Saturday, May 31, 2008

Food for Thought

Gadar Memorial

I had no idea that San Francisco was the center of a freedom movement for Indian Independence starting before the non-violent movement of Gandhi was popularized. There is a very innocuous building at 5 Wood Street in San Francisco simply bearing the name "Gadar Memorial" and written in Hindi as well. In the early 1900's a group of Indian expatriates inspired by freedom and democracy banded together in San Francisco plan to overthrow British rule in India, and thus have true democratic freedom.

Jagat Ram

I learned of this opportunity because Dr. Arya Bhardwaj's great uncle, Jagat Ram, was one of the founding members of the Gadar Party, and was imprisoned for his activities. Many of the original writings and a library are inside this memorial, which can only be visited with special arrangements with the Consulate of India.


The flag of the movement was prominently displayed inside.

Jagat Ram

And there was a color portrait of Jagat Ram in the main hall as well.

Memorial Plaque

And here is the memorial plaque. This location was the main office of the party worldwide and so has significant importance in the modern history of India. I counted myself lucky to be able to visit and hear the history of such brave men.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fresh and inventive


Dad and I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at a restaurant we stumbled upon in the Castro, Tangerine. It is popular in the neighborhood, we had a short wait in the foyer.

Oatmeal with Fruit

Dad wanted some simple Oatmeal. Simple yes, but beautiful and generously portioned with an add of fruit. Dad said every bite was delicious.

Zucchini Latke

The Zucchini Latkes with Smoked Salmon sounded intriguing to me. It was not only interesting, but a pleasure to the palate with its simple dusting of flour and hash brown-like design. It was surrounded by a colorful puree of spinach and the poached egg was topped with Hollandaise sauce. The colorful design was a delight to the eye as well.

Side salad

It was accompanied by a lightly dressed and crisp green salad. This paired perfectly with the low carb latke plate. Tangerine is delightful and well worth a detour to enjoy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Clam Stuffing

Clam Stuffing

Having several cans of clams from that shopping trip where I was duped by the Trojan Bear, I dreamed up another way to use them besides clam chowder. How could I resist Made in USA wild caught clams at $1 a 6.5 oz can (compare with $2.85 for same at Safeway). I'm not in a position where I'm forced to bargain hunt, but the steep rise in prices at the grocery store is like throwing the gauntlet down for a personal challenge to see if I can do better. So my version of clam stuffing is born.

Clam Stuffing

1 6.5 oz can chopped clams
1 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts
1 6 oz. box Stovetop Italian Style Roasted Garlic stuffing mix
1 Tbs. olive oil
mint sprig

Drain clam liquid into 2 cup measuring cup, add water to come to box direction - 1 1/2 cups. Drain water chestnuts and rinse. Put clam/water liquid and olive oil into pot and add drained water chestnuts. Bring to a boil, turn off heat. Add clam meat, stir, add stuffing mix, stir and cover. Leave for 5 minutes. Put into serving dish and add mint sprig for garnish, if desired.

$1.00 clams (Long's special)
$0.68 Roland's water chestnuts (Amazon special)
$1.16 Stove Top Italian Style Roasted Garlic Stuffing Mix (Amazon special)
$0.18 olive oil (Amazon special - organic)
$0 mint spring (from container, volunteers after last year's harvest)
Total: $3.02

Sunday's Marin IJ reported on the extreme difficulties facing the less fortunate in Marin - "Desperate Times for Marin's Needy" with a list of local organizations who need help helping the needy:

- St. Vincent de Paul Society, P.O. Box 150527, San Rafael 94915

- Marin Community Food Bank, 75 Digital Drive, Novato 94949

- Ritter Center, 16 Ritter St., San Rafael 94901

- Community Action Marin, 29 Mary St., San Rafael, 94901

- Novato Human Needs Center, 1907 Novato Blvd., Novato 94947

- Adopt A Family of Marin, 1930 Fourth St., San Rafael 94901

- Salvation Army, 351 Mission Ave., San Rafael 94901

share some of your cash saved, or bargains bought with them if you have a chance.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Coffee to the People!

Coffee to the People

[5/27/2009]Yes, I'm writing this post from Coffee to the People on Masonic in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. My day has gone sideways and life has taken over for me in the most elegant way. I gave up early on and just went with the flow....


I'm surrounded by large posters of Gandhi, Emma Goldman, Nelson Mandela, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Albert Einstein, Frederick Douglass, Cesar Chavez, Chief Joseph and Martin Luther King to read the walls a bit. Why does it not surprise me that I'm also surrounded by Macs with their little white apples glowing all around? It's everything you would expect of a Haight coffee house.

Coffee & Cookie

Yes, even the coffees are unique and Fair Trade. I'm drinking Flower Power, a totally vegan mix of espresso, chai and soy milk. Sipping and writing, I'm reading words of People encouragement - bumper stickers pasted to the wall with such sage advice as:

"Live Simply that all May Simply Live"
"Be the change"
"Well-behaved women rarely make history"
"Support your local revolution" and so on.

I started the day by picking up Dr. Arya who was going to demonstrate an Ayurvedic healing technique, I was going to give him some papers, and finally we were going to meet a colleague for lunch. Long story short, I've been having a completely different, yet quite an enlightening day with him, and have three more of his books (Ayurveda for the Western Mind, Ayurveda: Holistic Technology of Self Healing, and Ayurvedic Panchkarma Simplified). Which I'm now going to start reading before picking him up to meet another friend at the New Delhi Restaurant, in San Francisco also. [Later note - this restaurant was excellent, but too dim to take photos and the flowing conversation didn't make it appropriate.] And of all coincidences, the friend who joined us lives only a few houses away from the Gadar Memorial Building! A place I'd never heard of before today. You never know what bits of history may be just around the corner in San Francisco!

Back to Coffee to the People - it's a cool coffee shop with interesting music - Beatles to World, and great coffee. Oh, and free wireless Internet connection.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Still Open

Corte Madera Cafe

Despite having a car run into the front of the building and breaking the glass, Corte Madera Cafe is still open and serving its great food with charm. Coincidentally, Dad & I had breakfast their just a few days before the unfortunate incident. The above is necessarily the 'before' photo.

Corte Madera Cafe - broken window

I delayed this post a bit until I could go and check out the damage myself. As you can see, the window is boarded up and there was some damage to the side wall.


Management kindly left a note (click on image for larger view), and although closed for Memorial Day (when I stopped by), notes on the windows said it would be open as normal on Tuesday the 27th.


We enjoyed a friendly and leisurely breakfast one weekend morning, and Dad started with a hot cocoa which he thinks are the best here.

Soy Latte

I had a soy latte which was definitely one of the best I've had.

Eggs, Hash browns and sausage

Dad enjoyed the two scrambled eggs with turkey sausage and hash browns. He commented on the green herbs mixed in the hash browns which he thought was a nice way of upping the antioxidants.

Spinach feta & herb scramble

I enjoyed the spinach, tomato, fresh herbs and feta scramble with the home fries that I remembered as perfectly done, and they were perfect again this time. And the home fries had a sweet pepper accent of yellow and red which went very well with my herbish scramble. The Corte Madera Cafe remains highly recommendable.

Previously reviewed:
September 18, 2006

Monday, May 26, 2008

Salmon Salad with Water Chestnuts

Salmon Water Chestnut Salad

I just keep harvesting lettuce! I made Salmon Salad with Water Chestnuts with my deck grown lettuce for this post, and dinner for Dad & I. This post is also for the event started by Kalyn at Kalyn's Ktichen, hosted by Wandering Chopsticks from Southern California this week.

Lettuce Garden

As you can see, even after this big salad, I still have plenty left to harvest. It just keeps growing!

Salmon Water Chestnut Salad - Close Up

Salmon Salad with Water Chestnuts


A variety of organic leaf lettuce to line your salad plate
6 oz. of wild caught Pink Alaskan salmon, skinless, boneless
8 oz can of sliced water chestnuts, sliced and halved
2 tops of green onion, sliced thinly
~2 oz. Annie's Naturals Tuscany Italian Salad Dressing


Mix the last four ingredients together and place in a mound atop artfully arranged lettuce leaves. Serves 2 as a small main dish.

So what about water chestnuts? Are they healthy? Water chestnuts are a good source of potassium and fiber. They are a tonic and have been credited with curing jaundice, and relieving coughs when ground and mixed with water. They are low in sodium, and fat is virtually non-existent. Caloriewise, one cup of water chestnut slices contains about one hundred-thirty calories. Low carb dieters, be careful, water chestnuts are high in carbohydrates.

Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Harborside seafood


One day I enjoyed a walk over to Fish for lunch. It seems that it matters not when I go, there is always a line outside.

Clam Linguine

On that sunny day, I tried clam linguine and discovered that not only were the clams abundant, fresh and delicious, but that the pasta is made on site fresh. It was some of the best fresh pasta I've ever eaten. And the big galvanized bucket for the shells was a off-beat touch that added another touch of fun.

Clam Chowder

A few days later, Dad was in the mood for seafood, so we stopped by in the evening. We each enjoyed a cup of clam chowder.

Fish & Chips

And without a doubt, we enjoyed the Alaskan halibut Fish & Chips we shared.

Sausalito Harbor View

Dad said the harbor reminded him of home (Everett/Seattle, WA) and he enjoyed the changing color as the sun started setting (as did I). Fish is still on top of its game, and highly recommendable.

Previously reviewed:
August 14, 2007
February 10, 2007

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Spring Special Selection

Haru no sakura Bento

Nijiya Market was full of tasty bento boxes this morning! I went to San Francisco to see Dr. Arya who is visiting from India. If you have any interest in seeing a REAL Ayurvedic doctor while he's in town (about one more week), please contact me and I'll put you in touch with him (anna AT annalou DOT com). My pulses have improved a lot since last fall, so no more special herbs, but I have to continue my vegetarian diet. So the above "Special Spring Selection", Spring Cherry Blossom Lunchbox, which was vegetarian, fit the bill for having after my session.

Spring Cherry Blossom Bento

Dad also enjoyed the various vegetable dishes inside that had been flavored with a tasty range of flavors and textures. Dad also had a consultation with Dr. Arya and he is going to follow nearly the diet I've been prescribed, and do some meditation!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Trojan Bear

Little Honey Bear

A too quick look at the bargain shelf had me bringing back a couple of these cute "Little Honey Bears". HA! I didn't notice the word 'blend'. Blend of what? CORN SYRUP and honey, and naturally the corn syrup took first billing in the ingredient list. Not in my tea! I'm supposing it'll do for a pancake topping, barely (pun intended)!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

One year later...

Citrus & Spice

and Citrus & Spice in San Rafael is still doing well! My friend Sachiko was in the mood for Thai, and I thought she'd like this inventive place. She was a little surprised that it was rather refined and stylized compared to most of the Thai places around.

Fresh Spring Rolls

We started with Fresh Spring Rolls which were bursting with lettuce and so fresh tasting.

Eggplant and Scallops

The Eggplant and Scallop dish was my favorite. It had a skinned Asian eggplant artistically placed diagonally on the plate, cut in nearly bite-sized pieces with seared scallops floating on top over the peanut, coconut milk and something unidentifiably tasty. It had beautifully cut and steamed colorful vegetables on one side, and tasty thin green colored noodles on the other.

Crab fried rice

The pyramid shaped Crab Fried Rice was also a hit. We enjoyed a bottle of house chardonnay with our meal as well.

Vegetarian Pad Thai

Still a bit hungry and not ready to go, we added to Vegetarian Pad Thai to our initial order. It was light yet flavorful and we enjoyed it too.

Green Tea Ice Cream

We declined dessert, but we were treated to a scoop of Green Tea Ice Cream topped with chocolate sauce and the most crunchy coconut bits and two spoons. Nice gesture! The evening was a fabulous success on all counts.

Previously reviewed:
May 23, 2007

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dynasty Falls

China Dynasty Restaurant

I was surprised to walk down 4th Street in San Rafael and find that China Dynasty had closed.

China Dynasty - papered up

But it was quite papered up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Did Lemony Snicket write the script for my day?

Champagne Mill Valley

Yesterday was a strange one. But more on that later. In sync with the evening, unfortunately my pre-cinema experience at Champagne in Mill Valley was not stellar. I've had a number of fine experiences here, but it was a bit off last night. Upon leaving, I noticed that the closing hour was 7 p.m., but they advertised breakfast, lunch & dinner. We arrived around 6:30 and it looked a bit ragged with crumbs and empty pastry shelves at first greeting. However since we weren't there for pastry, but a quick bite, it wasn't too noticed.


Dad ordered one of their newish features, a flatbread. L'Italien Flatbread to be exact. It was rather smaller than the photo made it seem, and too cooked around the edges. It was tough to chew for Dad who thought it was going to be a bit thinner and crisper. Not recommendable.

French Onion Soup

I tried a cup of French Onion soup, and was suprised that the broth was flavorless and watery, except that it definitely tasted BURNED. There were even burned bits of something floating around. The bread had no life either. And it took about 25 minutes to deliver this up! There was only one other person in the restaurant who was already served when we arrived. The person serving was quite charming, but at the point we were served it was really too late to have a change and be on time for the movie. Not a happy turn of events, but we'll come back again to see if it is a trend or an anomaly.

Yes, Lemony seemed to have written a series of unfortunate events for our evening with a little dark humor. I thought it a fine idea to have a quick dinner then movie since CineArts theaters have a Monday all day Senior discount for $5.50 and Dad loves the movies. We'd already seen "The Visitor", and were surprised to see that "Fool's Gold" that we intended to see (not rated highly but it looked light and full of adventure) had never played there, and was not playing despite The SF Chronicle listing. The darker "Then She Found Me" was playing, so we saw it. That one hit a little too close to home, and as the universe would have it, the antagonist in that particular time in my life called my cell and left a message while we were watching the movie!

Previously reviewed:
March 22, 2007
July 20, 2005

Monday, May 19, 2008

And how does her garden grow?

First salad from deck plantings

Does urban container gardening get any better than this? Although I picked a few leaves yesterday to supplement a salad I made for an impromptu lunch with friends, this is the first salad entirely from lettuce grown in the pots on my deck! I added a few chopped red mini-peppers, and a slice of Spanish Drunken Goat Cheese (I have to wonder if the goats were drunk, or they added some liqueur in the making of the cheese!). I dressed it with a little balsamic vinegar and wow, I haven't tasted lettuce like this since my mother used to make salads from lettuce in her raised lettuce beds she induced my Dad to build under a section of our carport in Everett (WA). She then could practically raise it year round.

Lettuce and mint

This is what the lettuce garden looked like April 14th, when I asked, Locavore or just loca?

Lettuce May 18, 2008

And here is the snap of it, just before harvesting for the salad!

Hopeful for Harvest

On April 27th I shot this photo of my newly planted tomato plant.

Tomato Plant May 18, 2008

And here's what it looks like now!

And I can't resist entering this post into , hosted this week by Cate at Sweetnicks.

Naturally, my featured herb is lettuce, and look here for "The Health Differences of Different Types of Lettuce". And this article gives some obscure advice about the benefits of lettuce such as: "A mixture of lettuce and spinach juice is said to help the growth of hair if drunk to the extent of a pint or so a day. So much hair loss is caused by your genetic inheritance and not through deficiencies that this information is given for the sake of the desperate." Lettuce is a great source of folic acid, and the fresher the better according to another article. Given my lack of gardening experience, I'm thrilled with how this is turning out. If you ever thought of trying your hand and have hesitated, feel empowered! It's pretty easy and very rewarding!