and add the arugula and about 3/4 cup black beans. Add as much of any of these ingredients as you like. 
  8. Flip the steak.
  9. Squeeze 1/2 lime over the salad. Add a pinch of salt & pepper. (If you use pure citrus as a salad dressing, you HAVE to salt it in order to marry the flavor. Otherwise it will taste like a lime salad, which I guess isn't such a bad thing.)
  10. Remove the ear of corn and let cool a little.
  11. Check the steak's temperature. Remove and tent with foil when done. 
  12. Cut the corn off the cob and add toss in the salad.

    Divide the salad onto two plates. Cut the steak in about 1/2" slices against the grain and lay over the salad. Drizzle any juices onto the steak.

    Savor the flavor, y'all!!

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    DIY: Easy No-Zipper Pillows

    This is how it usually goes:
    Ooooh! I love this fabric. Well... I'll just get a yard, that's all. Just enough for a pillow, no harm here! Oh, and maybe just a yard of this one, too. And some contrasting fabric, that's all. Just a yard of this, a yard of this one and this one, too. See, it's not that much and out of all of this, we'll have all new pillows.

    Pillows! Pillows for every room in the house new PILLOWS! Pillows Pillows Pillows I love PILLOWS! I'll sew them all!

    Cut to:
    Piles and piles and boxes and closets filled with Just A Yard Of This and Just A Yard Of That. And nary a pillow to be found.

    Wanna know why? I flippin' hate sewing zippers. Hate 'em like the day is long. I know, it's not that hard, but it's literally the only thing that keeps me from sewing all those pillows. I just hate it.

    So, be still my beating heart, I came across this post for envelope-back pillows. Duh! How many times have I seen these and not thought to do it myself!

    I have been staring at my cute Pink Pig fabric for about a year, it taunting me day by day by day. 

    Soooooome Pig!! It would say. 

    Finally yesterday I took care of business and made my Pink Pig Pillow.


    Sewing 101: Envelope Back Pillows

    You'll Need:

    Pillow form - I used a 21" pillow, so the measurements below are based on that.
    Measuring tape or large ruler
    Straight edge - you can use the large ruler or anything else that has a straight edge.
    Rotary cutter or scissors
    Fabric pencil
    Sewing machine & thread
    3 Pieces of fabric cut to the measurements below - you can use a contrasting fabric on the back.
            *Note: If you have a closet full of fabric, ahem, you can dig around and piece together scraps that are the
             measurements needed. No need to buy more.
            **Second Note: Use any old fabric you have that measures up - t-shirts, old curtains, throws, skirts, etc.

    1. Measure and cut 3 pieces of fabric based on the size of your pillow. Use contrasting fabric on the back pieces if you want. You can also "railroad" the same fabric to make contrast if you don't have two fabrics. Simply turn the fabric sideways and cut your back pieces across the pattern. That's what I did.
            For my 21" Pillow:
                - Front piece = 22" x 22"
                - One back piece = 11.5" x 22"
                - Second back piece = 14.5" x 22"

    2. Back pieces:  Press a hem 1/2" on one edge of each piece, then fold and press another 1/2".

    Pin the hems.

    3.  Sew the pinned hems.

    4.  Overlap the two back pieces about 2", making sure that the total width equals 22" once overlapped.

    5.  Pin & sew the overlap.

    6.  Lay the front and back pieces on top of each other with the patterns facing each other.

    7.  Pin the pieces and sew around all four sides with at least a 1/2" hem, double locking the corners. You can do a 1" hem or more if you want the pillow to be tighter.

    8. Trim the corners and turn it right side in. Use a chopstick or bone folder to poke out the corners.

    9.  Put a pillow in it!

    10.  Take pictures and stare at it for at least 7 minutes.

    Sooooooooome Pig!!