Sunday, August 25, 2013

Weekends: About Town

Rob had a big mountain bike race in Mendocino this weekend and I stayed town. My natural hermit tendency left me looking forward to a few quiet days of catching up on work and relaxing. However, there were too many people to see and the weather was far too nice.

(By the way: I'm hiring!  If you know someone great looking for a new gig in media relations, content strategy or video editing in San Francisco - send them my way.)

On Friday, I drove down to Palo Alto to spend some quality time with the little guy.  Jean and Trent were having a BBQ with some friends from their neighborhood.

I slept comfortably in the living room, with their small dog hogging the air mattress. In the morning, we walked to brunch in Menlo Park.  

Drove back to the city, changed and headed to Marin with Nicole for a big hike in the afternoon. It was a gorgeous day on Mt. Tam. 

We hiked down four miles and 1,600 feet to Stinson Beach. Stopped at my favorite beach-side snack stand for ice cream and french fries. 

Nicole and I sat on the beach with the other pale San Franciscans and a surprisingly large contingent of Portuguese tourists. 

The four mile hike back uphill was steep! But the view from the top was so worth it: 

Back at home by 6:00, I planned to do all kinds of chores but I just managed a hot bath and a movie while resting my sore legs. I probably walked close to 10 miles with Marin and Menlo Park combined.

Sunday morning, I had a leisurely breakfast of tea, yogurt and figs in bed with the NY Times. 

It was a warm day, so I sat in bed with the patio doors open while working for a few hours. 

In the afternoon, I went shopping with Nicole for a few hours. I stocked up a complete fall wardrobe with a muted gold leather pencil skirt, olive green jeans, emerald green dress, gray blouse and gray/camel wool coat. 

I went to see Margaret's adorable new apartment in the evening and we walked down the street for manicures.  Rob returned from his weekend away just as it was getting dark. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekends: Boats & Blooms

For the first time in what seems like ages, we stayed in San Francisco for the weekend!  And the weather even complied, bringing our late sunny summer.  The occasion?  Rob's parents came to visit for the weekend from Sanger.  We started out with thai for dinner down the street, followed by It's-Its and work on a massive 1,000 piece puzzle of San Francisco.

The next morning, we followed an oatmeal breakfast with a walk down to the Alamo Square Flea Market. I had low expectations for the market that were completely unfounded. We found so many great items, at great prices - including an antique embroidered tablecloth and owl trivet.

After the flea market, we took the bus down to Marina Green to watch the preliminary race of the America's Cup.  The USA Oracle boats were practicing before the race started. With the new foil design, these ships fly above the water at speeds up to 50 miles per hour.  There was also a cute kids race on the bay.

Unfortunately, a technical issue with the Italian boat made the actual race over in about 30 seconds. Oh well!  We walked around Crissy Field and the Palace of Fine Arts before taking the bus home and taking a rest.  Woodhouse Fish Company for dinner followed by more work on that puzzle.

Sunday morning with the paper and chocolate croissants fresh out of the over (thank you Trader Joe's!). We drove out to the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park. I haven't been a long while and forgot just how pretty the gardens are. This is the Japanese-style moon viewing pond.

Lunch at Pacific Catch by the park. They make a wasabi bowl with tuna, seaweed salad, radish sprouts that is so good.  On the way back to the car, we stopped at a dahlia show. I am so, so glad we did!  The hall was absolutely packed with bright, candy-colored, Seuss-inspired blooms:

I mean, look at this:

And this:

Seriously, I think it would be impossible to frown in that room:

Way to go - Dahlia Society of California! After all those flowers, we drove over to Ocean Beach to walk along the ocean. The fog was still holding strong for the last mile of the coast line but it was pretty warm. Pelicans were diving for sardines along the surfers.

Back at the apartment, we finished that massive puzzle! Rob's parents drove back home in the afternoon. Rob and I had a relaxing dinner using some of the great tomatoes and peaches they brought out from the valley.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Party Recipe: Brazilian(ish) Dinner

We had an impromptu dinner party on Monday night with Rebecca and Derek. They asked to bring Brazilian lemonade - a delicious concoction made of limes and condensed milk - so I threw together a quick menu using summer produce with a Brazilian flair.

We started with a basic green salad with nectarines, pepitas and goat cheese with a lemon vinaigrette.  For our main course: grilled boneless pork chops with a fresh chimichurri sauce and a side of mashed fingerling potatoes. I made my chimichurri with parsley, oregano, cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh garlic, salt and crushed red pepper:

For dessert: we grilled nectarines that had been soaking in brown sugar and lemon juice. Topped the caramelized fruit with honey greek yogurt ice cream.

I love an excuse to break out the silver and candles a weeknight!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Weekends: Happy Birthday Dad!

Continuing our trend of going away every weekend this summer - Rob and I drove down to San Luis Obispo with Jean on Friday night.  My brother Joe and sister Kate were also coming to town to celebrate our Dad's birthday.  This guy is pretty persuasive:
We ate a huge breakfast together with bacon from Kate's farm in Oregon. Walked on the beach at Morro Bay:

And collected so many tiny sand-dollars along the way:

We played lots of Bananagrams and Scattegories in between meals:

Ate a lot of delicious local cherry and apple pie with the birthday boy:

Generally just relaxed and enjoyed each other's company:
The little guy was a bit more difficult on the drive home - but still super cute:

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Weekends: Downieville Downhill

Another weekend, another mountain bike race. This time, Rob and I drove up to the sierras for the Downieville Classic. Downieville was once a town of 5,000 and the bustling center of the gold rush. Now, it's down to a population of 230 and is known as a remote mountain biking destination.  We camped with the team at Wild Plum a few miles up the road Friday night.

On Saturday, Rob joined the race and I explored the town. There's a small museum packed with old mining gear, arrowheads, clothes and other turn of the century memorabilia. Plus, a scale model of the town itself:

Rob finished the race in just over three hours and was absolutely covered in dust at the finish. We had a spaghetti lunch at the fire department and beer from a local brewer.

In the afternoon, we went back to camp and swam in the cold Haypress Creek by our tents.

Massive, gourmet taco dinner provided by the race team at our campsite. Followed by drinks and chatting around the fire until late in the night.

On Sunday, I slept in while everyone ate pancakes and bacon provided by the organizers.  Rob and I packed up and drove back toward San Francisco. We stopped for a late lunch with my brother in Davis on the way back - it's always great to catch up with him!