Thursday, September 18, 2003

I've been going on about all the lovely places, I should also note a few to avoid. One is Taqueria Mi Familia, San Anselmo. Run-down, greasy. Lots of good choices, no need to bother with the bad ones. Another would be Dario's Pizza Restaurant in Sausalito. Very limp pasta with uninspired sauces. Sam's Cafe in Tiberon is mediocre and pricey. You're paying for the view, which is fabulous. Just skip the food, and have a drink!

Today I attended a Board Meeting which was held at a fabulous restaurant, Le Papillion, located in San Jose. The chef went over the top for us. He kept sending in little bites in between our ordered courses. First, he sent out some terrine bites, followed by a delicate toast bite topped with a crab piece. Yet another pre-tizer came out, this time a gorgeous, tiny squash blossom filled with lobster truffle and topped with black caviar. Wow. I then had my first ordered course, the Baby Lettuce Salad, Pears, Toasted Pecans, Feta Cheese and Chambord Vinaigrette. It was so fresh and the pears were just perfectly ripe. It was also surrounded by wonderful slices of melon to frame it. We were then treated to another surprise bite, a tender bite of pork belly topping black chanterelles which had been reduced into a lovely rich mound of flavor. My entree, Herb Crusted Halibut on Saffron Basmati Rice with Dill and Cherry Tomatoes, then arrived and it was perfect as well. The design of oil and herbs around the rim framed this work of art perfectly. The portion was generous. One of the two wines we enjoyed happened to be one of my two personal favorite chardonnays, KISTLER, Dutton Ranch (2000) [the other being the Ridge Monte Bello Chardonnay]. We were again treated to a bite of white cheese, with a bit of marche, plum, and drop of pistacio oil surrounded by a bit of black pepper. Yum. I had no ability to order dessert! But had a little bite of my neighbor's plum covered pudding-like confection. While enjoying a cappuccino, a lovely tray of chocolates and tiny sweets came. Luscious! Lunch from 12:30-3:15 ---- slow European style. No dinner necessary for this girl!

My father's condo in Seattle FINALLY closed and all is settled. To celebrate, he came down last weekend and we shopped until we dropped. Dad will be quite dapper once the alterations are complete! Besides the breakfast place mentioned in the last post, we had a day out in San Francisco and made some finds! Dad requested a walk around Chinatown, so after lunch at the Holding Company with his bankers, we took off up the hill! Dad and I found some fun things at The Wok Shop, a tea chest, loose tea brewer and some sharp flower scissors for $1.50! We stopped for a drink at Enrico's in North Beach, then had dinner just a block down the road at a wonderful Afgani restaurant called Helmand's.

Certainly Paul and I enjoy finding the breakfast spots. Recently, we visited two recommendable places in Mill Valley, The Dipsea Cafe and Cafe Oggi. I also slipped away with my father recently, and found a great breakfast place tucked away in Strawberry Village, the Raintree Cafe.

Have I missed posting some great times since the last post! My niece Erika came with her sister Yurika and the twins for the Labor Day Weekend. I organized an inpromptu party at Papa's Taverna in Petaluma along the river. 16 friends and family showed up and we enjoyed Greek dishes from moussaka to flaming Greek cheese! The kids and adults danced with abandon, and the kids were fascinated by the belly-dancer. Little 2 year old Olivia showed everyone how to dance, while our most senior member, Frank at 91, did some heavy looking on. (His secret is garlic and olive oil - doesn't look a day over 70!) We also found quite a kid-friendly place at the Yankee Pier in Larkspur. They have a small sandbox and picnic tables under a wisteria covered patio.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Had a wonderful Friday off, spent most of it with Paul. Had a late and lazy breakfast at the Lighthouse Cafe in Sausalito. A nice Danish flair with Danish meatballs and curry herring available for breakfast. (No, I didn't try those...) Mario, the window washer, really jazzed up my place, and he informed me that some of the shadowy stuff I couldn't get off myself, well, it's on the inside of the double-pane window, so the actual windows in some places need to be replaced. (ouch!). After assorted errands and shopping, Paul and I thought we'd make an effort to find a *new* restaurant for dinner, but seemed all the *new* ones we picked were closed! So after working up even more of an appetite after about three of these, we went for an old favorite, California Pizza Kitchen. Shared some portabello ravioli which was just right.

Finding renewed energy, we went to see Laura Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, the 2nd time for me. Puts me in touch with that no-holds-barred go get 'em little girl inside. She looks much better in her silver scuba skin than I in my "Scuba Pro" skin, but I feel all the more adventurous in the skin anyway!

Thursday, August 21, 2003

I spent a lovely evening at Frantoio's in Mill Valley with my neighbor Jerrie. The conversation was wonderful, it was good to catch up after a few months out of touch, and the sea bass was remarkable. Frantio's has a Tuscan feel, and is very light and airy with a working olive oil press! The perfect setting for a leisurely meal.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Today was a day of catching up, and fiddling with my home computer that seems to be in a death spiral. I went to Fuzio's for lunch, besides consistently great food - crisp salads, innovative pastas - it is fascinating (to a Human Resources person) to sit at the counter and watch a well-organized staff work happily and with great economy of movement to turn out these dishes pronto! Chatted with a number of buddies, one an experienced sailor who enjoys racing, and found that the sailboat we used on Sunday was not a *daysailer* but a RACING model. No wonder it was so high strung. Every time I mention the Zen sitting I'm doing at Green Gulch on September 6th to friends, I have more people who want to join the sitting. Soon it will be the "Anna's Buddies Sitting" instead of the "Ed Brown Sitting"!

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

After an intense day at the office, I met a new friend, Carolyn, for dinner at the Yankee Pier in Larkspur. Wonderful meal and wonderful conversation. Carolyn teaches private piano and voice lessons in Marin County. The Yankee Pier is great new find, and just over the hill from home. I have to say that blogging feels a bit like a diary... but it's so public! I'm also noticing that there is something great about each day, and I really have a great life.

Noting great restaurants I've experienced in Larkspur, Roxanne's is not to be missed. The food is 100% raw! It's also 100% vegan. I couldn't imagine making a meal out of all raw ingredients, especially one that followed a 'normal' course pattern. Roxanne's is very innovative and the experience is worth every penny. Another old favorite is the Left Bank, a country French restaurant which is delightful. Of particular note is their special Thanksgiving Day menu. Perfect food in portions and scope matching a traditional Thanksgiving Day with a country French twist. Their bar menu is great for an almost-like-Paris sidewalk-cafe Sunday afternoon.

After a great work out at The Sports Club/LA (San Francisco) with Ted, the coolest find in a trainer around, Paul and I tried a Vietnamese Restaurant, Minh's Garden (208 Clement St./3rd Ave., San Francisco). The beef rolls (cold) are an amazing treat - thinish slices of beef in rice paper with mint leaves, mung bean sprouts and rice noodles. The addition of grated carrots to the sweet vinegar/red pepper dipping sauce was excellent as well.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

I am alive. Daniel and I sailed from 10-2 p.m. Yes there were a number of times we almost capsized - the ropes got caught in the pulleys operating the main sail - stuck it so bad I had to untie a knot in the other end of the rope which was TIGHT while being tossed to and fro by big waves, all the while Daniel shouting -- YOU HAVE TO GET THE KNOT UNTIED. Nothing like a little pressure - the threat of being capsized in an unsailable boat halfway between Berkeley and Emeryville marinas! I also can now tie the boat properly to the cleat at the dock, and mastered leaping to the dock with the tie-up line without falling in. In fact, it was Daniel who fell in the water, while hopping from stern to stern to bring the boat to the wench for hauling out of the water. He told me I'd want to fall in the water too before the day was out, but I think that's for another time. My neophrene scuba skin worked quite well for the outing, bearing its round crest on my breast "Scuba Pro" HA! First time I used it, now scuba diving lessons seem rather tame so I'll have to finally schedule the class. Daniel is quite a good sailor, and gives clear instructions, so it's a pleasure crewing and sailing with him.

We took a little tour of the campus before heading on to Cha-am after meeting up with the Krauss family. It was great to catch up with old friends, and I guess the cool find of the day is Gelato Mondo on Shattuck Ave. Wonderful soy based ice cream and sorbets available.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

I thought I was going on for a gentle Sunday sail from Berkeley marina and nearby, but my phone jingled a bit ago from Daniel, who dissuades me from any such notion the night before the sail. I need what? Neophrene?, and I might fall in the water? Can I swim? Footstraps? I've never been in a boat with FOOTSTRAPS before. Suddenly I see myself with sunglasses askew thrashing around in the water as sharks circle. Up comes the 'skin' I bought with the scuba mask and study guides for scuba diving. Never thought I'd be using these for sailing!

Tonight I enjoyed a mini-reunion with friends Gary & Linda in Sonoma at Cafe Andalusia. Now Cafe Andalusia is a cool find! The back patio garden couldn't be lovlier, with the rose garden and sounds of the fountain in the background. The tapas are original and tasty.

If I survive the 'sailing' trip, Daniel & I will meet up with old friends Mark & Denise for dinner at Cha-Am Thai in Berkeley's Gourmet Getto. Cha-Am is also a cool find. The restaurant furnishings are a bit tired, but it serves some of the best Thai food in the entire bay area.


Everyone should have a friend like Daniel who pushes one in new directions. First it was learning to write HTML from scratch. (He laughed at me until I did it!) Now it's on to blogging, we'll see if anyone else finds my 'new things' fun too.

The things I found this morning aren't "fun" in the usual sense. Anyone that knows me well has seen my activist streak. Check out the links on the sidebar for two awesome groups.

The Cost of War site compares the current total cost of the war (as can be seen below on this blog as well) to how much the same money could buy for programs such as Head Start, Health Care for Children, Affordable Housing.

Along a similar vein, o.s. Earth has published some great cost comparison tools as well.

Wow. I got this far. Have to see how this publishes.