I went to San Francisco over the weekend and had the best time with one of my dear friends. Her birthday is today, so I went for a pre-birthday celebration! It was nice to get away and explore some new surroundings, but I could've done without the 6-hr flight. Here's a recap:
Saturday morning-farmer's market:
Everything was beautiful, the white peaches, the peppers, the flowers (!) and then you look up and there's the gorgeous bay...
These mini-heads of lettuce are labeled "little gems." adorable.
And this was breakfast at the market, fresh salmon lox on sourdough with heirloom tomatoes. Does it get better than this?
We ventured from the market to the beach where we ate lunch, mussels and bloody marys, perfection again.
Then we were off to the deYoung Fine Arts Museum. The exhibits were fascinating, and at the end of it all you can take an elevator to the 9th floor observatory. The views of San Francisco were incredible.
After the museum we went to Japantown to visit a coffee/arts/theatre shop I read about in The New York Times, New People. I ordered a quick cafe au lait, and then realized what all the hype was about...here's my single to-go coffee brewing (in the back, below the glass coffee cups):
Fantastic. You must taste this for yourself if you are ever in Japantown. The coffee beans they use, Blue Bottle Coffee, is my absolute favorite to begin with, and then they sit there and delicately brew my personal cup for 5 minutes. I almost forgot about the Pumpkin Spice Latte, almost.
This morning needs a little bright spot. Here's a picture of my butterfly ring that I mention in this post. I rarely take it off for anything and feel disoriented whenever it's not delicately propped on my ring finger. One day I plan on passing it down to my children or grandchildren as my grandmother did with her jewelry. Jewelry with a story is the most important.
Everything was settling down nicely, I was quietly enjoying pizza with hatch green chiles, a glass of red wine, and some fantastic episodes of Glee. Then, out of nowhere, I was motivated to make these:
They had been on the brain since I read about the perfect recipe at everyday musings. I tried to reason with myself that it was already 10 p.m., but the craving would not subside.
So at roughly 10:30 p.m., with the newly purchased Glee soundtrack on in the background, I found myself stirring this
I wanted to capture the stirring motion, hence the blurred hand.
That there is the caramel topping and the biggest mess I've ever made while cooking. Aside from the obvious stove-top spills, the caramel has spilled into the burner creating quite a smoky atmosphere. But I kept stirring and eventually landed some delicious, and much smoother looking caramel.
But there's more to this catastrophe...
I didn't have the right size brownie pan, so I decided on brownie cupcakes (because I'm not going to the store at 11p.m., in my pajamas, to buy a brownie pan, a little too desperate). So the cupcakes quickly overflowed in my oven, creating this smoky scene
Needless to say, I did not bring these to work to share, but despite there deformity, they taste delicious, particularly delicious paired with coffee, for breakfast.
This weekend I'm taking a mini-vacation to San Francisco! One of my good friends from college lives there and it's her birthday on Monday=girl's weekend in San Fran. Yay! I've been counting down the days since I booked my flight. But, big dilemma. Apparently the weather in San Fran is hard to navigate and so I have no idea what to pack. Comfort, color, and layers is really all I've decided upon.
A few days ago I saw this look at anthropologie and decided to re-create it, which worked out pretty well.
I keep seeing this leopard print everywhere. It always causes a second glance. And isn't that what clothes are for? It's glamorous, but with a hippie flair. And the pattern can add as much or as little drama to an outfit as the day calls for.
At least a scarf is needed for fall.
But maybe a coat?
Because who doesn't need a little more leopard in there life?
"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." ~ Voltaire.
I took pictures! Finally. I have this terrible habit of not taking pictures and then trying to explain what only a picture could portray.
Pizza Night is quickly becoming a staple at our house and the perfect cure for Monday. As soon as I get home from work, I make a batch of dough with bread flour, seasoning, olive oil, yeast and warm water. While it is rising, I go work out to justify the amount of pizza I'm about to devour.
Once the dough is ready, I split it and put one half in the freezer and the other half on a greased pan where it will rise for another 30 min. Then I bake the crust for 8 min, here's the delicious baked crust:
Please don't judge the imperfection, shapes were never really my thing.
While the dough was rising I prepared the pizza sauce. It's simple as pie, or pizza sauce, if you will.
After layering the sauce and the mozzerella cheese, I added a hodge podge of what was in the refrigerator. This came out to a fabulous creation of Italian sausage (which worked out perfectly since the RHNJ were in Italy), sliced onions and feta cheese. There were also three lone jalapeno slices which I added for Mr. Spoiled Rotten (Jeff).
George guarding the pizza/Hoping he gets the first bite:
I almost forgot to take a picture of the finished product, and after all those prep pictures, that would be a tad anti-climactic for my taste. So, I jumped up in the middle of dinner and ran back to the kitchen to snap this shot. While Jeff, asked, "Are you taking pictures of your cooking now?"
It's Friday! Thank goodness. A solid hour of yesterday was spent thinking it was Friday until my favorite radio show "Anything You Ever Wanted to Know" was not on at noon bringing on the realization that it was Thursday (and I'm 85 years old). We were suppose to go to Jeff's lakehouse, but the trip has been pushed back to next weekend. So we're staying in town, and I'm a little bit excited about that. Sometimes it's nice to just slow down, relax, and enjoy. I'm looking forward to eating at our regular spots, catching up on Netflix, and visiting with friends that we don't see often enough. And hopefully perusing a few bookstores
It's a fever. I have it. And apparently Congress has it as well. There was an e-mail in my inbox this morning from a capitol hill newspaper with the subject "Eat, Pray, Lobby" which was a pretty fantastic way to spice up that e-mail.
I have convinced the boy to go see eat, pray, love with me tonight!
I read the book maybe three years ago, and could not put it down. It's hard to not have high expectations for the movie, but I'm trying to prepare myself. Eat, Pray, Love is not for everyone, but the people who connect to it, connect completely and that is a wonderful feat. She is inspiring:
Add the pumpkin pie spice to coffee grounds and brew.
Drink up the warm perfection.
Yesterday, I stumbled upon a great health food store that carries everything my heart could imagine. The spice aisle is what sealed the deal. Rows and rows of freshly bagged bulk spices, at wholesale prices! I showed some restraint and indulged in the spirit of fall with a small bag of pumpkin pie spice. (Pumpkin season is maybe my favorite season.) So last night one of my friends shared the idea of sprinkling the spice over coffee grounds before I brew it. The idea made me giddy. I went straight home, prepared my coffee for the next morning, and set the timer to wake me up with my new pumpkin pie spice coffee! It. was. perfect.
I had a wonderful girl's night yesterday. The four of us ate at one of our favorite sushi spots and stayed at the table well past the time we finished eating, just talking and catching up. It was so refreshing to meet up with them. It's a funny group, because we all have unique aspirations, backgrounds and opinions, but that's what makes it wonderful.
In other news, I have a new twitter account and would love to keep in touch with you all via twitter!
I signed up for twitter last year, and then, in some form of social-media-rebellion, I deleted it.
Now, my boss insists that I return to the social phenomenon, since part of my day job is keeping up with the company's twitter account.
So, new and improved, please find me @aavercher
p.s. If you find yourself in a social-media-rebellion, just don't login or change your password. Don't delete your twitter account, because it will not let you reactivate it and you can't use the same e-mail. (So, I also have a new, worthless, gmail account for the sole purpose of twittering.)
There was a photo in the August Vogue that moved me. The story that accompanied it moved me more. I cannot find the exact picture or artist's name online, but this photo is by the same female photographer, and it is beautiful.
Two quotes I read this morning that are amazing:
“Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a f@*$%load of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes.”
“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off… They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.”
I am a coffee fanatic. It's been perfected to a science, I know exactly how I want it, and it's sometimes a problem.
For example: Cheap diner coffee I drink black with one splenda, but delicious, freshly roasted/grounded coffee I drink with a splash of cream and no sweetner. I can tell when Starbucks let the espresso sit in my cup too long before adding the milk (more bitter) and I only buy coffee beans and grind them at home before I brew a cup.
Told you, problem.
But, I know good coffee and one of my absolute favorite caffeine-induced experiences comes from Blue Bottle Coffee. Beautiful, delicate flavor without all the marketing hype that often overwhelms the coffee experience.
All this to say, I recommend treating yourself to a special cup of coffee courtesy of Blue Bottle Coffee. The closest one to Texas is many states away and so I ordered a bag online last fall, what an extravagant coffee delivery!
Here's a semi-recent article from the New York times: