Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ride Home. Colin and I left Rancho Mirage around 9:30 a.m., and with a couple stops on the way, arrived in Japantown, San Franicsco around 6:30 p.m. Colin requested Japanese flavors for dinner, so I told him that we would walk down a LONG hall of Japanese restaurants, and he could choose any one he liked for dinner. Wouldn't you know it, he picked BENIHANA's. After some teppan-yaki, "San Francisco" style, we were just in time to catch the newly released movie "Superman Returns", which we both enjoyed. We got finally to my place around 11:30 p.m.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Living Desert. After driving all day yesterday to arrive at Erika's new place in Rancho Mirage, I watched Colin & Collette while Erika went to work for the day. After breakfast at Collette's requested place, Ruby's Diner, we set off for The Living Desert. At 113 degrees F, it was a good thing that I picked up the shuttle ride option for the tour. I can't remember ever being in as hot of weather. The animals weren't very active in that heat either, but we did see most of them. We also explored the largest wild animal hospital in north America there, and it was quite interesting. The kids loved it, although the heat sapped them too.

I'm afraid I went back with the kids and collapsed on the sofa with a pounding headache. The heat was just too much. When I finally roused myself or was roused by a couple hungry kids, it was Colin's choice for lunch, and we went to Maki Maki. The food was simply horrid, and hardly Japanese. I had a Japanese chicken salad -- the wilted pieces of lettuce were floating in sesame dressing soup. The 'tempura' chicken on top were more like beer-battered deep fried stuff with big hunks of won tons hanging off. Will pass on ever visiting that one again (and so will Colin!).

Erika came back later with her Chef's Toolbox -- amazing! And better yet, she showed off her culinary skills by making the most tender and well-flavored short ribs.. mmmmmm!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Wolf House. Dad and I met Linda and Miss Olivia at the Wolf House for lunch. Feeling like having lighter fare, we all had sandwiches. Dad's salmon sandwich looked perfectly done, and he enjoyed it. Reports of the burgers from Linda & Miss Olivia gave those good marks. The only misstep was that the chicken in my sandwich was underdone, but the management wisked it off and took care of it with apologies and a perfectly cooked one, so no complaints.

Dad enjoyed his shirt and belt from me, and the lovely hand drawn greetings from Miss Olivia, and is looking forward to the Giradelli chocolates she and Linda gave him.

Father's Day. Celebrating Father's Day at one of Dad's favorite restaurants, Wolf House, in Glen Ellen.

Found a great new Marin/Bay Area food blog, the Daily Feed. It had a nice past review of one of my favorite ethnic spots in San Rafael, Hatam's.

Well, best be off to REI to get Dad that new shirt! Will blog further on the Wolf House experience later!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Fresh tisane. Having recently discovered that this blog is listed on the Marin Food Blogs reference on Becks & Posh (one of only 4), I think that I'd better make a more concerted effort to include more of my 'cool finds', or musings on things food.

I have to admit, sometimes I'm a little lazy in my posting and don't include all of the fun things there are to be noticed or discovered each day. I really can't imagine why people become bored. Those who know me, know I love adventure and discovery -- and what is more accessible than food? One must eat (usually) every day, and good food adventures are not limited to expensive forays. A little imagination and a good eye go far!

Another thing my friends notice is that I have more shelves devoted to tea and tisanes in my pantry than any other category of food! And tisanes, like food, are best freshly prepared out of high quality ingredients! So I've been making my own concoctions rather than taking the dusty little tea bags prepared and sitting! What a nice smell in the kitchen freshly ground whole Jamaican hibsicus flowers or whole leaf dried peppermint make! And that is before steeping the tea! The nice thing about tisanes is that most will hold up to a higher steeping temperature than 'real' tea. And that fragrance wafts about the house as well. I snapped my freshly ground and made hibisucus tea above... now by my side to sip as I complete this posting. The color is even more garnet than the photo shows (the flash bleached out the color in the photo a bit).

Hibiscus has many reports of good health effects (Google "hibicus health" for backup articles). Some of the ones I've found are:

reduces cholesterol and artery fat build up
lowers blood pressure
weight loss
gentle laxitive
abundant vitamin C and antioxidants

These have varying levels of scientific back up, but whatever the documentation - the tea tastes great!

Oh, and by the way, if you are looking for the best buy on whole Jamacian Hibiscus Flowers in Marin -- go to Hatam's on B Street in San Rafael. Whole Spice in San Rafael does have a bit better price judging from its website, but I haven't tried their product yet, so am not sure if the quality matches.

Toran's 7th Birthday Party. Oops. I forgot my camera in the quickly leaving the house to pick up ice on the way... however, imagine a bunch of 7-9 yo Luke Skywalkers, Hans Solos, Darth Vaders and numerous white-clothed Princess Leah's. Interesting - there was much more variety in the choices of male characters. And yes, I went as an alien costumed as a human.

The menu was even more creative than the costumes -- Yoda Soda, Jabba Jiggles, something that looked like dirt with worms in it (chocolate pudding with bright worm gummies and oreo cookies crumbled on top). Light saber duels, pin the saber on Yoda, and Darth Vader pinata were among the games eagerly participated in, while the adults sipped cool drinks in the shade.

Luckily the Star Wars chess set I gave him appeared to be well-received (big hug to Auntie Anna and kisses to the game!).

An eye-opening drink. Having picked a BIG package Ginger/Honey Crystals tea up at 99 Ranch yesterday, I tried a cup for breakfast, and woke up fast! Packs a punch, but is smooth and good. I'm thinking it would be great to add to a POT of regular tea as a taste novelty and sweetner.

Now I have to get in 'costume' for Toran's 7th birthday party in Star Wars theme. I think I'll go as an alien cloaked as a human...

Friday, June 16, 2006

A full day. Up at the crack of dawn, I organized my mission & vision materials as well as organized the Marin Entrepreuneurs Group's minutes and got them posted. (I started the group last month and it's going gangbusters.) Jo-Ann and I planned to go to 99 Ranch and see if Michael was up to a visit after surgery. The market was fun, the live sea urchins were the most interesting, wriggling around their spikes at the fish department. I just can't see myself trying to use those myself!

Michael was up for a visit and we got to meet Karen for the first time at her Oakland apartment. Through the painkiller grogginess, we could tell that the Meiji chocolate and Mango pudding treats we brought were hits.

The Dandy's Brand Lentil Pea Chips were a good find at the market as well, qualifying as a "Cool Find".

Erika called and said she'd taken my message to heart about taking the kids a week each again for Camp Auntie Anna, and already told Colin and Collette, so I couldn't change now! I guess I'll be driving to Rancho Mirage to pick them up at Erika's new home later this month!

I got home just in time to meet Sachiko for our night out -- to Avance for tapas and checking out a singles meet-up, and then on to Mission Impossible III. We enjoyed both - MI3 was particularly action packed and was a very thrilling end to the evening!

Sunday, June 04, 2006


originally uploaded by me!
My week in Yosemite! The photos paint the best picture, but Linda and I packed a lot in our week at the remote cabin at Fish Camp.

We were woken up one morning by a big rockslide that blocked the main entrance to the park -- a friend, Jan, called early to see if we were affected, but since Fish Camp was on the south end of the park, we didn't skip a beat!

We enjoyed lunching at The Forks at Bass Lake, a place having won an award for the best burger in California. Followed by a one-hour boat cruise on the popular and picturesque lake. Manmade and owned by PG & E, the development has been controlled such that the north side of the lake has private development, and the south side is mostly recreation and natural.

All the falls were full and cascading heavily over the cliffs. We enjoyed a hike to lower Yosemite Falls, and a 2-hour valley tram tour covering the highlights of the valley floor.

On Friday we enjoyed Jazz on the Lake at Ducey's on Bass Lake. It was a beautiful night with a BBQ buffet and easy sounding music provided by the Yosemite Jazz Band.