The Saturday Report: SF, wine country and Joni

You guys, I just had the most epic weekend in San Francisco. This could easily become a post of just that, but I will indulge you with a couple of other highlights too!

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VISIT San Francisco. It’s still home. Still comfortable. And on this trip, the wooing was quite strong, a fogless and cloudless city were only the start of a wonderful weekend. I was able to see several friends and wine and dine myself through the city, which was just what I needed. A quick recap of my favorite stops: Pastries from b. patisserie; the patio (and brunch on it) at The Tipsy Pig; Kokkari an SF institution I feel like is often not talked about, but worth every bite; drinks at Trick Dog (LOVED this atmosphere); dinner at Tartine Manufactory, this has been on my radar for a while, very good food and an awesome space; Butter, not for the faint of heart, a dive bar at it’s best with bacon shots, jello shots, and usually a good DJ.

VISIT Sonoma. There are so many wine country towns it can be hard to choose, but Sonoma is always a winner. I especially love Healdsburg and the Dry Creek Valley, but it’s 1.5 hrs away, which can really make the day feel long. Shaving off the 30 min to get to Sonoma makes it approachable and not an all day venture. We did a tasting on the patio at Gundlach Bundshu and actually enjoyed all the wines. We went to Bartholomew Park Winery after to picnic, wine not so good, but property is gorgeous and you can bring your own food. One of my favorite surprises of the day was coming across the original Williams-Sonoma store. As a former employee of the company I was sad to hear that Chuck Williams passed away a few years ago (at over 100 years old!), but was happy to have stumbled across this location so quaint and full of character. The Sonoma town square is charming and worth a walk around, and the surrounding streets between wineries are covered in trees, lined with beautiful homes and make a delightful day out of the city.

 

CALIFORNIA ~ joni mitchell

LISTEN Being in San Francisco and back in the lovely state of California made me think of the Joni Mitchell song. My mom really likes Joni, so I am familiar with some of her music, and I have always loved this one. It speaks to me as a native California with an affinity for European travel. I had just been thinking about this song while sitting in my SF guest room, when I heard it floating through the window from another apartment – what a delight. Having close neighbors isn’t all bad.

 

EAT il Posto. As if my list of SF to do’s didn’t have enough restaurants, here’s another stop – il Posto in Denver. They have a new location in Rino, and having not been to the other, I quite enjoyed it. I had a pasta with crab, leeks and asparagus, which was awesome. If you have not tried the pasta/leek/fish combo before, it really is a must. The space is striking as well, with several booths in the middle that feel like personal little cubbies due to their high upholstered walls. Can’t wait to go back and explore the menu a little more.

 

San Francisco

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It’s hard for me to start to describe how much and exactly what I love about San Francisco. I had a great run of seven years, in a fabulous neighborhood, centrally located and right by the Painted Ladies (or the “Full House Houses” as many tourists know them), and I love that no matter where you are you are never a short walk/run/drive from the water. The city has great restaurants, vintage charm and each neighborhood has a personality and is worth visiting

Related Posts:

While it is near impossible to list all the highlights, I’ve started below with things that pop to mind, in no particular order:

Experiences:

  • Bay to Breakers
  • Fleet Week
  • The Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building
  • Being on the bay – sailing/ferry/anything
  • The walk out to the Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point once you get there
  • Driving through the Presidio & stopping at Baker Beach
  • The view from the tower of the de young museum
  • Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge

Restaurants:

Bars:

New in June 2014

I’m still here!!! It’s far far too late to say happy new year, but happy first post of 2014 everyone!

I have been keeping myself busy with: A trip to Japan! Rafting down the Grand Canyon! Sunning and clubbing in Miami! Weekend trips to Santa Barbara, Napa, Sonoma and Half Moon Bay! And finally, a whole month of new things in June!

2014 has been a whirlwind so far (I can hardly believe that it is already July – a similar sentiment I’m sure most of you share) and sprinkled in between the trips mentioned above, there have been many new recipes tried, a relationship started and ended, a promotion gained (finally!) so as you can see it’s been busy busy. Despite all the new things I’ve done with the year, I still wanted to make sure to dedicate June to San Francisco (mostly) and do ‘New in June’ for the 3rd year in a row.

For those of you who don’t know, I started this tradition back in 2012 where after a slew of weekend trips in May I realized that there is still so much left of my own city to discover. Last year I was a little less diligent about the EVERY day idea, and just completed 30 new things, which was still a great accomplishment. And this year I have to admit that it was definitely a challenge, and I ended up missing several days, but making up for them later. All said and done though, I did do 30 new things and still appreciated the spirit of going outside my daily routine to get them done!

I was in the Grand Canyon for the first part of the month, which I counted every day as being new. And I was in Sonoma for a bachlorette party one weekend, but again trying lots of new things. So the days available to SF were smaller than the rest, but I did manage to accomplish 40% of the things on the list I created at the beginning of the month (same amount as the first two years!).

I’m so happy to live in such a great place and to have inspired some friends to do their own new things. It’s such a great way to shake things up, I hope you’ll find inspiration to try your own new things.

new in june 2014

  1. Tongue & Cheek, Miami, FL
  2. Hoover Dam
  3. Hiking down the Grand Canyon
  4. Rafting down the Grand Canyon
  5. Camping in the Grand Canyon
  6. Pretty much everything in the Grand Canyon
  7. Prickly Pear Margaritas and a Teva tan
  8. The Taco Shop @ Underdogs
  9. Delivering Meals on Wheels disaster kits to SF seniors
  10. Roller Disco
  11. SF Botanical Garden*
  12. Thor’s Ricotta-Orange Pound Cake
  13. Wiener Races at Golden Gate Fields
  14. St. Francis Fountain – one of the oldest soda fountains in SF
  15. Chinatown Library Branch
  16. Getting promoted into my first managerial role*
  17. Firemen breaking into my car after I locked my keys in it*
  18. El Dorado Kitchen, Sonoma
  19. Kellys Bachlorette & all new wineries: Laurel Glen, Kunde, Korbin Kameron
  20. Fig & Thistle*
  21. Civic Center Farmers Market
  22. Asian Art Museum
  23. Limon Rotisserie
  24. Urban Putt
  25. Palm House
  26. Harry Denton’s Starlight Lounge (for a Colombian dancing night!)
  27. Presidio Social Club
  28. 3 Fish Studios (I picked up some monster art and am taking a class here later this month)
  29. Etcetera Wine Bar
  30. Amnesia for Bluegrass Mondays*

* my favorites of the month!

Grapefruit Cake & A Trip to Boonville

One of the many things that I love about the bay area is that it doesn’t snow. Don’t get me wrong, there is something magical about a white winter BUT the realities of living in it are something else. I’ve never had to actually endure weeks on end of life in snow, but from the short while that we had snow on the ground in Germany, I can tell you it is a nuisance. Also, when it gets unbearably cold and wet outside, the chances of being able to camp in October go down dramatically.

So yes, I went camping in October. It was absolutely wonderful. Cold at night, gorgeous during the day, and just the right time of year to get some fall colors. We were outside of Boonville, which is a couple of hours north of SF, and home to many a winery, apple orchards and the Anderson Valley Brewing company. We hiked during the day, beer tasted by afternoon, and campfired by night. The perfect weekend. Boonville is a cute little stretch of HWY 128 that is home to just as equally cute antique shops and cafes. In one of these stores, I spotted the most adorable Wedgwood china dessert plates, that I just had to have… turning what was supposed to be a nice cheap weekend, into a spendy vacation. But they are SO cute!

So obviously when I made grapefruit pound cake to have at dinner a few weeks later, I had to display it on these super cute plates. This cake is really tasty. It’s a Thomas Keller recipe, of which I was a little weary after I made a soup from Ad Hoc at Home and it had me using every pot, pan and dish in my kitchen. However, this recipe is MUCH simpler and to my surprised, used very normal ingredients and processes to yield a wonderfully moist pound cake. I’m sure it would have been amazing straight out of the oven, but then you let a grapefruit syrup soak in and top with glaze that is not only visually stunning but also really flavorful. It was a huge win with my friends and with the pinkness of the grapefruits right now, you’d be silly not to try it.

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Grapefruit Cake from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

Cake:

  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp grated pink grapefruit zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Grapefruit Syrup

  • 1 cup strained fresh pink grapefruit juice
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

Grapefruit Icing

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh pink grapefruit juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 10×4 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment combine the eggs and sugar. Beat at medium speed for a bout 3 min until mixture is thickened and the whisk leaves a trail. Beat in the milk, then oil, grapefruit zest and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Spread the batter in the pan. Lightly oil a paring knife and run the knife lengthwise down the center of the batter, about 1/2 in deep. It will make the cake rise more evenly and not puff up in the middle.

Put the pan on a baking sheet and bake or 30 min. Turn the baking sheet and bake for another 30 min, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it. Trnasfer pan to cooling rack.

Meanwhile combine the 1 cup of grapefruit juice and granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stir to dissolve sugar and simmer for 1 min.

As soon as you have removed the cake from the oven, poke deep holes every 3/4 inch or so, with a long skewer. Immediately begin brushing the syrup over the cake. You may have to wait for the syrup to soak in, but continue until you’ve used all the syrup. Let the cake cool about 10 min.

Unmold onto a cooking rack and turn up right. Let come to room temperature. Stir the powdered sugar with the 1 tbsp + 1 tsp grapefruit juice, until smooth. Then drizzle the icing over the cooled cake. Slice and serve.

Serves 8-10 and will keep well for about 2 days, loosely covered at room temperature.

New in June 2013

Remember how last year I did something new every day in June? I had such a great time exploring my city that I wanted to do it again this year. I must admit that I wasn’t AS diligent about EVERY day, though I was close to it, but I did do 30 new things this month! It was just further proof that even after living in one place for over 5 years there are still corners undiscovered and new things worth trying. The month of newness is a great adventure and a wonderful way to stay busy – it’s definitely a tradition that I hope to continue in years to come.
To get real life updates on new things in June as well as every other month, follow me on Instagram: @emsbonappetit
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  1. Lunch in Alamo Square Park – sitting on a bench instead of the grass where I always sit
  2. Ginger Beer and a party for Mr. Tibbs
  3. Hike up the stairs to Coit Tower and go to the top*
  4. David’s Tea event with tea cocktails
  5. 16th Ave Tiled Steps*
  6. The Mill
  7. A proper day trip to Tomales Bay Oyster Company*
  8. Lydia Fae (my best friend’s baby) at 3mo + new hike in San Carlos with baby and mom
  9. Molasses Oat Bread
  10. State Bird Provisions
  11. A drink at Hard Water*
  12. Ina Coolbrith Park and a walk down Macondray Lane
  13. Mark di Suvero sculptures on Crissy Field*
  14. The Rebel Within at Craftsman & Wolves
  15. Movie night in Dolores Park*
  16. Rose Garden in Golden Gate Park
  17. Krav Maga
  18. Bar Jules
  19. Nerd Night at Rickshaw Stop
  20. Google Hangout to plan for BRAZIL in Nov 2013
  21. Swedish inspired Midsommar picnic with strawberries and champagne
  22. SF Flower Mart
  23. Irish Coffee at The Buena Vista
  24. Burlesque show for Pride
  25. Row 1, seat 1 right next to the Giant’s dugout*
  26. China Beach
  27. Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito*
  28. Glide Memorial Celebration*
  29. Secret SF staircases
  30. Coqueta

* my favorite new things of the month

Pescadero, a goat farm & Highway 1

I was born and raised in California, and while I did spend a year abroad and have toyed with the idea of living in another city/state, I often just come back to: Why? Why would I leave this amazing area? Yes yes, I know that’s being narrow minded, and is draining my wallet, but really I couldn’t trade the daily views of the ocean, proximity to the mountains, year round farmer’s markets, being close to my family, countless available day trips and hikes, Napa and Sonoma close enough for a day’s visit… the list goes on and on – what more could a girl ask for?

I try to take advantage of all that is offered around me whenever I can (albeit not as often as I should), so I took Memorial Day weekend as an opportunity to check out Pescadero -a sleepy town just inland from the coast, south of Half Moon Bay. I lured my mom and sister into this day long adventure with the promise of baby goats, fresh cheese and some pretty scenery, which is exactly what we got.

I love this drive down Highway 1 from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz, which I learned is called the ‘Slow Coast’ and this day was no exception. The views are breath taking and the ocean is always intense, alive with different colors, tons of breaks and often times surfers or kite boarders. In Pescadero, Harley Farms was really charming and the town itself has a few cute shops – all in all, a trip worth taking!

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Christmas: Cinnamon Rolls and a trip to San Diego

When I was growing up, and when my mom cooked more, she would always make cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. I don’t know how long it was a tradition, but it was enough to cement in my mind that cinnamon rolls are synonymous with Christmas morning. As the years went on, the labor of making yeasted dough the morning of didn’t seem worth it, so we moved on to Pillsbury, then to store-bought, then I started cooking. It took me a while to find the recipe that was just right for Christmas morning, but finally did so in a Williams-Sonoma recipe that has the rolls do their second proof overnight, allowing you to create them the night before and simply pop in the oven the morning of – what a delight.

This year we took a family vacation to San Diego for the holidays and got to stop to see some extended family on the way down, which was great. We toured around during the day; read, watched movies, and played games by night; we fashioned a Christmas tree out of a fake plant on a tall stand in the apartment living room; and I made cinnamon rolls (by hand) on Christmas Eve to ensure we’d have as much of home with us as possible on Christmas morning. I wasn’t quite the champion sister I was on Thanksgiving, as this is most definitely not a gluten/dairy free dish, but it is oh so tasty. The flaky dough is rolled with a layer of sugar, cinnamon, pecans and butter in between, coming out ooie, gooey, and very very tasty. I typically frost these with a standard powdered sugar frosting, but could apparently only remember so much for the trip out of town. Nonetheless, these were just as good and easy as ever, and so long as I can help it, will continue to be a King family tradition.

Some of the places visited, in order of photos below:

  • Botanical Garden at night time
  • The very first California Mission – highly recommended
  • San Diego Safari Park – a 4 mo. old baby elephant!
  • Cabrillo Point – amazing views, highly recommended

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Roll Recipe here

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