Monday, February 27, 2012

February Indulgence

Um... hi?

I've been swimming along in the sea of life and friends and trips and just now pausing to reflect on how wonderful the past few weeks have been. There was Valentine's Day:

For the second year in a row we made the Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken with Bread Salad, and it is hard to foresee us ever departing from this tradition. This is one make-at-home dish that is so sublimely simple and perfectly elegant, that it makes me forget any ideas I ever had of getting dressed up, going out amongst the crowd and spending three times as much on dinner in a restaurant. It's just that good!

For dessert, I made Smitten Kitchen's Pear-Bittersweet Chocolate Cake, a symbolic coming together of my love for fruit and my husband's chocolate preference. This was truly a stellar cake, and it may become a future V-Day tradition as well!

A close friend came to visit next, and there was Muir Woods (below), a coffee house concert, independent bookstore perusal, artsy movies at the local retro movie theater, chocolate pie, Bula Burgers, high tea, and Bollywood. In other words, a perfect three-day weekend.

This past weekend, we joined up with another couple for an evening of soul food in San Francisco...

And live blues music with a band that won 3rd place in the country in a recent competition in Memphis! There's just something about live music...

The next day, we drove to the Legion of Honor, which (intentionally, I think) feels like a miniature Louvre - very French in spirit and style.

The current exhibition focused on the Pre-Raphaelite era and the Cult of Beauty. A whole exhibition dedicated to the worship of beauty? I'm a fan! Here's one of Rossetti's most famous paintings that was on display (and it turns out the model was one several of his mistresses):

Our last stop in the city was at the Bi-Rite Market, which came out with a fantastic cookbook last fall that I own and adore. The author gives more than just recipes for the store's most popular prepared items; he lays out, step by step, how to seek out and "Eat Good Food", as the store's motto goes, from cheese to eggs to meat.

The store itself felt like a specialty food market meets independent bookstore, with hand-written, thoughtful notes on many items explaining the product's origin, flavor, and best use. Who does that? Bi-Rite Market does, and it explains why there was a huge (albeit fast-moving) line in the tiny store.

I headed immediately to the back of the store, where I procured a pint of their Brown Butter Ice Cream, preferring to take it home than stand in line for a scoop at the nearby Creamery. Other ice cream options included honey lavender, salted caramel, and seasonal citrus flavors.

So concluded my series of weekend adventures. Next adventure: Staying at home long enough to plant a spring garden!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Spring is On Its Way

We are enjoying a very warm winter, not to mention dry. I was running around basking in the sun today and noticed that the plants I put in my backyard are starting to attract ladybugs - hooray! Ladybugs are, of course, the superheroes of the garden, devouring many of the unwanted bugs like aphids. I couldn't be more pleased. Other sights that pleased me:

Yay! Blue flowers coming up on this guy. It's going to be gorgeous when it's eventually covered in them!
My rhubarb is coming up! I love its beautiful red and green coloring.

My Meyer lemon seedling is blossoming! It may be a little small to support fruit this year, but I think this is a good sign that it is healthy and growing well in its pot on the patio!

"Do you remember the taste of strawberries?" Yes Samwise, I do, and I hope to be eating these soon!