30 September 2009

Flying with little ones?

"Plane? What plane?"

On Friday, our little family is jumping on a plane to Dallas (I have a work thing). Yep, it's Jacky's first plane flight, first interaction with the TSA, first jaunt to Texas, first taste of BBQ (just kidding!), first trip to Hooters (still kidding!).... first everything!

So, in preparation for the 3.5 hours we'll be in the big metal bird in the sky, we've done the logical stuff, like purchased the extra seat for him. We're bringing his familiar pack n play... his familiar food. Favorite books, toys.

Hey parents who've traveled with little ones... any tips? Like "oh, man... why didn't anyone tell me _______ ?!?!" That kind of stuff.

29 September 2009

lunch & art

Today, I ran across the street to grab a salad. Took a shortcut through the Mills Building... and the latest installation of art in the ground floor stopped me in my tracks. I don't knit or crochet, but something about this thread and fiber art really grabs me.

looks like coral or something else under the sea

like more little coral... or suckers

maybe I have scuba on the brain, but this also looks like underwater life. I can just imagine it gently swaying with the currents

beautiful organza bags

I've seen other knitted natural objects... love this one, too

clever :)

28 September 2009

the weekend, pictorially


- Act 1 -
Unpacking the organic delivery bins with my little helper

yeah, I like sweet potatoes... don't you??

Hmmm, tastes a little different...

-Act 2-
Pizza of the week

A mix of healthy and indulgent: chopped spinach, red onion, oven-dried tomatoes, prosciutto, goat cheese. (Dang, I piled it on, huh?! It was goooood.)

-Act 3-
Beautiful dahlias

We had a teensy dinner party... flowers are always in order.

-Act 4-
Fourteen years ago...

...my beautiful, selfless, funny and sweet Mom lost her brief battle with cancer. Although I'm not Jewish, I light a candle every year on the eve of her passing. It's one of the best traditions I know of to remember a loved one.

My mom and me, on "our" first Mother's Day. Hands down, my favorite photo ever.


The best sandwich... from scratch!

The best sandwich in the world--my world at least--is a BLT. Hands down. A really well-made BLT with perfect ingredients is truly a beautiful thing. Salty, crispy, mayo-y... all the best stuff.

So, since the best food is often what you make yourself, could you make a BLT totally from scratch? Like, completely?

Well, a whole bunch of motivated people did, for a challenge issued by Michael Ruhlman, of food-writing fame. They cured their own pork bellies, baked bread, grew lettuce and tomatoes, and whipped up homemade mayo. One guy harvested his own salt. One entry was from a kid. So cool!

Check out Ruhlman's posts on the contest rules and the winners, announced today.

Can't wait till we have a garden again around here. I would totally have a BLT for breakfast.

23 September 2009

Yet another good thing about Portland

Besides being the new-ish home to one of my favorite co-workers (hi, Sarah!), Portland is just a cool city*. Just like the whole SF-Oakland tension thing, another constant around these parts is how everyone in San Francisco has dreams of moving up to Portland. You know, the affordable houses, laid back hipsters, local food culture, all the bicycling, beautiful livable city... blah, blah, blah. :)

So, another thing that puts Portland on my radar is Le Train Bleu. I don't know how I got on their mailing list, but I'm not complaining. Check out these gorgeous, cool dresses... they call them very Hitchcock. I concur.

And, this morning, I made a birthday dinner reservation for next month... at the type of place where you have to call exactly a month in advance if you even dream of getting a table (don't worry, I'll blog about it!). I think a new dress may be in order.

*not that I've ever BEEN to Portland (I think I'm afraid I'll like it too much), but I take all this on good authority.

22 September 2009

the weekend, pictorially


- Act 1 -
The SF Zoo!

Nothing like the San Diego Zoo (not many animals?! but we were forewarned). Still, it was a fun outing with cousins on a mercifully cool day. Jacky just had fun hangin' out and practicing walking.

- Act 2 -
Agave Workshop with Kristen

What a pretty entrance, and a few plant stunners:

So, after hanging out at FGG many of the recent weekends (backyard reconnoissance, not stalking), I finally purchased some plants. Who can turn down a 15% discount?? And, our front steps did need a little perk up. Here are my 3 new Agave friends: (clockwise from top left) Quadricolor, Rasta Man and Colorata:

Awesome bud imprint, dude :)
Yes, I'm a total nerd. Give me a little knowledge and I'm obnoxious.

- Act 3 -
Pizza of the week

Healthy and delicious: mozzarella, tuscan kale (a whole head, parboiled, then squeezed dry), oven-dried tomatoes, fresh cherry tomatoes, rosemary. This was really good... the oven-dried tomatoes responded well to even more oven time: they caramelized and blistered. The kale got all roasty. Probably would've been better with fontina instead, if I had it.

- Act 4 -
Oven-dried more tomatoes


What weekend fun did you have?

18 September 2009

garden inspiration

Back in the days of Domino magazine (RIP... sniff), I was a loyal reader of the Germinatrix blog on that magazine's website. It was funny, well-written, personal and all about cool, modern, water-wise plants.

Sadly, that whole enterprise is no more, but I recently (happily) stumbled upon the post-Domino blog of Ivette Soler (aka The Germinatrix--same one!). She recently posted about her lawn-free front yard. At Chez ST&F, we don't have a front yard, but if we did......

(Also. Check out her recent archive for STUNNING photos of one of her current projects: a beautiful, crumbling, jungle-tickled Mexican hacienda. Really great photos.)

So... What are your garden inspirations?

15 September 2009

Oven-dried tomatoes

OK. Ready? Easy and delicious!
(And, makes a pretty gift in a pinch.)

Take a bunch of Roma-type tomatoes.
Cut them in half, place them cut-side up on a foil- or parchment-lined baking tray.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs (I like Herbs de Provence, the kind with lavender)
Bake low and slow in a 200-degree oven. For hours.
Take a bath. Paint your fingernails. Read a book.
Check on your little lovelies from time to time, enjoying the lovely roasty aroma.
Remove after quite a few hours (I left mine in there for ~4 hours),
until they're all shriveled and the flavors very concentrated.
Store in a jar, steeped in olive oil*, in the fridge.

* * * * *

An eating suggestion:

When Kristen and I were housemates, we would always get a Christmas tree**. While trimming the tree (and playing delightfully corny music), we would munch on the following hors d'oeuvres, which I now always make at the holidays (and any other time I can). I think there was also champagne involved?? Good times.

Kristen's Tree-trimming Snacks
One baguette, sliced thin, brushed with olive oil and toasted
Spread with soft goat cheese
Top with chopped (sun or oven) dried tomatoes

*Remember to use this oil for bread-dipping later!

**Christmas tree?! I think I just did my first holiday post.
(Actually, I can't wait to start baking. Don't tell anyone.)

14 September 2009

the weekend, post script

Since it's still technically the weekend for us, and since Jacky's been dealing with a case of Two More Teeth Soon... we headed up the hill to the fabulous Walter Haas playground, AKA Million-Dollar View Park. Our first visit, and it's beautiful: brand new play structures, updated landscaping, and gorgeous scenery. It would be perfect for a picnic or party. We'll be back.

the weekend, pictorially


- Act 1 -
Friday afternoon: Flora Grubb with Kristen, after a veggie burrito at La Taqueria

Photo is from last time (Kristen and I visit FG almost every time we hang out), but this place never fails to inspire. Bonus are the on-site Ritual cappuccinos and plenty of space to hang out, talk, wander and daydream. (Toby was home with Jacky, so we had lovely "just girls" time.) With their amazing succulents, this place makes me homesick for Southern California. Later this Fall, we will actually be buying some stuff!
(If you haven't been, do! And, try checking out the cool workshops. We're hitting the Agave workshop next Sunday morning.)

- Act 2 -
Thunder and lightning!

Didn't seem to scare Jacky, but woke the big people up. BAM!!! As I snuggled up to Toby and counted the seconds between flashes and rumbles, I was (once again) nostalgic for my Southern California upbringing. We don't get too many house-shaking storms up here.
Image: Friedwater via Flickr

- Act 3 -
Ditch-digging in the backyard

In between the raindrops, we dug a drainage trench up against the house. Sexy, huh?! Kinda something you need on a hill, where all the water wants to run toward the house. Met some neighbors recently who live at the bottom of our hill. I asked them if they had any flooding issues during the rainy seasons (because that's the type of boring stuff homeowners talk about), and they said "Nah, not really -- just a few inches of water in the basement each year. No big deal." Um, yeah. That doesn't work for us. French drain, please.

- Act 4 -
Pizza of the week

Prosciutto with pickled banana peppers.
I know, sounds kind of weird, but it was SO good (but I admit I do like ANYTHING pickled). The salty prosciutto was set off nicely by twangy peppers. Ate half with an herby heirloom tomato salad... the rest for the next day's lunch. Mmmm. Bears repeating.

- Act 5 -
Decor update in Jacky's room

Latest addition to the cutest room in our house: really sweet vintage fabric bunting from madeleinesargent on Etsy... discovered on K.I.D. Collective, via Domestic Reflections. Shown above three prints by Petit Collage.

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