Friday, January 30, 2009

Until Monday

Off to Tahoe for the weekend...back on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wine and Blogging

What is one to do when one of the three people they know in the city goes to work at 6:45 and still isn't home (it is 7 for the record-and dinner just started for him).  I know I know...this is pretty normal behavior, but when you are unemployed days can seem REALLY long.  Luckily I knew it was coming and planned a day-time activity to keep my time occupied.  

I will give you all one guess...ok, Crissy Field!  Shocker, I know.  Mt. Tam was thrown out as an option (no dogs allowed), I like art, but not enough to go to museums alone, Sausalito, Half Moon Bay-really, alone?!  So, Crissy Field, once again.  For the record, I have done most of the touristy stuff already so I am not missing out on the big attractions :)

I went down there with the intention of relaxing on the grass with Lola and enjoying a book.  Well, I failed.  I ended up calling my friend Jax to catch up and two hours later the book was unopened and Lola was beat (lots of ball playing).  It was so great to catch up and I wouldn't have traded it for the book any day!  Plus, the scenery wasn't too shabby.  I took pictures this time...
View from the parking lot...Lola was excited to head out!
What terrible scenery-do you see why I run here every day?!
Lola playing ball

Last night was very relaxing filled with catching Scott up on Lost...I am determined to get him hooked!  I think I am making progress.  I have also discovered a new enjoyment for cooking.  I always swore I was a bad cook and didn't enjoy it.  I think the fact was that I was tired when I came home from work and the idea of trying something new sounded exhausting so it was the same old stuff day after day.  Lately I have looked forward to preparing dinner every night and I am enjoying finding new recipes to try!  Any suggestions are welcome :).  For the record, last night I made a Southwest Chicken crock pot dish (thanks Bobbi)-mmmmmm.

Monday night I finally got to meet Kevin Berry, Scott's friend from college.  He was up from outside of LA for a conference in the city.  We had a nice time catching up at the house before heading over to Incanto (ok, give me a break, it IS across the street) for some wine.  I had a great flight of wines-definitely the best bang for your buck.  We headed home for a night cap of some Nickel and Nickel and bid adieu to our guest.  It was great meeting Kevin and hearing some fun stories from their college days.  

Other than that, it has been business as usual around here.  Applying for jobs-I have one application out that I am VERY excited about but I will tell you about that if I actually get an interview.  Let's just say their job posting is EXACTLY what I have been doing for the past 4 years.  Fingers crossed!  

OH, I did register for a half marathon in April.  Apparently I have trouble motivating to run if I don't have something to train for.  SO, I will be doing the Golden Gate Headlands Half Marathon.  I have no goal as far as time in this race, just something to motivate me to push myself and my distance on a daily basis.  Should be interesting training in Scotland (March 20-29)!!!  That should be taper time, right?!  Hey, I traveled for three weekends leading up to my half ironman and survived that!  

Well, my wine is calling...and no mom, it isn't a "Ba room ba" but Dad and I are very interested in visiting that region of Italy! 

Stay tuned...  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday Fun

Saturday started out lazy enough but soon got rolling for a jam packed day of San Francisco fun.

After I woke out of my insanely groggy state (Scott is finally getting a true taste of Stephanie in the morning) we decided to head to the bank and do a little, well, banking.  

Then, we headed home, changed, and paid a visit to my favorite place, Crissy Field.  Lola, Scott and I ran up to the bridge and enjoyed the brisk, foggy weather.  

Then it was time to plan dinner with the Strand fam.  It was also a belated 1st birthday celebration for Kayla.  We decided chili would be perfect since you can cook it early and let it simmer until it is time to cooking while socializing-my kind of meal!  

We also made a quick run to 24th for some last minute birthday shopping (sorry Crick, we are definitely last minute shoppers!).  There were lots of great shops for every kind of kid gift you can image!  See my post about all the kids in Noe :)

As you can see we were pretty anxious to have our first dinner guests!!
The kitchen island all set with wine, cheese, olives, and lots of stemware!!
The birthday girl arrived (parents in tow) and we (me) got a little anxious for present opening so away we went!  She got some musical instruments that will be great practice for her music classes she is taking.  
We practiced our walking-SO close!!  

As you can see, the host got fancy in her track suit!  But hey, it's family, right?  I should clarify that for some readers.  Kayla and I are actually related.  We think we are third cousins but need to look into when the "once removed" verbiage comes in to play-Chrissie?  Kayla's dad Kyle and my dad are cousins.  So Kyle and I are second cousins, Chrissie is my second cousin in law (haha).  Of importance, they are also how Scott and I met.  A random chance meeting during dinner in July at their house (Scott is a good friend of theirs).  A story for another blog!  

ANYWAY, the night was a blast and Miss Kayla and the Strand crew were a treat as always!

I'll highlight Sunday-sleep, TV, nap, double sol, sushi, couch and SAG awards.  Pretty much 90% of the day was spent in PJs...just the way a Sunday should be!!

Have a great week!!

Bad Friday

This weekend was what felt like my first real weekend in the city.  Scott and I realized we had one before this, technically, but it was full of unpacking and "to do" lists.  Friday started off terribly!  We had a terrible dinner, terrible wine, and watched a terrible movie.  

To elaborate...we decided to try a new pizza place, Haystack Pizza.  When the pizza arrived, the smell alone could have knocked us down.  Not, "mmmmm that smells good" but more, "huh, that smells different".  Turns out the sauce was super sweet and the rest of the toppings didn't make up for it.  You know it's bad when you are anxious to get to the crust to dip it in the ranch (a fun little treat I discovered thanks to Scott).  

The wine was our own fault.  We chose to open a $7 table wine that pretty much lived up to what it was meant to be.  No real complaints, just added to the evening.

Finally...Pineapple Express.  Awful.  Two thumbs down.  I was unaware (apparently I don't read reviews) that this was a stoner movie.  I spent the entire film rolling my eyes and wondering who could have written this.  A few laugh out loud moments but for the most bueno.  

I will say being snuggled up inside on a dreary evening with Scott and the Lola monster made the entire night great despite all of the "bad" incidents.  

The quest for good neighborhood pizza continues... (Twin Peaks gets an "ok" rating)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

All the best parts of the chicken...

This was the menu item that I selected last night at Incanto.  It was actually, "All the best parts of the chicken risotto".  If you know me, you know that I cannot resist a risotto (unless it has shellfish-no sense dying for a meal).  Scott and I ended up sharing two dishes and the first was VERY good.  Handkerchief pasta with a ragu sauce.  Then the chicken parts came out.  By this point I had a few glasses of champagne and a very yummy glass of Barolo...I wasn't to discerning about exactly what parts of the chicken I was eating.  One kind of looked like a foot and seemed a little too tender and not so meaty but I ate away.  Once I finished I evaluated what was left on the main plate...there it actual chicken liver just looking at me.  There was no mistaking it, it hadn't been cut or diced or sliced...just a nice little red/purple liver sitting on the plate.  Scott decided a bite would be a good idea and as soon as it entered into his mouth he definitely realized it wasn't.  All this got me thinking about the rest of what I had just consumed.  Better not to think about it really-I still get a little queasy.  Let's just say if these were the best parts of the chicken, I will stick with the second tier chicken parts from now on.  

Other than that incident I have a glowing review of my neighborhood restaurant.  We had an incredible cured meat appetizer, Scott thoroughly enjoyed some oysters, the bread was great, wine was great and desert was just right to top off the evening.  Oh and some yummy desert wines.  I would give the service a B but in her defense she seemed to be the only waitress in the restaurant last night.  

I am sure we will be spending many more evenings at Incanto, I will just be sure to stay away from chicken parts and stick with ragu moving forward...or at least ask what exactly those parts are!  

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


First, I wanted to throw up a picture of New Year's Eve.  Don't we look well rested?  I think this was around hour 60 in the car.  Regardless of the fact we only made it to 11 it was a great night.  We said our happy new year's went to sleep, and woke up in 2009. Why do we REALLY need to see the clock strike midnight?  If the rest of the year goes anything like the first two weeks it is going to be an incredible year!!  

Now we can begin the tour of Noe Valley.  My new home!  

This picture was taken from my front steps.  VERY convenient to grab a cup of coffee! And to the PR ladies at Crocs, I now drink coffee.  Granted it is the smallest cup you have ever seen, but when I was sitting there using their internet I figured it was appropriate to buy something (their hot chocolate is not so good).  Still does nothing but I enjoy the warmth in the morning! 
This is next door to my house.  So far my New Year's resolution of not biting my nails is going great!  For the record, this place is really cheap, and for a reason.  Luckily there are about 20 more places within walking distance to try since I will not be returning next door!

Maybe my favorite thing...the market.  This is about a 1 minute walk and has everything you could possibly need in a "damn, I forgot to get _____ at the store" kind of moment.  Nothing is marked up and it is open nice and late in case of an ice cream emergency while watching TV!
Incanto is located across the street from my adorable little house.  It is rated as one of the best Italian restaurants in the city and they are famous for their cured meats.  The chef even battled Mario Batali on Iron Chef.  I have yet to go there but Scott paid a visit and really enjoyed it.  Looking forward to giving you my review!

I was intending to take a walk up to 24th street (about 5 blocks away and full of restaurants, bars, shops, farmer's market, pretty much anything you can dream up) to take some pictures but we had a small snafu at the dog park and decided to come home.  Lola and I strolled to the local "dog run" aka "dog park" and unfortunately there weren't too many dogs around.  It was an interesting change from Boulder where there are always tons of dogs and friendly owners.  The people there were all reading the paper or playing on their iPhones with a "don't talk to me" look on.  Maybe it is better in the evening and I am willing to give it a try again.  I digress...the snafu came in that the two dogs that were interested in playing happened to be two pit bulls who were more than wild.  Lola got trounced and let out a few yelps and we decided we had had enough of the park for the day.  Understandably, one was an awkward little puppy and thought Lola looked like fun but we moved on anyway.

On the way home, we walked by our local church:
This church (St. Paul's) was the where the primary filming for "Sister Act" took place.  

Lola's favorite stop-Noe Valley Pet Co.

Ok, you get the picture...everything is right at my fingertips-restaurants (sushi and plenty of breakfast spots are around the corner as well), market, gym, random trinket stores, you name it.  

The only downfall of city life is when something is not in walking distance it is a HUGE pain to get out and get it.  Although I will say that I get a feeling of accomplishment every time I successfully navigate the city.  Today I managed to go to Dick Blick, Sephora, Crissy Field (had an amazing run in 70 degree weather with a gorgeous view of the GG bridge and Alcatraz-I doubt this will ever get old), Kinko's and the gas station all without getting lost or honked at...I even got to honk at someone...what a city girl!  

As you can tell, I am loving life in the city.  The only thing that would make it better would be to have a Target down the street!  Who knew how important Target is until it isn't convenient...might be good for my wallet though!  

A quick note about Noe-before moving here I was reading up on the area and read that "it is a great neighborhood if you don't mind dodging golden retrievers and strollers".  This could not be more true.  A weekend on 24th really is like a game of don't get tripped by Fido's leash and try not to take out any small children.  So fun to have such a vibrant neighborhood!!  It really is perfect and I couldn't be happier to continue exploring it.

More soon...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Back!!!

Where did I go?  Well, a little bit of everywhere.  A quick summary:
Boulder->St. Louis->Boulder->through CO, UT, NV, and up CA to San Francisco->Twain Harte->San Francisco->Twain Harte->and now I am at home in SF.  All of this in a month.  It has been about 66 hours in the car...

Of course there are explanations behind all of these trips.  It started with my dad and I heading home to St. Louis for Christmas.  We drove so I could bring Lola without having to pay the silly airline prices to fly with her.  Plus, always some good father/daughter time.  A very uneventful trip that ended at my house all decorated in true Eilene fashion beautifully.  It is something I look forward to every year and have never been disappointed.  I will let the rest of the holiday festivities speak for themselves...
The Smith family-Christmas Eve

Dado-don't worry, he's "just tired".  He fell asleep in the living room and my uncle created the sign for him as a bit of a dig at my mom.  As an only child I would occasionally (ok, a lot) get rather crabby and my mom would always say, "oh, she's just tired".  We all know I was just spoiled and not getting my way!  The joke has lived on ever since.

A little family piano playing...Erin, me, and mom.  For the record, I have lost all of my piano playing skills I once possessed.  So much for all those lessons.

Christmas Day-Grandma Koon's

From there, it was time to head off on our cross country (half of it anyway) journey.  We made it to Lee Summit, MO. before the adventures began.  I got a call from my saying that she found an empty container of Decon (mouse poison) in the house.  She wasn't sure whether Lola got into it or not but had taken Belle (our dog in St. Louis) to the vet to be treated.  So began the frantic search for a vet-even though no part of me believed she got into it but better safe than sorry.  A very nice office let us come in on their lunch break and gave Lola a prescription for some vitamin K.  $100 and one hour later, we were on the road again.  

who me?

We finally made it to Boulder in time to crash.  The next day was filled with packing, packing and more packing.  We finished the night off with a trip to Sushi Zanmai for a goodbye to Boulder dinner (I was Walnut Brewery-ied out).  It was a great way to end my time in Boulder.

MOVING DAY!  With everything loaded, we trailered up the car and hit the road...
Day one was brutal.  Lucky for me, I was the co-pilot (aka-assistant) for the trip so I didn't have to actually maneuver this thing through the Rocky Mountains.  If you went above 30 downhill the entire thing began to shake.  It was about 5 hours of white knuckled driving just praying for some flat land.  Enter Utah!!  We decided to take a Southern route to avoid I-80 in the winter and also thought it would be flatter...WRONG.  Utah is insanely mountainous, even through the desert.  So we went 14 hours in the mountains and concluded the most stressful day of driving in St. George, UT.  

Day two was SO much better.  Smooth sailing right into San Francisco.  Well, the driving went smooth anyway.  Unfortunately we received a call with three hours left to go in our drive that Scott's dad had passed away.  I don't really feel like my blog is the place to go into details about this I will say that Bernie was an amazing man and will be missed dearly.  Scott was able to tell his dad everything he wanted before he passed and his dad is definitely in a better place now.  That is the reason for all of the trips to Twain Harte. 

Scott's family has had a cabin in Twain Harte since Scott was 6.  We were able to spend time with Scott's family and laugh and cry and celebrate Bernie's life (as he wanted).  While the circumstances were unfortunate it was truly wonderful to spend that time with the family and get to know them all better.

Scott enjoying his "Scott" wine in Twain Harte

After many rounds of Apples to Apples (if you haven't played this, you NEED to) we headed home and got the house all put together.  Everything is now in its place and it truly is our home.  Pictures to come.  

Well, this has become very long so I am going to sign off.  Next new neighborhood!  I LOVE IT!