Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Big Eat SF List

7x7 Magazine's The Big Eat SF: 100 Things to Try Before You Die. I've only had one thing on this list: Memphis Minnie's beef brisket, which is delicious. I'll need to create a map of just these places, because I have no idea where they all are.

This will be much more palatable list to tackle than the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels.

mount morning bun
Originally uploaded by tor tor tor

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

oh, dear lord

A Japanese Louis Armstrong.

bread-making, round 3

So, after 2 failed attempts to make bread loaves, I said "suck it, loaf pan" and went for a boule recipe instead.

I got the recipe from The Bread Bible. Initially, I had been really frustrated with this book. It felt super exact, like if I was off by .25 g of yeast, the whole bread loaf would cave in on itself upon baking. She calls for creating a steam bath within the oven with ice cubes and a baking sheet. And there is an ENTIRE CHAPTER ON SOURDOUGH.

With the first two bread loaves that I made (recipes also from this book), rising was the biggest issue. I had used active dry yeast (which is what I had), but the book mostly calls for instant yeast in all the recipes. I finally grabbed some Fleischmann's Rapid Rise yesterday, and braced myself for a day of kneading and rising.

I'm strategically hiding the slightly burned surface in the photo. Underneath is awesomely light brown (and unburned). The good news is that rising was not an issue; the bread expanded as expected, and within the time frame allowed in the recipe. Hooray, boule!

visitor in FX on Saturday, January 24

First day of First Exposures was this Saturday. No N (she had a church function), but I got to work with F which was really great. She's grown so much since I first met her 5 years ago...

Franky discussing her 'zine

That's the thing with this program; it's easy enough to say "I watched these kids grow up," but it's a very different thing when you are actually present for it. It seems to go by so slow, so slow, and then all of sudden your student, who was 12 when you first met, is soon-to-be 18-years-old, graduated from high school, and about to embark on her life. And in the meantime, creating spectacular photographs. We're documenting - and giving them the tools to document - their growth.

(B. Castro, United in Nima exhibition)

As always, there were unexpected surprises in the form of surprise visitors:

Labradoodle visitor
Labradoodle visitor

spirit catches you session

My big event planning responsibilities are now over until next winter.

Every year, we require the medical students to read The Spirit Catches You, and You Fall Down, and write an essay about some of the themes that come up in the book. These usually involve the clear breakdown in cross-cultural understanding, and how these breakdowns lead to negative health outcomes.

In addition to this, Neil Ernst and Peggy Philp, the central pediatricians in the book, come down from Oregon to talk with the class about their experiences at the time and now. It's a fantastic example of self-reflective practice; they are incredibly honest about their role, and always manage to communicate a nuanced view of the practice of medicine. Afterwards, we have a small reception where the students get to talk with them further.

Each time they talk to the students, it gives me hope that there can be an eventual cultural change in medicine that allows physicians to admit to mistakes, ask for help, and ultimately, lead to better patient care.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


...maybe I don't get this?

Was there a hankering for Sur La Table to put out a watch? Clearly, it was a rather quiet hankering, as the item is now discontinued and marked down 86%.

Maybe this was a remnant of a diverse product field. Like those Chinese restaurants in DC that also serve pizza. Guess how well they performed at either?

finally, a foot in the door

Just in time for W's graduation; bring on the apartment hunt. Bay Area apartment rents fall 1st time in years. From SFGate:

"That toll, of course, is good news for tenants, who have stood by helplessly as rents and demand for choice apartments surged in recent years. Now the competition is intensifying among landlords, with some already offering things like $99 move-in specials and free credit checks to would-be tenants, Latham said.

'I think we'll see more of that competition for tenants, so (landlords) better know how to manage it and give tenants the service and value they think they're paying for,' she said."

(from Redfin San Francisco Sweet Digs)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

reading interrupted

Everytime I go into Borders, I pick up this book and read another chapter:

I really like seeing Roger Ebert's slightly snarky side; I'm sure he's got people writing him angrily-worded letters all the time, and while his columns seem very professional, I keep waiting for him to blow up at someone's poorly-worded opinion. Because if there's anything I appreciate more about Robert Ebert, it's his clearly articulated reasoning for why he likes and dislikes movies.

travel bug

Oh man. $779+ for 6 nights and air for Madrid and Barcelona.

natsukashii for kotatsu

After a remarkably warm spell, winter weather is coming back to California. It's overcast and grey, and I'm home sick today. It's days like this that I really, really miss the kotatsu in Japan.

A kotatsu is a table with a heater underneath. In the warm months, the heater is usually put in storage, but in the winter, it connects underneath the table, and a big comforter is put on the top in order to keep in the heat.

You basically spend most of your time with your legs underneath the whole thing during cold weather months. It is awesomely warming, and considering that many of the older homes in Japan do not have central heating, and dangerous (for wood frame houses) kerosene heaters being very popular, kotatsu are a super great option for winter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

i don't know if i could ever cook anything in this

Beautiful Sarpaneva cast iron pot. From Canoe.

css in the house

I just saw the new White House website, and almost peed my pants a little.

AND...they have a blog.


new camera

My new camera arrived today. I decided on a Nikon D80 body and a 50/1.8 lens. It took me a long time to psychologically make the transition to DSLR, so you will have to forgive me for taking baby steps. Hopefully, super awesome pictures will immediately emerge from this development.

soundtrack for inauguration day

"A Change Is Gonna Come," Sam Cooke
"Lovely Day," Bill Withers
"You Make My Dreams," Hall and Oates
"Feels So Good," Chuck Mangione
"To Be Young, Gifted and Black," Nina Simone
"Can You Feel It," The Jacksons
"Can't Go Back Now," The Weepies

Sunday, January 18, 2009

France, Days 4-9

I'm compressing this week into one post, primarily because we spent it in one place, and I was out of commission due to a slight mishap checking out of the hotel in Paris:

Yes, that is a sprained ankle. I missed a step (the LAST step) to the lobby, landed on it sideways, and nearly passed out from the pain. Later, we found out it was just sprained, but at the time, I was terrified that it was broken, and that I would have to get surgery in France, that my insurance company wouldn't reimburse, and it would be this lengthy arbitration process. See, THIS is what happens when you work for a course that teaches health policy in the United States.

Anyways, the manager of the hotel was super nice, and even bandaged up my ankle, called a cab, and looked after me while W went to the pharmacy for acetaminophen and a brace. The cab? Oh, that's because we had to get down to Ballan-Mire to stay with W's family friends. My sister-in-law was an au pair for a family in France, and they are still pretty close.

This family is super-duper nice, very warm, and extremely knowledgeable about wines - more so than the average French family. The oldest son lives in Bordeaux and works as a wine distributor and runs wine tastings for rich people. His children were also staying at the house during this time, and they are adorable.

The middle son is a sommelier and owns his own wine bar/restaurant in Tours.

The youngest son is a teacher in Paris, but knows a ton about wines.

For those most part, we ate and drank a ton, with some intermittent side trips.


Fontevraud Abbey:


All in all, it was super relaxing and the weather was great. In fact, the biggest question, according to Catherine, was "should we eat inside, or outside?"

man, i love dc, but...

...I am SO glad I'm not there for this.

(Photo: Doug Mills/ The New York Times)

This, plus the 5000 port-a-potties for over 2 million people means that I will be watching Obama get sworn in from my living room.

in love with a refrigerator

So, I love this refrigerator:

I saw a kitchen remodel on design*sponge and my eyes went immediately to the beauty of their fridge. I love the idea of showcasing your food and beverages as decor. It would allow my husband, who is chronically unable to find things in the fridge "because they are hiding," take a glance and figure out what he wants. However, the fridge would have to be cleaned ALL THE TIME. Also, this baby is $5,256.25, which is a little too "hoo-boy" for me at this point.

i am...a homesteader

I've been in the kitchen. A lot.

Maybe it's these uncertain economic times that is nudging me towards becoming more self-sufficient. Maybe it's this weird heat wave that's occurring in Northern California that's making me itch to be outside and enjoy vegetation. Maybe it's that W has been slogging along on his dissertation, and instead of being kind and supportive, I'm being naggy and feeling guilty, and trying to make it up to him by having seemingly endless supplies of granola on hand.

Either way, it means that a lot of food is getting made.

1. Wheat bread

2. Pickled carrots

3. Aforementioned granola

On one hand, all this makes me feel self-sufficient, as though when the apocalypse comes, I'll be ready with my tomato preserves and homemade cheese. On the other hand, it sort of freaks my parents out, because they do not know who this person is that returns home on Christmas, making apple pies and focaccia. The person they sent off to college in 1997 subsisted on Chef Boyardee beef ravioli and Kraft mac n' cheese. It's as if I suddenly became an international spy, or a Republican.