Thursday, January 27, 2011

Coffee in the city

Waiting for Mijo

Not my usual almond milk latte today inside a not-our-usual cafe in a not-our-usual neighborhood.

A good cup of Mo'z coffee and a freshly squeezed grapefruit juice to keep me company while waiting for Mijo.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wine Bar in the city - Red and White

Red and White Wine Bar
(The Red and White wine bar has a new look and has been renamed Sel et Vin. It is still serving a great variety of wines but with a new look.)

Mijo asked me what's the plan for tonight? That's his usual question on late Friday afternoons, either via text message, phone call or a face to face conversation. I heard myself answering "Nope, no plans for tonight".

We generally go out on Friday after office hours to celebrate the end of a stressful week. We start at home catching up on what happened at work over a glass of red with a light snack of cheese, olives, cured meats and crackers or whatever we have in the fridge or whatever I brought home from the market. And then we either go meet friends at a local hangout for a round of cocktail or a movie and eventually making it to a restaurant for a nice dinner.
"Really, no plans for a Friday night?", I said to myself afterward.
When I was younger, going out on a Friday night used to be a must because of a myth that cool people in the city go out especially on Friday nights. That is no longer the case now that I am older. Sometimes I just want to stay home and spend it with Mijo watching a movie or having a modest home made dinner.
"Come on, let's try something new", was Mijo's response. A few minutes later we were down the street in front of Red and White, our neighborhood wine bar. It opened over a year ago but we haven't been here.
I was relieved to find the wine bar is not at all pretentious. The place gives off an impression of a laid back ambience with a sophisticated feel. The couches placed around coffee tables looked so cozy they are perfect with a group of friends. Since it was just the two of us, we picked to seat by the bar so we can easily talk to the bartender if we have questions about the wine menu. The service was super friendly.
I noticed that they have wine tasting glasses which were very tempting. Because I was just getting over a terrible cold, I didn't want to drink more than a glass so I opted for their Chenin Blanc as an introduction to their California whites. Mijo ordered a glass of Malbec which was so predictable of him. We also ordered some herbed infused olives and some gougeres (pastry filled with gruyere cheese and thyme) which were great food pairings. We loved it here!
I liked that people were coming and going that evening. They most likely were just waiting for tables in nearby popular restaurants like Chenery Park, Le Petit or Gialina? Or maybe they are just like us who live in the neighborhood and wanted to have a glass or two?
Like a good food and wine pairings, Red and White complements the neighborhood of Glen Park. I hope they stay there for awhile. We will definitely be back and try their tasting glasses next time.
(The photo above was taken at Red and White in San Francisco's Glen Park neighborhood. A glass of Chenin Blanc and a plate of gougeres, olives, and dried fruits in the background.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

FFG in the City

Dinahs Kitchen
The scent of butter, dates and toasted nuts fills the air as soon as I unwrap a piece. Dinah's Kitchen's Food for the GODS, or FFG for short, are heavenly! I look forward to receiving a box every year. I received mine shortly after the New Year. Thank you, Dinah!
The box contained ten rectangular pieces. The rich buttery and nutty taste mixed with all that chewy goodness all wrapped up in foil and red cellophane. Did I mention that I could finish them all in one sitting?
My friend Dinah has been baking FFG for several years now and she'd give them away as gifts to her friends and loved ones during special ocassions. I think that makes her friends feel extra special and you are as lucky as I am if your name happens to be in her list.
Though she is in data processing by trade, her hands are blessed with baking skills and a palate for good food. I've been prodding her to bring Dinah's Kitchen to the next level and create a cart version, where Tweeter and Facebook fans could follow her FFG around town. Hint, hint!
I am under the weather this week and been staying at home and working remotely... and sadly I am on my last piece of FFG.
(The photo above is Dinah's Kitchen's FOOD for the GODS)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Happy New Year! in the City

I can't believe that I am back to work tomorrow. It is a bummer that the holidays are over. I waited for a long time, and it came and then it was over fairly quickly. Mijo explained that spending Thanksgiving in Australia maybe the reason why the Holiday season felt so short? He's maybe right.

However short it felt, I did enjoy Christmas. For one thing, I got to see the Nutcracker once again and I discovered that the views from the balcony seats were not as bad as I thought it would be. I've attended the festive Grace Cathedral's Men and Boy's choir caroling tradition which I am including in my Christmas to-do in San Francisco list from now on. I never though I'd enjoy trimming our Christmas tree and found some unique ornaments. I also took so many good pictures of friends and photos of the holiday scenes in the city especially the Christmas trees on street corners. Here are my favorites:

This is the tree in Union Square and is undoubtedly the mother of all trees in the city. Thousands of twinkling LED lights illuminate this giant Shasta fir. where the lighting ceremony happens on Friday after Thankgiving. Locals and tourists alike, dressed in their holiday gear, flock around this tree to have their photos taken. According to the UCSF Beniof f Children's Hospital, this tree has raised almost $900k the past years for the hospital's Compass Care. So it is not only the most festive tree in the city, it is also a good fundraiser. This tree is equally stunning during the day as it is at night.

Ghirardelli Square Tree

This one can be seen around the Ghirardelli Square plaza. I was showing an out of town friend around the Fisherman's Wharf area when I chanced upon this scene.

SF City Hall Holiday Tree by raluistro, on Flickr

We were walking from the Opera house to the train station when I noticed a a bunch of people were congregating in front of the cityhall. That's when I saw this tree. Luckily, I had my handy camera with me.

California St. Tree by raluistro, on Flickr

This one can be seen on California and Kearny Sts. around the A.P. Gianini plaza infront of the former Bank of America building. The tree has a warm orange color that shimmers and can be noticed from within a three block radius.

I saw this angle from Kearny St using my iPhone.

Congo St. Tree by raluistro, on Flickr

This is my modest tree at home. Since I am staying in town for Christmas, I thought getting a real tree would be a great addition inside the house for the holidays. I trimmed this tree using a variety of hand painted ornaments, candy canes, LED lights and greeting cards from friends and loved ones.

Happy New Year everyone.

~ rl